Sunday assorted links

1. Indian women teaching AI (NYT).

2. Most coups by generals are successful.

3. What happens in a recession (NYT, Douthat).

4. Top Patreon creators.

5. Can Plato and Proust save Silicon Valley? (not how I would put it, and it has some errors of fact, but still of some interest)


Isn't it funnily tragic that libertards watch every world from president Trump's lips, but do nothing when a Disney "star" supports the squashing of Hong Kong by a totalitarian regime?

I am old enough to remember real Disney stars such as Kevin Corcoran, Kurt Russell, Christina Aguilera, Dean Jones, Mindy Feldman, Don Knotts, Ryan Gosling, Peter Ustinov, etc. None of them ever supported communist aggression. What has happened to America?!

What would a rational and compassionate America do? I'm afraid that the early steps would look like platitudes. Urge caution and patience. Endorse human rights. Extolle democracy.

But recognizing that China is an authoritarian state, expect refugees. Have visas waiting for them.

We don't have the power to change China. We do have the ability to welcome lovers of freedom.

Sure. And above everything else guard ourselves against Red China's unwarranted and oversized influence over our economy, our universities and particularly over our youth through Disney and Paramount.

I have to say, Crystal Liu isn’t the leader of the free world.

I see. She has an unlected powerful person. That gaves her the right to support the crushing if the most basic liberties and poison America's youth.

I need to find a good salve for my anus. Any recommendations?

That is the 50 Cents Party impersonator.

50 Cents Party at my house tonight, hun. Everybody gets a turn.

That is the impersonator.

Brazilian soap and Brazilian salves are widely known to be the best in the world, and certainly up to any irritation that Thiago's anus might suffer. This is why I sometimes wonder if President Captain Bolsonaro's trade war against the Azores was a wise strategy. But as with all matters Bolsonaro, we must wait and see.

Don Knotts is basically every single person who reads this blog. I imagine Don Knotts when I picture any of you.

Mr. Knotts served in the Army and his contributions to entertainment are much, much greater than some fake stars of the treacherous kind.
We should remember that Disney was an American patriot who famously took a standing against communist in America's movie industry and warned our country about the terrible danger it posed for us and our freedoms. What happened to the company he built?! What happened to the country he loved?!

Uncle Walt smoked. Never photographed smoking, but smoked a lot. It killed him.

That is not the point.

Why do you so-uncharitably slam Mr. Knotts?

I do not think comparing someone to Marginal Revolution's readers is uncharitable.

Actually, Knotts served in the merchant marine, and would have been drafted into a fighting service had he not. Disney himself was a secret Communist who tried to make America think of itself as a talking mouse with no pants and only three fingers. The Deep State has always been with us, fellow Libertarians.

Not true at all.

What do you want people to do? Actors should be allowed to have whatever political views they want. Let the marketplace of ideas sort it out. You're totally free to boycott the movie if you're offended by it--just like Chinese consumers are free to boycott companies they don't like. This is how a free world should work.

I see. So that is the freedom we should have... just as much as the Chinese slaves.
My poi t is, librards pretend to be outrage every time president Trump-s lips move, but they are always read to support totalitarianism.

3., 5. As I commented earlier, Douthat, not an economist prone to making predictions, is making predictions, the one that impressed me is the prediction that enough is enough: no more venture capital funding of tech nonsense that loses billions. If we were only so lucky that tech only funded billions in losses; alas, tech is sinister, promoting the Dark Enlightenment, with funding from tech billionaires. So says Paul Musgrave at the link at 5. Of some interest? I suppose so if the future of the U.S. is of some interest.

I am greatly impressed that Cowen linked the Musgrave op/ed; Cowen restoreth my soul. If you wish to learn more about the Dark Enlightenment, read this (linked in the Musgrave op/ed): What's the difference between the hubris of tech billionaires and the hubris of Jeff Epstein? Epstein, fortunately, is dead. [An aside, one won't find the Musgrave op/ed if one goes to I read the op/ed real early this morning, but it has since disappeared (I can't find it); thus, the fortuitous link by Cowen.]

As (almost) always, the proper reply to you is: sod off, swampy (or variations thereof).

I hope and pray the main thing propping inflated tech stocks is "private equity money."

If, as I fear, many people's 401k's mutual funds are heavily invested, it could be big trouble.

All that being said, the recession will be well worth it if we can get rid of Trump.

If you take a look at the holdings of the 5 or 10 largest mutual funds, it's crystal clear that they're heavily weighted towards tech. In fact, I suspect that it is a self-perpetuating spiral: the greater the price appreciation of tech stocks, the more mutual funds invest in them in order to appear to have competitive returns.

Even S&P funds?

And my ass is a trombone

I wouldn't assume Trump would easily lose if there is a recession as Douthat says. Douthat didn't mention that the unemployment rate is 3.7% and unless there is major recession like in 2008, the unemployment rate will almost certainly be no higher than 4.4% to 4.5% by late summer and the Democratic nominee will have to run against that.

In 1980, unemployment had increased from around 6.0% the previous two years to 7.5% in the summer and to 7.8% a month before Carter lost to Reagan.

In early 1991, unemployment was at 6.3% which had increased to 7.3% in early 1992 and climbed even higher to 7.7% in summer just weeks before Bush Sr. lost.

+ 1. The unemployment rate will have to move in the wrong direction fast for it to negatively affect his reelection.

On the other hand, given that the Great Recession is still fresh, businesses and consumers may react faster than in prior recessions and slow the economy down very quickly. But I still bet on the economy holding out until November 2020.

It's not the particular unemployment rate that matters, it's the public mindset of being in a recession, which people will know was driven in large part by Trump's policies.

That's the point. The public feels recessions through unemployment either directly with themselves or family members or more indirectly through friends.

By the way, Bush barely beat Gore when the unemployment rate was 4.0% for all of 2000 before the election.

The unemployment rate is a red herring. The winner of the Dem primary only has to be 1% more likeable and use email better than Hillary. Not high bars we are talking about here.

"has to be 1% more likeable...than Hillary" (and much closer to the center)

That's going to be a challenge for dems.

Well, how many of the candidates are friends with pedophiles and/or married to a sexual predator? Being more likeable than the Clintons is a very, very low bar.

+1, It seems likely the Democrats can field somebody significantly better than Hillary Clinton. As P Burgos said, that's a very low bar.

more likeable...than Hillary

Like rabid badgers

Solid burn, I award 5 internet points

People drawing unemployment benefits always vote and they always vote against the incumbent.

3. No idea if there is recession looming, but Trump's game theory is clear. He sees strong odds of a loss, he must resign, after making a deal with Pence for wide ranging pardons.

He could try to wait until he actually loses to resign, but I don't think Pence is enough of a lap-dog to trade full pardons for a couple months in office.

Pence, through appropriate proxies, should be cutting his deal now.

What a strange world you inhabit.

I have links for any points you are missing.

"By early Tuesday evening, more than 720 former federal prosecutors who worked in Democratic and Republican administrations had signed a letter asserting that President Trump would have been charged with obstructing justice based on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings — if Trump were not the president."

If he loses, he becomes "not the president."

"based on...." a bunch a Dems who are still crying about the election. Now, onto who might really need a pardon -

Come on. That's stupid.

Anyway, obstruction is just one of the crimes. There is also the election violations Michael Cohen is serving time for. Trump was party to those, and the same rule applies. As soon as he is a private citizen, he may be indicted .. without that Pence pardon.

Scaramucci says you need an off ramp.

Take it.

There are legal definitions, in the statute, re: "obstruction." Attempting to defend oneself from being framed in a Beltway, deep state coup d'état is not one of them.

Anyhow, even the NYT has dropped the coup attempt/Russia hoax and now plans to spend 24/7 reporting on Trump the racist. I Am Trump.

Why are you not capitalizing the 'A?'

You crazy, man.

It's almost 2PM on the left coast. Get out of your PJ's for Christ's sake!

Been for my hike, had my cheeseburger.

No one in the Bush Administration got in any legal trouble for their "enhanced interrogations" shenanigans. Do you really think it'll be different for Trump? I think you're naive about how the US government actually works.

Nixon and Agnew got busted. I think you have Down's syndrome when it comes to how things really work.

Be careful what you wish for.

If Trump is no longer president, then obviously impeachment is no longer applicable. Instead, any prosecution would require a jury trial.

Think about that for a moment. Any jury pool would be no less polarized than a voter pool. The result would a hung jury, with 100% certainty. There is no other possible outcome. None.

Trump would absolutely revel in his new reality-TV starring role. Celebrity without the cares of office and absolutely no real risk of conviction. He'd keep tweeting, no lawyer's advice could ever get him to shut up. If you think Washington is a circus now, you ain't seen nothing yet. Old enough to remember the never-ending OJ trial? That, on steroids.

Meanwhile, any potential Democrat reform agenda is starved of oxygen and elbowed out of the headlines.

Never mind what President Pence would do... President Sanders or President Warren, if they have an ounce of sense, would offer Trump a Nixon-style pardon. And Trump, if he has an ounce of sense and all the more so if he doesn't, would turn it down flat.

All of the above assumes that professional politicians will somehow manage to dig up some kind of smoking gun that eluded Robert Mueller's team of professionals. Rather unlikely actually, and without that you're dead in the water.

I expect a Pence pardon at 80%, and would be fine with that. Republicans would put Trump down the memory hole and pretend again, things like they care about deficits and have better health plans. Maybe not ideal, but I'd take it. I'm not vindicate. I don't need to see Trump on trial.

I put the odds of a Democrat pardoning Trump at close to zero.

In the long shot case where Trump lost, got no Pence pardon, and had to go on trial .. it would be awful, but especially for Trump.

We can only imagine how bad everything would be if corrupt, incompetent Hillary had won. For one, the Chicoms would (likely not necessary) blackmail her with her 33,000 classified emails. But, it's all good: The Clinton Crime Foundation would be worth $100 billion.

In 2025, when Trump is gone, the GOP likely return to putting up "real" [no different from Democrats] Republicans like the Bushes, McCain, Romney and never again win the White House.

Each morning I get down on my knees and thank God for President Trump warts and all.

It's sad that this is literally all there is. No moral defense of an immoral president. No rational defense of an irrational president. No coherent defense of an incoherent president.

Just a Hillary fantasy.

He can't quit her, hun.

That was Thiago, dude.

Donald Trump is the only president to ever uphold Republican ideals, and also Christian ideals! Thank the Lord Jesus Christ.

So it really IS about her e-mails? The Chinese have them? This is scary.

"I expect a Pence pardon at 80%"

$100 says your wrong. Actually, I'll go 2 to 1 in your favor and put up $100 vs your $50. Which shouldn't be a problem if you are truly 80% confident and not just making crazy shit up.

You are right that it would be politically impossible for a Democrat president to ever offer Trump a pardon, as much as they might wish they could. Other than that, you didn't address any of my points.

Any new administration can only get signature legislation passed in its first two years, before the midterm elections. After that, it's two years (or six years) of treading water. Do you really think that a Democrat president would want that very limited window of opportunity to get utterly hijacked by some shitshow circus of a trial?

A trial would be awful for everyone except Trump. Pence would not offer a pardon because if push comes to shove, Trump will announce very publicly that he would never accept one.

He doesn't need it. He faces no real risk. The odds of a non-polarized non-hung-jury are precisely 0%.

He would welcome a trial. He would be thrilled, in fact. Monopolizing the 24-hour news cycle as a reality-TV celebrity even after leaving office would be a fucking dream come true. That's what he lives for. That's what Trump is. The harshest punishment for him would be getting ignored or forgotten.

Think outside the box of your own wishful thinking. Focus on getting your reform agenda passed instead of self-sabotaging tilting at windmills.

I understood you. But I don't see these as interesting questions. In the highly unlikely scenario that Trump loses without securing pardons, it would be what it would be.

Indict. Put him on the stand and ask him why he fired Comey. Ask him why he crowed to Russian diplomats that the Russia investigation was squashed. Certainly don't shy away because the truth might hurt Trumpist feelings.

But before any of that happened he'd probably do a plea deal. He doesn't have the balls to testify under oath.

I hate to keep belaboring the point. But if you can't distinguish between what you expect to happen and what you wish would happen, that's the dictionary definition of wishful thinking.

You seriously think Trump would ever do a plea deal, even if they had him dead to rights? It'll never happen. He is not constrained by your mere logic or anyone else's. And the jury would be hung no matter what.

I'm not certain about anything. Just putting my analysis out there. Not even ranking my best guess highly myself.

It's just my guess.

Get help.

He’s well past that point. He’s been convinced Trump is a Russian intelligence asset for 3 years.

I’d blame him, but literally the Nytimes and Vox and the WaPo pushed this point to their followers for years.

All this over $100,000 in Russian Facebook ads. That’s what it took to make half the country lose their minds.

I’d say Putin is a mastermind, but he’s not. We’re just a country full of retards.

Nytimes, in their own words. Obviously anonymous is too far down the conspiracy hole. But maybe not everyone is.

Here’s the nytimes meeting:

“Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.

The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, “Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.”

Obviously the switch is from RUSSIA to RACISM. Surely anonymous will pick it up soon. Hopefully that ends the Russian conspiracy bullshit.

What is it about Sunday afternoon and mediocre links that brings all the high-school political science buffs to this site? Sometimes it seems like they don't much care what they say, but just want to be like that Brylcreemed guy with the podcast. Shamaro, Stipero? Whatever that moron calls himself.

5. Musgrave structured that piece well. He led us to the conclusion long before he stated it:

"Asking the humanities to save STEM is a variant of “educationism” — the fallacy that getting our school curriculums right will fix our society. Education matters, but it’s not the only thing that shapes behavior."

The error in all criticisms of higher ed as a source of our problems, is that they vastly overstate the ability of higher ed to shape our society.

The same is really true for criticisms of Silicon Valley. Google search and gmail are as big as they are by user demand. Billions of people, live choices in the marketplace.

Bread and circuses.

Fast food and Game of Thrones.

#4. Had no idea the Chapo podcast pulls in that much Patreon revenue!!

When the product is good people pay.

Didn’t their subreddit just get quarantined for death threats against police and anyone to the right of Stalin? You a regular there?

5. STEM is just a tool, and can be amplifier, for both good and evil. It may provide welcome efficiency, or a hyper-intrusive social credit score driven oppression and censorship the Red Guard or STASI could only dream of.

As for the potentially mediating effect of the humanities, they seem to be the source of, rather than preventing, the most systematic and intentional evil that Silicon Valley is producing. A politically agnostic profit motive has its own issues, but amplifying the toxic stew coming out of non-STEM academia isn't an improvement.

As noted in the OP ed, Google dropped their "Don't Be Evil" mantra some years ago.

I would further argue that absurd and anti-human-nature “humanities” is far and away the chief evil-doer here. Intersectionalism, critical theory, all of these mental S&M traps by self-important, insecure struggle session leaders do nothing but promote the politics of envy and division. You want to find the real deplorables - look no further than the typical liberal arts college humanities department.

+1 its time for the academy to rebrand the humanities
change intersectionalism to "speech police"
change critical theory to "marxist shame police"
change diversity to "pronoun police"

Or just say hell with it and go to a therma and get the specialty, followed by a relaxing mae e pae after, eh, cara?

More of Trump's "very fine people" doing some "very fine" things. If only these idiots picked up some Tolstoy instead of an AR-15:

You know perfectly well that the “very fine people” meme is completely false, and well-documented as such. Your credibility is negative.

Trump needs to do a better job distancing himself from these oddballs. Scaramucci is right.

So, in your analysis the "very fine people" meme is Fake News? This is an interesting twist. Food for thought.

Huh? The humanities isn't the source of anything in Silicon Valley. Nobody there reads those things and in fact they actively mock the humanities. They are all about profit and technology. Your post is fake news.

Clearly you don’t work in Silicon Valley.

Is he wrong though? It's not obvious to those of us outside CA that they are aware of anything outside of their little tech niche. A quick check on social media doesn't change my view either.

3. As usual most of the predictions will turn wrong. This recession will be self-inflicted btw.

"technological products that are supposed to fix social problems"
Say what? People are really clueless. This is like saying that the next Toyota or even Tesla is supposed to "fix our social problems". No wonder why people are so unhappy. Insane expectations will do that to anyone.

of 353 coup attempts since 1950, 68% of attempts by generals or above were successful.

I think the last successful military coup in Latin America occurred in 1989, and that one was a liberalizing measure. (The last contra a constitutional regime was in 1980). In the non-Latin Caribbean, the last was in 1991. In Europe, the last was in 1974. In South Asia, there has been one in the last 30-odd years. In the Far East, there have been several, all in Thailand. In the Antipodes, every such incident has occurred in Fiji.

What about Al-Sisi in Egypt?

2 is much less interesting when you realise that generals announcing support for a coup is presumably a sign that it's going well. How many of the coups led by captains really had a general in the shadows who would have claimed credit had it worked?

#3. Uber isn't going anywhere. Traditional Taxi cabs will be the thing that gets killed off as people opt for cheaper rides over the inconvenience of having to install a phone app and enter your credit card information.

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