BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-05-13 Th

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...

First:

The world would have been much better advised fifteen months ago to, rather than listening to the infectious-disease community, WHO, & CDC, to have simply observed: This thing evolved it batcaves. Avoid batcaves. Make sure that the respiratory environment in which you breathe is as close to being the exact opposite of a batcave as you can—ventilation, outdoors, distanced, masks:

Zeynep TufekciThe Few Sentences That Explain Much of What Went Wrong With Our Pandemic Response: ‘How could it be so wrong, even after more than a year?… Some of the founders of public health and the field of infectious control of diseases around the world made key errors and conflations around the turn of the 20th century. These errors essentially froze into tradition and dogma that went unchanged and uncorrected for more than a century, until a pandemic forced our hand…. Infection, which is easier at close range, was seen to be due to particles sprayed out of one’s mouth, which fell quickly to the ground but could land on people. The possibility that, even at close range, people were inhaling floating little particles (aerosols!) that could also travel farther, was discounted…. Charles Chapin… was also concerned that belief in airborne transmission, which he associated with miasma theories, would make people feel helpless and drop their guard against contact transmission. This was a mistake that would haunt infection control for the next century and more…. Of course, the data did not fit this theory. Infections were happening mostly indoors, not outdoors, whereas droplets would be indifferent to existing indoors or outdoors since gravity is the same in both. Infections were occurring at longer distances…. Superspreading was driving the pandemic…. Droplets aren’t very conducive to such superspreading. Scientists who understand all this tried to raise the alarms…. They were rebuffed for almost a year. Last fall, under fire, the WHO assigned reviews of this topic to the very people who had loudly proclaimed their opinions for many months that the virus was being spread via respiratory droplets…

LINK: <https://www.theinsight.org/p/the-few-sentences-that-explain-much>

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One Video

Bob Litan: An Economist Walks into a Bar <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SkoG9FWP4>:


Very Briefly Noted:


Paragraphs:

For a century now the forces that are now Likud and the forces that are now Hamas have chosen violence in the Middle East—glory in it, and think that it strengthens them vis-a-vis their own internal political opponents, as long as each can pretend to its core supporters that it is protecting them rather than endangering them by amplifying violence. We almost got this under control in 1995. But then Israeli rightists assassinated Yitzhak Rabin, and Likud and Hamas both managed to choose violence and make chaos their ladders to victory over their internal political adversaries. And here we still are today:

Jonathan KatzFinding what you’re looking for: ‘The trigger for the current crisis was an attempt by Jewish settlers to seize four Palestinian homes…. The incompetence and viciousness of Jerusalem’s Jewish authorities and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu…. Israeli police responded… with brutal force, and then, inexplicably, by attacking the Al-Aqsa Mosque—the third holiest site in Islam—with tear gas, rubber-tipped bullets, and stun grenades, during Ramadan prayers…. Hamas responded with rockets…. Israel responded by murdering Gazan civilians. And now here we are…. Hamas has no more monopoly on resistance to Israeli occupation or apartheid than Netanyahu’s Likud Party and its ethnonationalist allies do on the fight for the survival of Jews. Both can and must be opposed. The other is to keep in mind the humanity of the individuals involved…. Only a common understanding of one another’s humanity and the rights that humanity entails will ultimately end it. Otherwise, there will be only more suffering… 

LINK: <https://katz.substack.com/p/finding-what-youre-looking-for>


What happens in 2024 should there be Republican congressional majorities that disenfranchise California’s electoral votes. I presume then Kamala Harris will try to defuse the situation by gaveling the joint session into recess, and California will then appeal to the Supreme Court to mandate that congress count the votes, on the grounds that while the Constitution says that each House shall set its own procedures (by majority vote) it says no such thing about the procedures for a joint session. But we are, still, on the edge of a knife:

Martin WolfThe Struggle for the Survival of US Democracy: ‘In a liberal democracy fair elections determine who holds power. Trying to distort or overturn the vote is treason Donald Trump tried to do both before and after last year’s presidential election. He tried to turn the United States into a dictatorship. This was not at all surprising: It was clear from the beginning of his political career that this was his goal… 

LINK: <https://www.ft.com/content/aebe3b15-0d55-4d99-b415-cd7b109e64f8/>


When global uplift became an explicit major policy goal of the United States of America:

Harry S. Truman1949 Inaugural Address: ‘[1] We will continue to give unfaltering support to the United Nations and related agencies, and we will continue to search for ways to strengthen their authority and increase their effectiveness…. [2] We will continue our programs for world economic recovery…. [3] We will strengthen freedom-loving nations against the dangers of aggression…. [4] We must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas…

LINK: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman%27s_1949_inaugural_address>


As Duncan says, not all journalists, but when did America’s journalists become people who worked so hard to be soulless psychopaths?:

Duncan BlackEschaton: We’re in a Guild Not a Union: ‘#Notalljournalists, of course, but after decades of employment in their industry getting destroyed, and associated impact on the career paths of most of those that remain, the willingness of journalists run with “what if minimum wage workers have it TOO GOOD?” stories is a bit shocking and doesn’t fill me with too much sympathy for this vital function…

LINIK: <https://www.eschatonblog.com/2021/05/were-in-guild-not-union.html>


Hoisted from the Archives:

Twenty Years AgoReview of Richard Evans, Lying About Hitler: ‘how can Evans draw a bright, distinguishing line between historians like Thucydides, Syme, Taylor, and Gibbon—more-than-reputable historians, great historians—all of whom go beyond the boundaries of their evidence in one way or another, and David Irving? Evans has a response: that what makes Irving “discredited” is not the imaginative interpretations he builds on top of the historical evidence he has found, but instead his—mendacious—handling of the evidence itself… <https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/review-evans-lying-about-hitler.pdf>


Ten Years AgoAnother Note on Von Mises’s (and Ron Paul’s) Monetary Mental Disorder: Our text remains: ‘Ludwig von Mises: Attempts to carry out economic reforms from the monetary side can never amount to anything but an artificial stimulation of economic activity by an expansion of the circulation, and this, as must constantly be emphasized, must necessarily lead to crisis and depression. Recurring economic crises are nothing but the consequence of attempts, despite all the teachings of experience and all the warnings of the economists, to stimulate economic activity by means of additional credit…’ Note that this does not just apply to fiat money produced by a government. This applies to all financial market asset valuations in excess of capital cost of production (or perhaps the value of the inventions of the gigantic Krell-like brain of John Galt). They are, to von Mises, all cheats. Thus Von Mises loathes fractional reserve bankers and IPO-mongers as much as he loathes modern central bank chairs. The “value equals cost of production constant returns to scale” viewpoint is an astonishingly powerful set of blinders to wear. Anybody have a better theory?… <https://www.bradford-delong.com/2011/11/another-note-on-von-misess-and-ron-pauls-monetary-mental-disorder.html>


Five Years AgoMatt RognlieDeciphering the Fall & Rise in the Net Capital Share: ‘The long-term rise in capital income is driven mostly by housing, not labor division… <https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/deciphering-the-fall-and-rise-in-the-net-capital-share/> & Dan WangHow Smartphones Made Shenzhen China’s Innovation Capital <https://www.vox.com/new-money/2016/11/4/13498504/shenzhen-smartphone-innovation-capital>


One Year AgoGeorge Robert SchwarzThe History and Development of Caravels: ’Outclassed its contemporaries… its shallow draught, speed, maneuverability, and ability to sail close to the wind… the ideal ship for reconnaissance along the rocky African coastline, as well as for making the transatlantic voyages to the New World… [its] development… was gradual… <https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/05/george-robert-schwarz-_the-history-and-development-of-caravels_-a-thesis-by-george-robert-schwarz-submitted-to-the-o.html>


Six Months AgoJack Maskell & Elizabeth RybickiCounting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress: ‘Basis for Objections: The general grounds for an objection to the counting of an electoral vote or votes would appear from the federal statute and from historical sources to be that such vote was not “regularly given” by an elector, and/or that the elector was not “lawfully certified”… <https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32717.pdf>


Three Months Ago: A Video Well Worth Your Watching: Alan Krueger, Richard Blundell, & Arindrajit Dube (2016): RES Plenary Session: Minimum Wages <https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf2LWR0bBjs>


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