BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-06-06 Su

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


Twitter’s aggregation and curation tools are absolute s–––. They are s––– by design: trying to trap your eyeballs within their walled garden in order to sell you ads to… so far this week it’s just clickbait websites, not overpriced gold funds, crypto scams, or fake medical cures. So far this week.

This means that when there is a good discussion on twitter—increasingly rare these days—it is hard to save and then present it elsewhere. <> will do tweet storms but not conversations. I hoped this morning that <> would be a solution, but it was (a) slow, (b) clunky, and (c) buggy—at least on Mac Safari with a quad-core i5-1030NG7 running at 1.1 GHZ. (How much better it would be on an M1 I won’t know until and unless I try it in my office.)

But for what it is worth, I found the discussion I have put at <> quite illuminating—once we dropped the initial troll, who wanted to compare those skeptical of the COVID lab-leak theory with those who denied that Klaus Fuchs, Julius Rosenberg, and Alger Hiss were Soviet agents. Lesson: anyone who—like James Surowiecki—was very comfortable at Slate in the late 1990s, when it was at its Slatepitchiest, and when it wasn’t being Slatepitchy was all-Monica all-the-time, is simply not worth reading or engaging…

Anyway, I still am stuck with no good way to curate and aggregate twitter discussions. What am I supposed to use for dialogues?

Further Reading: <> <> <> <> <> <> <>


One Video:

James Baldwin: Schooling Yale Philosophy Professor Paul Weiss <>:


Very Briefly Noted:

Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality


The shift of macroeconomics to “RBC models”—and the fact that a good and very vocal 1/3 of the economics profession went the full Herbert Hoover during the Great Recession of 2008-2010—should make every economist in the world hideously embarrassed for the profession, and should have made all of us spend a great deal of time apologizing to Queen Elizabeth II Windsor, to the unnecessarily unemployed over 2008-2018, and to the world at large that their misinformation did much to pointlessly impoverish. Paul Krugman has a theory about why this happened, with which I think I agree:

Paul Krugman (2010): The Instability of Moderation: ‘We used to pity our grandfathers, who lacked both the knowledge and the compassion to fight the Great Depression effectively; now we see ourselves repeating all the old mistakes…. The kind of moderate economic policy regime Brad and I both support—a regime that by and large lets markets work, but in which the government is ready both to rein in excesses and fight slumps—is inherently unstable.… Minsky-type financial instability… [plus] intellectual and political instability… one must count on the government to ensure more or less full employment; only once that can be taken as given do the usual virtues of free markets come to the fore. It’s… deeply reasonable… but… also intellectually unstable…. You assume rational individuals and rapidly clearing markets… [except in] macro [where] frictions and ad hoc behavioral assumptions are essential. So what? Inconsistency in the pursuit of useful guidance is no vice. The map is not the territory, and it’s OK to use different kinds of maps depending on what you’re trying to accomplish…. But… given human propensities, plus the law of diminishing disciples, it was probably inevitable that a substantial part of the economics profession would simply assume away the realities of the business cycle, because they didn’t fit the models. The result was what I’ve called the Dark Age of macroeconomics, in which large numbers of economists literally knew nothing…. Conservatives have always tended to view the assertion that government has any useful role in the economy as the thin edge of a socialist wedge… William Buckley… one of his key complaints was that the Yale faculty taught—horrors!—Keynesian economics…. Last but not least, the very success of central-bank-led stabilization, combined with financial deregulation—itself a by-product of the revival of free-market fundamentalism—set the stage for a crisis too big for the central bankers to handle. This is Minskyism: the long period of relative stability led to greater risk-taking, greater leverage, and, finally, a huge deleveraging shock. And Milton Friedman was wrong: in the face of a really big shock, which pushes the economy into a liquidity trap, the central bank can’t prevent a depression…. The era of the Samuelsonian synthesis was, I fear, doomed to come to a nasty end. And the result is the wreckage we see all around us…

LINK: <>

I am afraid it is “Manchin and Sinema need to focus on passing at least one more big reconciliation bill”. How to get them to do so is above my pay grade:

Noah SmithTime to Temper My Optimism?: ‘How do we get the optimism train back on track?… The main obstacle is—surprise!—partisanship. A chunk of Republicans are refusing vaccines, and the Senate GOP is blocking most legislation. Biden needs to give up on the dream of bipartisanship earlier than Obama did, and focus all his efforts on passing at least one more big reconciliation bill. The science funding that was stripped out of the Endless Frontier Act, in particular, needs to be fully restored and even increased. Meanwhile, states need to use every trick in the book to increase vaccination rates. I’m still optimistic about where America is headed. But especially when it comes to government investment, my sunny outlook has been a bit tempered in the last month…

LINK: <>

The thing is that Republicans today do not want a franchise restricted to the knowledgeable and successful, but rather one restricted to their supporters. It is a fascist rather than an elitist movement:

Josh GanzAre Republicans Still Democrats? : ‘Harry Jaffa, an admirer of Lincoln, an avowed political egalitarian, and a fierce opponent of Kendall. Yet his disciples at the Claremont Institute, a cadre which forms the hard-core of intellectual Trumpism, also find themselves constantly having to re-imagine and re-engineer the make-up of American polity…. Michael Anton’s infamous… “The Flight 93 Election,” bemoaned the growing impurity of the electorate: “…the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty.…” Keep in mind that this fellow actually served as a national security official in the Trump administration. Anton’s practical solution to the problem of the bad electorate: basically dissolve it and elect another…. Anton called for a Trump executive order to strip millions of people of the birthright citizenship…. [Since the] late ’80s and early ’90s, conservative hostility to democracy is clearly manifest. Let’s look briefly at the columns of cronies Pat Buchanan (syndicated columnist and presidential candidate,) Sam Francis (Washington Times opinion editor ), and Joe Sobran (National Review senior editor and syndicated columnist)…

LINK: <>

No. Neither Harry Dexter White, Solomon Adler, Frank Coe, or William Ullman were witting, enthusiastic spies for the NKVD or the GRU at the U.S. Treasury Department during WWII. Any more questions?:

Vitaly Pavlov (1942): Orientation on NKVD Activiies in Washington D.C.: ‘The situation with cultivating the Ministry of Treasury looks better. The group of “Pal” [Nathan Gregory Silvermaster] which includes “Jurist” [Harry Dexter White], “Saks” [Solomon Adler], “Pik” [Frank Coe], and “Polo” [William Ullman] is at present the most efficient among the agent network we possess. However, at present only “Pal” is our agent, all the rest are used by us blind. In early March of the current year, we received a report… of great interest…. Our task is [to make] maximum use of them at present, and to shift them gradually completely into our channel…. In the wartime situation, the work of the War Production Board assumes great importance. To know in advance the production plans, manufacturing and shipment terms; to know all the functioning leverages of this complicated capitalist machine…

LINK: <>

Leave a comment

(Remember: You can subscribe to this… weblog-like newsletter… here: 

There’s a free email list. There’s a paid-subscription list with (at the moment, only a few) extras too.)