Waldmann: Social Democracy & Freedom—Noted

Steve Randy Waldmann: Social Democracy & Freedom https://www.interfluidity.com/v2/7557.html: ‘So who is right here? I say Milton Friedman is. “Free speech” stops being real, stops being a practicable ideal, once the consequences of unpopular expression are so great you’ll be banished from the communities you value and be unable to earn a decent living. Both the woke and their discontents should be able to speak their piece...

...We want a society where—in practice, not just as a formal, legalistic matter—the public sphere can accommodate a wide range of expression, some of which each of us will find abhorrent. But Friedman’s conjecture that capitalism plus a light-touch state would be an effective way to ensure this state of affairs was wrong. Because it was never really “capitalism”, in his argument, that protected political freedom. It was decentralization....

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Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'The First Spanish Campaign II: Two days later Caesar arrived with nine hundred cavalry, whom he had kept as a personal bodyguard. The bridge which had been broken down by the storm was almost rebuilt; he ordered it to be completed that night. He himself ascertained the nature of the surrounding country and leaving behind all the baggage train, together with six cohorts to protect the bridge and the camp, he set off on the following day towards Ilerda, advancing with his forces in a triple column...

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Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda; Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

siege of massilia

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'The First Spanish Campaign: Fabius’s orders were to make haste to seize the passes over the Pyrenees, which at that time were being held by the troops of Pompey’s lieutenant, Lucius Afranius. He ordered the remaining legions, which were wintering farther away, to follow on. Fabius, obeying orders, lost no time in dislodging the guards from the pass and proceeded by forced marches to encounter Afranius’s army...

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Kades: Antitrust Hearing—Noted

If you want to know what happened at the tech antitrust hearing, your best source is Michael Kades’s twitter account. I have still not thought this through, so go and read what he has to say: Michael Kades https://twitter.com/Michael_Kades/status/1288543592114462725: ‘So far, my biggest takeaway, the Republican Staff memo tried to paint this as a partisan issue. So far, between Gaetz and Buck, that framing has failed… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-08-01


Fischer & Gould-Werth: How Systems for Delivering Economic Relief Failed—Noted

This is very good and very important. My grandfather always mourned that, when he got his Ph.D., he thought he was getting a Ph.D. in “public administration” but found, instead, during his career that his discipline had turned into "political science”. Here Amanda Fischer and Alix Gould-Werth try to fill in this gap, and largely succeed.

Amanda Fischer & Alix Gould-Werth: Broken Plumbing: How Systems for Delivering Economic Relief Failed https://equitablegrowth.org/broken-plumbing-how-systems-for-delivering-economic-relief-in-response-to-the-coronavirus-recession-failed-the-u-s-economy/: ‘Below, we detail four delivery systems tasked with providing relief during the coronavirus recession...

...relief targeted to small and large businesses, Unemployment Insurance, direct payments to consumers, and paid leave programs—each of them emblematic of a different plumbing problem. Looking at business rescue programs, we see pipes well-designed to flow easily to people with power, while the taps of the less powerful remain dry. Looking at Unemployment Insurance, we see the failure to invest in pipes, preventing these benefits from flowing smoothly to people who need them the most.

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Boushey: How to Deal with the Coronavirus Plague Recession—Noted

Where are the Republican economists? Yes, the coronavirus plague recession has a supply-shock component, but it has a larger demand-shock component as well, and a social insurance component. We should be fighting all three:

Heather Boushey: Testimony Before the Joint Economic Committee on the Coronavirus Recession https://equitablegrowth.org/testimony-by-heather-boushey-before-the-joint-economic-committee-on-the-coronavirus-recession/: ‘Addressing the administration’s failure to contain the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is the only way to fully restore confidence and put us on the path to economic recovery...

...The United States is experiencing the most uncontrolled and deadly outbreak of any high-income country in the world. Compared to the European Union, we now record 10 times as many daily coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths. Until the virus is contained, however, there are key actions that can bolster economic confidence and rein in uncertainty. Specifically:

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Coronavirus: My Personal Guess as of 2020-07-31

The epidemiologists, the public health specialists, and the data collectors produce lots of tables and graphs about coronavirus prevalent in the United States, but somehow nobody produces the graphs and tables that I really want to see: estimates not of confirmed cases but of true cases. The United States’s massive failure of testing and surveillance makes all such estimates nearly impossible to produce and subject to enormous uncertainty. Here, for what it is worth, is my personal guess:

My guess is that we are now running at 1.5 million new case a week up from a mid-June low of 650000 cases a week, which is itself down from our late-March infection peak of 2.7 million cases per week. We seem to be stuck: when cases fall, social distancing is relaxed; when cases rise, people get scared and hunker down. The prospect appears to be for depression—national income 10 to 15 percent below potential—and for 6 million infections and 40000 deaths a month until something changes, with any form of herd immunity years away at this pace of infections. But I may well be very wrong, and have missed something very important here: Coronavirus in the U.S.: My Guesses as to Where We Are:

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/coronavirus-in-the-us-my-guesses-as-to-where-we-are.html: As of 2020-07-30: New weekly deaths: 7800…. New weekly inferred cases: 1478400…. Weekly R: 0.97…. Past three weeks’ R: 1.08…

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Beauchamp: Free Speech Has Not Been “Canceled”—Noted

Ken White calls this “the problem of the preferred first speaker“. Whose is the speech that needs to be responded to with norms of respect, deference, and civility? Whose is the speech that should be cut short when it tries to exceed its time, and hooted out to make space for somebody wh would otherwise not have their voice heard? How does one move from the fringe to the center of the public sphere and of public reason? Those who cloak themselves in “civility“ and “free speech“ these days seem in many cases to be bad or thoughtless actors: people who want to hold on to places of centrality, power, and wealth of which they may well not be worthy.

But anyone who says that these issues are not hard ones is grifting you:

Zack Beauchamp: Free Speech Has Not Been “Canceled” https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/7/22/21325942/free-speech-harpers-letter-bari-weiss-andrew-sullivan: ‘Abstract appeals to “free speech” and “liberal values” obscure the fact that what’s being debated is not anyone’s right to speech, but rather their right to air that speech in specific platforms like the New York Times without fear of social backlash...

...Yet virtually everyone agrees that certain speakers—neo-Nazis, for example—do not deserve a column in the paper of record. The real debate here is [about:]... hat sorts of speakers should be excluded from major platforms? When can giving a platform to one kind of person actually make it harder for other people to speak their minds freely? And what kinds of social sanctions, like public shaming or firing, are justified responses to violations of these social norms?...

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All the Facts: Lorem Ipsum—Noted

All the Facts: Lorem Ipsum https://www.lipsum.com/: ‘"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..." "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..." What is Lorem Ipsum? Lorem Ipsum is simply... the printing and typesetting industry['s]... standard dummy text...

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Briefly Noted for 2020-07-30

Paul Krugman: KrugmanToday https://www.krugmantoday.com/
Teleprompt.me: Voice-Powered Teleprompter https://teleprompt.me/
Paul Alcorn: Intel's 7nm is Broken, Company Announces Delay Until 2022, 2023 https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-announces-delay-to-7nm-processors-now-one-year-behind-expectations
Boichik Bagels https://boichikbagels.com/index.html

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Stross: Cardiac Damage from the Coronavirus Plague—Noted

This is very bad news indeed. Hopefully this will turn out to be a false alarm. But I fear it will not:

Charlie Stross: No Comment Necessary http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2020/07/no-comment-necessary.html: ‘Post-infection cardiac damage found in 78% of recovering COVID19 patients. That's 78% of a cohort, average age 49, of whom 67% had recovered at home (ie. disease was not categorized as severe enough to need hospitalization). Cohort was normalized with respect to other risk factors relative to uninfected patients. Diagnosis by MRI. Looks reasonably solid, at first glance, publication in JAMA Cardiol. (Journal of the American Medical Association, cardiology). Study coordinated via a German hospital. Reason for "no comment necessary" is that this suggests most COVID19 survivors—including mild disease survivors—suffer cardiac damage. You don't want to get this virus… .#noted #2020-07-30


Herman Cain's Memory Would Be a Blessing If It Triggered Pence to Use Amendment 25 to Remove Trump: Sheth & Eliza Relman: Herman Cain Has Died from Coronavirus—Noted

Herman Cain's memory would be a blessing if it triggered Pence to use Amendment 25 to remove Trump: Sonam Sheth & Eliza Relman: Former Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain Has Died After Being Hospitalized for Coronavirus https://www.businessinsider.com/herman-cain-dies-after-being-hospitalized-for-covid-19-2020-7: 'Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died, according to his official website and the conservative website Newsmax. He was 74. Cain tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month, 11 days after attending President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He tweeted a photo of himself at the rally where neither he nor those surrounding him were wearing masks. The day before he was hospitalized, Cain sent a tweet expressing support for the Trump campaign's decision not to require masks at a July 4 Independence Day celebration held at Mount Rushmore... #noted #2020-07-30


Treachery at Massilia: April-May -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

siege of massilia

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

The Massiliotes profess neutrality—until Pompeian reinforcements arrive, and then they go back on their word. Pompeians to whom Caesar had shown clemency at Corfinium have again taken up weapons against him: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus at Massilia, and Vibullius Rufus to command the Pompeian legions in Spain:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Resistance at Massilia: On arrival [at Massilia], [Caesar] learned that Vibullius Rufus, whom he himself had captured and released again at Corfinium a few days before, had been sent by Pompey to Spain. He learned also that Domitius had gone to take over Massilia, with seven fast ships which he had requisitioned from private persons in Igilium and around Cosa, and had manned with his own slaves, freedmen and tenants...

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Reflecting on the First Three Months of -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

pompey

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

And so he acts.

And in three months Cæsar is master of the central core of the empire, with an army without a leader—Pompey's legions—to his west in Spain, and a leader without an army—Pompey and the Optimate faction of the Senate—to his east in Greece.

I guess the key question for the first three months of the year -49 is: what did the factions anticipate would happen in that year?

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The John Bell Hood-Max von Gallwitz Society Annual Banquet

John bell hoods defeat at franklin

The John Bell Hood-Max von Gallwitz Society! https://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/07/the-maximillian-von-gallwitz-john-bell-hood-society.html: Dedicated to celebrating the memory of two field commanders who may well have been the worst in history: Drink a toast to John Bell Hood on the 7/28 anniversary of his defeat at Ezra Church:

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Kaplan: The "Domestic Insurrections" of the Declaration of Independence—Noted

Sidney Kaplan (1976): The "Domestic Insurrections" of the Declaration of Independence https://www-jstor-org.libproxy.berkeley.edu/stable/pdf/2717252.pdf: 'In his original draft of the Declaration... Jefferson.... "He is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them"...

...David Brion Davis... correctly observes that Jefferson... "condemned King George for... inciting American Negroes to rise in arms against their masters."... He concludes: "Congress struck out the entire section.... [But] Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration... [lacked] the opening clause of the twenty-seventh charge in the final and approved document: "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us".... Jefferson deplores the deletion by Congress of the clause "reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa"-but he says nothing, and never would, about the deletion of the clause... which reprobates George III for fomenting revolt. And why should he, if, in fact, the addition of "exciting domestic insurrections amongst us" to the twenty-seventh charge-which he voted for with the rest of the signers-amounted to substantially the same thing?...

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Alwan: What Exactly Is Mild Covid-19?—Noted

Nisreen Alwan: What Exactly Is Mild Covid-19? https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/07/28/nisreen-a-alwan-what-exactly-is-mild-covid-19/: ‘I went out for a 20 minute slow walk yesterday evening with my little girl...

... who was desperate to see the flowers on the way. My exercise capacity is still terrible, and I knew that by doing that I would pay the price the day after. Indeed, I woke up with the familiar chest heaviness and utter exhaustion which gets worse by sitting at my desk to work.

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Marcus Tullius Cicero's Take on the First Three Months of -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

cicero

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

We have a primary source for the start of the Roman Civil War in addition to Gaius Julius Caesar's deceptively powerful plain-spoken "just the facts" narrative in his Commentaries on the Civl War—a narrative that is also a clever and sophisticated lawyer's brief. Our one other primary source: Marcus Tullius Cicero's letters to his BFF Titus Pomponius Atticus.

Caesar, in his The Civil War, makes himself out to be reasonable, rational, decisive, and clever. Cicero, in his Letters to Atticus is a contrast. He lets his hair down. He is writing to someone he trusts to love him without reservation. He is completely unconcerned with making himself appear to be less flawed than he appears. And the impression he leaves is absolutely dreadful: he makes himself out to be erratic, emotional, dithering, and idiotic.

Nine selected paragraphs immediately below:

Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Formiae, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 27 Dec -50 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.9: ‘Please consider... and at the same time "solve this strictly political problem."... Consider, I say, which of these evils, some one of which we must confront, you think the least. You will no doubt say "to persuade him [Caesar] to hand over his army, and so become consul."... For us, however, as certain persons think, nothing is more to be dreaded than his becoming consul. "But I would prefer his being consul on these terms to his being so with an army," you will say. Certainly. But even on "these terms," I tell you, there is one who thinks it a grave evil.... Imagine him consul a second time after our experience of his former consulship! "Why, comparatively weak as he was then," you say, "he was more powerful than the whole state." What, then, do you think will be the case now?... Pray make any suggestion that occurs to you: for my part, I am on the rack day and night....

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Cementing Caesarian Control of the Center of the Empire: Late March -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

cicero

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar, now that the Pompeians and the High Optimates have fled, offers to share power with the dysfunctional Senate. But, filibustered and vetoed by Optimate tribunes, he consolidates his hold on the center of the empire and heads for Spain:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: '[Caesar] ordered the chief magistrates of all the Italian townships to collect ships and have them conveyed to Brundisium. He sent his lieutenant Valerius to Sardinia with one legion and sent Curio to govern Sicily with two, with further orders to take his forces to Africa once he had secured Sicily. Sardinia was in fact the province of Marcus Cotta, and Sicily of Marcus Cato, while Tubero was due to take over Africa as his allotted province.

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Pompey Refuses to Negotiate & Flees to Greece: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

corfinum-to-brundisium--49

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar narrates: Pompey flees to the southern Adriatic port of Brundisium. Caesar catches up to him and begs him to negotiate. Pompey refuses and flees to Greece. Caesar decides not to follow, but to turn and first defeat the Pompeian armies in Spain.

It is now 18 Mar -49. Caesar is master of Italy. The Optimate faction have lost their political authority and their connections to their webs of clients, and are either rusticating in the Italian countryside or supplicants to Pompey in Greece. The Pompeian armies are split, in Spain and in Greece, with Caesar in the middle:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'On learning of the events at Corfinium, Pompey left Luceria and went first to Canusium and from there to Brundisium...

...He ordered all the forces raised in the recent levies to be assembled there; he issued weapons and horses to slaves and shepherds, from whom he made up about three hundred cavalry. A praetor, Lucius Manlius, fled from Alba with six cohorts, and another praetor, Rutilius Lupus, from Tarracina with three. These last, however, seeing in the distance Caesar’s cavalry under the command of Vibius Curius, deserted their praetor and transferred themselves and their standards to Curius. Similarly, during the rest of his journey, several cohorts joined Caesar’s infantry column on the march, and some also his cavalry.

Numerius Magius of Cremona, one of Pompey’s officers in charge of engineers, was captured en route and brought to Caesar, who sent him back with a message for Pompey. Since up till now there had been no opportunity for a conference, Caesar said, and since he himself would be coming to Brundisium, he thought it would be in the interests of the State and of the general welfare if he and Pompey had a talk; they could not accomplish so much while they were a long distance apart and sending their proposals by intermediaries, as they could by an exhaustive discussion face to face.

After sending this message, he himself came to Brundisium with six legions, of whom three were seasoned troops and the other three had been raised in his recent levies and made up to strength on the march. He found that the consuls had left for Dyrrachium with a large part of the army, while Pompey had remained in Brundisium with twenty cohorts; although he could not find out for certain whether he had stayed there in order to hold on to Brundisium and so control more easily the whole Adriatic from the end of Italy as well as from the Greek side, and carry on operations on both sides of the sea, or whether he had been held up by lack of shipping.

However, since he feared that Pompey might be determined not to leave Italy, he decided to blockade the harbour of Brundisium and stop its operation as a port. He set about this as follows: at the narrowest part of the entrance to the’ harbour, he built out a great earth breakwater on either side, where the sea was shallow, but as the work advanced and it proved impossible to keep the earth-works together in the deeper water, he placed two rafts, thirty feet square, at the ends of the breakwater and moored these with an anchor at all four corners to keep them still in the waves.

Once these were in position, he joined on other rafts of similar size and built a causeway of earth out over them, to remove any hindrance to approaching and boarding them for defence. In front and on either side he put up screens and mantlets for protection and on every fourth raft he built a tower two storeys high, to help in defence against attacks by sea and against firebrands.

Against these Pompey was fitting out large merchant ships which he had commandeered in the harbour of Brundisium. He was raising towers on them, three storeys high, and stocking these with ballistic engines and missiles of all sorts, then bringing the boats up to Caesar’s works, in order to break up the rafts and disrupt the siege-works. They went on fighting at a distance like this with arrows and missiles every day.

Caesar, however, was taking care to keep open the possibility of a peaceful settlement. He was surprised that Magius, whom he had sent with proposals to Pompey, was not yet sent back to him, and indeed such persistent attempts to negotiate were a check to the speedy execution of his plans; nevertheless, he felt that he ought to persevere and try everything he could. Accordingly he sent his lieutenant Caninius Rebilus, a close friend of Scribonius Libo, to talk with the latter; his instructions were to urge Libo to try to effect a peace, and in particular to ask him to speak personally to Pompey.

The arguments put before Libo were that Caesar was certain that if Libo managed to see Pompey then hostilities could be terminated by an equitable peace, and a great deal of the credit would go to Libo if it was at his instance and by his efforts that the settlement was reached. Libo, breaking off his talk with Caninius, went to see Pompey, and presently came back with the reply that, in the absence of the consuls, no negotiations about a settlement could be conducted.

And so Caesar finally determined to abandon these repeated vain efforts and to wage war in earnest.

He had completed about half of his siege-works, which took him nine days, when the ships which had been sent back by the consuls after transporting the first part of the army over to Dyrrachium arrived back at Brundisium. Pompey at once prepared to leave Italy, either because he was alarmed by Caesar’s preparations or because he had intended to do so all along.

In order to check an assault by Caesar and prevent his troops from breaking into the town while the withdrawal was in progress, he blocked up the gates, built barricades in all the streets, and dug trenches across the roads, in which sharpened stakes were fixed and wicker and earth laid on top to make a flat surface. He put fences of large pointed beams round the two roads outside the city walls which gave access to the harbour. After all these preparations, he picked a small force of archers and slingers from his veterans and stationed these, in light marching order, at intervals along the walls and on the towers, while the rest of the army, under orders, embarked in silence. He arranged to recall this covering guard at a fixed signal once all the rest had embarked, and left some swift vessels in an accessible spot to pick them up.

The people of Brundisium resented their ill-treatment by Pompey’s troops and the insulting behaviour of Pompey himself, and favoured Caesar’s cause. When, therefore, they learned of Pompey’s intended departure, – while his men were still milling about, preoccupied with preparations for embarking, they signalled the news from the roof-tops. Caesar ordered the scaling-ladders to be got ready and the troops to arm, so as not to lose the opportunity for action.

Pompey cast off towards nightfall. The guards on the wall were recalled by the agreed signal and hurried down to the ships by marked paths. Caesar’s men got their scaling-ladders up and climbed the walls, but were warned by the citizens to beware of the trenches and the concealed stakes. They therefore halted, and under the guidance of the townsfolk were conducted round by a long detour to the harbour. They put out in skiffs and dinghies and managed to catch and take possession of two of Pompey’s ships, with their passengers, which had run foul of Caesar’s breakwater.

back at Brundisium. Pompey at once prepared to leave Italy, either because he was alarmed by Caesar’s preparations or because he had intended to do so all along. In order to check an assault by Caesar and prevent his troops from breaking into the town while the withdrawal was in progress, he blocked up the gates, built barricades in all the streets, and dug trenches across the roads, in which sharpened stakes were fixed and wicker and earth laid on top to make a flat surface. He put fences of large pointed beams round the two roads outside the city walls which gave access to the harbour. After all these preparations, he picked a small force of archers and slingers from his veterans and stationed these, in light marching order, at intervals along the walls and on the towers, while the rest of the army, under orders, embarked in silence. He arranged to recall this covering guard at a fixed signal once all the rest had embarked, and left some swift vessels in an accessible spot to pick them up. 28. The people of Brundisium resented their ill-treatment by Pompey’s troops and the insulting behaviour of Pompey himself, and favoured Caesar’s cause. When, therefore, they learned of Pompey’s intended departure, – while his men were still milling about, preoccupied with preparations for embarking, they signalled the news from the roof-tops. Caesar ordered the scaling-ladders to be got ready and the troops to arm, so as not to lose the opportunity for action. Pompey cast off towards nightfall. The guards on the wall were recalled by the agreed signal and hurried down to the ships by marked paths. Caesar’s men got their scaling-ladders up and climbed the walls, but were warned by the citizens to beware of the trenches and the concealed stakes. They therefore halted, and under the guidance of the townsfolk were conducted round by a long detour to the harbour. They put out in skiffs and dinghies and managed to catch and take possession of two of Pompey’s ships, with their passengers, which had run foul of Caesar’s breakwater.

Caesar felt that the best course, to settle the issue, would be to gather a fleet and cross in pursuit of Pompey before the latter could strengthen his forces with overseas contingents. However, he was afraid of the long delay that this would involve, since Pompey by collecting all the available ships had robbed him of the means of pursuit for the time being. The remaining alternative was to wait for ships to come from remoter places, i.e. Gaul and Picenum, and from the Sicilian strait, but this, owing to the time of year, was likely to be a protracted and hazardous operation.

Meanwhile, he was unwilling to allow an established army and the two Spanish provinces, one of them under a heavy debt of gratitude to Pompey, to be confirmed in their allegiance; he did not want to let auxiliaries and cavalry be raised there and harry Italy and Gaul in his absence.

Accordingly, he gave up for the time being his plan of following Pompey and decided to proceed to Spain instead.

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Equitable Growth: We Need Extended Pandemic Unemployment Compensation—Noted

Continuing PUC is essential to moderating the severity of the coronavirus plague depression: Equitable Growth: Statement on Pandemic Unemployment Compensation https://equitablegrowth.org/press/statement-on-pandemic-unemployment-compensation/: ‘Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), which is giving tens of millions of unemployed workers a $600 per week boost in unemployment income, has helped ease the pain of this crisis by providing much-needed income to families during an economic crisis and has boosted the economy overall. Every week for the last four months, more than twice as many workers have filed for unemployment insurance than during the worst week of the Great Recession. Meanwhile, cases of COVID-19 are once again rising across the country, and we still lack unified national leadership to give direction and stability in these unprecedented times. Congress must extend enhanced unemployment benefits or risk economic calamity… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-07-25


Timiraos & Davidson: Depleted Trump Economic Team Faces Major Test Over Extending Coronavirus Relief Efforts—Noted

As I said back at the beginning, electing a Fox News viewer and reality TV star to the presidency and asking him to pick personnel will not go well. As I said in the middle, the way to think about Trump's personnel picks is picking William Shatner to command your battle fleet because Shatner played a ship captain on TV. And, lo and behold, it has all come true. Tomas Philipson has no clue that the economic response to the coronavirus plague needs a macroeconomic balance as well as a social insurance component. Tyler Goodspeed has no pretense to domain expertise here at all. Kevin Hassett is still predicting the plague will be effectively over by 15 May. Steve Mnuchin makes word salad. And Larry Kudlow was last a real economist—asw opposed to playing one on TV—back in the late 1970s:

Nick Timiraos & Kate Davidson: Depleted Trump Economic Team Faces Major Test Over Extending Coronavirus Relief Efforts https://www.wsj.com/articles/depleted-trump-economic-team-faces-major-test-over-extending-coronavirus-relief-efforts-11595073600: ‘Tomas Philipson, who succeeded Mr. Hassett as CEA chairman last year, was forced out of the post in June following months of tension that coincided with the worst of the crisis. The three-person CEA now has just one member, its acting chairman, Tyler Goodspeed, a 35-year-old economic historian appointed to the council last year. The Treasury Department entered the current crisis with several vacant senior positions...

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Caesar Captures Corfinum: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesars-march-to-corfinum

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus's deception that Pompey is coming to the Optimates' aid in Corfinum falls apart, Ahenobarbus tries to flee, Lentulus Spinther begs for his life, Caesar grants clemency to all, and adds the three Optimate and Pompeian legions to his army. Before Corfinum Caesar had had two legions in Italy to the Optimate and Pompeian six. After Corfinum (with the arrival of Legio VIII plus new recruits) Caesar has seven legions in Italy to the Pompeian three. It is now 21 Feb -49:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Domitius’s looks, however, belied his words; indeed, his whole demeanour was much more anxious and fearful than usual. When to this was added the fact that, contrary to his usual custom, he spent a lot of time talking to his friends in private, making plans, while avoiding a meeting of the officers or an assembly of the troops, then the truth could not be concealed or misrepresented for long...

...In fact, Pompey’s reply had been that he was certainly not going to put his cause in jeopardy; that Domitius had not asked his advice or consent in going to Corfinium; and that if he could get the chance Domitius should come at once with all his forces and join him. This, however, was being rendered impossible by the building of siege-works around the town.

When word of Domitius’s plans got about, the soldiers in Corfinium gathered in groups in the early evening and, led by tribunes, centurions and the more reputable men of their own class, began discussing the situation. They were being besieged by Caesar, and his siege-works were almost completed; they had stood steadfastly by their commander Domitius because of their confidence in and reliance on him, and now he was proposing to abandon them all and run away. The best course, it seemed, was for them to look after themselves.

At first, the Marsi, not knowing about Domitius’s intended flight, disagreed with this view and took possession of that part of the town which seemed best fortified; indeed, the disagreement grew so heated that they almost resorted to weapons. Presently, however, by an exchange of messengers between the two groups, the Marsi too were informed of the truth. Thereupon, the whole army unanimously had Domitius brought out and, surrounding him and putting him under guard, they sent a deputation from their own ranks to Caesar, saying they were ready to open the gates and take orders from him, and that they would surrender Domitius alive into his hands.

Caesar was fully aware of the importance of taking possession of the town and bringing the cohorts into his own camp as soon as possible, before bribes, or a renewal of courage, or some false rumours, should make the men change their minds; for he knew that in warfare slight events can often turn the scales and produce serious reversals. However, he was afraid that the entry of his troops into the town, in the mood of licence engendered by night, might lead to looting; on receipt of the message, therefore, he commended those who had brought it and sent them back to the town, with orders that careful guard was to be kept on the walls and gates. For his own part, he stationed his men around the partly-built earth-works, not at fixed intervals as during the preceding days, but in a continuous line of sentries and guard-posts, within touching distance of each other and covering the whole length of the works.

He sent the prefects and military tribunes around the guard-posts with injunctions to keep a look-out not only for sallies from the town but also for stealthy exits by individuals. Indeed, not a single one of his troops was indifferent or lazy enough to take any rest that night. So keen was their anticipation of the final settlement that each found his thoughts and feelings caught up with some question or other. What was going to happen to the people of Corfinium, to Domitius, to Lentulus? What would happen to the rest? How would each man fare?

Towards the end of the night, Lentulus Spinther called down from the walls to our men on guard, saying that he would like to be allowed to have an interview with Caesar. He was given permission and escorted from the city, although Domitius’s men did not leave him until they had brought him right into Caesar’s presence. He pleaded for his life, begging to be spared, and reminding Caesar of their old friendship and of all the benefits he had received at Caesar’s hands.

Caesar interrupted his speech: ‘I did not leave my province with intent to harm anybody. I merely want to protect myself against the slanders of my enemies, to restore to their rightful position the tribunes of the people, who have been expelled because of their involvement in my cause, and to reclaim for myself and for the Roman people independence from the domination of a small clique.’

Lentulus was so reassured by this speech that he asked permission to return to the town. ‘The fact that I have been granted my life will bring great comfort and hope to the others; some have been so terrified that they have been driven to think of violence against themselves.’ He was given permission; and went.

At dawn, Caesar ordered all the Roman senators and their families, the military tribunes and the knights to be brought out to him. There were five senators, Lucius Domitius, Publius Lentulus Spinther, Lucius Caecilius Rufus, Sextus Quintilius Varus, a quaestor, and Lucius Rubrius, as well as the son of Domitius and several other youths, and a large number of Roman knights and councillors summoned by Domitius from the local towns.

When these were produced, Caesar protected them from the insults and jeers of the soldiers and, merely commenting briefly that he had received no thanks from them for the great benefits he had bestowed on them, he set them all free. The magistrates of Corfinium brought him six million sesterces, a sum which Domitius had brought and deposited in their treasury; these he restored to Domitius, to show that he had as little eagerness to take money as to take human life, even though it was clearly public money and had been given by Pompey for paying the troops.

He ordered Domitius’s soldiers to take the oath of allegiance to himself and, on the same day, after spending seven days at Corfinium, he did a full day’s march, going to Apulia via the territories of the Marrucini, the Frentani and the Larinates.

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Caesar Besieges Domitius in Corfinum: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

roman-senate

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, cos. -54, had been named by the Senate to succeed Caesar as Governor of Gaul. When he learned of Caesar's crossing the Rubicon, he began raising troops, and by the start of February -49 had 13000 soldiers in the town of Corfinum. On 09 Feb -49 Domitius decided to stand at Corfinum rather than retreat to the south of Italy. So he wrote to Pompey, who was in the south of Italy with two legions plus others he was mobilizing—10000 men. Domitius urged that the Optimate faction join its military forces together at Corfinum to outnumber and fight Caesar. Pompey disagreed. He wrote back that he would not come north to join forces. On 15 Feb -49 Caesar appeared in front of Corfinum with 8000 soldiers consisting of his vanguard, Legio XIII, reinforced by Legio XII, and began to besiege it.

Did Pompey not trust his two legions? They had been part of Caesar's army in Gaul, but had been transferred to Pompey's command to be sent to Syria, but Pompey had directed them to hold in the south of Italy instead. Caesar's initial crossing of the Rubicon had been with only 2000 soldiers, half of Legio XIII. Did the fact that Caesar had met no resistance make Pompey decide on his strategy of (a) holding Spain with ten legions, (b) retreating himself to Greece and gathering the eastern army, and then (c) returning to Italy with overwhelming force? Pompey's letter to Domitius argues that the Optimate faction's soldiers are "neither trustworthy nor battle-trained", of low morale, likley to be outnumbered given the speed with which Caesear is summoning his Gallic War army, and that he, Pompey, "cannot risk the whole war in a single battle, especially under the circumstances".

Caesar narrates:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Caesar accepted the surrender of Firmum; he also gave orders that a search be made for the men who had deserted Lentulus after the latter’s expulsion, and that fresh troops be levied. He himself stayed where he was for one day to collect supplies of corn, and then hurried to Corfinium...

...On arrival there, he found that five cohorts sent out by Domitius from the town were breaking down the bridge over the river*, about three miles from the town. Domitius’s men engaged Caesar’s advance-guard, but were soon beaten back from the bridge and retreated into the town. Caesar then led his forces over the river and, halting near the town walls, set up camp.

On learning this, Domitius by dint of offering a large reward succeeded in finding men with a knowledge of Apulia, and sent them to Pompey with dispatches begging him to come and help; he reported that two armies, aided by the confined nature of the country, could easily hem in Caesar and prevent his getting supplies. He warned Pompey that, if he failed to help, he himself, and more than thirty cohorts, as well as a good many Roman knights and senators, would be put in danger. While awaiting a reply, he delivered encouraging speeches to his men, set up ballistic machines at various points on the walls, and assigned each of his men to specific duties for the defence of the town. In an address to the troops, he promised grants of land from his own possessions, at the rate of twenty-five acres per man, and proportionately larger grants to centurions and re-enlisted veterans.

Caesar in the meantime heard that the people of Sulmo, a town seven miles from Corfinium, were eager to support him, but were being restrained by the senator Quintus Lucretius and by Attius, a Paelignian, who were holding the town with a garrison of seven cohorts. Caesar sent Mark Antony there with five cohorts of the Thirteenth Legion, and as soon as the people of Sulmo saw our standards they opened the gates and, one and all, troops and citizens, came out joyfully to meet Antony. Lucretius and Attius threw themselves from the walls, but Attius was brought to Antony and asked to be sent to Caesar. Antony returned on the same day as he had set out, with the cohorts and Attius, and Caesar incorporated the cohorts into his own army and released Attius unharmed.

During the next few days, Caesar began to construct large defence-works about his camp and to gather in provisions from the neighbouring towns, while waiting for the rest of his forces. Within three days the Eighth Legion arrived, together with twenty-two cohorts from the latest levies in Gaul and about three hundred cavalry from the king of Noricum. On their arrival, he set up a second camp on the other side of the town, and put Curio in charge of it. During the following days he began surrounding the town with earth-works and redoubts.

When the major part of this work was finished, the messengers sent to Pompey arrived back. Domitius read the dispatch they brought; and then, in his council of officers, he concealed its contents, and announced that Pompey would shortly arrive with help; he urged them to keep up their spirits and make all necessary arrangements for the defence of the town. He himself then held a secret conclave with a few friends and decided to attempt an escape.

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Papanikolaou & Schmidt: The Supply-Side Impact of COVID-19—Noted

Dimitris Papanikolaou & Lawrence D.W. Schmidt: The Supply-Side Impact of COVID-19 https://voxeu.org/article/supply-side-impact-covid-19: ‘COVID-19 has massively disrupted the supply side of the world economy, shutting down entire industries.... While the major policy interventions in the US have treated all types of business as equivalent, industries which are not able to do their work remotely have been hit much harder than business that can. This cross-sectional dispersion shows up across a variety of measures, including changes in employment, revenue projections, likelihood of default, current liquidity, and stock returns. Going forward, aid that targets disrupted sectors may be a more cost-effective means to alleviate the impacts of COVID-19… .#noted #2020-07-24


Black: The Deeply Broken Staff of the New York Times—Noted

Duncan Black: That F---ing Bitch https://www.eschatonblog.com/2020/07/that-fucking-bitch.html: ‘The people who work at the New York Times are deeply broken people [Luke Broadwater and Catie Edmondson:] 'WASHINGTON — Ever since Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to Congress as the youngest woman elected to the House, she has upended traditions, harnessing the power of social media and challenging leaders, including President Trump, who are 50 years her senior. On Thursday, she had her most norm-shattering moment yet when she took to the House floor to read into the Congressional Record a sexist vulgarity that Representative Ted Yoho, a Florida Republican, had used to refer to her. “In front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote: ‘A fucking bitch,’” she said, punching each syllable in the vulgarity.... Ms. Ocasio-Cortez... excels at using her detractors to amplify her own political brand...' Sure she was called a fucking bitch, but she used it to tik-tok her way into the hearts of the snapchat generation by elevating her brand!!! As for "fucking bitch," here's the article about Yoho calling her that. 'After a brief and tense exchange, the newspaper said, Mr. Yoho walked away from Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, uttering a pair of expletives.' They didn't even quote Yoho using the naughty words, but they quoted AOC quoting him using the naughty words, because it UPENDED TRADITIONS, and was NORM-SHATTERING. You might say, UPPITY! These fucking people… .#noted #2020-07-24


Burns: Pompey's Strategy and Domitius' Stand—Noted

In his The Civil War Gaius Julius Caesar presented "just the facts" in a way that made Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus look like a cowardly and incompetent idiot. The attractive interpretation is that Ahenobarbus was just trying to do the job of defeating Caesar, but had failed to recognize that Pompey was not his ally. Pompey, rather, was somebody whose first goal was to gain the submission of Ahenobarbus and the other Optimates, and only after that submission was gained would he even think about fighting Caesar. Still an idiot, but not an incompetent or a cowardly one:

Alfred Burns: Pompey's Strategy and Domitius' Stand at Corfinium https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-burns-pompey.pdf: ‘In early 49, the alliance confronting Caesar consisted of the old republican senate families who under the leadership of [Lucius] Domitius [Ahenonbarbus] tried to maintain the traditional institutions and of Pompey who clung to his own extra-legal position of semi-dictatorial power. Both parties to the alliance were as mutually distrustful as they were dependent on each other...

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Wolf: Covid Has Exposed Society’s Dysfunctions—Noted

Martin Wolf: Covid Has Exposed Society’s Dysfunctions https://www.ft.com/content/e3db59e8-8fda-45ed-a99e-f4385168f58a: ‘We are living in an era of multiple crises: Covid-19; a crisis of economic disappointment; a crisis of democratic legitimacy; a crisis of the global commons; a crisis of international relations; and a crisis of global governance. We do not know how to deal with all of these... because politics cannot deliver the necessary changes.... The Great Transformation, by Karl Polanyi... much the better guide. If we wish to avoid a political breakdown, we should not seek to suppress markets, but we must surely temper their gales...

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The Optimate Faction Panics and Abandons Rome: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

roman-senate

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caear narrates: The Optimate faction panics at a rumor of Caesar's appraoch, and flees from Rome with the looted Treasury reserve. The towns of Italy support Caesar. Even the town of Cingulum ralied to Caesar, even though its founder Titus Labienus, Caesar's second-in-command in the Gallic War, had deserted Caesar for his earlier allegiance to Pompey. And Pompey's attempts to reinforce his army by recruiting veterans who had obtained their farms through Caesar's legislative initiatives did not go well:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Meanwhile, word came that the Praetor Thermus was holding Iguvium with five cohorts and fortifying the town, but that the townspeople were all strong partisans of Caesar; he therefore sent Curio with the three cohorts which he had at Pisaurum and Ariminum. When Thermus heard of Curio’s approach, not trusting the mood of the townsfolk, he withdrew his cohorts from the town and fled; on the journey, the troops deserted him and went home. Curio took over Iguvium amid general good-will. On learning of this, Caesar decided he could rely on the support of the Italian towns, and taking the cohorts of the Thirteenth legion out of their garrisons he set off for Auximum...

...Attius Varus was holding this town with cohorts which he had installed there and was sending the local councillors around to levy troops throughout Picenum. When the town council heard of Caesar’s approach, they came in a body to Attius, saying that, while they were not competent to judge the issue, neither they nor their fellow-townsmen could allow Gaius Caesar, a holder of military command, a man who had served the State well and had many brilliant achievements to his credit, to be shut out of the town. They warned Attius therefore to think of the future and of his own danger.

This speech alarmed Attius, who removed the garrison he had installed in the town and fled. He was pursued by a small detachment from Caesar’s advance guard and compelled to stop; and after a token resistance his troops deserted him and a number of them went off home, while the rest made their way to Caesar, taking with them in custody Lucius Pupius, a chief centurion, who had previously held the same rank in the army of Pompey.

Caesar commended Attius’s troops, let Pupius go, and thanked the people of Auximum, promising to remember what they had done.

The news of these events raised a panic at Rome; so much so, that when the consul Lentulus came to open the treasury, in accordance with the decree of the Senate, to withdraw funds for Pompey, he opened the treasury reserve9 and immediately fled from Rome–for there were reports that Caesar was on his way, and his cavalry with him, and would arrive at any minute. These were false alarms; nevertheless Marcellus followed his colleague, accompanied by most of the magistrates.

Pompey had left the neighbourhood of Rome the day before and was on his way to join the legions taken from Caesar, which he had stationed in Apulia for the winter. The troop-levies around Rome were suspended, as it was felt that nowhere between there and Capua could be relied on. It was at Capua that they first rallied and recovered their spirits; there they began to hold a levy among the old soldiers who had been settled there by the Julian law.

Lentulus brought into the market-place the gladiators whom Caesar kept in a school there and, promising them their freedom, he issued them with horses and ordered them to follow him; later, however, on the advice of his supporters, since his action had met with universal disapproval he dispersed them for safe-keeping among the slave-gangs in Campania.

Leaving Auximum, Caesar hurried through the district of Picenum. All the prefectures in the area gave him a hearty welcome and assisted his army with supplies of all kinds. A deputation even came from Cingulum–a town founded by Labienus and constructed at his own expense–promising to show the utmost zeal in carrying out any commands he might give. He asked them for soldiers, and these were supplied.

Meanwhile, the Twelfth legion overtook Caesar, and with this and the legion he already had he made for Asculum, which Lentulus Spinther was holding with ten cohorts. On word of Caesar’s approach, Lentulus abandoned the town, and tried to take the cohorts with him, but most of them deserted, and he was left abandoned on the road with only a small force of men. He then met Vibullius Rufus, who had been sent by Pompey to Picenum to ensure the loyalty of the local inhabitants. He received a report from Lentulus of what was going on in Picenum, took over his soldiers, and dismissed him.

He then proceeded to muster what cohorts he could from the levies ordered by Pompey, as well as the six he caught fleeing from Camerinum with Lucilius Hirrus, who had commanded them in garrison there, and altogether he made up thirteen cohorts. With these he made his way by forced marches to Domitius Ahenobarbus at Corfinium and reported that Caesar was on his way with two legions. Domitius, for his part, had raised about twenty cohorts from Alba, the Marsi, the Paeligni and the surrounding districts.

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Ocasio-Cortez: Speech on Yoho Remarks—Noted

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez: Floor Speech on Yoho Remarks https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/rep-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-floor-speech-about-yoho-remarks-july-23: ‘Speaker, I seek recognition for a question of personal privilege.... Thank you Madam Speaker. I would also like to thank many of my colleagues not only for the opportunity to speak today, but for the many members—from both sides of the aisle—who have reached out to me in support following an incident earlier this week...

...About two days ago, I was walking up the steps of the Capitol when Representative Yoho suddenly turned a corner. He was accompanied by Representative Roger Williams. He accosted me on the steps, right here in front of our nation’s Capitol. I was minding my own business, walking up the steps, and Representative Yoho put his finger in my face. H called me disgusting. He called me crazy. He called me out of my mind. And he called me dangerous.

Then he took a few more steps. After I had recognized his comments as rude, he walked away and said: 'I’m rude, you’re calling me rude'. I took a few steps ahead, and I walked inside and cast my vote. Because my constituents send me here each and every day to fight for them, and to make sure that they are able to keep a roof over their head, that they’re able to feed their families, and that they’re able to carry their lives with dignity.

I walked back out and there were reporters in the front of the Capitol and in front of reporters Representative Yoho called me, and I quote, “a f---ing b----.”

These were the words that Representative Yoho levied against a congresswoman: a congresswoman that not only represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, but every congresswoman and every woman in this country. Because all of us have had to deal with this in some form, some way, some shape, at some point in our lives.

I want to be clear that Representative Yoho’s comments were not deeply hurtful or piercing to me, because I have worked a working class job. I have waited tables in restaurants. I have ridden the subway. I have walked the streets in New York City. And this kind of language is not new. I have encountered words uttered by Mr. Yoho, and men uttering the same words as Mr. Yoho, while I was being harassed in restaurants.

I have tossed men out of bars that have used language like Mr. Yoho’s.

I have encountered this type of harassment riding the subway in New York City.

This is not new, and that is the problem.

Mr. Yoho was not alone. He was walking shoulder to shoulder with Representative Roger Williams. That’s when we start to see that this issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of a sense of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women. It is an entire structure of power that supports that. Not only have I been spoken to disrespectfully—particularly by members of the Republican Party and elected officials in the Republican Party—here, but the President of the United States last year told me to go home to another country, with the implication that I don’t even belong in America.

The governor of Florida, Governor DeSantis, before I even was sworn in, called me a 'whatever that is'. Dehumanizing language is not new. What we are seeing is that incidents like these are happening in a pattern. This is a pattern of an attitude towards women, and a dehumanization of others.

I was not deeply hurt or offended by the little comments that are made. When I was reflecting on this, I honestly thought that I was just going to pack it up and go home.

It’s just another day, right?

But then, yesterday, Representative Yoho decided to come to the floor of the House of Representatives and make excuses for his behavior. That I could not let go. I could not allow my nieces, the little girls that I go home to, the victims of verbal abuse and worse, to see that excuse and to see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology, and then to accept my silence as a form of acceptance.

I could not allow that to stand.

That is why I am rising today to raise this point of personal privilege.

I do not need Representative Yoho to apologize to me.

Clearly he does not want to. Clearly when given the opportunity he will not. I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over using abusive language towards women. But what I do have issue with is using women—our wives and daughters,—as shields and excuses for poor behavior.

Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter too.

My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television. I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.

Now what I am here to say is that this harm that Mr. Yoho tried to levy against me was not just an incident directed at me but at every woman. What Mr. Yoho did was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters. In using that language in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community.

I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable. I do not care what your views are. It does not matter how much I disagree or how much it incenses me or how much I feel that people are dehumanizing others. I will not do that myself. I will not allow people to change and create hatred in our hearts.

What I believe is that having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.

When a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize. Not to save face. Not to win a vote. He apologizes genuinely to repair and acknowledge the harm done, so that we can all move on.

Last, what I want to express to Mr. Yoho is gratitude.

I want to thank him for showing the world that you can be a powerful man and accost women. You can have daughters and accost women, without remorse. You can be married, and accost women. You can take photos and project an image to the world of being a family man, and accost women without remorse and with a sense of impunity.

It happens every day in this country. It happened here on the steps of our nation’s Capitol. It happens when individuals who hold the highest office in this land admit to hurting women, and using this language against all of us.

Once again, I thank my colleagues for joining us today.

I will reserve my time and I will yield to my colleague, Representative Jayapal of Washington.

Thank you.

.#noted #t2020-07-23

Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsuccessfully with Pompey: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

roman-senate

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar presents his case to the 13th Legion, and wins its enthusiastic support. Caesar and Pompey negotiate, but Pompey refuses to give up his dominant position. He holds imperium over Spain and commanding the ten Spanish garrison legions, while also residing in the suburbs of Rome and thus dominating the discussions of the Senate. Pompey refuses to commit to setting a date for his departure for Spain.

Note that Caesar does not tell his readers that by taking the Thirteenth Legion to Ariminum he has exceeded his authority: his imperium is the power to command soldiers and give judgments in Illyrium and in Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul, not to command soldiers in Italy. The crossing of the Rubicon River into Italy occurred before before the arrival of Pompey's negotiators, young Lucius Caesar and Praetor Lucius Roscius Fabatus. In fact, the crossing of the spine of the Appenine Mountains and the occupation of Arretium by Mark Antony and the half of the 13th Legion that was Caesar's army's vanguard appears to have occurred before the arrival at Ariminum of Lucius and Roscius:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'When news of these events reached Caesar, he assembled his men and addressed them, retailing to them all the wrongs done to him at various times by his enemies. "They have seduced Pompey", he protested, "and led him astray, through jealous belittling of my merits; and yet I have always supported Pompey, and helped him to secure advancement and reputation...

...A precedent has been created in government; in the recent past, armed force restored the tribunes’ veto; now armed force is repressing and overriding it. When Sulla stripped the tribunes of the rest of their prerogatives, he none the less left them the free exercise of the veto; Pompey has the credit of having restored their lost powers, but he has taken away even what they previously had.

The decree calling upon the magistrates to act to save the State from harm, a decree by which the Senate called the Roman people to arms, was never passed before now except in the case of pernicious legislation, or violence by tribunes, or a mutiny of the people, when the temples and heights commanding the city were seized; and these earlier precedents were atoned for by the fates of Saturninus and the Gracchi. But in the present instance, none of these things has taken place, or even been contemplated; there has been no law proposed, no attempt to appeal to the people, no mutiny.

I have been your commander for nine years; under my leadership, your efforts on Rome’s behalf have been crowned with good fortune; you have won countless battles and have pacified the whole of Gaul and Germany. Now, I ask you to defend my reputation and standing against the assaults of my enemies.

The men of the Thirteenth Legion clamoured that they were ready to avenge the wrongs done to their general and to the tribunes; and being thus assured of their support, Caesar took them to Ariminum, ordering the remaining legions to leave their winter quarters and follow him. At Ariminum, he met the tribunes who had fled to join him, and young Lucius Caesar, the son of one of his lieutenants.

After Lucius had discharged the business for which he had come, he revealed that he had a message from Pompey concerning personal relations between himself and Caesar. Pompey wanted to clear himself in Caesar’s eyes, and begged him not to take as a personal affront what he had done for the sake of the State; for he had always put the good of the country before the claims of personal friendship, and Caesar too, as befitted his position, should subordinate his personal ambitions and grievances to the good of Rome, and should not allow his anger against his personal enemies to lead him into damaging Rome, in his efforts to do them harm. L

Lucius added a few more remarks in the same vein, with excuses for Pompey’s behaviour. The praetor Roscius appealed to Caesar more or less with the same arguments and in the same words, and expressly said that he was quoting Pompey directly. In all this, there was no apparent move to repair the wrongs done.

None the less, having thus obtained suitable agents to convey his wishes to Pompey, Caesar said to them both that, since they had brought Pompey’s message to him, he hoped they would not object to taking his terms back to Pompey. ‘Only consider,’ he said,

that by a small expenditure of effort you can put an end to grave dissensions and release all Italy from fear. Prestige has always been of prime importance to me, even outweighing life itself; it pained me to see the privilege conferred on me by the Roman people being insultingly wrested from me by my enemies, and to find that I was being robbed of six months of my command[1] and dragged back to Rome, although the will of the people had been that I should be admitted as a candidate in absentia at the next elections. However, for the sake of Rome, I bore this loss of privilege with a good grace. When I wrote to the Senate suggesting a general demobilization, I was not allowed even that. Troops are being raised all over Italy, my two legions, which were taken from me on the pretext of a Parthian campaign, are being retained, and the whole State is in arms. What is the aim of all these preparations but my destruction?

However, I am ready to submit to anything and put up with anything for the sake of Rome. My terms are these: Pompey shall go to his provinces; we shall both disband our armies; there shall be complete demobilization in Italy; the regime of terror shall cease; there shall be free elections and the Senate and the Roman people shall be in full control of the government. To facilitate this and fix the terms and ratify them with an oath, I suggest that Pompey either comes to meet me or allows me to meet him. By submitting our differences to mutual discussion, we shall settle them all.

Roscius accepted the commission and went with young Lucius to Capua, where he found Pompey and the consuls and reported Caesar’s demands. They discussed them and sent back in reply, by the same messengers, written orders the gist of which was that Caesar should leave Ariminum, return to Gaul, and disband his army, and that if he did so Pompey would go to the Spanish provinces. Meanwhile, until they received a pledge that Caesar would do as he promised, the consuls and Pompey would not suspend the levy of troops.

It was unfair that Pompey should require Caesar to leave Ariminum and return to his province, while he himself kept his own provinces, and another man’s legions as well; that Pompey should expect Caesar’s army to be disbanded while he levied troops; that Pompey should promise to go to his province without fixing a date by which he must do so, so that even if he still had not gone when Caesar’s consulship expired, he could not be held to have broken his oath.

Further, the fact that he offered no opportunity for a conference and made no promise to come to meet Caesar made it likely that hopes of peace must be abandoned.

Caesar therefore sent Mark Antony from Ariminum to Arretium with five cohorts, while he himself stayed with two cohorts and began levying troops on the spot, and also put one cohort each into Pisaurum, Fanum and Ancona.

Continue reading "Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsuccessfully with Pompey: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic" »


Romney: Will Oppose Shelton’s Confirmation to Fed Board—Noted

Do note that any Republican senator doing their job would vote not to confirm Judy Shelton as Fed Governor. That only one appears to be willing to do his job in even this one, small, low-stakes, no-risk case speaks wonders upon wonders.

As does the silence of all the professional Republican economists here:

Mitt Romney: Will Oppose Shelton’s Confirmation to Fed Board https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-23/romney-says-he-will-oppose-shelton-s-confirmation-to-fed-board: ‘I’m not going to be endorsing. I will be voting against it... .#noted #tags #2020-07-23


The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar narrates: Whatever norms he may or may not have broken during his consulate—in order to wrest land from the hands of corrupt plutocrats and grant it to the deserving—he says, the Optimate faction does much worse. In the first seven days of the year of the consulate of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior, the Optimate faction goes beyond norm-breaking into outright illegality. And to that they add impiety. They illegaly seize power, as they grant themselves proconsular and propraetorial imperium over the provinces, without the constitutionally-required popular confirmation of imperium. They impiously violate the separation of church and state by seizing temple funds for their own use. They thus incur the wrath of the gods. And they incur the enmity of all who believe in constitutional balance, as opposed to armed plutocratic dictatorship:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Caesar’s friends were not given time to acquaint him with these events, while the tribunes were given no chance of protesting at the threat to themselves, or even of retaining, in the exercise of the veto, their most fundamental right, which Lucius Sulla had not taken away from them; and whereas in the old days those notoriously unruly tribunes had been wont to look ahead anxiously to the end of several months of exercise of authority, in the present instance the tribunes were given only six days in which to secure their own safety...

...The Senate had recourse to that ultimate decree of emergency, which was never employed before except when the city was on the verge of destruction and when everyone expected inevitable ruin at the hands of unscrupulous law-makers. The decree ran:

The consuls, praetors, tribunes of the people and proconsuls in the vicinity of the city shall take steps to see that the State suffer no harm...

and was recorded on the seventh of January.

And so, not counting the two election days, during the first five days after Lentulus’s entry into office on which meetings of the Senate could be held, resolutions of the harshest and most severe nature were passed concerning Caesar’s command, and concerning those distinguished officials, the tribunes of the people. The latter at once fled from Rome and went to join Caesar, who was then at Ravenna, awaiting a reply to his very moderate demands and hoping that some human sense of justice might make a peaceful settlement possible.

During the following days, the Senate met outside the city, and Pompey pressed the same policy that he had indicated through Scipio. He praised the courage and steadfastness of the Senate; he revealed the strength of his own resources, announcing that he had ten legions ready; he claimed, moreover, to have reliable information that Caesar’s troops were disaffected and could not be induced either to defend him or to follow him.

Remaining business was put at once to the Senate, and it was decided to levy troops throughout Italy and to make Pompey a grant from the treasury. It was also proposed that King Juba [of Numidia] should be given the title ‘ally and friend’, but Marcellus refused to tolerate this at present; another proposal, that Faustus Sulla be sent speedily to Mauretania, was blocked by the tribune Philippus.

On the rest of the business, there are senatorial decrees in the records. The provinces―two consular, the rest praetorian―were assigned to private individuals. Syria was allotted to Scipio and Gaul to Lucius Domitius, while Philippus and Cotta were passed over, by private agreement, and no lots were cast for them; praetors were sent to the rest. Then, without waiting for their commands to be referred to the people for ratification, the governors donned the military cloak, made the usual vows, and departed. The consuls, before they left the city, had their attendants going about in the city and on the Capitol in military cloaks, something which had never happened before and was contrary to all ancient practice. Troops were being levied all over Italy, weapons were being requisitioned, and money was exacted from the Italian towns and carried off out of temples with complete disregard for the distinction between divine and human...

Continue reading "The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic" »


Coronavirus in the U.S.: My Guesses as to Where We Are

We cannot know where we are going until we know where we have been and where we now are. IMHO, the public health community has not done a good job on setting out even a semi-consensus guess as to where we have been and currently are. The "deaths" graphs lag the current situation by a month. The "cases" graphs are hopelessly distorted by testing inadequacy.

Here, for what it is worth, are my guesses as to where we are right now and where we have been, nationwide. Of course, nationwide estimates are also of limited use...:

 


  .#coronavirus #highighted #notetoself #publichealth #2020-07-23

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The Optimate Faction Rejects Caesar's Compromise: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

Caesar narrates the reasons that the leaders of the Optimate faction—Cato, Lentulus, Scipio, and Pompey—worked hard to set the stage for war, and how the majority of Senators in the timorous middle were robbed of the power to decide freely, and driven reluctantly to vote for Scipio's motion to rob Caesar of his protections against arrest and trial:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: '[The Optimate faction Consul] Lucius Lentulus took up all the speakers and routed them with a withering reply. He refused point blank to put Calidius’s motion, and his strictures cowed Marcellus, so that he too gave up his motion. And so the majority, under pressure from the consul’s tirades together with fear at the proximity of the army and the menaces of Pompey’s friends, were driven reluctantly to support Scipio’s motion. The terms of this were that Caesar should disband his army before a date to be fixed; if he failed to comply, he would be deemed to be meditating treason against the State...

...Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius, tribunes of the people, then interposed their veto. There was a hurried debate on this veto and harsh measures were advocated; and the more savage and vindictive the speaker, the more he was applauded by Caesar’s enemies.

When the Senate was dismissed towards evening, all its members were summoned out of the city by Pompey. Those who were prompt to obey he praised and encouraged to continue so; the less quick he reproved and urged to do better. Many veterans from Pompey’s old armies were called out from their homes by the prospect of rewards and advancement, and many troops were summoned from the two legions handed over by Caesar.

The city, the approach to the Capitol and the comitium [election square] were full of tribunes, centurions and recalled veterans. All the friends of the consuls, all the adherents of Pompey and of those with old grudges against Caesar were mustered in the Senate. Their numbers and the uproar they made intimidated the timorous, made up the minds of the waverers and robbed the majority of the power to decide freely.

Censor Lucius Piso and Praetor Lucius Roscius undertook to go and inform Caesar of these events, and asked for a period of six days to fulfil their mission. Some speakers further suggested that a deputation should be sent to Caesar to acquaint him with the feelings of the Senate. All these suggestions were opposed in speeches by the consul, by Scipio and by Cato, each for his own reasons.

Cato was an old enemy of Caesar’s and, besides, he was stung by his defeat at the elections.

Lentulus was actuated by the size of his debts, and by the prospect of a military command and a province and bribes from native rulers for the recognition of their titles. He boasted among his friends that he would be a second Sulla and hold supreme command in the State.

Scipio had the same hopes of a province, and of military command, for he expected to share the armies with Pompey as a relative [father-in-law] of his by marriage. Besides, he had a dread of the law courts and was susceptible to the flattery of certain persons of great influence in politics and in the courts at the time, as well as being swayed by his own and their love of display.

Pompey, for his part, was reluctant to let anyone stand on the same pinnacle of prestige as himself. For this reason, and also because he had been listening to Caesar’s enemies, he had completely severed his friendly connexions with Caesar. He had become reconciled with their common enemies―most of whom he had himself inflicted on Caesar at the time when he contracted a marriage alliance with him. Moreover, he was perturbed by the discredit attaching to his behaviour over the two legions, which he had diverted from the expedition to Asia and Syria, in order to advance his own power and supremacy. Pompey, therefore, was anxious to force a decision by war. Accordingly, haste and confusion characterized every transaction...

 

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-07-22

Caesar Offers a Compromise Solution (or So Caesar Says): Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

The Beginning of Caesar's Civil War, in which Caesar says that he had proposed a compromise solution to the political crisis:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'PART I: THE STRUGGLE BEGINS: 1. Intransigence at Rome: 1) The dispatch from Gaius Caesar[1] was delivered to the consuls; but it was only after strong representations from the tribunes that they gave their grudging permission for it to be read in the Senate. Even then, they would not consent to a debate on its contents, but initiated instead a general debate on ‘matters of State'...

...This was opened by the consul Lucius Lentulus, who promised that, if the Senate was prepared to state its views courageously and firmly, he would not fail in his duty to the State; but if they had regard for Caesar’s possible reactions, and tried to ingratiate themselves with him, as on previous occasions, then he would choose his own line of action and would not obey the voice of the Senate. He reminded them that he too could take refuge in the good-will and friendship of Caesar.

Scipio spoke in the same vein. Pompey, he said, intended to stand by his duty to the State, if the Senate would support him; but if they hesitated and showed weakness, then, should they want his help later, they would ask for it in vain. The Senate was meeting in Rome, and Pompey was near by; and so Scipio’s speech seemed to come from the mouth of Pompey himself.

Some few expressed themselves in milder terms:

First, Marcus Marcellus launched into a speech to the effect that the topic should not be introduced in the Senate until a levy had been held throughout Italy and troops enrolled under whose protection the Senate might dare, freely and with impunity, to pass whatever decrees it wished.

Marcus Calidius urged that Pompey should set out for his provinces, so that there should be no grounds for hostilities. He alleged that Caesar was apprehensive that Pompey was holding on to the two legions he had taken from him, and keeping them near Rome, in order to do him some harm.

 

[1] Brought from Caesar at Ravenna to the Senate by Gaius Scribonius Curio, in it Caesar offered to resign his proconsular command if Pompey would do the same. Othewise, Caesar said, he would defend his rights, and would also defend the rights of the Roman Republic against the plots of the Optimate faction.

[2] Not in Spain with the armies the Senate had appointed him to command, but rather in his house northwest of Rome.

 

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-07-22

Abigail Smith Adams—Lecture Slides

Reading her letter of 31 Mar-05 Apr 1776 https://tinyurl.com/dl20180226a to her 10 years-older husband John Adams, and parsing out what it tells us about the liberties and constraints of an upper-class woman in the pre-industrial pre-demographic transition commercial revolution age:

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/%23feminism-%23demography-lecture-abigail-smith-adams.pptx
https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/%23feminism-%23demography-lecture-abigail-smith-adams.pdf

 


 

.#demography #economichistory #feminism #highlighted #teachingeconomics #teachinghistory #2020-07-22
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Foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

Let us start with some foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus:

Gaius Sallustius Crispus: Cataline's Conspiracy https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-sallust-cataline.pdf: ‘Gaius Julius Caesar Pleads Against Norm-Breaking (-63): "I can recount many examples, conscripted fathers, of bad decisions made by kings and peoples under the influence of anger or pity...

...When Sulla ordered the strangulation of Damasippus and others like him... who did not praise his actions? People were saying they deserved it.... But this action was the beginning of a great slaughter. For whenever someone coveted another man’s home or villa, or eventually even his dishes or clothes, he would try to get the man proscribed. And soon after those who were delighted at the death of Damasippus were themselves being dragged away and there was no end of carnage until Sulla had glutted all his followers with riches. Now, I don’t fear these consequences from M. Tullius nor do I fear them at this time, but in a great city there are many different temperaments.

It is possible that at some other time, when another man is consul and also has an army at his disposal, a lie will be taken for the truth. When this precedent allows the consul by the decree of the Senate to draw his sword, who will stop or restrain him?...

 


 

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-07-21
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Petri (2015): Woman in a Meeting—Noted

Alexandra Petri (2015): Famous Quotes, the Way a Woman Would Have to Say Them During a Meeting https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2015/10/13/jennifer-lawrence-has-a-point-famous-quotes-the-way-a-woman-would-have-to-say-them-during-a-meeting/: ‘You will think that you have stated the case simply and effectively, and everyone else will wonder why you were so Terrifyingly Angry. Instead, you have to translate. You start with your thought, then you figure out how to say it as though you were offering a groveling apology for an unspecified error. (In fact, as Sloane Crosley pointed out in an essay earlier this year, the time you are most likely to say “I’m sorry” is the time when you feel that you, personally, have just been grievously wronged. Not vice versa.)... I have taken the liberty of translating some famous sentences into the phrases a woman would have to use to say them during a meeting not to be perceived as angry, threatening or (gasp!) bitchy: “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Woman in a Meeting: “Dave, if I could, I could just—I just really feel like if we had liberty it would be terrific, and the alternative would just be awful, you know? That’s just how it strikes me. I don’t know.”... “Let my people go.” Woman in a Meeting: “Pharaoh, listen, I totally hear where you’re coming from on this. I totally do. And I don’t want to butt in if you’ve come to a decision here, but, just, I have to say, would you consider that an argument for maybe releasing these people could conceivably have merit? Or is that already off the table?”... “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Woman in a Meeting: “I’m sorry, it really feels to me like we’re all equal, you know? I just feel really strongly on this”… .#noted #2020-07-21 https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-petri-woman-meeting.pdf


Hall: “Politically Incorrect” Pathways Through PC—Noted

Stuart Hall: Some “Politically Incorrect” Pathways Through PC https://medium.com/@stuarthall1994/some-politically-incorrect-pathways-through-pc-653ce8110f6d: ‘The rise of political correctness seems to be intimately connected with... the dominance of the political new right... Reagan-Bush and Thatcher.... They redefined the contours of public thinking with their virulently free-market social philosophy and set in motion a powerful, new, anti-welfare consensus... built... on their mastery of the ideological terrain.... They successfully fashioned a seductive appeal to selfishness, greed and possessive individualism, striking a sort of populist alliance across the lines of traditional class alignments and introducing the gospel that “market forces must prevail” into the very heart of the left’s traditional support. They exploited ordinary people’s basic fears of crime, race, “otherness,” of change itself. They fished in the murky waters of a narrow and reactionary cultural nationalism and rallied around their sexual and cultural agenda a highly vocal and well-organized “silent” Moral Majority. Paradoxically, though PC is its sworn adversary, the New Right shares with PC an understanding that the political game is often won or lost on the terrain of these moral and cultural issues… .#noted #2020-07-21 http://www.ram-wan.net/restrepo/hall/some%20politically%20incorrect%20pathways.pdf https://medium.com/@stuarthall1994/some-politically-incorrect-pathways-through-pc-653ce8110f6d https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-hall-pc.pdf


Jefferson (1781): "Indeed, I Tremble for My Country... an Exchange of Situation is.. Possible"—Noted

Thomas Jefferson (1781): Notes on the State of Virginia: QUERY XVIII https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/jeffvir.asp: 'The particular customs and manners that may happen to be received in that state?: It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the manners of a nation may be tried, whether catholic, or particular. It is more difficult for a native to bring to that standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit...

There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities.

The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him.

With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?

Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.

—But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one's mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation…

.#noted #2020-07-21

WASP Culture-Noted

Whet Moser: WASP Culture https://twitter.com/whet/status/1283860135958532097: 'Very disturbing to learn that grifters are out there holding seminars on "protestant fragility":

EdEnXsSWAAEfTo

Whet Moser: Terrified to eat anything not in casserole form

Brad DeLong: Six Bombay Sapphire martinis & an olive!

Wendy M. A. Darling: Gin & tonic with lime also works.

Max Fletcher: Believe you can throw little cut-up pieces of fruit and vegetables into Jell-O and call it a salad

Elisabeth N.: Miracle Whip and canned cream-of-something-pale soup are mandatory components of every meal…

.#noted #2020-07-21

Shelton's Confirmation to the Fed Would Be Very Ill-Advised II—on Twitter

6a00e551f0800388340240a475bbec200c

On Twitter: Shelton's Confirmation to the Fed Would Be Very Ill-Advised II https://twitter.com/delong/status/1285609064706248706: The only person out there saying "confirm Judy Shelton" this morning is John Tamny... who says: confirm her because she's a goldbug and the gold standard is a good thing:

John Tamny: Let's Bring Rationality to the Monetary Discussion: Confirm Judy Shelton https://realclearmarkets.com/articles/2020/07/21/lets_bring_rationality_to_the_monetary_discussion_confirm_judy_shelton_499540.html: As always with money, it should be stressed up front how much better the monetary discussion would be if those who insert themselves into it actually understood money. Most don’t. Strange about this is that money is simple. It’s simple when it’s properly understood...

Filippos Petroulakis: 'This is remarkable stuff. I’m fine with him being a goldbug, but he’s original in that he doesn’t even believe the Fed can lower rates. Or that lowering rates is ineffective, it’s not exactly clear, but my impression of goldbugs was they were afraid of runaway inflation; he’s not.

Brad DeLong: A good way to view it is that both Judy Shelton and John Tamny are GPT-3: they are not economists, but rather expert systems trained on a text corpus. Thus you should not try to use their words to build a model of the Turing-class mind behind them, for there is no such mind. In fact, there is not even a sub-Turing class mind behind their words: just predictive text generation at the level of current AI technology, just like GPT-3 http://lacker.io/ai/2020/07/06/giving-gpt-3-a-turing-test.html.

Continue reading "Shelton's Confirmation to the Fed Would Be Very Ill-Advised II—on Twitter" »


Shelton's Confirmation to the Fed Would Be Very Ill-Advised—on Twitter

6a00e551f0800388340240a475bbec200c

On Twitter: Shelton's Confirmation to the Fed Would Be Very Ill-Advised https://twitter.com/delong/status/1285605073452761096: The only person out there saying "confirm Judy Shelton" this morning is John Tamny... who says: confirm her because she's a goldbug and the gold standard is a good thing:

John Tamny: Let's Bring Rationality to the Monetary Discussion: Confirm Judy Shelton https://realclearmarkets.com/articles/2020/07/21/lets_bring_rationality_to_the_monetary_discussion_confirm_judy_shelton_499540.html: As always with money, it should be stressed up front how much better the monetary discussion would be if those who insert themselves into it actually understood money. Most don’t. Strange about this is that money is simple. It’s simple when it’s properly understood...

...no one exchanges “money” when they transact. In reality, trade is always and everywhere products for products. Thousands of years ago money was merely a creation of producers of real goods, services and labor who sought a way for producers with disparate wants to trade with one another. Translating what is basic, I love Whataburger. The problem is that most Whataburger owners and their employees have little interest in my books and opinion pieces. If I showed up with them in pursuit of two breakfast tacos, large fries, small fries, and a medium Coke, they would reject my barter. Thankfully there’s money. Like everyone else, I work for money, but what I’m really working for is access to Whataburger meals, clothes, shelter and all manner of other things that money is exchangeable for. Money wasn’t a creation of the state as so many assume; rather it was once again an agreement about value that actual producers created so that they could exchange with one another despite wildly varying wants. The butcher wants the baker’s bread, but the baker only wants the vintner’s wine. With an agreement about value in circulation, exchange can happen between the butcher, baker and vintner even though their desires are very different. All of the above explains the why behind an endless search for monetary stability among producers over thousands of years. Since money is just a measure of value enabling the exchange of real things, the best money is that which holds its value. Money in a perfect form neither rises nor shrinks in value. It just is. Kind of like the inch or foot. Gold...

And bingo, we have the tell.

He's going to argue for Judy Shelton not despite but because she's a goldbug:

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No Senator Doing His or Her Job Would Vote for Judy Shelton For Fed Governor—Hoisted from the Archives

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That any Republican senators at all are thinking of voting for Judy Shelton—a woman views whom Milton Friedman dismissed by saying "it would be hard to pack more error into so few words"—for a Fed Governor position reveals an astonishing lack of spine. Yet the Senate Banking Committee chair appears to be attempting to advance her nomination on Tuesday:

Hoisted from the Archives: Shelton the Charlatan https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/shelton-the-charlatan-project-syndicate.html: In 1994 Milton Friedman wrote about Judy Shelton: "In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece (July 15)... Judy Shelton started her concluding paragraph: “Until the U.S. begins standing up once more for stable exchange rates as the starting point for free trade...” It would be hard to pack more error into so few words.... A system of pegged exchange rates, such as the original IMF system or the European Monetary System, is an enemy to free trade. It is no accident that the 1992 collapse of the EMS coincided with the agreement to remove controls on the movement of capital..." https://miltonfriedman.hoover.org/friedman_images/Collections/2016c21/NR_09_12_1994.pdf. To turn monetary policy away from internal balance toward preventing exchange rate movements that market fundamentals wanted to see occur was, in Friedman's view, the road toward disaster. It was simply wrong. And it could be held together only if economies moved from free trade back toward managed trade—and so beggared not just their neighbors but themselves.

Two and a half decades later, today's Judy Shelton seems no freer from error, but to it has added an enormous amount of incoherence. There is no consistent thread of argument in what she says. She is, rather, a weathervane pointing in the direction of whatever political wind she thinks likely to get her her next job. Last year she said that the Federal Reserve should be careful not to do anything to curb stock prices: "More than half of American households are invested through mutual funds or pension funds in this market. I don’t want the Fed to pull the rug out from under them..." https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-05/trump-fed-pick-shelton-says-central-bank-should-support-markets. But in 2016—when unemployment was higher and the case for easy money stronger—it was the Fed's "appeasing financial markets" that was the thing to be avoided https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/yes-trumps-latest-fed-pick-is-that-bad-heres-why/2020/02/10/a13fa1ec-4c44-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html. Back then under the Obama administration when there were lots of unemployed workers who could be put to work producing exports, policies to produce a weaker dollar to boost exports were to be shunned: "The obvious quick route to export success for any nation is to depreciate its currency. Dollar depreciation is already being pushed by the Obama administration.... Let's not compromise our currency in a misguided attempt to boost U.S. job growth. America's best future is forged through sound finances and sound money..." https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704698004576104260981772424. These days "compromising the currency" is a plus from the interest-rate cuts she wants to see https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-fed-choice-judy-shelton-says-interest-rate-cut-needed-because-europe-is-set-to-devalue-euro-2019-07-05. Today monetary policy should be made looser "as expeditiously as possible" https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/06/19/fed-meets-trumps-potential-next-pick-wants-see-lower-rates-fast-possible. Back then "loose monetary policy... leads to internal bankruptcy... whole nations have foundered on this path..." https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123742149749078635.

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Patrick Henry: 'Would Any One Believe That I Am Master Of Slaves by My Own Purchase?"—Noted

Via Steve Marglin, Patrick "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!" Henry: Patrick Henry: To Antislavery Activist Joseph Alsop: 'Is it not amazing that at a time when the rights of humanity are defined and understood with precision, in a country, above all others, fond of liberty—that in such an age and such a country we find men professing a religion the most humane, mild, meek, gentle and generous, adopting a principle [slavery] as repugnant to humanity as it is inconsistent with the Bible and destructive to liberty? Every thinking, honest man rejects it in speculation. How few, in practice, from conscientious motives!... Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not—I cannot justify it, however culpable my conduct. I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be afforded to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do, is to improve it, if It happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence of Slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished-for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advancement we can make toward justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants Slavery... .#noted #2020-07-19


Gaius Julius Caesar Pleads Against Norm-Breaking—Weekend Reading

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Julius Caesar (-63): ‘All human beings who debate on matters of uncertainty, conscripted fathers, ought to be free from hatred, enmity, anger, and pity. The mind cannot easily see the truth when those emotions get in 2 the way, and no one has ever been simultaneously governed by the demands of his desire and by practical considerations. Wherever you apply your intelligence, it prevails; but, if passion takes over, it becomes master, and the mind is powerless...

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Martha Wells Is Having too Much Fun Here...

Highly recommended. Martha Wells appears to have had an illegally large amount of fun writing this novel. Here a newly-created instantiation of Murderbot sets out on what is supposed to be a suicide mission: Martha Wells: Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel https://books.google.com/books?id=sBK_yAEACAAJ&dq=isbn:1250229863: 'I initiated a connection and put a freeze on the SecUnit’s governor module so nothing I did would accidentally trigger it. I could tell I had the Unit’s attention, that it knew somebody had initiated contact. I sent it an old company identifier.... After four long seconds, it replied: "System Unit Acknowledge: Identify?"... I said, "I’m a rogue SecUnit, working with the armed transport who is pursuing this ship with the intention of retrieving endangered clients. I am currently present as killware inside the explorer’s SecSystem." It didn’t reply. I can tell you as a SecUnit that under these circumstances this is just about the last thing you expect to hear. Also, SecUnits normally aren’t allowed to communicate with each other so it would be reluctant to drop protocol. I said, "There’s no protocol for any of this. Just talk to me". There was another three second pause. "I don’t know what to say". That was encouraging. (I’m actually not being sarcastic here—the last time I’d tried to talk a SecUnit into helping me, it had just gotten more determined to kill me. But it had been a CombatUnit and they’re a--holes.) I said, "Three of my clients are inside the compartment nearest you. Have you seen these others?"... #books #highlyrecommended #sciencefiction #2020-07-16


JEC: 'This Maxim Is Patently, Grossly Inadequate for Governing a Blog Comment Box... Let Alone... Public Reason & a Public Sphere'—Comment of the Day

Comment of the Day: JEC: 'This Maxim Is Patently, Grossly Inadequate for Governing a Blog Comment Box... Let Alone... Public Reason & a Public Sphere' https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/holbo-this-maxim-is-patently-grossly-inadequate-for-governing-a-blog-comment-box-let-alone-public-reason-a-public.html: ‘"The question is where do you draw the line..." I agree, which is why it is irksome that the open letter refuses, point-blank, to engage with the nuances of line-drawing. The crucial sentence is this one: "Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal." The "arguments around the particulars" of real-world cases are the whole ballgame. Breezily dismissing mere specificities is gutless sophistry, and I think less of each individual careless enough to sign on to this shoddy piece of argumentation. (I'll note Paul Starr and David Frum, in particular.)... The open letter lacks the courage and intellectual honesty to name a single specific example of this happening. Instead, it treats us to a rather slippery series of hints and allusions which may bring to mind certain recent cases, without committing the signers to saying "This, this specific event, taking into account the totality of facts, was wrong." (And then, of course, it has the gumption to dismiss the relevance of its own pseudo-examples.) The letter is a complaint that a line—which it doesn't even attempt to define—has been crossed, on occasions it flatly refuses to name. It is, in a word, rubbish… .#comment-of-the-day #2020-07-16