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  • If they are expats, they were middle class when they left, which in Cuba would put them in the top 10 percent of the pre-Revolutionary income distribution. They would have had goid medical care and decent education, but no one else would have had it. Our view of these countries is distorted by that middle class perspective, which is owned by a tint minority of the population. They may as individuals be good people, bur don’t take their case for that of the overwhelming majority whose lives are better than they would have been absent Revolution. This is not to say that in the best of all libertarian worlds their lives might have been even better, but we have learned that those worlds do not exist, and in the universe of real worlds, the Revolution has made people’s lives better. If you don’t think this is true than you will hold that Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Honduras are social paradises.

  • The USA has to go through a serious bout of denazification. Unfortunately that can happen only after a total military defeat, and like the last crop of nazi’s, the current crop would rather see the world in cinders than concede defeat. We lucked out last time because they were unable to build the bomb.

  • Knut commented on the blog post Meaningless Human Life in Neoliberal America

    2014-12-08 13:52:37View | Delete

    Thanks, Ed.

    On Posner: I always thought of him as a seni-educated kid who made it big on the strength of a few poorly digested and misunderstood ideas about how markets work refined to an ideology–a kind of semi-refined Jonah Goldberg. I now believe his misunderstanding is deeper and less idiosyncratic than that, and goes to the heart of what most American intellectuals left and right believe. You hint at what I’ve been turning over in my mind for some time now, which is the nature of what the American mind considers to be the essence of human life. It is a very stripped out essence, unrecognizable to thinkers only a century ago and which survived into our youthful studies in Liberal Arts. It has also colonized Europe, even France which held out downto the second term of François Mitterrand. The coming steuggle (let’s hope it’s not wae, for we shall surely lose) with Russia essentially pits that stripped out version of humanity against an older and richer one that miraculously survived Stalin and Brezhnev. It’s the culture, stupid, as one of my least-loved Presidents might have said if he had thought about anyrhing besides his personal gratification. But of course, he couldn’t. He’s a product of that culture, just like Posner.

    I”ll keep in touch. Thank


  • Knut commented on the blog post Sunday Food: Sick as The Poop

    2014-12-07 05:46:43View | Delete

    Pea soup is my favorite soup. Especially in cold weather. But I would never ever use a commercial broth (except in dire emergency). Just save bones, pieces of chicken and whatever to make a stock. The difference is amazing. Throwing in some fresh frozen peas at the end helps too.

  • Knut commented on the blog post The Roundup for December 2nd, 2014

    2014-12-03 13:28:40View | Delete

    On the Russian Arctic Command: This has been a long time coming. The melting of the arctic ice pack opens the area to American warships, which is currently the only currently effective tool for projecting American military force. The Russians saw this coming a decade and a half ago and have built the world’s most advanced arctic-capable military. Last summer they did an impressive exercise moving supplies by sea and creating an instant airstrip on one of the arctic islands. Russia owns most of rge Arcti shelf and they intend to keep it.

  • Knut commented on the blog post No Bribery Equals No Corruption

    2014-11-24 06:52:53View | Delete

    On ‘no bribery no corruption’, Bernanke was up here in Montreal where he gave an anodyne speech to a bunch of businessmen and journalists for the princely sum of $200,000, less whatever goes to his booking agent. Five talks a year at that rate and we are starting to talk big money. Now, as mainstream economists go, Bernanke was and is not particularly corrupt, unlike men like Rogoff or Andrei Schleifer, but it’s hard to turn down that kind of money even when you don’t need it, and it is certainly no work to have your assistant put out a PowerPoint of economic nostrums, none of which are novel and few if any are right. It doesn’t mean he was bribed, just that he did the right things to be part of the club.

    It’s insidious and testifies to the vanishing of what was once called ‘civic virtue.’ Along with the allied concept of ‘public service’ it is something that no longer exists at the Feferal level. RIP.

  • Follow the money. The prospective IPO will be huge, there will be billions to spread around, and at that rate, it costs nothing to contract a hit on little people who get in the way. Ruining a reputation is just the first step, like GM (or was it Ford?) tried to do with Nader back in the 60s. Physical elimination cannot be counted out. There is just too much money involved, and these people are essentially Mafioso. This is what happens when the Government stops enforcing its law. We are fast becoming a lawless society, certainly one (of several) definitions of fascism.

  • Knut commented on the blog post The Roundup for November 19th, 2014

    2014-11-20 06:19:48View | Delete

    I don’t dispute your assessment of Stiglitz, but you ought to give him some slack. He’s my age and we are both in our 70s, and bathed in the feel-good ethos of the 50s and 60s. He is from a modest family in Gary, IN (his dad was a pharmacist). When he entered college in1960, Joe was the top-rated merit scholar in the US and every school wanted him. Samuelson personally recruited him into grad school at MIT and by the time he started teaching at Yale in 1968 he must have had at least a dozen published papers plus editting Samuelson’s collected works. In short, he was the fastest of the fast track at a time when economics was still half-way respectable. Fast forward a dozen years and the same type becomes a Ken Rogoff, for whom the money, not the real work mattered. Fast forward another dozen years and you get Jonathan Gruber. The point is that he absorbed the zeitgeist (like Krugman did in the mid-70s) and was the darling of conventional mainstream economics, as the next Samuelson. It takes time and a real capacity for rethinking one’s basic assumptions to get off that ledge. I have friends who never forgavehim for his book fingering the flaws of the World Bank. Not that they thought he was wrong, but they disn’t like the dirty laundry exposed.

    He’s like a number of socially committed economists of my generation who have come to the realization that much of what we thought was right turned out to be wrong. Joe was a great economist; too gifted to be a mere careerist.

  • Knut commented on the blog post Burying My Father Who Was One of My Biggest Fans

    2014-11-19 06:38:43View | Delete

    My condoleances. Be strong.

  • Knut commented on the blog post Jonathan Cohn Rewrites History for Jonathan Gruber

    2014-11-18 12:15:38View | Delete

    Quakonomics indeed. A perfect description for what has happened to the profession in the last 40 years. There were always quacks, but they tended to lay low in out of the way places. Now they control the heartland. I’m curious to know what Uwe Reinhart thinks about all this. He fingered the HMO scam 30 years ago, and altough he was surely consulted, he doesn’t seem to have played any role in the unfolding catastrophe. He and Krugman are friends and colleagues at Princeton, which makes me think he wasn’t totally opposed to it, given Krugman’s belated support. The main point, though, is that the engineering types who have successfully colonized economics are a walking disaster. They can’t think.

  • Knut commented on the diary post Russia’s Vulnerability to EU – US Sanctions and Military Encroachments by GREYDOG.

    2014-11-12 12:33:15View | Delete

    Interesting post, partly correct and partly not. On Desider’s point, he is correct about the Gorbachev coup (an acquaintance of mine who was vice mayor of Moscow) and was playing both sides fingered the conspirators in time to save Gorbachev), but this was not the time that Yeltsin shelled the White House (the Russian Duma), [...]

  • That’s my take, too. Reichstag Fire all over again.

  • Knut commented on the blog post Can the US Seize Would-Be Jihadis’ Passports?

    2014-10-15 13:26:12View | Delete

    That ime you speak of ended in the late 60s precisely because so many zio-americans did join the IDF. I believe the Supreme Court ruled on it.

  • Knut commented on the blog post Can the US Seize Would-Be Jihadis’ Passports?

    2014-10-15 13:24:17View | Delete

    I have believed for about ten years that it is only a matter of time before the US government imposes exit visas on all Americans. I have warned my nieces and nephews to start thinking about safe havens, because whrn it happens it will be too late to get out.

  • Knut commented on the diary post Pranking the CIA: The New Get-Rich-Quick Story by David Swanson.

    2014-10-14 16:38:05View | Delete

    Risen is a brave man. I think he’s got the business model down pat. It’s the NRA on steroids.

  • Knut commented on the blog post Riots Hit Kiev, Neofascists Hold Torch-Lit March In Ukraine

    2014-10-14 16:29:11View | Delete

    The good news is that unlike the German nazis in 1933 the Ukrainian version is not taking commans of the world’s second largest economy. They can do a lot of damage to their own, but not much to anybody else. I would not like to be a Ukrainian Jew at this point in time.

  • I’ve never heard of this Kocken character. What’s he done to deserve anybody’s attention. I suspect that economists (using the term generously) like him are pre-selected by the PTB for their opinions. The whole profession is terribly corrupted, and he’s just another example of that corruption. It’s just another shill.

  • The Communists are only replicating the procedures used by the British when they ruled the colony. On the whole the colony has done quite well without paricipatory democracy, which in its modern poll-driven version is vastly overrated as a mode of self-government.

  • They are operating on their own, a little llke ISIS, who also got out of hand. The real question is whether they have enough force to terrorize the whole population. The commentariat on this question seem to think not. The real question is whether the military has enough power to mount a coup. At this point I would guess that a coup is the US preferred option, as it was in Egypt. The US needs clients who can impose their will on areas the US wants or needs to control. This requires strong authoritarian government, but that government has to be inthe ‘right’ hands, and the clients have to remember who their patron is or they will end up like Quadagfi and Saddam Hussein, both of whom wandered of the reservation, as did Assad, who is currently on the receiving end of the standard treatment or those who stray.

  • Knut commented on the diary post Engelhardt: The Great Concentration or the Great Fragmentation by Tom Engelhardt.

    2014-09-17 04:53:47View | Delete

    A good index of the change you describe is the geographical distribution of wealth in the United States. The richest counties are now in Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs of Washington. This was not true 20 years ago. Empire pays. (for some at least).

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