Morning Ed: World {2017.07.06.Th}

[W1] Russians regret nothing.

[W2] If we’re not careful, the toilets may start getting tired of our crap and revolt.

[W3] In Brazil a law that you must vote and must learn philosophy.

[W4] The US has quietly released the papers on the Iran coup of 1953.

[W5] Marian Tupy argues that we all have a lot to learn from Hong Kong.

[W6] In an effort to get people to come forward, they’re giving amnesty to people who illegal subletted their Grenfell apartments.

[W7] As Macron tries to take on the unions, Rupert Darwall cautions the Tories against following the French example.

[W8] As a heatwave strikes Britain, and officeworkers have rights. And students

[W9] A story of intrigue and Russian collusion.

[W0]


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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81 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World {2017.07.06.Th}

  1. [W2] IT’s like a Dr. Who episode involving speedy Daleks!

    [W4] Par for the course. And here we are bitching about Russian meddling in our elections. Pfft

    [W5] Truly HK is a success. I recall that my local tour guide said-not sure I got the order correct- “HK women care about the 4 C’s: Condo, Car, Cash, C**k Given the cost of a small condo in even the outlying districts, I can’t imagine why :) Anyway, it’s a beautiful city and the people were fantastic.

    [W8] I guess A/C is still a bit of a rarity in the UK.

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  2. W8: students have been resisting dress codes for years, this just has the overlay of “damn hot” on it.

    I attended a prep school where the legend was (in the years before it became co-ed) some of the guys parsed the student handbook *very carefully* and determined that really, the only required clothing for them at dinner was a tie and shoes. So they showed up to dinner, in a tie and shoes. (And nothing else)

    That story has the feel of legend so I don’t quite believe it happened.

    We were allowed to wear Bermuda shorts, but the men still had to wear a jacket and tie, and the women a blazer, unless the faculty in the classroom said we could take our jackets off. In truth, a cotton dress or skirt and blouse is almost always going to be cooler than shorts + top + blazer, so that was what I usually wore. Still do, it can get beastly hot here and not just in the summers.

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    • I had fun with winter beards in high school (principal didn’t like them, but the guys liked to grow them for hunting season). I parsed the student handbook got the superintendent to make the principal back down.

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  3. W5: I’m not convinced because he is not really mentioning political freedoms at all which have gone away a bit under China. He also could have used Singapore as an example where limited civil liberties and political freedoms are explicit and it is all about business and trade and prosperity. This is libertarians saying it is all business uber alles. So this is more about how if you have money, you get to control.

    W8: Japan did something similar in the mid-aughts and also to fight climate change:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14024250

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    • I’m not convinced because he is not really mentioning political freedoms at all which have gone away a bit under China.

      How is that relevant to his point? Yes, it’s a shame that the British sold them out, but is your point that the CPC cracking down on civil liberties, and not a history of relative economic freedom and a lean public sector, is the real key to Hong Kong’s prosperity? It seems to me that you’re trying to tar Hong Kong’s (and Singapore’s) economic policies with guilt by association, as if they were somehow inextricably linked to their less-than-ideal policies on civil liberties.

      The author isn’t arguing that the UK should adopt the CPC’s policies on civil liberties. He’s arguing that they should adopt the economic policies that have served Hong Kong so well for the past sixty years.

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  4. Back stateside, what is wrong with Rahm Emmanuel/Chicago

    To graduate from a public high school in Chicago, students will soon have to meet a new and unusual requirement: They must show that they’ve secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said he wants to make clear that the nation’s third-largest school system is not just responsible for shepherding teenagers to the end of their senior year, but also for setting them on a path to a productive future.

    “We are going to help kids have a plan, because they’re going to need it to succeed,” he said. “You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done.”

    When challenged that this new policy puts more burdens on already underbudgeted and staffed teachers, this was the response:

    Janice Jackson, the school system’s chief education officer, said that is how the new requirement is supposed to work — pushing principals to improve efforts to help students prepare for the future. About 60 percent of district students have postsecondary plans when they graduate, she said, and she doesn’t think the schools should wait for more money to set an expectation that the remaining 40 percent follow suit.

    Would Chicago really withhold diplomas from students who meet every requirement except the new one? Jackson says it won’t come to that, because principals, counselors and teachers won’t let it. They’ll go to students in that situation and press them to make sure they have a plan.

    This new plan is like the cartoon villain version of neo-liberalism and is exactly why neoliberalism and management speak get sneared at in leftier circles. The schools and their officials are already lacking money and time and now they need to make sure that all their students have plans for the students to ge diplomas. The students themselves are dealing with the structural disadvantages of poverty often enough and also bad home situations often enough.

    Either high school graduation rates will drop and/or there will be a scandal about forging these plans at a high school so students can get their diplomas.

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    • There are usually a couple of theories that get thrown around to explain what Rahm does. One is that the unstated purpose of his policies is to encourage gentrification as a solution to the city’s balance sheet woes. The other is that he is really running for President in 2020 and its not really about Chicago at all.

      (Personally I wonder if the City has this authority. Graduation requirements are set by the state. Chicago has home rule authority, so it would come down to how the statute is written. Also, I wonder what would happen if a southern Illinois school adopted this policy and the Chicago newspapers reported its impact on people of color? I think the feds would take an interest)

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      • I’m of the theory that Rahm is the mayor for the suburbanite commuters and the tourists.

        He could have Presidential ambitions but the party has largely moved to Rahm’s left including the wife of his former boss. The neo-liberalism that needed to sell in the 1990s is now a dead weight in the Democratic Party (though it might be popular among the donor class).

        Notice how Cuomo finally had to do something about the MTA.

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        • Did you notice that Rahm recently penned an article for the NY Times about how great the L is in comparison to the MTA? Seems like positioning himself nationally,or at least to convince the donor class that Rahm has an accomplishment that would appeal to the party base.

          Also the NY Times caption for the piece was quite evocative: “In Chicago, the Trains Actually Run on Time”

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          • I have a theory that the mayorlties will become a platform from which Democratic presidential candidates will be made.

            Maybe Rahm sees that. He’s delusional if he thinks he’s the guy that’s going to make it happen, though.

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          • “Also the NY Times caption for the piece was quite evocative: “In Chicago, the Trains Actually Run on Time””

            I think that last bit has been quoted so often as an ironic joke that nobody even remembers that it wasn’t an ironic joke anymore.

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          • Potentially. I did not see that penned op-ed though. I suspect he could be going for the technocrat angle.

            I have no strong feelings either way on Cuomo but a lot of my friends who still live in NYC loathe him. The issue for anti-Cuomo Dems is that they can pull off impressive second places in the primary but still lose. Cuomo beat Teachout in the primary because Cuomo won the vote among Black and Hispanic New Yorkers. Teachout won the primary in well-to-do suburbs and the more gentrified neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

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        • I’ve never understood popular perceptions of Rahm. When Obama nominated him for Chief of Staff, the Washington and New York papers wrote glowing articles about how great this pick was and how awesome Rahm will be in this job. It was surreal.

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          • PD,
            Those made him sound like LBJ. If he was ANYTHING like LBJ, he’d have managed better Health Care and Climate initiatives.

            Rahm seems more like he’s managed to get good PR advice, and knows how to work the press. Kinda like Fetterman.

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          • He always struck me as a hard bitten cynical kind of technocrat. I can see why that’d make the reporters all swoon but the idea of him trying to go for higher office after Chicago seems laughable.

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          • Supposedly, the Josh Lyman character on the West Wing was modelled after Rahm Emmanuel. Which explains how glowing articles got written about him.

            (Here’s the thing though – Josh was terrible at his job)

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      • I find it helps to think of Rahm not as a liberal or neoliberal who happens to be mayor of a major city, but as an economic and political elitist who happens to have left leaning tendencies.

        I.E. Rahm is only interested in Rahm, and he makes the proper noises to be accepted by the left.

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          • Both your and @oscar-gordon’s assessment of him fits with what relatives of mine who live within the Chicago media market say.

            However, I think some of his elitism also comes from a place of “But this world would be the best of all best possible worlds, if only people would do it 100% my way” Sort of Prof. Pangloss wannabee in a bespoke suit.

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        • Sounds right, but doesn’t hit he main problem. His style of politics is as abrasive and confrontational as any elected official in America, someone who threatens legislators with burning down their house if they don’t vote his way.

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          • He’s the kind of guy that is not only accurately described as an A**hole but would also be very proud to be thought of as an A**hole. In fact he might be insulted if people didn’t think of him that way.

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            • Greg,
              Nah, that’s Gingrich. Haven’t heard NEARLY enough complaints about Rahm to think that of him.

              I mean, I just looked. the worst people say about him is “he forced people to work on Sundays”

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          • Well, these days “as abrasive and confrontational as any elected official in America” sets a very high bar. I don’t know that much about Rahm. Do you really think he keeps up with Trump?

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          • Oh no, I think it get’s his style just fine. He is an entitled, elitist asshole, who just happens to have enough left leaning politics to fit in the D camp. Political office is all about what it can do to satisfy him, not what he can do to satisfy the office.

            In a lot of ways, he is like Trump, if not as utterly on display as Trump is.

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      • Begin the circular firing squad!!!

        I disagree. This strikes me as exactly the kind of metric that people would impose as a way of clearing out against the unions and opening up a lot of charter schools because the schools will fail at this metric for obvious reasons and it is the kind of individualistic burden that market-oriented types love.

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      • uh wrongo dongo.
        the lefty version of this is “all kids who graduate high school can go to college free of charge or the technical school of their choice, supported by the generous UBI we passed at the same time”

        strawman correctly, broham

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        • Ehh, UBI is more of a technocrat thing. True Lefties would desire a whole family of programs to address each given concern and would retire to the fainting couch in horror at the idea of just giving people money straight up. That’d further the capitalist agenda.

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          • No, the problem is money is too fungible, and while the right worries pointlessly about welfare recipients buying vice or luxury with welfare money, the left worries about the poor being scammed out of their money by greedy scammers. Because nobody in the history of ever has figured out ways to get around vice/luxury/scam safeguards for welfare benefits.

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            • One thing I’ll grant the left: if a UBI ever does come about it absolutely must not be allowed to be securitized. The government should flat out refuse to uphold any contracts around that.

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  5. W4: Perhaps all my theories about “Reformation” are wrong. The Middle East was plodding along just fine and doing the modernity thing. But our business partners being modern was not good for business. Better for business to topple modernity in service to barbarians who didn’t care quite so much about filthy lucre. We sowed the wind. We reap the whirlwind.

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    • It’s depressingly plausible but other than saying “we should try and undercut the modernizers” I dunno what else that tells us about what should be done going forward. Frak, switch to renewables and keep the whole region at arms and fingertips length maybe?

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    • If you like the benefits that come from being rich, then it’s nicer to be moderately rich in a poor world than it is to be very rich in a moderately rich world.

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    • The Modernizers in the Middle East had Communist sympathies. This was deadly during the Cold War. We also went after anyone seen as too pink in Central and Latin America. This is coming back to haunt us in a lesser way.

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      • Had we given it 10 minutes thought, we’d have seen that the best way to inoculate against Communism would be to let Communism take hold.

        20-30 years of the Commies running the place would have protected the country against Communism for generations and generations. Look at China, for cripes’ sake!

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          • Which one? The Little one in Florida?

            (Castro’s body is finally room temperature. It’s a pity that Trump didn’t double down on Obama’s opening of Cuba and completely renormalize *EVERYTHING* and flood the country with cheap iPhones connected to cheap satellite internet.)

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            • Slavery was destined to die out anyway (*), best to let it happen naturally without all of that loss of life.

              (*) Though I believe the economic consensus that emerged a hundred years later is that this bit of conventional wisdom was not true.

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                • I don’t think what we did mattered that much. The notion that Kermit Roosevelt dropped into Iran with bags of money and booze and was able to pull-off a coup is the kind of story the CIA wants people to believe, or at least Kermit would like everyone to credit him.

                  The country had been in disarray long before that summer, Mossadegh popular support was already fading, he lacked a quorum to enact any legislation, he was repressing political opposition and rigging referendums. The situation was ripe for the pro-Soviet Tudah party to come to power.

                  The pernicious legacy is the widespread belief that any tin pot dictator in the world existed because of U.S. approval; otherwise they would have sent in “the Kermit.”

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                  • I understand that the modern consensus is that Eisenhower was a decent general but a stupid guy beyond that and so his take that what we did needs to be kept hidden is probably suspect but…

                    He might have been on to something.

                    I mean, if the 1979 revolution also used 1953 as part of the reason they were ticked.

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                    • Really, I pretty sure the modern academic consensus is that Eisenhower was the most foriegn policy adept post-WW2 president. He just wasn’t any good at project intelligence to his home domestic audience.

                      Morality aside, installing the Shah was something of a foriegn policy coup at the time. It prevented Soviet influence and secured a key regional ally for decades. They just didn’t have much appreciation at the time that this sort of thing might blow up in their faces horribly a generation later.

                      Sure the USA might be in a better strategic position right now if they didn’t do it, but that depends on a lot of other things happening that we have the benefit of hindsight to see compared to the view from 1953.

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                  • All the older and this recent doc release show we did plenty. There is no way to read all of the stuff we have admitted to without seeing that we had a big part in fomenting the events that led to the coup. Boiling it down to “kermit did it, which is silly” is a bit of a strawman. We passed out plenty of bribes and had people on our payroll. None of that is a secret.

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                  • Well, we thought we could get away with installing the Shah because a year earlier we got away with installing Queen Elizabeth II on the British throne.

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        • The problem, of course, is that in 20-30 years, communists can rack up an eight-figure death toll. It’s all well and good to say give them time and they’ll learn, but historically this has often had a tremendous human cost.

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          • On the other hand, interfering also often has a tremendous human cost. It was a great success in Korea, and also Taiwan, insofar as China not invading was a result of US pressure. I’m not sure if the theory that the coup in Chile was US-led is true or just conspiracy theories, but that worked out reasonably well.

            Other than that, though, I guess the track record’s not so great.

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        • Well, a Soviet Union buoyed by Iranian oil would have lasted ten years longer. France, Italy, and Greece would have probably slipped into the Communist bloc. Israel would be gone.

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          • The Berlin Wall would have still toppled.

            And we wouldn’t have created the Forever War going on in the Middle East right now.

            I’m not entirely certain Israel would be gone… how would the Six Day War have been different?

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          • All those are suppositions without proof. Possible but so are thousand other things. There was the option to be friendly with Iran even with polices we didn’t’ like so as to encourage their democracy. Maybe not being part of toppling a democratic gov to help out big oil companies might have had positive effects.

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              • Sure, but I wasn’t speculating on my scenarios as much as I was saying “holy crap, we really screwed with them in 1953 and now we’re paying the price for screwing with them… I wonder if we wouldn’t be better off to day if we didn’t screw with them?” and, so far, the general consensus seems to be that I shouldn’t question America’s judgment when it comes to screwing around in the Middle East.

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              • Oh they certainly are. But it’s easy to say simply that we were wrong for helping to topple a democracy for policies we didn’t like. We don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t but we can say we were wrong for what we did.

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  6. W4: I don’t understand why we call the change in government in Iran in 1953 a coup. Wasn’t it within the authority of the Shah?

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    • Yeah, the Constitution authorized the Shah to dismiss the prime minister. But the unwritten rules at the time were that only the British and the Soviets were allowed to meddle behind the scenes in Iranian politics.

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    • Huh? There was an elected government that was brought down outside of the electoral process. He didn’t lose an election but was removed by fiat. Did the Shah have the right to do that? Maybe the better question is would have been able to do that without the US and Brits heavy intervention.

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  7. W3: Interesting article, interesting law. Philosophy isn’t a specific set of beliefs or a single approach. A good philosophy program could be helpful to building a society, just as a lousy one could be harmful.

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  8. OT: It looks like Illinois efforts to pass a budget are being postponed by threats of political violence. Republican legislators supporting a tax increase, received credible death threats being investigated by the State Police. Now, the Statehouse is on lockdown due to a substance thrown at the Governor’s office; it’s being treated as a hazmat situation, nobody enters or leaves, HVAC shut off. A woman has been arrested.

    Votes delayed.

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