Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.


by Drew J Jones Wed Feb 1st, 2017 at 12:55:29 AM EST

Please don't ever tell me -- ever again -- about the virtues of the salt-of-the-Earth/HeartlandTM/white-working-class types ever again.

This isn't some kind of "common sense" type shit.  This is making Idiocracy look optimistic.

And, please, when the nuclear holocaust comes, if any of you ever find my body and could carve something into a dead tree or some shit, I'd like my epitaph to read, "Yeah, but emails."

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My Brick

by Drew J Jones Mon Jan 30th, 2017 at 12:47:32 AM EST

I posted the whole bit about what I observed the day after Election Night 2008.  I hopefully conveyed the joy and pride it filled me with.  I'm a son of the South in America.  It is probably the proudest moment of my life.  The history that, aware of though I try to be, I can't begin to comprehend.  The knowledge of the sheer brutality that heroes of mine -- MLK, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, and so many others -- endured.  To be able to sit there, as Atrios would periodically post, and say, "Deep Thought:  The President of the United States is a black man named Barack Hussein Obama."  I can't even really explain that.

I'm sitting here watching the results of Trump's executive order on immigration.  And supposed "progressives" embracing it and playing the "both sides" game.  "Obama killed somebody with a drone in Yemen, so it's fine to stop some Iraqi grandmother from seeing her kids in San Antonio.  And it's totes fine to detain a god-damned 18-month-old at LAX, because she might..." -- what, throw her fucking Cheerios in the fucking engine?

Fuck them.  With rusted-assed, AIDS-soaked rakes.

I was furious on Election Night 2016.  I'd never been so angry.  Utterly, violently angry.  Not for myself in some sort of self-interested sense.  (Rest assured the Trump administration means fuck-all to me in any pure economic sense.)  No, for my friends and family. And my fellow human beings.  For my grandma, who fought her ass off to see that day we all endured defeated.  For my mom and my sister, who followed in grandma's footsteps.  For my friends' daughter, because I wanted to see her watch the night the first woman -- who, for all her flaws, worked damned hard for the people of this country -- was elected president of this country. And be able to be in the group that was able to say, "See that? Many people literally gave their lives for this moment. And for you. Don't ever let somebody tell you that you can't be anything you want."  A highly-qualified woman.  A hard-working woman.  Who, as is so routine in this world, was passed over for a bloviating, fascist cunt.  

A hundred thousand shit-kicking yokels stole that from us. And unleashed Hell on us all.

And I'm as angry as I've ever been.  I've made peace with the likely truth that I'll never stop being angry.  Fine.  But people were supposedly fed-up.  And wanted nastiness.  And so they did this.  To my country.  And to my president.

Cool.  You're gonna fucking get it.  

Every. God. Damned. Day.

((Comments closed permanently!))

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Words or something

by Drew J Jones Sat Jan 21st, 2017 at 05:16:16 PM EST

I remember the moment David Gregory said on MSNBC to the interviewee, "Ohio has gone for Obama," and thinking, "Oh my god, this is going to happen."  Jen and I were sitting in our dumpy little studio apartment in Alexandria.  I had the window cracked open, chain-smoking, in hopes of not alerting the landlord (since we weren't supposed to smoke in the apartments but I didn't want to have to take the elevator down 16 floors every five minutes).  They called Virginia, where I lived at the time (EuroTrib's own MareckNYC a part of the crew who made that happen), and Florida, where I'm from.  Being a liberal white guy from the South, with all its history, I could not have been prouder.  I remember Olbermann getting choked up as he said, "Barack Obama has been elected the next president of the United States of America."

I remember seeing this cartoon by Tom Toles in the Washington Post, on my way on the Metro through Southeast DC -- the heart of the black working class in America -- to the Census Bureau, and seeing the looks on the faces of black Americans, many of whom probably thought that day would never come.

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Larry Summers Will Doom Us All

by Drew J Jones Mon Jul 29th, 2013 at 01:37:04 AM EST

(Crossposted in Orange, at the Frog Pond and at my blog)

Let me put this bluntly: A good way to think of Larry Summers is to take Paul Krugman, up the arrogance tenfold and deduct 99% of the intelligence. He should never be allowed within a thousand yards of the Federal Reserve.

Felix Salmon hits most of the high points here -- his destruction of Glass-Steagal, his sandbagging of Brooksley Born's efforts to regulate derivatives at the CFTC, his all-world incompetence in screwing the finances of Harvard when he was its president, his protection of scumbags on the Harvard faculty in the face of their participation in the rape and pillage of post-Soviet Russia, his half-assed scholarship and accompanying sexism regarding women in the hard sciences, and -- most of all -- his utter refusal to admit that any of this might have been a mistake on his part.

I'll add a bit. Let's journey back.

front-paged by afew

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Liveblogging Iran (Continuous Updates)

by Drew J Jones Sat Jun 20th, 2009 at 05:54:05 PM EST

Figured I'd toss this up on ATinNM's recommendation.

More from one of Nico Pitney's contacts:

Just got home...haven't read you're blog yet but if there's a lot of stories about violence I'm sure they're all true. I don't know where to start, I'd taken my camera but had the sence to take out the memory card this came in hany as I was serched twice (by Basij) before getting stuck in the middle of hell. If I'd been caught with pictures it would mean jail time and a possible a charge of spying (as I'm a Canadian citizen). Eventually I dropped of the camera at the house of a friend without being able to take any pictures as it would make me a definate target...The chants of death to Khamenei are true...I witnessed peoples fear of the Basij dissapear, an 80 year old chadori woman with rocks in her hands calling for the exacution of khamenei and all Basij...A group of Basij were surrounded and forced in to a building, the front was blocked with garbage and set on fire, They (basij) opened fire on the crowd with what I assume were blanks, the crowed disspersed for a moment the came back with a fury...thats when the molotov cocktails came out. When I moved on the building was on fire...an hour later when I passed by again there wasn't much of a building left. There was full blown war...there was a young man who had taken all of a basij's things including their teargas rifle. We were finnaly able to get out on the back of motorcycle...the ride home took 25 minutes,for 15 minutes of it we were passing intermitently though Basij and protesters fires placed to displace the teargas... might I add the 3 hours that we walked through fire we didn't see one shop or car that had been damaged by protesters...however I just recieved word for the one who was kind enough to keep my camera and other belongings that the Basij had gone into her street and destoryed cars...thats all I can get out for now hope some of it may be useful...I'm pissed I was unable to get pictures.

Per a source for Tehran Bureau, the protesters may be planning a march from all around the city to Central Tehran for later tonight.

30-40 reported dead in the hospital. (UPDATE: just one hospital on that, Fatemiyeh Hospital.) Fighting on the West Side seems to be moving Northeast onto Sattar Khan Street.

New Photos

The mobile network is being cut off all over Tehran, according to a good source (Omid007) on Twitter. It had been suggested the government turned it back on to spread misinformation. They may be throwing it off because of all the reports getting out.

Via Lara Setrakian at ABC News:

e-source on rooftops: "People are very angry…they are screaming like a banshee…this ain't alaho akbar anymore" #iranelection

This video has been making the rounds over the last 24 hours:

Reports of fighting in Haft (far WNW Tehran, near Tehran West Airport) Haft Hoz Square, NE of Central Tehran.

Nightly chants of Allah o Akbar and Death to Dictator have begun. Reportedly most intense yet.

Facebook video: Police attacking women at the University of Shiraz.

MASOLEUM BOMBING UPDATE: State TV shows damage from bombing was nothing but a broken window, according to a viewer in Dubai. No real damage.

1.12 pm. confirmed - Riots in Tabriz, Mashad, Isfahan, Ahwaz - Gov using violence

Via Sully, a Twitterer: "1.05 pm. Mousavi - confirmed - IF I AM ARRESTED THE NATION IS TO STRIKE INDEFINITELY"

State TV ramping up propaganda:

This morning a friend of NIAC who gets Iranian Satellite TV here said that state-run media showed President Obama speaking about Iran this morning. However, instead of translating what he actually said, the translator reportedly quoted Obama as saying he “supports the protesters against the government and they should keep protesting." Assuming this report is correct, it shows the Iranian government is eager to portray Obama as a partisan supporting the demonstrators

Obama, of course, said no such thing.

New YouTube, apparently of the Basij fleeing (I haven't watched it yet):

Word, for now, is police and military are standing down.

Moussavi has said he is ready for death.

Assembly of Experts reportedly calls a meeting with Rafsanjani.

Twitterers, via Sully, say they're concerned for Montazeri's safety.

Difficult to get a beat on what's happening with the Basiji, but the reports I've seen seem to suggest the Greens have pushed them back in West Tehran.

European embassies open to injured as hospitals are allegedly being used as traps by Basiji.

(ed's note: earlier discussions here in the Open Thread, and this morning's news in the Salon here and here. See also the diary by danps, Voices From Iran)

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The Real Jesse Helms: An LTE

by Drew J Jones Sat Jul 19th, 2008 at 10:45:08 PM EST

In honor of Jesse Helms passing away, my father published the following letter in the local paper down south, The Palm Beach Post.  I loved it, and apparently he's been asked to speak at some convention after a liberal group came upon it, so I thought I'd toss it up for your enjoyment:

Helms' disservices to U.S. outnumber his services

Palm Beach Post Letters to the Editor

Friday, July 18, 2008

The column by Republican operative Marc Thiessen ("The Jesse Helms to remember," July 9, Opinion), extolling the virtues of former Sen. Jesse Helms, should not go without comment.

Sen. Helms was, after all, the archetypal Republican politician of his era. And few, if any, politicians did more than Sen. Helms to obstruct America's progress on a host of important issues ranging from race relations to national security.

Jesse Helms was, first and foremost, a vicious race-baiter who used hateful speech to demonize black Americans in order to further his political career. His television ad showing the hand of a white man crumpling a job rejection letter while an announcer intoned, "You needed that job but they had to give it to a minority," was a masterpiece of racist propaganda.

Sen. Helms also was an enthusiastic supporter of the apartheid government of South Africa, and he opposed every significant civil rights bill that passed through the Senate during his tenure. He went so far as to denounce the 1964 Civil Rights Act as "the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress." And his bigotry was not limited to race alone. Sen. Helms referred to homosexuals as "weak, morally sick wretches" and opposed all early efforts to address the AIDS epidemic, claiming that "There is not one case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

Despite being fined and reprimanded by the Federal Election Commission for illegal campaign contributions, Sen. Helms' fund-raising efforts helped bankroll the rise of religious fundamentalism in American politics and facilitated its takeover of the modern Republican Party. Sen. Helms consistently opposed foreign aid except when it came to financing right-wing death squads in Latin America, whom he supported unequivocally. He once referred to Salvadoran terrorist Roberto D'Aubuisson as "a free-enterprise man and deeply religious."

Sen. Helms was also an infamous slumlord whom Raleigh building inspectors repeatedly summoned to remedy the deplorable conditions in his rental units. No man is wholly good or wholly bad. But when legitimate historians (rather than partisan hacks like Marc Thiessen) evaluate the effects of Jesse Helms on America and the American political landscape, they undoubtedly will conclude that the negative far outweighs the positive. Goodbye, Jesse Helms. And good riddance.


Palm Beach Gardens

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Talk to Your Enemies: Jimmy Carter and Hamas

by Drew J Jones Mon Apr 21st, 2008 at 12:42:53 PM EST

Several months ago, I was left unsurprised by the reaction in the press and among others in the DC chattering class when Barack Obama had the audacity to suggest that talking with the leaders of countries "we" (whoever that is) don't like might prove to not be the worst idea in human history, rather than (say) randomly attacking countries which have not attacked us, as the Very Serious PeopleTM advocated in Iraq.  The press and other candidates pounced, calling it "naive" and "irresponsible".  Now a "shocker" today from ABC News: Jimmy Carter's visit with Hamas has proved to not be the exercise in freedom-hating we've been led to believe it was stateside:

Former President Carter said Monday that Hamas -- the Islamic militant group that has called for the destruction of Israel -- is prepared to accept the right of the Jewish state to "live as a neighbor next door in peace."

But Carter warned that there would not be peace if Israel and the U.S. continue to shut out Hamas and its main backer, Syria.

The brief article goes on to quote Carter as saying Hamas would be willing to accept a Palestinian state based upon the 1967 corders if it were accepted by the Palestinian people, capped by Hamas accepting Israel's right to exist peacefully as Palestine's neighbor.

Now it's undoubtedly the case that this will change nothing, since we're ruled by idiots.  The debate will obviously center on whether Jimmy Carter merely hates America more than Jeremiah Wright, or more than Louis Farrakhan.  But I just thought I'd toss it out there.


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Nevada Updated: Clinton Wins

by Drew J Jones Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 09:38:23 PM EST

Update: Exit polls show Clinton win. Clinton up 50-48.

Update #2: NBC News calls it for Clinton. Scores as of now:

(1) Clinton - 50.18%

(2) Obama - 45.16%

(3) Edwards - 4.39%

South Carolina GOP later.

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The Real Issue of 2008: It's the Machines, Stupid (New! Update from Bev Harris)

by Drew J Jones Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 08:27:49 PM EST

Update #2: BlackBoxVoting

We are finding in New Hampshire: the best of the best in MOST situations, but considerable naivete and in some areas, and an alarming and wilfull negligence.

Among the "best of the best" of New Hampshire situations:

(1) Beautiful, community oriented hand counted paper ballots in more than one hundred jurisdictions.

(2) Very democratic and participatory township structure of government, combined with very high level of representation of local areas in the state legislature

(3) Amazing level of responsiveness of public officials. Secretary of State Bill Gardner, for example, answers questions personally and tirelessly from just about everyone. Many, many high level officials perfectly willing to talk with and answer all questions from the public.

(4) Beautiful, participatory 100% hand counted recounts.

(5) Very good public records laws. If they have it in their possession, they let you see it THAT DAY. Along those lines, Paddy Shaffer did a hand written records request today which elicited some very good information. The dream team here is in the process of editing another request as I write this.

On the almost schizophrenically BAD side:

(1) A reliance on a sole source private contractor that is fully idiotic in nature. Not particularly bothered that the company has private chain of custody during critical points, no policy or even apparent concern with having convicted felons involved in the voting system.

(2) Use of a system with known defects without even taking any mitigation steps

(3) NO REQUIREMENT to even save the memory cards. The explanation is that they get a disk with the "program" on it. VotersUnite attorney Jon Bonifaz questioned the assistant attorney general on this closely today, because federal law requires records retention of 22 months on electronic media. New Hampshire has a truly idiotic policy of allowing the memory cards to be kept, or not, with a chain of custody, or not, shipping back to LHS, or not, and it's perfectly okay with New Hampshire if the memory cards are erased altogether. They profess to believe that they are okay, because the DoJ allows them to, if they just have LHS ship them a disk containing the purported program -- BEFORE the election, when there aren't even any votes registered on the card. No one could even tell us if this is the memory card program, or the GEMS database file, or the optical scan chip. They seem to have no idea what they are doing with this and I would call this wilfull ignorance, not naivete.

(4) Lack of documentation and lack of diligence on keeping documentation or written procedures in key areas

(5) Ballot chain of custody procedures with major holes and a few very creepy areas that will be the subject of a future article.

The upshot will be that New Hampshire could be the role model for the nation, but not until they purge themselves of a limited number of very significant problems.

The problem with chain of custody: You can have a strong, beautiful, stainless steel chain but if one link is broken, the rest doesn't matter.

Update: Word from Bev Harris at BBV is that the chain of custody on the ballots has apparently been privatized. Meaning, the recount is very likely to produce the same result, even if fraud has taken place. Words fail me....

Note: Mig and I haven't yet completed our model and analysis, but others are putting studies out.

The effect is bigger than initially thought.  More regression analysis is pouring out on the New Hampshire primary, and it's not pretty.  While newly-arrived ET'er Continuation initially found Diebold voting machines lending Hillary Clinton about five points of her over 39% share last Tuesday, new analysis by Chris Chatham of Developing Intelligence and Black Box Voting shows a pretty consistent 5.2 increase to Clinton, and 4.2% drop for Obama, attributable to the AccuVote counting method:

So I got a copy of the vote counts, and thanks to Brian London at BlackBoxVoting, the demographic information from each town (most notably, the % holding bachelor's degrees, the median household income, and the total town population). Now, Mark at BlackBoxVoting has provided estimates of the mileage for each district, allowing for the calculation of population density.

To my complete (and continuing) amazement, the "diebold effect" on Hillary's votes remains after controlling for any and all of those demographic variables, with a p-value of <.001: that is, there are less than 1:1000 odds for this difference occurring through chance alone, and that's after adjusting for variability in Hillary's votes due to education, income, total population, and population density.

An economics professor at Dartmouth finds similar results.

Even controlling for "urban-ness," median income, education, and other demographic and socioeconomic factors, the Diebold Effect remains.  And it remains strong enough to, not only swing the election back to Obama, but provide a margin of victory to Obama perfectly in line with the combination of polling data and the tight race among late-breakers that Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post noted in the exit polls on MSNBC.

That is to say, it is perfectly conceivable -- perhaps even likely -- that female voters helped to boost Clinton.  That is consistent comparing pre-primary polling and the raw exit poll data.  But it is also true that the evidence is mounting against those machines.

Stay tuned. I'll use this diary in the coming days to add new findings and add amendments to what is here.

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Updated #2: Kucinich Pays for Recount, Michigan Primary Thread

by Drew J Jones Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 05:59:08 PM EST

Update #2: Romney Wins Michigan Update #2 As of 3.03PM this afternoon, Kucinich has paid the necessary fee to begin the recount tomorrow morning at 9.30AM at the state Archives and Records Management Building at 71 S Fruit Street, Concord, NH. (So, know that we have had a lot of people flooding the website on the possible New Hampshire fraud, if anybody near Concord is reading, you can help by monitoring!) So, if fraud occurred, let's hope the ballots were secure and tracks were not covered. Now what part of "Don't vote for Ron Paul" do the filthy proles not understand?

This comes from a guy who was first to vote in his precinct today:

Voter #1 Genoa Township, Michigan Precinct 3. Voting problems?

Posted January 15th, 2008

First observation...

I was the first voter, I circled in Ron Paul and put my ballot into the machine. Spit it right back out and said INVALID BALLOT.

Second guy gives it a shot. INVALID BALLOT.

I begin argueing with the lady running the precinct about computer voting and people voting. This lady actually says in a room full of people that Computers are better at counting ballots than people, cause people make mistakes. who makes computers?

So to finish it up, she calls the township. she says I can keep my ballot in a secret compartment and they will put it through later once its fixed.

So they call her back. She gets off the phone. She says the manufacturer says there is a problem with a memory card. Someone from the manufacturer will be there with a new memory card soon.

Holy hell, it doesn't help that I just watched a damn documentary about DIEBOLD and MEMORY CARDS.

I immediately left and drive to the township office to voice my complaints.

This is fucking bullshit, and it needs to stop right now.  More reason to not trust a God-damned thing these machines tell us.

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2008 American Presidential Election

by Drew J Jones Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 05:28:18 PM EST

Something very strange is going on in American politics at the moment.

A few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton was riding high on a twenty-point lead over Barack Obama and John Edwards.  Edwards has stagnated, as I feared he would.  But Obama has jumped by about ten points in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.  He attracted 20,000 supporters at a rally in Austin, Texas, a week or two ago -- 20,000, nearly two years before the election.  I've been hunting around Wikipedia and many sites trying to find the last example of a candidate accomplishing this.  Not even Dean was playing to crowds that big.

(Source: The Polling Report)

The Republican side is looking even more bizarre.  Many people, myself among them, thought Rudy Mussolini's candidacy to be something of a joke.  In the same poll, he has gone from running roughly equal to St. McCain to now besting The Last Honest ManTM by over twenty points.  Rudy, the pro-choice, pro-gay rights candidate, with enough marital baggage to sink at least half of Lower Manhattan, looks like he may well be on his way to not only competing, but winning the nomination of the Republican Party.

Did I wake up on another planet?

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Not Knowing the Half of It

by Drew J Jones Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 12:07:49 AM EST

Atrios linked to one of his old posts from back duringa trip to Iowa in 2005:

The Crazy Guy At The Bar

Certainly not actually crazy. Honor, fighting for country, paying the price so freedom is free. On leave. From where? Hawaii, is the first response. From 14 months in Iraq is the real one. There with brother, friends, his second day being legally allowed to drink. Honor, love of country, willing to die. Honor. Fighting. 25 kills, officially. Captured. Tortured. Friend cruises by. Have a beer, tag some pussy. Not tears, but almost tears. Says, in fact, almost in tears. No one understands. Brothers. Fight for country. Honor. No one understands. Fighting for country. 25 kills. Women. Children. Children carrying ammunition. No one understands. Fighting for country. A bit drunk. A lot drunk. On leave, just one week. Where is brother, friends? Women. Children. Freedom isn't free. 21 just yesterday. Was once religious, no longer believe. God wouldn't allow such pain. The war is against religion, must stop it to defend the country. Almost in tears. Knee blown out. Chest. Scar. Fighting for brothers. Fighting with brothers. No one understands. honor. repeat. honor. Fighting for country. Captured. Razor. No air support when needed. Politics. Will fight for country. Children. Killed. Honor. Freedom. Fighting for country. No one understands. 14 months. Honor. Brothers. Dude, have a beer. Tag some pussy. Children. Backpacks. Ammunition. Fought for country, for freedom. Will end up in hell.

how many like him?

Just thought I'd toss it up in honor of Tony Blair apparently getting religion on Iraq tonight.

A day late and a dollar short, Prime Minister.

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Homeward-Bound: The Incredible Journey

by Drew J Jones Sun Jan 28th, 2007 at 07:22:13 PM EST

Not sure why I'm using movie titles for diaries lately....

At the request of my dear friend (and fellow smokers' advocate), Jerome, a diary on why I'm leaving Europe.

It's heart-breaking, to be sure.  I had high hopes -- perhaps too high -- of falling in love with England, and never wanting to leave.  But it is nonetheless the case that, as I mentioned in tonight's Open Thread, I simply miss being in America.  That is not to take away anything from Europe.  Quite the contrary, living here has been wonderful.  And, along the way, in addition to having the privilege of meeting Miguel, Barbara and (ET's) Helen, I had the privilege of meeting two people -- Helen Oginsky and Richard Smith (thus completing the shout out, as the blackfolk say) -- who are, without question, two of the greatest one could hope for.

But, also as I said, while I deeply regret all of the things I didn't do and didn't say, it's time to move on.  I'm going to (hopefully) be starting a business that will provide me with a ton of material to write on -- not about the business, in particular, but about a few concepts I've come to recognize over the last four years, as we've watched firsthand the revolution that has taken place in our communications, cultures and politics.  (I wouldn't be a proper cheerleader if I didn't plug Joe Trippi's book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet & the Overthrow of Everything, here.)  It's exciting stuff, especially as an economist.  And, as any economist can tell you, we're not the most excitable group on Earth.  And I'm going to be moving to Atlanta to work in the meantime.

And, with all that said, adieu Europa.

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Thank You for Smoking

by Drew J Jones Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 06:20:21 AM EST

Yesterday Mark Thoma's Economist's Voice included a diary on NHS doctors and trusts debating whether to treat smokers -- a question that I find absolutely horrifying, not because I'm a smoker, but because of the absolutely disgusting degree to which smokers have become targets in this day and age.  The argument is fairly straightforward: Smoking increases costs.  Smokers are more likely to suffer complications, such as failure of tissue to heal quickly and infection.  Thus, argue proponents, finite resources should be concentrated on those who are least likely to suffer such complications.

It is, as one of the opponents points out, the accepted norm to preach discrimination against smokers in western societies.  Smokers in Nottingham fork over £5.40 for a twenty-pack of Marlboros -- fully three times the cost of the same pack in Atlanta.  (And, yes, you can pay less if you want to smoke the stale European garbage, but even that will run you £4.25.)  In San Francisco, last I heard, smokers were banned from lighting up in the streets.  Across America and Europe, smoking is being banned from bars and restaurants.  And now, finally, we have discrimination in the world of medicine.

But, as is always the case, no such discrimination exists against (say) the morbidly obese, who enjoy greater influence due to their larger numbers -- and who, I'll bet, cost society far more than smokers could ever dream.  Presumably these are not life or death surgeries, but, if we are to begin discriminating based upon cost considerations, then socialized medicine in Britain has rendered itself no more a moral beacon than its privatized counterpart in America.  And it is made worse by the fact that smokers in Britain are already paying taxes for the NHS, in addition to the insane "sin taxes" they pay at the supermarket.  It is, in other words, organized theft.

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Now That That's Over...

by Drew J Jones Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 11:34:30 PM EST

So Saddam was hanged about an hour and a half ago.  Junior got his man.  Let it be known, Oh Cat-Eyed World: Thou shalt not try to kill the head of the House of Bush.

Can we get the fuck out of that hellhole now?  I'm so God-damned sick of this....

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Why Don'tcha Come with Me, Lil' Girl, on a Magic Pony Ride

by Drew J Jones Fri Nov 24th, 2006 at 06:20:58 AM EST

Wrote this in a response to an old friend and (brief) bandmate of mine, Jessica, who accuses our new, super-hot Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi of wanting to "cut-and-run" from Iraq, tax and spend, not enforce our immigration laws, and "usher in a return to feminist milestones" (which is, I guess, a bad thing in the Wingnut-o-sphere).  You're, obviously meant to sing the title of this diary to the tune of Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride"....

Poor Jessica.  Her political party was, as we all know, slaughtered seventeen days ago.  (Winds of history and all that.)  And now she feels the need to bash Speaker-elect Pelosi.  Time for another round of Drew Debunks Republican Horseshit, I suppose.

One would think that after five years of the press drooling over that incomptent little shit in the White House, Republican voters would get the hint that the "liberal media" their leaders out in Wingnuttia always talk about is nothing more than a bogeyman.  Totalitarians always need bogeymen, whether they be Stalinist-era Communist Party members in the Soviet Union talking of infiltration by capitalist sympathizers.  Or National Socialists -- better known, of course, as Nazis -- blaming Germany's WWI loss on liberals and Jews.  Or Mao's disastrous fight against "counterrevolutionaries" back in the mid-20th Century.

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'Flexicurity': Can the Welfare State Survive in Europe?

by Drew J Jones Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 06:21:59 PM EST

The lot of us are well aware of the all-out war going on in European politics over the alleged inflexible labor market that -- again, allegedly -- plagues the Continent.  In the editorials of The Wall Street Journal and, albeit to a far lesser extent, The Financial Times, we have the view that Europe must radically restructure its economy, slashing welfare and taking away job security.  On the Left we have the view that this is merely a play by big business and the wealthy, in an age of economic uncertainty (not helped by recent experience in the United States), to shift a larger share of national income into their pocketbooks.  What is frustrating to me, both as an economist and as an American liberal, is the view which, as I said in the Breakfast thread, states that flexibility and security are mutually exclusive in this case.

I call bullshit.

The truth is that both flexibility and security have their strong and weak points -- another of many examples of the world not being not so easily painted in black and white.  But, as anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes in a logic course can tell you, it does not follow that taking one necessitates giving up the other.  (Not only does it not follow, it doesn't even hang out with....)  They are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, depending, of course, on what we mean when we use each word, they are (or should be) complements.  As everyone who has ever read my diaries on economics knows, I am a rather militant Keynesian -- a follower of a set of theories on business cycle management that has been, for the last seventy years, the pillar on which my argument rests.  Here's why.

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In Dedication to Helen

by Drew J Jones Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 05:52:11 PM EST

So Atrios has taken to naming periods of time after politicians' and pundits' opinions of how much longer we have to get it right in Iraq.  For example:

1 Thomas Friedman ("a Friedman") = 6 months,
1 John McCain = 7 months (or approx. 1.17 Friedmans),
and so on.

My classmate, Helen, has suggested that we must succeed in 5 years, 163 days, 17 hours, and 28.5 minutes, or pull out.  She was rather nasty with me on the subject when we discussed it on poker night, so I thought, being the ass that I am, I would write this.  Her view works out to be approximately 10.9 Friedmans, at a rough guess (because I'm too fucking lazy to do the math).

I thus nominate her to the Blogger Time-Unit List:

1 Helen = 10.9 Friedmans

That is all.  Take the poll.

Note: I actually, thanks to Stormy's failure to correct me in time, wrote that the math worked out to 10.4 Friedmans initially. So, now that I've shown myself to be completely incapable of doing the basic mathematics necessary for my field, I shall hereby drop out of economics and begin my career as a garbage collector. Workers of the world, unite, and all that....

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Is the Minimum Wage a Threat?

by Drew J Jones Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 01:56:54 PM EST

Last month The Economist published a story on the minimum wage in the UK, which, on October 1st, reached £5.35 per hour, or, at the time, $10.08.  (The dollar figure has probably risen since then, given sterling's small gains since the Bank raised rates to 5% last week, as well as the fact that the UK is now nearly doubling America on GDP growth, but I haven't checked the exchange rates in a few days.)  As an American, this is, of course, a stunning figure to me, even more so given Britain's moderate, albeit rising, unemployment rate.

The staff at the magazine are now worried about the potential impact of the floor, which has risen 49% since 1999, next to average wage rises of 32%.  The recent increase marked a 6% jump, compared with the still-quite-respectable 4.4% growth in average wages.  So the question is obvious: Should we be worried?

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The Legacy of Milton Friedman

by Drew J Jones Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 02:48:13 PM EST

For bruno-ken and Miguel....

There are really only four major figures worth speaking of in my field: Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Maynard Keynes, and Milton Friedman.  The first three are long gone -- the youngest of them having died in 1946.  Three days ago, Friedman finally passed, and, as I said in yesterday's open thread, with his death the era of giants in economics comes to a close.  Most people are familiar with his libertarian political views, but I thought I'd throw a diary together on his contributions to economic theory.

Friedman was, of course, the founder and leader of the Chicago School of thought, perhaps better known as Monetarism.  More than anyone, Friedman resurrected the idea of real variables -- as opposed to nominal variables -- only changing permanently because of changes in other real variables, thus helping to lay the foundation for modern Neoclassicalist economic thought.  Perhaps his greatest achievement, in particular, came in the form of his brilliant dismantling of what is known as the Phillips Curve.  And that is where I will begin.

Read more... (23 comments, 1468 words in story)
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