Morning Ed: World {2016.06.22.W}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Christopher Carr
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    “I lean against Brexit, but the contempt oozing from this piece makes me reflexively sympathetic to the idea for all the wrong reasons.”

    It seems like so much political decision-making is just an angry reaction to another angry reaction.

    I really think the next step forward in terms of organization of human societies has to be more automaticity – we can start with the economy and see how that goes before trying the model out in other policy domains.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Christopher Carr
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      Do you mean autonomise rather than automatic?Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
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        He’s trying to get in good with our new robot overlords.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg
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          What I think he means is that we should take more policy decisions out of the hands of humans and entrust them to expert systems. But that’s speculation.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brandon Berg
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            That was the justification for limiting the franchise to people who owned a sufficient amount of property and not having any salary for MPs. It turns out that people often confuse self-interest with community interest, hence the Corn Laws.

            How do you even determine who is an expert. The people at Vox and Brookings are going to have different ideas than the people at Cato, AEI, or Fee.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq
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              It’s also the justification for the Federal Reserve which came on line by most of the same people that finally granted Womens Suffrage.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Kolohe
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                Yeah, this is my point really. The Fed is a good example – you could have certain indicators that, if met, automatically spring interest rate or marginal tax rate changes. A similar logic could be applied to DoD budgets, immigration targets, etc. The parameters for this could be agreed upon a priori.

                Of course, the legislature could always override something that’s deemed to have an undesirable outcome, but basically the idea is to take certain targets out of the realm of political football and have them be governed by models and algorithms that are set ahead of time.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Christopher Carr
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                I just read a piece on Vox about how the Fed keeps *signalling* it will raise interest rates, which makes investors skittish, which in turn causes a underpreforming quarter of economy growth, which then results in the Fed saying they’re not going to raise rates this quarter because of that slower growth…they’ll raise them next quarter! Rinse, repeat.

                I can’t even imagine this. If you’re going to raise interest rates, *raise interest rates*. At least then you’re done, and the market can adapt.

                And forget this ‘signaling’ nonsense. Plan shit in advance. Say ‘Next meeting we will raise interest rates barring some actual disaster’ (Not just bad growth.)

                Sadly, if you start opposing the nonsensical and idiotic behavior of the Fed, you get grouped with the dumb ‘Audit the Fed’ nonsense. (Because *policy* problems can be fixed by an *audit*. I’m sure that makes sense.) Or even gold bugs that don’t like the entire concept of the Fed.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to DavidTC
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                Fuck all, and stop reading idiots.
                The Fed stopped signalling that they’re going to raise rates because China is scaring the pants off everyone, hiding debt and heading for a real market adjustment (which is code for “Everyone Marks to Market the Chinese Economy”). The Fed’s just as aware of the danger of the global economy crashing as the next shmuck.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Kim
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                If the Fed has *stopped* doing that for reasons other than ‘This is really stupid to be doing and is itself inhibiting growth’, than they haven’t actually *learned* anything and are still just as stupid.

                And, importantly, they will start signalling again and then not doing it.

                I mean, it’s good they stopped, but I’m not giving them any praise for that. It’s like a guy who rode on top of a moving car, and I said that was stupid and he should get down, and he got down…because the car arrived at his destination. That doesn’t mean he’s stopped being stupid or riding on the outside of the car! It just means he doesn’t have a reason to do it at the moment!Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to DavidTC
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                David,
                the fed threatening to raise rates hasn’t stopped people from investing. China being a total trainwreck is scaring the pants off everyone in the know.

                The FED gets the news first (for US stuff, generally), but all the smart players get the same news, eventually. The FED sends signals about the American Economy that the other players don’t get beforehand. But the Fed’s pretty bullish on the American Economy right now, and mega bearish on the International Markets.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to DavidTC
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                This is something I know a little about. The Fed is really torn between two factions, and the staff is re-evaluating a lot of what was taken for granted up to the Great Recession. So direction on interest rate policy is definitely a little confused.

                Please note that deliberate ambiguity has been one of the Fed’s primary means of communication for years. Remember Greenspan’s utterly opaque speeches to Congress? This arises in large part (so it can be argued) due to the Fed’s dual mandate. Greenspan pretty clearly wanted to pursue only the low interest rate component of the mandate, but felt obliged to at least make head fakes to the full employment side. Thus, ambiguity.

                Finally, largely the Fed does not “set” rates. The rates at issue are set in the open market. But since the Fed has the hypothetically unlimited power to move money into and out of the market, the Fed can engage in enough market transactions to obtain the results it wants. Since there are secondary effects to Fed actions, the Fed staff and Board figured out years ago that the easiest way to get the interest rates that they want was to tell the market that it would — if necessary — engage in those transactions. Saying so makes it so.

                Imagine, for example, that the Fed had the authority and desire to set Apple’s price. So on a Tuesday morning, the Fed announces that it plans to engage in the stock transactions — buying, selling, whatever — necessary to bring Apple’s price to $100 per share as of July 1. The Fed has an unlimited checkbook. No matter what the price was before, the price would immediately set to that price. Who’s going to short against the Fed, when it is backed by Uncle Sam? No one.

                Without actually doing anything, the Fed simply by saying what it intends to do achieves its goal.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Christopher Carr
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                Yeah, but that’s a seriously idiot move for the FED to do. Just like switching back to the gold standard. Put anything on paper, and the Chinese or the Russians will figure out the loopholes and spend the pennies it will take to earn dollars by devastating the American economy.

                (Besides, how in the world do you create reasonable metrics when we have dark gold floating around? Every market that goes dark is a danger… and the worldwide debt markets aren’t exactly as open as we like to think)Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq
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              The FED is an expert because they get all the data before everyone else.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    First revenge porn link goes to a Ghostbusters review. Gozer is not pleased.Report

  3. Avatar Marchmaine
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    I lean Brexit (with all the rights and privileges thereto) on a mostly notional level. MBD and Noah Millman put forward optimistic reasons to see Brexit as a possible corrective. I think it fair criticism to note that the EU is institutionally problematic by accident or design (it matters not).Report

  4. Avatar Will H.
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    I can see how David might not be so excited to see Michelangelo spreading around all this stuff about him in the nude.
    That’s why I have a personal policy on that sort of thing.Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko
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    Hey, are there any Brexit results yet? Looks like it’s going to be a squeaker.

    Oh, wait, that’s tomorrow. Never mind!Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to notme
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      The obvious response is that the 5th is one of those bad amendments that signifies badness. Some rights are Good and some are Bad. And we all know which are which.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to greginak
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        Rights, like guns, are inanimate things that can’t be good or bad. They can only be used by people for good or bad. In this case, the 5th is probably being used to hide his crimes and the crimes of others.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to greginak
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        This was a deposition by Judicial Watch. Which means, as it’s a highly public civil suit, they’re likely to play the fun game called “let me ask this same question 15 times, so I can drive up the numbers of “times you claimed the 5th” for my headlines, so certain people will believe it’s significant.

        Secondly, of course he claimed the fifth. He’s been interviewed by the FBI under an immunity agreement, which means if he contradicts in any way (even by misspeaking) his testimony to them, his agreement can be revoked. As he’s actually hired an attorney, and his attorney is still breathing, he would tell his client to invoke the 5th for everything other than questions of basic fact.

        He has an immunity agreement because, again, he has an attorney and any attorney that is still and said attorney are certain there were no violations of the law. Even if the FBI themselves is certain there were no violations of the law.

        Unfortunately, if your entire legal education is episodes of “Law and Order” you see shenanigans.

        In the real world, this is a guy who…hired a lawyer. And like any lawyer who has practiced, before he talked to the FBI the lawyer made darn sure that the one certain outcome of his talk with the FBI was “no charges of any sort”. And then when he was deposed by a partisan group, his lawyer then said “Use the 5th, just in case the FBI is actually mulling anything”. For the same reason a lawyer would tell you “Don’t let the cops inside your home without a warrant” even if you have nothing to hide.

        I’ve been shocked by how many people seem to think this was an FBI deposition, and even more who seem to think the immunity agreement MUST have meant crimes were committed. I for one wouldn’t testify to the FBI about the color of my socks without an immunity agreement.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20
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          Morat reads Popehat and takes his advice to heart.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            I had a professor WAY back in college who had a very libertarian bent and taught US Government.

            And he devoted a lesson to “Things you should know when dealing with the police and the justice system”. And it was rather clean of “should bes” and very much into “how it works”.

            So it wasn’t idealized — it was very concrete. Starting with “Always assume a cop or prosecutor wants to nail you with something, no matter how strained, because better to be prepared for the worst than assume the best” and went into stuff like that.

            I doubt it would have hit home quite so hard if I hadn’t, a few weeks before, witnessed a police car rear-end someone right after they got out of their driveway (the cop was doing well over the speed limit in a residential area, whipped around a corner — no lights, no siren — and slammed into someone). Within 10 minutes there were four other cop cars there, and clearly they were trying to spin it as the other driver’s fault.

            So I was a bit ripe for “Assume the worst here”. And most of his advice boiled down to “Don’t do anything without a warrant or court order, make sure you clearly and firmly (but politely) object so you can say later you didn’t offer to do X” and “Always talk to a lawyer first”.

            Which then led into “Then the lawyer will tell you not to say anything. Ever.”

            There’s a comedian, I can’t remember who, who makes this point in a comic bit. He talks about how he’s been watching a lot of Homicide, and how he couldn’t help but notice that virtually no one asked for a lawyer, but those who did never seemed to get convicted of anything.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Morat20
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          One of our running jokes at my law firm is about Law & Order. We use this as a cautionary example which our clients can understand:

          You ever watch Law & Order? Sure. You know when they’ve got the kid in the interrogation room and the detective walks in with this big thick file? He plops it down on the desk with a thud, and says, “Timmy! You’re in a lot of trouble. Mark and Cindy already told us everything that happened. We need your side of the story so we can tell the D.A. over there that you cooperated, and they’ll go easy on you.” So, Timmy tells the cop his side of the story. After all, Timmy knows he didn’t personally do anything really bad so he figures, I’ve got nothing to hide. [Pause.] How often does that work out good for Timmy?

          Among us lawyers, we’re down to “Timmy! You’re in a lot of trouble.” and everyone knows the rest of the story from there. But we tell the story that way (roughly) to amplify the point that if it’s at all possible to nothing at all, that’s pretty much how you want to be.

          As for the deponent in the Judicial Watch case, well, seems to me that he was being a whole lot smarter than Timmy.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko
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            I have mixed views on how police procedural a work. I know that certain entertainment requirements like the need to get everything done in an hour and the audience’s need for the heroes to win go against having the accused assert their rights but having defense counsel appear or rights to silence maintained would be nice.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Burt Likko
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            Back when SVU was first on, I used to remark to my wife how many people they took on a perp walk, telling everyone in sight that such-and-such was a murdering pervert, who were in fact innocent. No one ever seemed to take them to court for false arrest, defamation of character, or generally ruining their personal and/or professional lives. Sometimes multiple people per episode were wrongly accused and publicly paraded…Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Burt Likko
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            Lassie was always the brains of the outfit. And she never said a word.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko
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            While I realize I’m not the demographic most at risk of this, I’ve seen way too many news stories that read “X cleared after years in jail” where the whole case turned on a confession after a 16 hour interrogation where the cops literally coached the guy on what to confess to.

            I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be thinking clearly after about hour two, and I’d be fighting my normal urge to be helpful the whole time. Which is why “Am I under arrest or can I leave” would be the only thing I’d say. And if it’s “under arrest” or “not free to leave” it would be “I would like to get a lawyer, please. I will need a phone to contact one”.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20
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              Ditto. And the whole, “if you cooperate now, we’ll tell the DA you helped and maybe he’ll go easy on you”. Man, that ‘maybe’ is doing a whole lot of work there. Thank you, no, I’ll be shutting up now until I’ve spoken with an attorney.Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to notme
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      Anyone who bitches about Democrats not respecting the Second Amendment and doing nothing but political posturing on gun control legislation has no business complaining when a deponent invokes her 5th A rights in the context of political posturing litigation.Report

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