Expect 2018 to Be More Sane? Sorry, It’s Not Going to Happen Frahood Manjoo, NYT
Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? American Banker
Confessions of a Columnist Ross Douthat, NYT. Yves: “Straight out of MMT…without the words or concept ‘fiat currency.'”
BREXIT BOOM: UK to TURBOCHARGE global trade links as HUNDREDS of key negotiators hired Express. See Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man Month: “Brooks’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”
Tony Blair: Brexit – What We Now Know Institute for Global Change.
Clubbing, British MP style Politico
Donald Trump unlikely to certify nuclear deal with Iran FT. One of the few unequivocally good things Obama did.
Erasing Obama’s Iran Success Consortium News
Trump’s CIA Director Reaches Out Directly to Iranian Foe The American Conservative
Best Served Cold: Responding to the Iranian Protests Stewart A. Baker, LawFare. Seems an odd way for a putatively great power to run its affairs, but I guess that’s how they roll in the intelligence community (NSA/DHS).
The fate of Jerusalem is not a Manhattan real estate deal Sic Semper Tyrannis (Re Silc).
Nuclear buttons: How easy is the beginning of the end? Deutsche Welle
China Blocked for MoneyGram Acquisition 247 Wall Street
Migrant worker evictions tear at Beijing’s backbone Jakarta Post
2016 Post Mortem
Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President New York Magazine. Assuming that Wolff’s reporting in Fire and Fury is accurate, we’re not living in Weimar Germany, but in a real-life remake of The Producers. Plot twist: Trump, who doesn’t want to win, dispatches sixteen (16) other candidates* on his way to capturing the Republican nomination. Plot twist: Trump, who doesn’t want to win, was Clinton’s preferred opponent (the “Pied Piper” email), and the Clinton campaign worked to “elevate” him. Plot twist: Trump, who doesn’t want to win, wins, defeating the other, and his second, party establishment. Who would believe this? The 2016 plotting is terrible. And such large portions! NOTE * Leaving out the perennials.
7 wild details from the new book on Trump’s White House Politico. I would love to see a comparative review of Fire and Fury and Shattered.
New Cold War
Tony Blair ‘warned Trump’ that UK may have spied on him The Times. More from Wolff:
In February Blair visited Kushner in the White House. On this trip the now freelance diplomat, perhaps seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House, mentioned a juicy rumour: the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself.
This was, as Kushner might understand, the Sabbath goy theory of intelligence. On the Sabbath, observant Jews could not turn on the lights, nor ask someone else to turn on the lights. But if they expressed the view that it would be much easier to see with light, and if a non-Jew then happened to turn them on, that would be fine. So although the Obama administration would not have asked the British to spy on the Trump campaign, the Brits would have been led to understand how helpful it might be if they did.
Big if true.
Manafort Lawsuit Challenges Mueller’s Broad Authority as Special Counsel National Law Journal (unpaywalled version here, but with code cruft in it). Here’s a copy of the suit.
Trump in 2018: Four things to watch in Congress in 2018 Brookings Institute
Rubbing SALT in the Wounds of Republicans Dean Baker, The American Prospect
DHS weighs major change to H-1B foreign tech worker visa program McClatchy. See NC here. From December 30, still germane.
Democrats in Disarray
Will Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both run in 2020? (Re Silc). The New Republic. With an Establishment-backed “dark horse” no doubt making a stretch run…
The Supreme Court’s Quiet Assault on Civil Rights Dissent. On qualified immunity. “The Clinton and Obama appointees to the Court seem to be all in on undermining the most important civil-rights statute on the books.”
Our Famously Free Press
The Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror The Intercept. (The horrid mobile-friendly formatting goes away after the lead, so grab a cup of coffee and keep reading.)
Big Brother Is Watching You Watch
Researchers Discover Two Major Flaws in the World’s Computers NYT. “Amazon told customers of its Amazon Web Services cloud service that the [Meltdown] vulnerability ‘has existed for more than 20 years in modern processor architectures.'” Which makes you wonder how long the intellignence community has known about the flaws. Eh?
Tech groups race to fix chip design flaw FT. I always regard “race to” in a headline as a bullshit tell. And in fact, the flaw is said to have been discovered in June 2017, and the entire industry has been working to solve it in concert, as paragraph 13 makes clear. Do better, FT.
What is net neutrality? It protects us from corporate power Matt Stoller, Guardian. Still germane.
Imperial Collapse Watch
Richard Haass: U.S. now “a principal disrupter” of world order Axios. CFR dude.
Short-term exposure to low levels of air pollution linked with premature death among U.S. seniors Harvard School of Public Health
Upgrade your jail cell – for a price Los Angeles. “Some people convicted of serious crimes pay for better digs.” Prisoners in the Bastille could do this, IIRC.
Anthropic Capitalism And The New Gimmick Economy Edge. Interesting post, from the managing director of Thiel Capital.
Meanwhile, in Canada:
"Dear Team Members,"
— John Clarke (@JohnOCAP) January 3, 2018
Democratization vs. Liberalism in Canada Zero Anthropology (E. Mayer).
The Case for the Subway NYT (SC).
GIMPS Project Discovers Largest Known Prime Number: 277,232,917-1 Mersenne.org (E. Mayer). E. Mayer writes:
In case you were wondering what I did to keep busy between Christmas and New Year. :) Most of the details in the above press release will be omitted in the resulting newsmedia pieces, but for you algo geeks, note that Andreas Höglund’s verify run using my code on one of the recently-introduced Amazon Web Services C5 instances (based on the Intel skylake Xeon architecture and its 512-bit vector-arithmetic capability) was actually done at a larger FFT length than was required for this particular number – had he used the optimal FFT length his run would have needed ~48 hours, but he wanted to do runs at several distinct lengths because of the very different roundoff error levels that yields for the resulting hardware primality tests. One of my goals over the next few years is to get that time under 24 hours via improved code parallelism and cache performance.
Antidote du jour (via):
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.