facts on the ground

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pages: 293 words: 89,712

After Zionism: One State for Israel and Palestine by Antony Loewenstein, Ahmed Moor

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Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, drone strike, facts on the ground, ghettoisation, land reform, Naomi Klein, one-state solution, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, young professional

They worked successfully to place their representatives in high posts in the cabinet and infused the army with their numbers. Today, in 2012, any move to evict large numbers of settlers from the West Bank will likely be met by mass insubordination. It is a fact that the fathers of the movement, such as Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres, understood all too well. The occupation was never meant to be temporary. It was never about “security”. It was always about establishing irreversible facts on the ground. A key tenet of Zionism is expansion and demographic majority. Although the founders of the state could never have imagined the exact trajectory of twentieth-century history, post-1967 Israeli behaviour has followed Yishuv logic: more land, fewer Palestinians. Among the Palestinians, the second intifada’s renewed focus on armed resistance and suicide bombings resulted in political isolation and the destruction of Palestinian society.

Moving from the discussion over how to achieve the unjust two-state solution – something that still occupies the minds in the White House, much of the corporate media and elements of the Palestinian and Zionist lobbies – to another, more equitable outcome is the challenge we seek to address. After Zionism is a series of steps along that road, with the necessary twists, turns and contradictions at a time when facts on the ground are finally bringing a realisation that the one-state solution is the best way forward. The idea that Palestinians and Israelis can share a single country is not a new one, but it was buried and forgotten for a long time. As the two-state outcome has faded from the minds of people who know the region, many are beginning to revisit the idea. In America and elsewhere in the West, the one-state solution is no longer a fringe discussion being conducted at the margins of the political debate.

Establishing a new framework: The end of negotiations as defined by the US under Oslo The failure of the US-led Oslo process and the illegitimacy of the Palestinian political system were powerfully underlined in January 2011 by the release of the Palestine Papers, which some observers regard as a critical turning point in Palestinian politics. These documents highlighted the bankruptcy of the negotiation process as it had existed since the Oslo period; characterised by open-ended negotiations with no terms of reference, allowing Israel to dramatically alter the facts on the ground; and in which the Palestinian leadership offered concessions that went well beyond the national consensus yet were rejected by Israel. During this period, Israel made it clear that its conditions for accepting a Palestinian state included: annexation of settlement blocs, fragmenting the Palestinian state; demilitarisation of the state; no Right of Return; no sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, which is nearly 30 percent of the West Bank; and no sovereignty over Jerusalem.

pages: 251 words: 76,868

How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, Bob Geldof, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, Parag Khanna, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize

Stateless Statesmen and Super-NGOs Flash Diplomacy: The World Economic Forum The Broker: The Clinton Global Initiative Chapter Three The (Fill-in-the-Blank) Consensus “Twenty HUBS and No HQ” Who Has the Money Makes the Rules Public and Private Part Two SAVING US FROM OURSELVES Chapter Four Peace Without War A World of Complexes Can an Oxymoron Stop a War? Making Borders Irrelevant Facts on the Ground: Africa Facts on the Ground: The Middle East Facts on the Ground: South-Central Asia Chapter Five The New Colonialism: Better Than the Last Colonialism New and Old The Responsibility to Be Responsible Finding the Peace to Keep Taking the Reins of “Chaos-istan” Chapter Six Terrorists, Pirates, Nukes Terrorism as War Terror on the High Seas Nuclear Terror Chapter Seven Getting Rights Right Democracy Über Alles?

If this “Iron Silk Road” of publicly and privately financed pipelines and rail lines across landlocked central Asia is completed in the coming decade, it will triple the region’s GDP while assuring that the region isn’t bypassed in favor of the maritime Silk Road linking the Persian Gulf to the Far East. The places that most need to start emulating the European model today are Europe’s former colonial spheres of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Facts on the Ground: Africa We know to always be suspicious of straight lines on a map—and Africa is the continent left with more of them than any other. Many African states take their boundaries from the 1884 Congress of Berlin, which divided Africa among European powers along lines of latitude and longitude rather than by rivers or ethnic territories. Decades of interstate and civil wars have not undone these disfiguring colonial scars.

Bringing in professional partners and demanding private-sector partners is perhaps the only way to noticeably improve the efficiency of these infrastructure projects while decreasing corruption. Furthermore, just about every sub-Saharan African border should be turned into a trans-boundary conservation park jointly managed by sustainable tourism agencies and tax authorities. Their collective motto should be “make safari, not war.” Africa will achieve a broad renaissance only if its many micro-economies fuse into just a few. Facts on the Ground: The Middle East The artificial confines of the state have always been uncomfortable for Arabs, who once presided over mighty caliphates that fostered prosperous relations among the great cities of Cairo, Baghdad, and others. The post-Ottoman Arab world has suffered particular cartographic trauma ever since the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, in which the British and French divided up Arabic-speaking nations.

pages: 221 words: 67,240

The Other Israel: voices of refusal and dissent by Tom Śegev, Roane Carey, Jonathan Shainin

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conceptual framework, facts on the ground, Internet Archive, open borders, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

They are too brutal, too evident, and they generate both internal and foreign opposition. But military force is used effectively and with impunity to suppress resistance to the occupation and as a deterrent ("teaching the Palestinians a lesson," conveying a "message"). Although justified by security concerns, in the long term Israel prefers to control the Palestinians administratively—through the issuance of thousands of military orders and by "creating facts on the ground." Extensive use is made of collaborators and undercover mustarabi army units. The dependency that Israel's stifling administration engenders turns thousands of Palestinians into unwilling (and occasionally willing) collaborators. Simple things such as obtaining a driver's or business license, a work permit, a permit to build a house, a travel document or permission to receive hospital care in Israel or abroad is often conditioned on supplying information to the security services.

But collaboration also undermines Palestinian society by diffusing fear and distrust. Mass arrests and administrative detention are also common features of the military side of the matrix of control. In the March and April 2002 raids on West Bank cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, about 3,000 people were detained, 280 of them held in administrative detention—which can last for months or years—without being either charged or tried. Creating Facts on the Ground Massive expropriation of Palestinian land is an ongoing phenomenon. Since 1967 Israel has expropriated for settlements, highways, bypass roads, military installations, nature preserves and infi-astructure some 24 percent of the West Bank, 89 percent of Arab East Jerusalem and 25 percent of Gaza. More than 200 settlements have been constructed in the occupied territories; 400,000 Israelis have moved across the 1967 boundaries (200,000 in the West Bank, 200,000 in East Jerusalem and 6,000 in 24 JEFF HALPER Gaza).

While a number of Israeli highways were built in the occupied territories before the Oslo accords, construction of a massive system of twenty-nine highways and bypass roads, funded entirely by the United States (at a cost of $3 billion), was begun only at the start of the peace process. Designed to link settlements, to create barriers to Palestinian movement, and, in the end, to incorporate the West Bank into Israel proper, this project, which takes up an additional 17 percent of West Bank land, contributed materially to the creation of "facts on the ground" that prejudiced the negotiations. Another mechanism of division and control that came into being with the signing of the Oslo II agreement in 1995 was the further carving of the occupied territories into Areas A, B and C (in the West Bank),* H-1 and H-2 in Hebron, Yellow, Green, Blue and White in Gaza, Israeh-controlled "nature reserves," closed military areas, security zones, and "open green spaces" which restricted Palestinian construction in more than half of East Jerusalem.

pages: 279 words: 72,659

Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians by Ilan Pappé, Noam Chomsky, Frank Barat

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Ayatollah Khomeini, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, desegregation, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, ghettoisation, Islamic Golden Age, New Journalism, one-state solution, price stability, too big to fail

It started with a Michael Neumann article stating that “the one-state solution was an illusion” and was followed by articles by Assaf Kfoury entitled “‘One-State or Two-State?’ A Sterile Debate on False Alternatives” and Jonathan Cook entitled “One State or Two? Neither. The Issue Is Zionism.” What’s your opinion on this and do you think that in view of the “facts on the ground” (settlements, bypass roads) created by Israel a two-state solution is still possible? Pappé: The facts on the ground have rendered a two-state solution impossible a long time ago. The facts indicated that there was never and will never be Israeli consent to a Palestinian state apart from a stateless state within two bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza, totally under Israeli control. There is already one state and the struggle is to change its nature and regime.

In 1982, as in 2008, it was necessary to eliminate the threat of political settlement.83 The hope of Israeli propagandists has been that Western intellectuals and media would buy the tale that Israel reacted to rockets raining on the Galilee, “intolerable acts of terror.” And they have not been disappointed. It is not that Israel does not want peace: everyone wants peace, even Hitler. The question is: on what terms? From its origins, the Zionist movement has understood that to achieve its goals, the best strategy would be to delay political settlement, meanwhile slowly building facts on the ground. Even the occasional agreements, as in 1947, were regarded by the leadership as temporary steps toward further expansion.84 The 1982 Lebanon war was a dramatic example of the desperate fear of diplomacy. It was followed by Israeli support for Hamas so as to undermine the secular PLO and its irritating peace initiatives. Another case that should be familiar is Israeli provocations before the 1967 war, designed to elicit a Syrian response that could be used as a pretext for violence and takeover of more land—at least 80 percent of the incidents, according to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.85 The story goes far back.

There is a better chance to debate the historical narrative that to propagate the one-state solution at this stage in the struggle. Mainstream media and politicians reject out of hand the one-state solution, but may be willing to accept that their historical narrative so far was distorted and wrong and that they should view the conflict as a process that began in 1948, even in 1882, and not in 1967. In other words what should be hammered in is that what the “desperadoes” call the facts on the ground that gradually made the desired two-state solution impossible were not an accident. They are the outcome of a strategy aiming at granting the State of Israel control over all of Mandatory Palestine. This strategy was and is the cornerstone of pragmatic Zionism and it divided the land into two territories: the one that Israel rules directly and in it wishes to implement what Shimon Peres coined “maximum territory and minimum Arabs.”8 And the other territory is the one that Israel controls indirectly of through proxies such as a collaborationist Palestinian Authority.

pages: 196 words: 58,886

Ten Myths About Israel by Ilan Pappe

British Empire, facts on the ground, friendly fire, ghettoisation, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, one-state solution, WikiLeaks

Following Rabin’s assassination and the election of Netanyahu in 1996, the Accord became a discourse of peace that had no relevance to the reality on the ground. During the period of the talks—between 1996 and 1999—more settlements were built, and more collective punishments were inflicted on the Palestinians. Even if you believed in the two-states solution in 1999, a tour of either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip would have convinced you of the words of the Israeli scholar, Meron Benvenisti, who wrote that Israel had created irreversible facts on the ground: the two-states solution was killed by Israel.9 Since the Oslo process was not a genuine peace process, the Palestinians’ participation in it, and their reluctance to continue it, was not a sign of their alleged intransigence and violent political culture, but a natural response to a diplomatic charade that solidified and deepened Israeli control over the occupied territories. This then leads on to the second myth concerning the Oslo process: that Arafat’s intransigence ensured the failure of the Camp David Summit in 2000.

The Strip was also divided between Palestinians and Jewish settlers, who took over most of the water resources and lived in gated communities cordoned off with barbered wire. Thus the end result of this supposed peace process was a deterioration in the quality of Palestinian lives. This was Arafat’s reality in the summer of 2000 when he arrived at Camp David. He was being asked to sign off as a final settlement the irreversible facts on the ground that had turned the idea of a two-states solution into an arrangement that at best would allow the Palestinians two small Bantustans and at worst would allow Israel to annex more territory. The agreement would also force him to give up any future Palestinian demands or propose a way of alleviating some of the daily hardships most Palestinians suffered from. We have an authentic and reliable report of what happened at Camp David from the State Department’s Hussein Agha and Robert Malley.10 Their detailed account appeared in the New York Review of Books and begins by dismissing the Israeli claim that Arafat ruined the summit.

Bush was heavily influenced by Christian Zionists, and maybe even shared their view that the presence of the Jews in the Holy Land was part of the fulfilment of a doomsday scenario that might inaugurate the Second Coming of Christ. Bush’s more secular neocon advisers had been impressed by the war against Hamas, which accompanied Israel’s promises of eviction and peace. The seemingly successful Israeli operations— mostly the targeted assassinations in 2004—were a proof by proxy that America’s own “war against terror” was bound to triumph. In truth, Israel’s “success” was a cynical distortion of the facts on the ground. The relative decline in Palestinian guerrilla and terror activity was achieved by curfews and closures and by confining more than 2 million people in their homes without work or food for protracted periods of time. Even neoconservatives should have been able to grasp that this was not going to provide a long-term solution to the hostility and violence provoked by an occupying power, whether in Iraq or Palestine.

pages: 294 words: 82,438

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Coordinated behaviors are crucial for victory, but the “fog of war” often obscures the big picture. To foster battlefield coordination, Napoleon is reputed to have issued a standing order to “march toward the sound of gunfire,” a simple rule that enabled his officers to coordinate their activities without knowing exactly what was happening. Generals and soldiers could locally adapt to the facts on the ground, such as deteriorating weather, a gap in enemy defenses, or unexpectedly intense resistance, which were impossible to anticipate. But the rule also helped ensure that the fighting force would arrive where it was most needed and would have the most impact. In contrast, a detailed coordination plan would likely not work well because the units could not adapt to changing local circumstances.

When drafting the dream team to develop simple rules, it is critical to include some of the people who will be using them on a day-to-day basis. At eToro, Yoni picked a few account managers responsible for cultivating Popular Investors to help develop the rules, while Martin asked Weima’s sales representatives to help develop the rules for screening customer requests. Having users make the rules confers several advantages. First, they are closest to the facts on the ground and best positioned to codify experience into usable rules. Because they will make decisions based on the rules, they can strike the right balance between guidance and discretion, avoiding rules that are overly vague or restrictive. Users can also phrase the rules in language that resonates for them, rather than relying on business jargon. By actively participating in the process, users are more likely to buy into the final rules and therefore apply them in practice.

As we have seen throughout this book, simple rules work because they provide a threshold level of structure while leaving ample scope to exercise discretion. Complex rules, in contrast, attempt to anticipate every contingency and dictate what to do in each scenario, thereby reducing people to automatons who do what they are told. But human discretion is not a defect to be eliminated, it is our greatest hope in the battle against complexity. Close to the facts on the ground, individuals can draw on their judgment and creativity to manage risks and seize unexpected opportunities. The latitude to exercise discretion not only makes simple rules effective, it makes them attractive. People thrive when given the opportunity to apply their judgment and creativity to the situations they face from day to day. And if they benefit from simple rules, they are more likely to use them and use them well.

pages: 488 words: 150,477

Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan

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Albert Einstein, British Empire, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, colonial rule, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, one-state solution, The Spirit Level, Yom Kippur War

These battered refugees-turned-soldiers were highly motivated to defend their new homeland and joined an organized infrastructure that had been decades in the making. The Haganah would soon develop detailed battle plans, including the control of Jewish areas beyond the UN partition line, in an area designated as part of an Arab state. The future shape of Palestine, it was increasingly clear, would be determined by the facts on the ground, not by what the United Nations had put on paper. "The boundaries of the state," Ben-Gurion wrote, "will not be determined by a U.N. resolution, but by the force of arms." In early 1948, a series of bombs planted by Arab and Jewish militias killed scores of people in Jerusalem—at the Semiramis Hotel, at the Palestine Post, and on Ben Yehuda Street in West Jerusalem. During the same period, the Haganah attacked Arab towns and villages, driving out thousands; the refugees began fleeing for safe haven in the cities.

Many Palestinians, including Bashir, believed the Egyptian president had sold them out by negotiating his own deal and not focusing on a comprehensive settlement involving all the parties. Demonstrations against Sadat and Camp David erupted across the occupied territories. In the coming years, the Begin government would refuse to withdraw from the West Bank and instead intensified Israel's construction of settlements in the territories. Led by Ariel Sharon and the religious parties, the ruling coalition of Begin's Likud government rushed to create new "facts on the ground," laying claim to Eretz Yisrael in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians were required to present proof of ownership or make way for bulldozers, barbed-wire fences, and Israeli settlers. Palestinians thus came to see their deepest fears realized: They were still stateless, the occupation was becoming more entrenched, and now they would need to go forward without Egypt, their most powerful ally in their decades-long liberation struggle.

Already the Israeli government had announced plans for thousands of new housing units in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians envisioned as their capital, and Israeli construction crews were building new "bypass" roads to better facilitate the travel of settlers from the West Bank to Israel. These plans were being undertaken within the Oslo framework, and many Palestinians worried that the new facts on the ground would permanently alter their chances for a viable, sovereign state. These fears were made more acute with the sudden surge in political violence and assassination, which had begun less than six months after the famous handshake on the White House lawn. On February 25, 1994, a medical doctor and American settler named Baruch Goldstein walked into the Cave of the Patriarchs, part of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, where Bashir had received his aqiqa ceremony in 1943.

pages: 351 words: 96,780

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky

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anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, liberation theology, long peace, market fundamentalism, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment

The huge US subsidy to Israel is, for the first time, conditioned on Israel’s performance: not on its implementation of the terms of the road map but on an economic plan that “will slash public sector jobs and wages and lower taxes,” measures that have been “dubbed an ‘economic road map.’ ” The plan is described by Israel’s leading newspaper as a “new theory, … according to which the US openly intervenes in forcing a neo-liberal order in Israel”—a theory that is welcome to the Israeli business sector but led immediately to a strike of 700,000 workers.35 Also quite specific are operations to create “facts on the ground” while talk proceeds, in the traditional manner. Notable among them is the construction of the “separation wall” that incorporates parts of the West Bank within Israel. The justification offered for the barrier is security: for Israelis, not Palestinians, whose security problems are far more grave. A barrier with a land swap would provide no less security. The most security would be given “by a wall a few miles inside Israel, to allow the IDF to patrol fully on both sides.

She suggests further that “the wall’s design [may be] aimed at carving out and encircling the 42% (or less) of the West Bank that Sharon has said he is prepared to cede to a Palestinian state.” If so, Sharon may have in mind something like the plan he proposed in 1992, now recognizing that the political spectrum has shifted so far toward the extremist-nationalist pole that what seemed audacious then may be portrayed as a dramatic concession today.37 “The facts on the ground,” Israeli journalist Amira Hass comments, “are determining—and will continue to determine—the area where the road map will be applied, the area where the entity known as the ‘Palestinian state’ will be established”: A visit to the [places] where the Public Works Commission, the Defense Ministry, Housing Ministry and the IDF bulldozers are busy at work, makes it possible to see why it’s easy for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to talk about a “Palestinian state.” … The massive construction in Jerusalem and its environs, from Bethlehem to Ramallah, and the Dead Sea to Modi’in, has already ruled out any Palestinian urban, industrial or cultural development worthy of the name in the area of East Jerusalem.

The northern enclave, from Jenin to Nablus, will be cut off from the center by the massive settlement bloc of Ariel-Eli-Shiloh.38 As for the “settlement freeze,” when Sharon persuaded his extremist cabinet to accept the road map he explained that “there is no restriction here, and you can build for your children and grandchildren, and I hope for your great-grandchildren as well.”39 At the rhetorical level, the road map appears to offer more to the Palestinians than the Oslo process: it uses such terms as “Palestinian state,” “end to the occupation,” “freeze on all settlement activity,” etc., all phrases missing from the Oslo protocols. But the appearance is deceptive. Apart from extremist elements, Israel and its sponsor have no intention of taking over territories beyond useful and desirable limits or of having Israel administer the bulk of the Palestinian population. Construction of “facts on the ground” has proceeded sufficiently to allow the free use of terms that might previously have impeded plans that ha been implemented for the past decade and are now being established more firmly. Apart from the rhetoric about “visions,” there is a more significant source of information: actions. Keeping just to a few illustrations, in December 2000 the Bush administration caused some consternation abroad when it vetoed a Security Council resolution, advanced by the European Union, calling for implementation of Washington’s Mitchell Plan and efforts to reduce violence by the dispatch of international monitors, to which Israel strongly objects: their presence is likely to reduce Palestinian violence but would also impede Israeli repression and terror.

On Palestine by Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé, Frank Barat

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Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, facts on the ground, failed state, ghettoisation, Naomi Klein, one-state solution, Stephen Hawking

It holds on not because there is the slight chance it will succeed but because of the dividends its very existence brings to many involved. The Israeli government understands that without this “peace process” Israel would become a pariah state and would be exposed to international boycott and even sanctions. As long as the process is alive, Israel can continue to expand its settlement project in the West Bank and the dispossession of the Palestinians there (including in the Greater Jerusalem area) and establish facts on the ground that would render any future settlement unfeasible and impossible. Because of the dishonest brokering of the United States and Europe’s impotence in international affairs, Israel continues to enjoy immunity in this process. The Palestinian leadership is divided on the question of how desirable the continuation of the process is. Senior members in the Palestinian Authority assert that the establishment of the PA was a very important national achievement and therefore should be maintained.

He explained that there would be no security problem if Israel were to accept the international call to withdraw from the territories it conquered in 1967, but the country would not then be able to “exist according to the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies.” For a century, the Zionist colonization of Palestine has proceeded primarily on the pragmatic principle of the quiet establishment of facts on the ground, which the world was to ultimately come to accept. It has been a highly successful policy. There is every reason to expect it to persist as long as the United States provides the necessary military, economic, diplomatic, and ideological support. For those concerned with the rights of the brutalized Palestinians, there can be no higher priority than working to change US policies, not an idle dream by any means.

pages: 233 words: 75,477

Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea by Robert D. Kaplan

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Ayatollah Khomeini, citizen journalism, European colonialism, facts on the ground, land reform, Live Aid, mass immigration, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, the market place

The looks of burning hatred registered by some of the older children would have made President Reagan's eyes water, had he been able to visit this desert hovel. In a continent infected with a double standard on nonalignment, it seemed that these people were drawing the proper distinctions. One would have to search far and wide for another issue on which official Washington appears as unknowing of the facts on the ground as in the case of Eritrea. Ironically, this ignorance continues despite the recent media attention lavished on the Horn of Africa, at a time when undermining Soviet client states in the Third World is particularly in vogue. But it is easily explained. No U.S. government official has visited the EPLF base area because the United States still recognizes Ethiopian sovereignty there, and so few correspondents of major U.S. media have made the trip that the amount of secondhand information available to people in Washington is incredibly sparse.

However, even if we should all wake up one morning to hear that Gaddafi has been overthrown, his bold moves to take advantage of a vacuum of power in Sudan in the mid 1980s should cure those in the West of the delusion that humanitarian means are sufficient to achieve humanitarian ends in Africa. USAID officials have pointed out to me that the equation I make is an unfair one. Humanitarian assistance, they say, by its very definition is designed to have a humanitarian impact, not a political one. The real-life facts on the ground prove, however, that such logic is a cop-out because, first, it lets Third World leaders morally off the hook. If leaders like those in Khartoum and Addis Ababa placed as much priority on the well-being of their peasants as the United States does, there would be no question about granting a political payoff commensurate with the amount of U.S. famine aid. Second, I believe the U.S. experience in Sudan, Ethiopia, and elsewhere forces the nation to question the very meaning of the term “humanitarian.”

pages: 306 words: 79,537

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World by Tim Marshall

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9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hans Island, LNG terminal, market fragmentation, megacity, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, trade route, transcontinental railway, Transnistria, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, zero-sum game

Not dangerous, not subversive—just irritating. They see it not through the prism of human rights, but that of geopolitical security, and can only believe that the Westerners are trying to undermine their security. However, Chinese security has not been undermined and it will not be, even if there are further uprisings against the Han. Demographics and geopolitics oppose Tibetan independence. The Chinese are building “facts on the ground” on the “roof of the world.” In the 1950s, the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army began building roads into Tibet, and since then they have helped to bring the modern world to the ancient kingdom; but the roads, and now railways, also bring the Han. It was long said to be impossible to build a railway through the permafrost, the mountains, and the valleys of Tibet. Europe’s best engineers, who had cut through the Alps, said it could not be done.

Most countries and international organizations recognize the islands as being under (limited) Norwegian sovereignty, but the biggest island, Svalbard, formerly known as Spitsbergen, has a growing population of Russian migrants who have assembled around the coal-mining industry there. The mines are not profitable, but the Russian community serves as a useful tool in furthering Moscow’s claims on all of the Svalbard Islands. At a time of Russia’s choosing it can raise tensions and justify its actions using geological claims and the “facts on the ground” of the Russian population. Norway, a NATO state, knows what is coming and has made the High North its foreign policy priority. Its air force regularly intercepts Russian fighter jets approaching its borders; the heightened tensions have caused it to move its center of military operations from the south of the country to the north, and it is building an Arctic battalion. Canada is reinforcing its cold-weather military capabilities, which includes five new navy warships with moderate ice-breaking capability to be delivered between 2018 and 2022.

pages: 410 words: 119,823

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield

3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Their argument, broadly, is that going forward, there simply won’t be enough meaningful work to furnish a global labor force of five billion or more with employment capable of sustaining them—and that it is in any event perverse to defend jobs we know full well to be bullshit.48 Instead of squandering energies in the sentimental defense of a proletarian way of life that no longer corresponds to any set of facts on the ground, they propose that there is a far more valuable effort progressive forces could dedicate themselves to at this moment in history: the struggle for a universal basic income, or UBI. As the name suggests, most UBI plans—and the variants are many—propose that the state furnish all of its citizens with some kind of sustaining stipend, regardless of means tests or other qualifications. Most versions propose a grant at least equal to the local poverty line, in theory liberating recipients from the worst of the want and gnawing fear that might otherwise beset them in a time of mass disemployment.

This clearly relies entirely too much on the initiative, the bravery and the energy of the individual, and fails to account for those situations, and they will be many, in which that individual is not offered any meaningful choice of action. Furthermore, this sort of accountability is ill-suited to the time scale in which algorithmic decisions take place—which is to say, in real time. Explanation and redress are by definition reactive and ex post facto. The ordinary operation of a sorting algorithm will generally create a new set of facts on the ground,72 setting new chains of cause and effect in motion; these will reshape the world, in ways that are difficult if not impossible to reverse, long before anyone is able to secure an explanation. It’s evident that the authors of this well-intended regulation either haven’t quite understood how algorithms achieve their effects, or have failed to come up with language that might meaningfully constrain how they operate.

They suffer high average commute times, astronomical pedestrian fatality rates, and massive percapita spending on the private automobiles that, given today’s inadequate public transit system, even the very poorest need to get by.” And this will remain true for all the time between the present and any appearance of an automated mobility system capable of serving their needs. Again, by being politically useful, the mere perception that automation is imminent has produced a new set of facts on the ground. Here the imaginary folds back against the actual, constraining the choices we have in the here and now, forcing us to redesign our lives around something that may never come into being. The lesson for all of us is clear: beliefs about the shape of the future can be invoked, leveraged, even weaponized, to drive change in the present. Even in advance of its realization, automation based on machine learning and the algorithmic analysis of data serves some interests and not others, advances some agendas and not others. 9 Artificial intelligence The eclipse of human discretion Taken together, the practical efforts we’ve discussed in this book—the massive undertakings of data collection and analysis, the representation of the world in models of ever-increasing resolution and sophistication, and the development of synthetic discretion—have a distinct directionality to them.

pages: 564 words: 182,946

The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989 by Frederick Taylor

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anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, German hyperinflation, land reform, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, oil shock, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine, the market place, young professional, éminence grise

It was at this time that Ulbricht uttered to Leonhard the famous sentence that perfectly summed up Communist strategy in newly occupied Berlin: ‘It has to look democratic, but we have to hold everything in our hands’.12 The Ulbricht group’s agenda in Berlin was urgent. Within a little less than eight weeks, the three Western allies would enter ‘their’ sectors of the city. Meanwhile, the Communists’ task was to establish as many ‘facts on the ground’ as possible. The division of Berlin between the three wartime allies—Britain, the ‘IT MUST LOOK DEMOCRATIC, BUT WE MUST HAVE USA and the Soviet Union—had been agreed by the inter-Allied European Advisory Commission (EAC). This was set up in January 1944 in London. Its task was to draw up plans for the temporary administration of the defeated country, pending its political rehabilitation and the establishment of a German government.

VE Day found the Americans often hundreds of kilometres east of the demarcation lines, occupying Leipzig, Magdeburg, Halle, Weimar, and other major German cities earmarked for the Soviets. The British had part-occupied Mecklenburg on the Baltic coast. Western forces had taken a third of the territory due to be Soviet-controlled. The question was, would America and Britain withdraw from those places before the Soviets allowed them to take over the proposed Western sectors of Berlin? Churchill was aware of the importance of ‘facts on the ground’. He had wanted to march on to Berlin during the final weeks of the war. He warned Washington of the ‘Iron Curtain’ that a Soviet presence in the heart of Europe would create. The British Prime Minister was in favour of retaining all conquered territories until ‘we are satisfied about Poland and also about the temporary nature of the Russian occupation of Germany’. 38 / THE BERLIN WALL Churchill was overruled by the new US President, Harry S.

Under no circumstances, it was made clear to Ulbricht, would Soviet forces move into West Berlin. Instead, Khrushchev suggested, ‘we will work out with you a tactic of gradually crowding out the Western powers from West Berlin, but without war’.21 Ulbricht was to behave like a good, obedient satellite leader. Not for the first time, Khrushchev’s hopes proved illusory. Ulbricht was a master of pinprick politics, of creating facts on the ground by changes so small that only the keenest observer could realise his ultimate aim. He kept to the letter but not to the spirit of his agreement with Khrushchev. Throughout the winter of 1960-1, the East Germans continued to harass border-crossers and German trans-sector visitors. There were temporary closures of crossing points, spot checks, swoops on public WAG THE DOG / 123 transport at the sector borders at which East Berliners who worked in West Berlin were turned back, and threatened with future punishment if they persisted.

pages: 359 words: 104,870

Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. by Mark Thomas

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Boycotts of Israel, facts on the ground, liberation theology, one-state solution, urban planning, urban sprawl

I think she veers from fantasist to pub bore and back again; in Britain she might be a member of the English Defence League shouting from behind police cordons at plans to build a mosque in Stoke or wherever. But no matter how isolated she looks, Nadia will probably set up her settlement at Beit Sahour, the place she calls Shdema. The army is escorting settlers in already and, once settled, the army will set up buffer zones and watchtowers to protect her religious squatters and future prime ministers. She is being allowed to create ‘facts on the ground’, because no one, in Israel at least, will stop her. chapter 21 ALL SMOKE AND NO MIRRORS ‘What’s that!’ ‘Hummer! …’ ‘… a Hummer?’ It’s two o’ clock in the morning and the house where we are staying, which was raided last night, is woken again. Phil and I are instantly alert to the loud banging and whirring noise. ‘… Get a torch …’ BANG! BANG! BANG! ‘… Hide the recordings …’ ‘… Check first …’ ‘… it’s the back room …’ ‘… both of us …’ BANG!

‘… and the crazies do not represent all Israelis, all Israel is not like them.’ ‘But that is not good enough. It is no good saying, “We’re not like them,” if no one takes responsibility for them. The settlers are de facto government policy: they build and expand into the West Bank unless stopped. All the Israelis, the ones I didn’t meet, have failed to stop the settlers and take control of them. And until they do, Israel will allow the settlers to create facts on the ground.’ Nava and I have talked throughout the walk and although it was not her job to defend Israel’s actions, she does passionately want me to understand. ‘During the Second Intifada people were terrified,’ she says. ‘A bomb went off near where I live; it was in a coffee shop. When my girlfriends and I would go out, instead of saying “Which coffee shop shall we meet in?” we would say, “Where do you want to die?”

pages: 752 words: 201,334

Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi

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back-to-the-land, Boycotts of Israel, Burning Man, facts on the ground, friendly fire, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, mass immigration, New Journalism, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, Transnistria, Yom Kippur War

As soon as the work is done, your construction workers will be sent packing. But Yehudah Etzion, Yoel’s devoted student and a member of the executive, was enthusiastic. He offered to organize a work group. Yoel backed Yehudah: here was a way of bypassing the Rabin government’s opposition, infiltrating rather than storming the territories. “We need to walk a thin line,” said Yoel. “Create facts on the ground, and if possible without going head-to-head with the government.” Yehudah brought together ten friends willing to work on the base. Hanan convinced the contractor to hire them and secured a work permit from the defense ministry, granted on condition that the group not stay overnight in the West Bank and create a de facto settlement. The group set out from Gush Emunim headquarters in a Land Rover that had once belonged to the Jordanian army.

Meir tried to accept his status with equanimity: he would never be Shalom Hanoch, revered by the crowds, but he would have a devoted audience, however small. The Meir Ariel of 1978 was less tormented, more self-confident. He was learning to regard his own flawed being with the same pity with which he regarded the inadequacies of others. Meir mentioned to Tirza that his album had come out. But Tirza, afraid perhaps to discover in his songs a lover who wasn’t her, appeared indifferent. Meir didn’t mention the album again. FACTS ON THE GROUND EIN SHEMER’S JUBILEE YEAR ended. The greenhouse had succeeded beyond Avital’s hopes. Kibbutzniks spent their leisure hours cultivating tomatoes, offering each other agricultural advice while Avital brewed Turkish coffee. The kibbutz allowed him to spend most of his workday in the greenhouse, and Avital hadn’t felt so fulfilled since his early years in the orchards. He had no doubt that his life in the art world was over.

Sensing a threat to the tomb, Hanan organized a group of Mercaz students to establish a yeshiva in the small domed building. The government body in charge of holy places forbade the group from bringing in books and furniture. But after each visit the yeshiva students “forgot” religious books and thereby created a small library. And then one night students brought in tables and chairs via a back entrance through the adjacent Muslim cemetery. Classic Hanan: create facts on the ground and force the government to live with it. The growing public protests forced the government to modify its plan: Rachel’s Tomb would remain under Israeli military protection, but Palestinian police would patrol the road leading to the tomb. That arrangement, said Hanan bitterly, was reminiscent of the time of exile, when Jews visited Mother Rachel under foreign rule. Hanan went to see Rabin.

pages: 464 words: 121,983

Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe by Antony Loewenstein

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, Corrections Corporation of America, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, private military company, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, Scramble for Africa, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, the medium is the message, trade liberalization, WikiLeaks

These included “public-private partnerships,” “flexible labor laws,” and the opening up of the economy to privatization.26 For this book, I visited places that provide unique insights into the cashed-up world of disaster profiteers, resource hunters, war contractors, and aid leeches. The narrative of supposed progress is seemingly unstoppable, and beyond the reach of critique. After all, who would not want to help the people of Papua New Guinea become independent through mining if this is their path to nirvana? But the facts on the ground tell a different story. The book is divided into two parts. Part I features the most egregious examples of exploitation: Pakistan and Afghanistan, Greece, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea. These nations have endured hardships because of the determination of particular factions to impose policies that enrich only a local elite and foreign entities. Since the attacks of 9/11, the geographical heart of the West’s “war on terror” has been in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Canberra even appeared willing to tolerate the loss of funds to PNG corruption, despite spending more than $160 million on Australian advisers in the first decade of the twenty-first century to “strengthen governance.”66 In 2011, AusAID introduced a “Mining for Development” initiative, which claimed to “provide countries with the expertise they need to build a sustainable mining sector, making better use of revenues, improving socially and environmentally sustainable development, and growing the economy.” All fine words, except that in PNG they were completely contradicted by the facts on the ground.67 Canberra had even brought out politicians and bureaucrats from across the world, mainly Africa, on “study tours” to see how apparently model corporations such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto conducted their business. In November 2012, ten women from five African countries toured Queensland and Western Australian mines and their communities. Sylvie Gilbert, a provincial director of Madagascar’s interregional department of mines, told the ABC: “One of the things I am hoping to learn from this study trip is better governance principles as well as a better income stream for the country.”68 A PNG blogger, Martyn Namorong, called this idea “neo-colonization” and asked what kinds of positive development PNG locals had seen in the areas where mining was occurring.

pages: 548 words: 147,919

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales From the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks

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airport security, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, continuation of politics by other means, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Turing test, unemployed young men, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks

Though couched in legal terms, such claims constitute a game-ending move, the rough equivalent of a threat: “Play by my rules or I’ll crush you.” Of course, though law is “game-like,” it’s not truly a game. Law differs from tennis because the “rules” of law and legal interpretation are not there for the entertainment of the players: they’re not merely self-referential. Law is supposed to bear some relation to facts on the ground, and law enables coercive action to be taken in ways that can permanently alter the facts on the ground. If we create a legal system in which cheating is widespread—or, worse, if we overlook game-ending moves by those with power and treat them as legitimate modifications of the game—then it isn’t merely the rules that get bent, but the rule of law itself. • • • Unlike their civilian counterparts at the White House, the Justice Department, and the CIA, most military lawyers had no trouble understanding that however much a war on terrorism might present a “new paradigm” and “render obsolete” aspects of the law, nothing about this “new kind of war” justified the kinds of “enhanced” interrogations that John Yoo was inclined to permit.

pages: 537 words: 158,544

Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna

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Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, knowledge economy, land reform, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Pearl River Delta, pirate software, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Potemkin village, price stability, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

If international relations is the meteorology of current events, then geopolitics is the climatology, the deep science of world evolution; geopolitics cannot be updated by clicking “Refresh” on an Internet browser. At the turn of the twentieth century, the German political geographer Friedrich Ratzel argued that empires needed to expand in order to survive. Like rubber bands, empires stretch as people move, altering the facts on the ground and establishing institutions that extend loyalty across territory as far as possible without causing the rubber band to snap. Ratzel’s student, Rudolf Kjellen, coined the term Geopolitik, which the Nazi geographer Karl Haushofer appropriated in order to expound his theory of expansive pan-regions requiring racially homogenous lebensraum. Haushofer’s deviation from pure geography would be a stain on the discipline of geopolitics for decades.17 Like his Continental peers, the famous British geographer Sir Halford Mackinder emphasized the life cycle of the “world organism.”

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE: TORN TOGETHER Since the call for a Jewish homeland in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, Israel has been the chief example of migration as a vehicle of state formation. But Israel’s existence does not guarantee its security, for the migratory force of Palestine’s Arabs has yet to achieve sufficient resolution. Since its victory in the Six-Day War, Israel’s occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem has created demographic bridgeheads of almost 250,000 settlers. Yet though these settlements are often called “the facts on the ground,” it is still an open question who will occupy them in the future. The growing presence of Palestinians—either as refugees, guest workers, or citizens—in Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon has given striking impetus to Palestinian statehood, for their own imposed lack of national identity challenges that of each of their neighbors. Because there are far more Arabs than Jews today between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, it has become one of the supreme ironies of the Arab-Israeli conflict that only the creation of a Palestinian state will ensure the survival of Israel as a Jewish state.

pages: 227 words: 62,177

Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probability and Statistics on Everything You Do by Kaiser Fung

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrew Wiles, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, call centre, correlation does not imply causation, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, edge city, Emanuel Derman, facts on the ground, fixed income, Gary Taubes, John Snow's cholera map, moral hazard, p-value, pattern recognition, profit motive, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, statistical model, the scientific method, traveling salesman

. ~###~ Upon analyzing the lottery win data, Rosenthal uncovered an unusual pattern of wins by retail store insiders, much too unusual to have been produced by chance. With similar logic, some people stopped flying after the EgyptAir crash because to them, four crashes in four years seemed like an unusual pattern of disasters in the same region—too many to have happened completely at random. Did such behavior constitute a “personality disorder”? The facts on the ground were immutable: the four flights, the location, the accident times, and the number of casualties were there for all to see. Many rejected random chance as an explanation for the pattern of crashes. Yet, to Professor Barnett, four in four looked just like the work of chance. He even used the same tool of statistical testing but arrived at a different conclusion. The difference lay in how he assimilated the data.

pages: 251 words: 63,630

The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends That Will Disrupt the World by Shaun Rein

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business climate, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, high net worth, illegal immigration, income per capita, indoor plumbing, job-hopping, Maui Hawaii, price stability, quantitative easing, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trade route, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional, zero-sum game

A survey conducted by the Guangzhou-based magazine New Weekly, however, found that 81 percent of eligible couples countrywide wanted just one child; only 14.5 percent said they wanted two. The main reasons were that they were worried about the high costs of raising two children, and how having two children would influence the couple’s career development. The Shanghai Academy of Arts and Sciences found that 45 percent of Shanghainese couples did not want a second child. Positive trends toward gender quality, accompanied by the hard facts on the ground, all add up to one thing: Chinese women are becoming empowered in the workplace, and their changing role in family dynamics, especially rural families, has had more impact on Chinese society than is understood by most Westerners. Amy is typical of the generation of Chinese women born in the late 1970s and early 1980s that shifted from being meek girls to confident, aggressive consumers and entrepreneurs.

Interventions by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, cuban missile crisis, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, Monroe Doctrine, nuremberg principles, old-boy network, Ralph Nader, Thorstein Veblen, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, éminence grise

But the “road map” was purposely left vague on many important issues, including even the core issue of boundaries. Furthermore, while Israel formally accepted the “road map,” it immediately issued fourteen reservations that completely eviscerated it, with the support of the United States. Hence both Israel and the U.S. were at once in violation of the “road map” that is commonly though inaccurately described as a Bush administration initiative.4 “The facts on the ground,” Israeli journalist Amira Hass comments, “are determining—and will continue to determine—the area where the road map will be applied, the area where the entity known as the ‘Palestinian state’ will be established.” With the barrier and by its other actions, Israel—and, by extension, its “boss-man called ‘partner’”—undermine hopes for a peaceful diplomatic settlement, surely by design, since the consequences are so obvious.

pages: 261 words: 57,595

China's Future by David Shambaugh

Berlin Wall, capital controls, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, financial repression, Gini coefficient, high net worth, knowledge economy, labour mobility, low skilled workers, market bubble, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Pearl River Delta, rent-seeking, secular stagnation, short selling, South China Sea, special drawing rights, too big to fail, urban planning, Washington Consensus, working-age population, young professional

Finally, China’s sustained decades-long military modernization program, which has been fueled by 12 percent average annual budget increases,24 is altering the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region where the United States has enjoyed unrivaled preeminence since 1945. China also regularly rhetorically denounces the U.S. alliance system in the region, and its assertive moves to enforce its disputed maritime claims are changing “facts on the ground” (indeed, they are literally creating ground from submerged atolls it controls in the South China Sea) and directly challenging key American allies. Hence, all three of the core premises that have undergirded more than four decades of American China policy are unraveling and coming under increasing criticism in Washington. In Beijing too, the United States is explicitly viewed as a subversive threat to Communist Party rule and an existential threat to China’s security.

pages: 229 words: 68,426

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

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augmented reality, business process, defense in depth, demand response, demographic transition, facts on the ground, game design, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, James Dyson, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, profit motive, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method

Indeed, in the words of a 2005 design competition sponsored by Japanese mobile market leader NTT DoCoMo, the mobile phone "has become an indispensable tool for constructing the infrastructure of everyday life." Despite the rather self-serving nature of this proposition, and its prima facie falsehood in the context of Western culture, it's probably something close to the truth in Japanese terms. This is a country where, more so than just about anywhere else, people plan gatherings, devise optimal commutes, and are advised of the closest retailers via the intercession of their phones. Given the facts on the ground, Japanese developers wisely decided to concentrate on the ubiquitous delivery of services via keitai—for example, the RFID-tagged streetlamps of Shinjuku already discussed, or the QR codes we'll be getting to shortly. And as both phones themselves and the array of services available for them become more useful and easier to use, we approach something recognizable as the threshold of everyware.

pages: 249 words: 79,740

The Next Decade: Where We've Been . . . And Where We're Going by George Friedman

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airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, Monroe Doctrine, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea

This led to the elaborate ruse of engaging Israel to sell arms to Iran in its war with Iraq and then funneling the profits to the Nicaraguan insurgents, as a way of bypassing a law specifically designed to prevent such intervention. We should also remember Reagan’s active support for Muslim jihadists in Afghanistan fighting the Soviets. As with Roosevelt and Stalin, a future enemy can be useful to defeat a current one. The decade ahead will not be a time of great moral crusades. Instead, it will be an era of process, a time in which the realities of the world as presented by facts on the ground will be incorporated more formally into our institutions. During the past decade, the United States has waged a passionate crusade against terrorism. In the next decade, the need will be for less passion and for more meticulous adjustments in relations with countries such as Israel and Iran. The time also calls for the creation of alliance systems to include nations such as Poland and Turkey that have newly defined relations with the United States.

The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz

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airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, industrial cluster, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, source of truth, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

("A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats."l?) This explicit tying together of analytical and moral judgment ("I believe that it is possible to be more objective than most of us are, but that it involves a moral effort,,18) is, of course, totally against the rules of the Enlightenment; but once we recognize that the world is as much constituted of moral (and other subjective) conditions as it is of the facts on the ground, this becomes a strength and not a fault. Indeed, the most important part of Orwell's analytical authority comes from his moral clarity (as contextual and contingent as that might be): we know where he stands, so we understand why he sees things as he does. Yet what makes this clarity most compelling is the satta voce "of course I may well be wrong about this" that seems to shadow his every observation.

pages: 257 words: 64,763

The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer

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banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, fixed income, housing crisis, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, mega-rich, mortgage debt, new economy, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, trickle-down economics

Certainly that has been obvious in many of the recent corporate scandals, but there are still some who believe, despite the evidence to the contrary, that a completely unfettered free market is the way to go. Certainly, Reagan believed that, and his rhetoric about ending oppressive government regulation had a compelling impact for most of three decades. But the problem is that the deregulatory forces he unleashed eventually provided the annoying facts on the ground that demolished his grand expectations for the efficiency of fully self-regulated markets. Ironically, the real economic legacy of what has been ballyhooed as the Reagan Revolution was to set the stage rhetorically for the unheralded yet dramatic changes that would come later, under Clinton. Long after Reagan had left Washington for his California ranch, the amazing power couple Phil and Wendy Gramm would fulfill his dream of destroying New Deal restraints on banks by enacting actual legislation to accomplish just that.

pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

More than three hundred pamphleteers, including Isaac Newton and Daniel Defoe, entered the ensuing debate over the proposed recoinage. The issue was whether or not the clipped coins should be reminted with the official silver content or lowered to match the devaluation by chisel. Sharply divided, the antagonists carried the conceptualization of money to a new level of sophistication. Locke’s opponents—for the most part merchants and entrepreneurs—started with the facts on the ground, as it were. Coining silver added value, as was evident when people accepted clipped coins as easily as they pocketed unclipped ones. The monarch under whose authority the coins were issued had added extrinsic value to the intrinsic value of silver by turning it into legal tender. Practical rather than philosophical, many of these writers broke free of Locke’s dogmatic position. They accepted the definition of money as a medium of exchange, separable from precious metals.

To counter these attitudes, labor leaders have awakened to the need to rebuild the solidarity that once existed between the public and organized labor. With the goal of representing a third of the American work force, as it did in its heyday in 1950, the AFL-CIO began a campaign explaining how a strong labor movement energizes democracy and keeps alive a moral commitment to living wages and decent working conditions worldwide. The facts on the ground back it up: Between 1978 and 2008 CEO salaries went from levels 35 times those of an average worker to 275 times. Nor have corporate heads been generous to their workers, as Henry Ford once was. Although the rate of American productivity has risen since 2003, wages have not, and benefits have declined in value. Organized labor backs the Employee Free Choice Act, which Republicans blocked with a filibuster in the Senate in 2007.

pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

For Schmitt (and for Heidegger and any number of subsequent political programs, both left and right, irredentist and esoteric), “the very possibility of legal relations is dependent upon an original act of collective appropriation of land which establishes the material matrix—literally the ground—of those legal relations.”21 Even forgetting that this is the same ox plow that Jacques Derrida used, once upon a time, to prosecute for writing against ontologies of presence, it should be obvious that “facts on the ground” absolutely do not defend sites against revision and innovation.22 It should be said that for Schmitt, if not for Heidegger, it is the physical taking and defense of land that matters most, not the transgenerational claims of autochthonous bloodlines that may have lost out against new forces. These political conundrums are still on our plates, and the ecological absolutes staring back at us are based not in the simple honor of defending homelands, but in the physicalization of abstraction and the abstraction of physicalization.

What is today most legal and most explicitly protected by the formal apparatus of law is what may be the most dangerous. Meanwhile many forms of connection and interfaciality that are technically illegal—or alegal—adapt to emergent conditions in ways that formal securitarian urbanism could never preprogram, and also represent some of the most secure public policy paths available. In the repetition as facts on the ground, these translegal forms (software or hardware) come to take on the force of law, and then just maybe, if urbanists are savvy, these designate as law, and geography is recompiled and restocked, brick by brick, in their image. For design, working with alegal interfaces represents a form of constraint and also a medium for the proliferation or suppression of utopian and dystopian alliances and enemies.

pages: 600 words: 165,682

The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 by Gershom Gorenberg

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anti-communist, bank run, colonial rule, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, old-boy network, urban planning, Yom Kippur War

Eshkol listened to everyone, and listened to himself argue the advantages of land and the impossibility of ruling another people. But it is not true that he was simply dragged by events, or that the settlement enterprise was imposed on him. He spearheaded the decisions to annex East Jerusalem and build Jewish neighborhoods there. By the fall of 1967, he fell back on his personal experience in settlement as a response to the new situation. He created facts on the ground, and sometimes imposed faits accomplis on ministers in order to do so. Wanting to improve Israel’s defenses and worrying about demography, he essentially adopted the Allon Plan, without formal approval. Like Allon, he bent the logic to fit his feelings about Kfar Etzion and Hebron. In Admoni’s insider description, Eshkol virtually returned to his role as Settlement Department chief. A shortage of settlers, Admoni writes, slowed the effort, as did technical problems, but the lack of an articulated settlement policy was not an impediment.56 By Eshkol’s death, there were ten settlements in the Golan, three in the Jordan Rift, along with Kfar Etzion and the Hebron settlement south of Jerusalem, and plans to settle in the Rafiah area.57 The first Israeli neighborhood in East Jerusalem was reaching completion, and would be named for him.

As long as the settlers did not publicly demand approval, as long as their challenge to government authority stayed low-key, he satisfied himself with warnings aimed at Peres not to flout the cabinet in which he served. Galili’s suspicions that Peres was actively supporting Ofrah had a basis. Ofrah, according to settlement adviser Netzer, “fit our conception in the defense establishment—a work camp created a fact on the ground without closing options for the future.”37 Since the purpose of “creating facts” is to close options, this is a claim to have eaten a cake while leaving it untouched. Ofrah’s location fit Peres’s views on settlement. Labeling it as a temporary camp, only serving those working at putting up a fence, helped him reduce friction with others in the government. At Ein Yabrud, the settlers heard neither of Galili’s acquiescence nor of his stipulation of “twenty men and four women.”

pages: 708 words: 176,708

The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by Wikileaks

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affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Pressed by the Obama administration to agree to a freeze on settlement construction to make space for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Netanyahu argued that, while he could agree to slow the construction of new settlements, he had no problem building up older ones: Regarding settlements, Netanyahu said he wants to work with the US on the basis of the understandings reached with the Bush Administration, i.e. that Israel will not build new settlements or seize more land, but if families grow, they will still have the right to build within existing settlement boundaries. Now Israel is hearing that the US wants no construction at all. Israelis consider this position to be unfair, he said. The question is whether the US is seeking a geographic or a demographic restriction on settlements. [09TELAVIV1184] Palestinians have long considered the Israeli settlement project an attempt to create “facts on the ground” to force Palestine to cede more land to Israel proper in any agreement over a future Palestinian state. Indeed, in an apparent effort to encourage young Palestinians to leave Israeli-occupied lands, the Israeli government has routinely denied growing Palestinian families in occupied territories the right to build additional housing on their property or even expand existing homes, ruthlessly bulldozing houses that violate such restrictions.

Worth, “Sergeant Tells of Plot to Kill Iraqi Detainees,” New York Times, July 28, 2006; “US Won’t Let Men Flee Fallujah,” Associated Press, November 13, 2004. 65Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” New York Times, May 29, 2012. See also Chris Woods, “Analysis: Obama Embraced Redefinition of ‘Civilian’ in Drone Wars,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, May 29, 2012, at thebureauinvestigates.com; and Glenn Greenwald, “‘Militants’: Media Propaganda,” Salon, May 29, 2012, at salon.com. 66Spencer Ackerman, “41 Men Targeted but 1,147 People Killed: US Drone Strikes—The Facts on the Ground,” Guardian, November 24, 2014; “US Drone Strikes Kill 28 Unknown People for Every Intended Target, New Reprieve Report Reveals,” Reprieve press release, November 24, 2014. 67Madelyn Hsiao-Rei Hicks, Hamit Dardagan, Gabriela Guerrero Serdán, Peter M. Bagnall, John A. Sloboda, and Michael Spagat, “The Weapons That Kill Civilians—Deaths of Children and Noncombatants in Iraq, 2003–2008,” New England Journal of Medicine 360: 1,585–1,588 (April 16, 2009). 68Quoted in Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Understanding Al Qaeda: The Transformation of War (London/Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2007), p. 43. 69https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Classified_U.S_report_into_the_Fallujah _assult; https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Complex_Environments:_Battle_of_Fallujah_I,_April_2004. 70Global Policy Forum, “War and Occupation in Iraq,” June 2007, at globalpolicy.org. 71Martin Shaw, The New Western Way of War (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005). 72For example, the prison’s oldest detainee, Mohammed Sadiq, was eighty-nine when detained.

pages: 710 words: 164,527

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, deindustrialization, European colonialism, facts on the ground, fiat currency, financial independence, floating exchange rates, full employment, global reserve currency, imperial preference, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, margin call, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, New Journalism, open economy, Paul Samuelson, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, psychological pricing, reserve currency, road to serfdom, seigniorage, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, the market place, trade liberalization, Works Progress Administration

For Henderson, as with the formidable German economic architect Hjalmar Schacht, managed trade and bilateral barter agreements were the wave of the future—not just a wartime exigency.45 Keynes was deeply troubled by the seeming impossibility of reconciling Britain’s need for what he called a “Schachtian device” to manage its postwar trade and American demands for nondiscrimination. His correspondence during 1941 reflects a gyration between despair over American bullheadedness and optimism that the Americans would ultimately be compelled to adapt their ambitions to the facts on the ground, and the facts on the ground to their ambitions. He presciently suggested, for example, that the United States would be compelled to try to “mitigate her task [of reducing global imbalances] by making large presents for the reconstruction of Europe,”46 which ultimately came in the form of the Marshall Plan. Like White, Keynes insisted on a system that left vastly more autonomy and discretion to national economic policy makers.

pages: 336 words: 90,749

How to Fix Copyright by William Patry

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, barriers to entry, big-box store, borderless world, business intelligence, citizen journalism, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, means of production, moral panic, new economy, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

In place of renegade Scottish and Irish book publishers we have local producers and distributors in developing countries, as well as global peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. THE EARLY ENGLISH EXPERIENCE While some have misdescribed the 1710 English Statute of Anne as landmark legislation favoring authors over booksellers because the right vested initially in authors rather than in booksellers,16 the facts on the ground were that authors benefitted no more after the Statute of Anne than they had before it was enacted. Dr. Isabella Alexander has written: Authors always had at least the right to consent to publication by virtue of their physical possession of the manuscript. Practically speaking, the right to print was of little use to authors, unless they happened to own a printing press and have access to a distribution network.17 84 HOW TO FIX COPYRIGHT After the Statute of Anne, as before, the only purchasers of authors’ works were a small group of London booksellers.

pages: 350 words: 103,270

The Devil's Derivatives: The Untold Story of the Slick Traders and Hapless Regulators Who Almost Blew Up Wall Street . . . And Are Ready to Do It Again by Nicholas Dunbar

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, break the buck, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, diversification, Edmond Halley, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, statistical model, The Chicago School, Thomas Bayes, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

“This is a total drag on our time,” Sparks complained to him. “We just want to get the right collateral so we can go and do our jobs.” But Lee felt the firm’s reputation was at stake if it couldn’t get a market price for the AIGFP swaps that justified its collateral calls. Lee declared that Goldman had to come up with a credible price. Since the CDO market was virtually frozen, Goldman would have to create some facts on the ground. It was what Lee called a trade spot, executing trades in order to get a handle on what things are worth, or, as he explained to Sparks, “You’re going to have to sell some of your portfolio to demonstrate where the price actually is.” Hitting Their Mark Over in London, Yusuf Alireza was oblivious to the Goldman-AIGFP death match. A handsome, gregarious man with a clipped black beard, Alireza had rapidly ascended the ranks of investment banking greatness to become head of European sales at Goldman Sachs.

pages: 364 words: 104,697

Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan

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Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, collective bargaining, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, dark matter, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, Gini coefficient, haute cuisine, income inequality, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, McJob, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, pensions crisis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce

An Irish kid can have his wedding in Madrid. If Europe is uniting “constitutionally,” if Europeans are voting in a new constitution with their feet via high-speed rail and the like, the U.S. is disuniting “constitutionally” when we’re sitting in gridlock, when it gets harder and harder to get from here to St. Louis. Our constitutional scholars should pay more attention to what army people call the “facts on the ground.” With no Henry Clay pushing a U.S.-type Eurostar, when the Obama stimulus just goes toward resurfacing the clogged roads, it’s harder each year to get from A to B, from Chicago to St. Louis, or from Chicago to Milwaukee. Or even from Chicago to Chicago: I am in terror of getting into the traffic here on a Saturday. Like more and more Americans, I sit here at home, since I’m more or less trapped.

pages: 537 words: 99,778

Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor

And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological. These are the facts on the ground. They are so blatant, so obvious, that it is a lot easier to connect with the public than it was in 1999, and to build the movement quickly. We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite – fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful – the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.

pages: 317 words: 101,475

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones

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Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Etonian, facts on the ground, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, pension reform, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, Right to Buy, rising living standards, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working-age population

This is the legacy of Thatcherism-the demonization of everything associated with the working class. 3 Politicians vs Chavs Now the working classes are no longer feared as a political peril they no longer need respect, and the uppers can revel in their superiority as if this were the eighteenth century. -Polly Toynbee Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron cannot be said to lack courage. When he trekked up to Glasgow East to support the Tory candidate in a 2008 by-election, there were a number of suitable observations he could have made given the facts on the ground. Glasgow has twice as many people out of work as the national average. More than half of the city's children live in poverty. The city tops Scottish league tables for drug addiction, overcrowded housing and pensioner poverty. Life expectancy in Glasgow's Calton neighbourhood is fifty-four years -well over thirty years less than men in London's Kensington and Chelsea district, and lower than in the Gaza Strip.

pages: 319 words: 95,854

You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity by Robert Lane Greene

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anti-communist, British Empire, centre right, discovery of DNA, European colonialism, facts on the ground, haute couture, illegal immigration, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Parag Khanna, Ronald Reagan, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Steven Pinker, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

“Normally” meant, of course, with the Serbian and other foreign words Croatians had always used. So Serbs and Croats will probably be able to understand each other for some time yet. Not nearly enough time has passed for nationalist language fiddlers to render “Croatian,” “Bosnian,” “Serbian,” and the new “Montenegrin” pure enough that the speakers can’t rub along. It remains to be seen whether they will ever succeed. The result will depend not on real linguistic facts on the ground—remember that “Croatian” differs more internally than it does from “Serbian.” It will depend on the old Yugoslav republics’ political future, and that depends on the rest of Europe. Polyglot Paradise? The European Union The European Union has twenty-three official languages. Romanian and Bulgarian became official when Romania and Bulgaria joined the Union, in line with the traditional policy that each official national language is an EU language.

pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

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algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

They are not telling stories in 140 characters or less, but sharing facts. Updates concern things that matter in the present tense: What’s really in this cookie? Did you hear what I found out about the factory they’re made in? Do the chemicals in this fabric softener get absorbed through a baby’s skin? When people are concerned with questions like these, brand mythologies cease to have any relevance—except when they serve as ironic counterpoint to the facts on the ground. Instead, people compete to provide one another with valuable information or informed opinions as a way of gaining popularity, or social currency, in their networks. They feedback not just to companies or governments, but to one another. So, as we have seen, narrative has collapsed, branding has become irrelevant, consumers see themselves as people, and everyone is engaged in constant, real-time, peer-to-peer, nonfiction communication.

pages: 320 words: 96,006

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin

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affirmative action, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, edge city, facts on the ground, financial independence, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, Results Only Work Environment, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, union organizing, upwardly mobile, white picket fence, women in the workforce, young professional

She asked one applicant what diversity means, and the question elicited a standard response that alluded to gender and disability and sexual orientation. So she asked a follow-up: “If you look at pharmacy right now, isn’t the most underrepresented group men?” The applicant was unconvinced, and explained that men had been in a privileged position all their lives—a sure sign for Mount that the applicant had been locked in academic ideology too long and was missing the obvious facts on the ground. “I thought, ‘This person just doesn’t get it,’” she said. “He just doesn’t get how bad it’s gotten.” Recently she printed out photos of the various student groups—school government, campus fraternities, national service organizations—for a newsletter she had to write. It was the first time she noticed that the entire leadership of nearly every group was made up of women. “I can think of one young man in leadership,” she said, and named him.

pages: 370 words: 102,823

Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth by Michael Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato

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3D printing, balance sheet recession, banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collaborative economy, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Detroit bankruptcy, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, facts on the ground, fiat currency, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, forward guidance, full employment, G4S, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, non-tariff barriers, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, very high income

See for example Hatzius’ 2012 interview with the Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/goldmans-jan-hatzius-on-sectoral-balances-2012-12?IR=T (accessed 4 May 2016). 18 M. Wolf, ‘The balance sheet recession in the US’, Financial Times, 19 July 2012, http://blogs.ft.com/martin-wolf-exchange/2012/07/19/the-balance-sheet-recession-in-the-us/ (accessed 4 May 2016). 19 P. McCulley, Global Central Bank Focus: Facts on the Ground, Policy Note 2010/2, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, 2010, p. 3, http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/pn_10_02.pdf (accessed 4 May 2016). 20 L. R. Wray, Understanding Modern Money: The Key to Full Employment and Price Stability, London, Edward Elgar Publishing, 1998. 21 S. Kelton, ‘Yes, deficit spending adds to private sector assets even with bond sales’, New Economic Perspectives, 2010, http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2010/11/yes-deficit-spending-adds-to-private.html (accessed 4 May 2016). 22 Figures 2 and 3 also depict the foreign sector (grey dashed line), which is part of the non-government sector.

Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, liberation theology, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, one-state solution, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population

He informed his party colleagues that they should tell Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, “We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.”14 The suggestion was natural within the overriding conception articulated in 1972 by future president Chaim Herzog: “I do not deny the Palestinians a place or stand or opinion on every matter … But certainly I am not prepared to consider them as partners in any respect in a land that has been consecrated in the hands of our nation for thousands of years. For the Jews of this land there cannot be any partner.” Dayan also called for Israel’s “permanent rule” (“memshelet keva”) over the Occupied Territories.15 When Netanyahu expresses the same stand today, he is not breaking new ground. For a century, the Zionist colonization of Palestine has proceeded primarily on the pragmatic principle of the quiet establishment of facts on the ground, which the world was to ultimately come to accept. It has been a highly successful policy. There is every reason to expect it to persist as long as the United States provides the necessary military, economic, diplomatic, and ideological support. For those concerned with the rights of the brutalized Palestinians, there can be no higher priority than working to change U.S. policies—not an idle dream by any means. 17 The U.S.

The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz

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affirmative action, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, facts on the ground, one-state solution, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, Yom Kippur War

Any attempt to unravel the complexly disputed and ultimately unverifiable historical contentions of extremist Israelis and Arabs only produces unrealistic arguments on both sides. It is, of course, necessary to have some description of the history—ancient and modern—of this land and its ever-changing demographics, for no reason other than to begin to understand how reasonable people can draw such diametrically opposed conclusions from the same basic facts on the ground. The reality, of course, is that only some of the facts are agreed upon. Much is disputed and believed to be absolute truth by some, while others believe that its opposite is equally true. This dramatic disparity in perception results from a number of factors. Sometimes it is a matter of the interpretation of an agreed-upon event. For example, as we will see in chapter 12, everyone agrees that hundreds of thousands of Arabs who once lived in what is now Israel no longer live there.

pages: 265 words: 93,231

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

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Asperger Syndrome, asset-backed security, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, medical residency, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Robert Bork, short selling, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, too big to fail, value at risk, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

To Michael Burry, the subprime mortgage market looked increasingly like a fraud perpetrated by a handful of subprime bond trading desks. "Given the massive cheating on the part of our counterparties, the idea of taking the CDS[s] out of the side pocket is no longer worth considering," he wrote at the end of March 2007. The first half of 2007 was a very strange period in financial history. The facts on the ground in the housing market diverged further and further from the prices on the bonds and the insurance on the bonds. Faced with unpleasant facts, the big Wall Street firms appeared to be choosing simply to ignore them. There were subtle changes in the market, however, and they turned up in Burry's e-mail in-box. On March 19 his salesman at Citigroup sent him, for the first time, serious analysis on a pool of mortgages.

pages: 354 words: 92,470

Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History by Stephen D. King

9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, air freight, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bilateral investment treaty, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, paradox of thrift, Peace of Westphalia, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Skype, South China Sea, special drawing rights, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

From a domestic US or European perspective, it is all too easy to believe that the world’s territorial disputes are over. Yet for many other parts of the world, that simply isn’t true. In East Asia there is no shortage of hotspots. In the South China Sea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei all make territorial claims over the Spratly Islands, which offer plenty of fish and potentially bountiful supplies of oil and gas. China has been in the process of establishing ‘facts on the ground’ – or, more accurately, ‘facts on reclaimed reefs’ – through the construction of airstrips, the provision of a mobile phone network and even the erection of a lighthouse. In July 2016, and following protests by the Philippines, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague declared much of this unlawful. In the Tribunal’s words, there was ‘no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources, in excess of the rights provided for by the Convention, within the sea areas falling within the “nine-dash line” ’.13 It went on to say that China had ‘breached its obligations under the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea’ and had ‘violated its obligations to refrain from aggravating or extending the Parties’ disputes during the pendency of the settlement process’.14 There were just two problems with the rulings: first, the Chinese simply refused to recognize the Court’s authority, and, second, following the election of Rodrigo Duterte as the sixteenth president of the Philippines, the former American colony suddenly chose to realign itself with China.

pages: 275 words: 84,980

Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money That We Understand to Money That Understands Us (Perspectives) by David Birch

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, capital controls, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, creative destruction, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, large denomination, M-Pesa, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, Northern Rock, Pingit, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Real Time Gross Settlement, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, social graph, special drawing rights, technoutopianism, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, Washington Consensus, wikimedia commons

He spoke about the problems of maintaining monetary policy across currency unions between economies with different fundamentals. All true. But he didn’t explain why this is different for the United Kingdom. How is the insanity of trying to maintain a currency union between Germany, Luxembourg and Greece any different to the insanity of trying to maintain a currency union between England, Wales and Scotland? The fact that they are in a political union does not alter the facts on the ground: they have fundamentally different economies. The Chancellor was arguing that if Scotland opted for independence, it would be impossible to maintain a currency union between England and Scotland. But surely if that is true, it is true now! The best monetary policy for England is not necessarily the best monetary policy for Scotland, and technology means that what was optimal for commerce at the time of the Napoleonic Wars may no longer best for the modern economy.

pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

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23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game

There were some at this conference, like Mary Meeker, whose optimism about the Web was unwavering. Although Meeker gave an unremittingly bleak analysis of the American economy at large, she offered a euphoric analysis of the tech world’s “opportunities,” expressing her faith that YouTube would be able to make the abundant ad sales that had so far eluded them. To Doerr and others in the Valley, Meeker’s optimism seemed at odds with the facts on the ground. Layoffs spread even here, fueling talk of another dot-com bust. Intel and Cisco would report that their sales were heading south. Nokia predicted that global mobile phone sales would fall 10 precent in 2009, reversing a long trend. With PC sales slumping, Microsoft would cut five thousand jobs, 5 percent of its work force. Twitter, which attracts users but not yet profits, pared employees and installed a new CEO.

pages: 586 words: 159,901

Wall Street: How It Works And for Whom by Doug Henwood

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, labor-force participation, late capitalism, law of one price, liberal capitalism, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, London Interbank Offered Rate, Louis Bachelier, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, publication bias, Ralph Nader, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

For Keynes, the financial markets aren't neutral and efficient allocators of capital or the friends of social development, but rather irrational, destabilizing, and paradoxically conservative institutions that do more to expand rentier wealth than they do to nourish a broad and secure prosperity. Since, in his view, investment in real assets is the driving force of capitalist economies, and since the level and allocation of real investment depends heavily on the state of the financial markets, material progress is hostage to the whimsical forces of finance. facts on the ground Perhaps the best place to start this off-road tour is by exploring a fundamental social fact that efficient market theorists and Modigliani-Miller partisans have tried to finesse: financial investment and real investment WALL STREET are distinct activities undertaken "by different sets of people influenced by different sets of motives, each not paying very much attention to the other" (Keynes, CWV, p. 250).'

pages: 568 words: 162,366

The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea by Steve Levine

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Berlin Wall, California gold rush, computerized trading, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, fixed income, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, megastructure, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, Potemkin village, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, trade route

(Kazakhstan insisted on committing 43,000 barrels a day as well, though it would have no direct access to the line. The worried Kazakhs hoped that this would win them favor with Deuss and Moscow and somehow open up more room for Tengiz exports in the Russian network. It was a vain hope.) The Dutchman could relish the fact that his plan did not require Chevron’s participation. But the important point was how it would change the facts on the ground. He would end up in possession of 155 miles of high-capacity pipeline leading directly to Novorossiysk. In the years ahead, Chevron would need just such a connection to pump its Tengiz crude the final distance to the Black Sea—and Deuss would be waiting there. He still held the exclusive rights to build the oil transportation system from Tengiz and would now have the final stretch of that line already built.

pages: 509 words: 153,061

The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas E. Ricks

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amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Berlin Wall, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, interchangeable parts, open borders, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, traveling salesman

“Without additional combat forces, we will not win this war,” he said in mid-November. On the morning of Thursday, December 7, President Bush sparred with reporters over Iraq. One asked if he were in denial about the state of the war. “It’s bad in Iraq,” he replied with a glare. “Does that help?” Actually, it may have. Finally, and years later than he should have, the president was beginning to grapple with the ugly facts on the ground in Iraq. ONE WEEKEND AT AEI CHANGES THE WAR The 2003 invasion of Iraq arguably was conceived at the American Enterprise Institute, the right-wing think tank that is the mecca of American neoconservativism. Its boxy building across from the National Geographic Society’s headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., was the roost of a variety of prominent hawks—Fred Kagan, Richard Perle, Gary Schmitt, Tom Donnelly, William Kristol.

pages: 466 words: 146,982

Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden

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big-box store, buy low sell high, centre right, colonial rule, Columbine, Costa Concordia, double entry bookkeeping, facts on the ground, financial innovation, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Murano, Venice glass, spice trade, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning

Doge Michiel summoned his high councillors, the sapienti, to advise him on the crisis. Chief among these councillors were representatives from the new families, Orio Mastropiero, Sebastiano Ziani (the richest man in Venice), and Vitale Dandolo (the brother of the patriarch). The councillors advised caution. The reports they had received seemed fantastic, almost unbelievable. They urged the doge to dispatch envoys to Constantinople to ascertain the facts on the ground. If the reports were true, the envoys should assess the damage, inquire as to Manuel’s reasons for inflicting it, and demand release of the hostages and the restoration of their property. The doge agreed to follow this cautious, careful approach, but events soon veered out of his control. A convoy of twenty Venetian vessels that had escaped the clutches of the emperor sailed noisily into the lagoon.

pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

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3D printing, airport security, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, call centre, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?, zero-sum game

Back in the fall of 2000, the software systems in Amazon’s FCs were still incapable of precisely tracking inventory and shipments. So that holiday, Wilke’s second one at the company, during the annual race to Christmas that the company internally referred to as the big push, Wilke started a series of daily conference calls with his general managers in the United States and Europe. He told his general managers that on each call, he wanted to know the facts on the ground: how many orders had shipped, how many had not, whether there was a backlog, and, if so, why. As that holiday season ramped up, Wilke also demanded that his managers be prepared to tell him “what was in their yard”—the exact number and contents of the trucks waiting outside the FCs to unload products and ferry orders to the post office or UPS. One recurring trouble spot that year was the fulfillment center in McDonough, Georgia, a working-class city thirty miles south of Atlanta.

pages: 566 words: 155,428

After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead by Alan S. Blinder

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, break the buck, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, friendly fire, full employment, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, McMansion, money market fund, moral hazard, naked short selling, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, the payments system, time value of money, too big to fail, working-age population, yield curve, Yogi Berra

Bernanke argued that once the exit started, the Fed could induce banks to shed their idle reserves more slowly by offering them a higher interest rate, thereby wrapping a kind of fire-resistant blanket around some of the inflationary tinder. Elaborating a few months later, Bernanke observed that while the Fed has “two broad means of tightening monetary policy at the appropriate time—paying interest on reserve balances and taking various actions that reduce the stock of reserves,” it would “likely would use both in combination.” The Fed chairman did not, of course, indicate anything about exit dates, nor even about what facts on the ground might trigger exit. But he certainly suggested that he had a plan in mind and was waiting for the right moment to put it into effect. An interesting historical question, which Bernanke may never answer, is whether he actually felt the need to have an exit plan ready as early as mid-2009 or was just going through the motions to placate the Fed’s hawks—who were itching to exit. EXIT BECOMES REENTRY Both Bernanke and the hawks are still waiting.

pages: 492 words: 153,565

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter

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Ayatollah Khomeini, Brian Krebs, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Doomsday Clock, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Earth, information retrieval, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day

“If you come out with a policy that subverts Microsoft certificates, subverts Windows Updates to spread malware, it’s difficult to get yourself to a position where cyberspace is safer, more secure and resilient,” he says. “In some ways I feel like the Fort Meade crowd are the Israeli settlers of cyberspace—it doesn’t matter what the official policy is, they can go out and they can grab these hills, and they’re changing the facts on the ground.… If we’re ever going to get defense better than offense, some things should be more sacrosanct than others.…[But] if we have a norm that it’s OK to go after these things, if we’re creating this crisis of confidence … that’s just going to bounce back at us.” Healey says a cavalier approach to offensive operations that erodes security and trust in critical systems creates the potential for the information highway to become dense with street skirmishes and guerrilla warfare.

pages: 404 words: 124,705

The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker

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assortative mating, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, old-boy network, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

There are plenty of other reasons why girls aren’t in the classrooms of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, including assumptions about the purpose and outcome of an education. When fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, an activist for girls’ education in Pakistan, was shot in the face by the Taliban in 2012, it seemed like universal education might be an intractable problem. The jubilant international response to Malala’s recovery and her continued activism haven’t altered the dire facts on the ground: Pakistan has the second highest number of unschooled children and, at fifty million people, one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Laptop programs haven’t solved the problem of access to education, as we discovered in Chapter 6. But a teacher’s proximity to students provides a hint at what works, for school attendance in general and for girls’ achievement in particular. In the province of Ghor, in northwestern Afghanistan, only 28 percent of children live within five kilometers of a school, one reason why two-thirds of the area’s children don’t go.

pages: 452 words: 134,502

Hacking Politics: How Geeks, Progressives, the Tea Party, Gamers, Anarchists and Suits Teamed Up to Defeat SOPA and Save the Internet by David Moon, Patrick Ruffini, David Segal, Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, Zoe Lofgren, Jamie Laurie, Ron Paul, Mike Masnick, Kim Dotcom, Tiffiniy Cheng, Alexis Ohanian, Nicole Powers, Josh Levy

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4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, call centre, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, hive mind, immigration reform, informal economy, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, peer-to-peer, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prisoner's dilemma, QR code, rent-seeking, Silicon Valley, Skype, technoutopianism, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Senate had any plans to take up the issue, and a White House statement served as a strong signal that the President had no intention of signing an election year bill that would alienate an increasingly important constituency, the tech community. The next day, Reid was compelled to address the issue on Meet the Press, biding his time and talking up the prospect of further compromise. Reid’s statement exemplified how legislative talk could so often be detached from facts on the ground. First, he suggested that California’s Dianne Feinstein, a PIPA cosponsor who nonetheless had barely uttered a word about it, was serving as a sort of emissary between the two great industries in her state. He then expressed hope for a Manager’s Amendment from Leahy that would make the bill palatable to all sides. Yet, neither side saw compromise as a possibility. Defenders of the bill had been totally cowed by this point, thus the talk of compromise, but the reality is that both sides saw this as an all-or-nothing fight-to-the-death, one that the Internet was now winning.

pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

It is interesting that one biologist might be a Christian while another is an atheist, for instance. But it is more than interesting if a technologist can manipulate urges and behaviors; it is a new world order. The actions of the technologist change events directly, not just indirectly, through discourse. To put it another way, the nontechnical ideas of scientists influence general trends, but the ideas of technologists create facts on the ground. PART FOUR Markets, Energy Landscapes, and Narcissism CHAPTER 10 Markets and Energy Landscapes The Technology of Ambient Cheating Siren Servers do what comes naturally due to the very idea of computation. Computation is the demarcation of a little part of the universe, called a computer, which is engineered to be very well understood and controllable, so that it closely approximates a deterministic, non-entropic process.

After the Cataclysm by Noam Chomsky

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8-hour work day, anti-communist, British Empire, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, land reform, mass immigration, RAND corporation, union organizing

We know of few people, in fact, who have offered more positive comments than Ponchaud himself does, in his discussion of the emphasis on self-reliance, the dignity of labor, the “new mentality” with its “spirit of responsibility” and “inventiveness,” etc. But to fall under Ponchaud’s injunction or Shawcross’s obviously false claim, a person would have to both agree that millions have died at the hands of the regime and justify this fact on the grounds of his social theories. We seriously doubt that any such person exists. All of this is simply another of the desperate efforts to create an opposition, which we have observed throughout this review. In fact, there is a different interpretation of Ponchaud’s comment and Shawcross’s elaboration which can be justified, though one at variance with their intention. There are indeed people—a great many of them—who claim that millions have died (or have been killed) in Cambodia and who are making use of this alleged fact to defend their own theories and projects for society.

pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, big-box store, BRICs, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, family office, high net worth, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, NetJets, offshore financial centre, profit motive, rent-seeking, risk/return, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche

Much as Eike touted an American culture of risk, Mauá held up the Anglo-Saxon line that self-interest was the engine of progress, and in this way too he went against the grain. The standard economic text in those days, the Viscount of Cairu’s Princípios de Economia Política, was supposed to be an adaptation of The Wealth of Nations, but Cairu jettisoned whatever concepts didn’t jibe with facts on the ground. Forget the invisible hand: “The sovereign of each nation must be considered the chief or head of a vast family, and thus care for all those therein like his children, cooperating for the greater good.” It was a “cordial man” approach to economic policy, state capitalism before the term ever existed. The problem, of course, was that the “greater good” didn’t always extend past the sovereign’s circle of friends.

pages: 387 words: 120,092

The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge by Ilan Pappe

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affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, double helix, facts on the ground, feminist movement, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, mass immigration, New Journalism, one-state solution, postnationalism / post nation state, stem cell, urban planning, Yom Kippur War

Thus a challenge to such a representation does not merely contest a national narrative but also, and perhaps more significantly, a paradigmatic narrative of excellence and uniqueness. To examine this will help us appreciate the distance the challengers had to travel within their own society. Paradoxically, this representation was accompanied by a strong belief in the importance of objective, empirical, scientific research. In confronting the idea, therefore, one either could claim that the facts on the ground did not match the self-congratulatory representation, or could arrive at a better understanding of how the same facts can be manipulated so as to produce differing narratives such as those formulated by the Zionists on the one hand and the Palestinians on the other. Zionism in this book appears as a discourse. I use ‘discourse’ in the same way as did Edward Said when discussing the representation of the Orient in the West.

pages: 395 words: 116,675

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Corn Laws, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, endogenous growth, epigenetics, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, George Santayana, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hydraulic fracturing, imperial preference, income per capita, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, land reform, Lao Tzu, long peace, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Necker cube, obamacare, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, price mechanism, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce

The author Kevin Williamson reminds us to be astonished by this fact: ‘The most successful, most practical, most cherished legal system in the world did not have an author. Nobody planned it, no sublime legal genius thought it up. It emerged in an iterative, evolutionary manner much like a language emerges.’ Trying to replace the common law with a rationally designed law is, he jests, like trying to design a better rhinoceros in a laboratory. Judges change the common law incrementally, adjusting legal doctrine case by case to fit the facts on the ground. When a new puzzle arises, different judges come to different conclusions about how to deal with it, and the result is a sort of genteel competition, as successive courts gradually choose which line they prefer. In this sense, the common law is built by natural selection. Common law is a peculiarly English development, found mainly in countries that are former British colonies or have been influenced by the Anglo-Saxon tradition, such as Australia, India, Canada and the United States.

India's Long Road by Vijay Joshi

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Basel III, basic income, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Doha Development Round, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, financial intermediation, financial repression, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, Induced demand, inflation targeting, invisible hand, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, obamacare, Pareto efficiency, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, school choice, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, universal basic income, urban sprawl, working-age population

These theoretical possibilities have to be tested against actual experience. Whether public or private provision is more effective cannot be settled a priori. For example, a plausible candidate for state provision is primary education since ‘good education’ is not easy to specify in a contract, and it is also possible that state schools may be better able to attract selfless teachers. Whether these abstract points have merit depends on the facts on the ground. The facts may not be supportive. For example, in India, government schools deliver education of very poor quality (see Chapter 9). Another illuminating way to look at the difference between public and private provision is to think of it in relation to Albert Hirschman’s famous distinction between ‘exit’ and ‘voice’.26 In competitive markets, the threat of customer-​exit helps to keep price low and quality high, and induces producers to pay close attention to consumer wants.

pages: 924 words: 198,159

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill

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air freight, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business intelligence, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, Columbine, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Naomi Klein, private military company, Project for a New American Century, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, stem cell, urban planning, zero-sum game

Due to the serious threats we had to stop broadcasting for a few days because every time we tried to broadcast the fighter jets spotted us [and] we became under their fire.”45 On April 12, Kimmitt, facing questions about the footage being shown on Al Jazeera depicting a civilian catastrophe in Fallujah, called on people to “Change the channel. Change the channel to a legitimate, authoritative, honest news station.” Kimmitt declared, “The stations that are showing Americans intentionally killing women and children are not legitimate news sources. That is propaganda, and that is lies.”46 Dan Senor, Bremer’s senior adviser, asserted that Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya “are misreporting facts on the ground and contributing to a sense of anger and frustration that possibly should be directed at individuals and organizations inside of Fallujah that mutilate Americans and slaughter other Iraqis rather than at the Coalition.”47 On April 15 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld echoed those remarks in still harsher terms, calling Al Jazeera’s reporting “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.”48 A reporter asked Rumsfeld if the United States had a “civilian casualty” count.

pages: 662 words: 180,546

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski

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Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

Actually, the EMH is not “refuted” so much as reinforced in the model, since “the market” still emits the correct signals (which really do come out of nowhere in the mathematics); as in most neoliberal scenarios, the crash is the fault of the victims beset with “local thinking” (Shleifer’s terminology) rushing to dump their wonky assets all at the same time. Everything that actually happened, from the waves of neoliberal deregulation to the ratings hand jive to the whitewash of crude evasion of existing rules as financial “innovation” to accounting travesties to outright fraud leave no trace in the model: when in doubt, blame the victims. This is trumpeted to the world as neoclassical economics getting more true to the facts on the ground. In the Odyssey, Proteus assumed a plethora of shapes to escape Menelaus; in the EMF, “information” had to be gripped tight by neoclassical theory, because it kept squirming and changing shape whenever anyone tried to confine it within the framework of a standard neoclassical model. Few have been sensitive enough to the struggle to attend to its twists and turns, but for present purposes it will be sufficient that three major categories of cages to tame the beast have been information portrayed as “thing” or object, information reified as inductive index, and information as the input to symbolic computation.66 For numerous considerations here bypassed, they cannot in general be reduced one to another.

pages: 828 words: 232,188

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, British Empire, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, information asymmetry, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, land reform, land tenure, life extension, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, open economy, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, Port of Oakland, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, price discrimination, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Instead of attempting to build a democracy in Iraq, the United States could have kept Saddam Hussein’s army intact and put it under the charge of a general with no ties to the old regime. British indirect rule in Africa was in fact an early version of this “good enough” governance strategy. Lugard and other administrators made a virtue of necessity and recognized that they had neither the resources nor the manpower to rule their African colonies the way they ruled Hong Kong and Singapore, and therefore sought to make use of as many local traditions and existing facts on the ground as possible. As we saw, the French, though espousing a very different policy of direct rule and assimilation, ended up in much the same place as the British. As we have seen, indirect rule had many pitfalls and often led to unanticipated and undesirable consequences. In the first place, the local knowledge requirements were huge and often overwhelmed the capabilities of the foreign administration.

pages: 851 words: 247,711

The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War by Norman Stone

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affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, central bank independence, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, illegal immigration, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, long peace, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, V2 rocket, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, éminence grise

They could not get troops to the Suez area inside a month, and though they did have troops at a base in Libya, they shrank from using these, for fear of offending wider opinion. In fact the Chiefs of Staff objected to an immediate action, threatening resignation: they were just not ready. A British force did eventually leave from Malta and Cyprus - bases both too far distant, given that speed was so essential: the world, confronted by the fact on the ground of an immediate occupation, might have accepted it (as Dulles later said, ‘Had they done it quickly, we’d have accepted it’ and Eisenhower shook his head: ‘I’ve just never seen Great Powers make such a complete mess’). Four days’ delay occurred, while British and American diplomats had a public wrangle. The First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Mountbatten, showed his usual instinct for the possible, and was only narrowly stopped from resigning as he sensed the unfolding fiasco.

pages: 823 words: 206,070

The Making of Global Capitalism by Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, active measures, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, continuous integration, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gini coefficient, global value chain, guest worker program, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, inflation targeting, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, oil shock, precariat, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, union organizing, very high income, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Territorial expansion had taken place through the addition of new states, not colonies, and produced such a great “plurality of interests” that, as Madison had hoped, the masses for the most part showed little common motive or capacity to come together to challenge the ruling classes.27 This territorial expansion took place largely through the displacement or extermination of the native population, and the blatant exploitation not only of the black slave population but also of debt-ridden subsistence farmers. Yet not the least difference between these lay in the space it gave white farmers to infiltrate the frontier in a “chaotic and headlong process” that sustained, and often invited, the expansion that occurred through purchase and conquest by the federal government. After establishing settlements as facts on the ground—regardless of native treaty rights, or imperial French or Spanish ones—they agitated for their incorporation by the federal government as new states.28 And state “rights” within the federation meant a lot.29 They were strong enough to eventually produce a civil war; and it was self-government at this level that lay at the heart of the localist democracy that commentators from Hegel and de Tocqueville to Marx all noted as so distinctive of the American state.30 But this does not mean that the federal government was unimportant—far from it.

pages: 1,364 words: 272,257

Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag-Montefiore

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anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, California gold rush, Etonian, facts on the ground, haute couture, Khartoum Gordon, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, sexual politics, spice trade, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, Yom Kippur War

Teddy Kollek, the mayor of west Jerusalem who was re-elected to run the united city for twenty-eight years, worked hard to reassure the Arabs, becoming the face of the liberal Israeli instinct to unify the city under Jewish rule but also to respect Arab Jerusalem.* As under the Mandate, the prosperous Jerusalem attracted Arabs from the West Bank - their population doubled in ten years. Now the conquest encouraged Israelis of all parties, but especially nationalists and redemptionist Zionists, to secure the conquest by creating 'facts on the ground'; the building of new Jewish suburbs around Arab east Jerusalem began immediately. At first, Arab opposition was muted; many Palestinians worked in Israel or with Israelis, and, as a young boy visiting Jerusalem, I remember days spent with Palestinian and Israeli friends in their houses in Jerusalem and the West Bank, never realizing that this period of goodwill and mixing would very soon become the exception to the rule.

pages: 1,199 words: 332,563

Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition by Robert N. Proctor

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bioinformatics, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, index card, Indoor air pollution, information retrieval, invention of gunpowder, John Snow's cholera map, language of flowers, life extension, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pink-collar, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, publication bias, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, speech recognition, stem cell, telemarketer, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Upton Sinclair, Yogi Berra

Rodgman held out hope for alternative causes but acknowledged that the Surgeon General was likely to indict cigarette smoke in the report then being prepared. And that the TIRC’s own Paul Kotin had endorsed the 1957 assessment of the NIH/ACS Study Group on Smoking and Health that “the sum total of scientific evidence” had established “beyond reasonable doubt” that cigarettes were a causal factor in the ongoing epidemic of cancer of the lung.13 FACTS ON THE GROUND Animal experiments, epidemiology, clinical pathology, and chemical analytics were all crucial for the cancer consensus of the 1950s. And researchers often appreciated these mutually reinforcing lines of evidence: Wynder cited Roffo and Doll and Hill; Doll and Hill cited Wynder and Graham; and so forth. And in Germany, methodological reinforcement of this sort was already a feature of the pre-war landscape.

pages: 1,118 words: 309,029

The Wars of Afghanistan by Peter Tomsen

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airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, drone strike, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Plutocrats, plutocrats, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

We just don’t know.”47 The Bush administration’s ignorance of the situation at Kunduz and the CIA’s misreading of Musharraf’s motives were all on display during the Kunduz air evacuation. Rumsfeld’s subsequent claim to the media that “neither Pakistan nor any other country flew any planes into Afghanistan to evacuate anybody”48 may have been a cover-up for what he believed at the time was a helicopter evacuation. It may also have been a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts on the ground. Whatever the answer, the American support for Musharraf’s request enabled the first Great Escape. It multiplied the dangers that the ISI, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda would pose to the United States in the coming years. American military and intelligence officers outside of Kunduz told reporters that it had been agreed that the nighttime airlifts would be limited, but they slipped out of control.

Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (Updated Edition) (South End Press Classics Series) by Noam Chomsky

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active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, centre right, colonial rule, David Brooks, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Monroe Doctrine, New Journalism, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, the market place, Thomas L Friedman

The U.S. has carried out a very impressive power play The events are a remarkable testimony to the rule of force in international affairs and the power of doctrinal management in a sociocultural setting in which successful marketing is the highest value and the intellectual culture is obedient and unquestioning. Classics in Politics: The Fateful Triangle Noam Chomsky Washington’s “Peace Process” 922 The victory is not only apparent in the terms of Oslo I and II and the facts on the ground, but also in the demolition of unacceptable history, the easy acceptance of the most transparent falsehoods, and the state of international opinion, now so submissive on this issue that commentators and analysts have literally forgotten the positions they and their governments advocated only a few years ago, and can even see that “Israel agrees to quit West Bank” when they know perfectly well that nothing of the sort is true.

pages: 1,013 words: 302,015

A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s by Alwyn W. Turner

Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, British Empire, call centre, centre right, deindustrialization, demand response, Desert Island Discs, endogenous growth, Etonian, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, global village, greed is good, inflation targeting, means of production, millennium bug, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, period drama, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, South Sea Bubble, Stephen Hawking, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce

MacBean is counterbalanced by a dope-smoking, BMW-driving, hippy guru named Zoot, with whom we are expected to have more sympathy, until the denouement reveals that MacBean’s speaking-in-tongues, fire-and-brimstone act is just a cover to conceal the fact that he and Zoot are deeply in love with each other and having a passionate affair. And life in the picturesque village of Lochdubh continues on its liberal, inclusive way. That, however, may have distorted the facts on the ground a little. When the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act was up for debate in the Westminster Parliament, a prominent SNP-supporting businessman, Brian Souter, founder of the Stagecoach transport company, ran a privately funded referendum in Scotland in which over a million Scots registered their wish to keep the legislation. The power of the Catholic Church still held more sway north of the border than any church in England.

pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

In Vietnam, three American administrations escalated the war despite ample intelligence telling them that victory at an acceptable cost was unlikely. Destructive wars of attrition, Johnson points out, needn’t require that both sides be certain or even highly confident of prevailing. All it takes is that the subjective probabilities of the adversaries sum to a value greater than one. In modern conflicts, he notes, where the fog of war is particularly thick and the leadership removed from the facts on the ground, overconfidence can survive longer than it would have in the small-scale battles in which our positive illusions evolved. Another modern danger is that the leadership of nations is likely to go to men who are at the right tail of the distribution of confidence, well into the region of overconfidence. Johnson expected that wars stoked by overconfidence should be less common in democracies, where the flow of information is more likely to expose the illusions of leaders to cold splashes of reality.