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

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: 356 words: 97,794

The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories by Ilan Pappé

Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, facts on the ground, friendly fire, ghettoisation, low skilled workers, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, one-state solution, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yom Kippur War

‘Carrot and stick’ is how Israeli policymakers have described their options since 1967.3 The main demand placed on the local population was to accept that they had no say whatsoever in determining their future, and, should they reject these new circumstances, they would find themselves incarcerated in a maximum security prison. However, should they cooperate they could enjoy an open prison run autonomously by them. As we shall see, this policy was already being carried out in June 1967. A third question was how to market this generous idea of an autonomous open prison as a peace proposal while hiding the unilateral establishment of facts on the ground. This question was insistently put by the Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, but seemed to concern other members of the government much less. Finally, there was the question of domestic consumption: how to market the new reality to the Jewish public, which at least at that stage was not entirely convinced that the occupation would work as a long-term strategy. Let us now look at how the Israeli government addressed these four issues in the months of June and July 1967.

It took the Israeli government longer than intended to settle the issue of the de jure annexation of Jerusalem. The Minister of the Interior, Haim Moshe Shapira, who understood early on that after the occupation the government would have to get used to double talk vis-à-vis the international community, suggested that, rather than rushing out official declarations, they should quietly speed up establishing facts on the ground. But most ministers were deeply convinced that in the case of Jerusalem there was no need for any double talk – it should be declared, from the outset, as an issue that would always be outside any future negotiations. So in those early days the Knesset was asked to pass a law that recognized Israel’s undeniable right to be for ever the only sovereign in the holy city.24 The one insistent voice of caution was that of Haim Moshe Shapira.

Long before Israel tried to justify the colonization of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a necessary security response to terrorist activities or a unilateral act in the face of a long-standing diplomatic deadlock, the West Bank in particular was fated to be bisected, settled and Judaized in such a way that from the outset any notion of turning it into an independent state was doomed. The politicians made the decisions, and they were, as we have already seen and will see again here, determined to establish the facts on the ground that would keep both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as part of a new and larger Israel. But it was the bureaucrats who were busy charting the new geographical and demographic maps of the Occupied Territories. They were supervised by a group of experts, including some of Israel’s leading academics of the day, men of great international repute such as the economist Dan Patenkin, the sociologist Shumel Noah Eisenstadt and the demographer Roberto Bachi among others.2 So in 1967, politicians, academics, generals and civil servants set about turning the West Bank and the Gaza Strip into a mega-prison – the biggest ever seen on earth.


pages: 251 words: 76,868

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

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, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, 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

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

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, Nelson Mandela, 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: 518 words: 128,324

Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides's Trap by Graham Allison

9 dash line, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, game design, George Santayana, Haber-Bosch Process, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal world order, long peace, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, one-China policy, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, UNCLOS, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

As sinologist François Jullien writes, if a master strategist’s action “is taken at the ideal moment, it is not even detectable: the process that leads to victory is determined so far in advance.”46 Or, like “setting a stone in motion on a steep slope,” says Sun Tzu, “the force applied is minute, but the results are enormous.”47 War for Chinese strategists is primarily psychological and political; military campaigns are a secondary concern. In Chinese thinking, an opponent’s perception of facts on the ground may be just as important as the facts themselves. Creating and sustaining the image of a civilization so superior that it is the “center of the universe,” for example, deters enemies from challenging Chinese dominance. The sheer size of the Chinese economy relative to those of outsiders also plays a role in subduing them—for instance, through access or denial to trade. If psychological deterrence and economic incentives fail, the barbarians outside China’s borders can be set against one another in a contest in which everyone would lose except China.

It is also safe to assume that the Chinese government will be ruthlessly realistic in assessing the military correlation of forces between China and the US, and thus in forecasting the outcome of any potential military encounter. Because it will take at least another decade or more for China’s military capabilities to match those of the US, even in arenas closest to China, Beijing will be cautious and prudent about any lethal use of force against the US. Instead, by gradually changing facts on the ground and in the waters throughout the South China Sea and adapting to resistance it encounters, as in the game of weiqi, the Chinese will win by the accumulation of overwhelming advantages. Furthermore, China will be “strategic” with Chinese characteristics, treating military force as a subordinate instrument in the orchestration of its foreign policy, which seeks not victory in battle but the achievement of national objectives.

The American crew, who were detained by the Chinese after their emergency landing, were freed after ten days. But the Chinese held the plane for longer, allowing them an opportunity to extract its top-secret surveillance technology. Since that incident the PLA has been altering the landscape and balance of forces in its adjacent waters. By building islands, deploying missile batteries, and constructing airfields across the South China Sea, it is creating new facts on the ground to pose greater threats to US forces in these critical sea-lanes. Together, these four cases suggest that when considering when and how China may use military force, it is not sufficient to ask what we would do in its shoes. For Chinese leaders, military force is an instrument in an orchestra of engagement, one they may use preemptively to surprise a stronger opponent who would not have done likewise.


pages: 350 words: 109,379

How to Run a Government: So That Citizens Benefit and Taxpayers Don't Go Crazy by Michael Barber

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Atul Gawande, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Checklist Manifesto, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, deliberate practice, facts on the ground, failed state, fear of failure, full employment, G4S, illegal immigration, invisible hand, libertarian paternalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Nate Silver, North Sea oil, obamacare, performance metric, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, school choice, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transaction costs, WikiLeaks

The implication of the -ology suffix was that something akin to a science was emerging. And indeed that is what I believe. More importantly, a health academic who had become president of Dartmouth College was beginning to believe it too. During his tenure at Dartmouth, Jim Yong Kim took to carrying Deliverology 101 around with him – or so he told me when we met. Its rigour appealed to him as someone who in his work as an academic had tried to change the facts on the ground, rather than simply write about them. Along with Paul Farmer, he founded Partners in Health which, in places such as Haiti and Peru, had enormously beneficial effects for hundreds of thousands of people. In some ways, Jim Kim was an unlikely candidate to be president of the World Bank. In the book he co-edited, Dying for Growth, published in 2000, he and his colleagues had questioned the conventional wisdom of the World Bank and other global institutions.

Paris itself was liberated on 25 August 1944, less than three months after D-Day. Implementing a government programme may not involve quite the same drama (and certainly won’t involve the degree of force), but however good the plan, it won’t survive contact with reality. The planning should, though. It ensures the resilience and the foresight to persist. The key then is how those responsible know whether the facts on the ground are changing in the way that was anticipated and hoped for. More than anything else, that is about building routines into the way government works. This is the subject of the next chapter. 5 Routines One of my favourite walks is to climb England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, from Langdale. This is not the shortest ascent, but on a fine day is surely the most glorious, a walk which demands serious, persistent effort over several hours and which offers magnificent rewards in return: panoramic views of rugged mountains, glacial valleys and the distant Irish Sea.

In late 2013 and early 2014, I made further unannounced visits and mostly I was impressed by the visible impact of the Roadmap, but I did stumble across one school where thirty or more children aged from four to ten were locked in a school compound but out of the classrooms. There was not an adult in sight and no water ran from the pump. Soon enough the headteacher came running; he had been relaxing in his house nearby. Such a visit doesn’t tell you everything, but it is a reality check. Importantly, too, it affects your emotions. It redoubles your energy and commitment; the need to change the facts on the ground. The master of the unannounced visit was Theodore Roosevelt. His stellar career, which catapulted him to the presidency by the age of forty-two, saw him appointed police commissioner of New York City in his mid-thirties. Roosevelt was a larger-than-life character, destined to dominate any room he walked into. The British Liberal John Morley once exclaimed that he had seen ‘two tremendous works of nature in America – the Niagara Falls and Mr Roosevelt’.3 Having fired the two top officials in the New York Police Department within three weeks of taking office as commissioner, Roosevelt turned his attention to the officers on the beat.


pages: 294 words: 82,438

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

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: 607 words: 185,487

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott

agricultural Revolution, business cycle, clean water, colonial rule, commoditize, deskilling, facts on the ground, germ theory of disease, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, new economy, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit maximization, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, stochastic process, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

Here it is useful to distinguish what might be called facts on paper from facts on the ground. As Sally Falk Moore and many others have emphasized, the land-office records may serve as the basis for taxation, but they may have little to do with the actual rights to the land. Paper owners may not be the effective owners.96 Russian peasants, as we saw, might register a "paper" consolidation while continuing to interstrip. Land invasions, squatting, and poaching, if successful, represent the exercise of de facto property rights which are not represented on paper. Certain land taxes and tithes have been evaded or defied to the point where they have become dead letters.97 The gulf between land tenure facts on paper and facts on the ground is probably greatest at moments of social turmoil and revolt. But even in more tranquil times, there will always be a shadow land-tenure system lurking beside and beneath the official account in the land-records office.

Conversely, to the degree that such homogenization is impossible, the genotype will fail. Once the job of the agricultural specialist is defined as one of raising all farmers' plots to the uniform condition that will realize the new cultivar's promise, there is no further need to attend to the great variety of conditions-some of which are unalterable-on actual farmers' fields. Rather than have the facts on the ground muddy a simple, unitary research issue, it was more convenient to try to impose a research abstraction on the fields (and lives) of farmers. Given the intractable ecological variety of the Andes, this was a nearly fatal step.101 Rarely have agricultural specialists asked themselves, as did the Russian S. P. Fridolin well before the revolution, whether they might not be working from the wrong angle: "He realized that his work was actually harming the peasants.

Given its national or international market, what the corporation requires is absolute, guaranteed uniformity of product and a stable sup- ply.87 The need to administer the production of uniform fryers in many different localities requires an optic of standardization and aggregation. As we saw in the case of scientific forestry, this is not merely a question of inventing measures that accurately reflect the facts on the ground and that can be conveyed to administrators. It is, above all, a question of changing the environment so that it is more standardized to begin with. Only the standardized breeding, the building constructed to specifications, the fixed formula for feed, and the mandatory feeding schedule-all disciplined by the contract-make it possible for a single specialist to inspect one hundred poultry farms raising fryers for, say, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and to ensure that the variation is minimal.


pages: 351 words: 96,780

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

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, liberation theology, long peace, market fundamentalism, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, 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 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 have 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 2001 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.


pages: 488 words: 150,477

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

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.


On Palestine by Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé, Frank Barat

Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, facts on the ground, failed state, ghettoisation, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, 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.


Demystifying Smart Cities by Anders Lisdorf

3D printing, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, chief data officer, clean water, cloud computing, computer vision, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, digital twin, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Google Glasses, income inequality, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Masdar, microservices, Minecraft, platform as a service, ransomware, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, self-driving car, smart cities, smart meter, software as a service, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

The architect fails to appreciate what in military parlance is sometimes referred to as “the facts on the ground.” He is too often the desktop general, an idealist. There are some symptoms of an idealist realm that can be spotted in an organization:“There is a guideline for that.” Templates for any occasion. “We have it documented in our Enterprise Architecture tool, any other questions?” More than 3% of the IT organization are architects. CMMI level 5 is viewed as the minimum requirement for doing any kind of serious work. Now consider the architect’s counterparts: project managers, developers, or system administrators who just want to get the job done in a predictable way or any way really. These guys live “the facts on the ground.” They know all the peculiarities of the environment or system being worked on.


I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish

back-to-the-land, clean water, facts on the ground, unemployed young men

Hundreds of correspondents from the international community—BBC, CNN, CBC, Fox News, Sky News—were stuck on a muddy hill outside Ashqelon, the town closest to the Erez Crossing, because the Israeli military refused to allow them access to Gaza. Israeli reporters were refused entry to Gaza as well. Their cameras could capture the plumes of smoke from the exploding bombs, but there were no eyewitnesses from the media to report the facts on the ground. So the Israeli media started calling me on my cellphone since I speak Hebrew fluently and was living in the middle of the catastrophe that their soldiers had created in Gaza. Shlomi Eldar, my friend from Israeli TV’s Channel 10, regularly called me in the late afternoon to ask what had happened that day. From the vantage point of my living room window I could see entire neighbourhoods being obliterated with bombs and rockets.

The report accused Palestinian armed groups of causing psychological trauma to the civilians within the range of the rockets, hitting Israeli houses, schools and a synagogue, and forcing civilians to flee. Judge Goldstone called for a public inquiry on both sides, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. The Israeli government described the report as full of “propaganda and bias” and Hamas said it was “political, imbalanced and dishonest.” That’s how things happen in the Middle East—the size of the rhetoric trumps the facts on the ground. In my experience, the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians were horrified by the terrifying events of the three-week war. The reaction of ordinary people strengthens my case about our need to talk to each other, to listen, to act. And it reinforces my lifelong belief that out of bad comes something good. Maybe now I really have to believe that: the alternative is too dark to consider.


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, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, Ethereum, 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, post-work, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, 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, undersea cable, 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

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, German hyperinflation, Kickstarter, 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: 233 words: 75,477

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

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: 256 words: 75,139

Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls by Tim Marshall

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, end world poverty, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, open borders, openstreetmap, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, the built environment, trade route, unpaid internship, urban planning

‘Intifada’ derives from the Arabic word nafada, meaning a shaking-off, and in this sense translates as freedom from oppression. After some years of fragile peace, during which Israel continued to occupy Gaza, the decades-long land dispute exploded in sustained violence again in 2000, and it was at the outbreak of this Second Intifada that the wall started to go up. The Palestinian view is that the barrier is an excuse for a land grab and to put ‘facts on the ground’, carving out the contours of a possible two-state solution but on Israeli terms, which would result in Palestine losing at least 10 per cent of the West Bank land, as the wall’s current position lies well inside Palestinian territory. Israel cites topographical reasons for the path of the wall, but in certain areas it strays east of the Green Line, around Jewish settlements. There are about 400,000 Jews living in the West Bank.

They move the Wall hundreds of yards into Palestinian land so that later they can say we must negotiate for it even though it was ours all along.’ As we drive alongside the wall he gestures angrily towards Palestinian areas, which were once populated by olive trees, now uprooted to create a no man’s land which he fears will one day be Israeli territory. ‘They have always done this,’ he says. ‘Create what they call facts on the ground, but it’s their facts, and it’s our ground.’ The Israelis, on the other hand, have a very different view of the wall: even the graffiti and artwork on their side of the barrier tells a different story. Some is anti-Palestinian and makes the case for the necessity of the wall; some is pro-Palestinian and depicts their suffering; but a lot consists simply of images of landscapes designed to make the wall ‘invisible’ – and indeed that is what it is to the majority of the Israeli population.


pages: 263 words: 78,433

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine by Danielle Ofri

affirmative action, delayed gratification, facts on the ground, job satisfaction, lateral thinking, longitudinal study, medical malpractice, medical residency, RAND corporation

And there was Julia, cheeks glowing crimson from the cold. How she made it through the snow I’ll never know, but she did. Her resilient body was fighting back, as was her spirit. She talked about esperanza—hope—and I could feel myself being pulled into that optimistic orbit, despite my intellectual knowledge that this was foolhardy. We hugged tightly that day, and it felt so good to allow her buoyancy to peel me away from the facts on the ground. Maybe everything would be okay. I’d just witnessed Julia beat death at its own game, after all. Maybe she was that rare biological exception to the rule, the exception that confounded the rules. Why not? When she left my office, I was convinced that somehow it would all work out. I couldn’t say how, but I was sure that it would. I reopened my manuscript and furiously typed a new ending to Medicine in Translation.

It was almost too much to bear. I realized that I simply wasn’t ready to contemplate Julia’s death. All these years of her good health had allowed the denial to nest within me, to the point that I had convinced myself that she would never die. I knew that her heart was doomed, but every month or two she’d appear in my clinic for an appointment, looking basically the same as at the previous visit. Year in and year out. Facts on the ground, you might call it. It was like I’d had a long-term relationship with the healthy, robust Julia, the one who wasn’t going to die, and like any creature of habit, I wasn’t prepared for when the relationship changed. But as the months wore on, I could no longer delude myself. That healthy Julia was fading before my eyes, aging and weakening in real time. The instinct in medicine to do something is a powerful one, and I found myself frantically rejiggering her medications, rechecking labs, rethinking her entire treatment regimen.


pages: 306 words: 79,537

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World (Politics of Place) by Tim Marshall

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, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, market fragmentation, megacity, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, 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: 284 words: 84,169

Talk on the Wild Side by Lane Greene

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, experimental subject, facts on the ground, framing effect, Google Chrome, illegal immigration, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, natural language processing, obamacare, Ronald Reagan, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Turing test, Wall-E

The English language is recognised as a second official language.”4) South Africa recognises English, Afrikaans and nine African languages as official. Most unusually among the big Anglophone countries, New Zealand gives two languages official status: Maori and New Zealand Sign Language, but not English. Needless to say, English dominates public life in all of these countries, regardless of whether it’s in the constitution or not. No declaration can change the facts on the ground. Witness Ireland, where the “national” and “first official” language, Irish, is spoken natively only by a small minority of the population, and learned only grudgingly by much of the English-speaking majority. Or witness South Africa, where all 11 languages are in theory equal, but where one – English – easily dominates the rest on the official level, despite being spoken by just under 10% of the population at home.

Canada has a reputation among foreigners as boring, which is unfair. (Given the dozens of Canadian comedians and comic actors who’ve made it in America, with about a ninth of America’s population, it’s quite possible that the boringness-per-capita ratio is higher south of the border.) But Canada’s language policy, in any case, is anything but boring: it has fascinated students of the subject, for its vast transformation of the linguistic facts on the ground. That transformation has been peaceful, but it continues to irritate many Canadians – of both big languages – on a daily basis. France lost the French and Indian war – known as the Seven Years’ War in Europe – and as a result, New France became the English dominion of Canada. Canada went on to sprawl across the continent, adding new provinces and becoming a confederation in 1867. English-speakers would dominate the vast territory.


The China Mission: George Marshall's Unfinished War, 1945-1947 by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

anti-communist, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, failed state, haute couture, land reform, long peace, South China Sea

When, on January 10, shortly after the Committee of Three came to agreement, Marshall turned to his aide Hank Byroade and told him to have a peacekeeping operation started the following afternoon, the pieces were in place. The next day, Byroade was in room 308 of a Beijing hotel launching a new body called the Executive Headquarters. What the Committee of Three had managed in the living room of Happiness Gardens, three-man Executive Headquarters “truce teams” would attempt in disputed territory across China. It was Marshall’s way of turning principles on paper into facts on the ground. There was a three-day lag between the signing of the order and the start of the truce. Although Marshall worried that both sides would use any delay to maneuver for final advantage, Zhou and Chang jointly overruled his objection, on the grounds that they needed time to get the news to commanders. The immediate result of the Committee of Three’s success was thus more violence, as Marshall feared, with armies scrambling to claim or entrench positions up to the last moment.

“Now he is not so sure they are not playing the Russian game,” Melby noted. American intelligence had concluded by the beginning of May: “Due to their initially favorable strategic position the Communists gained an early political and military advantage in the race for control of Manchuria.” The Communists knew it. After months of restraint—staying away from large cities, focusing on political work, establishing “facts on the ground” without being too conspicuous—they were, reporters said, “cocky.” Some 300,000 of their troops had made their way in, picking up conveniently abandoned Japanese arms and demonstrating “high morale and fairly capable leadership,” according to American officers. Mao had sent a proven commander, Lin Biao, an insomniac and hypochondriac who was anxious in his personal habits but calm and tenacious in battle.

Marshall’s, 193. 174 wrote the university’s president GCM to Conant, 20 April 1946, GCM Papers 122/25, GCMRL. 174 “I’ve exhausted” Papers Vol. 5, 534; “difficult man” FRUS 1946 Vol. 9, 804. 175 “watch a city die” JM to Hellman, 2 February 1946, JM Papers 36, HSTL. 175 “Minor civil war” Gillem to GCM, JHC Papers 1/7, GCMRL. 175 his party’s survival Tanner, Where Chiang, 29; “expansion of Soviet power” May, Truman, 66–67. 175–176 “completely unprepared for occupation” FRUS 1945 Vol. 7, 628; Kremlin would respond Levine, “New Look,” 354; Moscow had long warned Heinzig, Soviet Union, 67; Wedemeyer AW Memorandum for CKS, 10 November 1945, AW Papers 81/2, Hoover. 176 would likely win Tanner, Battle, 60; prudent move CKS diary, 20 April 1946 and 23 April 1946, Hoover; “a unified country” Spector, In the Ruins, 225; “no choice” Life 24 December 1945. 176 “waste paper” FRUS 1946 Vol. 9, 720; Marshall pointed out Final Report, 104. 176–177 Soviets threatened Heinzig, Soviet Union, 93; American dominance Yang, “Soviet Union,” 26; “fight without restraint” Westad, Brothers, 60; Communist commanders Sheng, Battling, 132; boats and trains Tanner, Battle, 109. 177 OSS detachments Yu, OSS, 24; Strategic Services Unit Revised plan for SSU operations, 20 April 1946, AW Papers 91/2, Hoover; “lookouts” FRUS 1946 Vol. 10, 1134; persuasive evidence Papers Vol. 5, 421; Byroade assessed FRUS 1946 Vol. 9, 727; Marshall had pressed Papers Vol. 5, 500; “Russian game” JM to Hellman, 9 March 1946, JM Papers 36, HSTL. 177 “Due to their” Military intelligence review, 25 April 1946, Naval Aide Files 17/3, HST Papers, HSTL; “facts on the ground” Tanner, Battle, 100; “cocky” Papers Vol. 5, 526; 300,000, “high morale” Lau to Byroade, “Situation in Manchuria,” 17 April 1946, Alvan Gillem Papers, MHI; Lin Biao Tanner, Where, 33; “Everything is decided” Westad, Cold War, 160. 178 they were sure Qing, From Allies, 81; “Chiang has no choice” Tanner, Battle, 111. 178 sadistic methods Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking, 6. W. H. Auden sonnet “In Time of War,” The Collected Poetry of W.


pages: 632 words: 171,827

Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis

Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, post-oil, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

WORLD WAR II HAD EXACTED a terrible toll on Britain, and the empire needed to retrench. India would achieve independence in 1947, and in the Middle East, the cost of maintaining the Mandate had simply climbed too high. Some one hundred thousand British soldiers (one-tenth of the empire’s entire army) were stationed in Palestine, one soldier for every eighteen inhabitants.12 In the meantime, the leadership of the Yishuv sought to establish as many facts on the ground as it could to expand whatever future borders the Jewish state would have. On October 6, 1946 (immediately upon the conclusion of the Yom Kippur fast), the Jewish Agency worked feverishly to establish—over the course of a single night—eleven new settlements in the northern Negev. They were built in an area that had not been included in the territory allocated to the Jewish state by the Peel Commission, and which, presumably, might not otherwise be included in future partition plans.

As was the case in the beginnings of many settlements (including that in Hebron), when permission was refused, settlers went anyway. Eventually, after numerous requests, the (left-wing government) acquiesced and approved what the settlers had already started. The issue of settlements in the newly occupied territory was perhaps the most divisive political question of the time, and largely in hopes of dodging it, Labor governments waffled. That indecisiveness allowed the settlers to create their facts on the ground. Begin, in contrast, was committed to continuing that policy, as a matter of principle and not only political expediency. In May 1977, two days after the elections, Begin and Ariel Sharon visited the temporary Elon Moreh site. “Soon,” Begin said, “there will be many more Elon Morehs.”20 When reporters following the prime minister-elect asked whether Begin’s firm commitment to the settlements implied a future annexation of the West Bank, they got a tongue-lashing in return: We don’t use the word “annexation.”

The international community has tired of the conflict, and inside the Jewish state, many Israelis feel stuck. They believe that the occupation is proving Yeshayahu Leibowitz correct. They fear that occupying another people has forced Israelis to be something they did not want to be, and yet for many, it is not clear at present what the alternative is. Polls show that most Israelis would like to end the occupation; polls also show that given the facts on the ground, most Israelis are not willing to take the security risks that relinquishing that land in the present circumstances would likely mean. The occupation in all its manifestations remains one of the most pained dimensions of contemporary Israeli life. Yet many other facets of the Zionist dream have more than exceeded the Jewish people’s wildest hopes. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda imagined a world in which the Jewish people spoke Hebrew again.


pages: 379 words: 99,340

The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Martin Gurri

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, business cycle, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, dark matter, David Graeber, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, housing crisis, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, job-hopping, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, Port of Oakland, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, too big to fail, traveling salesman, University of East Anglia, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, young professional

The Green Movement was almost certainly not a Twitter revolution or reliant on social media, although it was certainly a digitally-assisted revolt: protesters used cell phone text and video to powerful effect. But the main lesson here was the violent repression of the Green Movement by regime militia. Scissors cut paper. While it was really impossible to say, as I did with Hoder’s incarceration, that nothing had changed, the political facts on the ground in Iran remained fundamentally the same: for the next four years, Ahmadinejad and his faction ruled. Matters turned out differently in Tunisia with the uprising of December 2010-January 2011. Less than three weeks after the first anti-regime protests, the country’s president of very long standing, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fled to Saudi Arabia. The question, for us, is the degree to which the Fifth Wave of information was implicated in this outcome.

“He has faced illness and even death in his 43 years, but defeat is something new to him, and Cuba was a clumsy and humiliating defeat, which makes it worse… How he reacts to it,” Reston concluded, “may very well be more important than how he got into it.”[157] In private, Kennedy despaired that the incident had cost him any chance at re-election. Publicly, he met with Republican worthies in a show of bipartisanship, and he delivered two statements on the Cuban situation: a nationally broadcast speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 20 and a televised press conference on the following day. More than the bloody facts on the ground in Cuba, those presidential statements shaped US public perception of the Bay of Pigs crisis. It makes for a fascinating analytic exercise to imagine how they would be received today. In his speech to the newspaper editors, the president denied what everyone knew to be true: that the invasion had been a US show from start to finish. He gave credit to “Cuban patriots” for the attack, and insisted they had secured nothing more substantial than good will from the US government.


pages: 319 words: 100,984

The Moon: A History for the Future by Oliver Morton

Charles Lindbergh, commoditize, Dava Sobel, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, multiplanetary species, Norman Mailer, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, UNCLOS, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Jan Woerner, the director general of the European Space Agency, champions what he calls the “Moon village”, a vision of relatively small-scale settlement in which different public and private ventures co-operate, either on a shared site or in a more distributed way, in the development of a lasting human presence on the Moon. Common goals, common values, common technical standards: it is an appealing vision. It would surely be even more so in the presence of a clear, permissive legal structure. In the presence of such a structure, control of the facts on the ground would still matter—but it would do so all the more in the absence of such frameworks. That is an argument for landing early crewed missions, perhaps even the first crewed missions of the Return, at one of the most appealing polar sites and for building some sort of base there, rather than sitting in an orbital Gateway plopping down landers for short stays now and then. And it is as much an argument for private corporations to do so as it is for the Chinese or American governments.

The idea of mining ice and volatiles at the lunar poles is not unlike the idea of exploiting fossil fuels on Earth, running down in double-quick time a resource accumulated very slowly. If the resource is large enough (or the draw on it small enough) and it is more profitably exploited than equivalent resources elsewhere, this could come to matter—hence the importance of a governance regime and of establishing facts on the ground. It is worth noting that, when it comes to exploitation, there are advantages to the Moon’s unworldliness, or at least so it might seem. For all that it would destroy something literally irreplaceable, if not necessarily all that their hearts are beating, their reserves depleting valuable, eating through the fossil ice and volatiles at the poles would have far less impact on the Moon than the exploitation of fossil fuels has had on the Earth.


pages: 359 words: 104,870

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

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: 493 words: 98,982

The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? by Michael J. Sandel

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, coronavirus, COVID-19, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, global supply chain, helicopter parent, High speed trading, immigration reform, income inequality, Khan Academy, laissez-faire capitalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Washington Consensus

Despite generous financial aid policies, fewer than 4 percent of Ivy League students come from the bottom fifth. At Harvard and other Ivy League colleges, there are more students from families in the top 1 percent (income of more than $630,000 per year) than there are students from all the families in the bottom half of the income distribution combined. 8 The American faith that, with hard work and talent, anyone can rise no longer fits the facts on the ground. This may explain why the rhetoric of opportunity fails to inspire as it once did. Mobility can no longer compensate for inequality. Any serious response to the gap between rich and poor must reckon directly with inequalities of power and wealth, rather than rest content with the project of helping people scramble up a ladder whose rungs grow farther and farther apart. THE MERITOCRATIC ETHIC The problem with meritocracy is not only that the practice falls short of the ideal.

American politicians of the center-left and center-right may disagree about what policies equality of opportunity actually requires. But they share the assumption that the aim is to provide everyone, whatever his or her starting point in life, a chance to rise. They agree, in other words, that mobility is the answer to inequality—and that those who rise will have earned their success. But the American faith in the ability to rise through effort and grit no longer fits the facts on the ground. In the decades following World War II, Americans could expect that their children would do better, economically, than they had. Today, this is no longer the case. Of children born in the 1940s, almost all (90 percent) earned more than their parents. Of children born in the 1980s, only half surpassed their parents’ earnings. 36 It is also harder to climb from poverty to affluence than the popular belief in upward mobility would suggest.


pages: 444 words: 107,664

The Secret Lives of Buildings: From the Ruins of the Parthenon to the Vegas Strip in Thirteen Stories by Edward Hollis

A Pattern Language, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, place-making, South China Sea, the scientific method, Wunderkammern

Eventually the United Nations condemned the occupation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Mugrabi quarter, and in a gesture of reconciliation the Israelis returned the Haram e-Sharif to the jurisdiction of the Waqf. The Israelis kept the keys to the door at the top of the Mugrabi path, though—they still have them. As Teddy Kollek, the mayor of Jerusalem, said at the time, “We need to establish facts on the ground.” Once you have those, international resolutions and condemnations carry all the weight of hot air. The facts weren’t just on the ground, but under it, too. On 27 June, the Israeli government announced that any antiquities found in any excavation whatsoever in Jerusalem belonged to the Israeli state. A month later it also declared that the whole of Jerusalem was an antiquity, and that no construction could proceed there without prior excavation.

Venetian Macao brochure. http://www.venetianmacao.com/uploads/media//download/brochures_english.pdf. “Venice in Numbers.” http://www.myvenice.org/The-new-populations.html. Venturi, Robert, and Denise Scott Brown. Learning from Las Vegas. MIT Press, 1972. Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo. Designing the World’s Best Resorts. Images, 2001. Wynn interview with Newsweek, 2006. http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/1360547 THE WESTERN WALL, JERUSALEM Abu El-Haj, Nadia. Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society. University of Chicago Press, 2001. Amico, Fra Bernardino. Plans of the Sacred Edifices of the Holy Land. Franciscan Printing Press, 1997. Armstrong, Karen. Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths. Ballantine, 1996. Biesenbach, Klaus, ed. Territories: Islands, Camps, and Other States of Utopia. KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2003.


pages: 752 words: 201,334

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

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: 131 words: 41,052

Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century by Mark Leonard

Berlin Wall, Celtic Tiger, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, different worldview, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, global reserve currency, invisible hand, knowledge economy, mass immigration, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, one-China policy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pension reform, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, shareholder value, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Washington Consensus

Monnet’s tactic was always to focus on technical details rather than the big political questions that attract headlines. He tried to tackle contentious issues by breaking them down into component parts – it is a lot easier to get agreement on coal and steel tariffs than war and peace. And once the governments of France and Germany were sucked into endless negotiations, they were less likely to go to war. The best way to change the facts on the ground was through gradual change – what Monnet called engrenage. Each agreement to co-operate at a European level would lead inexorably to another agreement that deepened European integration. Once Europe’s leaders had agreed to remove tariffs, they focused on non-tariff barriers such as regulations, health and safety standards, and qualifications. When many of the non-tariff barriers had been addressed by the creation of a single market, Europe’s leaders focused on the single currency.


pages: 464 words: 121,983

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

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, Kickstarter, 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: 420 words: 126,194

The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, deindustrialization, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, glass ceiling, high net worth, illegal immigration, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, open borders, post-industrial society, white flight

In 2015, after leaving prison he entered Germany and registered as an asylum-seeker under at least nine different names. The failure of local German authorities to communicate with each other, added to Europe’s lax external and absent internal borders systems had served Amri well. The same systems had served the shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin less well. While large-casualty atrocities like this caught the headlines and galvanised the European press for a couple of news cycles, all the time the facts on the ground were changing the continent as a whole. The German authorities recorded an additional 680,000 arrivals into their country in 2016 alone. Such continuing mass immigration, high birth rates among immigrants and low birth rates among native Europeans all ensured that the changes underway would only accelerate in the years ahead. The German people had demonstrated at the polls that politically speaking even Merkel was mortal.

Besides, people were not coming to Germany in these numbers any more, so it was not necessary to consider such scenarios. This was – I must admit – a lightning-bolt moment throughout all my travels. For this German MP speaking in late 2016 must have known what anybody reading a newspaper must know, which is that the flow of migrants has not slowed because the need had slowed. It had slowed because the governments of Europe – and the government of Germany in particular – had changed the facts on the ground. If there was a reason why in 2016 the numbers had fallen by several hundred thousand from the year before it was because of two things. Firstly because of the deal that the EU (led by the German government) did with the Turkish government earlier in the year, paying the Turks to keep migrants inside their country and preventing boats from setting off for Greece. And secondly because, quietly in some cases but more noisily in others, the borders of Europe had gone back up.


pages: 316 words: 117,228

The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality by Katharina Pistor

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bilateral investment treaty, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Glaeser, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global reserve currency, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, intangible asset, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, land tenure, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, means of production, money market fund, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, profit maximization, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Wolfgang Streeck

True, shareholders are the last in line to get any remaining assets should the firm end up in liquidation; but this does not mean that shareholders are left empty-handed; after all, they can take out the profits the corporation makes during its lifetime without paying much heed to the impact this might have on its debtors or even its long-term survival, provided they can get out fast enough. Shareholder limited liability is the technical term for shielding owners from the liabilities of the business entity. It became a standard feature of corporate law statutes relatively late, because wary legislatures feared that savvy entrepreneurs would set up a corporate shell, convince the creditors to extend loans to the company, and then take the money and run. Facts on the ground proved that they were not entirely wrong about this; in the nineteenth century, legal system after legal system adopted free incorporation statutes, which made it possible to establish corporations without the need for prior approval. When these statutes were enacted, almost invariably a founders’ boom would follow, then end in a crash.28 In response, some legislatures tried to backtrack, but once the genie was out of the bottle, it was almost impossible to put it back in.

Eli Lilly fought a lonely battle, but the strategy of shedding doubts on the impartiality of courts and intimidating governments has been effectively tried and tested to discredit the legal system of foreign countries; this time it was used even against a country that scores high on indicators that measure the rule of law and non- corruptibility; and consistent with these data, the Canadian government was unwilling to budge.57 The story about ISDA and its lobbying of legislatures and regulators in dozens of countries takes the relation between private actors and law enforcers to another level entirely. ISDA created facts on the ground by developing the MA, a contractual device that was soon used for millions of transactions involving derivatives, many of which were used in cross-border deals. After having demonstrated that a private contract can sustain a global market in financial instruments, ISDA began to lobby legislatures to adapt their laws to make them consistent with ISDA’s contractual instrument—turning the principle that contracts have to be consistent with the law on its head.


pages: 840 words: 224,391

Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal

airport security, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, centre right, cognitive dissonance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, European colonialism, facts on the ground, ghettoisation, housing crisis, knowledge economy, megacity, moral panic, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, surplus humans, upwardly mobile, urban planning, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game

The stories that make up this book unfolded all around me, in the cities and towns throughout Israel-Palestine, in the streets outside my rented flats, and inside their walls through the lives of my roommates, friends, and journalistic colleagues. These are the stories of people living under a regime of separation, grappling with the consequences of ethnic division in a land with no defined borders. Readers may not agree with all of my conclusions, but I hope they will carefully consider the facts that appear on these pages. They are, after all, the facts on the ground. —Max Blumenthal PART I THE CAMPAIGNS 1 To the Slaughter By the end of 2008, the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip had been left to fend for themselves. Gaza was surrounded on all sides by Israeli sniper towers, electrified fences, concrete walls, and a naval blockade that prevented fishermen from trawling waters more than 3 kilometers from shore. Weaponized drones hovered overhead night and day, humming an incessant single note dirge that served as a constant reminder of Israeli control.

In 2002, after retiring from public life, Koenig defended his legacy, telling an interviewer from Ha’aretz that the Arabs inside Israel “want to suck the best out of us.” He went on to recount how he convinced a “rich Christian friend from Nazareth” to immigrate to Canada. He remembered telling his friend, “Your children will never have it good here.” When the right-wing Likud Party came into power in 1977, the new minister of agriculture, Ariel Sharon, began transforming Koenig’s recommendations into facts on the ground with characteristic ruthlessness. In 1978, Sharon ordered construction to begin on a new round of Jews-only settlements, reviving the dormant campaign of Judaizing the Galilee. Though these small communities operated without any official discriminatory rules, they each contained a “welcome committee” devoted to excluding the Arab undesirables (and oftentimes, homosexuals, Mizrahim, and single people) from settling inside their confines.

Erected entirely on privately owned Palestinian land, the tent village stood directly in the way of what would be the capstone of Israel’s settler-colonial enterprise in the West Bank. Abir Kopty, a thirty-eight-year-old Palestinian feminist and human rights activist handling media for the Popular Struggle Coordination Commitee, remarked to me about Bab Al Shams, “Israel has been imposing facts on the ground, and we are doing exactly the same. We want to impose facts on our land. So, yes, it might seem that we have taken a model from them, but the difference is that we are building on our land and we are not taking others’ land and building on it.” Netanyahu reacted to news of the Palestinian protest village with extreme consternation. He was not going to let a bunch of scraggled Arabs stand in the way of what would be the most enduring symbol of his legacy in “Judea and Samaria.”


America in the World by Robert B. Zoellick

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Corn Laws, coronavirus, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, hypertext link, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty

Lincoln drew Britons to his noble cause by recognizing that the workers’ meetings provided “an energetic and reinspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth and the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom.”45 Diplomacy and democracy mixed to stir a new public opinion that bridged the Atlantic. Historians debate the ultimate effect of the Emancipation Proclamation on foreign intervention. Lincoln recognized that the military facts on the ground would be determinative. He believed unsentimentally that people acted according to self-interest, so he made clear to London the high price of recognizing the Confederacy. Yet Lincoln also believed that the Union stood for a higher purpose—as an example of government by the people and in opposition to slavery. Lincoln joined those causes to his diplomatic arsenal. Thirty-four years later, Gladstone, a Liberal leader who added moral dimensions to Britain’s foreign policy, admitted that his October 1862 speech had been a terrible mistake.46 Latter-day experts have wondered why Britain did not pursue a realpolitik strategy of supporting the breakup of its rival for hegemony in the Americas.

Japan also hinted at a need for Russia to pay a financial indemnity. Japan even eyed Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway across Manchuria to Vladivostok, the czar’s remaining significant port on the Pacific. Japan did not want any foreign mediation, however; Tokyo feared any suggestion of peace would signal weakness. The Russians rejected TR’s informal advice, through unofficial channels, that it was time to end the war.18 Stalemate The facts on the ground created their own complex diplomatic logic. On March 10, 1905, after a two-week-long clash between two massive armies, in the largest battle in modern history up to that time, Japan captured Mukden (today’s Shenyang) in southern Manchuria. The disorganized Russians fled north; the exhausted Japanese were unable to encircle or pursue their enemy. Now economics had a say: Japan had consumed its war resources and faced financial strains.

Nevertheless, when Nixon thwarted the massive North Vietnamese offensive of 1972 with devastating airpower, neither Beijing nor Moscow exacted a price, and the U.S. domestic response was not as explosive as after the U.S. assault into Cambodia in 1970. Washington’s primary problems were North Vietnamese military power, Hanoi’s resolve to complete the takeover of the country, and Saigon’s inability to resist on its own. Triangular diplomacy could not overcome the facts on the ground in Vietnam and the United States. As Michael Green aptly summarized, the “contradictions between [Nixon’s policy] of predictable withdrawal and unpredictable use of force” were unsustainable on the political home front.90 Realpolitik’s primary target was the Soviet Union. The effects were mixed. Kissinger’s first visit to Beijing moved Moscow to resolve impediments to a Nixon-Brezhnev summit, which took place in Moscow in May 1972, after Nixon’s trip to China.


pages: 537 words: 158,544

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

"Robert Solow", 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, different worldview, 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, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, land reform, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, 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: 517 words: 155,209

Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation by Michael Chabon

airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Fellow of the Royal Society, glass ceiling, land tenure, mental accounting, Nelson Mandela, off grid, Right to Buy, Skype, traveling salesman, WikiLeaks

Eventually, however, the Israel Antiquities Authority came on board with the transfer of a supposedly important site to a private nonprofit organization, which, in the eyes of some, had little or no credibility in the world of academic archaeology, and in 2008 the director stated that he couldn’t see a problem with Jews discovering more about their heritage and “didn’t like bringing politics into archaeology.” Elad was now the law in Silwan, a law always tending in one direction, towards the erosion of the Palestinian presence on its hillsides. There are facts and there are facts on the ground. Ancient history grows out of the barrel of a gun, and reportedly out of offshore accounts in Panama. Between 2006 and 2013, Elad took in $115 million in donations. At the opening of the City of David visitor’s center, the guests included Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, Lev Leviev, who made his fortune processing and mining diamonds in Angola and apartheid-era South Africa, and the former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky.

After half a century, more than a hundred illegal Jewish settlements, and over half a million Jewish settlers illegally squatting in the West Bank, what is happening far exceeds an occupation; it’s a structured, systematic dispossession of Palestinians just like that of 1948, only at a slower, yet equally ruthless pace. As more Palestinian land is lost and Palestinians are pushed into tighter and tighter ghettos, choked by a horrendous separation wall snaking through their lands and cutting them off from their families, fields, schools, and work, as they are forbidden from using many roads, and as they continue to be the target of random killings and sometimes mass arrests, Israel has already created facts on the ground that make the realization of a truly independent and viable Palestinian state impossible. I have always found it curious, however, how both Palestinians and the international community have come to view this military occupation as an isolated problem, removed from the historical context of the nakba: the founding of Israel on 78 percent of historic Palestine, the dispossession of around 85 percent of the Arab, Palestinian population of this part of the land, and the ethnic cleansing and destruction of more than four hundred Palestinian villages.


pages: 548 words: 147,919

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

airport security, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, continuation of politics by other means, different worldview, disruptive innovation, 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: 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, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, 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.


Interventions by Noam Chomsky

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: 227 words: 62,177

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

American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrew Wiles, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business cycle, 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

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.


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

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, Charles Lindbergh, 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, 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: 600 words: 165,682

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

anti-communist, bank run, colonial rule, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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: 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

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Charles Lindbergh, 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, lateral thinking, 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: 229 words: 68,426

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

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.


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

airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, different worldview, 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

banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, 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: 288 words: 64,771

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality by Brink Lindsey

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Build a better mousetrap, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, inventory management, invisible hand, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, mass incarceration, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, patent troll, plutocrats, Plutocrats, principal–agent problem, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart cities, software patent, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Washington Consensus, white picket fence, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

Accordingly, they would tend to underinvest (from the perspective of total social welfare) in expression and innovation. By allowing producers of ideas to recoup more of the value they create, they “internalize” some of the “externalities” associated with their efforts, thereby better aligning both resource allocation and incentives with maximization of welfare. Or at least that’s the idea. It’s a plausible argument with only one problem: the facts on the ground don’t provide much support for it. The market failure theory suggests that vulnerability to copying and imitation creates serious disincentives for would-be artists and inventors, such that only exclusive rights over reproduction and use can create the proper incentives for cultural production and technological innovation. Yet we regularly see robust, ebullient creativity and innovation even where intellectual property protections are absent or increasingly porous.


pages: 242 words: 71,943

Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity by Charles L. Marohn, Jr.

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, A Pattern Language, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, bank run, big-box store, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Ferguson, Missouri, global reserve currency, housing crisis, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, mass immigration, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, reserve currency, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, white flight, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-sum game

For a city with such a depth of poverty and wide chasms of wealth inequality, these special places hold the promise of renewal. Like a seedling emerging in the springtime, these places need to be nurtured, but not overwhelmed with affection. I was present at a speech given in 2016 by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan where he promised that no Detroit neighborhood would be left behind. While it was an absurd statement that belied every discernible fact on the ground, I’m fine cutting the mayor some slack. Even today, there is no cultural dialogue in Detroit about intentional neighborhood abandonment. There is no room for the mayor to state the obvious. And so a destructive cultural farce ensues, one that demands the allocation of scarce resources to places with no future, while the areas of despair continue to atrophy, the people in them trapped in a feedback loop of decline.


pages: 708 words: 176,708

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

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, Kickstarter, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, 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: 249 words: 79,740

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

airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business cycle, 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.


pages: 246 words: 76,561

Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture by Justin McGuirk

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, dark matter, Donald Trump, Enrique Peñalosa, extreme commuting, facts on the ground, Guggenheim Bilbao, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income per capita, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, mass immigration, microcredit, Milgram experiment, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, place-making, Silicon Valley, starchitect, technoutopianism, unorthodox policies, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus

In 2003, U-TT launched its first properly funded research project in the barrios of Caracas, inviting international artists such as Marjetica Potrč to collaborate on projects, including that dry toilet. The results became Informal City, which remains one of the best, most accessible books about informality in Latin America. It set out clearly that barrios were not merely a problem awaiting a solution but extraordinary self-regulating systems, places with qualities. Above all, they were facts on the ground, an urban condition too pervasive to be reversed. ‘The planned city can neither eliminate nor subsume the informal qualities and practices of its inhabitants,’ wrote Brillembourg and Klumpner. ‘The informal persists; its inherent strengths resist and deflect efforts to impose order. The totally planned city is, therefore, a myth.’ In engaging with the informal city, U-TT developed a methodology of maximising the amount of social activity that a tiny plot of land could deliver.


pages: 516 words: 1,220

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks

business process, clean water, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, Isaac Newton, lateral thinking, Naomi Klein, private military company, Project for a New American Century, RAND corporation, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

"For example, Bremer would tell congressional delegations that there were one hundred thousand Iraqi security forces trained. I sent a back channel message to Wolfowitz and Rice saying, 'You're setting yourself up, this number isn't right, I am overseeing the training, and there are just ten thousand.' I also told them that electricity was much worse than they thought." 268 FIASCO Rumsfeld's response was to send out survey teams that could determine the facts on the ground. Bremer objected to the first team, and its trip was cancelled, Kellogg recalled. The second team was led by Maj. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, an Army general fresh from working on training issues in Afghanistan. He reviewed the training of Iraqi police and military units and concluded that things weren't going well. U.S. commanders told members of the assessment team that "the insurgency was growing much faster than the Iraqi security forces," Bing West, a member of the team, noted in his account of U.S. military operations in Anbar province.

"We now spend ninety percent of our time talking about the Abu Ghraib stuff, and one percent talking about the valor of the troops," said Bing West, the chronicler of the Marines in Iraq. The op-ed pages try reverse gear In the wake of the unraveling of the Bush administration's rationales for invasion, and the tarring of the U.S. military presence, expert opinion in the United States began to catch up with the facts on the ground. The op-ed pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times in May 2004 looke almost like the reverse of the 2002 and 2003 stampedes that culminated in the gushing reviews of Powell's presentation to the UN. The New York Times' Thomas Friedman, probably the most influential writer on foreign affairs in the United States, and one of the more prominent journalistic supporters of going to war in Iraq, sounded the alarm in early May.


pages: 691 words: 203,236

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities by Eric Kaufmann

4chan, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, income inequality, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Nate Silver, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, open borders, phenotype, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steven Pinker, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, twin studies, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, white flight, working-age population, World Values Survey, young professional

‘The West’ might work as a foil for East European writers but fails for Western ones. Similarly, the integration of provincial intellectuals into national networks and identities militates against them spearheading a new anti-metropolitan cultural movement. Instead, a conservative intellectual climate is more likely to emerge as a response to changing ‘facts on the ground’ or to a popular new theory which plugs into one of modernity’s holy trinity of liberty, equality and rationality. The rise of right-wing populism, for example, is a ‘fact on the ground’ which dragged centre-left intellectuals away from multiculturalism in Europe in the 1990s and 2000s.18 In a related vein, there is a new politics of the white working class. Their electoral assertiveness has challenged the prevailing intellectual climate as populist leaders brandish egalitarian arguments about peripheral whites being neglected and ‘left behind’ by metropolitan elites.


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, business cycle, capital controls, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, creative destruction, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, 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: 301 words: 89,076

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer vision, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, future of journalism, future of work, George Gilder, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, post-work, profit motive, remote working, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, universal basic income

This new economic transformation was not as great as the original Great Transformation, but it did disorder the lives of millions and reshape economic social and economic realities into what the sociologist Alain Touraine called the “post-industrial society.”2 Jobs shifted from factories to offices, urbanization continued, many rural communities declined or disappeared, and the fulcrum of value creation shifted from capital to knowledge. The nature of globalization changed, and the unquestioned economic dominance of the West was questioned by facts on the ground. This economic transformation produced upheaval—just as it did in the nineteenth century. The twenty-first-century upheaval was nowhere near as great as that of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It was, nevertheless, traumatic—especially in the US where government safety nets had been removed or not put in place as they were in Europe and Japan. The social and economic upheaval produced a backlash in 2016 with the Brexit vote and President Trump’s election.


pages: 349 words: 86,224

Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C. Scott

agricultural Revolution, clean water, David Graeber, demographic dividend, demographic transition, deskilling, facts on the ground, invention of writing, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, means of production, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route

What can one infer from the trove of cuneiform tablets that have been recovered and translated about actual governance on the ground in Sumer? They reveal, at a minimum, the massive effort through a system of notation to make a society, its manpower, and its production legible to its rulers and temple officials, and to extract grain and labor from it. Surely we know enough about even quite modern bureaucracies to realize that there is no necessary relation between the records on the one hand and the facts on the ground on the other. Documents are forged and fiddled for private advantage or to please superiors. Rules and regulations laid out meticulously in the documents may be a dead letter on the ground. Land records may be corrupt, absent, or simply inaccurate. The order of the records office, like the order of the parade ground, too often masks rampant disorder in actual administration and on the battlefield.


pages: 336 words: 90,749

How to Fix Copyright by William Patry

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, barriers to entry, big-box store, borderless world, business cycle, 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, 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: 265 words: 93,231

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

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: 383 words: 92,837

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, endowment effect, facts on the ground, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, out of africa, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Steven Pinker, Thales of Miletus

So we see that the invisibly small molecules we call narcotics, neurotransmitters, hormones, viruses, and genes can place their little hands on the steering wheel of our behavior. As soon as your drink is spiked, your sandwich is sneezed upon, or your genome picks up a mutation, your ship moves in a different direction. Try as you might to make it otherwise, the changes in your machinery lead to changes in you. Given these facts on the ground, it is far from clear that we hold the option of “choosing” who we would like to be. As the neuroethicist Martha Farah puts it, if an antidepressant pill “can help us take everyday problems in stride, and if a stimulant can help us meet our deadlines and keep our commitments at work, then must not unflabbable temperaments and conscientious characters also be features of people’s bodies? And if so, is there anything about people that is not a feature of their bodies?”


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, business cycle, 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, Kickstarter, 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, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, 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: 801 words: 229,742

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Boycotts of Israel, David Brooks, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, invisible hand, oil shock, Project for a New American Century, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

Secretary of State Colin Powell made that point in a round of phone calls to Arab foreign ministers.”70 Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, said, “The issue is not Israel,” it is “terrorists who are killing in an attempt to stop a hopeful process from moving forward.”71 Later that month, the House passed a resolution—by a vote of 399 to 5—expressing “solidarity with the Israeli people” and saying that Israel was fully justified in using force to deal with terrorism.72 Bush had once again tried to curb Israeli actions that strengthened anti-Americanism in the Arab and Islamic world and undermined the administration’s war on terrorism, but he ended up suffering another humiliating defeat.73 UNILATERALISM IN, ROAD MAP OUT Much the same pattern was evident in late July 2003, when the Bush administration began to voice its objections to Israel’s so-called security fence, which was widely seen as an Israeli attempt to create “facts on the ground” that would be a major obstacle to a negotiated settlement. The issue was not construction of the fence itself but rather its intended route, which in effect would incorporate additional parts of the Occupied Territories and impose significant additional hardships on thousands of Palestinians.74 Bush ex pressed his displeasure at a joint White House press conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on July 25: “I think the wall is a problem, and I discussed this with Ariel Sharon.

In the United States today, it just isn’t possible to have a civil debate about Israel, because any serious criticism of its policies is instantly countered with charges of anti-Semitism.”120 Sixth, the lobby went to work to limit the damage from the cluster bomb controversy. On August 31, B’nai B’rith International sent a letter to Jan Egeland, the UN leader who had criticized Israel’s use of cluster bombs, accusing him of acting “as an un-appointed moral arbiter with regard to disputed, unproven facts on the ground and the interpretation of international humanitarian law.”121 A week later, the Senate was debating legislation that would ban the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas and prohibit the transfer of those deadly weapons to countries that refused to accept that ban. AIPAC lobbied hard against the legislation, which went down to defeat by a vote of 70–30.122 Key organizations in the lobby have been open and candid in discussing their influence on U.S. policy in Lebanon.


pages: 537 words: 99,778

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

activist lawyer, Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, different worldview, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, 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

Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, 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, 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: 370 words: 102,823

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

balance sheet recession, banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, 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, Kickstarter, 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.


pages: 319 words: 95,854

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

anti-communist, British Empire, centre right, discovery of DNA, European colonialism, facts on the ground, haute couture, illegal immigration, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, 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.


Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky

"Robert Solow", 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, Nelson Mandela, 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.


pages: 320 words: 96,006

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

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, post-work, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, Results Only Work Environment, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Stanford prison experiment, 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: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, 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 pandemic, 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, lateral thinking, 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: 348 words: 102,438

Green and Prosperous Land: A Blueprint for Rescuing the British Countryside by Dieter Helm

3D printing, Airbnb, barriers to entry, British Empire, clean water, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, digital map, facts on the ground, food miles, Haber-Bosch Process, illegal immigration, Internet of things, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, precision agriculture, quantitative easing, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, urban planning, urban sprawl

There is nothing truly wild left. Much of the fauna has ingested plastic of one form or another, and the fashion for rewilding is best seen as just another form of eco-engineering, a switch from one man-made landscape to another. Wild, as a concept, has lost its practical meaning, even if its cultural power remains. For all the angst this human transformation of nature causes environmentalists, it is not only a fact on the ground, it is also one that has proved remarkably successful from a human perspective. Over the last couple of centuries, we have broken out of thousands of years of virtually zero economic growth. The Industrial Revolution, and then the Age of Oil in the twentieth century, ushered in a wholly new historical experience. A cornucopia of new technologies raised the population out of poverty and into a material existence that has got better for each generation.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

The top five countries that still execute people in significant numbers form an unlikely club: China and Iran (more than a thousand apiece annually), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. As in other areas of human flourishing (such as crime, war, health, longevity, accidents, and education), the United States is a laggard among wealthy democracies. This American exceptionalism illuminates the tortuous path by which moral progress proceeds from philosophical arguments to facts on the ground. It also showcases the tension between the two conceptions of democracy we have been examining: a form of government whose power to inflict violence on its citizens is sharply circumscribed, and a form of government that carries out the will of the majority of its people. The reason the United States is a death-penalty outlier is that it is, in one sense, too democratic. In his history of the abolition of capital punishment in Europe, the legal scholar Andrew Hammel points out that in most times and places the death penalty strikes people as perfectly just: if you take a life, you deserve to lose your own.35 It was only with the Enlightenment that forceful arguments against the death penalty began to appear.36 One argument was that the state’s mandate to exercise violence may not breach the sacred zone of human life.

Cabinet secretaries have publicly repudiated various quips, tweets, and stink bombs; courts have struck down unconstitutional measures; senators and congressmen have defected from his party to vote down destructive legislation; Justice Department and Congressional committees are investigating the administration’s ties to Russia; an FBI chief has publicly called out Trump’s attempt to intimidate him (raising talk about impeachment for obstruction of justice); and his own staff, appalled at what they see, regularly leak compromising facts to the press—all in the first six months of the administration. Also boxing a president in are state and local governments, which are closer to the facts on the ground; the governments of other nations, which cannot be expected to put a high priority on making America great again; and even most corporations, which benefit from peace, prosperity, and stability. Globalization in particular is a tide that is impossible for any ruler to order back. Many of a country’s problems are inherently global, including migration, pandemics, terrorism, cybercrime, nuclear proliferation, rogue states, and the environment.


pages: 903 words: 235,753

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

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, 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, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joi Ito, 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, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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, undersea cable, 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: 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

asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, break the buck, buy and hold, 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, Kickstarter, 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

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, 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: 405 words: 109,114

Unfinished Business by Tamim Bayoumi

algorithmic trading, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, battle of ideas, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Doha Development Round, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, floating exchange rates, full employment, hiring and firing, housing crisis, inflation targeting, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, value at risk

A wider and more formal discussion of the correct combination of policies has a much better chance of producing a carefully considered outcome. Another objection is that monetary policy is the most flexible of policies and hence that intransigence by (say) fiscal policymakers could force the central bank into policies it would rather not follow. In terms of game theory, fiscal policymakers could end up using their inability to change plans quickly to force monetary policymakers to respond to facts on the ground. However, this is already the case in that fiscal policy is set less often than monetary policy, and hence monetary policy generally has to respond given a fiscal stance that has already been announced. It is difficult to see why organized policy discussion, in which the central bank could voice concerns about any problems created by fiscal and other policies, would not improve matters. Indeed, the logic of the all-stars meetings is to put pressure on institutions not to compete with each other, but rather to discover a mutually agreeable approach.


pages: 369 words: 105,819

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President by Bandy X. Lee

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, declining real wages, delayed gratification, demand response, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, fear of failure, illegal immigration, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, national security letter, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School

He cultivated European allies and gained a strong endorsement—“It is exactly what I would have done”—from President Charles de Gaulle, the assertively nationalist leader of France and its greatest World War II hero. In cultivating his allies, President Kennedy was highly aware of the importance of his and the United States’ credibility. He was careful throughout the crisis to communicate honestly, with neither hyperbole nor minimization, about the facts on the ground and the U.S. response. Finally, President Kennedy was a cagy negotiator. In the course of negotiations, Premier Khrushchev raised a counterdemand that the United States remove its own Jupiter rockets from Turkey. This was especially frustrating because President Kennedy had previously recognized their obsolescence and very modest strategic value and so, sometime before the Cuban Missile Crisis, had directed that they be removed.


The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz

affirmative action, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, different worldview, facts on the ground, Jeffrey Epstein, Nelson Mandela, 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: 374 words: 111,284

The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

They can view the redistributive impact of the new industrial revolution as just something else to add on to, and perhaps speed up, Piketty’s process of wealth concentration, or simply something to enable them to jump ship to a new leading cause of increased inequality if they feel that Piketty’s thesis has some serious holes in it. And, as we discussed above, it does have some serious holes in it. Scholars seems united in admiration for the work Piketty has done to assemble data on a range of countries over such a long period. But few find his theory convincing. And nor do I. We do not need Piketty’s simple but potentially powerful theory to explain what has happened to inequality. What’s more, many of the facts on the ground seriously challenge his thesis. Accordingly, we can now leave Piketty to the economic historians to use as a database – and the foundation for umpteen keenly fought academic disputes. Jobs and pay So now we can turn our attention to the impact on the distribution of income of the AI revolution. Noneconomists often talk about employment in absolute terms. They refer to some jobs disappearing and others taking their place.


pages: 908 words: 262,808

The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson

British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, European colonialism, facts on the ground, friendly fire, means of production, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RAND corporation, South China Sea, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Rather than redirecting supplies from the Eastern Front, Rommel may have thought he could open and win a new theater that might help relieve the troubled German efforts in Russia.19 Only a bold effort to hit Alexandria and cut off Suez justified a German presence in the North African backwater at all. Rommel knew that even in summer 1941 Germany still had the supplies to fuel his advance. Later Hitler confirmed his suspicion when he somehow sent considerable reinforcements under more trying conditions to Tunisia, much of them by air, to meet the Americans in November 1942 and early 1943. Rommel rightly believed that his supply dilemma had hinged on willpower, or perhaps on creating facts on the ground through spectacular victories that would force OKW to send help.20 The experience of all successful invading European captains in North Africa—whether Scipio Africanus’s invasion of Carthage in 203 BC, Gaius’s defeat of the Numidian king, Jugurtha (107–105 BC), or the Byzantine Belisarius’s destruction of the Vandal Empire in AD 528—hinged on relatively small armies advancing with secure supply routes, usually ensured by sea from Europe.

This was an extraordinary achievement, given that Britain had a continental army far smaller than those of either Germany, Russia, or the United States. Although Churchill may have despaired frequently—after the fall of France when an inglorious defeat seemed likely, the ignominious surrenders at Singapore and Tobruk, and in negotiations about the postwar world with undemocratic Joseph Stalin creating facts on the ground throughout Eastern Europe—he was the first Allied leader to see a way to beat Hitler and the only one to fight him from the beginning to the end. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, ON the other hand, approached the war as if it were another political contest to enter and win what, until December 1941, had been seen as someone else’s distant conflict. He began mobilizing a mostly unarmed and skeptical United States, particularly its navy, long before the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, when the public was against intervention abroad.


pages: 380 words: 118,675

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

airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, buy and hold, 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: 587 words: 119,432

The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall by Mary Elise Sarotte

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, Deng Xiaoping, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, hindsight bias, Mikhail Gorbachev, open borders, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, urban decay, éminence grise

As his country finally gained the freedoms for which he had struggled, Wonneberger had to learn anew how to speak.184 Thanks to him and to the marchers of October 9, the regime was now facing a struggle of its own. On that night, there had been a yawning gap where orders from the center should have been. As one activist, Tobias Hollitzer, would later remark, the “only central decision . . . was the belated blessing of the facts on the ground that had already been created by the courage and peacefulness” of the protestors.185 The SED had to recover from its defeat in Leipzig and to regain control somehow. Krenz decided that the best way to begin doing so was to commence his coup against Honecker. Then Krenz would try to suppress the widespread desire for travel and emigration as well as the rising power of the peaceful revolution, hoping to be more successful than Honecker had been.


pages: 387 words: 120,092

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

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, Nelson Mandela, 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

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, 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, 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, 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, twin studies, uber lyft, 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.


pages: 427 words: 114,531

Legacy of Empire by Gardner Thompson

Albert Einstein, British Empire, colonial rule, European colonialism, facts on the ground, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, lateral thinking, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, means of production, Ronald Reagan, zero-sum game

By 1914, around two and a half million went to America; tens of thousands went to South America and the British overseas dominions; hundreds of thousands more settled in the cities and towns of Central and Western Europe.41 Only a tiny minority of Eastern Europe’s Jews turned to Zionism. For the great majority of those who left their homes in Central and Eastern Europe, the Promised Land was – as long as it remained welcoming – America, not Palestine. Even so, emigration to Palestine was taking place long before the First World War. Jewish settlers, at the very heart of the Zionist project, began to change the facts on the ground. As the twenty-two-year-old David Ben-Gurion, himself among Jews recently arrived in Palestine, wrote to his father in 1909: ‘Settling the land – that is the only real Zionism. The rest is just self-delusion, idle chatter, and time-wasting.’42 The Zionist goal was indeed to acquire land for settlement. Transfers of land required, of course, owners able and willing to sell, as well as Jews willing and able to buy.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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, 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, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, 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.


pages: 404 words: 124,705

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

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, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, 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, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, 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: 503 words: 126,355

Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David by Lawrence Wright

Albert Einstein, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Mahatma Gandhi, open borders, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Yom Kippur War

As for his autonomy scheme, “All who beheld it praised it,” Begin reported. But any goodwill he might have accumulated with the Americans he promptly exploded when he endorsed a scheme by General Ariel Sharon to place a number of dummy settlements in Sinai—specifically, in places that the Israelis had previously pledged to restore to Egypt under a prospective peace agreement. The idea was to swiftly create “facts on the ground” in order to enhance Israel’s claim on the peninsula. The “settlements” were nothing more than phony water derricks and rusted old buses. If nothing else, Sharon argued, these props could be used as bargaining chips to preserve the actual settlements that Israel hoped to keep. It was a stunning misstep. International scorn was heaped on Begin, even in Israel, where he was accused of trying to destroy the peace process.


pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros

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, 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: 385 words: 121,550

Three Years in Hell: The Brexit Chronicles by Fintan O'Toole

airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, deindustrialization, deliberate practice, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Downton Abbey, Etonian, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, full employment, income inequality, l'esprit de l'escalier, labour mobility, late capitalism, open borders, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, technoutopianism, zero-sum game

The whole backstop problem arises, not as some kind of dastardly Irish or European plot, but because Britain just can’t live up to this commitment if Northern Ireland leaves either the single market or the customs union. This is the tyranny of fact: there is nowhere in the world where two different customs and/or market regimes have a frontier across which trade flows without checks, controls and infrastructure. But all the energy among the Brexiteers has gone into trying to escape this inescapable reality. They have been in search of a magical technology that make the facts on the ground disappear. And ever since it became clear that this technology does not exist, the internal project has been what Whitehall officials privately call ‘keeping the corpse warm’. The corpse is now cold. Johnson’s proposals acknowledge that even if all the magical technology works, there will still be checks, controls and (implicitly) infrastructure. The British government has broken its own solemn legal and political commitments.


pages: 532 words: 139,706

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

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, 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, 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: 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

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, hive mind, immigration reform, informal economy, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, peer-to-peer, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prisoner's dilemma, 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: 531 words: 139,948

The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War by Steven Pressfield

defense in depth, facts on the ground, New Journalism, trade route, Yom Kippur War

It was the torch from which the rest of the IDF lit the flame of boldness and resourcefulness. Every soldier of spirit wished to serve under Sharon and to wear the red beret of the paratroopers. Second, the policy of reprisals kept the enemy on the defensive and bought time for the fledgling Israeli nation to put down roots. Sharon called this “practical Zionism.” He meant that, within the secure perimeter provided by our soldiers’ enterprise, our countrymen could create “facts on the ground”—farms and cities, schools and railroads, ports and highways that would in time come to be viewed, not only by the Arabs but by the world at large, as permanent and ineradicable. Sharon was a realist. He recognized, as did Ben-Gurion and Dayan, that the Arabs had as legitimate a claim to this land as we did, and that they possessed pride and courage and anger, against which no rejoinder existed except the sword.


pages: 442 words: 130,526

The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India's New Gilded Age by James Crabtree

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Branko Milanovic, business climate, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, colonial rule, Commodity Super-Cycle, corporate raider, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, informal economy, Joseph Schumpeter, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, megacity, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pearl River Delta, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, special economic zone, spectrum auction, The Great Moderation, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, yellow journalism, young professional

“These guys didn’t bother getting the clearances they needed at first, and said, ‘I’ll manage it when I come to it,’ ” I was told later by Jairam Ramesh, a combative economist turned Congress politician. Back in 2013, Ramesh had been India’s environment minister and a particular bête noire of the tycoons. He often blocked investments, including a number of major mining and power projects in forested areas. The tycoons pushed their luck, he argued, starting work without proper permission, with the aim of creating “facts on the ground” and assuming that their political connections would smooth over problems later. “You also had the prime minister, a man of great integrity, who kept talking about unleashing animal spirits,” he told me. “This just reinforced the sentiment among industrialists that they could do whatever they wanted.” While some of these political snarl-ups were indeed outside the tycoons’ control, “House of Debt” revealed a further issue that was squarely their own fault: the tricks they used to raise debt.


pages: 444 words: 128,701

The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business by Christopher Leonard

agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, commoditize, estate planning, facts on the ground, invisible hand, longitudinal study, mortgage debt, payday loans, price discovery process, price stability, Ralph Nader, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Moeller was impressive during the senior leadership meeting at Tyson Foods headquarters in Springdale. Those around him could count on Moeller to boast about the swine division’s profits and growth prospects. There were plans to expand with new hog farms in states like South Dakota. Every month seemed to deliver better profits from hogs. But Jim Blair was unimpressed. Moeller seemed a little too eager to make his unit look good at the meetings, Blair thought. The facts on the ground seemed to say otherwise. Blair got the impression that Tyson’s swine division was juicing its profit figures in part by taking money out of the pockets of the hog farmers. The hog contracts had a number of provisions that docked farmers’ pay and dinged them for any losses in production. Even Tyson’s massive hog plant in Marshall, Missouri, didn’t give the company the scale it needed to compete against Smithfield.


pages: 475 words: 134,707

The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health--And How We Must Adapt by Sinan Aral

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, computer vision, coronavirus, correlation does not imply causation, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, global pandemic, hive mind, illegal immigration, income inequality, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multi-sided market, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, performance metric, phenotype, recommendation engine, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social software, social web, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra

The amount of bot activity and the number of unique accounts spreading the disinformation were also statistically significantly higher for the Crimean mixed news stories than for all other verified mixed political news. In social media data, outliers like these typically signal a coordinated attempt to distort reality, an orchestrated effort to influence human thinking and behavior. With Russia claiming vociferously that Crimea desired accession, and with the facts on the ground being distorted by fake news, the Obama Doctrine in response to the annexation stopped short of intervening and imposed economic sanctions instead. And today Crimea is part of Russia. As dramatic as the Crimean disinformation campaign was, the social and economic impact of social media on our lives far outstrips any single geopolitical event. This same machinery has a hand in business, in politics, and frankly in everything, from the troubling rise of fake news to the rise and fall of the stock market, from our opinions about politics to what products we buy, who we vote for, and even who we love.


pages: 586 words: 159,901

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

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, business cycle, 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: 509 words: 153,061

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

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

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: 566 words: 155,428

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

"Robert Solow", 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

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, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, Stuxnet, undersea cable, 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: 590 words: 152,595

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War by Paul Scharre

active measures, Air France Flight 447, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, brain emulation, Brian Krebs, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, DevOps, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, Flash crash, Freestyle chess, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, ImageNet competition, Internet of things, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, pattern recognition, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sensor fusion, South China Sea, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Turing test, universal basic income, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, William Langewiesche, Y2K, zero day

The Vandenberg IBCM test, for example, was caused by officers following preestablished guidance without pausing to ask whether that guidance still applied in light of new information (the unfolding crisis over Cuba). Often, the correct decision in any given moment depends not on rigid adherence to guidance, but rather on understanding the intent behind the guidance. Militaries have a concept of “commander’s intent,” a succinct statement given by commanders to subordinates describing the commander’s goals. Sometimes, meeting the commander’s intent requires deviating from the plan because of new facts on the ground. Humans are not perfect, but they are capable of using their common sense and better judgment to comply with the intent behind a rule, rather than the rule itself. Humans can disobey the rules and in tense situations, counterintuitively, that may be a good thing. At the heart of the matter is whether more flexibility in how subordinates carry out directions is a good thing or a bad thing.


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: 495 words: 154,046

The Rights of the People by David K. Shipler

affirmative action, airport security, computer age, facts on the ground, fudge factor, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, mandatory minimum, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, RFID, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, working poor, zero-sum game

Having the erroneous fingerprint identification and the sketchy profile of Mayfield, the FBI worried that he might be part of a second-wave attack inside the United States. The concern was so urgent that agents invoked a FISA provision allowing secret searches to begin without a court order—and therefore with scant justification—provided a judge is notified within seventy-two hours. The investigation was then propelled into its own orbit with little gravitational pull from the facts on the ground. The FBI used FISA, not ordinary criminal warrants that would have authorized wiretapping, because it was convinced that it could not show a criminal violation by Mayfield. A senior attorney in the Justice Department disagreed, “stating that given the gravity of the Madrid bombings and the fingerprint identification of Mayfield, he believed the government could have obtained a criminal wiretap.”


pages: 470 words: 148,730

Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, charter city, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, fear of failure, financial innovation, George Akerlof, high net worth, immigration reform, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, land reform, loss aversion, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, place-making, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, smart meter, social graph, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, urban sprawl, very high income, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y2K

Enrico Moretti, one of the few economists who has actually studied such policies, actively dislikes them. For him, channeling public funds into regions doing poorly is throwing good money after bad. Blighted towns are meant to shrink while others take their place. It is the way of history. What public policy needs to do is to help people move to the places of the future.56 This analysis seems to give too little weight to the facts on the ground. As we know, the same reasons that make clusters develop also mean they fall apart quickly. Theoretically, the obvious response to this wholesale unwinding ought to be for a lot of people to leave, but as we saw already, they don’t. At least not nearly fast enough. Instead, when their county was hit by the China shock, fewer people got married, fewer had children, and of the children who were born, more were born out of wedlock.


pages: 535 words: 144,827

1939: A People's History by Frederick Taylor

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, collective bargaining, delayed gratification, facts on the ground, full employment, mass immigration, rising living standards, the market place, women in the workforce

The Führer’s aim at this point, it seemed, was to engineer a crisis over the issue of Danzig’s status which would give him, as the city’s self-appointed protector, legitimate grounds to intervene, first diplomatically and then militarily, on its behalf. Before the Western allies knew it, Germany and Poland would be at war over what, on the face of it, was a relatively obscure technical matter. Within weeks, while the world was still puzzling as to the rights and wrongs of the argument, Poland would be defeated. Britain and France would be faced with ‘facts on the ground’ – facts over which, Hitler believed, they would not be prepared to plunge the entire Continent into war.18 The British assurance to Poland, after all, only pledged to defend the country’s ‘independence’; it did not guarantee its borders. In the past few weeks, the Chamberlain government had been pursuing a dual strategy, pursuing rearmament and conscription while at the same time trying to reopen negotiations with Germany, which might conceivably involve the Poles’ agreeing to a territorial compromise regarding Danzig.


Active Measures by Thomas Rid

1960s counterculture, 4chan, active measures, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, call centre, Chelsea Manning, continuation of politics by other means, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, guest worker program, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Julian Assange, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, peer-to-peer, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, zero day

When victims read and react to forged secret documents, their reaction is real. When the cards of an influenced parliamentary vote are counted, the result is real. When social media users gather in the streets following a bogus event invitation, the demonstration is real. When readers start using racial epithets offline, their views are real. These measures are active, in the sense that operations actively and immediately change views, decisions, and facts on the ground, in the now. Second, disinformation works against itself, and again in unexpected ways. Intelligence agencies and other disinformation actors were, again and again, affected by their own constructions. It’s not that analysts simply believed their own lies; it’s that operators, driven by professional education as well as bureaucratic logic, tended to overstate rather than understate the value of their own disinformation work.


From Peoples into Nations by John Connelly

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, bank run, Berlin Wall, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, oil shock, old-boy network, open borders, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peace of Westphalia, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Chicago School, trade liberalization, Transnistria, union organizing, upwardly mobile, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce

Though the consummation of unity in the fall of 1918—made urgent by the collapse of Habsburg institutions—had indeed been rushed, Slavic intellectuals going back to Jan Kollár and his friend Ljudevit Gaj had been planning some kind of Czechoslovak and Yugoslav unity for generations, most recently in the committees created in Paris in 1915. Yet the men on these committees had not only debated and prepared the postwar orders, they also created facts on the ground, locking in decisions about state formation that bypassed the will of millions of East and Central Europeans. The members of these committees called themselves advocates of popular self-rule, in effect liberals, but they also feared that the new states might not stand a chance if their citizens were actually asked whether they wanted them. And they also knew they could not form those states without the favor of the Allies.

John Lukacs, The Hitler of History (New York, 1997), 123; Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, vol. 1 (New York, 1997), 95–104; Eberhard Jäckel, Hitler’s World View (Cambridge, MA, 1981), 47–66; Gerhard Weinberg, The Foreign Policy of Hitler’s Germany (Chicago, 1970), 1–25. 5. Hilberg, Destruction, 32 and passim. 6. Jean Ancel, “The German Romanian Relationship and the Final Solution,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 19:1 (2005), 252. 7. Pavelić’s deputy Dido Kvaternik doubted as early as July 1941 whether Germany would win the war and became all the more determined to create facts on the ground that could not be nullified. Tomasevich, War and Revolution, 408. 8. Hannah Arendt, Elemente und Ursprünge totalitärer Herrschaft (Munich, 2006), 624. 9. Janina Bauman, Winter in the Morning: A Young Girl’s Life in the Warsaw Ghetto and Beyond (New York, 1986). 10. The total deaths in the ghettos has been estimated at half a million. Longerich, Holocaust, 160–161, 167; Friedländer, Years of Extermination, 38; Alon Confino, A World without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide (New Haven, CT, 2014), 167. 11.


pages: 568 words: 162,366

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

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.


The Rough Guide to Jerusalem by Daniel Jacobs

centre right, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Frank Gehry, haute cuisine, Khartoum Gordon, low cost airline, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, Wall-E

They also extended Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries as far as Bethlehem to the south and Ramallah to the north, and 05 Jerusalem contexts 265-290.indd 272 18/06/09 2:56 PM Jewish settlements c onte x t s | A short history of Jerusalem The first Jewish settlements east of the Green Line were established a year after the Six Day War, and were state-sponsored, despite Israel being a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention which rules them illegal. Most were placed on high ground around East Jerusalem, such as at Gilo and East Talpiot to the south, and French Hill and Ramot Eshkol to the south, to reinforce Israel’s case for sovereignty with “facts on the ground”. Modern and well provided for, the settlements are a world apart from the surrounding Palestinian neighbourhoods. The 1991 occupation of homes in Silwan (see p.117), marked a new type of settlement. As in the Old City’s Muslim and Christian quarters, Jewish individuals and organizations, rather than the Israeli state, started taking over homes previously occupied by Arab families. Many of the new-style settlers are funded by donations from supporters in the US and other foreign countries.


pages: 589 words: 167,680

The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism by Steve Kornacki

affirmative action, American Legislative Exchange Council, Berlin Wall, computer age, David Brooks, Donald Trump, employer provided health coverage, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, immigration reform, mass immigration, Ralph Nader, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce

Now that he was president, he couldn’t stall any longer. The impetus went beyond the simple fact of accelerating deficits, though those numbers alone could feel staggering. In the first two centuries of its existence, America had accrued just under one trillion dollars in debt; since 1980, that figure had more than quadrupled. Interest payments on that debt were eating up an ever-larger share of federal spending. There were some new facts on the ground, though. People weren’t quite feeling it yet, but the lousy economy that had played such a decisive role in Clinton’s election was already revving to life. The first signs came just before the election, too late to do Bush any good, but just in time to rebalance the incoming president’s priorities. A strengthening economy, Clinton was persuaded, would mean much less need for direct government intervention—stimulus—and much more space for private investment.


pages: 596 words: 163,682

The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind by Raghuram Rajan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, data acquisition, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial repression, full employment, future of work, global supply chain, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial cluster, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Typically, any would-be leader has to bring together a team of key players in the community, such as the bureaucracy, the political establishment, business leaders, union leaders, church leaders, respected individuals, and the leaders of voluntary organizations, and unite them with a vision for change. Any such vision has some constants, but the path to it is rarely clear or static. Good leaders continuously adjust their strategies to the facts on the ground, taking advantage of any opportunities that come their way. The vision often has to be sold hard because it is rarely self-evident—if the path to revival were so obvious, would the community not already have embarked on it? In a failing community, it is possible that the usual resistance to new ideas or change is weaker, and key players care less about preserving their own turf than about avoiding collective extinction.


After the Cataclysm by Noam Chomsky

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: 750 words: 169,026

A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East by James Barr

bank run, British Empire, facts on the ground, friendly fire, illegal immigration, Khartoum Gordon, Scramble for Africa, short selling, éminence grise

But he was discouraged from discussing it with Georges-Picot by the Foreign Office minister Lord Robert Cecil who thought that it would be better to open negotiations only after British troops had entered the French zone. ‘We must never forget that, internationally, the French are a grasping people,’ said Cecil, ‘and we shall have a much better chance of getting reasonable terms out of them if they come to us in the first instance to get something which they want.’³² Cecil’s aim, with which Lawrence would have wholeheartedly agreed, was to create ‘facts on the ground’ that would render the Sykes–Picot agreement irrelevant. Lawrence’s attack on Dara, which fitted with this goal, started on 16 September 1918, three days before Allenby’s own advance began. It formed the tactical climax of the Arabs’ campaign. With a thousand tribesmen on camels, led by him and Stirling, and a handful of other British colleagues in Rolls-Royce armoured cars, he cut the railway to the west and south of the town by destroying railway bridges.


pages: 603 words: 182,826

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership by Andro Linklater

agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, business cycle, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, facts on the ground, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, income inequality, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, light touch regulation, market clearing, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Peace of Westphalia, Pearl River Delta, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, ultimatum game, wage slave, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons, working poor

But it was only a brief setback. Over time his family gradually winkled out all the tenants, and when the Palmers decided to sell just one of the three manors in 1604, the price was £4,600, a profit of more than 1,000 percent. The financial gains to be made from displacing older rights to ownership of the earth ensured that Palmer was neither the first nor the most brutal creator of new facts on the ground. So many peasants were driven off the manors that once supported them, they were deemed a menace to England’s emergent property-owning society. New legislation condemned homeless people without means of support as “rogues and vagabonds” who were liable to branding with a red-hot iron if found begging in the highway. Yet by the 1580s, this new, selfish form of ownership had begun to pay a dividend that enriched more than the owners themselves.


pages: 612 words: 187,431

The Art of UNIX Programming by Eric S. Raymond

A Pattern Language, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, combinatorial explosion, commoditize, correlation coefficient, David Brooks, Debian, domain-specific language, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, finite state, general-purpose programming language, George Santayana, Innovator's Dilemma, job automation, Larry Wall, MVC pattern, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, premature optimization, pre–internet, publish or perish, revision control, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Steven Levy, transaction costs, Turing complete, Valgrind, wage slave, web application

As part of the arrangement, X/Open acquired the rights to the Unix trademark. The merged standard became Single Unix Standard version 1. It was followed in 1997 by a version 2. In 1999 X/Open absorbed the POSIX activity. In 2001, X/Open (now The Open Group) issued the Single Unix Standard version 3. All the threads of Unix API standardization were finally gathered into one bundle. This reflected facts on the ground; the different varieties of Unix had re-converged on a common API. And, at least among old-timers who remembered the turbulence of the 1980s, there was much rejoicing. The Ghost at the Victory Banquet There was, unfortunately, an awkward detail — the old-school Unix vendors who had backed the effort were under severe pressure from the new school of open-source Unixes, and were in some cases in the process of abandoning (in favor of Linux) the proprietary Unixes for which they had gone to so much effort to secure conformance.


pages: 662 words: 180,546

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

"Robert Solow", 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, business cycle, 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, do-ocracy, 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, Kickstarter, 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: 602 words: 186,977

Collision of Empires by Prit Buttar

bank run, facts on the ground, the market place

The orders issued by the army commander and the corps commander during those memorable days – ‘The more sweat, the less blood’ and ‘Victory for the Army depends on your legs’ – speak for themselves.11 More than one officer gave testimony similar to this, but none of it was backed up by what actually happened: the formations of First Army moved slowly and cautiously. Regardless of whether the Russian First Army could have pressed forward more energetically, given its supply problems, the facts on the ground were that the retreating Germans came under no significant pressure. Ludendorff and Hindenburg decided to screen Rennenkampf with only 1st Cavalry Division, Brodrück’s division created around the Königsberg garrison, and two Landwehr brigades. XVII Corps and I Reserve Corps, which had been allowed to rest for the day, were ordered to press on. Their objective was set as Bischofsburg. The result would be that two German corps – François’ I Corps and Scholtz’s XX Corps – would be on the western flank of the Russian Army, while the other two corps – Mackensen’s XVII Corps and Below’s I Reserve Corps – would be facing the eastern flank.


pages: 924 words: 198,159

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

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, Kickstarter, 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: 823 words: 206,070

The Making of Global Capitalism by Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin

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, business cycle, 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, Kickstarter, 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: 669 words: 195,743

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen

Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, conceptual framework, coronavirus, dark matter, digital map, double helix, experimental subject, facts on the ground, Fellow of the Royal Society, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, Google Earth, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, out of africa, Pearl River Delta, South China Sea, urban sprawl

“So when you do introduce the virus again,” Plowright said, describing the godlike role of the modeler, “you get a much bigger outbreak.” This is where the Christmas-light metaphor fails to serve, because one light suddenly glows like a supernova among ordinary stars. Plowright of course was working with numbers, not analogies. But her numbers reflected roughly this scenario. The relevance of such modeling to the facts on the ground is that Australian populations of flying foxes have become more isolated in recent decades. “The east coast of Australia used to be one big contiguous forest,” she told me, “and so you had bat populations pretty evenly dispersed along the coastline.” Their roosting aggregations, in the old days, were relatively mobile. Their food resources—mainly nectar and fruit—were diverse, seasonally variable, and scattered patchily throughout the forest.


pages: 913 words: 219,078

The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War by Benn Steil

Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, imperial preference, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, open economy, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, the market place, trade liberalization, Transnistria, Winter of Discontent, Works Progress Administration, éminence grise

The second is that he had converted his old enemies, but that they had overshot in their converts’ zeal. This position is more plausible, particularly in regards to Clay—a man who preferred to bulldoze barriers, whether they be French or Russian, than maneuver around them. The Soviets had, as Kennan had predicted, shown themselves uninterested in reasoned compromise. They were too suspicious of the West. Clay, Lippman, and other critics of “Mr. X” were now adapting to the new facts on the ground. The third explanation is the most compelling: that Kennan was, in spite of his writings, never comfortable with the military as a tool of peacetime diplomacy. He reveled in highlighting logical failings in others, but recoiled at seeing his own logic acted upon. Kennan now argued that democracies were ill-suited to the use of armed forces “tactically” in peacetime. The effort to do so only elevated the level of belligerent feeling toward the enemy, dangerously, in order to justify itself.


pages: 828 words: 232,188

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

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, disruptive innovation, 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, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour management system, land reform, land tenure, life extension, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, new economy, open economy, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, Port of Oakland, post-industrial society, 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: 850 words: 224,533

The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World by Oona A. Hathaway, Scott J. Shapiro

9 dash line, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, bank run, Bartolomé de las Casas, battle of ideas, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, continuation of politics by other means, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, failed state, humanitarian revolution, index card, long peace, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, spice trade, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, uranium enrichment, zero-sum game

Coastal states such as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam point to their own spotty and incomplete historical records to establish their claims to the Paracel Islands, the Pratas Islands, Scarborough Shoal, and the Spratly Islands, among many others. On most of these tiny bits of land, there were—until recently—no structures, no industry, no inhabitants, and little plant or animal life. Thus China’s building campaign on contested reefs and rocks is an undisguised bid to create facts on the ground that the other claimants cannot match. Until recently, this campaign over specks of land would have appeared the height of foolishness. Peace treaties, for example, frequently failed to mention all but the largest islands. At the close of the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki provided that China ceded to Japan “the island of Formosa [Taiwan] together with all islands appertaining or belonging to said island of Formosa.”13 Which islands, precisely, appertained or belonged to Formosa was not specified.


pages: 851 words: 247,711

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

affirmative action, 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, business cycle, 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, Mitch Kapor, 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.


How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Donald Trump, East Village, estate planning, facts on the ground, global pandemic, Live Aid, medical residency, placebo effect, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, trickle-down economics

Even Petrelis found a reason not to continue on. That didn’t dampen spirits in the van. The Riders headed first for Montgomery, Alabama, chosen for its symbolism, where they organized a roundtable dialogue with local activists and a touching display of about fifty panels from the quilt. Like their role models from a generation earlier, these Freedom Riders were keenly aware of the huge gulf between their goals and the facts on the ground. The political leaders of the South played to their reputation. “We’ll guarantee them their rights of free speech, but we won’t guarantee they’ll be loved,” the mayor, Emory Folmar, warned in a front-page Montgomery Advertiser story. “I have zero sympathy for them and zero sympathy for the cause of the Gay and Lesbian Freedom Ride. People who get AIDS from homosexual activities or illegal drug activities certainly don’t deserve, certainly won’t get, my sympathy.”


Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan; Richard Holbrooke; Casey Hampton

Albert Einstein, Bolshevik threat, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, facts on the ground, financial independence, land reform, Monroe Doctrine, Scramble for Africa, trade route, traveling salesman, union organizing

In Wilson’s words, Austria-Hungary was “an old building whose sides had been held together by props.” The time had come to take away those props. On September 3 the United States recognized the Czechoslovak National Council as a de facto belligerent government. Like the earlier British recognition, the statement did not specify the territory the new country would occupy.13 From Paris, Beneš decided to create facts on the ground. “A fait accompli,” he wrote to his colleagues, “carried through without noise or struggle and the domination of the situation are now decisive.” On October 28, in Prague, Czech politicians gently but firmly took power from the demoralized Austrian administration. Beneš urged the Allies to evacuate the German and Hungarian forces from the Czech lands and Slovakia and to bring in Allied forces.


pages: 1,364 words: 272,257

Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag-Montefiore

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: 972 words: 259,764

The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot

American ideology, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, drone strike, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Golden Gate Park, jitney, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration

EDWARD LANSDALE’S record during World War II suggests that he could have become a successful case officer for what is today known as the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, the unit charged with recruiting and running spies. But that is not the direction in which his postwar career was to take him. He was to become a covert warrior, not an intelligence gatherer. His focus would be on changing the facts on the ground rather than merely ferreting them out. That transformation began in the late summer of 1945 amid events so consequential that their ripples continue to buffet the world to this day. On August 6, a B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima and, in a blinding flash and mushroom cloud, killed more than 130,000 people. On August 9, another B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing at least 60,000 more people.


pages: 918 words: 257,605

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, book scanning, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, dogs of the Dow, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Ford paid five dollars a day, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, impulse control, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, linked data, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, multi-sided market, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, off grid, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, precision agriculture, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Mercer, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, smart cities, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, structural adjustment programs, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, union organizing, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck

It did not take long before companies from established sectors with roots far from Silicon Valley demonstrated their determination to compete for surveillance revenues. Among the first in this second wave were the telecom and cable companies that provide broadband service to millions of individuals and households. Although there is some debate about whether these companies can effectively compete with the established internet giants, the facts on the ground suggest that the ISPs are nonetheless determined to try. “Armed with their expansive view over the entire web, internet providers may even be in a position to out-Facebook Facebook, or out-Google Google,” observed the Washington Post.121 The largest of these corporations—Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast—made strategic acquisitions that signaled a shift away from their long-standing models of fees for service in favor of monetizing behavioral surplus.


pages: 1,118 words: 309,029

The Wars of Afghanistan by Peter Tomsen

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.


pages: 1,013 words: 302,015

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

Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, 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, lateral thinking, means of production, millennium bug, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, period drama, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, 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.


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

active measures, American ideology, 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: 1,071 words: 295,220

Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman

Ayatollah Khomeini, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, card file, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, Ronald Reagan, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

He was one of the men who took the secret oath in the orange grove, and he himself was personally offended by the very existence of the commissions. “What happened? Two terrorists who hijack a bus and kill its passengers died,” he would protest later. “For this you bring down a whole world? Hypocrisy! For years we were cleaning out Israel’s sewage, and everyone knew more or less how the sewage was cleaned.” Ginossar said, “I neither had nor have any moral problem with the slaying of the terrorists.” His problem was “with the facts on the ground. That so many actors outside of the Shin Bet were there.” His solution: “The supreme rule after a failed op is the erasure of the fingerprints of the State of Israel. Not telling the truth is an integral part of removing the problem.” During the day, the commission sat in a Defense Ministry meeting room and heard witnesses—soldiers, Shin Bet operatives, civilians, hostages, and the photographer Alex Levac.


pages: 1,373 words: 300,577

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

These decision makers were convinced that “a pluralistic and democratic Iraq” would have a transformative effect in the Middle East, and in something akin to the fall of communism, set off a process of “reform” and “moderation” throughout the region.6 Contrary intelligence and analyses that did not fit this vision were pushed aside. Moreover, after thirty-five years of Baathist dictatorship, some could argue that, in any event, not much was really known about such “facts on the ground” as religious cleavages, sectarian rivalries, the importance of tribal loyalties, and the role of Iran. Those who did know something about these details, or who questioned the basic policy convictions, or who warned that these assumptions were too optimistic, were progressively squeezed out of the decisionmaking process. The shock of 9/11 created a determination to demonstrate the strength of the United States, reassert a balance of power, and seize the initiative.


pages: 1,199 words: 332,563

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

bioinformatics, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, 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: 1,123 words: 328,357

Post Wall: Rebuilding the World After 1989 by Kristina Spohr

American Legislative Exchange Council, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, central bank independence, colonial exploitation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, G4S, Kickstarter, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, open economy, price stability, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, software patent, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas L Friedman, Transnistria, uranium enrichment, zero-coupon bond

The repressive state apparatus that Mielke had pulled together was not confronted with fearsome ‘enemies of the state’ or anarchic ‘rowdies’ but by well-disciplined ordinary citizens bearing candles and speaking the language of non-violence. What they wanted was recognition by the governing party of their legitimate quest for basic freedoms and political reform: their slogan was ‘Wir sind das Volk’ (‘We are the people’).[30] New facts on the ground had been created. And a new demonstration culture had emerged – spilling out from the church vigils into the squares and the streets. The regime’s loss of nerve that night dispelled the omnipresent climate of fear. This would change the face of the GDR. The civil rights activists and the mass of protestors were beginning to merge. It was a huge victory for the peaceful demonstrators and an epic defeat for the regime.


Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker

addicted to oil, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, buy low sell high, card file, clean water, collective bargaining, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, drone strike, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, South China Sea, stem cell, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, working poor, Yom Kippur War

The White House responded to Will by e-mailing supporters a 2,432-word rebuttal by Peter Wehner—three times as long as the original column—arguing that Will’s version of stability meant not confronting oppression and radicalism and “would eventually lead to death and destruction on a scale that is almost unimaginable.” But behind the scenes, Wehner was among those in the White House most vocal about the mistakes in Iraq, taking it so personally that he was physically sick and having trouble sleeping at night. To colleagues who blamed media negativity, Wehner argued that “Iraq was not a communications problem, it was a facts-on-the-ground problem.” Finally, that August, he took it upon himself to send a memo to Joshua Bolten arguing that Bush should get rid of Rumsfeld. Bolten invited him for a forty-five-minute conversation about the war. Even if the strategy was changed, Wehner told him, no one would perceive it as change as long as Rumsfeld was there. He suggested someone like James Baker, Joseph Lieberman, or Fred Thompson.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

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

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, business cycle, 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, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, 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, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, 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, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, 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.


Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, affirmative action, airline deregulation, Alistair Cooke, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, business climate, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, death of newspapers, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, energy security, equal pay for equal work, facts on the ground, feminist movement, financial deregulation, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, kremlinology, land reform, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, oil shock, open borders, Potemkin village, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, traveling salesman, unemployed young men, union organizing, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, wages for housework, walking around money, War on Poverty, white flight, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, yellow journalism, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

NBC’s four-part miniseries Holocaust was watched by half of American TV viewers. Impolitically, Carter also chose the week of the broadcast to plant a cedar from Lebanon on the White House lawn to recognize that country’s suffering at the hands of Israel’s invasion. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which had never lost a vote in Congress since its inception in 1953, took note of these facts on the ground, and prepared to turn up the heat. Gallup reported the president’s approval rating at 39 percent. Only 26 percent of Democrats wanted Jimmy Carter as their 1980 nominee; 36 percent of them wanted Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. “Never before in the 43-year history of the Gallup Poll has an incumbent president eligible for reelection stood lower in his party’s esteem,” the New York Times said