Monday, November 28, 2011

More about the 7+ trillion.

7 Trillion dollars is hard to even conceive of.

Atrios decides America is over here:

Teach Your Children Well

No expert in this area, but I see a tendency to perceive different countries as being 'corrupt' or 'not corrupt.' The primary difference seems to be not the level of corruption-at-the-top, except perhaps in some extreme cases, but the degree to which corruption is egalitarian. I don't really want to live in a society where every cop and petty bureaucrat needs a bribe, but at some point you're just a sucker if you aren't in on the action. When the assholes at the top are just stealing and looting, the rest of us might as well have our chances too.


Glen Tomkins 11.29.11 at 1:47 am

“It had already become clear
in October 2009 that the Greek government
had lied about the size of its deficit.”

That’s the part of this story that I keep hearing repeated, but the mechanics of which escape me.

How does a country lie, I mean lie enough to matter, about the size of its deficits, and escape detection from people doing even a cursory due diligence? It’s borrowing to cover its deficits. You know how big its deficit is from how much it’s borrowing.

Surely the total size of all Greek govt borrowing was known. Back when the sovereigns were monarchs rather than republics and not forced to keep public accounts, there was the possibilitily that because they were borrowing from all sorts of sources that you as an individual creditor had no idea existed, you could easily be sending money from whence there would be no hope of return. The sovereign himself might not have a clear idea of his total indebtedness. This is what happened to the Fuggers. Now, insofar as modern sovereigns still do this, borrow on the sly, then anyone who lends to such a sovereign deserves whatever happens to their money, deserves to be thoroughly Fuggered.

If you have that, that all of a sovereign’s borrowing is conducted in public bond auctions, or is otherwise a matter of public record, then you have enough information to judge its ability to meet its obligations. You know how much it’s borrowing every year. Any borrowing that is not directed towards a specific capital improvement, but simply plugs a shortfall in ordinary annual expenditures, should have a particular rationale, such as counter-cyclical stimulus, that has an end date and a plan to make up the deficits in good economic times.

In my experience with banks lending me money, their standard of due diligence is such that they don’t let me lie to them. I’m not allowed to make up an income figure and write it on a piece of paper and that’s that, they accept that I’m “good for it” because I say that I am. They want to see bank statements, and they want pay stubs, and they want tax returns and credit card statements. They want sufficient information about where I get my money and where it goes that they don’t have to rely on any representations I might make about how good I am for it. Bank officers who skipped all that due diligence and let me lie to them would be put in jail for fraud, for failure in their fiduciary responsibility to the people whose money they handed over to me.

There are different, lesser, standards for the people who lend much larger sums of other people’s money to sovereigns? Compared to a sovereign, I am subject to all sorts of coercion—I can be sued—and I am forced to offer the house as collateral before the bank hands over the money. I should get much less scrutiny, not more. That, or sovereigns ought to at least have their math checked, have creditors at least consider the size of what can’t be fudged, the total magnitude of their borrowing, for what that says about their ability to repay.

How did people who knew how much Greece was borrowing imagine that it was good for it all?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but what I’ve assumed all along, and it seems supported by statements in this review, is that at some point the creditors knew perfectly well that their loans likely wouldn’t be repaid by Greece, but that there would be a bail out. Why worry about boring old due diligence if you get to socialize the risks and privatize the profits?

Nuance is great. But when the story is simple, don’t complicate it needlessly. “Greek lies” were no more responsible for this debacle than Freddie Mac wrong-doing was responsible for the housing bubble in the US.

comment from crooked timber


How far outside respectability is it to believe in the October Surprise conspiracy, and that Reagan's crew are traitors? Pretty far, I'm guessing.

It would be utterly lunatic to suggest that Reagan and some of his top advisors conspired secretly and illegally with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to break US law, undermine US foreign policy, and help US-hating terrorists in 1980.

Everyone knows they didn't start doing that until, ooh, 1985 or so.

Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-28-11 8:31 AM

Genius. via unfogged

Friday, November 25, 2011!

4minute clip of Allan Grayson telling it like it is on OWS.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Glen Greenwald proving that claims of media objectivity a bullshit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fox news viewers know less than those who watch no new at all.

DougJ at Balloon Juice comments on our glorious overlords.


Standard issue right-wing scumbaggery.


As the Occupy movement continues to grow in defiance of the heavy-handed police action determined to squelch it, a natural question emerges: What point will the military be summoned to contain the cascade of popular dissent? And if our nation’s finest are brought into this struggle to stand between the vested authority of the state and the ranks of those who petition them for a redress of grievance, what may we expect the outcome to be?

If history is our guide then we know that story all too well. Behind a thin veil of red, white and blue stands a nation that has used its military might to respond forcefully to any public contempt for the very institutions which bind us in exclusion from the liberty those colors evoke. Just as a training collar keeps a dog in check, a highly militarized police force responds mercilessly, sharply, and without hesitation with an array of chemical warfare and thuggish brutality. And where they fail, divisions of soldiers stand ready to deliver a serious and painful lesson to all who demonstrate their unwillingness to wait for democracy.

This has been the history of democracy in America. The ink on the pages that chronicle the use of state violence towards an unruly citizenry is dry. We cannot rewrite them. We read them in lament. But for each new day history waits; at the dawn of each morning we are presented with the gift of creation. The prevailing thought woven into the fabric of our society today, threaded through both patterns of conservative and liberal ideology, remains the recognition that something is very wrong with the world. Naturally, we form the question: Can we do things differently? Once we animate that thought and present it to society as a question demanding an answer, we begin to sketch out our draft of the world in the pages of history.

I call upon my brothers and sisters in the armed forces to ink their pens and help us write these next few, and most important pages in the history of our social life. Soon, it is quite likely that you will be mobilized to aid the police in their effort to contain or disperse what their bosses see as an imminent threat to the sanctity of their authority. As that day draws near, I remind you of these familiar words:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Those that take this oath seriously are faced with a terrible conflict. You must battle internally between the affirmation that you will place your body between the social contract embedded in the Constitution and those that seek its destruction, while maintaining your loyalty to the government you serve and the orders issued by its officers. Sadly, society has placed a twin tax upon you by asking that you sacrifice both your body and your morality. This tax has been levied solely upon you overseas, and soon they’ll come to collect domestically. Your government in its expression of corporate interests relies upon your tenacity to endure, and your relentless willingness to sacrifice. And so you do.

Now, more than ever we need your sacrifice. But, I’m asking you to soldier in a different way. If called upon to deny the people of their first amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievance, disregard the order. Abstain from service. Or if you are so bold, join us. Make no mistake: The consequences for such decisions are severe. You will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law. But sacrifice is your watch word.

Thomas Paine wrote in 1776:

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

Today we are faced with a new revolution. This time we are fighting to preserve our democracy, rather than to establish a new one. And just as a grateful nation relied upon the Winter Soldier to deliver us from the colonial yoke of oppression, we ask that you aid us in our struggle to be free from the bonds of debt peonage and false representation. In return we will stand in your defense as the elite, who have gained so much from your service, attempt to strip you of your hard won honor.

via Yves Smith

personally I wouldn't rule out 90%.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Serious Badass

Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 16265

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:42 am Post subject: Reply with quote Clone post as a new topic Report Post Add User to Ignore List

CatharzGodfoot wrote:
MGuy wrote:
However I don't see "the left" as being as organized or homogeneous as the right so its harder to nail down what the "left" feels about most thins IMO.

That is a very good point. The Right is also a completely non-homogeneous group who believe all kinds of different things. The Republican Party Leadership presents a very unified face and exert a level of control on legislators so severe that they can get former POWs to retract condemnations of torture so as to present a more unified message. But the actual people who identify as Republicans do not share the same opinions, values, or goals.

When someone says that they consider themselves a conservative, or that they vote Republican in US elections, they are saying that they are one or more of an: Evangelical, Classical Liberal, Libertarian, Corporatist, Neocon, Militarist, Legalist, Aristocrat, Supply-Sider, Fundamentalist, Isolationist, Racist, or Objectivist. Or you know, one of the more obscure or controversial designations like Fascist (which should probably just be considered Militarist, Racist, Evangelical Corporatism anyway).

Nominally "Right Wing" identification of and solutions to problems usually rely on one or more of: Appeal to Tradition, Open Market Action, Use of Force, Fiscal Savings, Power Consolidation, or Intuitive Assertion. Right Wing justifications for a course of action are often composed of one or more of the following: Nationalism, Tradition, Religion, Danger, or Money.

Let's consider our most vocal conservatives: Tzor, Doom, and Psychic Robot. Tzor is a Religious Supply-Sider, Doom is a Classical Liberal Austrian, and Psychic Robot is an Isolationist Libertarian. Once you get away from conservative identity questions like "How bad is Hilary Clinton?" or "Should we punch hippies?" they agree on pretty close to nothing.


Serious Badass

Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 16265

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:53 am Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gx1080 wrote:
On sex ed:

Of course that the Left wants to socially engineer a bunch of whores. Single moms poping bastard spawn are a prole factory, which can be counted into being bribed with welfare to vote for the Leftists and to kill/steal/rape everybody who isn't on a gated community, specially the middle class.

So fuck them with a rusty screwdriver, bunch of human scum.

Many of the things you say are stupid and ignorant. This one is just ignorant. After all, it seems intuitively likely that promiscuity leads to a high birth rate. It's actually not true though.

For example, I live most of the year in the Czech Republic, which was rated by Newsweek as the number one country in the world for sex. Yes, really.
The Czechs have sex as often as the French, start as early as the Dutch, and fear STDs as little as the Italians.
The Czechs are literally the sluttiest people on Earth. They did surveys. And that's why this bullshit country with as many people in it as Chicago is so well represented on Boobpedia. And you know what? The Czech Republic has less than one and a half births per woman. Simple replacement rate is two. The sluttiest people in the whole world have less babies than the bare minimum to keep the population from contracting without immigration.

And that's not just a one-time thing. When you go to the US data, people in The South have the least sex. By quite a bit. And want to see the teen birth rate? It's exactly the other way around. The place where people have sex the most and enjoy sex the most is coincidentally the ten states with the lowest rate of teen pregnancy. The place where people have the least sex and enjoy sex the least has seven of ten of the states with the highest teen pregnancy rate.

The Left doesn't want people to be sluts because it produces more people. Some of the people on the Left want people to be sluttier because it produces less people. And environmentalists want to share resources with less people in future generations. But mostly, we just want people to be sluts because sluts are awesome. What the fuck is wrong with you that you don't want women to put out?


Serious Badass

Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 16265

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:43 pm Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

As long as small businesses are benefiting from government subsidized:
    fire protection
    worker health
    worker education
    building standards
    banking acreditation
    and currency

...then their market isn't going to be truly "free" now is it? As long as the owner of a small business can grab a hot dog and trust that there is a government agency guarantying that it is not poisonous and government run court system allowing him to receive damages if it is - nothing that businessman does after lunch will be done without having received indirect government subsidy.

So that small business is already benefiting from regulations and does not exist in a free market. Even if no regulation mentions that business' business at all and they never have to talk to even a single regulator or inspector. It is literally impossible to be unregulated, because every input into your company down to the fact that your workers can read is government regulated.


Not me but a guy I think highly of.

Kevin Drum has some things to say about the Right's perspective.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Glen Greenwald talking about oppression.

Friday, November 18, 2011

If only

Its Paul Krugman read it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm not sure how seriously I take this but if true this is very important. A story about a bill that would have the effect of censoring the internet.

very good Glen Greenwald post on the Occupy movement.

via Naked Capitalism:

The implications of the EU and bankers forcing Greece, the birthplace of democracy, to cancel a popular plebiscite as “irresponsible,” forcing instead an austerity regime composed partly of neo-Nazis fascists to administer more “pain”–is something that should frighten the shit out of everyone. Because like it or not, we’re all in the cross-hairs of the same banking interests, and we’re all going to face it again and again. Greece just happens to be the first in line.

read the rest at:

Another excellent story from Matt Taibi

This is a post about how low taxes are killing state budgets.

What Digby said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great fun here from driftglass.

lets hope he is right.


Charlie Pierce at Esquire’s Daily Politics Blog sums it up nicely:

Your right to peaceably assemble for the redress of grievances, and how you may do it, and what you may say, will be defined by the police power of the state, backed by its political establishment and the business elite. They will define “acceptable” forms of public protest, even (and especially) public protest against them. This is the way it is now. This is the way it has been for some time. It’s just that people didn’t notice. And that was the problem with the Occupy protests. They resisted the marginalization — both literal physical marginalization, and the kind of intellectual marginalization that keeps real solutions to real problems out of our kabuki political debates. They could not be ignored…

via Balloon Juice

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another Paul Krugman piece. It is about how hard times are worse now than they have been in the past.

Here's a Paul Krugman piece. It rings some changes on the P.J. O'Rourke maxim that "Republicans say government doesn't work, then they get into office and prove it."

Here's a good post by Kevin Drum about how a strong work ethic doesn't pay off for the working class anymore.

I didn't realize insider trading was legal for congress critters. Guess I should have watched 60 minutes. Here is a good article on this

Monday, November 14, 2011

It is always possible to find ways to make a point; to advance a progressive agenda. We have to be fast and we have to be opportunistic. But most of all we have to stop working from a script drafted by the right. The right can get mass public support for a pro-market agenda. They cannot get mass public support for an agenda that explicitly uses the government to redistribute income upward to the one percent. That has been the policy for the last three decades. Our job is to make sure that everyone knows it.

Dean Baker

Sunday, November 06, 2011

I have decided to start this again. Just a couple of URLs :


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