Monthly Archives: August 2011

On The Upbeat

Something for budding writers.

Ann Patchett is the author of this summer’s bestselling “State of Wonder,” which followed 2001’s “Bel Canto,” which won the Orange Prize. The author has compiled many of her thoughts on writing into a single interesting, sometimes contradictory piece, “The Getaway Car,” published Monday by Byliner.

“The Getaway Car” was published by Byliner as a Kindle single and is available for $2.99 from Amazon. Byliner, which publishes stand-alone nonfiction, launched in April with Jon Krakauer’s “Three Cups of Deceit” and has published electronic stories from William T. Vollman, Tad Friend, Jamie Malanowski and others. Krakauer’s story, which posed serious questions about Greg Mortenson’s memoir and his charity’s work, is now also available in print.

Topic Du Jour

Your daily distraction from 14 million unemployed Americans that no one in politics seems able to do anything about.

Scratching your asses is not a policy.

The Immoral GOP

Yet, they find room to sink lower,

Representative Michele Bachmann noted recently that 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income tax; all of them, she said, should pay something because they benefit from parks, roads and national security. (Interesting that she acknowledged government has a purpose.) Gov. Rick Perry, in the announcement of his candidacy, said he was dismayed at the “injustice” that nearly half of Americans do not pay income tax. Jon Huntsman Jr., up to now the most reasonable in the Republican presidential field, said not enough Americans pay tax.

Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, and several senators have made similar arguments, variations of the idea expressed earlier by Senator Dan Coats of Indiana that “everyone needs to have some skin in the game.”

This is factually wrong, economically wrong and morally wrong. First, the facts: a vast majority of Americans have skin in the tax game. Even if they earn too little to qualify for the income tax, they pay payroll taxes (which Republicans want to raise), gasoline excise taxes and state and local taxes. Only 14 percent of households pay neither income nor payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution. The poorest fifth paid an average of 16.3 percent of income in taxes in 2010.

I suppose we should credit Cantor for at least not claiming to be a Christian prophet.

Heh Heh, Indeed

Mums the word on News of the World hacking,

Law firm Schillings was contacted by Mulcaire’s solicitor Sarah Webb of Payne Hicks Beach on Friday and asked not to make the names public. Webb said: “The issues of confidentiality are of concern to the Metropolitan police and we asked Coogan’s solicitors not to disclose the information until the Met could consider the matter.”

She added: “The issue is not that my client requires to keep matters confidential but rather that the police require him to. We were concerned that our [client] did not breach orders of the court in this respect. The Met are now dealing [with this] and there is nothing more I can add.”

Similar high court orders have contained restrictions on publishing the names of News of the World journalists on the grounds that doing so could compromise Operation Wheeting, Scotland Yard’s ongoing investigation into phone hacking, by tipping off potential suspects.

I would think that those who were actually involved in the hacking are quite tipped off already.

“What do you mean it’s on off-site backups?!!!”

Mr. Putin’s Parasites Complaint

Poor sweet baby banksters,

Cable has long favoured the separation of retail and investment banking. He added: “The governor of the Bank of England and many other people have been arguing that we have to deal with the ‘too big to fail’ problem. We can’t have big global banks with balance sheets bigger than British GDP underwritten by the taxpayer; this can’t go on and it has got to be dealt with.”

The banksters are of course barking mad about it all, after all they have learned their lesson and promise to be good boys and girls in the future, and so why would we not trust them with the keys to the vault anymore?

I don’t know. Why wouldn’t we?

Just Because

It’s a good post.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”

Wowsers Penny, and then you read this,

Glenn Beck: Is the term “colored” really such a bad thing?

That leaves you having to tell

Fox’s Tantaros Says “A Lot Of Liberals Never Want To Focus On Mental Illness”

Mz. Tantraros, I think a lot of liberals have to focus too much time on mental illness.

Living On Our Laurels

Saving a million jobs,

As grim as the economic news is, as former skeptic Kevin Drum notes it would be even worse had the Obama administration not saved the domestic auto industry. Automobile sales and parts are one of the few robust areas of the American economy, and Drum estimates that the bailout saved roughly a million jobs. While much of the criticism of the Obama administration not being aggressive enough in dealing with the Great Recession has been warranted, this is indeed a success story that doesn’t receive nearly enough attention.

One of the arguments I recall making at the time was the strategic defense implications of this sector, as well as its’ economic one, which downstream may be more significant than just GM’s employees.


Reading Technical Stuff

It’s not that I don’t still love you.

Glass-Steagall In A Box

Once in awhile, while writing, in setting the scenario for the topic at hand, ( you tell people what you are going to be talking about,) you write a concise synopsis,

This triple crisis post Digby referenced yesterday may be the most important thing anyone interested in politics and economics may read for a long time. There are too many important points in the article to summarize in a neat block, so I won’t even try. Interested readers need to consume the whole thing several times. Those who aren’t already knowledgeable about such things might require a brief primer on CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and CDS (credit default swaps) to really understand it, but it’s worth it.

The key upshot is this: European central banks took on increasing amounts of leveraged debt–partly from the same fiscal insanity that plagued the Anglosphere, and partly by buying up bonds from less stable economies such as Greece and Iceland. Pretty much every European nation except Iceland made the decision to socialize the financial industry’s losses and turn the banks’ private debt into public debt. The only problem is that there’s far more banking debt out there due to leverage, than the collective economies of the Eurozone nations have to bail them out with. The Eurozone problems are not a result of overly generous social welfare systems, but rather of the combination of those systems with an attempt to take on debts of their banking institutions. Fairly soon, none of the Eurozone nations will be able to stand up under the weight of those needlessly undertaken obligations, in part because the inflexible structure of the Euro has made it such that the entire Eurozone sinks or swims together.

Capitalism fails at the top, not at the bottom. When capitalists also control the political machinery, as in America, failure comes with a double whammy.

Greed is a feeding frenzy going up, or coming down.

There was a certain level of mockery from the middle class in the early and mid oughts about the off shoring of industry and the transfer of wealth from the working class to the aristocracy, but the bill for the banking collapse is coming due from the middle classes, which are now blaming the poor, and joining in with the Aristocracy to transfer even more wealth from the middle classes, as any reduction in spending for social programs will end up in the aristocracy’s pockets and not the middle classes, as they so emphatically dream.

But the banks insolvency is going to come out of the middle classes pockets, and that money too will end up in the pockets of the aristocracy. You were the objective all along, for poverty has been endured by the poor since tribal communalism ended. Since then it has been the middle class that has always fomented revolution, and with you broke, yelling at the poor, the consolidation of power and money continues unabated, in incrementally eroding capitalistic, democratic republican principles.

It wasn’t the rich or poor that forked the nineteen sixties, or the French Revolution. The aristocracies intransigence holds as true today as then, more properly though, it would appear as the counter revolution, or anti-enlightenment, since it is ascendant, and we appear to be going the other way. I see nothing happening either politically or economically, to convince me otherwise, or this government would have addressed the needs of the people, and not just the aristocracy.

The political machine is stuck between impoverishing the people by letting the banking system capitalistically collapse, or impoverishing the people and debasing their morality by selling them into the peasantry of the corporations that feed the machine.

In three years of bailing them out, the banks have spent every effort and dollar they could spare in preventing any meaningful reforms that would prevent a re-occurrence because they ultimately paid no price for failure, and see no price to pay for future failure, since the middle class is busy accusing the poor of stealing their stuff, and not apt to notice the banker stealing their house.

None of the economic and political theories mean a thing if the outcome is rigged beforehand.

Small Comfort

Typhoon Nanmadol

As of 11:00 p.m. Manila time on August 26, 2011, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Nanmadol had maximum sustained winds of 135 knots (250 kilometers, or 155 miles, per hour) and gusts up to 165 knots (305 kilometers, or 190 miles, per hour). The storm was located roughly 585 nautical miles (1,085 kilometers, or 675 miles) south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, Japan. The storm was forecast to continue traveling toward the north-northwest before turning toward the northeast.

Six Minutes ago, If you don’t know where to find information on Irene by now, I can’t help you. Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. I hope it just falls apart sooner rather than later, you know, put out the fire in the Great Dismal Swamp and sort of fizzle out. That would be better.


So It Is Said

James 1:13

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

1st John 4:6

We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

So I ask myself, who am I going to take as more authoritative, John and James teachings on Christ, or yours or mine? A Christian’s first duty is to understand the teachings of Christ, not Moses. God is love, and the LORD is a happy God.

You’re, free to chose, as is your right, but in the things of God we stand alone. Which Christian would lord themselves over the apostles and Christ, that I should listen to them?

On a philosophically atheistic level, I study not as to God, but as to man’s laws of, and limits to imagination. How should man best live by his own reason? Bottom up instead of top down, as I would examine all religions to appreciate them, on that level as well, because, in my case, it makes them easier to appreciate, in most cases, on the previous level. But on this level one does not judge anything “right”, or “Wrong”, and that carries over as well.

In either case, I don’t have to pay attention to all those claiming to have holy spirit. The world has been ending for two thousand years and your still wrong. If the Son of God, Jesus Christ, did not know the time and hour, why should, I think that Christ has reveled it to you, if you do not do the things that Jesus commanded you to do?