Monthly Archives: March 2013

Trust Us!

We’re Experts!

So, the €7.5 billion is being lent to Cyprus in order to be paid right back to Europe. That is not charity, that is ‘hiding their embarrassing losses until later when someone else is in office’. If moral hazard requires clueless Cypriot retail depositors to pay for their banks’ decision to lend to the insolvent Greek government, then presumably it also applies to the financial wizards at ECB that lent to the insolvent Laiki, despite having full access to their financial information.

Wait! It’s different when we do it….

Look a butterfly!!!

Apparently Obama’s idea of a Holy Week sacrifice is to feed American citizens to rapacious bankers, this time through the device of “public/private partnerships” to support infrastructure spending. Some NC readers were correctly alarmed by a speech by Obama on Friday on using public/private partnerships to fund infrastructure spending. This is not a new idea; Obama first unveiled it in his Statue of the Union address. But it is a singularly bad idea, that is, if you are anyone other than a promoter of or investor in these deals.

As we’ve discussed at length earlier, these schemes are simply exercises in extraction. Investors in mature infrastructure deals expect 15% to 20% returns on their investment. And that also includes the payment of all the (considerable) fees and costs of putting these transactions together. The result is tantamount to selling the family china and then renting it back in order to eat. There is no way that adding unnecessary middlemen with high return expectations improves the results to the public. In fact, the evidence is overwhelmingly the reverse: investors jack up usage fees and skimp on maintenance. And their deals are full of sneaky features to guarantee their returns. For instance, Truthout noted:

Under the bus

The Capital Beltway, a politically iconic and locally vital highway, is dying beneath your turning wheels.

Under the surface of all but some recently restored segments, fissures are spreading, cracks are widening and the once-solid road bed that carries about a quarter-million cars a day is turning to mush.

Maybe when Congressional wankers start falling into the Potomac they’ll start using there heads for something other than blather.  

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Yes, But

Talking to people with rocks in their heads is like talking to people with rocks in their heads.

 Funny, that. They thought it was really, really important to give up our Constitutional protections because 3,000 people were killed in September of 2001, but now they think it’s cool to do things that will ultimately kill millions of Americans. Yes, millions.

Chained CPI is nothing but an act of theft and murder. Oh, and, by the way, it will hurt the economy as a whole.

Update: Also too

Nearly 100,000 people will be shot this year according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Seventeen thousand will be younger than 19. So almost 5,000 kids have been shot since the Newtown massacre in December, the one that was supposed make us finally get serious about gun violence.

Because I know you like context.

Paywall Blues

Now where did I leave my digital library?

A mixed bag I suppose. It’s long since I subscribed to three newspapers, Time, US News & World Report, and Newsweek, along with various other magazines like Rolling Stone, Readers Digest and CounterPunch. We spent a fairly hefty sum on those things, and would donate them to the local doctor for his office, and now he is gone as well. Whatever else I wanted, like the NY Times, WaPo, and Wall Street Journal could be read at the Public Library, but no longer.

I’m not sure what to think of the aggregators, I did that here for years, but that was a long time ago. I should have blog roll, but it gets to be a pain in the neck. But even with those changes the blog either evolves or dies. That doesn’t mean I’m going to start tweeting on twitter, I mean this works just as well for most of that stuff. I understand the social network is meant for input and conversation, but that was never my gig. that’s why God invented all those other people, he knew I wouldn’t do it.

What I think modern media really needs is solid reporting, not the fluff and bluff the consolidated outdated media outlets are putting out. But in the end I don’t think any business can survive when the accountants start running the show for the stock holders, who are clueless about almost everything about the business their investing in. If the bottom line is all that matters then we’ll see your ass every time.

So the king is dead, long live the king. Most of the media haven’t got anything left to say anyway. Paywalls are somewhat akin to walls around the cemetery at this point, you can only wonder who is keeping who in,and who is keeping who out. Me, I have people.

From Morocco To The Gobi

Civilizations older than Egypt once flourished.

It really is asinine of us to talk about the Grecko-Roman heritage, or the Christian-Judeo heritage without at least acknowledging Egypt or Sumeria, much less the more ancient civilizations that they imported from. Even this isn’t anything new under the sun, really, but the philosopher noted that the wisdom of Egypt was the proverbs of ancient Greece. Ptah-hotep preceded Socrates, Confucius and Buddha by two thousand years, and even he studied the ancient classics.

A Lesser Depression For Lesser Men

Sometimes I think I’m living in the stupidest nation on Earth,

BERKELEY – In the 12 years of the Great Depression – between the stock-market crash of 1929 and America’s mobilization for World War II – production in the United States averaged roughly 15% below the pre-depression trend, implying a total output shortfall equal to 1.8 years of GDP. Today, even if US production returns to its stable-inflation output potential by 2017 – a huge “if” – the US will have incurred an output shortfall equivalent to 60% of a year’s GDP.

American reporting on the economy is hardly an improvement over American reporting leading up to Iraq, or the current pocket pool reporting on the CYBERWAR to end all slobber cyberwars.

Yeah this is the golden age of journalism Matt,

Then, there’s e-payola: pay-per-post, pay-per-tweet, pay-per-review – and their cousin, affiliate advertising, which gives bloggers and tweeters incentive to steer readers toward transaction. In broadcast TV, there’s the serial incest between the news divisions and entertainment divisions, and on local TV, video news releases camouflaged as reportage.

Yet, none of these gimmicks is on the way out. Au contraire, they’re all growing. Which is terrifying, for what they all have in common is that, to one degree or another, they compromise editorial integrity. Readers and viewers have no way of knowing that they are being marketed to, or that the content is inherently untrustworthy.

I’m not at all opposed to advertising by papers, television, or blogs, everyone has to pay the bills. Even the people I pinch most of my stuff from, like this post, which lead directly to this ‘ere post. News isn’t like porn apparently. People pay for that crap, but won’t pay for the information that actually affects their day to day lives. Paywalls are an attempt to do so.

The internet is spawning a plethora of Catch-22’s in institutions. Because they can’t evolve, they revolve. It’s like the bankster bailouts, no one wants the government to pay for it, nor do they wish to pay for it from their deposits, nor do they want to interfere in free enterprise and regulate the banks. Information may want to be free, but money doesn’t, and this ain’t your father’s internet any more, and those ain’t your father’s banks.

This blog never was intended to make any money, and so far it hasn’t. It remains a journal, that I share with the public, but it makes no claims to being anything but the thoughts of one man on the issues before the public, or that catch my fancy. That so many journalists pay attention to it is a little disconcerting, but the reality is that the blogs drive the news as much as the news drive the blogs, and that is a big change from eight and ten years ago.

Hacking, cracking and spoofing are still the same endeavors for the same reasons, the internet is there to be spelunked, programs are there to be disassembled, kids will still be kids. Pengo hacked for cocaine and money, not ideology. LoD hacked the banks for money, not to show technical prowess. How is that any different today, other than the sheer size of the internet. This ain’t no cyberwar, this is just a volume running through a larger infrastructure.It’s easy pickings for journalists, and security PR companies. So many McAfee’s so few Michelangelo’s, ( an allusion you will understand by now, having read Destiny’s links and such.)

Yeah we can’t stimulate the economy because the bond market is already locked into thirty years of sluggish growth and has the capital to PR our ignorant asses into believing it is in our own self interest. Who needs bridges, highways and infrastructure to move goods and services, when the money is in making sure that goods and services don’t improve? Who is there to tell you? Who is there that cares? Today.

There’s No End To Stupid

Just saying

I worked in a financial aid office in a red state university for a while, and many of the work study students I knew were not products of grinding poverty. Like a lot of lower-middle-class families, their parents didn’t exactly live paycheck-to-paycheck, but they had little savings and lots of bills, so their kids were eligible for a fair bit of financial aid, including work study. I’m sure many of those parents voted straight Republican tickets, and I’ll bet they see work study as the perfect financial aid program: kids work for their school in return for an education. The name “Federal Work Study”, and the subsidy it implies, probably never penetrated their consciousness, until now….

For a nation, such as ours, to fork the technology revolution and cede that advantage to foreign nations,  ostensible hostile to democratic ideals, and with large populations, is either treason or stupidity. I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt.

What? They Think They Were Bankers?

Pesky school marms, not to mention students pointing out security holes in computer systems.

PRIORITIES! WE MUST ESTABLISH PRIORITIES!!!!

If It Works

We should kill it.

But North Dakota is also red in another sense: it fully supports its state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND), a socialist relic that exists nowhere else in America. Why is financial socialism still alive in North Dakota? Why haven’t the North Dakotan free-market crusaders slain it dead?

Because it works.

In 1919, the Non-Partisan League, a vibrant populist organization, won a majority in the legislature and voted the bank into existence. The goal was to free North Dakota farmers from impoverishing debt dependence on the big banks in the Twin Cities, Chicago and New York. More than 90 years later, this state-owned bank is thriving as it helps the state’s community banks, businesses, consumers and students obtain loans at reasonable rates. It also delivers a handsome profit to its owners — the 700,000 residents of North Dakota. In 2011, the BND provided more than $70 million to the state’s coffers. Extrapolate that profit-per-person to a big state like California and you’re looking at an extra $3.8 billion a year in state revenues that could be used to fund education and infrastructure.

North Dakota isn’t helping the fascists at all.

Banksters Walk On Libor

Four thousand years of wisdom and we get this,

The world’s biggest banks won a major victory on Friday when a judge dismissed a “substantial portion” of the claims in private lawsuits accusing them of rigging global benchmark interest rates.

 Oddly your honor, and I use that term formally and in its’ loosest terms, I’m not a bit surprised.

Oh do look! A landslide on a hill. A butterfly!!