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Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Corporatism is King
I wanted to follow up my post from yesterday on the FDIC with a couple of related links that I think are relevant as far as the big picture on the economy is concerned.
Alex’s comment on that post led me to do a quick search of the banks that had closed when the S&L crisis finally came to a head. The link is to an article from the New York Times that was written in 1988, and I about fell off my chair reading some of the things that ocurred and the analysis of the situation. Really, it shows that we haven’t learned a damn thing in 20 years. From the article (emphasis is mine):
And in a statement that is eerily prescient of what occurred with the housing bubble, the article concludes with this:
Now, the Obama administration hasn’t exactly nationalized the banks (yet), but the fact that TARP basically institutionalized 5-6 major banks/investment firms as “too big to fail” and provided them with a $23.7 trillion line of credit shows that they likely won’t let them collapse--there is too much money at this point invested by the state in their survival, and the Fed and the Treasury have been busy trying anything to keep this stock market bubble blowing up on the chance that the economy shows some sort of real recovery before it pops. I wouldn’t bet the house on them succeeding though--the math and history, in my opinion, aren’t really on their side this time.
So what is the connection between this article and the post I wrote yesterday? Well, they tie into the fundamental reason why I believe we are in the current state of affairs that we are economically. More below the fold----
I ran across this article from FrontPage Magazine by Robert Locke that was published in 2002. Locke says this about our current system of government:
He clarifies this later in the article:
One of his conclusions is something I find to be very accurate in regards to cynical attempts to stoke populist outrage by politicians:
In essence, Locke is arguing that it’s disingenuous to appeal to populist outrage against corporate welfare when most of the American society has been dependant upon the state acting as a “safety net” against any conceivable downturn and, taking this idea to its logical conclusion, eventually expecting the government to be proactive in preventing any sort of economic or social inconvenience whatsoever. The result has been a nation that needs to increasingly borrow itself further into debt to try and maintain the presumed social contract that’s been in place since the 1930s. Our rapidly growing population has only exacerbated this problem, to the point where we are now, as a nation, over $50 trillion in the hole with no real way to dig ourselves out except by a MASSIVE deleveraging of debt across all sectors of the economy. The main problem is that there is no way this can be done without it pretty much killing our current standard of living for a number of years. People would have to get used to living with less, maybe even living without government assistance, for quite some time. In theory, it could conceivably cause a revolution. But it’s probably the only way our country can survive as an independant entity without becoming economic vassals to nations which don’t have the system of government and its obligations that we do.Close this post...
Posted by on 09/30/09 at 07:21 PM in Life & Culture Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Republican Will Kill You
It’s nice to know that only one of parties is categorically insane. I’m sorry—what was that, Congressman Grayson?
The thing is, there’s some left wingers punching the air and saying, “Yeah! Say it like it is, sister!” Grayson is no stranger to stupidity. Hot Air reminds us that he wants every family to have a federally mandated week of paid vacation in Disneyland. And he followed up yesterday’s outburst by calling the level on uninsured a holocaust. I mean, we all know that the second thing the Nazis did, after healthcare reform of course, was to deny insurance to Jews.
Meanwhile, the nut fringe cuckoo bananas opposition has a great and well-reasoned piece from Michael Cannon and Ramesh Ponnuru going over twenty deceptions in Obama’s speech (many of which I covered in my fisking). One quibble—since there is no actual “plan”—still!—nothing Obama said was really false. I’m sure, somewhere in the world, there was a plan where everything he said was true.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
FDIC’s Piggy Bank Runs Dry
Well, this is not good at all--the FDIC is running in the red (from Zerohedge, which has a link to the FDIC’s report):
Here’s what the FDIC said in it’s memo:
I bolded the part before the pathetic attempt at happytalk at the end for a couple of reasons. First off, in case anyone hasn’t been following, banks have been failing at a rate that is, too be quite blunt, fucking scary. Over 100 banks have failed since the housing bubble popped last September. Over 100 banks in the span of a year--it’s gotten so bad that the financial blogs, in a bit of gallows humor, have taken to calling the end of the business week “Bank Failure Friday.” I’ve given up trying to count how much wealth has simply vanished with these bank closures, their assets taken over by larger banks for pennies on the dollar. And the FDIC has had to cover the individual deposits, so this is probably why they are calling in their checks (from Reuters, via Calculated Risk):
Don’t be surprised if no banks “fail” this Friday, even though the list of problem banks is staggering. (For fun,--"cough"--check to see if your bank is on the list)
I’d like to blame this all on the housing bubble, but that would only be partially accurate. The fact of the matter is that the US has been living off of borrowed money since around the oil crisis of 1974, as the charts by Karl Denninger in this post demonstrate. The housing bubble was simply the latest attempt to extend that debt out even further, as the nation’s citizens, encouraged by the government, started to think of homes as cash registers or separate checking accounts rather than domiciles and places for shelter. The cumulative debt of this country now stands at over $50 trillion and counting, as Mr. Denninger’s chart below shows:
This issue, more than anything else, has been my biggest problem with the Obama administration. The “cult of personality” stuff is incredibly frustrating, but observing at a visceral level, I can understand how and why it developed. His brightest moments in foreign policy have been limited to minor events like the pirate raid and bringing the journalists home from North Korea (and most of the grunt work on that was done on that by Bill Clinton, not anyone in the current administration), while Iran thumbs their nose at him and Honduras tries to keep an Obama-supported communist from cracking its constitution in half--but this is now primarily Hillary’s domain, and she’s been MIA since the inauguration. He’s showing himself to be a rather clueless Commander-in-Chief, but in fairness, he kept Gates on to be the caretaker of the GWOT, so it’s curious why Gates has not asserted himself more, particularly in regards to Afghanistan. Cap-and-trade and the healthcare debate are starting to look like manufactured crises to keep people distracted, but they were cited as signficant issues for his base before the election so his focus on them is understandable.
But it’s Obama’s complete failure to be completely honest with Americans about the state of economy and lay out a clear plan as to what needs to be done to fix it that really pisses me off. The current stock market rally is based on nothing more than smoke, mirrors, and debt monetezation, a huge manufactured lie to try and convince the average American that all is well and it’s okay to continue spending themselves into debt. Even if I didn’t agree with anything he said, a concrete reform plan would show that, with the U3 at 9.7% and the U6 at 16.8%, he acknowledged that the economy and the current rot in the system needs to be addressed first and foremost. With the government’s debt liability at $12 trillion and rising, and debt on stratospheric levels everywhere else, there’s no conceivable way that Obama can pay for all the goodies he wants to grant, even if he taxes everyone over $100,000 every cent of their income. No jobs=no taxes for spending. It’s just that simple, unless Obama wants to make us a vassal to the Fed and the Chinese for the next 100 years or more.
Instead, this dingbat signed a “stimulus” that’s been a complete failure, has spent the year bragging about “saved or created jobs” while unemployment is high, and called it a day. He gives more of a shit about flying to Copenhagen to bring the Olympics to the most politically corrupt city in the country than he is about the nation as a whole. No wonder his numbers are going through the floor.
The left and their propagandists in the MSM love to downplay the ACORN scandals. In fact with the exception of the right leaning blogosphere, Fox News, and talk radio, the other players in the MSM did their best to ignore the story, hoping it would just go away and not inconveniencing them. But the right knows they have this collectivist crime syndicate by the balls, and has not given up. And it is starting to pay. These authorities, whom often have given ACORN a wide pass, are starting to have to do their jobs, and it is paying off. Those of us that have followed ACORN’s crime spree know that it is involved in all manner of shenanigans, but the thing that has irked us the most is how ACORN has gotten away with giving the democratic party cover for massive voter fraud. But that was then, and this is now.
You say WTF does the Working Families Party have to do with ACORN? Here are the choice pieces:
And my guess is that this is just the first of many other such shadow organizations with ties to ACORN that will come to light and end up being investigated. The people saying this ACORN story has no legs or is not as big as we think it is are missing the obvious point that this has started a snowball effect. With the blinders removed, and none of the usual suspects that used to dismiss accusations against ACORN willy-nilly in the past knowing if some other video or audio will pop up, where ACORN personnel are helping someone commit crimes or themselves committing crimes in their jurisdiction, making them look bad for not investigating those past accusations of possible crime by ACORN, the snowball is going to keep rolling and growing. And as they start investigating, they are going to find crime after crime. Especially when it comes to voter registration and vote rigging. People are asking the questions, and even senators are not immune. Lets see if the MSM misses these stories too.
Posted by AlexinCT on 09/29/09 at 05:18 PM in Deep Thoughts Left Wing Idiocy Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Vultures lose interest in dead soldiers..
Since the election of Barack Obama many things have changed in this country. Practically all of them for the worse in my opinion. But amongst the most blatant changes is the way the media has been treating and reporting the wars we are engaged in and fighting. Iraq, where we won despite the left’s efforts to incur a loss, has been all but forgotten. Air strikes against terrorists now focus on killing terrorists instead of accusing the US of killing civilians. Even more telling is the fact that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are now real bad guys instead of freedom fighters. And now we are no longer making that many excuses for Iran, and actually reporting that they are trying to build nukes, even if we ignore the fact Obama has known about this since he became president and continues to treat them as if they where gold buddies. And Afghanistan, the only war the left felt was justified because of Bin Laden, has now lost its just cause. Obama, whom promised to get us out of Iraq and to commit troops to Afghanistan to “get” Bin Laden has treated it and its new commander like a leper. The calls of quagmire are not too distant. But one of the most telling things is how suddenly the media’s fascination with showing dead soldiers has become passé.
Since now they would have to point out Obama is the CinC, and blaming Bush would be too obvious of a ruse, the interest has died. Change indeed…
Update: Fixed the broken link above.
Posted by AlexinCT on 09/29/09 at 07:38 AM in Left Wing Idiocy The Press Machine War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
The End Grow Ever Deeper
Good Lord. This weekend saw the “Take Back America” conference. A number of prominent Republicans were in attendance, aiding and abetting what looks like a big steaming pile of crazy:
Read the whole thing. It’s an indulgence of every repulsive faction of the GOP. Birthers, hysterical anti-gay rhetoric, branding of Obama as both fascist and communist, a far right Christian agenda—all cheered by Republican politicans. Here is Mike Huckabee riling the crowd with mindless anti-UN rhetoric—the same week the UN served to expose Gaddafi as a deranged lunatic and Ahmadinejad as a pathological liar. Here are the religious nuts claiming that people who refuse the H1N1 will be put in internment camps and suing schools over Harry Potter books. Here they are saying that we need to be more explicit about what homosexuality entails to fight the “gay agenda”.
You can contrast that against the tea parties, which barely mentioned cultural issues at all and focused heavily on the economy.
What is most amazing is that the GOP clearly believes that this lunatic fringe is going to propel them back into power. Even the most generous assessment would be that they feel the need to cater to this rabble. Bachmann may be the YouTube Darling of Right Wing Lunacy, but Huckabee isn’t; he finished second in the 2008 primaries. McClintock is the governor California should have instead of Arnold.
It’s going to be a long eight years, guys.
How far have we fallen…
I was dumb struck to see the announcement that the Empire State building turns red-yellow for China’s 60th. That is, the Empire State building has been decorated this way because they are celebrating 60 years of communism in China. The question begs to be asked: Why are we celebrating communism? This ideology murdered over a hundred million people and imprisoned billions in their own prison states in the last century. The last bastions of true communism today – North Korea and Cuba – are virtual third world sh*tholes, with their people oppressed and living under the most tyrannical yokes ever to be laid across man’s back. Even though China reformed its economic policies and abandoned the horrible communist economic beliefs that – thank the powers that be! - resulted in the collapse of the USSR, and the Chinese people have a fleeting feeling of more freedom now than they did a score years ago, they remain prisoners of their state. Why would we celebrate this vile orthodoxy?
I know China owns most of our debt, but research showed me that the Empire State building is owned by W&H Properties, a partnership between the Malkin family and the late Leona Helmsley, the underlying land is owned by Empire State Building Associates, which has some 2,764 investors, and that they have the lease for the building until 2076. So it is not the Chinese that own it. This was willfully done by these people to curry favor with the Chinese. Be it so they could make more money in China, or because they actually think communism is OK, this was a horrible thing to do. We should not be celebrating communism: we should be celebrating its demise.
Posted by AlexinCT on 09/29/09 at 07:21 AM in Decline of Western Civilization Deep Thoughts • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Monday, September 28, 2009
The Drugged Patriot Act
Oh, come on. You’re not surprised:
HuffPo has posted the report here (Remain calm. It’s a government report, not a HuffPo analysis.) The entire point of the Patriot Act was to give law enforcement powers that they had wanted, but Congress had refused, for years. We can’t be outraged when we find out that terrorism was indeed just the window dressing for a broader assault on our liberty.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/28/09 at 09:47 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
It looks like the Law Library of the Congress of the United States (LLC) has issued an opinion on the removal and expulsion of Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras. The LLC’s conclusion: Zelaya’s removal was legal but his deportation from the country was not. Here is the relevant synopsis:
The obvious conclusion is that our State Department and president where wrong on this issue. Their argument was that the Honduran Supreme Court had overstepped its authority in ordering the military to depose Zelaya. Let me say that again: “Zelaya, a corrupt and feckless autocrat who was allied with Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, and other self-professed enemies of the United States, was lawfully removed from office by a unanimous decision of the Honduran supreme court.” And yet, our leaders sided with him. And it was not because they understood the Honduran constitution or the fact that Zelaya should not have been deported, but because they applied their limited knowledge of our constitution - which doesn’t allow the Supreme Court to give the military orders which could affect the president - to the situation in Honduras. Smart bunch indeed. It is telling which side they chose in this dispute. i wish we could get the real reason for this out here.
Posted by AlexinCT on 09/28/09 at 01:24 PM in Left Wing Idiocy The Press Machine • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Some reality about all this talk of economic recovery..
The usual MSM is awash with the WH driven propaganda that they have fixed the economy. What a change from the way economic news was reported during the last presidency, huh? How things change. Anyway, back to the economic news and the MSM propaganda. We keep getting told things are getting better and that what the collectivists are doing is working, but the truth is out there for those that want it.
It’s all artificial and unsustainable. This government remains hostile to the private sector and the fact the private sector is hunkering down and not playing along is proof of that. We can not continue to borrow indefinitely and have the government spend and prop up the faux economic news. That game is rigged to fail. Especially with the same people that pushed for these CDOs – the democrat politicians like Franks and Dodd - now “fixing” the system.
Update: Another trend, 52.2% unemployment amongst the young, is a guarantee that the economy is not on the right path at all.
All I have to add is that this group will never do as good as their parents. For one they are going to have a radically different country where opportunity has been replaced with a push for conformity and a level of what will be under the best of circumstances mediocre equality, and under the more likely scenario something far worse than that. They will all be in debt because of the borrowing and spending of the collectivist politicians and their government expansion programs. And the worse has not yet come. Social Security and this new healthcare initiative are going to bankrupt the country. at the current rate, the next generation will be lucky to have the living standards we had in the forties.
And the current government policy is guaranteed to make that number grow bigger too. The next time they tell you things are going in the rright direction think about the real facts, not the jive.
Update 2: And as if the above was not enough, we find out that orders for long-lasting goods is heading in the wrong direction too:
The trend everywhere is bad. But the left and the MSM keeps telling us we are getting better. When will they point out these clowns are doing more damage than good? When the patient dies?
Posted by AlexinCT on 09/26/09 at 10:10 AM in Left Wing Idiocy Politics Law, & Economics • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Is our President a robot?
This actually spooks me out even more than the healthcare plan.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Dolphin Safe Killing
Remember, boys and girls: there are always tradeoffs. A nice article looks at the problems associated with “dolphin-safe” tuna. To make tuna “dolphin-safe” means using methods that kill other fish, including endangered ones:
Of course, the environmentalists have an answer: just stop industrial fishing. Left out is that stopping industrial fishing would mean starvation or malnutrition for millions of people.
I’m not fond of many modern fishing techniques such as trawling. But we have to quit pretending that environmental questions are a choice between absolute good and intolerable evil. And we especially have to stop informing our policies based on how cute we think the affected species are.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/25/09 at 04:35 PM in Science and Technology • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Does this sound familiar?
The Iran Gambit
We’re now seeing the larger picture of the Obama foreign policy. While it still has some bizarrely offensive aspects (they still support the delusional ex-President of Honduras, even though the Law Library has concluded that the legislature acted constitutionally), they’re doing a good job of isolating Iran:
This is a sharp contrast to the Iraq situation, when Germany and France waffled. The success of this gambit hinges on how appeased the Russians are with the re-tooling of the missile defense in Eastern Europe. If they throw in with us, then Iran is completely isolated politically and strategically. Mahmoud was allowed to spew his gibberish and then immediately shown to be a bad liar. Their biggest supporter is uncertain and the big powers are aligning against them. All of this sound and fury may not stop Iran from developing a nuke. I have little confidence that anything—yes, even bombing—would stop that. But the pressure on the Iranian regime—from internal dissent and external isolation—has now been ratcheted up to a level they can not long endure.
Needless to say the Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran crowd will not be happy about this. This doesn’t show their delusional idea of “strength”. (And now that I’ve said something nice about Obama, especially on foreign policy, I’ll get flayed for it). But this move crosses me as one that would be happily at home in the Bush I administration.
Update: It looks like the Russians are on board. That sound you hear is Mahmoud’s labored breathing.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/25/09 at 09:19 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Obama to break another promise.. But it is Bush’s fault!
Well, it looks like the WH, and the left, are finding out that in the real world wishful thinking is not enough. There are consequences to actions, and such. Making promises you can’t or are not intending to keep can also make life miserable for you.
That babble by the WaPo authors is code for “Obama is going to break this promise too”. See, just promising to do so in a vacuum, and then finding out that you can’t make the problem magically go away, even if you believe the hype by the MSM and the left that you are the second coming, is crimping Obozo’s style! Talk is cheap.
You mean the ideologues that thought Bush had come up with Gitmo, just for kicks, and was refusing to get rid of the place, because he is an evil Hitler-wannabe, did not take warnings that they had to deal with the reality when they promised the impossible? Why must reality disrupt these noble people huh? Is it some evil conspirator that just likes to screw the progressives and favors the evil conservatives? Maybe some thousand plus page bill passed without anyone reading it can solve this problem too?
Here is a prediction: they won’t meet this goal next year either. In fact the only way they meet this goal is if they make bad choices that put our lives at risk. Not saying they won’t do something like that, they are progressives after all, and the cause comes first, but even they must worry about how bad things can go for them personally.
Right! This WH is struggling with near insurmountable complexities - legal, political, diplomatic, and otherwise – and the lack of any kind of concrete plan, making it hard for them to shut down this den of evil. But the Bush WH created and kept Gitmo around because they are evil, inept, and simply didn’t want to deal with those complexities. I guess the point is that no real plan and unfulfilled promises by progressives are better than plans of any kind – especially those that work but can also be used to score cheap political points - by the opposition.
Don’t you lose any sleep over it though. I am sure this team of crack geniuses will come up with some nice “Hope & Change” answer to this conundrum. Hopefully one that doesn’t set these terrorists – oops, I mean alleged, they need their day in court before we can call them terrorists even if they were caught in the act – free.
Now this new guy can claim he needs another year to get this done, then a few months before then claim he is still wrangling with the complexities and the lack of any kind of serious plan, and pass it off to a new guy to solve. Rinse and repeat for the next 2 years too.
The rest of this WaPo article is all apologia and bull meant to confuse the issue and create the ridiculous misconception that the problem is not with the fact that closing Gitmo has real world consequences nobody can address, but that evil Bush and his gang rigged it so Obama and his saints could not fix this either. I wonder how much longer it will be before even these losers pick up on the fact that the “Bush did it” excuse, isn’t convincing anyone anymore.Close this post...
Posted by AlexinCT on 09/25/09 at 08:35 AM in Left Wing Idiocy The Press Machine War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
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