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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Who would have thought that the Egyptian elections are not conforming to plan?


Islamic presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi casting his vote

OPINION

Opinion: Undesired outcome emerges in Egypt

An Islamist and a former member of the Mubarak regime placed well in the first round of presidential elections in Egypt. The result has split the country into two camps, writes DW's Rainer Sollich.
Even though the final results are not yet in, the losers of Egypt's first free presidential election have already been decided. The young, liberal activists who with admirable courage threw out Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago.
DW's Rainer Sollich
Rainer Sollich
The so-called Facebook revolutionaries fought for 15 months for more justice, democracy and a modern civil society - all of which represented radical changes for their country. The entire world, and we Europeans in particular, watched and lent our sympathy to the revolution against Mubarak's regime of despots. We were reminded of the historic changes that many of us witnessed in Central and Eastern Europe.
But the overwhelming victory by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in last winter's parliamentary elections changed euphoria into disillusionment and made clear that the majority of the Egyptian people had other priorities at the time. People were looking for security and stability. They needed jobs and economic prospects. And whether we like it or not, many of them wanted Islam to have greater influence in Egypt.

At the same time, a similarly sized part of the population was willing to accept the undemocratic influence of the army and former Mubarak loyalists if it meant preventing Islamists from gaining too much power. The country was split in two camps.
An undesirable result
The victory of Mohammed Morsi, a candidate closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, in the first round of presidential voting is clearly not the result that we Europeans would have wished for. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are certainly not naive fanatics. They are deeply rooted in Egyptian society, and their social work and decades of opposition to the Mubarak regime have lent them a great deal of recognition. They connect hard-liners as well as several moderate and pragmatic powers. Still, the party's understanding of democracy, freedom of religion and the role of women in society are causes for concern.
On the other hand, there is also reason for uneasiness about the ringing endorsement for former Mubarak ally Ahmed Shafiq. He would be a near guarantee that Egypt does not become a state ruled by Sharia law. But he is a representative of the old system - and many liberal Egyptians regard him as a counter-revolutionary.
The runoff in June could end up posing a seminal choice between Islamists and supporters of the old Mubarak system.
Revolutionaries not obsolete
There are also positive remarks to be made: Egyptians used the mainly peaceful election to prove that they are "mature enough" for democracy, a fact Mubarak repeatedly professed was not the case. Now it will be up to Egyptians to push forward the reforms that have recently stumbled along the path to enactment. Military leaders have to surrender their power rather than pulling the strings from behind the scenes, and Islamic powers cannot be given the opportunity to do away with hard-won freedoms.
What Egypt needs are political watchdogs, including a free, courageous press and loyal opposition - even outside of parliament and the president's office. The first batch of revolutionaries may seem to have had their power stripped away of them in Egypt's democratically elected institutions, but they will continue to be needed in the future.
Author: Rainer Sollich / sms
Editor: Greg Wiser

219 comments:

  1. ...of course it will be different in Afghanistan, Libya and soon Syria, as it was in Iraq and Kosovo. Send the legions to Iran.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What do Egypt, Syria, and Yemen have in common? They are former (that's the operative word - former) Oil Exporters that have seen parabolically exploding populations.

    Soon, it will simply be a matter of who can most believably promise bread.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, this is the most amazing thing I've seen in a coon's age.

    On Thursday, May 24, Germany Produced 167,987 MegaWatt Hrs of Photovoltaic Electricity!!


    They probably beat "sunny" California by about 100 X.

    ReplyDelete
  4. California produced 6,594 MW hrs on that date, but it was mostly "Solar Thermal."


    Of course, Germany is too far North for Solar Thermal. Think, Ontario, I imagine.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Deuce Said...

    "...of course it will be different in Afghanistan, Libya and soon Syria, as it was in Iraq and Kosovo.
    Send the legions to Iran.
    "

    GWB finally found a strategy to execute that would be concealed and furthered by the MSM, no small feat for a Republican:

    Purge every last Christian from every last country in the ME that we liberate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're there for the oil, Doug - not to further superstition, and myth.

      Delete
    2. Algore has spoken.
      Your "we secured the oil"
      has never made sense to me, and I suspect, never will.

      Delete
    3. I didn't say "it made sense."

      Delete
    4. Not what I meant:

      How is it secure for us now in a way it was not before?

      Delete
    5. The governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and Oman are still standing, and Iraq, and Iran are still pumping as well?


      Actually, I said that was the "Intention." I'm not making the claim that we've been particularly successful, or even that it was/is a good idea.

      Delete
    6. Methinks you shade the truth:

      I clearly recall the assertion that

      "We secured the oil."

      Now you're saying it was ironic.

      Very Convenient.

      Delete
    7. In fact, show me one instance of one of your posts that uses the word "intention" in this context.

      Delete
    8. Does this count as superstition or myth?

      From "Crossing the Bar" @BC:
      .........................................................
      57. myth buster

      [skip]

      56. If that were the case, we would just “eat, drink and be merry,” but as it is, Christ is risen from the dead. If it were not so, the people who claimed to have seen Him risen would not have been willing to be tortured to death rather than deny Him. No, we are not the ones in denial- you are in denial that you will one day be judged by the Living God, and if you do not repent, you will be food for worms that eat but do not consume you, and fuel for fire that burns but does not consume.
      May 25, 2012 - 6:50 pm
      ..........................................................

      A holy lot of Spoken People in that business.

      Delete
  6. The Elephant in the room that never makes the headlines.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I’m giving away my isolation tank.

    Happy and in love, that’s the best feelings life has to offer, and the only people that want anything other than that, are the kind of people that need happiness and love the most.
    The tank tries it’s hardest to steer you in that direction.

    The real problem with that kind of thinking, of course, is that the world is infested with morons and douche bags.
    Chances are I don’t need to tell you that, because you’re reading this on the greatest platform for scientific study of the common douche bag that has ever existed- the Internet.
    No generation in the history of humanity has had a better look at the common douche bag than this one.
    You think your grandfather knew what the fuck was up when he was 20?
    What he didn’t learn from his neighborhood or see on “the Little Rascals” was all just speculation to him. They really had nothing else to go on.
    Back then kids didn’t even know to avoid getting into a van with a clown. That move was actually still working 60 years ago.
    Your grandfather’s knowledge of douche bags when he was 20 compared with the average college student of today, is like comparing what a blind man sees to a guy on mushrooms looking through a kaleidoscope.

    Every fucking day I get a hundred or so links sent to me in the email, and 80% of them involve either a story, a picture, or a video of a douche bag in action.
    Douche bags from all over the world. There’s soldiers throwing a puppy off a cliff, men stoning a young girl to death because she was in love with a boy from the wrong religion, a guy shits on his friend’s head while he’s sleeping – you can SEE all these things. Not just fucking hear about it, like that Richard Gere gerbil rumor – I’m talking you can actually experience watching each and every one of these things, and you can do it over and over again.
    There’s never been a time like this ever.
    We know SO much more about the average asshole than any healthy person has ever known about the subject throughout human history.
    The average 15 year old of today has a better idea of what horrors people are capable of than a prison guard from the 1940’s.
    So what I’m trying to say is that this certainly isn’t a perfect formula, this whole “be nice to everyone” thing. There are going to be moments in life where you run into said assholes, and you have to respond accordingly.
    But what I’ve found in my life though, is that the nicer I am the less assholes I meet, and that my time in the tank has made me nicer.
    The more I make a concerted effort to be positive, the happier I am. To me it’s like a much less annoying form of “The Secret.”

    The really weird part of the tank experience comes once you get comfortable with the experience.
    Once laying in this weird, warm, salt-water box becomes a regular thing, it becomes easier and easier to relax and go deeper and deeper.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The bottom line about this life is that as of right now, it’s confirmed that it’s temporary.

    You’re going to die, and no one knows what the fuck is going to happen when that moment occurs.

    There’s a lot of speculation, but until you cross over to the great beyond and come back to talk about it, I’ve got nothing to go on.

    And if you DO cross over and come back, then you’re a fucking zombie, and I’m gonna hit you in the head with a shovel before you can steal my brains.

    How weird is that, whenever someone dies and comes back to life, it’s ALWAYS a bad thing?

    They’re always walking around trying to kill everyone they meet and eat their brains. No one just comes back to life, and is like,

    Hey, sup, I’m not dead anymore. You guys wanna go get some Chinese food?
    Nice to be back
    .”

    Now, I know to the uninitiated this shit can sound like some spaced out nonsense, but that’s really because you haven’t experienced it! What I’ve given you with these words is the best description of it that I can give, but the only way to really know what the fuck I’m talking about is to try it. It’s 100% safe, and if you’re ever uncomfortable with the experience you can stop it at any time by simply getting out of the tank.

    If you google “where to float” it’ll show you places where you can hopefully find a tank for rent close to you where you can try it out for a small fee.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Adam Carolla was accused of being

    "The Douchiest Douche that ever Douched"

    Envy is an ugly thing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Little did they know, the Douchiest Douche comments on the EB.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Max said...

    "It's the corruption. Bend that fact to suit one's ideology as you wish but it's still the corruption. I believe DR called them Washington federals. Clean that up first and then you can have your ideological debate. Everything else is just Gertrude Stein's effete parlor room antics."

    Yeah, a two trillion dollar debt is no different than 600 billion.
    Obamacare is no change from what we have now.

    One side having the MSM and half the EB as cheerleaders while the Pubs are pummeled has no effect on the options available for further corruption of the one more than the other.

    You've got your head as far up your ass as DR, Max!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gotta love the smell of Pummeled Pub in the morning.

      Reminds me of the $3 trillion and counting multi-front wars in the ME started by GWB.

      Delete
    2. I wish I could pull that post. I don't want to have this argument. GWB left this country in bad shape. It wasn't all his fault - trend lines were moving etc. As they always do. That's why it's called "governing."

      Obama and his team had no magic wand. Imagine that. They erred in prioritizing health care reform. (Some large percentage of Pummeled Pubs still refuse to acknowledge that health care reform is required which is worth thinking about. If you have to stop and argue endlessly about the "requirement for" some action, what likelihood is there that action will be taken in any kind of timely (pre-crisis) manner?)

      The Obama administration acknowledged that they 'underestimated' the depth and the endurance of the 2008 financial collapse. Imagine that. To paraphrase Rufus again, the semi-millennial banker blowout had some serious repercussions. Who knew?

      I was curious about the floated chatter that the Republicans *gave* the 2008 election to the Democrats knowing full well the FUBAR state of Washington waiting for the next administration. Enter John McCain. I am now convinced, listening to the pathetic rhetoric, that the gossip has more than an element of truth. Which is why I don't debate the numbers with anyone, anywhere.

      So consider the post above pulled.

      Delete
    3. Max, I think I'll send All my comments to you for pre-paraphrasing. They always sound so much more eloquent, and insightful (not to mention, elegant) when you get through with them.

      semi-millenial banker-blowout?

      That's "Word-smithing." :)

      Delete
    4. The general outlines of how we got to this place are pretty obvious and there's not a godless Pol Pot on the horizon (but there are more than a few Crazy G-y's lurking backstage ... waiting.)

      Delete
    5. Max wrote:

      "GWB left this country in bad shape. It wasn't all his fault "

      I still find it amusing how Americans view the President as King with powers close to God. I do understand that pinning everything on the President is really short-hand for talking about what is happening with America but so many really really think the President has the power to make the economy and the world run. I mean, look at the headline post for example - riiight, the US determines what happens (or not if the 'plan' is bad) in Egypt.

      I don't know why you want to pull the post Max. It was one of your best. If you really wanted the power to pull your posts simply log in with a blogger profile.

      The US political system is bust. It is corrupt. The pols dance to the tune of their paymasters and, only secondly, to the public. Sure they can voted out but what's the status of the one that gets voted in? Beholden to the paymaster.

      No Max, there is no grand conspiracy to throw the election. They are just Pols blindly bowing to the paymasters trying to get their piece of the power pie.

      Delete
    6. oh, and your comment about the US tax system was right on. It is one byzantine mess and a real good place to getting the country back on track would be to reform that sucker. Good luck with that though!

      Delete
    7. .

      The Obama administration acknowledged that they 'underestimated' the depth and the endurance of the 2008 financial collapse. Imagine that. To paraphrase Rufus again, the semi-millennial banker blowout had some serious repercussions. Who knew?


      Nonsense.

      To truly paraphrase Rufus: "Peak Oil"

      It's the current number 42 doncha know. Get with the program.

      :)

      .

      Delete
    8. .

      Semi-millennial?


      One must then assume the precursor to 2008 was around 1500 when that German guy lent out the money to Charles I so he could for bribe his way to election as Holy Roman Emperor.

      :)

      .

      Delete
    9. .

      Lest anyone take my last two posts as a slam at Max, let me assure you they weren't. This stream has been dotted with smiley faces this morning and I thought I would add a couple.

      In fact, I wouldn't have commented at all, having been called to task over the last couple days for something I carelessly jotted down in haste, except for Ruf's comment about word-smithing.

      I agree with Ash that this was one of Max' better posts, succinct, making a lot of points in a short space. I also agree with it's content almost entirely with the exception of the last paragraph which I would call the Dem Denial theory to counter her Pummeled Pub, a ridiculous conspiracy theory fabricated to shift responsibility for the economy back to the GOP, similar to Obama's consistent insistence that after four years we still do not realize how much trouble George Bush got us into.

      The only other point I would make was with regard to her point on pinning everything on the president when he is limited in how much he can do on his own, a point expanded on by Ash. Up until a year or two ago, I would have agreed wholeheartedly with this position and still do to a large degree, with the economy for instance. In fact, I have argued that electing Ron Paul really wouldn't be all that bad since he lacks any meaningful base within Congress to implement any of his really crazy ideas. However, what I have seen over the past couple of years has made me modify my view somewhat.

      Over that timespan, we have seen Obama, on his own, take this country to war and in fact redefine what war is expanding Newspeak to a whole new level; we have seen him expand the governmental bureaucracy; we have seen him expand the encroachment on civilian liberties that was started by Bush and the WOT; we have seen him (like every other president) appoint flunkies like Holder of 'Fast and Furious' fame; we have seen him take fundamental rights like habeas corpus and make a mockery of them...well the list goes on, judicial appointments, etc.

      So the president isn't just some powerless cheerleader, there are areas where he, on his own, can change our lives.

      .

      Delete
    10. I fully agree, Quirk, the President is not a powerless cheerleader. He (and someday she) is the most powerful person on earth and the mistakes they make can have great effect. I think there has been a general trend of every president moving to accumulate as much power to the POTUS as they can.

      Politics is generally the art of the possible. For that I think Obama deserves some credit. He got the US out of Iraq. He has started that ball rolling for an Afghanistan withdrawal. Libya was a shitty little war that was won with no US boots on the ground (sort of) and no US causalities all the while with NATO being the face of the war. We still haven't bombed Iran and nor has Israel. The Economy is not cratering and actually expanding a little (though I don't think this will last). All in all, for all of Deuce's ranting, Obama on the foreign policy front is much more in line with his expressed opinions than anything I've seen come out of the GOP side.

      Oh, ya, there is healthcare. He got the ball rolling on it where the Clinton's cratered. I understand many don't like this but, man, you Yankees gotta do something with the out of control health business 'cause those boomers are aging (and the greedy little bastards, the boomers, with all that political power sure aren't going to pay for it themselves).

      Delete
    11. .

      I agree with you with regard to healthcare Ash. One of the GOP's major sins was to ignore the growing problem of healthcare and cede the whole issue to the Dems. My problem with the Dems solution was that it overreached, that is was sold on optimistic lies (cost), that there were so many waivers granted it became a political football, and that it was prioritized above the key issues at the time which were jobs and the economy. (Although, as we have seen on the last one, Obama's solution, once implemented, didn't help much so it's probably a moot point).

      I also agree on the point about Deuce and Obama's foreign policy efforts (up to a point). The more vocal part of the GOP is still dominated by the likes of Graham and McCain. Although it is hard to get a real feel for were the center of power is in the party given the politics of an election year. Once past the general, we can argue about how much Obama's policy has veered from that of Bush.

      On the other stuff, I think you grant him too much credit. Other than the stimulus which many (including me) consider a failure, there has been very little fiscal activity other than business as usual and don't rock the boat. Most of the activity has been on the monetary side.

      .

      Delete
    12. .

      I think there has been a general trend of every president moving to accumulate as much power to the POTUS as they can.

      I also agree with this point; however, that is still no reason to blissfullt accept the trend.

      .

      Delete
    13. .

      Libya was a shitty little war that was won with no US boots on the ground (sort of) and no US causalities all the while with NATO being the face of the war.

      I assume you meant U.S. casualties for if you are talking anything about causality or non-US casualties or collateral damage, I would have to argue the point.

      As far as NATO as the face of the war, I doubt there are all that many people in the world that don't realize the U.S. is the engine that drives NATO.

      .

      Delete
    14. RE Peak Oil & Nonsense

      That's part of the equation, but to paraphrase Harold Macmillan, 'Timing, my dear boy, timing.' Very tricky. (Roubini is looking to 2013 as the Year of the Shock.)

      RE the 'misunderestimation' of the severity of the 2008 collapse and recovery

      The Obama administration admitted the miscalculation (one that fed directly into moving health care forward). Those who are interested in some of the the post-mortem backstory:

      LINK1

      LINK2

      RE 'lowest cognitive level' referenced in a previous post

      Setting aside Obama's performance record in Areas X, Y, and Z, the One Thing he did not do was bust the federal budget. And that is quite clear to 'the meanest intelligence.' Yet put your graduate students to work counting the number of op-ed/pseudo-analytic pieces that attempt to blame the deficit on Obama and "the grim liberal/progressive socialists determined to destroy god and capitalism" (if the worms don't get them first.) Keep insulting my intelligence with this kind of campaigning and I won't vote for your guy. Keep it up long enough and I may decide to never vote for your guy - ever.

      RE The US political system is bust. It is corrupt.

      Compared to what?

      RE semi-millennial

      Inner Dumb Shit got loose again. (At least I'm still not eating worms or chewing on bark.)

      Delete
    15. Great piece by Peter Orszag here on one reason why macro-models failed to adequately forecast the Great Recession: they didn’t account for leverage and its impact on the depth and length of the downturn.

      This has a strong ring of truth. The folks who saw this coming, like Dean Baker (and Jamie Galbraith, Roubini, Krugman, Shiller…me, after Dean convinced me) either didn’t depend on such models or gave a prominent role to the debt bubble in addition to the standard models.

      Peter cites Bernanke, who points out that while the bursting of the dot.com bubble was of a similar magnitude in terms of lost wealth, “the housing crisis was much more damaging because the initial impact was concentrated in a highly leveraged financial sector and then substantially amplified as those losses cascaded.”

      LINK2

      Yet another "lowest cognitive level" narrative that the Right will not drop is that 2008 traces directly back to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, iow, yet another extension of the liberal/progressive socialist agenda that backfired because government promised more than it could deliver (by confiscating the taxes of successful workers.)

      If I may indulge in another piece of ancient history, Habu used to come roaring in at this point with "facts and figures" (lots of them, possibly too many) clearly demonstrating the impact of hedge-fund level of leveraged trades that compromised the federally backed asset base of the Wall St houses, leading eventually to the taxpayer bailout. Clearly. In the absence of leverage, (and bundled mortgage securities lacking valid rating agency overview), the housing bubble would have been just that - a bubble, not a semi-centennial financial collapse.

      Yet the narrative persists. From the Republicans. Keep it up.


      Speaking of corruption, the Dems are demonstrating some not inconsiderable facility with truth-telling. Keep it up.

      Delete
    16. Max wrote:

      "RE The US political system is bust. It is corrupt.

      Compared to what?"

      Parliamentary forms of government for one. Rufus likes to talk about the grid-lock in Washington as a feature and not a bug. I don't think so. While Parliamentary forms of government are far from perfect the gridlock in the states seems to hinder rational governance. Despite the grid-lock (separation of powers plus binary political warring) laws do get made but, for the most part, they seem to be made with short term views and they just pile on top of each other as oppose to revising and replacing past laws. New laws just get piled on top. The US tax code being a case in point. This happens in Parliamentary systems as well but not, apparently, as extremely as in the States.

      In addition, most of the developed world have settled abortion issues, death penalty issues, and shared responsibilities for health care (some form of universal health care). The US is still grappling, warring, over these issues. Just an observation that suggests the political system isn't up to the task of dealing with these types of issues.

      But that isn't the corrupt part. The corruption is the role money plays in the political system and it plays a far greater role in the US than in many other places in the world. Sure there are governments and political systems way worse the the US but the conceit, long held by Americans, that their political system is the bestest and greatest ever, is, well, just that, a conceit.

      What is the emoticon for lobbing a bomb? A smiley will have to do.

      :)

      Delete
    17. Oh, and then there is the tort system in the US...

      ...the corporate world, and most everything else in the US appears to be run by the lawyers with their eye to lawsuits - whether launching them or defending against them.

      Tort reform - good luck with that!
      Financial reform - good luck with that!
      The military industrial complex...
      Lobbying...

      Yeah, grid lock a feature and not a bug. heh heh.

      Delete
    18. Max, re you post at 5:05

      RE semi-millennial

      As I said, just joking.
      It happens to everyone occasionally, surprisingly, even to me.

      RE Peak Oil & Nonsense

      Again, a joke, and meant more as a gig at Rufus than at your general theme.

      Rather than questioning your theme I was really alluding to your putting those words in Rufus’ mouth. I assumed you had been around long enough to see some of the exchanges between Rufus and me in which I insisted the recession was caused by a whole menu of factors and he insisted that all we had to do was look at “Peak Oil”. It got the point where I started referring to his as the “theory of 42”, an allusion to the supercomputer’s answer to “life, the universe and everything” in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe.

      By the way, thanks, for the “my dear boy”. I’ve noticed that some here (even some that are older than dirt) when the arguments start to get a little testy, in their impotence as frustration level boils over, have taken to referring to me as ‘crotchety’ and ‘an old fart”.

      :)


      RE 'lowest cognitive level' referenced in a previous post

      Since your post addresses issues raised in posts by both Ash and me, I am not sure who this was meant for. If it were meant for me, I can only say I don’t recall ever blaming Obama for ‘busting the budget” entirely on his own. However, I am sure I have pointed out on more than one occasion that he has never shirked his role in contributing to the general clusterfuck. I assume the ‘you’ in the last lines were aimed at the GOP in general as I don’t really have a candidate yet.



      RE The US political system is bust. It is corrupt.

      This one I can safely leave to Ash.

      .

      Delete
    19. Joke, peak oil and 42 were understood.

      'Lowest cognitive level' was aimed at the conservative media (not directly, or indirectly really, at anyone here), which persists with campaign themes that ... insult the 'lowest cognitive level' of intelligence (with some success I might add - whisper Tea whisper Party whisper.) Not that American politics wasn't always thus. But, as evidenced by the attitudinal contempt of someone living in an alleged ally country to the north, it's time to get serious about governing in this country. And the Republicans have shown no indication that they even understand the problem, let alone the remedy. I have to say, for my own reasons that extend outside the boundaries of energy policy (oh that's right, Republicans don't *do* policy), I cannot support a Conservative platform until they start growing the fuck up. I am tired of their shit.

      Delete
    20. I think the problem lies deeper than my attitude. I wish I were wrong but I think the problem is more structural than a manifestation of the particular pols and voters of the day.

      Delete
    21. There is no shortage of dumb and educated people the world over.

      Delete
    22. The educated being very problematic - hubris and all!

      Delete
    23. .

      This has a strong ring of truth. The folks who saw this coming, like Dean Baker (and Jamie Galbraith, Roubini, Krugman, Shiller…me, after Dean convinced me) either didn’t depend on such models or gave a prominent role to the debt bubble in addition to the standard models.



      Roubini pointed out the speculative bubble in housing in 2005 and later predicted the recession.

      The Economist has been running articles on the size of the dirivatives market and the resulting systemic risk associated with the leverage on a limited amount of assets being tracked by $ trillions in bets on those assets for at least a decade. They were also questioning what happens to this giant ponzi scheme if some of those assets start heading south.

      In addition, they questioned the notion that all the players at the banks and hedge funds were big boys and understood the risks they were taken given that some of the mathematical models defining this hedging had formulas that were pages long.

      When these issues were raised at Kudlow's Blog (may it rest in peace), the market was going straight up and those posting the Economist articles were poo-pood as alarmist.

      .

      Delete
    24. The Man Who Crashed the World, by Michael Lewis written for Vanity Fair (Aug 2009)

      LINK

      According to Lewis, there were maybe five "big boys" on Wall St. Hank Greenberg's successor was not one of them. (According to buddy larsen, Geithner who was at the NY Fed at the time was responsible for sending Elliot Spitzer after Greenberg which resulted in Greenberg's indictment and replacement by Cassano.)

      Delete
    25. The argument that ideology brought this country to the brink is facile and absurd.

      Delete
    26. Tea leaves and Mayans predict 2012 as a semi-millennial event but Roubini has pushed it back to 2013. He is once again being (subtly) marginalized by the CNBC media at least. I also read that Dimon's intent with the big moves by the rogue (CIO?) group within JPM was to help jump start the post-recession markets - energy and animal spirits.

      Delete
  12. Take a look at how much money Inhofe, and the other Renewables-Murdering, republican, oil company sock-puppets are getting from the fossil fuel industry, and get back to us Doug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. S O L Y N D R A, ethanbrain.

      Delete
    2. Loggerheaded beetle-headed dewberry!

      b

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    3. You shall stifle in your own report,
      and smell of calumny.

      b

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    4. Thou odiferous pottle-deep pigeon-egg!

      b

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    5. There's no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.

      I have done.

      b

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. antidisestablishmentarianism.



    I knows me some words, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But, I have to admit, a word is not an argument.

      Delete
    2. Bain has an 80 percent success record.

      Obamas multi-billion dollar (us taxpayer funded) Green Energy Investment record:

      Near Zero

      Delete
    3. How's that Saudi Arabian Oil-generated electricity working out for you, Doug?

      Oh yeah, I forgot, you took the tax credit, and "went solar."


      hypocrisize much? :)

      Delete
  14. Bumper to bump-off traffic situation worsens in North Korea -

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/9289608/30-North-Korean-officials-involved-in-South-talks-die-in-traffic-accidents.html

    Have they never heard of air-bags?

    ...

    As to the topic of the day, if we follow the Fitzgeraldean formulation that whatever divides and weakens an islamic land or islam as a whole we take to be our guiding star, the situation doesn't so bleak.

    Egyptian society seems divided 30/70, maybe ever 40/60 between the muzzies and the military, and the military has all the guns.

    And then the bread problem....

    b

    ReplyDelete
  15. Believing in Obamacare is superstition and myth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Improve the quality of life of society by culling the aging!

      hip- hop, your time to stop, bingo, game over

      b

      Delete
    2. Yeah, but it's his own personal superstition and myth, so that puts Ruf far above the icky organized religious kind.

      Delete
  16. Hermann Scheer, the "father of the German Solar revolution" tells How He Did It - What To Beware Of

    ReplyDelete
  17. .

    Hemingway


    But by 1956 all that was heading into memory, if it had ever really existed. Plenty of people said his writing had long since gone into decline, although that's a debate we could profitably have here. (Most writers would settle for a fallow period that included The Old Man And The Sea and A Moveable Feast.) Physically and mentally, however, there was no question that he was struggling. His once-powerful body, already softened by years of good living and hard drinking, took a pummelling in the years after the war. A car crash in 1945 smashed his knee. Two successive plane crashes in 1954 gave him severe concussion, a broken skull, cracked discs, burns, kidney and liver ruptures and a dislocated shoulder. Then he was caught in a bush fire for good measure. Add to that his wounds from the first world war, insomnia, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, and a dangerously increased alcohol intake to counter all the pain, and you have a sick man. Elsewhere, his literary friends (and enemies) were dropping like flies. He'd been through three divorces and his children – especially his youngest son, Gigi – were all troubled. He was becoming increasingly convinced (rightly as it turned out) that the FBI were trailing him. He also suffered – as did so many in his family – from depression.


    He was, in short, a wreck as he struggled to complete his Paris sketches. A Moveable Feast should be seen as the product of a man in terminal decline as much as the triumphant recollection of one beginning to realise his true powers.


    Except, it doesn't read like that. One of the most impressive things about A Moveable Feast is how sure and how hopeful it seems. How much fun it all is...


    A Moveable Feast

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ernie wasn't exactly a role model of a father. In fact he made a hell of a mess out of his family life. That son Gigi was, IIRC, from his second wife Pauline Promiscuous, and he would have nothing to do with him. Seems he smoked a little weed in California and that did it for Ernie, for some crazy reason. I listened to an interview with him and you could tell it really hurt him being estranged from his famous father. One son Jack, from Hadley I think, lived south of Lewiston for a long time in a big hunting lodge, though no one ever saw him around. Drove a great big pickup with personalized plates. He tried to write, but admitted he couldn't pull it off. In an interview I saw of him, he said he father had always been high/low, capable of almost supernatural enthusiasm for a subject, and then the really deep blues. Said it was an episode of the deep blues that finally got him, when the words no longer came as they always had. Jack had a daughter who committed suicide, going out 'the Hemingway way'. Hemingway's doctor father also had committed suicide. Nice looking, she had gained weight, had a failed marriage to some restaurant guy in Paris, drank heavily. The other son stayed in Africa I think and played at being a guide and 'great white hunter.

      There is still writing by Ernie coming out, the family has done a good job of milking the milk cow. The Garden of Eden is out there to be had, also books of notes, and such. I started the Garden of Eden but somehow got separated from the book and never finished it. Lot of sexual role playing in it, for one thing. Some learn'ed made a big deal of what a liberating thing it was, Ernie writing from some other point of view than macho, in an article in The Hemingway Review, published and distributed, folks, worldwide from right here.

      b

      Delete
    2. When they buried Ernie, Gigi said he was glad. Something to the effect he can never hurt me again, nor be disappointed in me. After the big blow, I think they never talked again. There was something seriously wrong with Ernest Hemingway in this part of his life.

      Like a lot of his books, A Moveable Feast contained a great deal of sometimes really well written bullshit.

      Number three, Martha, said one reason she left Hemroid was she couldn't stand the incredible mess the parties left around the house all the time, the noise, the drunkenness, down there in Cuba.

      Some of it might have been her fault, as she was always over in Europe, following the politics, and the wars,and trying to avoid taxes by living abroad.

      "Are you my bedded wife, or a war correspondent" Ernie asked once.

      What's a man to do?

      b

      Delete
    3. It's really quite something when one thinks about some of these great people we have had in America.

      Ernest Hemingway could write creatively, sometimes almost to perfection, some to perfection. Check out the first chapter of A Farewell to Arms, or the passages about the retreat from Caporetto. But really, he wasn't all that well read like a Joseph Campbell, our American mythologist, and in that sense really couldn't think. Campbell on other hand was extremely well read and could think, but couldn't write creatively, as he himself said, cause he tried once and it didn't work. 4 wives on Hem's side, one for Joe, lifelong, who didn't hunt, go to bullfights, fish for marlin or drink to excess. He and his wife lived most their lives together in New York in a two bedroom apartment, not all over the world in exciting places.

      Ernest Hemingway shot himself, Joseph Campbell died in a hospital, contemplating a picture of Christ on the wall, not crucified, but with arms wide open, the Hero of the church he had left in his youth and still loved in his way.

      And then there are our very best, when at their best, Walt and Roethke, divines. Not to mention Mark Twain.

      We have had some good ones! Have we not!

      b

      Delete
    4. .

      But really, he wasn't all that well read like a Joseph Campbell, our American mythologist, and in that sense really couldn't think. Campbell on other hand was extremely well read and could think, but couldn't write creatively...

      Our mythologist? Don't you mean your mythologist, Bob. You once downplayed something I said about Will Durant on the basis that he was merely a populist. Many would say the same thing about Campbell.

      As for thinking and creative writing, many mythologists would argue that he didn't do enough of the first (or at least he didn't provide the documentation) but too much of the second.

      The main arguments against Campbell are that he is a universalist and ignores the importance of various cultural influences, that he freely offers up a general theory on examples he picks and chooses but offers little real evidence as proof of universality, and that he offers us formulas that are so general, we can with some modification fit every circumstance within their framework.

      This is not to say I don't like his work for after all he is a populist, and I never take any of these guys quite as seriously as you. Without Campbell, some have speculated we would never have had the initial "Star Wars Trilogy".

      Given a choice, I would still take EH.

      I'm still struggling with your equating the ability to think with being well read. On an intuitive basis, I reject it; however, there is some merit in the thought that being exposed to various history and philosophies gives one a broader range to draw your lifeview from.

      However, the claim that Hem lacked the ability to think seems to be disputed by his work. At what point do insight and inspiration morph into thinking or vise versa? For that matter which is more important in daily life.


      .

      Delete
    5. The Strange Saga of Gregory Hemingway LINK and LINK

      Not to be cheap but everyone is familiar with EH's famous daughters. I knew nothing about his sons, so I looked.

      Delete
  18. Nice review, think I’ll read it again.

    ReplyDelete
  19. If you need a set of keys Max, speak up. That way you can really irritate the shit out of Doug.

    I have a plane to catch.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. BREAKING NEWS FROM COAST TO COAST
    (link provided by wife)

    Investigative reporter Linda Moulton Howe discussed ET artifacts & dragonfly drone technology, a dolphin die-off in Peru, and the crisis of trees dying all over the planet.

    In March 2012, she learned from "Ted Connors," (a Homeland Security subcontractor in Montgomery, Alabama who witnessed a dragonfly-shaped drone in 2007-- see previous recap) that a new subatomic science called Attotechnology had been linked to the Palo Alto CARET project's back-engineering of ET technologies. Over two segments, she interviewed "Sam Jones" who served in the U.S. Army in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993-1994, and was witness to an astonishing weapon test that was described as "Atto." Jones described a kind of directed energy weapon that could blow a hole in cement from 10 miles away, and was said to be capable of shooting a target "through the Earth." She also played an audio statement from Connors, who'd been visited by NSA


    Linda knows more shit than you might think.

    http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2012/05/24

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that The Cleaning Lady were still around. She would be impressed by this.

      b

      Delete
  21. Battle Saints -

    Bracelets -

    http://battlesaint.com/the-saints.html

    Them Catholics and their saints!

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      We had the idea first over at Souls-R-Us but some rookie over in the law department forgot to file the trademark application.

      There was hell to pay for that one.

      .

      Delete
  22. Is Obama brain damaged? Can't remember if he has sons or daughters -

    Is Barack Obama brain-damaged?

    I'm not just being a wise-guy. With the president's admitted past drug use and the recent revelations about how he was a member of the "Choom Gang" in high school, is it hard to imagine that he might have damaged his mind through the abuse of recreational drugs?


    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/05/is_this_obamas_brain_on_drugs.html#ixzz1w6FW5QmO

    Dale thinks so -

    BOB

    I HAVE FOUND AT ALL TIMES THAT PERSON TOTALLY GOOFY AND OUT OF CONTROL, EVEN WITH HIMSELF HIS MOUTH WORKS WHEN HIS MIND IS IN PARK.

    BLESSINGS DALE


    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anybody who still believes he wrote that book is brain damaged.

      His "work ethic" consists of thinking about how hard he works and then sharing those thoughts with the adoring public.

      Delete
  23. I was curious about the floated chatter that the Republicans *gave* the 2008 election to the Democrats knowing full well the FUBAR state of Washington waiting for the next administration. Enter John McCain. I am now convinced, listening to the pathetic rhetoric, that the gossip has more than an element of truth. Which is why I don't debate the numbers with anyone, anywhere.

    So consider the post above pulled

    ---

    Yep, It's STILL all Bushes fault, and even Obama's brilliant insight into the workings of our capitalist system cannot be expected to make things right in our lifetime.
    Bush forced Obama to spend and regulate us into oblivion.
    Case closed.

    Max and Rufus have shit for brains, fed daily by MSM Pap.

    ReplyDelete
  24. South Beach rocks!

    Summer's here, the students are out, unemployment is high and the food is free.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/26/2818832/naked-man-shot-killed-on-macarthur.html

    Food was fresh too, and no carcinogens from being cooked over a charcoal fire.

    Reefer will no doubt approve. After all, he wants 18 years olds - well, maybe 21 year olds - to be able to buy crack, coke and H at the local pharmacy.

    Article speculates the feaster - An Immobile Feast - was coming down from coke, which, I read, makes the body heat, and, I speculate, the appetite rise.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  25. Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 (LINK)

    Interesting:

    (1) all the socialist countries snuggled together at the top of the squeaky clean heap; and

    (2) the biggest, strongest, most productive, badass, meanest MFing country on the planet right near the top at 24.

    Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. USA has ten times the population and ten times the GDP of its neighbor to the north.

      No, I think it was a plot.

      Delete
    2. South America, Africa, all of Asia not looking so good.

      I wonder if my new Chinese friend, daughter of a Red Army officer, who 'plays in real estate', could possibly have gotten here via a greased palm?

      Nay, couldn't be, perish the thought, she's too nice, and the workers control China.

      b

      Delete
    3. Damn shame they don't have any big bad ass crude oil refineries up north. Probably worried about air pollution.

      Delete
    4. Damn Canadians, and Canadian wolves too, they want all the good stuff, and the elk, from USofA, and all they want to do is golf, sail, and clip dividend coupons, and sit on their asses with a damn smug superior attitude.

      b

      Delete
    5. I find it instructive how closely tied GDP is to population. If you track the last 40 years of stock market growth with pop growth you will also find a close correlation. This does not bode well for near term stock market growth as the boomers ummmm die off.

      Delete
    6. Sorry, medium term is what I meanto.

      Delete
  26. Lord Monckton tries to talk to Geraldo whatshisname about Obama's eligibility.

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/05/geraldo-to-monckton-youre-smoking-crack/

    As usual with this type of video and article lots of good comments.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When the Hawaiians are challenged, in a legal setting, they raise to the occasion. Beating back all challenges to the authenticity of Mr Obama's birth records.

      Read 'em and weep, b.

      Delete
  27. As usual the State of Arizona challenges Mr Obama's birth certificate and then succumbs to the veracity of the testimony of Hawaiian authorities. Hawaiians stands by their man.

    The Secretary of State in Arizona folds, allowing Mr Obama's name to be placed on the November ballot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, Anon, Obama his very self signed off on the proclamation that he was born in Kenya and educated in Hawaii and Indonesia in that book pamphlet.

      How can you doubt your own master's word?

      b

      Delete
    2. You been chooming long, Anon?

      http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/26/whos-chooming-who-in-obamas-am

      b

      Delete
  28. darle

    Some in the Catholic Church saw this coming..Archbishop George of Chicago has predicted that this government is inserting itself into the affairs of the church and should be stopped.

    He said in 2010, "I expect to die in my bed. My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyrs death in the public square."


    Is the day of the Catholic martyr nearing?




    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/05/the_obamacare_mandate_are_catholic_martyrs_not_far_off_comments.html#disqus_thread#ixzz1w7MARYHr

    b

    ReplyDelete
  29. Has the Bar yet considered that "Max" might just be Trish returned?

    (Possibly after a Gender reassignment)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That thought wandered into my meager mind, as the reasoning is often long winded, convoluted, sometimes undecipherable, but lacking in the obscure initials Trish always used to describe things, which drove me to distraction. And she doesn't swear like a sailor as she used to do, an endearing trait.

      I have rejected the notion.

      b

      Delete
    2. .

      I don't think so.

      But then we are all anonymous to a degree, who knows?

      She could even be an AI (prototype of course).

      I may challenge her/him/it to a game of chess.



      :)

      I kid.

      I'm a kidder. Really.

      .

      Delete
  30. Mohammad Abdel Karim al-Moustapha, an activist in Houla, said pro-regime thugs from the Alawite villages neighboring Houla—a plain of largely Sunni towns—began to storm houses at dawn.

    "They want to scare us, and drive us away forever," Mr. Moustapha said by telephone.

    Other activists disputed those accounts and cautioned against further inflaming sectarian rage between the largely Sunni opposition and members of the Alawite sect, to which Syria's president and much of the higher ranks of the repressive military and security apparatus belong.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Paul Mirengoff at Powerline has a post in his series, "This Day in Baseball History," reminding us that it was fifty years ago yesterday, May 26, 1962, that the Detroit Tigers defeated the Yankees 2-1 at Yankee Stadium:

    ...

    I was only nine years old in the summer of '62, but that day—or at least that play—remains one of my most vivid baseball memories. It may be second only to being at Fenway for the sixth game of the 1975 World Series, which of course featured Bernie Carbo's pinch-hit three run homer on an 0-2 count to tie the game in the eighth, Dewey Evans's catch in the right-field corner in the eleventh, and Carlton Fisk's game-winning homer in the 12th.


    - Bill Kristol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How come Stadiums used to last centuries, and now they are junked after 30 years.
      ...Dodger Stadium not being among them... but domes go bust.

      astrodome-crumbles-as-houston-decides-fate

      Delete
  32. Canadian Premier on US health procedure: 'This was my heart, my choice and my health'...

    This was my heart, my choice and my health," Williams said late Monday from his condominium in Sarasota, Fla.

    "I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."
    ---
    His doctors in Canada presented him with two options - a full or partial sternotomy, both of which would've required breaking bones, he said.

    He said he spoke with and provided his medical information to a leading cardiac surgeon in New Jersey who is also from Newfoundland and Labrador. He advised him to seek treatment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami.

    That's where he was treated by Dr. Joseph Lamelas, a cardiac surgeon who has performed more than 8,000 open-heart surgeries.

    Williams said Lamelas made an incision under his arm that didn't require any bone breakage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The us has some the bestest most greatest fix up my body options on the planet!!

      Delete
  33. The Syrian chargé d'affaires will be summoned to the Foreign Office today to hear Britain's condemnation of the Houla massacre, which the Syrian government denies.

    Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said: "The scenes of savagery that we have seen on our television screens are revolting, stomach-churning." Mr Clegg and Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister, warned that Syrian officials may not be allowed into London for the Olympics.

    Mowaffak Joumma, the chairman of the Syrian Olympic committee, last night said the Olympic charter forbade host nations from banning athletes. "Authority of any host country is limited to organising and offering all necessary facilities to all participating athletes," he said.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Was it only a month or so ago that news outlets around the country were breathlessly reporting that today's teens were getting whacked-out on hand sanitizer?

    ...

    While we await the next fake news trend about teens and sex and drugs—and the coming federal ban on so-called bath salts and fake marijuana—here are five classic freakouts to contemplate.

    5. Jenkem: Choice of a New Generation

    In 2007, the Sheriff's Office of Collier County, Florida perpetrated one of the most ridiculous frauds in the annals of police work when it reported that kids were getting turned on by a "new drug called 'Jenkem,'" which was made from fermented urine and feces. Sure, kids today are into do-it-yourself culture, but given that real drugs are reportedly easier to score than ever, who exactly would be into what the cops averred was known by slang terms such as "butthash" and "fruit from crack pipe"?

    From the advisory:

    The fecal matter and urine are placed in a bottle or jar and covered most commonly with a balloon. The container is then placed in a sunny area for several hours or days until fermented.


    Butt-Chugging

    ReplyDelete
  35. Morgan Stanley took several hot Internet companies public last year, including Zynga Inc. ZNGA -2.79% and LinkedIn Corp. LNKD -0.28% Zynga shares have fallen below their IPO price, while LinkedIn has more than doubled.

    Of the 23 U.S.-listed tech IPOs since the start of 2011 in which Morgan Stanley was lead underwriter, just four fell in price during the first week, including Facebook.

    ...

    In the first quarter, $172 million of Morgan Stanley's $7 billion in total revenue came from stock underwriting, with another $1.5 billion coming from stock trading.

    ReplyDelete
  36. You drink too much, swear too much, and have questionable morals.

    You're everything I've ever wanted in a friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sam.

      Think I'll pass on the Butt-Chugging, tho.

      Delete
  37. On this day in 1977, science-fiction classic "Star Wars" was released In theaters. Let the geeks rejoice.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ash:

    I installed Chrome last night and there's no comparison with IE 9 re:
    Memory Management

    9 is almost unusable for me, never giving back memory from closed tabs until all is gone, and I have to close EVERYTHING, and start over.

    Chrome is very polite, giving back what it takes.

    ...now I just have to learn how to use it halfway efficiently.

    Forgot what you're using.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Good movie coming up. We all know Brit comedies are best. I can imagine Quirk in this group. In fact, I can imagine a lot of folks here in this group.

    http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/movies/the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel-with-judi-dench.html

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      I do like British TV (well, much of it, comedies and mysteries mostly).

      Living near Windsor we get a couple Canadian TV stations, one of them a public television station. We see a lot of programs, classic literature dramas, mysteries and cop dramas(Agatha Christies movies, Sherlock Holmes, the Midsommer Murder Series), and comedies. Good stuff.

      If you like that stuff you can also go to acornonline.com. Acorn sells a lot of that stuff in DVD. They also have what is known as Acorn TV.

      If you register you can get a limited number of these shows streamed directly to your computer or ROKU. They keep rotating new shows in on a periodic basis. If you would like a bigger selection you can join their premium service.

      Nice when you are doing something on the computer as you can run the show simultaneously with whatever else you are doing.

      .

      Delete
  40. The Titanic - an amazing fact:

    After 100 years lying on the sea bed, Irish divers were amazed to find that the Titanic’s swimming pool was still full...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time to take off the wet suit and take a dip.

      b

      Delete
  41. The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent but had not phoned in sick one day. Needing to have an urgent problem with one of the main computers resolved, he dialled the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper. ' Hello ? '

    'Is your daddy home?' he asked.

    ' Yes ,' whispered the small voice.
    May I talk with him?'

    The child whispered, ' No .'

    Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, 'Is your Mummy there?' ' Yes '

    'May I talk with her?' A gain the small voice whispered, ' No '

    Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, 'Is anybody else there?'

    ' Yes , ' whispered the child, ' a policeman . '

    Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, 'May I speak with the policeman?'

    ' No, he's busy , ' whispered the child.

    'Busy doing what?'

    ' Talking to Daddy and Mummy and the Fireman , ' came the whispered answer.

    Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background through the earpiece on the phone, the boss asked, 'What is that noise?'

    ' A helicopter ' answered the whispering voice.

    'What is going on there?' demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive. Again, whispering, the child answered,

    ' The search team just landed a helicopter '

    A larmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked, 'What are they searching for?'

    Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle...

    ' ME . '

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thanks for the acorn tip, Quirk! Sounds like good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  43. A fair number of Americans would probably tell you that Memorial Day is held to celebrate the Indy 500. And, even those who are aware of why, actually, the day has been set aside tend to honor it in the breech, if at all.

    ...

    The service is the same every year and it is almost perfect. There is one change I would make, if anyone asked. I would include, somewhere, the lines that always infiltrate my thoughts sometime during the proceedings:

    Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.

    The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. …

    There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.

    And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them.

    But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.


    Merciful Men

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Max "thinks" they're just a bunch of old dead WASPS.

      Nuthin to learn there, move right along.

      Delete
  44. Declaring that "life must always be protected", a senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church's decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.

    ...

    One of the doctors involved in the abortion, Rivaldo Albuquerque, has raised the prospect of public clashes at his local church, telling Globo, the nation's main TV network, that he would keep going to mass there, regardless of the archbishop's order. The young girl at the centre of the case escaped excommunication only because she is still a child in the eyes of Church authorities.

    The stepfather, who is 23, was arrested last week, apparently trying to escape to another region of the country. Police say he is also suspected of abusing the girl's handicapped 14-year-old sister.

    ReplyDelete
  45. The Vatican Police have arrested the Pope's butler and put him in the Vatican jail.
    But I don't know exactly what it is about.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He left the key to the Pope Mobile in plain sight on the table.

      Big mistake.

      b

      Delete
    2. What chance does the butler have of getting a fair trial in the Vatican Court? Piddle, piddle, piddle, next to none, I'd say. It would take a miracle. And I know who can provide that miracle. No,I'm not talking prayer, I'm not talking about a propaganda campaign to "Free The Butler", with marching crowds and signs saying "Free The Butler". This is going to take well thought out, concerted and clandestine action. And I know who can do it.....Quirk, Sam, bobbo, Doug.....

      b

      Delete
    3. hmmm...hmmm...I've been thinking, we're gonna need someone to distract the Swiss Guards....Melody!

      I've gotten that far, I can get us on the inner Vatican grounds.

      I need sleep.

      b

      Delete
  46. “Is that USDA organic or Oregon organic or Portland organic?” asks a character played by singer Carrie Brownstein, one of the stars of the great IFC network sketch comedy Portlandia, in a widely loved restaurant skit from the show’s first episode last year.

    ...

    Kendall J. Eskine, a psychology professor at Loyola University New Orleans, calls the Portlandia skit “very funny, to say the least.”

    ...

    “I regularly purchase organic foods and do not think they make people ‘jerks,’” he says. “I regularly consume organic food and believe it is the environmentally and ethically superior choice when one has the resources and access to such products,” he adds.

    ReplyDelete
  47. He took the Popemobile and left the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Very cool, Sam.
    I love newspapers.
    A lot of websites would be a lot more readable if they were formatted like the NY Times.

    Ingraham is a perfect example:
    During the show, she'll refer to something and then tell her web guy to link it under

    "Read it or Weep"
    or any of half a dozen other off the wall categories.

    I wasted so much time trying to find things she mentions on the show that I simply abandoned going to her site.

    Too easy to be organized like Newspapers were for 100 years.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Simpson continued: "If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise on the issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains."

    LINK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You link more GARBAGE!

      The Democrat controlled Senate has not passed a budget in over three years.

      The house has regularly passed Bills since the Pubs took over...

      They all die in the Senate.

      ALL of BHO's Sham Budgets have been unanimously shot down...

      Delete
    2. .

      Simpson merely offers up some common sense, at least, while speaking in the general sense. His problem comes when he gets specific and starts restricting this particular lecture to Republicans. The lesson he preaches is one with application for both sides.

      As I've said before, in general, the current batch of pols, in their totality, are dicks.

      It is only the kool-aid drinkers on both sides that argue the concept of 'relative dick-ness'.

      Our old argument, Doug.


      .

      Delete
    3. In 31 of the 37 years, Congress adopted at least one budget resolution for the fiscal year beginning in such year; Congress did not complete action on a budget resolution for six fiscal years (FY1999 in 1998, FY2003 in 2002, FY2005 in 2004, FY2007 in 2006, FY2011 in 2010, and FY2012 in 2011).

      LINK

      Delete
  50. Copperhead Road

    Copperhead Road (Steve Earle)

    Well my name's John Lee Pettimore
    Same as my daddy and his daddy before
    You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
    He only came to town about twice a year
    He'd buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line
    Everybody knew that he made moonshine
    Now the revenue man wanted Grandaddy bad
    He headed up the holler with everything he had
    It's before my time but I've been told
    He never came back from Copperhead Road
    Now Daddy ran the whiskey in a big block Dodge
    Bought it at an auction at the Mason's Lodge
    Johnson County Sheriff painted on the side
    Just shot a coat of primer then he looked inside
    Well him and my uncle tore that engine down
    I still remember that rumblin' sound
    Well the sheriff came around in the middle of the night
    Heard mama cryin', knew something wasn't right
    He was headed down to Knoxville with the weekly load
    You could smell the whiskey burnin' down Copperhead Road

    I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
    They draft the white trash first,'round here anyway
    I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
    And I came home with a brand new plan
    I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
    I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
    Well the D.E.A.'s got a chopper in the air
    I wake up screaming like I'm back over there
    I learned a thing or two from ol' Charlie don't you know
    You better stay away from Copperhead Road

    ReplyDelete
  51. Fareed Zakaria weighs in on health care.

    LINK:

    Just 5% of the patients in the U.S. account for fifty percent of all health care costs - mostly the chronically ill - and taking care of these catastrophic illnesses is what drives up American costs.

    A general insurance system can only work if everyone is insured. That's what the Swiss and Taiwanese found out. Otherwise, only the people who are sick will want to buy insurance and the insurance companies will spend most of their time and effort trying to kick sick people out of the system and denying coverage to those who might get sick.

    That's why the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, came up with the idea of an individual mandate, requiring that people buy health insurance in exactly the same way that people are required to buy car insurance.

    Why is health care reform needed (for those who forgot)??

    While businesses often talk about the need to reduce regulations to be competitive globally - a cause I support - they strangely rarely talk about their single biggest handicap against global competitors.

    American companies have to pay high tens of billions of dollars to provide health care for their employees and former employees while their German, Canadian, Japanese, and British counterparts pay nothing - zero - in health care costs.

    Conservative Rebuttal (by Avik Roy, member of Romney's Health Care Advisory Group):

    LINK:

    [Zakaria] then goes on to praise Britain’s National Health Service as a worthy model, soft-pedaling its terrible health outcomes, arbitrary rationing, and rapid cost growth. “Britain’s government-run system provides good care for all, and is more cost-effective than one might imagine,” Zakaria cheerily claims, while grudgingly conceding that “the quality of its care can shift as funding waxes and wanes.”

    Why Switzerland has the World's Best Health Care System (by Avik Roy)

    LINK:

    Ezra Klein, who is an advocate of the Swiss system for many of the same reasons that Krugman is/was, nonetheless says, “The example of the Swiss system shows a) that the consumer-driven model doesn’t work to control costs and b) the irrelevancy of the argument over whether individuals are consumers at all.”

    Ezra points out that Swiss health expenditures per capita are the second-highest in the world (actually they’re third, behind the U.S. and Norway), and cites this fact as an argument for why consumer-driven health care won’t reduce health costs.

    But there are several flaws with this argument:...

    Either the rest of the world (the parliamentary world) has solved its health care problems - or they have not, depending on who you believe.

    (One thing I note about Switzerland is that, not only is it a small and wealthy country, but its population is homogeneous.)

    ReplyDelete
  52. Voerdal, an aluminum company employing more than 400 people, has gone into bankruptcy. It will close unless the regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia comes up with a rescue package. This state-of-the art company is in such dire financial straits because of rising energy prices. Voerdal officials say that the company’s energy bill went up to 40 percent of total costs, all because of the government’s confused energy policies.

    Merkel Pays a Price for Her Energy Policy Shift

    ReplyDelete
  53. As I noted above, Ezra and others believe that the similarities between PPACA and Santésuisse indicate that conservatives should support Obamacare. But there is an enormous difference between adding Swiss-style controls and subsidies onto a purely private, individual health insurance market, and bolting those same provisions onto the malformed American system, as PPACA did. The most significant difference between the Swiss and American systems is in the ability of individuals to consume health care in value- and cost-conscious ways. Only one tenth of Americans buy insurance for themselves, the rest getting coverage through their employers or the government. In Switzerland, everyone buys insurance for himself.

    Two points.

    The author notes that employer-sponsored plans are a drag on competitive market forces forcing the development of more efficient plans. This is true.

    Second, the author alludes to programs that encourage health care consumption "in value- and cost-conscious ways." IOW individual consumer choice can drive down health care costs. This is not completely, yet alone predominately, true. It is however The Sticking Point.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Four critical paragraphs from Peter Orszag's Foreign Affairs essay (Jul/Aug 2011) [LINK:]

    The third approach — consumer-directed health care — could be a useful component of a cost-reduction strategy, but its benefits are often exaggerated. This approach emphasizes giving consumers more information and control over their health care and stronger financial incentives to reduce their own spending. The goal is to ensure that patients have a greater stake in keeping costs down through increased copayments and other forms of cost sharing.

    If most health-care spending were driven by discretionary decisions among relatively healthy people, this approach could cut costs dramatically. But health-care costs are instead heavily concentrated among a small number of relatively sick patients. The top five percent of Medicare beneficiaries ranked by cost, for example, account for more than 40 percent of total Medicare spending, and the top 25 percent account for more than 85 percent of total costs. Financial incentives can have some effect on these people’s decisions, but under virtually all consumer-directed proposals, these patients would still be covered by generous third-party insurance for their high-cost procedures — which is, after all, the whole point of insurance.

    Consumer-directed measures would have a substantial impact only if they lowered the cost of the care delivered in the most expensive cases. Yet some research suggests that consumer-directed health approaches could make high-cost cases even more expensive, because chronically ill patients facing copayments for their medicines would skip some doses, requiring even more expensive treatment later on. (Ironically, those who advocate consumer-directed reforms often oppose advance directives that spell out individuals’ care instructions for late in life — tools that might be more effective than any other consumer-directed change.) Since the share of total costs most affected by consumer-directed health-care incentives is relatively modest, no one should expect this approach to dramatically reduce overall health-care spending.

    Nonetheless, the consumer-directed approach is at the heart of a reform of Medicare put forward in April by Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chair of the House Budget Committee. Under Ryan’s approach, Medicare would be transformed into a “premium support” plan, whereby the government would pay the premiums for private health insurance plans chosen by beneficiaries. Ryan’s plan appears to save substantial sums for the federal government, but it is far less clear that it would substantially reduce overall health-care costs because it may not do enough to affect high-cost cases. Indeed, a preliminary analysis of the Ryan plan by the CBO found that total costs would actually increase — by an astonishing 40-67 percent by 2030 — because the benefit of having more consumer “skin in the game” is limited and because private plans would have higher administrative costs and less negotiating leverage with providers than Medicare. The goal should not be to simply move costs around; it must be to reduce them overall.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Advocates of the switchover are confident that all that can be achieved. Concerns about shortages and blackouts last winter were unfounded, there were no power cuts. Nuclear critics felt vindicated, although the relatively mild winter did not put the electricity grid to its toughest test.

    "All told, Germany actually produced more energy than it used," Hubert Weiger, chairman of Friends of the Earth Germany said, adding that CO2 emissions had also dropped despite having fewer nuclear reactors online.

    "The horror scenarios of the nuclear energy advocates are nonsense," he said,
    . . . . . .

    Energy Switchover in Germany

    ReplyDelete
  56. Back to Roy:

    Indeed, the fact that both liberals and conservatives would find objectionable elements to Switzerland is a large part of its appeal. It achieves the policy priorities of liberals (universal coverage; regulated insurance market) and of conservatives (low government health spending; privately-managed health care). Both sides could declare victory, and yet also have plenty to complain about.

    In other words, Switzerland provides the contours of a bipartisan solution: one that stands a chance of gaining more than 60 votes in the Senate. Purists on either side will object, but as an accomplished Saxon reformer once put it, “politics is the art of the possible.” Those of us who object to the current system need to ask ourselves: are we willing to give up on real entitlement reform, that could bring the U.S. back from the brink of bankruptcy, in order to maintain our philosophical purity?

    There's that "purity" word again. Almost an argument unto itself.

    Nice summary of the history of the health care mandate here: LINK

    ReplyDelete
  57. From last link:

    "Absent a specific mandate for at least catastrophic health insurance coverage, some persons, even with the availability of tax credits to offset their costs, will deliberately take advantage of their fellow citizens by not protecting themselves or their families, with the full knowledge that if they do incur a catastrophic illness that financially devastates them, we will, after all is said and done, take care of them and pay all of the bills. They will be correct in this assessment...

    An individual mandate for insurance, then, is not simply to assure other people protection from the ravages of a serious illness, however socially desirable that may be; it is also to protect ourselves. Such selfprotection is justified within the context of individual freedom; the precedent for this view can be traced to none other than John Stuart Mill."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      An appeal to authority referencing some long dead philosopher doesn't cut it when it comes to healthcare in the U.S.

      Piss on the individual mandate.

      If universal coverage and universal participation are a social need or even a social good set up a single-payer system through the government. Don't gut the Constitution.

      Or, if the people demand universal coverage have them change the Constitution to allow the individual mandate. Stop having healthcare coverage designed and crammed down our throats by Washington elites.

      .

      Delete
    2. Reviewing the options:

      (1) Consumer-directed choice + individual mandate (gutting the constitution);

      or

      (2) Government-sponsored health care (Constitution remains intact.)

      Congressional Republicans were never going to allow Option (2) - something about "over my dead body."

      The Supreme Court will likely nudge the reform direction towards (2) as per Robert Reich's suggestion of "Medicare for all" (LINK:)

      But with a bit of political jujitsu, the president could turn any such defeat into a victory for a single-payer healthcare system -- Medicare for all.

      Here's how.

      The dilemma at the heart of the new law is that it continues to depend on private health insurers, who have to make a profit or at least pay all their costs including marketing and advertising.

      Yet the only way private insurers can afford to cover everyone with preexisting health problems, as the new law requires, is to have every American buy health insurance - including young and healthier people who are unlikely to rack up large healthcare costs.

      This dilemma is the product of political compromise. You'll remember the Administration couldn't get the votes for a single-payer system such as Medicare for all. It hardly tried. Not a single Republican would even agree to a bill giving Americans the option of buying into it.

      Looks like win-win for the Grim and Determined liberal/progressive godless socialists. (Don't even have to eat worms or chew on a big fat log.)

      Delete
    3. .

      I like Robert Reich and agree with him on many things. He could be right on the direction healthcare takes in this country. I don't know.

      What I do know is that I am an originalist on the Constitution. In those areas where the document needs to be adjusted, updated, or improved (I'm always leery of subjectives), there is a process for doing it. And I am not at all happy with the dicks in D.C. who say that process is too slow or cumbersome, or worse, we will never be able to convince enough people of our brilliant solutions. People who refuse to propose alternative but still constituional routes for the same reasons. So instead they simply ignore the Constitution or change it through judicial mandate or have some flunky in some government agency write a rule that accomodates that new great thing.

      Sorry, I'm not real impressed with this great new world brought to us by elitists in the government who claim to know 'what is best' for us and are willing to 'cram it down out throats' whether we want it or not. Not when on average these buffoons speak and read at a 10th grade level. (Not that they read all that much except for stock portfolios, bank accounts, and donor lists).

      On the other hand, I realize there are a lot of people who find all this just jolly. Of course, from their own perspective. Kool-aid drinkers who say that it is all the left's fault and others that it is all the right's, people who argue 'relative-dickness'. People who argue, "Well I believe in the Constitution, but you know, just this one time."

      Makes me want to puke.

      .

      Delete
  58. <---> crammed down our throats by <--->

    Where have I heard that before?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Don't know.

      Why don't you give us it's provenance.

      .

      Delete
    2. .

      Just to be sure.

      Were you truly befuddled and searching for an answer to that question; editorializing that the use of the phrase was overused, banal and trite; just offering up a snarky aside, or actually offering up or rather trying to offer up some comment on content?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      .

      Delete
  59. .

    A side comment and a complement.

    Deuce was very astute in offering Max the keys to the bar in that it grants a twofer.

    Now that she has been offered the mission (if she chooses to accept) we can expect to see streams posted under both Max and Anonymous.

    Sweet. IMO.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  60. Religion, Quirk. I used the phrase with religion. Did you really forget or just avail yourself of an opportunity for all that stuff you wrote?

    And try not to blame me for raising the r-word again.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I think Orszag's got it right:

    The goal should not be to simply move costs around; it must be to reduce them overall.

    The Ryan approach reduces the cost to government but does little reduce the cost of health care.

    (Switzerland, Taiwan, Germany, Britain - not sure about Canada - all have problems with escalating health care costs. Maybe somebody should take it to Parliament.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeppers, Canada has problems with escalating health care costs. An aging population will do that.

      Delete
    2. In Canada each Province pays for the health care for its citizens. In Ontario, just recently, the government lowered the rate it was willing to pay for certain procedures arguing that technology has advance and that these particular procedures no longer took near the time nor effort to perform (Cataract surgery being one item). The doctors are grumbling.

      Delete
  62. I'm not sure one ever "solves" the health care problems but universal health care with a single payer has a lot going for it. It also problems though. Nothing is perfect by a long shot.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Some of my Max posts vanish - poof! - while Anon gets through.

    Health care is difficult - and important. Until the Pummeled Pubs find a road map to their b@lls and get back in the policy ring, the Democrats will be calling the shots. One more time: No Government isn't a policy, any more than eating worms and chewing on bark is a spiritual epiphany.

    I have enough keys thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Re: No government isn't a policy

      See my response to your 11:44 post.

      Anything is better than nothing may be a policy but it's hardly one I personally would run on.

      .

      Delete
    2. RE Anything is better than nothing may be a policy...

      The current health care legislation is far from "anything." The concept of a health care mandate originated within a conservative group twenty years ago and Hillary's 1993 effort also included a mandate but the legislation was killed before that debate went public. The Obama effort was a far cry from slam, bam, thank you ma'am.

      The one thing I do know is that coercing a constitutional crisis with this group of Washingtonians would be an unmitigated disaster. I can't imagine a more dire condition leading to RESET than convening a constitutional convention at this time.

      Delete
    3. .

      RESET

      My. My. We are back to reset again.

      I'm sure there were those who said the same thing when the 15th and 19th Amendments were proposed.

      As for the Obamacare effort being a far cry from 'slam, bam, thank you ma'am', once again you are kind of paraphrasing what Rufus had to say the other day, and in this case, I have to agree.

      It wasn't easy and no one can deny the Dems own it. In fact they've bought and paid for it; the 'louisiana purchase', the 'cornhusker kickback', the 'Dodd payback', water deals in CA, deals for N.D. and MA, a judgeship for Matheson's brother. And it wasn't cheap, a $100 million here, $300 million there, it starts to add up fast.

      And then our constitutional scholar president offers us a new interpretation on a constitutional principle. When the lawsuits were filed against the cornhusker kickback, bowing to public pressure, Obama said he disagreed with the deal. However, when enough deals were cut by the Dems, he offers us the democratic justification for corruption, 'if enough Senators are bribed then it;s alright [I paraphrase].' Democracy at work.

      And no one can deny, the Dems worked hard on this. Cutting deals to Big Pharma and the unions, buying that last senator, the use of rendition, reclassifying the deal under the budget rules. Good stuff.

      Perhaps, you are right, healthcare isn't just anything. And I suppose to some minds, further corruption to the system is justified if 'something' is accomplished 'whatever that might be' as opposed to getting nothing done. But then that gets me back to my original point; to some, the direction we move the ball is less important than the fact that the ball was moved.

      I don't understand the thinking, but there you have it.

      .

      Delete
    4. I don't understand the thinking, but there you have it.

      I understand the thinking perfectly. It's identical to "draining the swamp" or "reshuffling the deck" in the ME, the American health care delivery system being the same level of Mess as ME politics.

      To paraphrase the nirvana fallacy: don't make the perfect the enemy of the good.

      Robert Reich had it exactly correct. A single payer plan would never get by the Republicans so the Dems decided to "gut the constitution," quite possibly knowing full well the Supreme Court would strike it down.

      There you have it. And here we are. Single payer.

      Delete
    5. .

      You're wrong.

      We are not at single payer.

      Depending on how SCOTUS rules, Obamacare in toto will be ruled unconstitutional and we start from square one, certain sections will be ruled unconstitutional and modifications will be required, or it will be upheld and we will proceed as we are now or until the GOP finds some way to scuttle it.

      To get to single payer we will need to start from square one.

      As for 'draining the swamp'; tell me, how well did that go? IMO the same applies to the clusterfuck in the ME.

      With regard to 'perfect being the enemy of the good', I will respond to that with a link to your last post.

      Right now, I have dogs to walk.

      .

      Delete
    6. To get to single payer we will need to start from square one.

      No. Robert Reich:

      So why not Medicare for all?

      Because Republicans have mastered the art of political jujitsu. Their strategy has been to demonize government and seek to privatize everything that might otherwise be a public program financed by tax dollars (see Paul Ryan's plan for turning Medicare into vouchers). Then they go to court and argue that any mandatory purchase is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government's authority.

      Obama and the Democrats should do the reverse. If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate in the new health law, private insurers will swarm Capitol Hill demanding that the law be amended to remove the requirement that they cover people with pre-existing conditions.

      When this happens, Obama and the Democrats should say they're willing to remove that requirement - but only if Medicare is available to all, financed by payroll taxes.

      I thought the play was obvious but I suppose it could be subtle to others. YMMV

      Delete
    7. .

      When this happens, Obama and the Democrats should say they're willing to remove that requirement - but only if Medicare is available to all, financed by payroll taxes.

      That you thought the play was obvious doesn't surprise me. You offer Reich's suggestion up as if you assume that just because the Dem's offer up this alternative it will automatically happen. Nothing is automatic. Reich has suggested an awful lot of good, thoughtful ideas since he left government service. How many of them have been acted upon?

      And here, I am not arguing the pros or cons of Reich's idea but merely process.

      First, in a few weeks SCOTUS will rule on aspects of Obamacare and their decision on what to keep and reject within that legislation will determine whether this whole conversation is moot or not.

      However, If they rule that the individual mandate is unconstitutional but that the government's mandate that insurance companies cannot deny insurance on the basis of pre-existing conditions is (neither of which is certain), then conditions that might precipitate Reich's suggested alternative might come into play.

      If the Court chooses this middle ground, any new healthcare law needed to address the new conditions will have to go through the same extraordinary efforts I described above on the initial law. Again, nothing is automatic. You saw the fight over Obamacare. What do you think the fight over Medicare-for-all would look like?

      But this argument is trivial at least until the SCOTUS decision. Positing Obamacare or Medicare-for-All as the only two alternatives also offers a false dilemma. They are certainly big dogs in the mix of possible alternatives approaches but the number of these alternative approaches is a problem.

      But this whole discussion is a mere diversion from you contention stated above that the 'current healthcare legislation is far from "anything" and is a cut or three beyond "anything is better than nothing".

      I'll address that issue as a reply to your post below.

      .

      Delete
  64. One more time II:

    Be careful what you wish for with the private sector and the all hallowed "market forces."

    It is *all* about profit. A reasonable venue for some enterprise, not all.

    Unfortunately for the Republicans, the country is at a place and time where regulatory control of enterprise is one of maybe three dominant challenges facing the federal government. The country can't get to where it needs to be by denying that challenge or pretending it doesn't exist or acting as if enough Tea Party congressionals can stamp their feet and make it all go away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I am doubled over in pain needing treatment the last thing I'm going to do is trundle about price shopping.

      Delete
    2. I didn't trundle either when my hip was broke.

      I couldn't even crawl.

      b

      Delete
  65. McKinsey & Co., the consulting group, estimated in a recent study that by 2020, German consumers could be paying 60 percent more — to €21.5 billion from €13.5 billion, or $27.1 billion to $17 billion — for their energy bill. That does not include costs the industry will carry....

    There also is the question of the security of energy supply given that some of the nuclear plants were shut down in 2011. Germany had to cope with serious shortages during a bitterly cold spell last January.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I can get us past the Swiss Guards but hadn't considered the Vatican Police. We're gonna need to turn someone inside, truly flip 'em, if we're gonna rescue the butler.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      The butler?

      The guy is accused of stealing documents so he could leak them and make a few lira, the Sandy Berger of the Vatican, shoving documents down his pants to sneak them out.

      .

      Delete
    2. .

      Forget the Swiss Guard and the Vatican Police, bring back the Lord High Inquisitor.

      .

      Delete
    3. Every one deserves a fair trial. He's may be as guilty as OJ. For all I know.

      We nab him, take him to the International Criminal Court, is all I'm maintaining.

      Lord High Inquisitor?

      How un-American is that?

      Guy probably has relatives in the States.

      I'm truly disappointed, nearly despondent in you, Quirk, here we have a perfect opportunity to use our skills and be Heroes.

      b

      Delete
    4. .

      I'm busy trimming a hedge in the back yard. Why don't you get Dan Brown to work this out with you.

      While you're at it try to spring old Brad Manning.

      .

      Delete
  67. Any Afghan women with the money are getting out now.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/05/getting_out_while_the_going_is_good.html

    Doom.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "FREE THE BUTLER!"

      Delete
    2. Crime in Vatican City is handled in accordance with article 22 of the 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, by which the Italian government, when requested by the Holy See, seeks prosecution and detention of criminal suspects, at the expense of the Vatican.[1] The Vatican has no prison system. People convicted of committing crimes in the Vatican serve terms in Italian prisons (Polizia Penitenziaria), with costs covered by the Vatican.[2] wiki

      Well bless it, this at least simplifies it. I'd a had Quirk in there searching for a no longer existing dungeon.

      I can do this by myself. A handful or Euros and a greasy palm.

      You are off the hook, Quirk.

      b

      Delete
  68. Hmmm...Paolo Gabrielle goes silent, may still be in some 'Vatican secret cell'. Speculation is he may be a 'fall guy'.

    FREE THE BUTLER!

    What is the Vatican trying to hush up?

    Sounds serious. Financial malfeasance at the highest level, for starters. Chaos and corruption all through the higher reaches of the Vatican, Vatican bank, Vatican programs.

    As a sovereign entity, the Vatican does not need to share the intricate details of its investigation into Gabriele’s alleged crime. He is being interrogated, according to Lombardi, and he has chosen two legal representatives who are qualified to practice law within the Vatican’s secret tribunal.

    " to practice law "

    Practice 'law'.

    My ass.

    It's a Star Chamber.

    A religious inquisition of the innocent.

    Inquisition of the least among them.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forgot the link, I am so upset.

      Damn the Pope.

      He was the nazis shit putting on the proscribed list some of my favorite books.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/28/did-the-pope-s-butler-paolo-gabriele-really-do-it.html

      b

      Delete
  69. Thank God for the Reformation.

    We'd just vote the mo'fuckers out.

    I'm done.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  70. The Economist on health care reform (LINK):

    Other rich countries cover almost all their citizens in one of two ways. Some, such as Britain, Canada and Sweden, have “single payer” systems, in which taxes support a public service. Others, notably the Netherlands and Switzerland, oblige individuals to buy insurance. France has a mixed public-private system.

    ...

    If done properly, this will in time move America towards the Swiss and Dutch models of universal private insurance....Our poll suggests that an individual mandate would be unpopular, with only 21% in favour and 53% opposed. Respondents did favour having the option to buy from the government, by 56% to 23%.

    ...

    Another useful way to promote transparency and value would be to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of new drugs, devices and treatments. This may be common sense, but it is rarely done in America. Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) pioneered this approach, and other European countries have followed it. Andrew Dillon, the agency’s chief executive, accepts that “the NICE model is not transportable in precise form” but he still insists that “one can dissect and apply what is relevant to other countries.”

    In America, the drugs and devices lobbies are violently opposed to a NICE-style agency that could issue mandatory rulings. They paint a scary picture of Americans being denied access to life-saving new drugs by faceless bureaucrats. In Britain NICE has come under fire for rulings that limited access to expensive drugs for Alzheimer’s and cancer on the NHS. America could get around this problem by requiring and perhaps even funding studies, but leaving insurers and individuals to decide whether to pay for treatments.

    ...

    If American reformers doubt the power of incentives, they should visit Sweden. Like other relatively cheap OECD systems, Sweden’s single-payer model has been plagued by long waiting-lists—a sign, to American conservatives, of the rationing that goes with socialised medicine. Swedish health officials tried and failed to cut queues by increasing direct funding for hospitals and even issued an edict requiring hospitals to cut queues for elective operations to three months. Then, last year, the health ministry said it would create a fund into which it would pay SKr1 billion ($128m) a year for local authorities that managed to reduce waiting times to that threshold. Nine months ago virtually none of the counties passed, but this month the health minister revealed that nearly all had cut their queues to three months or less.

    I could go on but that's enough. Read The article. Point being that Policy Matters. Designing a set of policy objectives to realign health care delivery incentives is a cut or three beyond "anything is better than nothing," and a universe removed from "get government off my back."

    List of countries with universal coverage:

    LINK

    WHO Ranking of health care systems by country:

    LINK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not entirely sure where your tongue is in relation to your cheek but nice rundown here - LINK - about the severability issue. (And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg summed up the dilemma that could face the court if it strikes down the mandate: "It's a choice between a wrecking operation … or a salvage job.")

      Since I have no dogs to walk, I'm off to study why Quantum of Solace failed so badly as a sequel.

      Delete
    2. .

      [Full disclosure: Looking at a choice of healthcare options, I would likely opt for a two-tier arrangement. That being said, there are a number of things about Obamacare I like.]

      WRT Max’s post, up to this point, our debate has been about process and my contention there are those people who argue that policy and its implementation are key and that in some cases massaging the Constitution can be justified if it moves the dime on important issues. There is no point in reiterating the arguments here since they are all posted upstream.

      However, Max, with your Economist post we have moved to a qualitative discussion of one key piece of policy represented by the Obamacare law.

      The Economist is my bible; however, being a June, 2009 article, all the link really does is provide background to the debate that was going on at the time. The other links again merely provide background and point to the importance of the healthcare issue. They do nothing to shed light on Obamacare itself, its constitutionality, the initial arguments offered by proponents of the plan, whether their stated goals have been or will be met, and whether the costs imposed by the plan are offset by benefits received from its implementation. Likewise, the links are limited in that they can’t take into account our laws and how they work, and since Obamacare has already been passed and partially implement, it further limits the value of the links. In other words, they are limited in their ability to help us judge the value of the policy decisions embodied in Obamacare.

      The constitutionality of the plan or parts of it will be determined in a few weeks so there is no point in going into it at this point. What is left after the ruling will be the law of the land until the point that it is revised.

      So moving beyond the constitutionality issue, I would suggest that in order to judge the value of the policy contained in Obamacare, you need to view the promises made, the results we can reasonably expect (i.e. will the goals be met), and the cost that are tied to any benefits we can expect to receive.

      As I remember, the key promises associated with Obamacare were, universal healthcare, cost containment that would reduce healthcare costs, that healthcare would be available and affordable to every American, and that Americans would be able to keep their existing healthcare plans. I’m sure there were others but I think these were the key ones, the money promises. So, how are we doing?

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      Universal Coverage/Healthcare available and affordable to every American

      "The law provides subsidies to help some Americans buy insurance, expands Medicaid and doesn’t allow insurance companies to exclude persons with preexisting conditions. But still, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected 23 million persons will remain uninsured — some because they can’t afford coverage.

      About one-third of those 23 million will be unauthorized immigrants, and not “Americans” in the sense that Obama meant. And another one-quarter will have health care “available” in the form of Medicaid, but will fail to sign up, CBO projects. But that still leaves several million Americans who won’t be covered because they are “ineligible for subsidies, are exempt from the individual mandate, choose not to comply with the mandate, or have some combination of those characteristics,” CBO said. As the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation noted, at least a portion of the uninsured would include “people who are exempt from the mandate, in most cases because they do not have access to affordable coverage.” For instance, some individuals may earn too much to receive subsidies but not enough to afford insurance plans available to them...


      Promises [LINK]

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      Americans would be able to keep their existing healthcare plans

      “A Congressional Budget Office report issued this week says that 3 million to 5 million people could move from employer-based health care plans to government-based programs as the Affordable Care Act takes effect. And in the worst-case scenario, it could be as many as 20 million.” (David Nather, “Health Care Reform: 4 Inconvenient Truths,”

      Existing Plans [LINK]


      Healthcare cost containment would reduce healthcare costs

      What Obama actually said: “The Affordable Care Act will bring down costs, improve the quality of health care delivered to all Americans and expand coverage to 32 million Americans.” (White House Website, www.whitehouse.gov, Accessed 3/15/12)


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      Cost Containment Claim

      Where to start?

      1. Today, the CBO released new projections from 2013 extending through 2022, and the results are as critics expected: the ten-year cost of the law's core provisions to expand health insurance coverage has now ballooned to $1.76 trillion. That's because we now have estimates for Obamacare's first nine years of full implementation, rather than the mere six when it was signed into law. Only next year will we get a true ten-year cost estimate, if the law isn't overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by then. Given that in 2022, the last year available, the gross cost of the coverage expansions are $265 billion, we're likely looking at about $2 trillion over the first decade, or more than double what Obama advertised...

      Costs Double


      2. Delaying full implementation until 2014 as noted above had even further detrimental effects vis a vis costs. It provided the healthcare and pharma industries an opportunity to raise prices in anticipation of future controls. For instance in 2010, healthcare prices rose more than 3 times the rate of general inflation. We saw the same thing in 2011 and can expect to see the trend continue.

      3. Actually, the Obama administration has granted over 1500 waivers to the law.

      Yet what the law seems to have set in motion is a rush to obtain exemptions from group coverage requirements. New data show nearly 1,400 insurers, employers, unions and other organizations thus far have received waivers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from a requirement that forces group health plans to offer at least $750,000 in payouts per enrollee this year, a figure set to rise even higher until its phase-out in 2014. The situation is emerging as a lesson in how government, once enlarged, becomes a favor factory. And unions are receiving lots of favors...

      Waivers


      4. Obamacare projects billions in savings from politically sensitive programs that will just never happen because, well because, they are so politically sensitive. Examples are the ‘doc-fix’ and the ‘millionaire tax’ on high cost insurance plans that was put off until 2018 (ironically, after the latest time Obama could be in office) as a sop to the unions.

      He has already been forced to withdraw the “Class” provisions which amounted to about half of his projected savings because not even the Dems believed the claims for this new entitlement.

      5. Despite the negotiating clout the government could wield, Obamacare starts out with one hand behind its back, a hand it tied itself by agreements it contains restricting the government’s ability to negotiate with healthcare and pharma suppliers. One is the $80 billion bribe Obama secured from Big Pharma with an agreement not to directly negotiate on drugs prices. By the time Obamacare is fully implemented, I expect the drug companies will have already recovered that $80 billion, if they haven’t already done it.

      Bottom line, IMO, there is no way Obamacare will ever meet its promised cost cutting goals.


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      Finally, there are intangible costs associated with Obamacare that are pretty hard if not impossible to quantify. The constitutional issues have been discussed. But there are additional costs. The process used to push the legislation exacerbated already strained political relations. It was an unpopular policy with the American people. And if the legislation is ultimately found to be unconstitutional, it will be a year that was wasted on this effort when it could have been used on the economy and jobs.

      So we get back to the question we started with, is Obamacare a worthwhile policy; is it “three beyond ‘anything’ is better than nothing,"

      Strictly my opinion, but I don’t see it has met any of its promises of universal coverage, available and affordable healthcare for all, allowing everyone to keep their existing health plans, or reducing future healthcare costs.

      Further, given that many of the proponents of Obamacare have publicly stated that they see it as merely an intermediate step towards a single-payer system, a more honest approach would have been to go for single-payer from the beginning. At a minimum, we wouldn’t we arguing over the policy’s constitutionality.

      It’s up to each individual to decide whether Obamacare is “three beyond anything is better than nothing”.

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  72. Here I am in the ironic position of defending Washington - on health care no less, which I originally opposed, and then accepted as a possible improvement, with critical qualifications.

    Others here are in the habit of attaching labels for the solitary sin of critique. I object to a religion that makes me eat worms and chew bark so I am labelled a godless anti-Christian (with issues!!), despite at least three separate statements that I self-define as an agnostic deist and fully support the individual's right to choose his religious beliefs, and his freedom to follow the dictates of said beliefs, within the usual constraints of societal comity and respect. In my world that position is not hard to understand, but the rush to assign damning "boxes" of derision and contempt reek of "lowest cognitive denominator" of public exchange. Such is expected in the blood sport of American politics (although it is getting old) but the more personal blog space might have yielded a more sincere exchange of views.

    Some of that was being repeated with the subject of health care reform, but with the most recent posts, the effect was mitigated.

    On the subject of Obamacare, I began by critiquing the Republicans for abandoning policy in their obsessive determination to reduce government, and doing so in the undignified manner of throwing a little Tea Party hissy fit. To repeat what I wrote above:

    Unfortunately for the Republicans, the country is at a place and time where regulatory control of enterprise is one of maybe three dominant challenges facing the federal government. The country can't get to where it needs to be by denying that challenge or pretending it doesn't exist or acting as if enough Tea Party congressionals can stamp their feet and make it all go away.

    The Republicans had no intention of touching health care reform because "it wasn't needed." Universal coverage was not their cause. Should it have been? Have at it but remember the distinction when the rhetoric segues into the "relative dickness" of Washingtonian federals. In this one broad sense, the Dems performed - to paraphrase Rufus from some time ago - "they're all corrupt to the core but every once in awhile the Dems manage to do a little something for the people." And that is true.

    So, (1) was health care reform needed and (2) was universal coverage a valid objective for this country? Dems 1 and Repubs 0.

    For the sake of moving along, let's assume government policy direction was required to "reform" the American health care system (not "solve" as Ash noted, which is important.)

    (which I may not get to until later.)

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  73. RE the timing of health care

    I dealt with that issue in one of the posts above. Again, one can follow the ideological narrative and blame the Dems for "ignorance" of matters pertaining to finance and economic (although that is inconsistent with the (strained) narrative that the Dems, led by Rubin, Clinton, Greenspan et al destroyed the banking system while the Republicans were at choir practice) - or one can accept that the economic mainstream, which was bipartisan, facilitated a perfect "semi-centennial" storm. Some were not fooled (as we both noted) - Roubini, Taleb (The Black Swan), The Economist, et al) but the mainstream was out of its depth (with the ratings agencies possibly the most culpable in their failure to provide transparency and oversight as a crucial last-line-of-defense for our financial system.)

    So the depth and duration of the 2008 collapse was "misunderestimated" by, let's just say, many technicians who were expected and paid to know better. With that context, the Dems went ahead with health care reform. In hindsight, it was a mistake.

    As for squandering good will, I submit there wasn't much to squander after the reality of 2008 shifted into high gear full-blown finger pointing, an unsightly piece of ugly business-not-quite-as-usual that rapidly transformed into the hyper-charge partisan gridlock that observers such as Ash attribute to structural deficiency rather than human failures. I further submit that history has yet to be written on the saber-rattling reality of the RESET question.

    (Which again I mention as an observation only to find myself labelled as a Participant/Advocate which is utter nonsense and a rather facile rhetorical attempt at misdirection, common in politics but one looks for a higher level of engagement from people attempting to use policy to mitigate problems, what used to be called "governing.")

    (I have to leave again but I will finish this up later.)

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  74. .

    Don't take it personal, Max. My line about 'any policy being better than no policy' was trivial and likely thrown out at a point where I was bored (I don't even remember). It was hardly something to waste this much ink on. However, that's what I do. When challened, even on the trivial, I will usually raise some defense.

    I won't apologize for any perceived (actual? :) snarkiness. As Ash observed (somewhat hypocritically as I pointed out), I tend to go that way during the heat of the debate. However, I've noticed you are no slacker in that area yourself.

    With regard to the issue of relative-dickness it is easy for me to pick a side in any political fight and defend it absolutely, this being merely a blog and realizing that anything I say has probably been said a million times before on other blogs across the internet. In real life, given our political system and the choices presented, most are faced with a Hobbsian choice and must choose.

    I do truly believe that D.C. is populated by mere mortals, smucks like you or me, most of them lawyers (many of them willing to ignore the law), all of them of average intellignece, some motivated by their religious beliefs others by an obvious antipathy towards religion, many venal, most vapid, all elitists, and all motivated by ego and delusions of grandeur. That offers me little choice in November.

    Here I attack whichever side has stirred me the most lately. That happens to be Obama right now. A year ago, it was the GOP and I was using the same words you use now to denigrate the GOP. Whereas, Doug is now my boon companion, a year ago we were at each others throats. The only difference was the exchanges were shorter. He'd call me a socialist and I would call him a Kool-aid drinking nitwit. Rufus and I were pals.

    With regard to healthcare reform, we could go on forever, not with it's obvious need, but with the factors surrounding Obamacare. Recently, just prior to this discussion actually, I stated that for two decades the GOP has ceded the field to the Dems on the healthcare issue, that they have and continue to do nothing but obstruct attempts at reform.

    However, offering the Dems any kind of credit, on the subject goes against my stated opinion that they are all dicks, an easy position to take given the lies they offered up on costs, the vying priorities in play at the time of the debate, the constitutional (IMO) overreach, etc. And, as I've stated, we are on a blog.

    In real life, perhaps it's a little harder. As I've said, there are aspects of the plan I hope survive in one form or another.

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    I see you put up your last post as I was putting up mine.

    I won't bother trying to counter the arguments you've posted. My preceeding post should cover most of it.

    However, with regard to the 'misdirection' you mentioned, I would again caution you not to take it personally.

    As my umbrage shifts from one political party to another, or one subject or another, I'm typically vilified by one person or another. In one instance, I am a socialist, anarchist, or communist while in another I am a supporter of the corrupt status quo (not so much this one lately). Though I am about as un-religious as one can get, I am accused of defending religion, the Catholic Church, or some 'archaic' set of moral values. Though I have defended the use of the 'Powell Doctrine' as the appropriate response to attack and denied the rationality of 'pottery-barn' as applied to our foreign policy, I have been accused of being an appeaser and a coward. I have been accused of being a bigot, a racist, discriminatory, and an anti-Semite.

    It comes with the territory.

    :)

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