“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Obama approvals are high because Americans hold Republicans in contempt.

Obama has a new radical idea a day and is everywhere all the time.

He is thinking about seeding the clouds to hold back the rays of the sun. He is designing cars, fixing banks, firing CEO's, nationalizing health care and education, changing the defense procurement program, reestablishing relations with Cuba, Iran and Russia, closing down Guantanamo and missile defense, and has not yet hit the 90 day mark.

This morning it is reported Obama will fix immigration. That will probably be followed by open borders with Haiti and nationalizing health care in Africa. Who knows?

He is spending money like he just won the lottery and expects to win it next week, the week after that, and every other week till Christmas.

Despite that, the Republicans cannot find a bottom. Why is that?

I believe it is because Americans cannot stomach hypocrites and they do not believe a thing the Republicans have to say.


Bunning approval: 28 percent

Political Wire is teasing the results of a Public Policy Polling survey out tomorrow that shows Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) with a rock-bottom 28 percent approval rating.

That's even worse than the low approval ratings of another embattled senator, Connecticut Democrat Chris Dodd, who held a 33 percent approval rating in the latest Quinnipiac poll.

Even worse for Bunning, the poll shows him losing to all of his prospective Democratic opponents, including Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo.


  1. The idea that a jihad against so-called Rinos is the answer to the Republican's problems is laughable.

    An alternative to the Democrats could include:

    1. A strong defense that put's American interests first and is oriented away from Europe and the Middle East.

    2. A private minimal universal health care system that can be topped off by each individual.

    3. Fiscal conservatism.

    4. Strong belief in state's rights.

    5. A laissez faire attitude toward social matters that need to be addressed by local communities and should be of no interest to the federal government.

    6. Neutral taxation to individuals. Minimize special interest deduction. Compensate with lower rates.

    7. Zero capital gains tax and no more than a ten percent tax on corporate income derived from manufacturing.

    8. No employee social security contribution from those employed in manufacturing.

    9. Allow those, at retirement age, who want to opt out of social security, to do so in exchange for no income taxes, but must continue to pay social security taxes with no cut-off.

    10. Encourage states to charge tuition in public schools and reduce the reliance on real estate taxes. This could be done by disallowing the deduction from federal taxes of local real estate taxes. Parents, paying tuition will pay a little more attention to local school boards.

  2. Saw that graphic on the thread, and thought, immediately of ...
    Angel flyin' to close to the ground

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Repeal the income tax and provide for a transaction tax on all economic activity. The sale of real property and equities, bonds and nonfood stuff commodities.

    That $80 trillion USD market in CDS's and derivatives would have provided a healthy chunk of change to the Federals.
    Not only should those finacial activities be regulated, they should become the core of tax revenue generation.

    Move Federal revenue generation away from the "people" and onto the "System". Allow Wall Street to pay its' fair share of the cost of maintaining the security of Free Enterprise.

    But under no circumstance create more catagories of "special" folk exempt from paying taxes that are supposed to be "universial".

  5. If you want to create a base for a "new" political movement, in the United States, Newt has provided the platform.


    A Red, White, and Blue Platform to Replace the Red Versus Blue Partisan Split

    This document provides polling data to demonstrate why we believe this is The Platform of the American People.

    Pick the issues that excite your foot soldiers, another of Alinsky's Rules.

  6. The ONLY fellow that took on the System, fom within, from the "Right", successfully.

    And the Republicans threw him to the wolves at the first opportunity they had.

    Replacing him with Tom DeLay.

    Biggest error the Republicans ever made, in the modern era, both for their own Party and for the Country.

  7. Now, I'd be the first to admit that many of the action themes of Newt's Platform do not fit well with my own views of the challenges and their solutions.

    I would be supportive, despite my own views, of the incremental change in course that Newt proposes. Again, taking that first inch, while plotting and conspiring to achieve the next mile.

    Lestor Crown and the Chi-town boys have worked diligently since the riots in the street during the Democratic convention, back in '68.

    Make no mistake, the road to recovery, for little "r" republicans will be just as long and treacherous as it was for the mentors of Barack Obama.

    Those Chi-town boys spent a long while in the wilderness, expect the same.

  8. Mr. Obama will frame the new effort — likely to rouse passions on all sides of the highly divisive issue — as “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system,” said the official, Cecilia Muñoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.

    Mr. Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration groups, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.

    Some White House officials said that immigration would not take precedence over the health care and energy proposals that Mr. Obama has identified as priorities. But the timetable is consistent with pledges Mr. Obama made to Hispanic groups in last year’s campaign.

    He said then that comprehensive immigration legislation, including a plan to make legal status possible for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, would be a priority in his first year in office. Latino voters turned out strongly for Mr. Obama in the election.

    “He intends to start the debate this year,” Ms. Muñoz said.

  9. 'Rat,

    A mere Triviality compared to the Reaming that we, and our offspring, are subjected to every day in this
    Brave New World of transfering Private Wealth, Ownership, Security and Welfare to the Federal Govt.

    Medical details to follow...

  10. Glad you sound fine Doug. Awaiting details with great interest.



    AT the recent meeting of G-20 nations in London, officials from many nations agreed on one thing -- that the United States is to blame for the world recession. President Obama agreed, speaking in Strasbourg of "the reckless speculation of bankers that has now fueled a global economic downturn."

    One problem with this blame-game is that last year's recession was much deeper in many European and Asian countries than it was in the United States

    What really triggered this recession should be obvious, since the same thing happened before every other postwar US recession save one (1960).

    In 1983, economist James Hamilton of the University of California at San Diego showed that "all but one of the US recessions since World War Two have been preceded, typically with a lag of around three-fourths of a year, by a dramatic increase in the price of crude petroleum." The years 1946 to 2007 saw 10 dramatic spikes in the price of oil -- each of which was soon followed by recession.

    In The Financial Times on Jan. 3, 2008, I therefore suggested, "The US economy is likely to slip into recession because of higher energy costs alone, regardless of what the Fed does."

    In a new paper at, "Financial Crisis and Public Policy," Jagadeesh Gokhale notes that the prolonged decline in exurban housing construction that began in early 2006 was a logical response to rising prices of oil and gasoline at that time. So was the equally prolonged decline in sales of gas-guzzling vehicles. And the US/UK financial crises in the fall of 2008 were likewise as much a consequence of recession as the cause: Recessions turn good loans into bad.

    The recession began in late 2007 or early 2008 in many countries, with the United States one of the least affected. Countries with the deepest recessions have no believable connection to US housing or banking problems.

    The truth is much simpler: There is no way the oil-importing economies could have kept humming along with oil prices of $100 a barrel, much less $145. Like nearly every other recession of the postwar period, this one was triggered by a literally unbearable increase in the price of oil.

    Alan Reynolds is a Cato Institute senior fellow and the author of "In come and Wealth."

  12. Not to worry about all those not important issues..

    Within a few short months:




    Arab World






    will happen...

    and it will be big....

    and Obama will look so small....

  13. VAN SUSTEREN: ... Let's talk about Pakistan.

    It's a good segue. I mean, Pakistan is now so instrumental in so many ways in terms of what goes on in the world. What would you do about Pakistan, if you were president?

    GINGRICH: Well, let me say, first of all, that I do think in Dick Holbrooke, the president has appointed a roving ambassador who's very tough, who did a pretty darn good job in the Balkans, but who has a very weak hand to play. The core fact about Pakistan is that gradually -- partly because the U.S. Congress cut off all education and training for a long period -- the Pakistani military has gotten harder and harder and more and more inclined towards an Islamic fundamentalist view, which is very dangerous from our standpoint. You could have Pakistan become an enormous problem almost overnight because they already have nuclear weapons, whereas Iran is trying to get them.

    What we would like for them to do, what we need for them to do, is control the Northwest Territories. I think there's almost no possibility that they're going to do that, and that poses a real crisis for American policy. And this is not President Obama's fault. The same crisis was building under President Bush. The fact is Northwest Pakistan and the management of the Pashtun region is a much, much bigger problem than any politician has been willing to confront. In trying to figure out how you fix Afghanistan will turn out to be a much bigger problem than just sending a few thousand more troops.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, complicating it is the fact that Pakistan and India hate each other. They both have nuclear weapons. And now India is helping building roads in Afghanistan, so Pakistan thinks that India is now trying to sort of get its -- you know, get in good with Afghanistan, so you've got this problem. So let me go back to the question I posed. What would you do? Because I mean, it does -- if I had an easy solution, I'd brag about it right now and say it. I mean, like, what can we do at this point?

    GINGRICH: The number one thing we have to do is have a highway solution for northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan. The more paved roads you build, the more open the countries become, the greater the possibility you're going to gradually wear out the guerrillas and you're going to help grow things that are useful.

    The second thing I'd do is find a way, even if you had to invest a fairly good bit of money, to wean the Pakistani -- the Afghan farmers off of growing poppies and converting it into heroin and instead wean them into productive work. That's another reason you need the road network. And it's vital to find a way to build lots and lots of roads in northwest Pakistan because it'll open the region up. Until you've opened that region up -- if it remains isolated and it remains able to hide, in effect, from modern civilization, it is going to remain very, very dangerous for us.

    VAN SUSTEREN: And so, in other words, there really is virtually no solution. I mean, building roads -- I mean, it's...

    GINGRICH: No, look, I...


    VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, that seems dismal to me.

    GINGRICH: I think...

    VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, if that -- if that's the best we can do, I feel sorry for President Obama because it's -- it's not a lot of good choices there.

    GINGRICH: It's not -- no, it's not -- there are not a lot of good choices, but there are choices. I gave a speech in 2002, taking on the State Department for the failure to build roads in Afghanistan. This is a longstanding problem. And I think, frankly, rather than sending more combat troops, if we send eight or ten battalions of combat engineers and simply got them to build the maximum number of roads as rapidly as possible, we'd be a lot better off because we want to open the country up so people can earn a living in the modern world and they can be weaned away from being part of a drug culture which is estimated is 34 percent of the country's economy.

  14. The Dems are raging maniacs; but the Repubs are regarded (by me) as doddering old fools.

    When the shit hits the fan I want to be in the foxhole with the "Maniac."

  15. I see the pubs on tv, and the first thought is, "what are you good for?"

  16. We ask one thing from the pubs. We expect them to, at least, take care of the economy. They damned near destroyed us.

    They got a little "wilderness" time coming.

  17. In 1983, economist James Hamilton of the University of California at San Diego showed that "all but one of the US recessions since World War Two have been preceded, typically with a lag of around three-fourths of a year, by a dramatic increase in the price of crude petroleum." The years 1946 to 2007 saw 10 dramatic spikes in the price of oil -- each of which was soon followed by recession.

    And cheap supply is dwindling, fast. That fscktard, Newt, will tell you that exotic deep-sea and shale-oil is the answer. What he wont tell you is the break even price to get at this oil, which is also break-the-bank price for the economy.

  18. via Twitter

    gregormacdonald: North American oil supply is crashing, largely due to MX and now cancelled supply in Alberta: collision course w/2012.

  19. "Israel Cries Wolf

    Published: April 8, 2009

    ISTANBUL — “Iran is the center of terrorism, fundamentalism and subversion and is in my view more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb, whereas the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option.”

    Benjamin Netanyahu 2009? Try again. These words were in fact uttered by another Israeli prime minister (and now Israeli president), Shimon Peres, in 1996. Four years earlier, in 1992, he’d predicted that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999.

    You can’t accuse the Israelis of not crying wolf. Ehud Barak, now defense minister, said in 1996 that Iran would be producing nuclear weapons by 2004.

    Now here comes Netanyahu, in an interview with his faithful stenographer Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, spinning the latest iteration of Israel’s attempt to frame Iran as some Nazi-like incarnation of evil:

    “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”

    I must say when I read those words about “the wide-eyed believer” my mind wandered to a recently departed “decider.” But I’m not going there. "

  20. Yes, Ashley, the Iranians good, the Israelis bad. Now go away.

  21. Electric Commercial Vehicles

    Oh Elijah, where art thou?

  22. I told you all those banks were making money.

    Interesting trade data this morning. Exports are actually rising.

  23. Zero Sum Banking

    Post by guest blogger Nathan from Atheist Patriot

    I want to introduce an idea here. It is a relatively simple idea. The idea is that all banking should be a zero sum game. Zero sum means that for all loans, any money created from nothing must be matched contractually by money owed, and if the money is not created from nothing the banking must be full reserve banking. This simple change in banking practice is enough to fix the Ponzi schemes inherent in banking today.

    To add to this I would add that the Federal Reserve needs to go the way of the dinosaur. Additionally, an amendment should be added to the constitution that Jefferson would have wanted, which is that the Federal Government can never go into debt. All funding for government projects must be Greenback based. No tax for any US company or person at any time and all projects by law must be competitively financed through open bidding, again also by law. Add to that the same for local, county and state governments as well and there would be enough freedom and economic independence to go around. There are a laundry list of other such great ideas that have been floating around, such as limiting terms for senators and representatives to two terms, but for the rest of this article I would like to cover what I call Distributed Fractional Reserve Banking and how it fits into Zero Sum Banking.

    Zero Sum Banking using Full Reserve Banking does not need to be covered here since it is an idea that is more then adequately covered by other websites, such as those that talk about Austrian Economics. To understand instead how Zero Sum Banking would need to work if money was created from nothing the rest of this blog entry is dedicated. This method of banking as I stated earlier is called Distributed Fractional Reserve Banking.

    One of the problems with Fractional Reserve Banking is not that it creates money from nothing, but that it does so with interest added and never redeems the principal of the loan back to society. The interest that is thus owed is not a paltry portion either. We are talking about 200 to 300 percent for homes and comparable amounts for other types of loans such as for a car. If the bank through double-entry book-keeping does not create the excess percentage of interest, a quick question is where does it come from? The answer is people have to fight for it. The first thing to do is get rid of allowing banks to charge front-ended loans where one pays 95% interest on the first payment, then 80%, 72% and so on until you reach 6%. This is how home loans work. So when a bank says a loan is for 6% this is what is meant. This unscrupulous practice needs to end immediately. All loans by law should be simple interest loans where any and every payment takes out the interest part and noth!
    ing more.

    The next thing that could be done is to have interest accounted to the banks books immediately and be the only profit the bank can have, by law. No charges for withdrawal, no charges for late fees or other arbitrary such petty tricks. Each loan would then have an accounting entry that acts like negative money in that paying into it would make the loan amount owed less. The total loan amount would be the loan principal plus interest. There would be three types of loan payments at the discretion of those having a loan. A loan payment can either increase, decrease or keep the amount of money in circulation the same. The loan payment that keeps the amount of money in circulation constant has been described already. The other two types of loan payments are to be described next and use the static loan payment as a base.

    The other two options for a loan payment are for the money supply to increase or decrease. These two options obviously have opposing goals. There is a pool account to handle the difference in money entered in either type of payment to account for these opposing goals. If someone pays into a loan with the option to increase the money supply this counts as a plus in the pool for how much they paid minus interest, or if they say decrease it, this counts as a negative in the pool minus interest. If the pool is below zero for some fixed time period it is set to zero. The pool is then divided up equally (or by some other rational method to be set by laws) among all people with checking accounts every period. This would mean I hope a democratically controlled monetary policy that would most likely have small inflation and be very flexible (for instance around Christmas time people would probably want more money, so they would choose the option that increases the money supply to buy!

    If someone does not pay back a loan, the government takes care of that. The reason is simple, money is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government (or hopefully the will of the people), if someone does not pay back their loan then they are dishonoring the credit of the US. So the government will take the house from the trust of the bank possibly after going to court, resell it, refund the amount that the person has put into the house to the person with the original loan and put it back into the trust of the bank for whoever buys the house next. The government does not make money for this except maybe some fine to the original loan recipient to cover costs to the government for processing. This would probably be done at the state level for the historical that property taxes are at this level.

    Paper, gold or silver money (non-account money) is the responsibility of the government and the banks in this system. It is their responsibility to have enough on hand to meet transfer from account to non-account money and back again as per the spending habits of the general public. The bank does not own any of the non-account money and acts only as a trust in storing it. This means there can never be a run on the bank since all that would be required is for the Government to print or coin up more non-account money. Non-account money is owned by the people of the US, and rightfully so. Non-account paper money would once again proudly display the words "US Treasury Note".

    A symbol for Zero Sum Banking is a good idea. The symbol I suggest is an equation, 0 = 0. This simple statement is a counter to the ideas inherent in all of the skulduggery associated with the Ponzi Schemes that are given by the names Fractional Reserve and Centralized Banking, if not including the other treasonous schemes bankers have hatched. Patriotic Americans and anyone else who is tired of being ripped off by banks should put the equation on the bumpers of their cars, and store owners who are like-minded should show their support by putting the equation on storefront windows. Another way that this equation is nice symbolically is that the zero numeral '0′ is shaped like a coin, stating that one coin unit should equal any other coin unit. In the words of the tortured man from 1984, "Freedom is being able to say two and two makes four." The equation 2 + 2 = 4 is logically the same as 0 = 0. Poor Winston was right, Big Brother Banker wants us to think that 2 + 2 = 5 and pocket the difference.

  24. I'll take the doddering old fool, who may have an once of wisdom still rattling around, if it can just be found, over a raving maniac.

    Seed the atmosphere? Some years ago the worry was nuclear winter brought on by N-bombs 'seeding the atmosphere' with junk.

    Give me the doddering old fool.

    These people are nuts.

  25. "seeding the atmosphere" -- sounds like hysterical right-wing nutjobian to me. Quick, quick, hide under the bed!

  26. Seed the atmosphere with sulphur. There's no getting away from sulphuric acid rain, Ash. Not even under the bed.

    These people are nuts.

  27. Just got a report on the government's tree seeding on my place last year.

    Survival rate--5%.

    Can't say I didn't tell them.

    Feast for the moles.

    And, they want to try 'er again.

    What should I tell them?

    You got to plant bigger trees, not seedlings. But, I already told them that.

  28. Bush is to blame, it happened on his watch, after all!

  29. Obumble Outdoes Bush, Bows To The King Of Saudi Arabia

    8 minute interview with Robert Spencer.

    We got a muzzie lovin' President.

  30. Your story begs the basic question, bob.

    Why are the Federals planting trees on private land in Idaho?

    Where is the Constitutional authority for that action by the Federals?

    Why did it occur under Bush, or be continued by Team Obama, for that matter.

    That is the ideological question, for "Conservatives".
    Do they want the Federals deeply involved in everyones cuktural activity, only do it "better"?

    Or is the answer a Federal government that is less intrusive in the daily lives of its' citizens?

  31. In a democracy that chooses its own leaders, maybe the real problem is us — for wanting big government without big taxes, big stock returns without big risk, and easy money without hard work.

    Who Is To Blame?

    Victor David Hansen

  32. Why are the Federals planting trees on private land in Idaho?

    Good question. The answer lies I think in water law. I'm in a Soil Conservation District, my little seasonal creek drains ultimately into the Clearwater River to the ocean. Congress passed some bill or other---these programs pre-date Bush too--to mitigate erosion and clean up the water, save the salmon, steelhead, etc.

    But it's a good question.

    I really don't have any problem with the program, they just need to change the method a bit. They want to put some protective plastic barriers around the seedlings this year. I've seen that around. Why they didn't last year I don't know. Maybe the State of Idaho should be doing it, or maybe the
    State of Idaho should mandate the farmers do it. In any case, the water leaves my place, as it always has, crosses state lines, and heads for the Pacific. Hence, the Feds.

    The Idaho Fish and Game is involved too, my favorite group:)

    These programs have helped. I reported last year about steelhead returning to Troy, Idaho, which is quite something.

  33. But then that brings us back to GM and its' past Chairman, fired at the behest of the President.

    The Federals have been long involved with the management of bob's farmland, no one thought that amiss, not even bob.

    But when he Federals extend their reach, into a business that is essential to the economic security of the Nation, there is consternation. GM certainly being a factor in the national economy that has influence across State lines.
    Falling well within the understood meaning of the all encompassing Commerce Clause.

  34. Need anymore information that the US has changed:

    Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

  35. The Feds have been heavily involved in farming, no denying that, since Roosevelt, at least. It voluntary, most of it.

    It is somewhat like GM. They dangle some money in front of one, and if one accepts it, there are some strings attached, and penalties for non-compliance. So far, I haven't heard of any farmers getting fired, though.

    These days some weed control is not voluntary. You can be quarantined over thistles, for instance. (which has made me wonder why someone doesn't sue under the Endangered Species Act) :) Trying to eradicate every last thistle, while talking up the Giant Palouse Earthworm.

  36. We've been 'socialist' for a long time. Like Robert Frost said, we have an income tax, don't we? (and that's just a start, taxes all over the landscape)

    Just a matter of how socialist.

  37. Some lawmakers say they have little choice. "With the size of our budget gap, we are looking at a situation of closing down our courts, releasing prisoners and cutting the school year by as much as a month," said Rep. Peter Buckley, co-chairman of Oregon's joint Ways and Means Committee.

    His committee is considering an income-tax increase on high-earners

    Go where the money is.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said, when the taxes get too high, people won't pay. There is a balance in all things, he said.

    I'm not sure he knew what he was talking about, living before state power and coercion really took hold in many nations, and here too.

  38. "Pure" Capitalism isn't Practicable. You end up with too many "extremely" poor people, and, eventually, pitchforks, and torches. It's easier to do a little socialism along the way. The rich get richer, and the poor are able to survive.

  39. GWE was right, Bobal. The most amazing chart of all is the one that shows, "no matter the tax regime (from 90% on top dollar, to 25%, the Feds, ultimately, end up getting around 19% of GDP.

    I remember in the seventies we spent the morning trying to "make a buck," and the afternoon trying to keep it away from uncle.

  40. GM to dump $16 billion in workers’ pensions, while preserving sanctity of executives’ pensions

    How quaint.

  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. Islamist Groups Form Unholy Alliance in Pakistan

    By Susanne Koelbl and Britta Sandberg

    The United States is paying increasing attention to Pakistan in its bid to bring stability to Afghanistan, amid fears that the nuclear state could collapse. Rival Islamic militant groups are joining forces to make their country into a stronghold -- and are receiving support from Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency.

  43. Swat peace agreement collapses
    By Bill Roggio
    April 9, 2009 8:49 AM

    The Swat Taliban have withdrawn from the two-month-old peace agreement, citing the central government's unwillingness to sign the legislation that will impose sharia courts in the Malakand Division.

  44. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

    Vertical = Size of Trees Planted
    Horizontal = Cost of Planting Trees

  45. @ BC

    Holdren, a 1981 winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, outlined these possible geoengineering options:

    • Shooting sulfur particles (like those produced by power plants and volcanoes, for example) into the upper atmosphere, an idea that gained steam when it was proposed by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen in 2006. It would be “basically mimicking the effect of volcanoes in screening out the incoming sunlight,” Holdren said.

    • Creating artificial “trees” — giant towers that suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it.

  46. 54. always right:


    Don’t worry.
    Just in case seeding top atmosphere with pollutants didn’t work, next NASA chief will be asking for more trillion dollar funding to build us a spaceship that transform itself into a giant maid, complete with a vaccuum.


    59. Doug:

    That’s about the weirdest sexual fantasy I’ve heard, outside Japan, always right.
    Are we to believe that satisfying your fevered fantasy in orbit (on the taxpayer’s dime) will cool the Globe?

  47. Daughter said if they shoot sulphur up into the atmosphere, the whole planet will smell like a rotten egg.

    Bet they hadn't thought of that!

    Thought that was a diagram of your intestines at first, al-Doug!

  48. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

  49. The top one is the size of my turds,
    The second, the size of my colon.
    The last, average size turd in the USA.
    I'm not called a big Asshole for nothin.

  50. 2005, The Good Old Days:

    Just out of curiosity, do the facts back up the idea that we’re in an economic fix? Well, no. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 5.7 percent. That’s lower than the average for the 1990s, or 1980s, or 1970s. As Jim Glassman points out in his spunky column on page 48,it compares to unemployment rates of 9.6 percent in France, and 10.4 percent in Germany.

    America’s economy is currently growing faster than that of any other developed nation in the world. Our productivity growth is better than at any point in 20 years. Inflation, interest rates, and mortgage costs are at historic lows; real income has never been so high; home ownership stands at a record level.

    When he accepted the Democratic nomination for re-election as President on August 29,1996,Bill Clinton proudly stated that “We have the lowest combined rates of unemployment, inflation, and home mortgages in 28 years.” Well guess what? Those combined rates are even lower today than when President Clinton did his crowing. So why does it feel like you’ve stumbled onto the obituary spread every time you open the business section or front page of a newspaper these days?"

    - Tony @ BC
    9/17/2005 09:39:00 AM

  51. Tp venture an answer, doug, to tony's question, it is because the current crisis is not about the combined rates of unemployment, inflation, and home mortgages"

    The current crisis of confidence is caused by the devaluation of housing values in the markets that were "driving" the economy.

    And the oft repeated mantra that the bottom is still a ways off.

  52. And the public, rightly or wrongly blames that loss of value, in their homes and their retirement packages as the fault of the folks in charge, on whose watch the mishap occurred.

    I certainly do not hold the Republicans in high esteem.

    They control the Governorship and the State House, here in AZ and want the public to vote on a tax hike. They're $3bn USD short, last they talked about it.

    Stocks capped a fifth straight week of gains with a furious rally in the financial sector after Wells Fargo said that it expects to rake in record profits in the first quarter.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 246.27 points, or 3.1%, to 8083.38. The blue-chip benchmark has jumped 22% over the last five weeks, its best five-week run since July 1938. For the week, the Dow industrials rose 0.82%.

    The S&P 500-stock index jumped 31.39 points, or 3.8%, to end at 856.56. The broad index has also risen for five straight weeks, gaining 24% over that span.

  54. Hope al-Bob gives a fellow farmer in Baboo a little tip of the John Deere Hat in prayer for his fellow tiller of the soil.
    Baboo Dam Tragedies
    Both his sons met their demise submerged in water under vehicles, their father said.

  55. Manufacturing Outcomes

    It appears that the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) - the "independent" rule-making body of the accounting profession - and the US Government are in almost perfect sync. One week the FASB relaxes FAS 157 - the mark-to-market standards applying to financial asset portfolios - while the next brings the Treasury Department's release of bank stress test results. The Treasury, without question, has tremendous latitude in how it reports the results of the stress tests, and if it chooses it might well incorporate the expected benefits of the "new" FAS 157 on bank capital balances. This would have the beneficial public relations impact of showing banks as being much healthier than the former accounting regime would indicate, the regime that forces banks to deal with the reality of where their assets would clear the market. And while naysayers would have you believe that marking-to-market assets which are intended to be held until maturity is harsh, I'd counter with this simple question: does the bank have the term capital, and, therefore, the ability, to fund these assets until maturity? If the answer is no, which is invariably the case given the massive size of bank illiquid asset portfolios relative to term capital, then marking-to-market is the prudent way to reflect its true financial position. The US Government is conveniently staying silent on this part of the debate. But what else should we expect? The business at hand is that of manufacturing outcomes, regardless of their basis in reality.

    Merely the latest formula to describe the US Government's approach to spinning the financial crisis:

    Relaxing FAS 157 + Release of Treasury stress test results = A Positive Manufactured Outcome

    The stock market will initially cheer the positive results, following the US Government's lead. But once reality sets in, the reality that deals with market values, financing terms and solvency, the pretty picture that has been painted won't look so good. But hey, things are OK for now, right? For now.

  56. Golden balls:

    Manufactured outcome.

  57. The Earnings Bomb Inside GE Capital

  58. How Paper Mills Gamed The System To Grab Billions From Taxpayers

    When we write about banks and hedge funds scamming the bailout, a lot of readers think we're being too cynical. Why not assume good faith on behalf of financial institutions rather than persistent exploitation in favor of profits? And can't well-designed rules and regulations prevent the would-be scammers from gaming the system?

    Anyone who thinks along these lines needs to hear the story of what happened when Congress passed a tax credit meant to encourage industry to use alternative fuels. The deal was that business could get a fifty-cent per gallon tax credit if they used an "alternative fuel" with a "taxable fuel" like diesel. It was written into a 2005 transportation bill and then extended in the TARP bill.

    What happens next is extraordinary. We heard the story first from some Wall Street analysts. But Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of The Nation, tells it best in the April 2 issue.

    "I've come to expect that even nobly conceived laws will be manipulated and distorted for private ends. But once in a while I hear a story that gives me the queasy feeling that I'm nowhere near cynical enough. Such is the case with the tale of the paper industry and the alternative-fuel tax credit," he writes.

    Here's what happened.

    * The paper industry has long employed a production process that has involved very little fossil fuels. Instead it fuels its plants with by-product of the paper making process, a carbon rich sludge left over after the cellulose fibers that become paper are removed. This process was very cost-effective prior to the introduction of a government subsidy.

    * After the law was passed, however, paper mills started adding diesel to the sludge. Now that a "taxable fuel" was being used in the process, the paper mills were eligible for that 50-cent a gallon subsidy.

    * No one knows who thought of this idea first. There are rumors, however, that it was "outside consultants"—perhaps investment bankers—who suggested adding the unnecessary diesel.

    * The total cost of this might add up to as much as $8 billion this year, paid to to the ten largest paper companies.

    * So a program intended to reduce oil and coal fuel use in industry, wound up increasing it in the paper industry and accidentally enriching the papermakers.

    All this has meant that the paper industry is receiving an enormous windfall. One company, International Paper, stands to make $1 billion this year. "If you look at the economics of this business, to make that kind of money today you'd have to be on another planet," a paper industry analyst tells Hayes. (We highly suggest you read Hayes full account of all this.)

    Tell us again how the bailout won't be gamed by bankers.

    Tell you how the bailout won't be gamed by bankers? LOL! Like that wasn't the manufactured outcome to begin with.

  59. Website, social media effort launched to support nuclear plant

    Social media tools used to help effort include Facebook, Twitter

    April 9, 2009

    For more information, contact Jenna Strong, 208-336-3781
    Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100

    Supporters of the proposal to build a nuclear power plant in Elmore County have set up a Web site, Facebook page and Twitter feed to build support for the effort.

    Those interested in the power plant, proposed by Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., can go to for updates, to sign an online petition and for links to the Facebook and Twitter pages. The sites emphasize facts about nuclear energy and the 5,000 direct and spin-off jobs the plant would create during construction and operation. A growing list of supporters is featured on the site.

    "This campaign makes full use of social media and other public involvement techniques to reach people," said Jenna Strong, a principal of The White Space Inc., which has been hired to lead the effort. "In these difficult economic times, it's essential people get the full story on what this plant would mean in terms of clean energy production and job generation."

    On April 22, The Elmore County Commission will effectively decide the fate of the proposal to build the plant. The company has asked the county to rezone nearly 1,300 acres of land about a mile from the Snake River between Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry, near the town of Hammett. For its part, AEHI has been collecting petition signatures, has company Web sites, a CEO blog and has sent an informational DVD to Elmore County residents and is planning other initiatives.

    We'll fight in Congress, we'll fight in the media, we'll fight in the courts, we'll fight in the cour of public opinion. We will never, Never, NEVER give up!

    And in the end the county commissioners decide. At first, I think it's ridiculous to have county commissioners decide such an important issue.....but then, in a rural county in Idaho.....maybe it's best.

  60. Originally Sinless said...
    Better than the other lunatics.

    Originally Sinless said...
    Fuck them both, but not equally

    An outlook that has a lot of support, mine included.

  61. Representative John Shadegg, R-Arizona Proposes An Interesting Bill

    Make Congress cite the portion of the Constitution that authorizes such action, he declares.

    Most likely, DOA.

  62. Mysteries of Iran

    People are usually shocked to learn Iran imports 50% of its gasoline. This effectively destroys a good portion of their export earnings from oil. Obviously, therefore, it would make sense for Iran to expand its domestic refining capacity. So do they? Well, it's unclear.

    Yesterday, Iran announced it had made a series of new oil discoveries. Whether these are reserve upgrades of previously known fields, or actual first-time discoveries we do not know. Iran State Radio threw the "billions" word around quite liberally in their announcement.

    These kinds of declarations are not uncommon among the oil producing nations whose oil industries are dominated by a National Oil Company (NOC). I've seen these over the years from Saudi Arabia, and Mexico for example. Often, the declaration may actually refer to an expanded assessment of production capacity. Other times it's a call on reserve additions. Very rarely, however, do these newsflashes refer to actual new fields–at least of any size. After all, these countries have all long since been explored.

    Iran has been steadily producing about 4 Mb/day for some years now. What also intrigues is the country's massive reserves of untapped natural gas. My question for a long while has been as follows: What has Iran been doing with all the capital from oil exports, that it did not spend on either expanding refining capacity, or developing its natural gas?

    Some claim that Iran would have expanded its refining capacity were it not for multi-decade old sanctions. The assertion is that Iran has not been able to source the engineered materials and equipment required. And yet, my research shows that Iran has expanded its refining capacity moderately over the years. Furthermore, no one has adequately explained why Iran would find it easier to obtain the tools to explore nuclear development–but–not the tools to turn more oil into gasoline.

    And yet, everyone does have an explanation. For Iran. And this is why Iran is a mystery. Because no one actually knows, but everyone has an explanation.

    Let's pretend therefore that Iran can source the materials to develop its oil, natural gas, and nuclear power to the fullest extent possible. And let's further pretend those in the leadership are rational actors. So what would they do? My answer: before pulling talent into nuclear power generation development, it would make sense to 1. build refining capacity to capture more fully the earnings of oil exports. 2. develop natural gas reserves for power generation. 3. Migrate any remaining industrial use of oil or power generation use of oil, to natural gas.

    Alas, this is not what Iran has done. In fact, it's sacrificed alot both diplomatically and infrastructurally, all for the sake of the nuclear program. Perhaps Iran is not such a mystery after all.


  63. Iran's never seemed much of a mystery to me. It's about the only thing I think I see clearly.

  64. ll this has meant that the paper industry is receiving an enormous windfall. One company, International Paper, stands to make $1 billion this year. "If you look at the economics of this business, to make that kind of money today you'd have to be on another planet," a paper industry analyst tells Hayes. (We highly suggest you read Hayes full account of all this.)

    Good for them! Beating the rent seekers and tax eaters at their own game, and showing the fraud in the whole exercise.

    International Paper...Ole'!!!

    And...thank you mat...for a most educational post for a change.

  65. Good for them! Beating the rent seekers and tax eaters at their own game

    LOL! Yes, let me when the Pentagon actually reduces its budget.

  66. "Here we [go] again with another gusher of pent-up stupidity."

    LOL! Yes, let me when the Pentagon actually reduces its budget.

    Like IP gaming the greenie tax dodge program has a pinch of impact on the defense budget.

    What a moron.

  67. In a former life I had a friend in management at the IP plant in Weed, CA. I hope he's chuckling, wherever he may be.

    RIP Jim.

    Enjoy the show.

  68. Mat, some time ago Costa Rican legislators became alarmed at the rate of deforestation and proposed and passed a law that gave substantial benefits to those that reforested land. It was a multiyear payment.

    The law was gamed in the most cynical manner.

    Party "A" would buy virgin forest land and cut all the first growth timber and then burn the remains. He would then sell the land to party "B" who would plant a hectare of land with mono-culture seedings that fit in the back of a pick-up truck. He would repeat the process on acre after acre of ancient timber land reduced to burned stumps and grass.

    Party "B", who also owned virgin forest would do the exact same thing and cut and burn huge swaths of land and then sell the land to Party "A" to be reforested from the same pickup truck.

    It cost Costa Rica thousands of acres of timber, many of the trees over ten foot in diameter and millions of dollars, for landowners to take their money to Miami and go shopping.

  69. This comment has been removed by the author.

  70. Mat, some time ago Costa Rican legislator

    Yes. I suppose a simple multi million fine and a 20 year prison term is much too complicated for our Costa Rican legislators to come up with, so as to deter the timber and land pirates. Kinda makes you wonder why that is. Or not.

  71. The Pentagon budget is little more than a subsidy for rent seeking tax eating parasites oil maggots and welfare queens. But again, thanks for playing, LT.

  72. Yes. I suppose a simple multi million fine and a 20 year prison term is much too complicated for our Costa Rican legislators to come up with, so as to deter the timber and land pirates.

    This is rich, mat. According to you, a game that follows the letter of the law to unfortunate consequences should result in dire punishment to the players, but you've no comment on the fallacy of the game rules that led to the consequences.

    Situational morality from the resident collectivist.

  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

  74. Situational morality from the resident collectivist.

    I've been more than generous with you. This is where your train stops.

  75. This is where your train stops.

    Don't bring your playground bully attitude into the bar, pissant.


    U.S. navy, pirates negotiate over hostage captain

    Thu Apr 9, 2009 7:04pm EDT

    By Abdi Sheikh and Andrew Quinn

    MOGADISHU/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy negotiated on Thursday with Somali pirates who held an American ship captain hostage in a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean, their first such seizure of a U.S. citizen.

    The gunmen briefly hijacked the 17,000-tonne Maersk Alabama freighter Wednesday, but the 20 American crew retook control after a confrontation far out at sea where pirates have captured five other vessels in a week.


    The Bainbridge, a U.S. warship, arrived on the scene before dawn and U.S. soldiers boarded the Maersk Alabama.

    Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, top U.S. naval commander in the region, told CNN talks with the pirates had begun, while other military officials said more force was on the way to the area.

    "We have USS Bainbridge on station currently negotiating with the pirates to get our American citizen back," Gortney said from his base in Bahrain, adding that the assault on the Maersk Alabama could mark a new phase in the international struggle against piracy in the region.




    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it had been called in to assist, and its negotiators were fully engaged in resolving what Attorney General Eric Holder called the first act of piracy against a U.S. vessel "in hundreds of years".

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the lifeboat appeared to be out of fuel and that "a number of assets" were being used to resolve the situation.

    "Piracy may be a centuries-old crime, but we are working to bring an appropriate, 21st century response," she said at a joint appearance with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Australian foreign and defense ministers.

    The upsurge in piracy has disrupted shipping in the strategic Gulf of Aden and busy Indian Ocean waterways, delayed delivery of food aid for drought-hit East Africa, increased insurance costs and made some firms send cargoes round South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal, a critical route for the oil trade.


    Sleep tight, America! HIllary's on the case!


    This shit is going to continue until the ship owners tell the insurance companies and their own house lawyers to fuck off, at which point they'll hire their own mercenaries, give warning to the ragtag pirates, and proceed to blow anything out of the water that comes uninvited within 500 meters of their ships. It's really not complicated.

    HIllary and Holder should be telling the World Court not to interfere.

  77. I demand ACLU lawyers for these confused youths at sea!

    These little boats they use are launched from some 'mother ship' in the area, I've read.

    Sink the mother ship. Make the youths walk a plank if captured. Otherwise follow Linear's advice.

  78. Some time ago a supertanker filled with oil was pirated, but don't know what happened to it, either dropped out of the news or I missed it.

    Pirates Open Talks Over Supertanker

    $100 million cargo, demanding $10 million, a bargain at the price.

  79. Bob, I think that might be the one that Rush used to heap ridicule on the pirates by calling them stupid for asking for such a low initial ransom.

    The pirates then raised their demand to the $10M range, and Rush took credit, as would I.

    I think the owners told the pirates and Rush to both fuck off.

  80. "Piracy may be a centuries-old problem but we are working to bring an appropriate 21st century response," Clinton said.

    Smart Diplomacy At Work

    A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure---proceed to blow anything out of the water that comes uninvited within 500 meters of their ships. It's really not complicated. LT

  81. Yeah, now you mention it, I recall Rush saying that :)

  82. "We are looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of what we are doing," Clinton said.

    Hillary is soooo out of touch. All she needs do is visit the bar.

  83. I think NewsMax reads the EB.

    They borrowed my term: ragtag pirates

  84. Did Deuce invite MLD to have sex in the backseat of that electric?

    Sparks would fly.

    Video please.

  85. Coyote on gaming the CO2 scam:

    A Federal Tax on Market Share Changes

    April 8, 2009, 4:55 pm

    It is a recurring theme on this blog: Large corporations who currently dominate their industries generally accept, even encourage, government regulation. Generally, as industry leaders, they have the opportunity to shape regulation to their liking, and most regulations preferentially help the large corporations over the small, and help incumbents over new entrants.

    And here is yet another example, though it is one many of us have been expecting. Contrary to campaign rhetoric, it appears that Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade system will give CO2 certificates to current incumbents for free. Only new entrants to the market, or those who wish to grow, will have to pay for them. This in effect makes the system a federal tax on market share changes. Laws like this are supported by industry leaders in the same way that sitting Congressmen always love campaign speech restrictions.

    The next thing to watch for is whether there are provisions for carbon offsets. Such offsets are an accounting nightmare, and a virtual Disneyland for rent-seeking. More on cap-and-trade vs. carbon tax here. More on offsets here. And more on why this is all silly in the first place here.


    Mat probably cheers the effort.

    It is after all green.

  86. Did Deuce invite MLD to have sex in the backseat of that electric?

    When he got plugged in, the dynamo would spin, the amps would rise, 'twould be a shocker.

    "If this electric is rockin', fergit about knockin'"