“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."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How's T? I had a dream about her last night. - MeLoDy


  1. I'm assuming Chemo. Hang in there, kiddo. It's hell, but it'll be over soon.

  2. AP - Syria says European Union sanctions against it amount to war and is warning that it will not tolerate any foreign interference in its internal affairs.

  3. Me Too.

    I Figured she'd enjoy this more than Chemo, if, for some reason, Rufus happens to be right.
    (for a change)

    Weiner's Favorite Tune

  4. All of Nebraska is getting a dose, of radiation therapy, according to the Russians.

    A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant [photo top left] located in Nebraska.

    According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a “no-fly ban” over the area.

    Located about 20 minutes outside downtown Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant is owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) who on their website denies their plant is at a “Level 4” emergency by stating: “This terminology is not accurate, and is not how emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified.”

    Russian atomic scientists in this FAAE report, however, say that this OPPD statement is an “outright falsehood” as all nuclear plants in the world operate under the guidelines of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) which clearly states the “events” occurring at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant do, indeed, put it in the “Level 4” emergency category of an “accident with local consequences” thus making this one of the worst nuclear accidents in US history.

  5. Wife's Chemo is working, but fatigue is a side effect.

    She's threatening to take nooners off the table three times a week.

    Life is hard,
    but what do I do with it?

  6. Well, there is not a "total blackout"

    Jun 19, 2011‎
    Cooper Nuclear Station, an electric power plant in southeast Nebraska, declared a “Notification of Unusual Event” this morning at 4:02 am

  7. While the fire on 7JUN11 was reported, contemporaneously.

    Washington Post - Matthew Daly - ‎Jun 8, 2011‎
    A small fire briefly knocked out the cooling system for used fuel at a nuclear power plant in Nebraska, but temperatures never exceeded safe levels and power was quickly restored, federal officials said Wednesday.

  8. (FAAE) also reports that Medev is Gay, but rumors abound that Putin controls the (FAAE) under the table.

  9. The Catholics and Protestants seem to be rioting, again, in Northern Ireland.

    Northern Irish police warn Belfast riots could get out of hand

    (Reuters) - Northern Irish police said on Wednesday they fear rioting in Belfast could escalate to the point where someone could get killed, threatening to upset a delicate peace between Catholics and Protestants in the British-controlled province.

    A press photographer was shot and wounded on Tuesday evening in the second night of clashes between pro-British loyalists and Irish nationalists in some of the worst rioting in east Belfast in recent years.

  10. The Feds also covered up the fact WTC 7 suffered a core meltdown.

  11. This Huntsman fellow, he does not carry Mitt's Obamney Care baggage.

    Huntsman is right about Afhanistan, too.

    NEW YORK — Former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman chided his ex-boss President Barack Obama on Wednesday for what he criticized as a too-tentative plan to draw down US forces in Afghanistan.

    "I think that we can probably be more aggressive," Obama's former envoy to Beijing told NBC's "Today Show" one day after formally announcing his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

    "We've been at this for nine years and 50 days. We put Karzai in power, we've had democratic elections.... We've routed the Taliban, we've dismantled Al-Qaeda," the former Utah governor said hours before Obama was set to announce the size and pace of a US troop reduction in Afghanistan.

    Sources have said that the president will announce a drawdown of 10,000 US troops by year's end and 30,000 by the end of 2012, but Huntsman said a much bigger pullout is called for -- in part to help fix a US economy groaning under a huge debt burden.

    "What we need now is a healthy dose of nation-building here at home," Huntsman told NBC.

  12. Yep, they did.

    No other metal framed building in the whirled has failed in a similar manner, from a fire.

    Though many have suffered a similar simultaneous collapse through a controlled detonation.

    Since there was no CSI arson investigation, before the evidence was removed, we'll never know, fer sure.

    The lack of an arson investigation, the briefing of US Congressmen by the Pakistani ISI Chieftain at breakfast on 11SEP01 both point to an unlikely coincidence. Especially considering that the US government then gifted the Pakistani well over $15 billion USD.

  13. "Rat" is a Pseudo for Jesse Ventura.

  14. That EB Function so long ago was the seed, the fruit was 9-11:

    " Qutb seemed simultaneously drawn to and repelled by American women. The result is a kind of delirium:

    "A girl looks at you, appearing as if she were an enchanting nymph or an escaped mermaid," Qutb wrote,

    "but as she approaches, you sense only the screaming instinct inside her, and you can smell her burning body, not the scent of perfume, but flesh, only flesh.

    Tasty flesh, truly, but flesh nonetheless."

    It wasn't much later that Qutb began writing elaborate rationalizations for killing non-Muslims and waging war against the West.

  15. Women claim to deplore violence, but watching it makes them wet as October...

  16. My dream...

    I was sitting on the couch looking over the comments here at the bar and thought, I wonder how T is, I haven't seen her around lately, and all of a sudden she was sitting next to me typing out a comment on my computer.

  17. I've been a pretty strong Bernanke supporter, but, damn. . . . . . .

    One of us is really, really wrong.

  18. (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut its forecasts for U.S. economic growth, but offered no hint of further monetary support, saying growth should pick up soon.

    In quarterly projections released at the end of a two-day policy meeting, the central bank said the U.S. economy should grow 2.7 to 2.9 percent this year, a forecast that was marked down from a 3.1 to 3.3 percent projection released in April.

    It said it sees 2012 growth in a 3.3 to 3.7 percent range. In April, it had said the economy would likely expand a somewhat more brisk 3.5 to 4.2 percent next year.

    It pinned a recent slowdown in growth and quickening of inflation partly on transitory factors, including higher commodity prices and supply chain disruptions from Japan's devastating earthquake. It said the forces pushing up prices should dissipate, allowing inflation to subside to levels consistent with price stability, even as growth revives.

  19. "The slower pace of recovery reflects in part factors that are likely to be temporary,
    including the damping effect of higher food and energy prices on consumer purchasing power and spending

    as well as supply-chain disruptions associated with the tragic events in Japan," the Fed said in a statement.

    As widely expected, the Fed said it will maintain interest rates at exceptionally low levels for an extended period. It also confirmed it was ending its $600 billion bond-buying program at the end of the month, while reiterating that it will continue to reinvest principal payments from its holdings.

  20. Yeah, they're predicting 2.8% Growth for this year. Since the first quarter was only 1.8 that means the last 2 quarters PLUS this one would have to come in at 3.4%.

    I don't see how that's possible. I don't see how this quarter could be more than, at the very max. 1.6%. That means you'd have to have 4.3% for the last two quarters.

    That's just bizarro-world thinking.

    I'm completely flummoxed.

  21. Every talking head on tv says everything is just a few weeks away from "taking off."

    I don't get it.

  22. .

    What else can Bernanke do but hold the course? For the last two years, he and the FED have proceeded with actions that are at odds with those of most other central bankers.

    Bernanke is in a no-win situation. After two years, he can still argue tha FED policy helped prevent a worse situation occurring; however, like Obama's claim that the fiscal actions he took saved jobs and that things would be worse without them, it is still hard to prove a negative.

    The actions may have indeed helped but how do you prove it and if it helped how do you prove by how much?

    Bottom line, reversing course right now would only make things worse.

    Bernanke is doing what all politicians do when they have no answers, they dither 'hoping' things will eventually work out.


  23. Well, I'm seeing "World Renowned Economists" by the bushel come parading across my idiot box proclaiming "Strong Second Half Growth," and I feel like I must be in a coma.

    I'm looking at Purchasing Managers Surveys plummeting, and diesel usage 5% below the same time last year (and, this time last year was a "soft patch," also.

    They seem to be convinced that the whole thing is the "earthquake in Japan." But, things went to hell around here well before they did in Fukushima.

  24. .

    The last two Bernanke pressers point out one thing to me; he is increasingly on the defensive.

    He takes credit that unemployment has been coming down, that earnings have been going up, and that that the economy has been growing. Yet when these indicators turn, he calls them blips based on transitory factors like high commodity prices and the Japanese disaster.

    One, I think the effects of Japan were relatively minor considering that while activity was reduced for some players it increased for others.

    Two, he indicates all the good things he says his policy did yet denies it has had any effect on the dollar or that the lower dollar has had any effect on commodity prices.


  25. .

    Another thing that bothered me was B's take on the FED's duel mandate of increased employment and price stability.

    Even though B said 'of course we will monitor unemployment', it is obvious that he is more concerned about inflation than job growth.

    In addition, I find it bizarre that against all evidence to the contrary, he thinks that higher food, material, and commodity prices will be transitory. I don't doubt that it could happen, but what evidence does he give us other than an opinion.


  26. That's the part that puzzles me, Q.

  27. .

    While I applauded QE1 and am still not convinced it did not have more positive effects than negative, I am coming to the conclusion that QE2 was a waste of money (if one can called printed notes real money).

    Sure QE2 helped the market (for awhile), but in the end all it did was pump more money on to the bank's balance sheets, making them stronger but doing nothing to encourage those banks to use the money to pump up the economy.

    QE2 was basically a welfare program for the banks.


  28. .

    Bernanke basically ignored the biggest drag we have on the economy and that is the housing crisis.

    He seemed to indicate that higher commodity prices, the Japan issues (?) and falling housing prices, were causing the consumer to hold back and not spend money.

    This is one area I believe he truly has his head up his ass. He ignores the fact that the country has an employment participation rate less than 65% or that 20 million people are unemployed/underemployed, or that the average work week is around 34 hours, or that real wages have een flat for the past 30 years. People have no money to spend.

    Further he ignores the bank responsibility altogether. The factors he cites for the conumers actually apply to the banks. He pumps billions (trillions?) into the banks yet they are stll sitting on distressed property (40 %) of the entire inventory with no intention on working to purge themselves of that inventory. That would hurt performance and reduce executive pay.

    Worse the banks are unwilling to loan money to consumers who provide adequate assessment info because they feel that property values will continue to drop for the next couple years.


  29. I'm pretty much ambivalent about QE2, I think.

    Okay, so the Bernank is figuring the dollar will get stronger with the end of QE, and that will drive down the cost of imported oil. Well, that's reasonable, I suppose, as far as it goes.

    All Ceteris bein' Paribus, anyway.

    Has them Ceterii Ever Been Parabus?

  30. .

    The one area I would applaud Benanke on today was his apparent views on pending bank reserve legislation.

    It is laughable watching the Banks and their allies rant about the proposed legislation that would raise reserve requirments on most banks and put a surcharge on those banks th are ruled 'too big to fail'.

    These are the same dicks that brought us to the state we are in with taking excess risk in pursuit of profits. All banks complain about higher reserve requirements (understandable). That the big banks argue against the surcharge is laughable.

    The banks say the requirments are too high and will hurt the consumer. Laughable. The banks got us into the situation we are in. We pumped them full of money. None really suffered, at least, no where near the American taxpayer. None of them went to jail for their rcklessness and/or negligence. In fact, even those CEO,s that left, left with tens of millions in severance. And what have they done to help the consumer?

    ZIP. If anything, they have instituted policies and procedures that hurt the consumer.


  31. .

    Another positive, Ben admitted he really didn't know why the economy isn't progressing they the Fed pedicted.

    A reality check is a good thing.


  32. The economy is progressing ezzackly like One person said it would. But, that person ain't expecting any 4% growth for the second half.

  33. .

    All in all, not a real impressive performance by The Bernanke.

    It may eventually prove out that his 'Grand Plan' may prove to be the best we coukd hope for.

    However, it's been going on three years and shows no signs of being resolved any time soon. As time goes on, it becomes harder to prove that FED actions really helped. When we eventually come out of this, will it be becaue of FED actions or in spite of them? Perhaps it will be because of the the natural tendancies of the market.


  34. .

    "...natural tendancies of the


  35. Rufus is wrong again:

    The ACTUAL Rate for this quarter will be found to be


  36. "It may eventually prove out that his 'Grand Plan' may prove to be the best we coukd hope for."


    It would have been foolish to learn any lessons from Japan or Greece.

    When others are marching off a cliff, it is always best to follow.

  37. "When we eventually come out of this, will it be becaue of FED actions or in spite of them? "

    When we join Japan in the top tier of debtor nations, the contributions of the FED to the conundrum will remain obvious.

  38. The Repeal of Glass Stegal was a big enabler of the final blowup/meltdown.

    ...along with Fannie, Freddie, and the politically appointed crooks like Rubin and Gorelick.

  39. Glass-Steagall worked well, but it had only been in effect since 1933, so how were we to know?

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. San Francisco City pension pays more than average worker earns

    The average retiree from San Francisco city government earns an annual pension of $46,272, according to the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System. The average retiree who worked at least 30 years in city government earns an annual pension of $76,981.

    Per capita income is $44,373.

  42. Does anyone else feel uneasy when they hear conservatives talk about the Afghanistan "Fighting Season?"


    Like, Football Season, or

    Baseball Season?

    Fighting Season?

  43. It's just a game, rufus.

    There's a theory and everything.

  44. Looking at Doug's Link. Bringing the troops home from Iraq, and Afghanistan will knock off $2.5 Trillion to $3 Trillion.

    That get's you over half the way home.

  45. Maybe that's how we should pay for it, Rat. Form the "National War League."

    TV Contracts, Teams, Sponsors, Apparel, Banners, Big Foam "We're No. 1" Fingers.

    Shit, "Wag the Dog" was nuthin compared to this.

  46. I gotta go out for a bit, but as soon as I get back I think I'll pop a cold bud light, and think about The War Season for awhile.

    I might need to pick up another sixpack.

    Just a thought: Deuce, maybe we could make it "The Elephant Bar and Fantasy War League Blog."

  47. There is no question in my mind that wages have been repressed by unequal trade with China, allowing China to purchase US sovereign debt and illegal immigration.

    For example look at construction laborers and drywall hangers.

    These were always entry level jobs that paid decent wages and required minimal skills and education. Those jobs slipped into the illegal labor column and depressed and reduced wages for that sector. Cheap metal fasteners and metal studs, drywall tape, joint compound and drywall went to Chinese manufacturers replacing US factory jobs.

    The wages paid to illegals largely went through Western Union to Latin America and the money sent to Chinese manufacturers, and did not end with purchases of US Goods. The dollars sent to Latin America bought cheap Chinese goods, which put Latin American factories out of business and resulted in more illegal immigration to the US.

    Manufactured goods became cheaper and cheaper as Chinese factories improved their scale of operations and increased their economies of scale.

    China took in dollars from Latin America and the US and instead of purchasing US products bought US debt, public and private.

    Easy credit allowed many low income Americans to maintain their standard of living by buying cheap Chinese goods which made lower wages more palatable.

    This can be stopped by doing three simple things:

    1. Fine US employers $10,000 for every illegal immigrant and $50,000 for each employee of companies hiring more than ten illegals.

    2. Stop the Chinese from buying US debt. Force them to pay a tariff or buy US goods.

    3. Force the banks to accept a cramdown of mortgaes to 95% of the appraised value of a property. I would allow this haircut to be shifted to the bond holders of these junk mortgages.

    The only way to end the federal and trade deficits is to stop wages from falling and stop the foreclosure mess.

  48. .

    It would have been foolish to learn any lessons from Japan or Greece.

    The Swammi of Maui rises from his colada induced trance speaks in a voice bitter and laced with sarcasm and then slinks back into oblivion waiting to once again be called forth by his acolytes.


  49. .

    The average retiree from San Francisco city government earns an annual pension of $46,272, according to the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System. The average retiree who worked at least 30 years in city government earns an annual pension of $76,981.

    Look at the bright side Dougo. This means that a good portion of them won't qualify for free insurance under Obamacare.

    Health care law would let millions of early retirees receive Medicaid

    WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

    The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

    Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.

    Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster says the situation keeps him up at night...

    What a Deal


  50. .

    Some might assume that the provisions of Obamacare that allow people making $64k a year to qualify for free insurance under Medicaid was an accidental mistake caused by the size and complexity of the Obamacare bill, but no.

    Indeed, administration officials and senior Democratic lawmakers say it's not a loophole but the result of a well-meaning effort to simplify rules for deciding who will get help with insurance costs under the new health care law. Instead of a hodgepodge of rules, there will be one national policy.

    "This simplification will stop people from falling into coverage gaps and may cause some to be newly eligible for Medicaid and others to no longer qualify," said Brian Cook, spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services...

    With waivers, delayed implementation, and rules like these will anyone actually be covered under the Afordable Care Act?


  51. .

    New winners and losers but it all depends on the luck of the draw.

    And it is simpler, or so they say.

    More genius from the boys in the Beltway.


  52. .

    Who do we side with on Libya, the idealistic true blue American, John McCain...

    When asked his response to those, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who say there was no vital U.S. interest at stake when the Libya intervention began, McCain said: “Our interests are our values” and “our values are that we don’t want people needlessly slaughtered by the thousands,” as Moammar Gaddafi seemed to threaten to do, “if we can prevent such activity.”

    or the decorated marine combat veteran, albeit "isolationist" as defined by McCain and Lindsay Graham, Jim Webb who asks,

    “Was our country under attack, or under the threat of imminent attack? Was a clearly vital national interest at stake? Were we invoking the inherent right of self-defense as outlined in the United Nations charter? Were we called upon by treaty commitments to come to the aid of an ally? Were we responding in kind to an attack on our forces elsewhere, as we did in the 1986 raids in Libya after American soldiers had been killed in a disco in Berlin? Were we rescuing Americans in distress, as we did in Grenada in 1983? No, we were not.”

    The Never Ending War


  53. Average earnings for China's city dwellers rose to about $5,500 last year, up 13% from 2009 and 77% from five years earlier, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics.

    Another factor is China's one-child policy. "No one wants their only child to work in a factory," said Mr. Li.

    China's labor market may tighten further in the years ahead because of demographics. Chinese under age 14 made up 23% of the population a decade ago but now are just 16.6%, which means the portion of the population heading into the work force is shrinking.

  54. I read, somewhere, that China has a Middle-Class of about 300 Million. I don't know what "middle class" means in China, but I imagine that 300 Million have a considerbly higher than $5,500.00 annual income.

  55. I know the new car market in China is around 17 to 20 Million Yr. with, one would assume, very little scrappage. If each of those cars used 300 gal/yr that would be another 6 Billion gallons of gasoline/yr, or about 400,000 bbl/day.

    Add in another two or three hundred barrels/day of diesel for trucks, buses, and other indutrial uses, and you would be around 700,000 bbl/yr, every year, added to their needed imports.

  56. They are way, far and above, the world's largest importer of Coal. Their coal imports have been increasing by over 100,000,000 tonnes/yr - and they still can't get enough to keep the provinces running.

  57. I think I read they have 200 cities with over a million population (we have 11?)

  58. 1.2 Billion People? 1.3?

    When that bubble blows it will be spectacular.

  59. They're, also, the world's largest Importer of Soybeans, and despite being the number two corn producing nation in the world imported a shitload of corn from us last year.

    A huge energy importer, and a food importer. That might not be such a great gig in the coming years.

  60. Well, tomorrow's train wreck awaits. G'nite.

  61. PARIS — Geert Wilders, the fiery right-wing Dutch politician, was acquitted on Thursday of hate speech charges by an Amsterdam court, which found that his inflammatory comments were protected by rules governing discourse in a free society.