“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."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Universal suffrage is the death-knell of any society. It has totally failed every time that it has been tried.

You simply cannot run a lasting society where those with no financial stake in the system can vote themselves benefits taken from others. It is just a matter of time that the economic consequences will hit the wall. Are we there yet or is it just a matter of time anyway? More importantly, what do you do?


America can now only defer its debt crisis
Whatever action its politicians do or don’t take this week, the US is already bust, writes Jeff Randall.
The heat is on in Washington and it’s more than just temperatures in the nineties and summer rain making congressmen sweat. Without a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, the US will default on August 2.

It has come to this: the world’s biggest economy, head of the triple-A club and home of the financial system’s reserve currency, can pay its bills only if it borrows more money. America needs to increase its credit limit by $2.5 trillion simply to get through to next year’s presidential election.

Billions, trillions, schmillions, chill out, why fret over a few more zeros? Well, for context, America’s 2011 GDP (annual output) will be the same as its “official” debt, $14 trillion to $15 trillion.

This doesn’t tell the whole story. The good news is that $4.6 trillion of America’s debt is accounted for by intra-government loans, money the US owes itself. The bad news is that on top of the $9.7 trillion Washington must repay to outside investors ($1.1 trillion to China), it has $60 trillion of unfunded social security and Medicare obligations, ie, welfare pledges to its own citizens for which there is no pot of savings, only the taxes of future generations.

As Dolly Parton nearly said, it cost a lot of money to sink this deep. America’s commercial and military hegemony came at a terrifyingly high price.

In 1835, US federal debt was zero; the country owed nothing. Two centuries later, having become the richest and most powerful nation on earth, America is, quite literally, running out of cash. The problem was explained by Addison Wiggin and Bill Bonner in their best-seller Empire of Debt: not many people can afford to live like Americans; the trouble is, neither can they.

Last year, the difference between what the US paid for imports and received from exports was almost $500 billion. This year, the trade gap with China alone is running at $25 billion a month. As a result of ambitious welfare programmes and military adventures, the Obama administration is running a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion.

According to Warren Buffett, America’s most successful investor, the country has “relied on the labour of others to provide things that can be used every day… this can continue for a long time and on a large scale – but not forever”.
There speaks the voice of common sense. On the other side of the hospital screens, we have media dons, Princeton’s Paul Krugman and British-born David Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College, championing fiscal incontinence as the route to salvation.
Aside from their links with Ivy League universities, Krugman and Blanchflower have something else in common: they both admire Gordon Brown, who clocked up £160bn of budget deficits in the boom years of 2003-07. At the core of their thinking, and his, is an unshakeable belief that government spending sparks growth, which is the sine qua non of life, liberty and happiness – and also debt reduction.

But hang on a minute, how come Greece required two multi-billion-euro rescue packages? Did the Greeks economise themselves into penury? Were they guilty of criminal parsimony? Or was it that, thanks to its fraudulent entry into the euro, Athens was able to borrow recklessly, allowing vote-crazed leaders to bribe the electorate with money the country did not have and could never afford? Ah, say the professional spendthrifts, the US is not like Greece. True, it is vastly bigger and so are its debts – and they’re not going away.

A study by Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart from the Peterson Institute shows that when public debt tops 90 per cent of GDP it acts as a brake on growth. Their study of 44 countries, going back 200 years, concludes that it would be foolish to interpret today’s low borrowing costs as a green light for further debt. “Politicians everywhere like to argue that their country will expand its way out of debt, [but] our research suggests growth alone is rarely enough to achieve that with the debt levels we have today.”

Boston University’s Professor Laurence Kotlikoff goes further: America is already bankrupt. Writing for Bloomberg, he explained that US debt is much greater than has been declared: “Congress has been very careful… to label most of its liabilities as 'unoffical’ to keep them off the books and far into the future… This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight, taking ever larger resources from the young and giving them to the old while promising the young their eventual turn at passing the generational buck.”

Ponzi schemes survive as long as they are able to attract increasingly bigger contributions from ever more participants. Eventually they collapse under the burden of impossibility. This is where America is heading. It is beyond the point at which it can cut benefits or raise taxes sharply enough to prevent exponential debt growth.

If Democrats and Republicans can cobble together a compromise this week – and the markets still give them the benefit of the doubt – their fix will be nothing more than crisis deferral. Capitol Hill is in the business of Micawberism. What price the Fed resorts again to printing money?


  1. As for universal suffrage, the same could be said for education, health care and a massive military.

    Actually, in the end, organized human society has totally failed, every time it has been been tried.

  2. Unorganized societies, they fare no better, either.

    Everything dies, eventually.

  3. It is a combination of many things, but when the obvious remedy becomes politically impossible because of public demands from the halves to the have nots, we arrive to where we are today.

    The elites took too much for themselves at the expense of a balanced large middle class. They transferred the productive assets of the US to places like China and bought time by shoring up over-consumption with cheap credit.

    If it cannot be fixed then it is probably better to default now, take our lumps and try again.

  4. It'll get fixed, eventually. We have two very important things going for us. An incredible military, and a fiat currency.

    But, Lord don't let us go into "Deflation." Whatever you do Lord, and Ben Bernanke, keep us out of Deflation.

  5. Unorganized societies, they fare no better, either.

    Everything dies, eventually.

    A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. --Tytler

    What makes our situation worse is we have less than nothing in the treasury. That's what debt means.

  6. We've allowed our "Serious" investment money to get locked up overseas. First step is to fix our inane Corporate Tax Policy to get that money back over here.

    The world is growing, and we have to have the most ultra-modern factories to export to it. That requires Trillions in investment, and that means we have to get our investment dollars back home. This will, eventually, get accomplished.

    At the same time we have to address "energy efficiency, and getting off fossil fuels." But, I'll give that one a rest for an hour or two.

  7. Don't get me wrong; the "Teens" are going to be a frustrating decade. We're in the middle of a paradigm shift, and those can be brutal for the lower/middle classes. But, it's great when you come out the other side.

  8. The Christian Terror Conspiracy seems to be taking shape, in Europe.
    International terrorists for Christ.

    Advocating terror and murder to achieve their political goals.

    No need for suffrage.

    According to The Daily Telegraph, the 32-year-old, who disguised himself as “Andrew Berwick” wrote this work with an Englishman man anonymously named Richard, branded as the ‘perfect knight’. It was titled “London, 2011”. His detailed plans took nine years to complete.

    In this document, he continuously accused former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for making London a “global hub of Islamic terrorism”. He also claimed he wished to create a nuclear weapon to hold Western governments at ransom, with the potential of killing two million people.

    “The order is to serve as an armed Indigenous Rights Organisation and as a Crusader Movement”, he wrote, saying an English Protestant hosted the session. Another English extremist was also present as well as French, German, Greek, Dutch and Russian delegates.”

    Mr Breivik, the man responsible for killing over 90 people has allegedly visited London in the past meeting with Far Right-Wing extremists, but Scotland Yard are investigating further to confirm this.

  9. However, what puzzles the most is Breivik's claim of the re-establishment of the Knights Templar or the Order of the Temple - a group who purpose was to implement a "cultural conservative political agenda" by taking over the military and political controls of certain European nations in the western zone.

    Since the Middle Ages, the Templars have always been associated with legends and mysteries and there have been frequent references of the Order in fictional novels like The Da Vinci Code and Ivanhoe.

    The Order was officially installed during the 1120s by the Catholic Church ...
    The chilling accounts of Breivik claim that in 2002, he met eight other extremists from across Europe in London where they planned for the re-enactment of the Order of the Temple. It also lays out elaborate details about the Order's uniform system and an intricate badge.

  10. A simple ex: We're going to need fewer, and fewer auto workers to supply our Domestic market.

    Computerization, and robotization will replace more, and more workers, and the cars are so well made that they can be depended upon to last 3 times as long (with a lot less maintenance) than those made just twenty, or thirty years ago.

    Well, those would-be auto workers are going to have to work, "somewhere." And, that's the challenge. (one of the challenges.)

  11. On the other hand, the liquid fuel upon which we've built our Society is getting more expensive (soon to be "Very" expensive.)

    We must have a two-pronged approach. Much more fuel-efficient vehicles (thankfully, we already have the technology for that,) and a NEW fuel (we have that technology, but the Capital costs of start-up are high.) Hence, the need to get our Money back from overseas tax havens.

  12. Were the 2004 election tallies in Ohio hacked and compromised?

    This story suggests it was

    Opportunity for major vote fraud and murder.
    All the elements that are needed for a good conspiracy theory story.

  13. Breivik told the court that he committed the crimes, but did not plead guilty, Heger said. He was, as he told the court, trying to save Norway and Europe from cultural Marxism and Muslimization.

    Though Breivik previously told police he acted alone, today he also told the court there were two more "cells" in his "organization".

    In a video posted online, Breivik uses comics and signs to illustrate his views against what he perceived as communism and anti-nationalism in the Labour party-led government. In a 1,500-page online manifesto,

    Breivik describes his contempt for the Muslim population in Oslo and mulls even deadlier attacks by Christian conservatives -- including one involving a weapon of mass destruction.

  14. ... reads part of a 1,500-page manifesto reportedly posted online by Anders Behring Breivik, apparently identifying himself with other right wing extremists.

    "An Islamic Caliphate is a useful enemy to all Europeans as it will ensure European unity under Christian cultural conservative leadership."

  15. Nothing sparks investment like a good bargain. So when officials for San Antonio, Texas, municipal utility CPS Energy started receiving bids for a 50-megawatt project, they saw a good deal and an even bigger opportunity.

    “We were noticing that the prices were very attractive,” said CPS Energy spokesman Victor Robledo. “It shows that the cost of solar is coming down. We have to do what’s right for our ratepayers and for the environment.”

    The right thing, from CPS’ perspective, was to increase its development proposal eight-fold to 400 MW. CPS will begin evaluating proposals from 39 participants from across the globe before awarding contracts in early to mid-August.

    It’s all part of a shifting strategy for the nation’s largest municipally owned utility that provides both natural gas and electric service. The utility’s portfolio currently includes nuclear, coal, natural gas, wind and a small amount of solar. The current solar capacity stands at 14 MW with a signed contract for another 30 MW. An additional 400 MW would represent about 6 percent of its current total capacity, but it would position San Antonio at the forefront of the renewable energy market — a stated goal for the company.

    Make That 400MW

  16. Bruce Bawer - Inside the mind ...

    In his manifesto, which is written in such good English that one wonders whether he had the assistance of a native speaker, Breivik quotes approvingly and at length from my work, mentioning my name 22 times. It is chilling to think that blog entries that I composed in my home in west Oslo over the past couple of years were being read and copied out by this future mass-murderer in his home in west Oslo.

    It is also chilling to see the way he moves from a legitimate concern about genuine problems to an unspeakably evil "solution."

  17. Oh my God. What he is expressing are not Christian virtues, but rather the old pagan European ones dressed up in a little Templar template.

    There aren't many Christians left in Europe. The cathedrals are museums and the churches are empty.


  18. It is also chilling to see the way he moves from a legitimate concern about genuine problems to an unspeakably evil "solution."

    A lot like advocating nuking Mecca, in an effort to discredit Islamic doctrine.

  19. Christianity, like Islam, takes many forms and fulfills many functions.

    Funny stuff, that what is Paganism to one fellow is Christianity to another. One does not need a Cathedral to be a Christian. The fellowship of Christ is not dependent upon the edifice.

    Religious justification, it's all in the Book, if you want to find it.

    Literature is like that.

  20. Anders Behring Breivik seems to see Christianity as a political, as much as a religious force.

    But that he and Timmy McVeigh were Christian Soldiers, in their own minds, without doubt.

    Christianity takes many forms, fulfills many functions.

    Both spiritual and political

    As does Islam and Judaism.

  21. "As does Islam and Judaism"

    Leave off, dirtbag!

  22. Leave off what, allen?

    That there are political and sectarian flashpoints amongst those that participate in Judaism, Islam or Christianity?

    That the strident Abrahamic cultures strive to mix religion and politics, I believe it.
    It is easily observable.

    Many posters, here at the EB, strive to create a connection between religion and politics.

  23. Politics are a Necessary evil, Religion is just evil.

  24. That 64% or so of the residents of the United States believe that the US is a Christian nation, even after the Founders explicitly rejected that notion in the 1st Amendment, exemplifies the power of religion in political debate and decisions.


  25. The pursuit of both religious and secular voters in the 2008 presidential race required candidates to walk a middle line, as it appears voters are evenly split on whether faith dictates their politics. The new poll measured that 51 percent of those surveyed, the vast majority of them evangelical Protestants, said their religion can have an impact on their personal politics. A bit less, 46 percent, reported that their faith is much less likely to affect how they vote on a candidate or an issue.

    Measuring party identification by religion is not predicted as intuitively, but the poll shows that the GOP has lost ground to Democrats among all measured faith groups. The number of religious respondents who identify with the Republican Party has fallen nearly 10 percent among non-evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Often viewed as a Republican stronghold, more evangelicals now identify as Democrats (35 percent) than Republicans (34 percent). And other religions contain bigger divides. Among Catholics, the spread was the biggest—50 percent Democrats to 17 percent Republicans. Seculars also include a higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans (35 percent to 13 percent), but the majority (44 percent) of seculars identify as independents.

    The survey was conducted among 1,003 adults, age 18 and over, on April 1 and 2, 2009.

  26. In the United States the religious inclination of the immigrant applicant is not even a question.

    In countries like Israel, Iran or Saudi Arabia, it is the first question.

  27. If it were to come down to the few Christians left in Europe against the moslems, the moslems would win. But if it were to come down to the moslems against a reawakened indigenous native European paganism, the moslems would lose.

    One German young lad without much hair on his head may have said this best: "It's either us or the niggers." (moslems)


  28. Parallels between Christianity
    and ancient Pagan religions


  29. Pagan Influence Fallacy

    Opponents of the Church often attempt to discredit Catholicism by attempting to show similarities between it and the beliefs or practices of ancient paganism. This fallacy is frequently committed by Fundamentalists against Catholics, by Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and others against both Protestants and Catholics, and by atheists and skeptics against both Christians and Jews.

    The nineteenth century witnessed a flowering of this "pagan influence fallacy." Publications such as The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop (the classic English text charging the Catholic Church with paganism) paved the way for generations of antagonism towards the Church. During this time, entire new sects were created (Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses)—all considering traditional Catholicism and Protestantism as polluted by paganism. This era also saw atheistic "freethinkers" such as Robert Ingersoll writing books attacking Christianity and Judaism as pagan.

    The pagan influence fallacy has not gone away in the twentieth century ...

  30. Fact or fallacy, it is true that the connections between Paganism and Europeon Christianity are observable.

  31. There is no denial that many Jews view their Judaism as a paramount part of their political positions.

    This can also be said of many Muslims. Both Shiite and Sunni.

    Christianity, well, there is some challenge in deciding what it really means, to be a Christian. But those that believe they are, are sure of it.

  32. 19/31 = 61+%

    "Preach" comes from the Latin infinitive, "to proclaim".

    Preach on, Bro.

    It's like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood ... But Mr. Roger's was intelligent, had an appreciative audience, and had a sense of humor.

    O, it’s still 13/0, Sweet Pea  And that’s not religion, dem’s dah fax, Maan.

  33. Rat: The man behind the curtain, pulling levers and pushing buttons.

    It is what he does.

    A poor spirit who critizes all due to his inability to do anything well. It is what he does.

    A insufferable mediocre little man.

    Whose avatar is a dead actor in costume. Perfect.

  34. Criticizing all beliefs and notions, because he has none of his own.

  35. In Germany the Christians are a major influence, in politics.

    Little wonder that they'd disagree with anon., as to the viability of Christianity, in Germany.

    There are many viable Christian political parties, in Germany.

    German Christian Democratic Party (CDU)

    The German Christian Democratic Party (CDU) was the party from which Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, came. As a People’s Party, the CDU has played a major role on the political scene in Germany since its founding in 1945. Together with its sister party, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), the CDU has been one of traditional political parties in parliament ever since.

    There are almost 500,000 Germans registered as members of the CDU.
    Betcha most of them view themselves as Christians.

    Angela Dorothea Merkel (German pronunciation: [aŋˈɡeːla doʁoˈteːa ˈmɛʁkl̩] ( listen);[1] née Kasner, born 17 July 1954 in Hamburg) is the current Chancellor of Germany (since 22 November 2005). Merkel, elected to the Bundestag (German Parliament) from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU (Christian Social Union) parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.

  36. I do believe that there is no State religion in the United States, nor should there be.

    I do believe that folks should be able to believe what they want, when it comes to religion.

    I do believe that religion is a major component of politics and will make Mr Romney non-viable, as a National candidate.

  37. I do believe that there is a moral and historical equivalence to all three of the major Abrahamic sects.


  38. Moody's says likelihood of Greek default 'virtually 100%'


  39. Mexico's newest criminal organizations, the Knights Templar, issued a "code of conduct" that included moral standards while also justifying the use of lethal force.

    Got to believe that the Knights Templar of Mexico self-identify as Christians.

  40. wo teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever found in the universe. It’s 12 billion light years away, and holds at least 140 trillion times the amount of water in all the Earth’s oceans combined.

    It manifests itself as a colossal mass of water vapor, hidden in the distant APM 08279+5255 quasar. Quasars are bright and violent galactic nuclei fueled by a supermassive black hole at their center.

    This quasar holds a black hole that’s 20 billion times more massive than the sun, and after gobbling down dust and gas it belches out as much energy as a thousand trillion suns. The water vapor is spread around the black hole in a gaseous region spanning hundreds of light years.

    “The environment around this quasar is unique in that it’s producing this huge mass of water,” says Matt Bradford from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a press release.

    “It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times,” adds Bradford in the release. As the light from this watery quasar took 12 billion years to reach Earth, the observations come from a time when the universe was only 1.6 billion years old.

  41. by David V. Bassett, M.S.

    Beginning with the archeological landmark event of the fall of Jerusalem (which has now been corrected to 588 B.C., instead of 586-587 B.C.) and counting backwards the prophesied number of years between this event and the division of Solomon's kingdom (390 yrs. + 40 yrs., according to Ezekiel 4:4-7), brings us to 1018 B.C.

    From the end of Solomon's 40-year reign to the start of the Temple in the 4th year of his reign takes us back another 37 years to 1055 B.C.

    From the start of Solomon's Temple "in the 480th year" (1 Kings 6:1) back to the Exodus from Egypt (hence 479 years previous) brings us to near 1534 B.C.

    From the Exodus out of Egypt to Abraham's entering Canaan from Haran was exactly 430 years to the day (Gen 12:10/ Exodus 12:40/ Gal 3:17), thus around 1964 B.C.

    Since Abraham entered Canaan at age 75 (Gen 12:4), he was born approximately 2039 B.C.

    From Abraham's birth to Noah's grandson (Shem's son), Arpachshad's birth, 2 years after the Flood started, was 290 years (Gen 11:11-26), this places the onset of the Flood at around 2331 B.C. [definitely 4,300-4,400 years ago].

    The genealogy of Genesis 5:3-32 precludes any gaps due to its tight chronological structure and gives us 1,656 years between Creation and the Flood, thus bringing Creation Week back to near 3987 B.C. or approximately 4000 B.C.

    Therefore, the biblical age of the Earth (using Scripture itself as a guide) is 6,000 years !! Mankind did not evolve 4 million years ago on an Earth which is 4.5 billion years old in a universe which was "big-banged" into existence 18-20 billion years in the distant past. Jesus Christ, the Creator Incarnate, said He made mankind male and female in the beginning (Mark 10:6), and that when the heavens and the earth were commanded into being (Gen 1:1), they "stood up together" (Isa 48:13) not billions of years apart !!

  42. How did the light travel 12 billion light years, in 6,000 years?

    Must have been a miracle.

    If so the money spent on Astronomy is a waste of Federal borrowing.

    Both, maybe, well let's make that likely. It is a waste of Federal revenues...


  43. Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't officially a candidate for president, but the Republican is leading a new Florida poll for the GOP nomination.

  44. desert rat said...
    I do believe that there is a moral and historical equivalence to all three of the major Abrahamic sects.

    Mon Jul 25, 03:56:00 PM EDT

    Yes, indeed, you do.

    But my flummoxed friend, a belief is not a fact. Had you exposure to any of the three, you would readily comprehend your gross error.

    Attached is an enumeration of those beliefs held sacred by most Orthodox Jews throughout Judaism’s long, long history. You will find nothing comparable elsewhere. That will not stop you, to be sure. But it will go far to proving your unbounded ignorance and bigotry.
    Thirteen Principles

  45. Thirteen beliefs, not a fact amongst 'em.

    Which is the basis of the other two Abrahamic sects, belief, with perfect faith.


  46. Here's a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:

    Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
    Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
    Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
    Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
    Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
    Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
    Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
    State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
    Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
    United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
    Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
    State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
    Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
    U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
    China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
    The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
    Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

    So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion

  47. Even if they do it 13 times.

    Abraham Lincoln was fond of asking, “If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” “Five,” his audience would invariably answer. “No,” he would politely respond,” the correct answer is four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.”

  48. A literacy test makes more sense than a property requirement. With a property requirement you immediately and permanently divide society in two, and in the long run might well lead back to slavery or virtual slavery, and that's not what the constitution is about, not these days. Iceland is the oldest democracy I know of, and they are still going strong. Remember democracy hasn't been around very long, it is still an experiment, a work in progress.

  49. Iceland? You can't go more bust than Iceland. it has a debt to GNP ratio of 130%.

    Iceland has 275,000 people. It has huge hydro-electric and geothermal, no military and an extremely literate and homogenous society.

  50. I didn't pay a lot of attention to Iceland, but didn't a couple of bankers blow all their money in the Global Banking/CDS Games?

  51. .

    Boehner, what a snarky asshole!

  52. :)

    Welcome to the sausage factory.

    Ignore the smell, if you can.

  53. None of this matters much, anyway. You can't fix the Budget w/o fixing the economy, and they all seem totally clueless about that.

  54. Iceland has 275,000 people. It has huge hydro-electric and geothermal, no military and an extremely literate and homogenous society

    St. Paul, Minnesota has more people than that.

  55. .

    This whole debt ceiling debate is a joke, a crisis created by Congress.

    Obama wasted his first two years concentrating on everything but what he should have been doing, working to create jobs. He took his election as a 'mandate' and was damned well determined to push his agenda regardless of the consequences to the middle class.

    The GOP came in this years and read their takeover of the House as a mandate and were damned well determined to push their agenda regardless of the consequences to the middle class.

    In the past 2 1/2 years both parties have indicated everything they are doing was designed to create jobs when in fact neither party could give a shit about jobs but only in their own political philosophy.

    Now the GOP is pushing for a short term deal on the debt ceiling to assure that is the only subject discussed for the next 18 months.

    And what will be left out of the equation? Any action by Congress that would help with the jobs situation.


  56. .

    If Obama had any balls, what he would do is indicate that if Congress hasn't provided him with a bill he can sign by next Friday, that they give him a straight forward bill authorizing the debt ceiling increase free and clear of any amendments involving spending cuts or revenues.

    The two issues should have never been mixed in the first place. If the rating agencies downgrade US debt, Congress has no one to blame but itself.


  57. Stock futures overseas? Dead flat.

  58. If you really want to know what caused the economic crisis all you have to do is examine the effects of repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, under Clinton's watch, as part of his deal to balance the budget with the Republican Congress.

    This Act, introduced by FDR after the Great Depression, disallowed banks from dealing in securities - basically, it separated retail banks (chartered at the state level) from merchant banks (chartered at the Federal and state levels).

    The result of this was to have retail banks issue mortgage notes that their investment arm then bundled into debt instruments and sold on to other banks throughout the world - new derivatives, basically.

    But they knew they were dodgy, for they then used hedge funds (their own and each others) to cover their exposure, and even insured them through the likes of AIG.

    It was a giant Ponzi scheme - and when it all blew up it brought down not only the banks, but the hedge funds and AIG as well.

    The problem was that because the banks were allowed to grow so big, letting them fall would bring down the entire global banking system - neither Bush nor Obama had any choice but to protect them and the American economy.

    As for the likes of GM, they had lines of credit (like you and I might have) that they depended on. When the (now bankrupt) banks withdrew those LOCs, they too were in big trouble - again, government had no choice but to step in. The subsequent Chapter 11 forced GM to address some very old legacy issues (which they probably should have addressed years ago), but letting them go completely under would have been catastrophic for US industry, especially in the mid-west.

    And Congress has still not addressed the fundamental core issue of introducing a new (and modernized) Glass-Steagall. Why? Because they like the idea of cheap money, even though it's not so cheap in the long run. All they've done is put band-aids on the problem ... but the banks are still far too big.

    Meanwhile, states are raising taxes and fees like it's going out of style - in true Jeffersonian style. Meanwhile, the Federal government continue to protect the US's position in the global market place - in true Hamiltonian style! The never ending philosophical conflict of American politics - except that this is the 21st century and such arguments are archaic and irrelevant.

  59. The dogma and "easy answers" of left and right are equally asinine - the US dollar is the world currency, the US economy is global in reach, and the world holds US debt paper. Those are the facts. Squabbling amongst ourselves about Federal and State power, at this time, is childish and intellectually vacuous.

    We absolutely need sensible (but restrained) Federal rules and regulations. The problem is that Congress (all stripes) fell asleep at the wheel, wallowing in unrealistically cheap money that they thought would never end.

    Of course, it wasn't so cheap if you needed healthcare or depended upon cheap energy. Those two costs, particularly, went through the roof (for entirely different reasons), and are crippling small businesses ... while large businesses managed to avoid corporate taxes by balance sheet nuances and offshore tax havens. And, of course, small businesses are paying the bulk of corporate taxes because they are too small to be "clever" with their balance sheets.

    And where are the Republicans on all this? They want to continue subsidies to big business (oil, drug companies, etc), continue supporting large banks (especially their donations), and continue supporting an insurance company dominated healthcare system that is clearly broken.

    As a small business owner, you no doubt experience the same problems I do - unbelievable city, county and state bureaucracy, taxes and fees (leave alone the permits and reporting requirements); out of control healthcare costs, such that it is difficult to give more than just the basics to your employees, leave alone yourself; and banks that look for personal guarantees (i.e. your house) before they will even begin to be "generous" with their cheap loans.

    There are absolutely no easy "Republican", "Democratic" or "Tea Party" answers.

    To address the core issues they first of all need to be all reading from the same script and start talking to and not at each other. And get rid of the poisonous vitriol.

    The American people deserve no less.

  60. Dr. David, it is indeed a pleasure to awaken to such a thoughtful, and well-written post.

    Thank you, Sir, for getting my day off to such a great start.

  61. Ford did okay last qtr. They sold a bunch of their Fiest Sub-Compact cars, and, as far as I know, they had the only Turbo Six Cylinder Pickup on the Market (which, also, sold well.)

    Mullaley really might be the best CEO in America.

  62. Anders Behring Breivik, confessed murderer of 76 people, repeats a familiar refrain: He killed to save his country, his continent and Western civilization itself from an attempted takeover by Islam.

    Breivik's belief is the photo negative of Al Qaeda's contention that the United States and its allies are hell-bent on destroying Islam.

    This belief, that Islam at large conspires to triumph over all Judeo-Christian society, is a delusion. One that far too many share.

    They commune in their paranoid and poisonous fantasies on the Internet. As with other extreme fear-based ideologies, a tiny number of adherents live, like Breivik, on the lunatic and dangerous fringe.

    That leaders of this electronic movement have denounced Breivik's violence does not spare them from harsh criticism. They, too, are to be taken to task by anyone who believes the threat of Islamist terrorism is real. Demonizing a religion rather than those who pervert it is destructive and only wins sympathies for radical fanatics.

    Read more from the NY Daily News

  63. Top One, and Two selling vehicles in 2010 - Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado, respectively.

    Today, there is, probably, a 130 Day Supply of those Trucks on Dealers' Lots.


  64. Police and court officials have said Mr. Breivik has admitted to detonating a large bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then killing 68 mainly young people at a summer camp run by the ruling Labor Party on the nearby island of Utoya. The attacks on Friday amounted to one of the worst massacres in postwar Europe.

    “He believes that he is in a war and in a war you can do things like that,” Mr. Lippestad said.

    “He is in a bubble,” Mr. Lippestad said, adding that Mr. Breivik took drugs to “be strong, to be efficient, to be awake.” The lawyer did not say which drugs his client had used.

    He called Mr. Breivik “very cold.”

    The similarities to McVeigh are chillingly obvious, to anyone that knows McVeigh's story.

  65. Judge Heger said Mr. Breivik had been charged with “acts of terrorism,” including an attempt to “disturb or destroy the functions of society, such as the government” and to spread “serious fear” among the population. At a televised news conference, the judge said Mr. Breivik had acknowledged carrying out the attacks but had pleaded not guilty, because he “believes that he needed to carry out these acts to save Norway” and Western Europe from “cultural Marxism and Muslim domination.”


  66. (Reuters) - At least 122 firearms from a botched U.S. undercover operation have been found at crime scenes in Mexico or intercepted en route to drug cartels there, according to a Republican congressional report being issued on Tuesday.

    Mexican authorities found AK-47 assault rifles, powerful .50 caliber rifles and other weapons in late 2009 that were later linked to the U.S. sting operation to trace weapons going across the border to Mexico, the report said.

    Guns from the program, dubbed "Operation Fast and Furious," also were found at the scene of the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the border state Arizona last December. It is not clear if they were the weapons responsible for his death.

    The sting has become an embarrassment for the Obama administration and its Justice Department, rather than a victory in cracking down on the illegal flow of drugs and weapons to and from Mexico.

  67. CNBC is putting up Non-Seasonally Adjusted Prices to try to make them look good.

    Seasonally adjusted us up 0.1% month on month, and Down 3.4% Year over Year.



  68. According to the report, Carlos Canino, Acting ATF Attache in Mexico, calls the strategy his agency employed: "The perfect storm of idiocy."

    "We armed the [Sinaloa] cartel," Canino told investigators. "It is disgusting." Canino will be a key witness at the hearing.

    Joint Committee report: Operation Fast and Furious: Fueling Cartel Violence (pdf)

    But it's not just the Sinaloa cartel. Documents obtained by Congressional investigators show weapons - sold under ATF's watch in Operation Fast and Furious out of the Phoenix office - have been used by at least three Mexican drug cartels: Sinaloa, El Teo and La Familia.

    In other words, Congressional investigators say the very agency charged with preventing weapons from falling into the hands of violent cartels south of the border ... instead facilitated it.

    The Oversight Committee has used internal documents and information to showing where Fast and Furious weapons have shown up and been used in Mexico. It reveals more recoveries than Department of Justice has disclosed to the Committee in official answers ... and yet it's still only a partial picture.

    If Mr Holder can survive this ...
    Then really there is no longer a distinction between US and Mexico along the frontier.

    The ATF has always been kind of an aggressive Federal agency. Operating with a mind set that shows little or no concern for the people that become collateral damage in their operations.

  69. This comment has been removed by the author.


  70. ... according to ATF witnesses, on March 5, 2010 ATF intelligence analysts told ATF and Justice Department leadership (including Main Justice Trial Attorney Joe Cooley) that straw firearms purchases in Fast and Furious had exceeded 1,000 and the weapons were ending up in Mexico. When concerns were raised, one witness present quoted Cooley as saying the movement of so many guns to Mexico was "an acceptable practice."

    The Justice Department had no comment on that.

    In other testimony, former ATF Attache to Mexico Darren Gil repeated information he gave in an exclusive CBS News interview several months ago.

    He told investigators that the Justice Department's Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, was well aware of Fast and Furious,
    and referred to the case supportively when visiting Mexico.


  71. The Justice Department neither confirmed nor denied what Breuer may have known, but when contacted yesterday afternoon, a spokesman called the allegation an "old charge." The spokesman added that wiretaps approved by the Justice Department are "narrow assessments" generally approved by Assistant Attorneys General, but "not Lanny."

    Today's hearing will also focus on other allegations by Canino and Gil. They say their concerns about letting weapons fall into the hands of drug cartels were repeatedly brushed aside by higher-ups in ATF management. They also say ATF personnel denied them access to crucial information about the case, even though it directly involved their job duties and affected their host country, Mexico.


  72. Mr. Obama said of the controversial ATF operation called "Fast and Furious."

    "You were not even informed about it?" asked Univision reporter Jorge Ramos.

    "Absolutely not," said Mr. Obama. "There may be a situation here which a serious mistake was made and if that's the case then we'll find out and well hold somebody accountable."

    But who? In an exclusive interview with CBS News, the lead ATF official in Mexico at the time Darren Gil says somebody in the Justice Department did know about the case. Gil says his supervisor at ATF's Washington D.C. headquarters told him point-blank the operation was approved even higher than ATF Director Kenneth Melson.

    "Is the director aware of this," Gil asked the supervisor. Gil says his supervisor answered "Yes, the director's aware of it. Not only is the director aware of it, D.O.J.'s aware of it... Department of Justice was aware of it."

    Gil goes on to say senior Justice official Lanny Breuer and several of his deputies visited Mexico amid the controversy last summer, and spoke to ATF staff generally about a big trafficking case that they claimed was "getting good results." Gil says Melson, ATF's Acting Director, also visited Mexico City. Gil's Deputy Attache and his Analyst questioned Melson about the case that surrounding all the weapons showing up in Mexico. "His response was 'it's a good case, it's still going on,'" recalls Gil, "and we'll close it down as soon as we possibly can."

  73. In addition to Fast and Furious, look up Operation Castaway. Tampa ATF office running guns to Honduras, possibly MS-13.

    Turns out some of the gun runners ATF used were also paid FBI informants, but "the wall" in DOJ kept the ATF guys in the dark of the status of the gun runners.

    This indicates that someone up the chain was coordinating assets between the various agencies and keeping people in "need to know" status.

    Great info here:

    There's some really huge stuff going on south of the border.