Links 11/30/10

Acupuncture changes brain’s perception and processing of pain PhysOrg

Hoard of 271 Picasso works found in garage Financial Times

Food Banks Bracing For End Of Extended Unemployment Benefits Huffington Post

WikiLeaks shows out-of-control US secrecy David Rothkopf, Financial Times

WikiLeaks: Ayatollah Khameni has terminal cancer Telegraph

Wikileaks: It Could Take Down a Bank Or Two 4ClosureFraud

Afghan UN Ambassador’s $4.2 million Manhattan apartment Kabul Press versus Afghan government’s neglect of notorious mountain pass kills hundreds Kabul Press (hat tip reader May S)

The Political Economy of CFPB Funding Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Economists’ Grail: A Post-Crash Model Wall Street Journal. This is quite a good piece, given WSJ constraints.

Obama Turns On The Base — Freezes Federal Pay Michael Scherer, Time

Did New Rules Worsen Pay Situation? Wall Street Journal

The Merkel crash FT Alphaville

Spain braces itself for a crisis made in Germany José-Ignacio Torreblanca Financial Times. Richard Smith notes, “Spain sound peed off.”

If Ireland Doesn’t Take The Bailout . . . Gonzalo Lira. As I indicated, the Irish wanted a bailout of the banks ONLY, the IMF and EU cohort apparently nixed that pronto. If the vote goes the wrong way, this will prove to have been a fatal error.

Can the eurozone afford its banks? Robert Peston

Endgame Eurointelligence

This suggestion on the Irish mess from an irreverent Commonwealth reader:

The UK conquest of Ireland began in 1169.

It’s time to finish the job.

All they have to do is offer the following:

Ireland converts all its public debt to sterling.

The UK Treasury takes over the responsibility for all of Ireland’s existing public debt.

(Ireland gets a clean start with no Irish govt. debt and not interest payments)

Ireland taxes and spends in sterling only and has a balanced budget requirement.

Ireland can borrow only for capital expenditures.

The UK Treasury guarantees all existing insured euro bank deposits in Irish banks.

Only sterling deposits are insured for new deposits.

Ireland runs a mirror tax code to the UK and keeps all of its tax revenues.

The UK agrees to fund Ireland’s with a pro rata/per capita share of any UK deficit spending.

St. Patrick’s Day is declared a UK national holiday and everyone over 21 gets a beer voucher.

Antidote du jour. OK, this is not as soft and fuzzy as usual, but it struck me as fitting:

Picture 7

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34 comments

  1. Diego Méndez

    “Spain sound peed off.”

    Yes. Very peed off. Spain was the most pro-European country til some months ago. The EU had the resources to overcome this crisis; it just lacked the political will.

    The euro (and hence the EU project) is doomed because the only country which could save it, namely Germany, has refused to do so.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Forget about Spain.

      If it’s Tuesday, it must be about Belgium.

      And it’s Tuesday today.

    2. Stelios Theoharidis

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/flashback-wikileaks-chief-5gb-dirt-bank-america/

      Daily Beast Claims that the Wikipedia link is Bank of America. From 2009.

      Wikileaks often runs into problems concerning how to present material and how to make it easier to sift through for vital information, said Assange.

      “At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives,” he said. “Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it.”

  2. Ina Deaver

    That was extraordinary – the comments to the Time article were productive, constructive, and civil. Perhaps more than those on this site have been lately! I’m plenty annoyed with the pay freeze, because I feel like it is grossly counterproductive to the economy at large, not just government workers (not all of whom are unproductive suckling pigs). But that was a very intelligent discussion after the article, and somewhat renewed my faith in online comment boards! Well, somewhat. One can always read the comments on the WaPo if one wants to cry for humanity.

  3. Alinvalhalla

    As for Wikileaks taking on a bank, this from October 2009:

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9139180/Wikileaks_plans_to_make_the_Web_a_leakier_place

    “At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives,” he said. “Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it.”

  4. Dan Duncan

    By chance, I came across this article right after the one previously posted and it seemed like an interesting compliment to the article on Soros and the New Economic Institute.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/opinion/26brooks.html?adxnnl=1&ref=opinion&adxnnlx=1291122131-at/07vbBfmhHAReTprQd9w

    No doubt most readers here despise David Brooks, but that’s not the point.

    What is the point is that economic modeling and the artistic depiction of reality are flip sides of the same coin.

    In the Brooks article, he discusses the artistic depiction of reality; specifically Tolstoy’s depiction. One interesting paragraph from the article is:
    “Isaiah Berlin famously argued that Tolstoy was a writer in search of Big Truths, but his ability to see reality in all its particulars destroyed the very theories he hoped to build. By entering directly into life in all its contradictions, he destroyed his own peace of mind.

    As Tolstoy himself wrote, “The aim of an artist is not to solve a problem irrefutably, but to make people love life in all its countless, inexhaustible manifestations.”

    Contrast the artist with the economic modeler and you get something like: “The aim of the economist is to reduce life in all its countless, inexhaustible manifestations in the delusion of solving a problem irrefutably. Unfortunately, the economist’s inability to see reality in all its particulars is the reason why he seeks to destroy contradictions, foster the illusion of “peace of mind” forecasting and maintain the hubris which allows him to think his model explains reality.”

    If only Soros could get a couple of Tolstoys on board….but they’re gone and we’d get stuck with Dan Brown and James Patterson.

    Finally, the Brooks article concludes with an interesting note on activism and “seeing the world clearly”…It’s a paragraph that could also apply to Soros.

    “In middle age, it was as a novelist that Tolstoy achieved his most lasting influence. After all, description is prescription. If you can get people to see the world as you do, you have unwittingly framed every subsequent choice.

    But public spirited, he also wanted to heal the world directly. Tolstoy devoted himself to activism and spiritual improvement — and paid the mental price. After all, most historical leaders write pallid memoirs not because they are hiding the truth but because they’ve been engaged in an activity that makes it impossible for them to see it clearly. Activism is admirable, necessary and self-undermining — the more passionate, the more self-blinding. ”

    Pairing Tolstoy and Soros with a David Brooks article to boot! Utterly ridiculous to the sensibilities of any self-respecting Naked Cap reader. I realize that I am deserving of any derision and ridicule coming my way and I welcome—no, I invite—the mockery.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “The aim of the economist is to reduce life in all its countless, inexhaustible manifestations in the delusion of solving a problem irrefutably. Unfortunately, the economist’s inability to see reality in all its particulars is the reason why he seeks to destroy contradictions, foster the illusion of “peace of mind” forecasting and maintain the hubris which allows him to think his model explains reality.”

      ——

      I think it’s more like the aim of the scientist, not just of the economist.

      1. Ming

        What you said is true concerning the ‘hack’ scientist, or the dogmatic scientist (string theory bullshit), or the ‘grant seeker’ scientist. But a truly great scientist must be humble and be able accept that his theories could be wrong or incomplete or only partially correct, hence a great scientist once said ‘a thousand experiments do not prove me right, but one experiment can prove me wrong’.

    2. DownSouth

      It comes as no surprise that someone as bitter as yourself should make the lament: “If only Soros could get a couple of Tolstoys on board.”

      I’m as skeptical as anyone of the ability to mathematically model human behavior. But missing from your little screed is that some in the Institute for New Economic Thinking, launched last year with $50 million from financier George Soros, are equally as pessimistic. For instance there’s Roman Fryman. “Mr. Frydman,” according to the link you provided, “doesn’t offer a better way to make predictions. Rather, he believes economists and policy makers must come to terms with the limits of their knowledge.”

      Of course you, Brooks and Tolstoy pronounce your own opinions as “reality” and those of everyone else as superstition. And in this regard you, in your role as a guardian of orthodox economics, seem to march in lockstep with Robert Lucas. Again, from the article you linked:

      Some of academia’s most authoritative figures say the new ideas are out of the mainstream for a good reason: They’re still very far from producing a model that demonstrably improves on the status quo.

      “I guess I’ll wait until I see these models and what they can and cannot do,” says Robert Lucas, an economist at the University of Chicago who won the Nobel Prize for his work on “rational expectations,” the concept at the very heart of modern orthodoxy.

      Never mind the glaring truth, however, that the status quo models have about as much basis in factual reality, and predictive power, as the Garden of Eden.

      And now back to your infatuation with Tolstoy. It is perfectly fitting, given the cynicism and bitterness that consume your life and overwhelm your comments here on NC, that you should embrace Tolstoy as some sort of ideological messiah. After all, as Brooks gushes, he has “an almost superhuman ability to perceive reality.” George Orwell, in his essay “Politics vs. Literature,” gives us some insight into what Tolstoy’s “reality” looks like and from whence it derives:

      But the most essential thing in Swift is his inability to believe that life—-ordinary life on the solid earth, and not some rationalised, deodorized version of it—-could be made worth living. Of course, no honest person claims that happiness is now a normal condition among adult human beings; but perhaps it could be make normal, and it is upon this question that all serious political controversy really turns. Swift has much in common—-more, I believe, than has been noticed—-with Tolstoy, another disbeliever in the possibility of happiness. In both men you have the same anarchistic outlook covering an authoritarian cast of mind; in both a similar hostility to Science, the same impatience with opponents, the same inability to see the importance of any question not interesting to themselves; and in both cases a sort of horror of the actual process of life, though in Tolstoy’s case it was arrived at later and in a different way. The sexual unhappiness of the two men was not of the same kind, but there was this in common, that in both of them a sincere loathing was mixed up with a morbid fascination. Tolstoy was a reformed rake who ended by preaching complete celibacy, while continuing to practice the opposite into extreme old age. Swift was presumed impotent, and had an exaggerated horror of human dung: he also thought about it incessantly, as is evident throughout his works. Such people are not likely to enjoy even the small amount of happiness that falls to most human beings, and, from obvious motives, are not likely to admit that earthly life is capable of much improvement. Their incuriosity, and hence intolerance, spring from the same root.

      1. Cynthia

        No need for any of you to be splitting hairs over the power to mathematically model, once the shadowy banksters and other banana-republican plutocrats get done putting most, if not all, of the European governments in the barber’s chair for a buzz cut, the EU won’t have enough funds left over to fund the soft sciences like economics and sociology, much less the hard sciences like physics and chemistry.

        This is what fiscal austerity is all about. It’s about allowing all of the crooked plutocrats to dump all of their losses on the taxpayers, enabling them to gobble up an even bigger piece of the fiscal pie. So unless the folks at CERN can figure out a way to train hadrons to act as Maxwellian Demons, giving them the power to spin straw into gold and squeeze peat into petrol, without expending a single lepton of energy, they’ll be standing in line for a buzz cut, too!

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I know you and Dan Duncan have a history, and Dan seemed to be asking for an attack, but I thought his comment was quite sound, and you unwittingly allowed yourself to be baited.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          Agreed. I like to tweak Dan as well (and he again falls into the same trap of not just stereotyping all NakCap readers but doing so in a way that seems to bear almost no relation to reality at all), but there is no question that this particular comment from Dan was a worthy addition to the discussion.

        2. DownSouth

          But this criticism fails to speak to the most important issue, and that is that what Dan Duncan and David Brooks offer up is simply not true. Activism may have indeed been “self-undermining” and “self-blinding” for Tolstoy, and it may have had the same effect upon Duncan and Brooks. But that effect is hardly universal.

          Brooks begins by asserting that “T0lstoy inspired a worldwide movement, deeply influencing Gandhi among many others.” But this is a half-truth, and only the first of Brooks’ verisimilitudes. For he goes on to conclude his piece with this zinger, which Dan Duncan repeats:

          But public spirited, he also wanted to heal the world directly. Tolstoy devoted himself to activism and spiritual improvement — and paid the mental price. After all, most historical leaders write pallid memoirs not because they are hiding the truth but because they’ve been engaged in an activity that makes it impossible for them to see it clearly. Activism is admirable, necessary and self-undermining — the more passionate, the more self-blinding.

          But the philosophical and religious views expressed by Tolstoy in The Kingdom of God Is Within You are a far cry from the “worldwide movement” that Brooks alludes to—-the movement of passive or non-violent resistance initiated by Gandhi and later emulated by Martin Luther King, Jr. The Tolstoyans do not participate in, or concern themselves with, governmental and worldly affairs, which they considered immoral and corrupt.

          Tolstoy’s vows of poverty and celibacy were, of course, no novelty. Priests and monks had been taking them throughout history. Neither was there anything novel in Tolstoy’s withdrawal from worldly affairs. Jesus steered clear of any claim to political leadership and he advised payment of taxes to the Roman authorities, saying, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” In other sayings, too, he seemed to place the realm of faith apart from the realm of politics. When Pilate asked him whether he claimed to be king—-a claim that would have been an offence to Caesar—-Jesus answered that he was not “a king of this world.” It was on the basis of these sayings that the disciple Paul and, much later, St. Augustine founded their far sharper separation of the City of God from the City of Man.

          To the Christian ideas we may contrast a few of Gandhi’s. As he began a nonviolent campaign in 1930, he declared of the Raj, “I am out to destroy this system of Government….Sedition has become my religion.” Gandhi admitted no distinction between the City of God and the City of Man. He installed a political conscience in religion and a religious conscience in politics, and called the two the same.

          It is true that in 1896 Gandhi had read Tolstoy’s Christian pacifist manifesto The Kingdom of God Is Within You and professed to have been “overwhelmed” by it. A few years later, he entered into correspondence with Tolstoy, who celebrated Gandhi’s work in Letter to a Hindu.

          But Tolstoy was neither the final nor the only influence on Gandhi’s life. The example that inspired Gandhi most was the Russian revolution of 1905, whose first stages were nonviolent. For some years, he observed in Indian Opinion, the Russian revolutionaries had resorted to terrorist attacks. He admired the courage of the attackers, including “fearless girls, actuated by patriotism and a spirit of self-sacrifice, [who] take the lives of those whom they believe to be the enemies of the country, and themselves meet an agonizing death at the hands of officials.”

          Tolstoy, on the other hand, hated and despised the liberals and the revolution that led to the establishment of limited constitutional monarchy, the State Duma of the Russian Empire, the multi-party system, and the Russian Constitution of 1906. Here’s Tolstoy in his preface to the French translation to The Great Crime (1905):

          During the last few years the deformation of Christianity has given rise to a new species of fraud, which has rooted our peoples yet more firmly in their servility. With the help of a complicated system of parliamentary elections it was suggested to them that by electing their representatives directly they were participating in the government, and that in obeying them they were obeying their own will: in short, that they were free. This is a piece of imposture… A member of a despotic State may be entirely free, even in the midst of the most brutal violence. But a member of a constitutional State is always a slave, for he recognises the legality of the violence done him… And now men wish to lead the Russian people into the same state of constitutional slavery in which the other European peoples dwell!

          The agitation in the Zemstvos has as its object the limitation of despotic power and the establishment of a representative government. Whether or not they succeed the result will be a postponement of any true social improvement. Political agitation, while producing the unfortunate illusion of such improvement by external means, arrests true progress, as may be proved by the example of all the constitutional States—France, England, America, etc.

          In the religious tradition of both East and West—-the tradition Tolstoy came to adhere to toward the end of his life—-holy vows have usually been accompanied by a withdrawal from the world and especially from politics. Gandhi proceeded in exactly the opposite direction. He took his ascetic vows in order to free himself for action.

          In Gandhi we find just the opposite of Tolstoy. So when Brooks says, and Dan Duncan repeats, that “Tolstoy devoted himself to activism,” this simply isn’t true.

    3. craazyman

      Youze guys are in a weird state of vibration today. It must be something zingy going on in the magnetosphere.

      Since Tolstoy is dead, they could put Cormac McCarthy on Soros’ board. He could read them passages from THE ROAD just to boost their morale for their work, which no doubt could get dulled after a while, in the cloistered sanctuary of the art-laden office with a lazy tenured position and nothing really at stake personally. ha ha.

      There is no hope for the mathematically inclined economist, other than to take up mathematics as a separate passtime. If Mr. Soros’ $50 million can persuade economists to give up on their math it will be money well spent, but I’m not holding my breath.

      As for Tolstoy, not sure about his take on the artist’s mission. I mean look at the Sistine Chapel. Not exactly a love fest there. It seems to me more a matter of cleansing the gates of perception, so that the essential energies underlying all facets of existence are more clearly perceived by the interested mind. When it comes to economics, mathematics just gets in the way. Those economists would do better by channeling it up directly just by looking at the faces on the street. Not directly, but a little to the side so they can see the auric energies surge and flux and just get the download for contemplation.

      1. Skippy

        Lest we forget, mathematical modeling whence used to divine human act, is better described as a one eyed / fearful / risk adverse / poor mans time machine. It blinds the mind, abates our ancestors hard fought for genes pasted down thoughts, enables pathological risk takers license to act with impunity…cough…it said I could…it was not a personal decision…it was a management one…fulfilling our fiduciary duty to our investors.

        Skippy…McNamara must be in the circle of hell reserved for efficiency experts, all insistently telling each other how to go about things, critiquing each others math ad infinity.

        PS. the cosmos is like a machine, devoid of independent act, this is the correct place for predictive models and math, but not loose cannon humans.

        Have a nice day.

    4. Skippy

      A nice meal is always accentuated by both salt and pepper hay, if in a modicum, to the dishes natural flavors.

      Skippy…Dan your pick…Frank Sinatra or Steve Wonder…old SNL skit

  5. Swedish Lex

    It is now becoming clear that the global process of deleveraging that started in 07 will bring the euro down with it. The question is now whether the path to the euro 2.0, or the going back to the bad old days with national currencies, will continue to be ad hoc and disastrous or whether it will happen under some kind of actual leadership.

    Irrespective of which path is chosen, the proces of deleveraging will continue, with falling house prices, tax revenues, spiking social costs and ever inflating black holes on banks’ balance sheets.

    The USD may continue to rise, as result, which will make it even more impossible to reverse the U.S. trade balance. Meanwhile, States like California will continue to disintegrate financially and the U.S. federal leadership will ensure that nothing much gets done, albeit with a downside risk for wacky measures like Congress not agreeing to raise the debt ceiling next year.

    By that time, the euro zone may have gone through the first phase of being dismembered, perhaps leading to a situation where some former euro states will be able to set their own interest rates and letting markets determine the value of their new currencies. Under this scenario, the USD may look as vulnerable and full of inconsistencies as the euro currently does.

    In any event, the deleveraging will continue barring further massive money printing here and there that would permit the biggest and terminal bubble to be inflated.

    1. purple

      Texas is also broke, they just haven’t admitted it yet, actually the debt is higher on a per GDP basis the CA.

      I think this increases the chances of a bi-partisan bailout of the states, however it ends up being phrased.

    1. liberal

      Perhaps, though Wikileaks crucially depends on insiders actually doing the leaking, unless someone hacks in from the outside.

      The problem with the Fed is that all the higher up insiders are bankers and economists. People in those occupations are relatively highly ideologically committed (aka brainwashed).

      1. Ina Deaver

        There is one other avenue: failure to clean devices when you get rid of them. I think that is a very profitable line of inquiry with some of these institutions, and I think that someplace like the Fed is exactly the type of white-haired group with a tenuous grasp of the technology that they use that would wind up recycling a phone that contains a ton of information that they imperfectly wiped.

    2. LeeAnne

      Its also good propaganda at a time when the Open Internet (Net Neutrality) is on the table. Good cover for the government to claim the need to control the NET before turning it over to control of the corporations.

      And its no coincidence that Senator Rockefeller decided at this time to be uncharacteristically and unconvincingly theatrical by going on record as disdainful of media, wishing to shut it down ‘so we in the congress can do our work -ha ha haha haaaaaa’

      ..-suddenly Mr. Fed UP rather than his usual Mr. Nice unreliable wishy-washy Guy.

  6. liberal

    Re “Economists’ Grail: A Post-Crash Model”:

    While I agree with all the usual critiques of current economic models, the thesis of the article is IMHO misdirected. Namely, it’s more important to be close to the data than to have a good model.

    Dean Baker didn’t have a complicated model when he correctly called the housing bubble very early on—he just observed that ratios like price to household income were going out the roof. Similarly, the morons at the Fed didn’t need a model to predict carnage in the credit markets; it would have sufficed for them to statistically sample the mortgages actually being written at the time to see, combined with Baker’s observations, that a cancer was about to overwhelm credit markets.

    Lastly, the most important thing getting in the way of good modeling is a principle the economists themselves have correctly pointed out: incentives matter. Clearly your typical economist is incentivized to please the rich and powerful. That’s going to screw things up no matter how clever your modeling.

    1. sherparick

      Dean Baker, Stiglitz, Jaimie Galbraith, and the “Australian School” (Quiggin and Keene), all predicted that there was a fundamental imbalance in the the U.S., U.K., Australian, and certain other developing world economies based on an unsustainable rise in housing prices. They used Minsky’s model, a model derived from Keynes, to predict what will happen and that the collapse in prices would create both huge credit crunch due to so many toxic loans and toxic derivatives of those loans, and a fall in demand as due to the negative wealth effect of all the bubble equity going up in smoke. What the model could not predict was the exact when, a chaos moment when the Wylie Coyote looks down and realizes nothing is there. Although U.S. housing prices started “pausing” in late 2005, Coyote/Minsky moment finally struck in August 2007 when the MBS market finally froze up. All the financing for house purchase froze up them. The idiots in the stock market went on with their party to November 2007, but that is another story.

      The problem of course for economics, as Krugman points out, is that the perfectly good and valid macro models created Keynsian, New Keynsian, and Minskyites don’t match up with the micro-economic models, where rational expectations do appear to work. RBSC models based directly on these micro-models were supposedly more “scientific” then Keynes, hence Robert Lucas’s crack about Krugman preaching “unscientific” economics.

      I suspect that the problem for the rational expectations models is that the bigger and more complicated the economy, the more irrational factors and imperfect knowledge, start to dominate, and the more chaotic the system.

      1. carping demon

        “It strikes me as not productive to say that all we have done is a complete waste,” he says. “The profession is extremely competitive. If you have a better idea, it’s going to win out.”

        It isn’t a complete waste, it has been positively harmful, competition obstructs scientific investigation, and if you have a better idea, you’d better keep it under your hat if you want tenure.

  7. Cocomaan

    A nice antidote via Lifehacker:
    http://gizmodo.com/5702187/prank-loved-ones-this-chrimbo-with-the-pet-petter-gift-box

    From the article (great picture on there, too):
    The Pet Petter is for poor sad pets who no longer get any cuddles. It goes at a speed of 85ppm (pets per minute)….or it would, if it were a real product. Because you see, these gift boxes are completely empty, with the idea being you put the real gift inside and trick the recipient. You better not put a real alarm clock or pet grooming tool in these boxes, or you may just get throttled.

  8. emca

    The strange case of Wikileak.

    What’s come out has the flavor of “People”, “Sun” (read Parking Ticket for Suicide Hero Mum, so I guess the “Sun” doesn’t fully qualify as a gossip-only rag?)and other purveyors of inside information about newsworthy celebrities, albeit in this case, political.

    Embarrassing yes, life threatening, no (unless the dump with bank shenanigans is truly revealing, then maybe someone will need to account for the rage of abused).

    Most of the leaks merely confirm previous speculation from other sources, as the Saudi support of intervention in Iran’s search for regional hegemony or the US government’s desire to bring the war to Pakistan northwest regions.

    I did enjoy the US observation that Merkel was the only true effective leader in the EU. What happen to Rumsfeld’s ‘New Europe’, those enthusiasts of US regime change in Iraq that were suppose the lead forward?

    Whatever…I digress into a past I need to look beyond.

    I’ll be waiting for April when the good news comes forth. I trust at the least it will provide many hours of engaging reading, and will not disappoint.

    {Maybe embarrassment is a kind of death, career-wise at least, ask Hillary)

    1. Cynthia

      The spin seems to be to paint many of these leaks as just gossip. Of course, it isn’t, not when Hillary’s been ordering spying, stealing credit card numbers, and attempting to obtain biometrics on UN officials.

      Can’t wait to read the spin early next year when the next leak comes out on the US-based banking cartel. I imagine their damage control will be: “Don’t worry your pretty heads about all those numbers. It’s just too complicated!”

      BTW, this is the most vividly accurate description of Hillary that I have found on the blogosphere — the left-wing blogosphere, of course:..;~)

      “Her very presence in the world is like fingernails on a chalkboard. May a nest of pit vipers take up residence in her thousand dollar quaffed hairdo, Medusa that she is.”

  9. Expat

    Why is everyone feeling so sorry for the Irish people? They voted for the clowns who led them over the brink and they voted for the policies that created and inflated the bubble. They reveled in their new wealth. They thumbed their noses at the Continent and England, boasting about their Dublin two-bedroom flats worth a million euros. They proclaimed an Irish Miracle and lived like kings.

    The sad reality is they burned through forty years of wealth in a decade or so. Their GDP was a mirage or theft from other EU members. Talking about Irish sacrifices now is wrong. The baseline is not 2008, it’s more like 2000 or even 1998.

    Ireland has a hangover. Ireland will pay for it for the next thirty years. Sad, but it’s their own fault as much as the bankers’ fault.

    That said, let the banks take their hits as well. Arrest the politicians and try them for high treason. Tell the IMF to get stuffed. All perfectly reasonable. But stop the pitying of the “innocent” Irish people.

    1. Skippy

      Dear sir…I have in my possession an elixir… *scientifically* VAR proven to make you wealthy or better off than you were.

      The best economic minds that humanity can offer *proven* by their pedigrees, IQ’s, filters, or guilds brought this on us.

      Skippy…the dog that winces at his masters hand should be culled…eh….ungrateful beasts.

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