Links 8/16/11

Butter sculptures churn 100-year state fair legacy USA Today (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

LHC@home allows public to help in hunt for Higgs particle BBC (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Escaping Gravity’s Clutches: Information Could Escape from Black Holes After All, Study Suggests ScienceDaily (hat tip reader furzy mouse). Is this gonna screw up a favorite metaphor?

China Slowing ‘Significantly’: Conference Board Bloomberg

Can China save us a second time? MacroBusiness

Don’t let fiscal brakes stall global recovery Christine Lagarde, Financial Times. Aargh.

Interview with George Soros: ‘You Need This Dirty Word, Euro Bonds’ Der Spiegel (hat tip Dr. Kevin)

Arizona Border Fence Causes Flood and Self-Destructs—as Predicted ColorLines (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Stop Panicking About Our Long-Term Deficit Problem. We Don’t Have One. James Galbraith, The New Republic (hat tip Tom Adams). Not new but a good concise piece.

Desperate measures for *really* desperate times FT Alphaville

Nevada Joins States Balking at Bank Releases in Foreclosure Deal Bloomberg

Will the Mortgage Mess Meet Too Big To Fail? Ted Kaufman, Huffington Post (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

N.J. judge allows 4 major banks to resume uncontested foreclosure proceedings New Jersey Real Time News (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Ryan Avent and the Ghost of the 1930s Kantoos Economics. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. dearieme

    Today’s “must read” confirms my long-held opinion that the people who designed the Euro were stupid, ignorant, reckless or malevolent. These categories are not mutually exclusive.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Don’t forget optimistic and male.

      Dude, what can happen, dude? Dude, this currency will be so cool, dude.

  2. Philip Pilkington

    CoFEE researchers have put together an interesting Google map outlining the unemployment rate by region and mapping it against the riots that took place. The results are suggestive:

  3. Philip Pilkington

    Regarding the ‘Ghost of the 1930s’ article. The author notes that there were sovereign debt defaults prior to the beginning of the recovery in Europe in the earlier half of the 1930s. This is true, of course. But the way he mentions it seems to imply causality. In fact, a large component was government stimulus programs — Hitler’s being the most dramatic.

  4. Blissex

    «Stop Panicking About Our Long-Term Deficit Problem. We Don’t Have One. James Galbraith, The New Republic»

    «With low inflation, why on earth would the Federal Reserve jack up interest rates? If it did, mortgages would go even more massively into default, stocks and bonds and real estate would again crash, so the growth rate could never be achieved.»

    Hahhhh this is funny. This is precisely the Greenspan + Bernanke argument that “prosperity” (for some…) comes from asset market pump-and-dump bubbles inflated via loose monetary policy.

    JamesG’s whole argument is predicated on ZIRP. It is one of the most powerful arguments for ZIRP I have ever seen: indeed if ZIRP has no downsides, free credit is fantastic, why ever should TBTF banks and their servant the USA government be denied free credit? ZIRP has worked so well for Japan…

    There are much arguments than JamesK’s that are not based on ZIRP for the next 30 years.

    The best summary of the 1980-2010 bear economy is still this:

    bullbust says…
    The state of received wisdom (as elucidated by various actors) 2004-2007.
    There is no bubble (various Fed Research papers)
    Fed Chairman:
    There is no bubble, we have any number of studies which say so. [ we can always claim we never heard about the NINA loans blasted 24×7 on the radio, news and internet] And we don’t know what a bubble is, we only know about the busts.
    Economists (99.9% of them)
    What bubble? Rational Homo economicus cannot be an economic actor in a bubble.
    Economist Jim Hamilton:
    I redefine the term bubble, and according to the new definition, this is not a bubble.
    Economist Brad Delong;
    I think there is no bubble, even though all the data says there is no bubble. I like my feet in both camps, so that when the no bubble crowd is proved wrong, I wont be.
    Buy, or you’ll be priced out. The Fed, the govt, and all the economists state there is no bubble
    Stock Market:
    If there is a bubble, the Green-bum put will bail us out.
    Wall Street pigmen:
    We better take the loot in this bubble and run before it all comes down. The govt will do the cleanup. Greenspan has stated that this is the official policy of the Fed, and Bernanke has no balls to change it.
    Economists Roubini, Volcker, Dean Baker:
    This house of financial chicanery is going to come down and it will end in tears.
    Jim Rogers, Buffet:
    Invest in anticipation of a collapse in housing and the dollar, and the middle class getting screwed by inflation.
    Middle-class pre-bubble owners:
    Stratospheric housing prices are great, because we get free money. It is a great thing that given todays prices, we cannot buy the house we live in, with our current income. (just read the comments on this very blog by the boomer middle-class on housing topics). Roubini et. al. are chicken littles.
    Gold nuts and Austrians
    Beware, there is going to be inflation, as all this debt cannot be paid. Buy gold.
    State of received wisdom today, by the same actors
    Banks are bust. Did’nt we tell you we only know busts? We need to bail them out. Bail out the banks, and we wont have to change anything. We can repeat this bubble. And we will never ever mention that we created this bubble with our mop-up-bubble policy, or that there was anything wrong with what we did. If we admit it the bubble con game will be over. How will we serve the pigmen then?
    Fed Chairman:
    There is no inflation, we have any number of studies which says core inflation is what matters and even that is overstated. [ we can always claim we never heard bread and milk prices, or metals]
    Economists (99.9% of them)
    How does rational Homo economicus become an economic actor in a bubble? We have never seen this before, it cannot be explained.
    Economist Jim Hamilton:
    There would have been no bubble in a free market. It is all because of the GSEs.
    Economist Brad Delong;
    Inflate, inflate. It may be unjust and arbitrary, but its better than having the system break down. If the system breaks, it is our economic theory, on which the system is based, that will get discredited. And I want a Fed post one day.
    Buy,prices are at the bottom. Buy now or you’ll be priced out. The Fed, the govt, and all the economists state ther is no bubble
    Stock Market:
    buy, buy, buy. The Green-bun put is here. Buy, so that we can dump it on you.
    Wall Street pigmen:
    You better bail us out. If you don’t, we’ll bring the whole house down. That’s an empty threat, but you don’t have the balls to call us on it, and, Bernanke is our bitch anyway.
    Economists Roubini, Volcker, Dean Baker:
    Told you so.
    Jim Rogers, Buffet:
    Told you so, and if you listened, you would have minted money.
    Middle-class pre-bubble owners:
    Inflate, inflate, inflate. We are so stupid that we think its good for us.
    Gold nuts and Austrians;
    Even we can’t believe you would be that stupid, that it makes us seem smart in comparison.
    Posted by: bullbust | Link to comment | Feb 29, 2008 at 07:49 AM

    1. aet

      No, you are entirely wrong, and have mis-apprehended what the people you claim to summarize have said.

      And your suggested solution is to curse all of the,am, and to “follow a strongman”?

      1. aet

        Oh I see, you think it’s “funny”… but i see nop humnoiur, only you trying to depress other people.. and to ruin their happiness.

        You ought to work harder, and love more.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How does rational Homo economicus become an economic actor in a bubble? We have never seen this before, it cannot be explained


      Maybe they are just bad actors?

      Perhaps their agents are the ones to blame for not landing them better roles?

  5. aet

    My personal view is that “happy people don;t willingly fight nor support wars”.
    And that some powerful “leaders” want peiople to support a war, so therefore the public must be made unhappy.

    So general social prosperity for those ‘leaders” is in fact the ‘enemy’ of their attempt to obtain public support a war.

    They have certainly spent enough money lately to be ready for a war, even if the public is not:

    How much has been spent? Who knows, the US Government doe not seem to care very much about accounting for that. Unlike Social Security or health care.

    You know, stuff that increases people’s happiness…..

    1. skippy

      IDK since McNamara it seems America is happy_if_the world is subservient (gee America is great) or a high body count is recorded for that day.


      1. aet

        Oz is a long way both culturally and physically/psychically from the USA; you guys seem much happier than the USians, what with having “No worries” and all.

        FWIW, I think that people are not as happy as they should be, all things considered. It seems to me that there is a lot of self-inflicted misery going around.

        I suppose that politicians have difficulty building careers if people are already happy and satisfied.

        I mean, who would need politicians at all if people did not have problems? But of course, we do have problems, that’s the way it is in any society.

        Isn’t it? So imho there’s no reason to be particularly pissed off, when comparing today’s doings with the memories of yesterday’s.

        We need better politicians, it is true: but to achieve that, we must first ourselves become better people. Or at least, am make the effort to be so; and, as we are talking politics, what “better people” specifically means in this context, is “better people” in how we act with respect to, and in respect of, others.

        A word to the “individualists”: the most ‘individualistic’ person is and has always been the bold and heartless criminal, who cares nothing for others at all, in any respect. Those people who decry ‘socialism’ and its effect on society would do well to reflect on that fact.

        1. craazyman

          with all that beer, all that land, all that good surf, and all those hot aussie chicks, what the heck do they have to worry about?

          except things they invent in their own minds. ecce homo

          cowabunga! can’t wait to drop down an 8 foot glassy wall on Bells Beach. I Hope I’m sober. :)

  6. Stefan

    The interview with Soros is remarkably clear-eyed and informative, and one really has to wonder why can’t journalists in America conduct interviews this well.

  7. ambrit

    Just to inform; my computer went into anti-phishing mode when I linked to the Kantoos site. Fun article, but a little light. The trope is well known though; History may not repeat, but it does rhyme.

  8. LeeAnne

    So, we had a false default crisis, now a false deficit crisis, followed by a 12-man dictatorship (only for a few months -how harmful could that be?), headed by John Kerry who is openly supporting another bank. This one would make a buck off of every dime spent in the name of creating desperately needed jobs, and with no mention of how banker ‘investment’ profits will be reinvested; kept circulating exclusively for hiring and training American citizens, and investing in US TSY bonds, maybe?

    from the Soros interview. As informed a comment on the S&P downgrade as we’re likely to see.

    SPIEGEL: Do you think the US deserved the recent downgrade by Standard & Poor’s?

    Soros: Probably not. This decision was the attempt by the rating agencies to reinvent themselves as anticipating rather than responding to changes that have occurred. So they are really basing that downgrade on the expectation that the political process will not provide the solution. Judging such political developments is a very new role for the rating agencies, though.

    SPIEGEL: As an investor, do you listen to the rating agencies?

    Soros: Well, I do not, but many other investors do.

    SPIEGEL: The credit rating agencies are accused of exacerbating the crisis. Do you think the role of the rating agencies in the financial system needs to be scaled back?

    Soros: I do not have an answer to that.

    SPIEGEL: There are no alternatives.

    Soros: Frankly. It is an unsolved problem in my mind

    And, frankly, I would like to say that the S&P downgrade was a false flag government endorsed financial terrorist act. In plain view.

    1. craazyman

      either that or a bunch of bone heADS.

      did anyone ever correlate the rise in the MBA and CFA programs and total stupidity in financial analysis.?

      You’d have a hard time separating the two curves. I’m thinking an r-squared of 1.00.

      My guess is boneheads.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      These are the ratings possible for a species:

      Very Stupid.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You tend to forget things after having been told to either tell 1,001 interesting tales or be terminated.

          Now, that’s what you would call tale risk.

    3. Typing Monkey

      Also from the interview:

      That is why you need to establish fiscal rules that will ensure the solvency of every member. This should make the euro bond acceptable to German voters. Europe needs a fiscal authority that has not only financial but also political legitimacy.

      If I recall, the original “Stability Pact” was changed to a “Stability and Growth Pact” to enable the countries to run their deficits (even after having cheated to get into the Euro in the first place).

      I think Soros is a little off here–the European cuntries are going never going to maintain any fiscal restraint until they are forced to. German largesse will simply give them a little more rope, but it’s not going to change anything in the longer term.

      People should also stop thinking of Germany as a powerhouse–it’s better off than some of its neighbours, but it has its own set of financial and demographic problems that are going to get much worse over time (irrespective of the rest of Europe)

      I think a (more or less worldwide) Great Depression redux is pretty well inevitable at this point, no matter what any of the actors do. It’d be a bit more comforting if there were some indications that someone, somewhere is making some kind of preparations for it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Once they realize it’s inevitable, people are going to want to know what caused it.

        Better keep them distracted with some money-from-the-sky scheme. There will be jobs. Those in charge of your money know how to handle this.

        No need to change the pilot.

    4. Alex

      Another bit from the interview which intrigued me:

      …financial markets have a very safe way of predicting the future. They cause it. And the markets have decided that America is going to see a recession…

      What market movements have taken place which guarantee there is going to be a further recession? (Not that I doubt it, I just don’t see how he’s inferring it from the market…)

      1. Typing Monkey

        Just a guess, but:

        1. Very low P/E, P/FCF yields on large caps
        2. Market trading below 50 day moving averages (this is from a friend–I don’t use technical indicators, and I don’t understand them–just regurgitating)
        3. Treasury yields indicating deflation (or a huge bubble in treasurys)
        4. Poor housing start numbers, high unemployment numbers/jobless claims, poor manufacturing index numbers,


  9. Foppe

    Brilliant: “Role reversal as Wall Street blames Washington for economic woes
    (Blah article otherwise though)

    Usually, Washington points the finger at Wall Street for some financial tomfoolery. But now some Wall Street commentators say Washington bears some responsibility for the wild markets over the past several weeks.
    They argue the wild swings started right after Congress finished wrangling over extending the federal debt ceiling. Then, after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating for US debt because of the politics involved in reaching any future agreement, the markets got really extreme – dropping 623 points in one day. The result: many investors say Washington’s behavior had something to do with raising the level of angst.

    “I talked to a lot of financial consultants and investors on a one-on-one basis and most feel the way it was played out was almost Machiavellian, and it created a lot of uncertainty and volatility that was not needed,” says Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at D.A. Davidson in Lake Oswego, Ore. “There is a considerable amount of blame resulting from Washington’s misbehavior.”

  10. Jim Haygood

    ‘China will achieve a “soft landing” even as growth moderates after the government tightened monetary policy, the Conference Board said as its main indicator for the economy rose.’

    Yeah, right!

    Like unicorns, soft landings are a staple of the literature, but are rarely observed in the real world.

    Perhaps 1986 and 1994 could be cited as US soft landings. But the current macro backdrop doesn’t resemble either of those set-ups.

    Hong Kong’s fantastically volatile housing market is a barometer for the mainland, and it’s pointing down. Look out below!

  11. Typing Monkey

    OK, so the government is trying to prop up housing prices in a hopeless attempt to save the banks’ balance sheets, and now it wants to subsidize buyers (via a new fannie mae-like institution)so that they can buy homes.


    The government would no longer guarantee their financial health, as in the past, but would continue to backstop the mortgage-backed securities they issue using loans made by private banks.

    The gov’t guarantee the first time was for a negligible amount, actually–the market just deemed it too big to fail (an “impicit” guarantee), and treated the comapny accordingly.

    The firms spent decades developing a market in which investors worldwide can buy and sell securities backed by U.S. home loans, and administration officials don’t want to jeopardize it.

    In addition, officials don’t want to punish the thousands of Fannie and Freddie employees who have specialized knowledge about the mortgage market and had nothing to do with the poor business decisions top executives made in the run-up to the financial crisis.


    1. LeeAnne

      It’s chilling to see the entire US bankster/government/judicial joined against American citizens, just like they have been joined in support of outsourcing everything citizens need to exist.

      Although banks would be able to make any home loans they wanted, only those that met federal standards would be eligible to be included in securities assembled by Fannie, Freddie or successor companies. And only those securities would have a government guarantee.

      They are clearly working on preserving this horrifying scheme for globalization and outsourcing our personal property rights which is the same as ELIMINATING our property rights.

      Wall Street has not earned the right to take over this business. On the contrary, they’ve proven their absolute venality, incompetence and unworthiness to be permitted to continue in this business. The people need the body of real estate law established over hundreds of years. That law needs to be reestablished, and looters arrested and punished.

      The scheme as it exists now works for a global banking crony cult system that has proved only one thing; its destructiveness. It has destroyed everything people need for relationship, community, livelihood, business opportunity and rule of law.

      A banking system that has eliminated and seeks to permanently eliminate hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs for professional real estate and securities advisers for the people who buy, sell and invest in residential homes must be forced out of the residential real estate business.

      Eliminated is a professional class that has traditionally acted as a brake between creators of investment schemes (investment bankers) and the investors and consumers for whom money circulates through banks.

      It is this elimination of opportunities for developing American professionals for work in their own communities that is one of the most egregious harms caused by the securitization scheme. And it has been proven fraudulent.

      Who can support the perpetuation of this system?

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: Who can support the perpetuation of this system?

        The people with the power? Who else matters?

        The US has spent the last 50+ years consolidating (centralizing) power into the hands of fewer and fewer people. The result is crony-capitalism / applied-socialism. So, what else matters except what the owners of the government and media want?

  12. K Ackermann

    I don’t know why Rick Perry alone gets to call for Texas secession. I think it should be a national referendum.

    I know which way I’d vote.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s probably a mutant gene that causes some people to monopolize resources that they can’t possibly consume in 1,000 years.

      It’s interesting that man is the only animal to have that problem.

      1. ambrit

        Ravens and Crows are notorious speculators in commodities. (They’ll pick up anything shiny and carry it back to the nest.)

    1. ScottS

      Asperger’s syndrome all the way.

      And what’s wrong with Dubai? Isn’t that already the Libertarian’s paradise?

    2. Anonymous Jones

      What a fantastic link. Thank you!

      I would be so excited if this could actually happen.

      I know, I know, they will come up with a million and one reasons why it failed *other than* the truth that their ideas are unworkable dead-ends and have no place with actual living, breathing human beings (rather than the theoretical creatures they think exist somewhere and look awfully like humans), but still, the awesomeness of seeing this crumble in abject failure would be like a schadenfreudegasm of epic proportions.

      1. Mark P.

        Schadenfreudegasm, huh?

        I like it. Though this whole world looks like it’s going to be one big schadenfreudegasm soon enough.

    3. ChrisPacific

      ‘Details says the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”‘

      Yeah, that’s going to end well.

  13. Foppe

    Merkel and Sarkozy want European “finance ministry” run by the President of the EU. They also want the member states to adopt a constitutional amendment requiring them to have a balanced budget.

    (Also, in sept, they will discuss a transaction tax on ‘financial transactions’ (not specified further) inside the EU.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Stunningly, Merkel also said that the existing size of the EFSF is sufficient — no need to expand it.

      This comes one week after Trichet entered the market, cannonball fashion, to hoover up Spanish and Italian debt. He doesn’t even have signed-and-delivered parliamentary authority to do it yet — he’s just taking a Bernankian flyer, in the belief that no one will stop him during a crisis.

      But today, Trichet’s bazooka was revealed to be nothing but a toy water pistol. Italy alone has €1.9 trillion of debt outstanding. The EFSF is nominally €440 billion, but isn’t fully funded yet, and part of the sum is already committed.

      DO THE MATH — it’s ugly!

      Y’all know the drill for tomorrow: sell eurozone bonds till your fingers bleed from punching the Enter key. We can break the bank of Europe, the same way Soros broke the bank of England.

      1. Valissa

        Economic darwinism in action… what qualities make one financially or politically “fittest”? Only time will tell (personal biases notwithstanding)… heheheheh…

        1. aet

          I think that the quality of paying one’s bills in full and on time, over time, might be the first one they look for.

        2. skippy

          Valissa said “Economic Darwinism”.

          Please, pretty please, read:

          Spencer read with excitement the original positivist sociology of Auguste Comte. A philosopher of science, Comte had proposed a theory of sociocultural evolution that society progresses by a general law of three stages. Writing after various developments in biology, however, Spencer rejected what he regarded as the ideological aspects of Comte’s positivism, attempting to reformulate social science in terms of evolutionary biology. One might broadly describe Spencer’s sociology as socially Darwinistic (though strictly speaking he was a proponent of Lamarckism rather than Darwinism).

          Skippy…Ok smoking jacket ON, pipe INSERTED, now to combine the cosmos into one unified 19th century view…all in the back of my head! Gag, Barf, Stick sharps into eyes, self inflicted lobotomy! Is it drink O:Clock yet!

          1. wb

            Well said, skippy. I had that same thought. American Christian Fundamentalists think they hate Darwin, but really, they should hate Spencer, but they’re too uneducated to understand who the real villain is/was.

          2. skippy

            Economic Lamarckism, the ultimate expression of economic inheritance…Duh!

            Theories of Evolution

            Based on Essentialism:*
            Transmutationism (saltationism)
            Based on population biology:
            Darwinian evolution





            Medieval theologians, newly exposed to Aristotle’s philosophy, applied hylomorphism to Christian doctrines such as the transubstantiation of the Eucharist’s bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. Theologians such as Duns Scotus developed Christian applications of hylomorphism.

            Skippy…time to self medicate…ahhh…Hefeweizen w/ a thin slice of orange.

            Words, meanings, ideology’s, re-masticated, into an almost indescribable mush, every bite, furthering the convolution of it all. What dead persona shall I evoke today…too give my self meaning, reassurance, fill the dark with light…yet the universe is brightly lit…my eyes are just unsuited…to it…yet.

          3. ambrit

            Dear skippy;
            Lamarckism could be successfully melded with sociology. Replace genes with memes, voila, you got Bertrand Russell getting it off with H. G. Wells! “Mind at the end of its’ tether.”

          4. Valissa

            Reading the attempt of an explanation of the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ was an experience! It always amuses me when people try to overanalyze a pithy or poetic turn of phrase. I used the phrase snarkily… fittest-ness is in the eyes of the beholder… it mirrors one’s worldview so it has a indeterminite meaning rather than a fixed one.

            Personally I enjoy the various 19th century worldviews for what they are. Windows into another place of mind where cultural beliefs and assumptions were very different. Ideas and beliefs have their own histories. A hundred years from now people will be laughing at some of the ideas we think are important today.

            btw, not sure what drink o’clock is where you are, but I’m drinking some very nice 16 yo Aberlour. The Survival of the Fittest theme needs to be approached with the proper spirits!

          5. skippy


            You are playful (past readings-me) , although I find your response deceptively defensive ie.

            1. Reading the attempt of an explanation of the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ was an experience!

            You infer meanings like…’attempt of an explanation”. Me here: A very dismissive, yet unsubstantiated observation, personal dictum.

            2. It always amuses me when people try to overanalyze a pithy or poetic turn of phrase.

            Me here: humor directed at individuals that try to use cognitive thought processes, to separate belief from empirical fact.

            3. I used the phrase snarkily… fittest-ness is in the eyes of the beholder.

            Me: Understood the snark, but, the fitness in the eyes of the beholder, sorry at a loss, see pedophiles thingy.

            4. it mirrors one’s worldview so it has a indeterminite meaning rather than a fixed one.

            Me: ones a lonely number **one** equals **I** like Hubert in his thinking chair, wondering how to pay his bills.

            5. Personally I enjoy the various 19th century worldviews for what they are. Windows into another place of mind where cultural beliefs and assumptions were very different.

            Me: some of the most insightful minds this species has had, payed their bills, by arming or designing weapons of war, or by in the lessor case, providing their masters with the impetus to act upon their usage.

            Skippy…Darwin was largely non political, hell he with held publication, knew the ramifications of his observations. Hubert and his ilk were all to eager and relished a chance to please their masters…kinda like Hannity et al…self professed boot licker to Murderoch…eh…same shit different day…sigh.

          6. Valissa

            Monsieur Skippy… first you plead with me to read the Wiki definition and then you scold me for for being “deceptively defensive” in my response to you. Then you deconstruct my comments to your own viewpoint. WTF? I was under the impression this was pleasant banter and wordplay. Oh, well…

            “The endeavor to persist in its own being is the essence of the individual thing”
            – Benedictus de Spinoza

          7. skippy

            There is no ambiguity between the two authors of which we speak. One would have gladly worked for Murdock, the other not, one made critical observations, the other spoke of ether.

            The wiki link was out of convenience, if such study’s delight you, please seek further. You might be surprised once enough body of information provides a clearer path. Humanity suffers much because of it all.

            Skippy…If we are too curse out loud why not use the original authors names, not sully others…things that make me go ummm in this world.

          8. Skippy


            From 1848 to 1853 he served as sub-editor on the free-trade journal The Economist, during which time he published his first book, Social Statics (1851), which predicted that humanity would eventually become completely adapted to the requirements of living in society with the consequential withering away of the state.


            Skippy…***From 1848 to 1853 he served as sub-editor on the free-trade journal The Economist***-see above^^^^^^politicians = economists = armchair ideologists = whom pays them to sit in arm chair and write shit…too justify their god /deity granted lofty trickle down towers upon which to steer the coarse of humanity…shez.

          9. attempter

            American Christian Fundamentalists think they hate Darwin, but really, they should hate Spencer, but they’re too uneducated to understand who the real villain is/was.

            I’d say it’s the other way around. They love Spencer, AKA Social Darwinism (needless to say, radically anti-Christian*, but who ever accused today’s fundamentalists of actually being Christians?), but hate the biological aspect of Darwinism.

            *I once read about some secular conservatives who wanted to rehabilitate Darwinism in general among the conservative movement, toward trying again at arguing that Social Darwinism is a law of nature. Last I heard they weren’t making any headway vs. the Religious Right. Those secularists just don’t understand politics.

  14. Susan the other

    “Don’t Let Fiscal Brakes Stall Global Recovery – Christine Legarde” OK. I agree. Fiscal policy shouldn’t be left to a body of nitwits who think they are democratic when in fact they are idiotic. Here’s a solution: Sombody start the “NO ONE” party and lets all observe the beast starving. Let us all go to the polls and write in NO ONE as our congress person or senator. It might catch on. Just think, after several election cycles, there will not be critical mass for fake democracy in DC. Then, we can either do a controlled demolition of Congress – a la the Twin Towers – or turn it into really expensive condos.

    1. aet

      I disagree.

      ANY fiscal policy is better than NO fiscal policy, every time, in every case.

      Using only tax or monetary policy while refusing to use fiscal policy is simply foolish, IMHO.

  15. Susan the other

    George Soros on the Euro Bond: Dan Ackroyd on SNL did a skit 25 years ago about how the US was the buyer of last resort, how the US was staggering under the weight of all those dollars circulating worldwide, and how the US was a tottering giant. Didn’t Europe play us for all we were worth back then? And still our NATO pact is meaningless. We just say it is easier to do it ourselves than deal with them. The Euros will not do our bidding. Even if it is their bidding. Go figure. I’m not anti-Euro. I’m very pro Euro. It’s an emotional thing with me. Part of it is our fault because (I think) we interfered with their good social politics because we were becoming neo-con-ideologists in 1980. We should have adjusted our own politics and let them find their political way. Because now, the thing getting in the way of a smooth solution IS EURO FISCAL (POLITICAL) POLICY. Hindsight is 100% but 100% too late.

    I wish the interviewer had asked Soros about his opinion that all the countries on earth could just cancel each other’s debt and we would almost all have clean slates. But Soros lives by debt. As do all speculators.

    Soros said: The money from the US/Fed rescue has not been spent on productivity. This is going to be a sinister catch phrase. Watch. Because “productivity” is hard to come by in a world without “growth.” At least it is going to be very hard to define.

    At least Soros was forthcoming enough to state that the Euro is the alternative to the dollar. It is planned to be (because even Dan Ackroyd knew we were drowning in our own dollars 25 years ago) and we are in the process of carrying the plan out. Much of the sturm and drang must therefore be theater. But the US people are still suffering by the hands of the unconscionable planners.

    One thing we should do is make Europe responsible for their own fucking oil.

    1. aet

      Perhaps Mr Soros said “productivity” but really meant on “productive factors”: that is to say, that whatever the stimulus was spent on, it was not spent on labour, or even machinery.

      For it’s clear that whatever it bought, the stimulus did not buy much, or enough, labour.

      Or in other words, the stimulus has not lead to any increase in the aggregate employment of labour for the production of real (ie substantial) things and values.

      But the numbers won’t be in for a while, will they? So it’s arguable at present.

      1. Nathanael

        The stimulus bought some labor — there were a few road crews out repairing roads.

        But not NEARLY enough. Hell, not even enough to repair all the roads.

  16. VietnamVet

    The banks in America, Ireland and Iceland in the bubble made bets that went very bad. The taxpayers in these countries are being forced to make the bets good. Icelanders have refused. The Irish are emigrating. Americans are having a Tea Party.

    Anything beyond this is propaganda and self interest. The American economy will not heal until the housing marketing is going again. The bad mortgages have to be wiped off the books; otherwise, the malaise will last for decades. A bank has to fail. Somebody has to go to jail.

    In Europe the recipients of the bad money have to be forgiven or shoved out of the Eurozone to survive on their own. Simple. How much suffering is required before the Elite are forced to do what is right; take a haircut and pay taxes for a civil society.

    1. Susan the other

      Vietnam, please tell me this: if the homeowners whose mortgages have become unbearable get some slack or forebearance, what do the rest of us get?

      1. Susan the other

        Please do not forget that “politics” and “government” is a voluntary thing. If we are all not agreeing and if we are all not benefiting there is no politics and there is no government. Right now it looks like we really have nothing. Nothing at all.

      2. aet

        It’s none of your business.
        The provisions of mortgages are already statutorily defined, so what’s one statutory modification more or less to you personally?

        Why at do you care at all? Why ought you personally “get” anything from somebody forgiving the debts of another, or being forced to, by laws duly enacted?

        You are a stranger to their business – aren’t you?

        1. aet

          And the proposition, that obedience to the laws be purely and always voluntary, is a most dangerous one.

          That proposition seems to cut at the very basis of what “law” is taken to mean, as a matter of fact, in any society.

    2. Mark P.

      VietnamVet wrote: ‘The American economy will not heal until the housing marketing is going again. The bad mortgages have to be wiped off the books; otherwise, the malaise will last for decades.’

      Well, America had better move on and find some new angles, then, because the housing market is not going to ‘heal.’

      To state the obvious: in the early 2000s, to compensate for the fact that overall income from mainstream American jobs was shrinking because of automation, internet efficiencies, globalization, etc, Washington allowed Wall Street to blow the biggest bubble in history in the FIRE sector. The bubble wasn’t only about bankers’ bonuses. Nor even ordinary Americans using their homes as ATM machines and so forth. Legions of construction workers, real estate agents, assessors and such held jobs and received paychecks they wouldn’t have otherwise.

      Now what we see is the reality. And the jobs are fewer: much fewer in the FIRE sector, and even at the banks finally tens of thousands are getting the chop. This is the reality and that radically artificial housing market we had is no more, has ceased to be, has expired and gone to meet its maker, is a stiff, has shuffled off this mortal coil, and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

      Primary fact is that too much housing inventory exists.

      Firstly, there are too many foreclosed properties out there, many more in shadow inventory, and at least as many to come as 1/4 to 1/3 of all Americans’ mortgages go underwater and many of those Americans decide the game isn’t worth the candle.

      Secondly, there’s a massive demographic overhang we’d have had to confront even without the bubble and the bust. There’s not just too much housing in America, but too many boomers who now or soon will be looking to sell their homes for something else as they retire. Except there aren’t enough millenials/Generation Xers to buy that many boomers’ homes, even if the crash hadn’t occurred and that younger generation all still had checks rolling in.

      And then, finally, the chain-of-title problems from MERS etc. have only begun to play out in the tiniest way.

      Nope. The U.S. housing market as we knew it cannot be resuscitated.

      ‘A bank has to fail. Somebody has to go to jail.’

      Pretty to think so. Oh, I’m just kidding. I think these latter notions are highly doable, as compared to the more intractable housing market problems above, and will happen.


    1. skippy

      Isn’t suing a govermint backed entity an act of aggression or a direct attack on the tax payers…cough…citizens of the USA.

      Skippy..Orgies of debt…every thing…is warm and moist in the dark (material fact, disgorgement of intent, etc)…one unclean participant…and all end up in the clinic…eh.

  17. reslez

    Re: Desperate measures for *really* desperate times

    Right, so the solutions suggested by Mr Garcia appear to be:

    More debt

    More debt

    More debt

    I’m not saying there are no small businesses that wouldn’t mind a low interest Fed loan, but the number isn’t very big. Businesses won’t expand until they have customers beating down their doors. With aggregate demand so low these loans will not have many takers aside from imprudent gamblers.

    Households are deleveraging and they are 70% of the economy. Until their debt is paid off or written down there will be no economic expansion in the real economy. The economy of imprudent gamblers, however, seems to be doing fine.

  18. you can't make this up

    Man Charged With ‘Using’ Treasury Secretary’s Account to Pay Off Mortgage

    As the nation’s financial system collapsed and millions of Americans struggled to pay off their home mortgages in 2009, a Maryland man now under investigation allegedly wiped away his $353,000 mortgage debt by convincing financial giant CitiGroup to accept a money order purportedly backed by then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

  19. Jon-Rainer

    Glenn Greenwald on Ron Paul’s candidacy:

    “GOP primary voters are supporting a committed anti-war, anti-surveillance candidate who wants to stop imprisoning people (dispropriationately minorities) for drug usage; Democrats, by contrast, are cheering for a war-escalating, drone-attacking, surveillance-and-secrecy-obsessed drug warrior.”

    This is why the media has made Ron Paul a non-person. It exposes the partisan myth as a sham.

    1. Mark P.


      So Vietnamvet — and all the rest of us — may be getting our wish for bank failures sooner rather than later.

      I hope I don’t live to regret my enthusiasm here. Still, how much more collapse of law and society can we get before they order martial law, which would arguably be better than what we have now?

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