Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SAR #10180

“Today I weep for my country.” Senator Robert Byrd.

Facts Not In Evidence:  The Roberts Court – ignoring established law and settled precedent, as is becoming common – has decided that we'll all be safer walking around with handguns tucked in our belts. Works pretty well in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, no?

On the Spot Quiz:  How many Americans are currently targeted for assassination by their own government? (a) Just one, Anwar al-Alwaki. (b) Three. (c) Dozens. (d) How many jelly beans are there in the jar?

More Chanting, More Ranting:  It's hard to tell which is more offensive: That Rick Santelli thinks that stopping government spending is the cure to anything, or that thousands of the unthinking instantly agree.

Privilege:  The most important lesson to be learned from the 9-0 Supreme Court decision in the Skilling/”honest services" case has nothing to do with the Court telling our corporate masters that boardroom theft and managerial looting of companies is acceptable, but rather that if you are among the privileged class in the US, there is no such thing as settled law. The law is malleable and can be changed to serve the rich and powerful.

Millstones:  June has become the deadliest month so far in the Great Afghan Adventure.  Had enough yet?

Third Time's A Charm:  First Quarter's GDP has been revised downward again, to 2.7% from 3.0% which was itself marked down from 3.2%. The quote:  “The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected decelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, a downturn in residential fixed investment, a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a larger decrease in state and local government spending.” Let's just admit it's a guess and move on.

Terminology: One no longer gets evicted, one “experiences a transition from homeownership.”

Nutshell:  American depressions mark the peaks in the extremes of inequality between the rich and the rest.  We are seeing the third such peak in our history and are likely to soon see its inevitable denouement, our third Great Depression.

Out of the Mouth of Economists: “Economics is hard!” It must be, 'cause they sure as hell can't do it very well.

Plus ça change... How putting Petraeus in charge in Afghanistan does not change the failing counterinsurgency strategy – after all, Petraeus takes credit for the current version of COIN. After nine years we haven't figured out a working strategy. But then, over the last few hundred years no one else has, either. We don't know how to “win” and we dare not lose, so staying and staying and more staying seems in order. Let me know how that works out.

Fine Print: The US economy's rise – and subsequent fall – was due to massive amounts of bad loans, bad investments, bad bets. Eventually some one must take a loss on these bad investments. The financial overlords are pretty sure they can inflict the damage on the working classes – and make more and more of them the unemployed, the unwashed, the unnecessary. If this begins to sound familiar, it should.

6 comments:

Dink said...

"We don't know how to “win” and we dare not lose, so staying and staying and more staying seems in order. Let me know how that works out."

It does seem more ego-based than safety-based. Its just so pathetic.

Anonymous said...

@Out of the Mouth of Economists:
Hey Kartik, look on the bright side: the unwashed masses commenting on the game, that's already one half of 'bread and circuses'.

Anonymous said...

"It's hard to tell which is more offensive: That Rick Santelli thinks that stopping government spending is the cure to anything, or that thousands of the unthinking instantly agree."

So increasing government spending is the cure? And we'll pay for that by a) printing money, b) raising taxes, c) both a & b, d) sacrificing a small monkey to the god Baal, or e) tucking our heads between our legs and smoochin' our collective Keynesian butts' g'bye.

I'm all for humorous banter, but let's keep those brain cells humming while we're at it, eh?

-- aitrader

CKMichaelson said...

airtrader - Curing unemployment by throwing more people out of work is not going to raise more tax revenue and lower the debt. Someday we all might come to realize that neither the deficit hawks nor the borrow-and-never-pay-it-back crowd have the solution.

Obviously some more rational economic arrangement and a more rational system of production and distribution are needed - but the vested interests (both the greedies and the gimmies) represent extremes that are not the answer.

Add in that global economics cannot be based on perpetual growth and the dimension of the problem become visible.

Solutions wanted; but austerity grinding the many into poverty for the benefit of the few doesn't strike me as progress.

ckm

Anonymous said...

D'accord ck. So another cycle of tax-print-spend. Sustainable?

Guillotines and cake then?

-- aitrader

CKMichaelson said...

airtrader -
Okay, but can I have the cake first?

ckm