Tuesday, January 5, 2016

SAR #16005

We are predetermined to accept the illusion of free will.
Same Old Story, Chapter Eight: 2015, the eighth year since Wall Street killed the economy, was hard all around. Brazil fell into recession. China seems to be coming off the rails. Greece is far from over as are the wars in the Middle East. The eurozone is still together, more or less, but struggling with the basic idea of open borders. And in the US the recovery is still recovering. The global economy, according to the IMF, is the New Mediocre – which is more optimistic than those who see prolonged stagnation if not depression ahead. The Fed, they're just whistling past the graveyard. They hope. We in the US have done things we should not have done – the QE's and Wall Street bailouts – and have left undone those things we ought to have done – direct stimulus to the real economy, expansion of government programs and massive infrastructure investment to limit and prepare for global warming. The world is empty of demand. The cures are well known and carefully avoided, for fear of disturbing those at the top of the heap.
Say/Do: For over thirty years Big Oil downplayed the threat posed by global warming and paid others to deny it while it undertook measures to prepare its facilities for the inevitable challenges of increased temperatures and rising waters.
One Stop Shopping: In the UK Amazon will offer monthly installment payments to those spending more than £400 at one time. Payments can be spread over two, three or four years depending on the size of the purchase, with a 16.9% interest rate.
Echoes: Black Knight Financial reports that in October US house prices rose for the 42nd consecutive month, with prices now just 5% off their pre-crisis peak. Houses were not affordable then, aren't now.
The A List: The PMI Manufacturing Index for December reported “near stagnation in new orders” and that “backlog orders are contracting sharply”. The ISM Mfg Index, reported “the weakest conditions since July 2009”
The Fine Print, Just Fine: When the Census Bureau published its monthly construction spending report the interesting bit wasn't the actual report (down 0.4% m/m) but a footnote that admitted that all the construction spending data reported for the past decade was “erroneous”. We now return you to your regular programming.
A Little Less Gross: The Fed has cut its 'forecast' for 2015Q4 GDP in half, to 0.7%. It had previously cut it in half to 1.5%...
Defending the Indefensible: After the Saudis executed 47 people as part of a New Year's celebration, Carly Fiorina said, “Saudi Arabia is our ally, despite the fact that they don’t always behave in a way that we condone,” while “Iran is a real and present threat.” Ben Carson suggested that the nuclear deal with Iran had forced the Saudis to kill their own citizens and that “we need to stop doing silly things that promote these kinds of activities.” Saudi Arabia justifies the executions under Sharia law, exactly as their client ISIS does.
The Parting Shot:



Anonymous said...

Yea or Nay/ Mob Rule: the complaints from those leading this rebellion remind me of Lincoln's take on the Southerners and the impossibly of compromise with them.


McMike said...

re mob rule, anonymous. Political conservatism, as it expresses itself, is little more than a rolling temper tantrum - composed from the worst impulses of the id coupled with the darkest fears of the ego - insatiable; lacking memory or self-awareness; vacillating between bitter and boastful; and recognizing no authority except its own incessant chattering neediness.

It does not promote; it opposes. It does not exist without something to define itself against. It alternates between delusional grandiosity and fear-addled victim-hood. It worships the abstract and assassinates the concrete. It does not build; it destroys. It invariably contradicts itself, repeatedly. It hides behind noble ideals to mask the worst of human character and the least of our capacity. It claims to honor prudence while pursing radical re-ordering and recklessness. It glibly ignores or rationalizes mass suffering. It celebrates tearing down traditions, icons, institutions, and individuals. When ascendant, the institutions it does create are monstrosities, which inevitably self-destruct, but only after imposing much hardship and suffering. When in decline, it nurtures grievances and hatches plots. It is never far from violence.

And, as a nation, we have been indulging this "conservatism" for generations. And now, using modern media techniques, some interests have perfected the act of encouraging it.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Extremely well said, McMike. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

the best way to deal with these traitors at malheur is to give them as little attention and as little response as possible.

i know this place…it is awful cold and damp and frigid in the winter…desolate ….. and is furnace in the summer.

the worst response would be to let them become martyrs

michael s

Anonymous said...

Re: direct stimulus to the real economy, expansion of government programs and massive infrastructure investment to limit and prepare for global warming.

Shouldn't this read:

direct stimulus to the real economy (after the corrupt smart-n-savvy people takes their skim first), expansion of government programs (of a corrupt government) and massive infrastructure investment (helping the politically connected corporations) to limit and prepare for global warming.

Seems like everybody lives in a fantasy land that the corrupt system isn't really corrupt as long as the stimulus is of the kind they like.

How do you reduce the grip that the smart-n-savvy people have on society by giving them MORE money?

McMike said...

re martyrs. True conundrum for the cops. They tried that in Waco and Ruby Ridge, and got tired of waiting, since the wingnuts simply used the siege to create living martyrs and a daily IV-drip of glorification.

It doesn't mater what the cops do, the wingnuts will weave into the narrative of glory, oppression, and martyrdom.

I guess the best bet is what they did with Bundy, back off. Except they should use their patience and resources to circle back and make quiet arrests months later.

The cops just don't do patience well. If you are muslim, that means preemptive bombing and entrapment. If you are black, that means shooting first in police confrontations. If you are white hippies, it means provocations and police riots.

If you are heavily armed secessionist white supremacists, I am not sure what it means. Apparently neither are the cops.

McMike said...

re stimulus. Well, perhaps it deserves an asterisk.

But direct-to-infrastructure projects tend to actually create jobs and leave behind tangible if not expensive outcomes. And safety net programs due tend to lead to measurable improvements for the lower 80% of us, with proven positive multiplier effects.

So, to that extent, despite inevitable contract fraud; boondoggles; cost overruns; cronyism; and banking intermediation, front-running, and arbitraging, these tend to be the most efficient government programs, among the alternatives.

The 2009 Recovery Act stimulus, modest as it was, actually led to actual real and measurable work and benefit, including needed highway improvements, solar/energy project activity, and grants to small farmers. Among other benefits.

McMike said...

Re amazon installment plan. Apparently we all missed the obvious Amazon Prime/subprime joke.

Anonymous said...

Informative to compare how the US Gov treated the original owners of land where Bundy built his ranch, land which is suppose to be their land by treaty.