Saturday, June 13, 2009

SAR #9164/Weekender

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. - Thomas Paine

The Far Right, and Very Wrong: June 11, 2009. Stephen Johns, Guard. June 6, 2009. Dr. George Tiller. Physician April 19, 1995. 168 Oklahomans. March 29, 1966. Martin Luther King, Minister. It's striking how little has changed. Today, as is tradtional, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment, with predictable results and subsequent wringing of hands.

Go Ahead and Die: The basic issue in the heathcare debate is not whether or not the sick should be treated, obviously some should be, some not. The real issue is how much profit is required before healing the sick or comforting the afflicted is undertaken?

Tree/Woods: If the US does not acknowledge killing civilians with Predator drones, are they still dead? If the US denies civilian deaths in Afghanistan, will the war end sooner? If the US does not permit pictures of the tortured to be published, are the tortured made whole? Are the torturers? Are we?

Stag Party: Just as everybody else is trying to get out of TARP, Hartford Insurance asks for $3.4 billion. Bad timing, or desperation?.

Flight to Safety: In the good old days, foreigners accounted for nearly all new Treasury bonds. In the last year that has declined to account for but half the total, with the rest being taken up by Americans fleeing to safety. It is doubtful that the unemployed Americans can continue to buy up the increasing stack of paper being printed in Washington. Who will? At what price?

Carting Horses: Pakistani energy consumption declined significantly in the 2008-9 fiscal year due to recuced economic activity. Or was it the other way around?

Open to Revision: Pemex now says its Ku Maloob Zaap field is now producing 830,000 barrels a day and will continue at that level for the next 7 years. Earlier Pemex said that the field would begin to decline next year, but that was not politically acceptable.

With A Straight Face: Diplomats from Canada, Germany, New Zeland and the US maintain that their countries should be credited with the CO2 that is taken up by their bogs and forests, and allowed to increase their CO2 emissions by an equal amount. No wonder the headline reads: "Little progress seen as climate talks head for wrap."

Downhill: Norway's oil production fell 10% from April to May. Nothing to peek at here.

Don't Look, Don't Tell: Pieces of the universe become classified Secret when they enter the atmosphere and burn up. The US military will no longer share information about such natural fireballs with scientists for fear of something or other.

Population Control: Global warming and human destruction of their habitat has reduced the worldwide numbers of reindeer and caribou by 60% over the last 30 years. Sufficient breeding stock remain in zoos to keep Santa supplied.

Wish I'd said: "Among the sciences, there is one little fellow named Ecology, and in time we shall pay him more attention. He teaches us that the total economy of this planet cannot be guided by an efficient rationale of exploitation alone, but that the exploiting part must itself eventually suffer if it too greatly disturbs the balance of the whole (as big beasts would starve, if they succeeded in catching all the little beasts that are their prey."

Old News, Unfortunately: Again scientists report that the Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than expected. The little train that will.

Do As I Say: The Fed has $2.1 trillion in assets supported by $45 billion in capital. Can you spell stress test? if it were a public bank it would fail an audit in the first 15 minutes. The Fed makes Citi look well capitalized. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Cut & Save: If the vultures insist on blabbering about Social Security's unfunded liabilities, simply ship this out of your pocket: A 0.20% FICA increase in 2010 followed by a 0.10% increase in 2011 will do until 2026 - 2036 when a further series of 0.20% increases would be required. That's it. It would provide 100% of scheduled benefits and maintain an actuarial balance for 75 years. Sure, it'll cost you $1.50 extra in 2011. Deal?

CALM: There's a bill currently wandering through Congress that would force the FCC to "preclude commercials from being broadcast at louder volumes than the program material they accompany." Who says Congress is a total waste of time?

Porn O'Graph: Borrower of Last Resort.


Anonymous said...


Actually, that is one of my pet peeves. I hate when the volume of a commercial is much louder than the program.


Anonymous said...

Cut and Save....

No. The inability of your generation and your childrens generation to live within their means is no longer our responsibility. This solution is no different from pouring money into insolvent banks because of a liquidity crisis. Your generations unwillingness to face reality and call a shovel a shovel is neurotic behavior. You rely on faulty logic to enable your on fairy tale to continue. The banks are insolvent and so is social security. Taking more from the productive members to provide to those who are not is not a sane society. You will probably say that humanity is different and we ahve empathy. No. We are all animals.

FICA was never intended for the purposes it has been used for over the past 50 years (i.e. a patronage system for our legislature to purchase your brief attention). If you didn't save and can't take care of yourself; it is your families responsibility to help you out. If they don't want to deal with you than go away.

The younger generations that have been created ahve neither the skill set nor the ability to service the debt structure that you have built up. The social contract is broken and you are on your own.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Anony - Good to see the troops deploying for the generational battle. Nice to know there is no social contract concerning the old and weak in our society

Truth time: There is no 'deficit' looming - it would take a fund for that and there is no fund. FICA is just another tax, the proceeds of which go to the treasury and get spent. It is a clever con.

But if the voters (who by definition are old and getting older) can continue to be bought by politicians with money in hand - and they can- then the transfer of funds from the young and working to the old and indolent will continue.

When that dance stops, when the social contract between the young and healthy and the old and weak is dissolved, so to will be the country.

Besides, there's no real threat; we've dumbed down the younger generation for a reason.

Namke von Federlein said...

Tech note - I think I read $ 1.50 *per week* (in 2011) in the article? That's a whopping $ 78 per year. How can you expect anybody to cough up that kind of cash to save their own country? Do you know how many Disney videos you can rent for that kind of moola?

Anoymous : I would suggest that people who are starving (for some crazy reason known only to themselves) don't 'go away' without trying to kill a bunch of people first. In fact, they will start doing this within 3 days (?) of not eating. Last I heard, the NRA (National Rifle Association) was lobbying for their right to own a gun. Maybe it is a good idea to include a right to own food into the concept? Guns are a human right, food is a privilege? Talk about playing with fire(power)!

Eric Hacker said...

The last time I looked at a 'saving social security is cheap' link it was obvious right up front that the whole house of cards was built on an assumption of relatively robust economic growth. I don't have time to dig through the latest, but if I did I'd look for the assumptions on both economic growth, investments returns, inflation, and for population growth. I imagine they are BAU rosy.

It seems to me that nearly all of the other articles linked from SAR suggest that those assumptions are wrong.

There, I've done some assembly, even if I'm too busy working to do it with the raw data.