No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
Since my previous update combat operations have concluded for:
- Sgt. Jose M. Cintron Rosado
- Spec. Jose A. Delgado Arroyo
- Lance Cpl. Maung P. Htaik
- Sgt. Michael J. Beckerman
- Cpl. Tevan L. Nguyen
- Sgt. Garrett A. Misener
- Lance Cpl. Kenneth A. Corzine
- Lance Cpl. William H. Crouse IV
- Pfc. Conrado D. Javier Jr.
- Cpl. Eric M. Torbert Jr.
- Lance. Cpl. Jose L. Maldonado
- Cpl. Sean A. Osterman
America hates our wars, military leaders admit they are farcical, yet they receive unconditional support from political leaders. I hope none of the elite press continues with a tone of astonishment at the surly electorate. Leaders have resolutely ignored widespread, passionate public opinion. Kind of makes you pine for the refreshing candor of Dick Cheney, eh?
Do you want to know why it is bad to incite violence? Because it goes out to everyone regardless of their mental health. It reaches the sane and the crazy. It doesn’t discriminate. This is the main reason it’s a bad idea, and it is not a difficult concept to grasp. So in the coming days keep an eye out for those who turn away from acknowledging the plain, obvious fact that vile human beings such as Sarah Palin contributed to the massacre in Arizona. This did not happen in a vacuum, and those who refuse to provide the necessary context are on the side of the violent extremists. It really is that simple.
Not sure if the welcome mat is still out. I hear Miami is nice.
Greg Mitchell’s ongoing coverage of WikiLeaks (emph. in orig.):
Rep. Silvestre Reyes…is challenged on public’s right to know what government is doing. His reason for secrecy? He compares it to a man and wife in their bedroom. “Governments have the same kind of privacy expectations.” Apparently while they are fucking us.
Some news from across the pond.
Matt Taibbi has a new article. He’s one of the very best at painting a picture for his readers. On John Boehner:
His pseudo-acceptance speech on the night in November when Republicans retook the House was brilliant clown theater, a Wayne’s World version of a right-wing political rally. At the very moment when millions of GOP voters were celebrating their ouster of the great socialist enemy Obama in the name of patriotism and liberty, Boehner was tearing up over what an awesome job he had finally scored for himself.Later he quotes Boehner: “If someone I’ve gotten to know on the golf course comes into my office with a good argument, I tend to want to listen” and shortly thereafter writes:
“I’ve spent my whole life…[chokes up]…chasing…[chokes up]…the American dream,” he sniffed. Becoming verklempt, Boehner waved his hands in a “No, I can’t go on” gesture, then went on anyway, as the crowd nonsensically chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
Boehner, in short, has for most of his career been a Bush Republican, i.e., a corporate schmoozer and a remorseless spender of taxpayer money for whom the notion of small government is just something to say when the cameras are on, or when the public money in question might go to poor people or immigrants or other such unlikely golfers.
Ruth Calvo flags the unwillingness of Ben Bernanke to do for the states what he did for Wall Street:
The Fed has stepped in and become the owner of record of much of the financial communities’ self-created toxic debt (quantitative easing) - by buying Treasury bonds that were issued to buy up those toxic assets. That measure gives the creators and owners of toxic assets, the financial houses, the ability to clear their books of bad debt and gain solvency on the surface.Cf. this from bmaz:
Now with state and local governments in deep trouble across the country because of the disaster the financiers have brought on, no similar scrambling is underway to bail out its victims on any level.
Eric Holder and the DOJ cannot possibly find jurisdiction to charge American contractors who torture and murder people in the course and scope of their employment by the US Government abroad, and cannot charge CIA supervisors and OLC lawyers who patently admit to destruction of evidence and conspiracy to commit war crimes; however, the same DOJ is now suddenly able to be so legally creative as to find a path to charging a person under the Espionage Act who is not a US citizen, owed the US no duty under citizenship and treason provisions, committed no act within the jurisdiction of the US and who is a member within the general definition of “press” and who only published purported whistleblower leaks given to him. It is amazing how the DOJ is willing to go out on that “limb” when it wants to, but can never so travel when the interests of justice really demand it to.They reveal themselves by what rouses them to action.
More economics. The Shrill One: “Beyond that, the deficit scare tactics lately have been all about solvency, not mere crowding out; repent, they said, or you’ll turn into Greeeeeece.” He has the brain of an economist but the soul of a blogger.
More from Marshall Auerback on Austeropalooza 2011. Then blogger Democrats Ramshield pointed to a Spiegel article, the translation of which is here. Compare a foreign news outlets coverage of ordinary Americans with the coverage America’s paper of record gives to what Atrios mocks as its “The Lifestyles Of The Not Quite Rich Enough” series.
Admittedly, there had been some decay even before then. Personal savings had fallen from roughly 10% in 1980 and averaged 8% through 1994, then plummeted to a 1% level from mid-2000 to mid-2007. And even that figure is flattering. In 2001, the Bureau of Economic Advisors changed its method for accounting personal savings. Under the old method, the results for that period would have been -0.6%. By contrast, savings rates in the rest of the world from 1980 to 2001 were higher, with no sharp mid-1990s decay, save in Canada, which is closely integrated with the United States. For instance, France averaged 15%; Germany, 12%; Japan 13%.
The rationalizations were impressive. First was the “wealth effect,” that people were saving less because their appreciating stock portfolios and houses were doing the work for them. While a logical culprit, it ignored the fact that equities were often held in retirement accounts, and thus for many people, equities were a substitute for corporate pensions, which historically had not shown up on household balance sheets. And these holdings could not be liquidated prior without paying taxed and sometimes penalties. Put another way, the distinction between “investment,” which are funds deployed with the hope of multiplying, and reserves, which are for times of adversity, was confounded. If consumers invest all their savings in risky or illiquid assets, they may take losses if they need to access them on short notice.
Further inspection reveals more holes. If the increase in consumption was indeed due to a rise in asset values, then the increase in consumption and fall in savings should have been concentrated in the most affluent households. In fact, the shift was similar across wealth levels and age groups.
Similarly, home equity was now accessible via borrowing against it, which also entailed costs. In other words, the public was assuming considerably more risk.
Another explanation was that labor productivity had risen, and that households expected the gains to continue. By implication, they were spending anticipated increases in earnings before they arrived. Yet as discussed earlier, workers had stopped participating meaningfully in productivity increases starting in the 1970s. While young workers might assume they would earn more as they gained experience, and could whittle down their debt, for much of the rest of the population, that idea was quite a stretch.
A third assertion was the idea that financial innovation had given consumers more access to credit, allowing them to spend more freely. This “relaxing liquidity constraints” was code for things like “using credit cards in lieu of savings” and “borrowing before the paycheck arrives.” Cut to the chase: this was tantamount to “consumers were borrowing more because they could.” And that unflattering theory was given short shrift.