Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.

Surplus Energy Economics
How the economy REALLY works
Tim Morgan

 

Don’t Blame Lack of Zoning Laws for Houston Floods
By MATTHEW ROBARE • September 1, 2017

According to Charlie Gardner, around 20 percent of Downtown Houston is surface parking, while another 40 percent is devoted to streets—while in a typical city built before the 19th century, only about 15 percent of land would be devoted to roadway. This huge amount of urban land given over to asphalt dwarfs the amount of space available for housing and parks. Writing at PlanetizenTodd Litman calculates that as much as 4,000 square feet of land per automobile is given over to roadway and parking—that’s a lot of land consuming taxes instead of producing them. For comparison, according to Michael Lewyn, until 1998 the minimum lot size in Houston for a new home was 5,000 square feet. This is important because standard planning practices are based around retaining storm water on site, meaning that buildings need large green space foot prints to absorb water, but if the effect of such regulation is to separate buildings, then they could lead to more driving and hence more asphalt.

 

The Militarization of the Hamptons
Why is a heavily armed counterterrorism force patrolling the parties of the rich and famous?
Joe Nocera
August 30, 2017

 

The First Time I Met Americans

 

Definition of happiness in Japan remains a mystery

Two CIA Contractors Successfully Sued for “Black Site” Torture
Hired psychologists devised “enhanced interrogation techniques” to break prisoners.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • August 23, 2017

 

After 16 Years of War, Afghanistan Still World’s Heroin Supplier
Drug epidemic here, failing counter-narcotics efforts there.
By JEFFREY JAMES HIGGINS • August 23, 2017

 

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

 

 

All the other news (below the fold):

Continue reading “Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.”

The Only News

 

Collateral Damage
U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
DIANA JOHNSTONE • JULY 28, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS

Under U.S. sanctions, any EU nation doing business with Russia may find itself in deep trouble. In particular, the latest bill targets companies involved in financing Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to provide Germany with much needed natural gas from Russia.

By the way, just to help out, American companies will gladly sell their own fracked natural gas to their German friends, at much higher prices.

[…]

The United States gets away with this gangster behavior because over the years it has developed a vast, obscure legalistic maze, able to impose its will on the “free world” economy thanks to the omnipresence of the dollar, unrivaled intelligence gathering and just plain intimidation.

European leaders reacted indignantly to the latest sanctions. The German foreign ministry said it was “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interest of U.S. industry”. The French foreign ministry denounced the “extraterritoriality” of the U.S. legislation as unlawful, and announced that “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws”.

 

Narratives Are Not Truths
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
July 31, 2017

Let’s start with health care, so called, since the failure to do anything about the current disastrous system is so fresh. What’s the narrative there? That “providers” (doctors and hospitals) can team up with banking operations called “insurance companies” to fairly allocate “services” to the broad population with a little help from the government. No, that’s actually not how it works. The three “players” actually engage in a massive racketeering matrix — that is, they extract enormous sums of money dishonestly from the public they pretend to serve and they do it twice: once by extortionary fees and again by taxes paid to subsidize mitigating the effects of the racketeering.

 

The Demolition of U.S. Global Power
Donald Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East
ALFRED MCCOY • JULY 16, 2017 • 4,200 WORDS

 

Media Mourn End of CIA Killing Syrians and Strengthening Al Qaeda
BEN NORTON
JULY 27, 2017

 

Anthropology’s Obsession with African Origins
AUSTEN LAYARD • JULY 28, 2017 • 4,600 WORDS

 

 

The only stuff that happened in the last week after the fold:

Continue reading “The Only News”

Fruit Ninja

Is the new font too small?

The Real Scandal: Americans Don’t Care About Afghanistan
Will kids who weren’t yet born when the war began have to fight it ?
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • July 26, 2017

After all, what’s the point of getting hung up on the past when you are facing a dauntingly tough job in the here-and-now? That job requires Turner to do what a run of previous U.S. military commanders have been attempting to do without notable success for almost sixteen years: to pacify Helmand Province. Were he to reflect too deeply on the disappointments of those sixteen years— the U.S. troops killed and wounded, the billions of dollars expended, all to no evident purpose—Turner just might reach the conclusion that he and his charges are engaged in a fool’s errand conceived by idiots.

 

The Tragedy of Doctor Who

The new Doctor Who is a woman. “All the cool humans are thrilled,” cooed Mashable; “Pissboys Are Melting Down,” added Dorkly (when did nerds start talking like bitter drag queens?). The Telegraph was slightly more sober and wrote off the whole thing with “Who cares?” It doesn’t matter to the establishment left because we’ve already established that men are exactly the same as women—especially when it comes to fiction. They see nothing wrong with female superheroes and action stars. It’s 2017, after all.

Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde got a $30M budget and she’s been scoped to become the new James Bond. Thor thinks she’d be great and women’s magazines declare she is “the James Bond we need now.” They also like the idea of Bond girl Halle Berry from Die Another Day trading in her orange bikini for a tux and becoming 007. If Jaws from Moonraker tried to rip her head off she’d just grab him by his seven-foot frame and toss him aside like a bag of dirty laundry. We’d sit there pretending physics doesn’t exist and rejoice in the egalitarianism of it all.

 

What You Actually Spend on the National Security State
Hundreds of billions of dollars outside of the official Pentagon budget.
By WILLIAM D. HARTUNG • July 26, 2017

 

‘The best growth story in tech’: What Wall Street is saying about Facebook’s explosive earnings

 

Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
DEAN BAKER AND BRIAN DEW • JULY 20, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

 

Why Hollywood Is Trying to Turn Everything Into Movies — Even Mindless Games Like ‘Fruit Ninja’

 

CULTURAL CAVIAR
Nolan’s Finest Hour
by Steve Sailer
July 26, 2017

The three stories come together in a giant set-piece encounter in the English Channel. Nolan has lowered the cognitive demands of his film by adding huge amounts of redundancy, with the same events replayed again and again from different angles until you finally understand what happened in all its cruel magnificence.

This isn’t the usual Rashomon-style retelling of a plot from conflicting perspectives. Instead, it’s more like sports broadcasting, such as showing multiple replays of that Tom Brady–to–Julian Edelman completion in this year’s Super Bowl.

Dunkirk represents redundancy lifted to an art form.

Critics have tried to position Dunkirk as anti-Brexit or anti-Trump.

 

‘Wages and wives’ are a big reason the rich are getting richer

 

 

Are You and I So Different? (2010)

This is why nobody takes you seriously.

07.15.2017

 

The New Silk Road Will Go Through Syria
PEPE ESCOBAR • JULY 14, 2017 • 900 WORDS

 

Tucker Carlson Is Doing Something Extraordinary
He is offering a glimpse into what Fox News would look like as an intellectually interesting network.

On Tuesday, Carlson told retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters he thought the U.S. should team up with Russia to defeat ISIS. Peters responded that, “You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938.” Carlson called that comment “grotesque” and “insane.”

Then, on Wednesday night, Carlson told the Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow, and former Mitt Romney adviser, Max Boot, that he opposed overthrowing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and didn’t see Russia as a serious threat. Boot responded by accusing him of being a “cheerleader” for Moscow and Tehran. Carlson called that comment “grotesque” too. And declared, “This is why nobody takes you seriously.”

 

Russia Baiters and Putin Haters
By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN • July 14, 2017

As for favoring “repression over democracy,” would that not apply to our NATO ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, and our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte? Were U.S. Cold War allies like the Shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile all Jeffersonian Democrats? Have we forgotten our recent history?

The Post brought up the death in prison of lawyer-activist Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Under the Magnitsky Act of 2012, Congress voted sanctions on Russia’s elites.

Yet China’s lone Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in prison for championing democracy, died Thursday of liver cancer, with police in his hospital room. Communist dictator Xi Jinping, who makes Putin look like Justin Trudeau, would not let the dying man go.

Will Magnitsky Act sanctions be slammed on China? Don’t bet on it. Too much trade. Congress will do what comes naturally — kowtow. Yet our heroic Senate voted 98-2 to slam new sanctions on Russia.

What are the roots of this hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin, whom a Fox analyst called “as bad as Hitler”?

 

A Euro-African West?
By NOAH MILLMAN • July 14, 2017

 

The Syrian Test of the Trump-Putin Accord
RAY MCGOVERN • JULY 10, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

 

Trump’s Tweets Are Not Harming National Security
Former intel officers-turned-Cassandras peddling crisis and self-promotion
By PHILIP GIRALDI • July 14, 2017

 

Russian Rap

 

The Redemption of Richard Florida
By AARON RENN • July 14, 2017

But to tar Florida with the ills of the knowledge economy is like blaming Thomas Friedman for the problems of globalization just because he wrote The World Is Flat. Both men clearly celebrated, profited from, and are in agreement with the values of people who benefit from the phenomena they described—but are certainly not the architects or creators of these trends. It is perhaps fair to critique Florida for some of the failed projects and civic turnaround efforts that cities undertook at his recommendation or inspiration. But then the critics would have to give credit to Florida for the positive stories and results, something they never do. Florida didn’t cause Detroit to go bankrupt even if former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm’s “cool cities” initiative he inspired is now widely mocked.

[…]

Gratuitously attacking Silicon Valley techies out of some desire to punish the successful would be bad, but policies that reduce the urban creative class’ outsized share of success—while raising GDP and median income curves—should not be ruled out. Barack Obama was the first president since Herbert Hoover to never once hit 3 percent annual GDP growth. President Bush’s economic record was likewise dismal. Job growth in the U.S. since 2000 has averaged 0.5 percent per year, compared to 1.9 percent during the 1980s and 1.9 percent during the 1990s. (Recent years have seen better growth rates than this anemic average.) And real median incomes are lower today than in 2000.

 

Mexican Drug Violence Only Getting Worse
El Chapo’s capture created a power vacuum, a ‘vicious’ power struggle.
By TED GALEN CARPENTER • July 6, 2017

Matters have not turned out at all the way drug warriors and other optimists assumed. Instead, El Chapo’s capture has made the violent chaos in Mexico worse—much worse. His fall created a power vacuum throughout Mexico’s ruthless drug trade. The extent of the upsurge in violence as his would-be successors maneuver for control is horrifying. In May alone, there were 2,186 fatalities—the third time in 2017 when the monthly death toll topped 2,000. That is more than twice the average monthly pace of the bloody years of Felipe Calderon’s presidency (2006-2012), when more than 60,000 Mexicans perished in drug-related carnage. The May total was a new record, and it brought the total number of deaths in 2017 to 9,906. That was an increase of 33 percent over 2016, which had already seen a worrisome rise.

 

U.S. Charges 412, Including Doctors, in $1.3 Billion Health Fraud

In one case, prosecutors said, the owner and operator of a drug-treatment center in Delray Beach, Fla., recruited addicts to aid him in his schemes, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and visiting “crack motels” to persuade people to move to South Florida to help him. He offered kickbacks in the form of gift cards, plane tickets, trips to casinos and strip clubs as well as drugs.

The owner, Eric Snyder, and an associate were charged with fraudulently billing insurance companies for more than $50 million for false treatment and urine tests over nearly five years, the authorities said.

[…]

Opioid addiction is an escalating public health crisis in America, with drug deaths rising faster than ever. Hydrocodone and oxycodone, two powerful opioids, are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 91 Americans die each day of an opioid-related overdose.

Republican Marriage

06.02.2017

Kathy Griffin and Stephen Colbert would make a cute couple.

 

Scientists find 7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains in the Balkans
May 22, 2017

 

Spying on You, Spying on Me, Spying on the President
by Andrew P. Napolitano
June 01, 2017

 

Another Housing Bubble?
MICHAEL HUDSON • MAY 25, 2017 • 2,000 WORDS

 

Trump: Dancing with Wolves on the Titanic
THE SAKER • MAY 27, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS

 

What Did John Brennan and Anonymous Sources Really Say?
Speaking to a Russian becomes treasonous
PHILIP GIRALDI • MAY 30, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

 

Sugar baby says she’s addicted to travel, not the sex
The Sun
June 1, 2017

 

 

It’s open war between Trump and CBS
May 2, 2017

“The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster!” Colbert declared Monday on “The Late Show” during a graphic opening monologue.

“Mr. President, I love your presidency, I call it ‘Disgrace The Nation,’ ” he continued, adding: “You’re the ‘presi-dunce’ but you’re turning into a real ­‘pr-ck-tator.’ ”

 

In her bubble, Kathy Griffin thought nothing was out of bounds in mocking Trump
By John Podhoretz
May 31, 2017

Anything goes and nothing matters.

 

Covfefe Land
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
June 2nd, 2017

“This is one of the things I find funny about the radical Left protests on campus…. You want to have it both ways. You want to be a fledgling member of the elite and a champion of the underprivileged. So, how narcissistic can you get? You want to have all the benefits of having all of the benefits, and you want to have all the benefits of having none of the benefits, because just having all the benefits isn’t enough for you.”

— Jordon Peterson, University of Toronto Psychology Professor

 

Puppetmasters

05.22.2017

Do You, Mr. Jones…?
Clusterfuck Nation
Monday
May 22nd, 2017

In case you wonder how our politics fell into such a slough of despond, the answer is pretty simple. Neither main political party, or their trains of experts, specialists, and mouthpieces, can construct a coherent story about what is happening in this country — and the result is a roaring wave of recursive objurgation and wrath that loops purposelessly towards gathering darkness.

What’s happening is a slow-motion collapse of the economy. Neither Democrats or Republicans know why it is so remorselessly underway. A tiny number of well-positioned scavengers thrive on the debris cast off by the process of disintegration, but they don’t really understand the process either — the lobbyists, lawyers, bankers, contractors, feeders at the troughs of government could not be more cynical or clueless.

 

 

Heavy Duty:
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State
MIKE WHITNEY • MAY 19, 2017 • 3,200 WORDS

Are we suggesting that the heads of the so called Intelligence Community are at war with the Trump Administration and paving the way for impeachment proceedings?

Yep, we sure are. The Russia hacking fiasco is a regime change operation no different than the CIA’s 50-or-so other oustings in the last 70 years. The only difference is that this operation is on the home field which is why everyone is so flustered. These things are only suppose to happen in those “other” countries.

Does this analysis make me a Donald Trump supporter?

Never. The idea is ridiculous. Trump might be the worst US president of all time, in fact, he probably is. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other nefarious forces at work behind the smokescreen of democratic government. There are. In fact, this whole flap suggests that there’s an alternate power-structure that operates completely off the public’s radar and has the elected-government in its death-grip. This largely invisible group of elites controls the likes of Brennan, Clapper and Comey. And, apparently, they have enough influence to challenge and maybe even remove an elected president from office. (We’ll see.)

And what’s more surprising, is that the Democrats have aligned themselves with these deep state puppetmasters. They’ve cast their lot with the sinister stewards of the national security state and hopped on the impeachment bandwagon. But is that a wise choice for the Dems?

 

A Monster Eating the Nation

Why do you suppose nations employ foreign ministers and ambassadors, if not to conduct conversations at the highest level with other national leaders? And might these conversations include matters of great sensitivity, that is, classified information? If you doubt that then you have no understanding of geopolitics or history.

The General Mike Flynn story is especially a crack-up. Did he accept a twenty thousand dollar speaking fee from the Russian news outlet RT in his interlude as a private citizen? How does that compare to the millions sucked in by the Clinton Foundation in pay-to-play deal when Madame was secretary of state? Or her six-figure speeches to Goldman Sachs and their ilk. Are private citizens forbidden to accept speaking fees or consulting fees from countries that we are not at war with? I’d like to know how many other alumni of the Bill Clinton, Bush-II and Obama admins have hired themselves out on this basis. Scores and scores, I would bet.

 

Trump to Announce $350 Billion Arms Deal During Saudi Arabia Visit
White House Will Present Sale as Targeting Iran
by Jason Ditz, May 18, 2017

 

$110 Billion Weapons Sale to Saudis Has Jared Kushner’s Personal Touch

 

The Special Counsel Comes to Town: It’s the Moscow Trials, Revisited
The witch-hunt begins
by Justin Raimondo, May 19, 2017

 

 

Ford, Trudging Into the Future, Ousts Mark Fields as C.E.O.

A Handmaid’s Tale

This show is fucking good. It’s the new ‘Game of Thrones.’

THE HANDMAID’S TALE — “Offred” – Episode 101 – Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife. 

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Renewed for Season 2 at Hulu

 

How Harvard Business School Has Reshaped American Capitalism

But how and why that might be the case isn’t really what interests McDonald, the author of previous books about McKinsey, the consulting firm, and JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon. In “The Golden Passport,” he’s determined to call the Harvard Business School to account, citing its founding doctrine, which was to develop “a heightened sense of responsibility among businessmen” (and eventually women) who “will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways.” In that regard, McDonald is scathing in his critique: Harvard Business School has not only “proven an enormous failure,” but its very success has made it positively “dangerous.”

He drives home the point in chapter after chapter, picking up steam in more recent decades: Harvard, he maintains, provided the ideological underpinnings for the junk-bond-induced takeover mania and resulting scandals of the 1980s; the corporate scandals of the 2000s; the egregious increase in the pay gap between chief executives and ordinary employees; the real estate mortgage bubble and ensuing financial crisis; even the election of Donald Trump. In McDonald’s view, the school has contributed to pretty much every bad thing that has happened in American business and the economy in the last century. In the wake of whatever scandal or financial collapse or recession to which it has contributed, it wipes its hands, distances itself and still has the nerve to put forth its experts as the solution to problems.

 

Macron’s Unusual Marriage Is OK—But NOT What His Type Are Doing to France (And America)
JOHN DERBYSHIRE • APRIL 29, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

In my study, there hang portraits of my two literary heroes. One of them, Samuel Johnson, at age 25 married a woman twenty years his senior—a widow who, like Mrs. Macron, brought three children to the marriage. Johnson loved his wife dearly, to the bafflement of his friends. After she died seventeen years later, he mourned her for the rest of his own life.

My other literary hero, George Orwell, lost his wife Eileen after nine years of marriage, then remarried on his death bed to the prettiest girl in the office.

 

Putin’s New World Order
MIKE WHITNEY • APRIL 28, 2017 • 2,300 WORDS

 

Twenty Truths About Marine Le Pen
JAMES PETRAS • MAY 1, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS

Le Pen’s program will raise taxes on banks and financial transactions while fining capital flight in order to continue funding France’s retirement age of 62 for women and 65 for men, keeping the 35 hour work-week, and providing tax free overtime pay. She promises direct state intervention to prevent factories from relocating to low wage EU economies and firing French workers.

Le Pen is committed to increasing public spending for childcare and for the poor and disabled. She has pledged to protect French farmers against subsidized, cheap imports.

Marine Le Pen supports abortion rights and gay rights. She opposes the death penalty. She promises to cut taxes by 10% for low-wage workers. Marine is committed to fighting against sexism and for equal pay for women.

 

Why Defend South Korean Ingrates?
Trump spills the beans as the “adults” panic
by Justin Raimondo
May 01, 2017

“On the THAAD system, it’s about a billion dollars. I said, ‘Why are we paying? Why are we paying a billion dollars? We’re protecting. Why are we paying a billion dollars?’ So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. Nobody’s going to do that. Why are we paying a billion dollars? It’s a billion dollar system. It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you’ve ever seen – shoots missiles right out of the sky. And it protects them and I want to protect them. We’re going to protect them. But they should pay for that, and they understand that.”

Ah, but they don’t understand it – and neither does H. R. McMaster, Trump’s newly-appointed National Security Advisor, who rushed to assure Seoul that the President didn’t really mean what he clearly said. And the South Koreans, who are in the midst of a presidential election – the vote is on May 5 – are in a uproar.

 

More NYT ‘Spin’ on the Syria-Sarin Case
April 28, 2017
By Robert Parry

Further, the U.S. and its allies have been conducting airstrikes across much of Syria in campaigns against Islamic State and Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which have been supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other Sunni-led sheikdoms. Turkey has been active, too, with strikes against Kurdish forces. And Israel has hit repeatedly at Syrian targets to promote what it regards as its interests, including destruction of Iranian weapons believed headed to the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.

Some – if not all – of these entities had a far stronger motive to create a chemical-weapons incident in Syria on April 4 than the Syrian government did. At the end of March, the Trump administration announced that it was no longer a U.S. priority to overthrow the Assad government, an announcement that upset several of the countries involved in the Syrian conflict, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel.

[…]

Shortly after the incident at Khan Sheikhoun, I was told by an intelligence source that U.S. satellite imagery had picked up what looked like a drone in the vicinity at around the time that the poison gas was released. Despite some technical difficulties in tracking its route, the source said the analysts believed that it may have come from a Saudi-Israeli special operations base in Jordan, used to assist the rebels.

 

David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime
BY ADAM JOHNSON

Ignatius, of course, is not alone. He joins a long line of faithful Western pundits who frame the Saudi regime as a reformist entity, earnestly pushing change in a fundamentally reactionary country under perma-threat from Shia forces. The Al Saud mafia is not in league with religious extremists, but a bulwark against them; they are not an illegitimate dictatorship, but an enlightened ruling class helping usher in “reform” in the face of a hyper-religious population.

And throughout it all, they are on a 71,500-year reform plan where they are effusively praised for moving their country toward the 19th century every five years or so. Other regimes that oppress their people and bomb civilians “must go” now, and are beyond the moral pale—mere allegations of being friendly with them, a career-ender. But the Saudi regime, a friendly host to light-touch US pundits, is just a well-meaning scrappy band of reformers this close to turning into Switzerland. All they need is a bit more time.

 

Stupid Fuck

03.28.2017

 

The Russia You’ll Never See On Postcards Through The Lens Of Photographer Alexander Petrosyan

 

China’s Great Leap Forward: Western Frogs Croak Dismay
JAMES PETRAS • MARCH 23, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS

-Chinese workers are closing the gap with the US minimum wage. At the current rate of growth, the gap, which had narrowed from one tenth to one half the US wage in ten years, will disappear in the near future.

-Faced with growing US political and military hostility, China has diversified its export market, turning from the US to Russia, the EU, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

-The Chinese government is alone among nations in keeping up with and even exceeding its growing transportation needs – spending $800 billion a year on high speed railroads, rail lines, sea- ports, airports subways and bridges.

-Unlike China, the US is wallowing at less than 2% annual growth. Wages stagnate for decades; real wages and living standards decline. The costs of education and health care skyrocket, while the quality of these vital services decline dramatically. Costs are growing, un-employment is growing and worker suicide and mortality is growing.

 

[Dean Baker predicted the crash of the United States housing bubble, which occurred in 2007–08. He warned about the coming crisis and the related government policies in several media interviews from 2002 to 2005. Basing his outlook on house-price data-sets produced by the US government, Baker asserted that there was a bubble in the US housing market in August 2002,[10] well before its peak, and predicted that the collapse of this bubble would lead to recession. His prediction for when this recession would hit was out by only one quarter.

Regarding the housing bubble, Baker has been critical of chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.

He has been critical of the regulatory framework of the real estate and financial industries, the use of financial instruments like collateralized debt obligation, and the performance and conflict of interest of US politicians and regulators.

Baker opposed the US government bailout of Wall Street banks on the basis that the only people who stood to lose from their collapse were their shareholders and high-income CEOs. Regarding any hypothetical, negative effects of not extending the bailout, he explained, “We know how to keep the financial system operating even as banks go into bankruptcy and receivership,”citing US government action taken during the S&L crisis of the 1980s. He has ridiculed the US elite for favoring it, asking, “How do you make a DC intellectual look less articulate than Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric? That’s easy. You ask them how failure to pass the bailout will give us a Great Depression.”
-Wikipedia]

The Wrongest Profession
How economists have botched the promise of widely distributed prosperity—and why they have no intention of stopping now
by Dean Baker

Over the past two decades, the economics profession has compiled an impressive track record of getting almost all the big calls wrong.

[…]

If China is removed from the sample, the performance of the rest of the developing world since 1988 looks rather mediocre. While the pain of working people in wealthy countries is acute, they are not alone. Outside of China, people in the developing world have little to show for the economic growth of the last three and a half decades. As for China itself, the gains of its huge population are real, but the country certainly did not follow Washington’s model of deficit-slashing, bubble-driven policies for developing countries.

In this economic climate, it’s not surprising that a racist, xenophobic, misogynist demagogue like Donald Trump could succeed in politics, as right-wing populists have throughout the wealthy world. While his platform may be incoherent, Trump at least promised the return of good-paying jobs. Insofar as Clinton and other Democrats offered an agenda for economic progress for American workers, hardly anyone heard it. And to those who did, it sounded like more of the same.

[…]

Here’s one handy way to break down the real-world costs of deficit hawkery. The cries for fiscal prudence that come from folks like Timothy Geithner and Paul Ryan, which are echoed in the media by the Washington Post and other major outlets, are costing us almost $2 trillion a year in annual output. This amount comes to more than $6,000 per person per year or $24,000 for an average family of four. These deficit hawks are ensuring that our children and grandchildren will live in poverty.

Yes, I’m inverting the traditional alarms raised by deficit hawks about the calamities of intergenerational indebtedness and throwing them in their faces, precisely so we can catalog the ways in which they’ve been spreading nonsense to push bad economic policies for decades. These bad policies have steep and lasting costs, especially following the collapse of the housing bubble and the Great Recession. The constant fear-mongering of the deficit hawks prevented the government from spending the money required to push the economy back to full employment. There was nothing to replace the construction and consumption spending that had been driven by the bubble.

 

Columnists
FRED REED • MARCH 23, 2017 • 1,100 WORDS

 

 

How Should We Then Live?

The philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, which we’ve been discussing for several weeks now, isn’t usually approached from the angle by which I’ve been approaching it—that is, as a way to talk about the gap between what we think we know about the world and what we actually know about it. The aspect of his work that usually gets all the publicity is the ethical dimension.

[…]

To a very great extent, if I may insert a personal reflection here, this realization has been at the heart of this blog’s project since its beginning. The peak oil crisis that called The Archdruid Report into being came about because human beings have as yet no clear idea how to get along with the biosphere that supports all our lives; the broader theme that became the core of my essays here over the years, the decline and fall of industrial civilization, shows with painful clarity that human beings have as yet no clear idea how to deal with the normal and healthy cycles of historical change; the impending fall of the United States’ global empire demonstrates the same point on a more immediate and, to my American readers, more personal scale. Chase down any of the varied ramblings this blog has engaged in over the years, and you’ll find that most if not all of them have the same recognition at their heart: we don’t yet know how to live, and maybe we should get to work figuring that out.

 

A REPORTER AT LARGE
MARCH 27, 2017 ISSUE
THE RECLUSIVE HEDGE-FUND TYCOON BEHIND THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.
By Jane Mayer

Magerman told me, “Bob believes that human beings have no inherent value other than how much money they make. A cat has value, he’s said, because it provides pleasure to humans. But if someone is on welfare they have negative value. If he earns a thousand times more than a schoolteacher, then he’s a thousand times more valuable.” Magerman added, “He thinks society is upside down—that government helps the weak people get strong, and makes the strong people weak by taking their money away, through taxes.” He said that this mind-set was typical of “instant billionaires” in finance, who “have no stake in society,” unlike the industrialists of the past, who “built real things.”

Micropotus

03.21.2017

Prepare, Pursue, Prevail!
Onward and Upward with U.S. Central Command
By Andrew J. Bacevich

By way of explaining his eight failed marriages, the American bandleader Artie Shaw once remarked, “I am an incurable optimist.” In reality, Artie was an incurable narcissist. Utterly devoid of self-awareness, he never looked back, only forward.

[…]

Ludendorff Would Have Approved

“Punch a hole and let the rest follow.”

During the First World War, that aphorism, attributed to General Erich Ludendorff, captured the essence of the German army’s understanding of strategy, rooted in the conviction that violence perpetrated on a sufficient scale over a sufficient period of time will ultimately render a politically purposeless war purposeful. The formula didn’t work for Germany in Ludendorff’s day and yielded even more disastrous results when Hitler revived it two decades later.

Neocons as a Figment of Imagination
Criticizing their thuggery is anti-Semitism?
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 21, 2017 • 2,100 WORDS

The third reason, linked to number two, is that having a plausible and dangerous enemy like Russia on tap keeps the cash flowing from defense industries to the foundations and think tanks that the neocons nest in when they are not running the Pentagon and National Security Council. Follow the money. So it is all about self-interest combined with tribal memory: money, status and a visceral hatred of Russia.

Israel Continues to Attack Syria, Warns Syria Against Resisting Planes
Israeli DM Threatens to Destroy Syria’s Air Defense System
by Jason Ditz, March 19, 2017

Russia summoned Israel’s Ambassador on Friday to seek an explanation, which is similarly unprecedented during the war, as Israel has previously been said to keep Russia appraised of its operations along the border, aiming to prevent the deployment of Russia’s air defense against them.

Fat Leonard and the Decline of Military Values
The officer corps was once assumed to be above larger cultural rot. No more.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • March 20, 2017

We confront evidence of an officer corps that has lost its moral bearings, abandoning the “military standard” for something quite different. To assume that the rot is confined exclusively to one particular service would be a grave mistake.

Stronger Economic Growth? Over My Dead Body, Says Janet Yellen
MIKE WHITNEY • MARCH 10, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS

As de facto representative of the ruling Bank cabal, the Fed would rather prick the massive asset-price bubble it has created and risk sending the financial system into a headlong plunge off a cliff, than allow perennially-strapped workers to garner even a farthing more for their daily drudgery. Class hatred remains the animating force that fuels all Central Bank policy decisions.

 

Full Speed Ahead for Murphy’s Law

With industry expiring, or moving elsewhere (also temporarily), we inflated finance to nearly 40 percent of the economy. The new financialization was, in effect, setting a matrix of rackets in motion. What had worked as capital management before was allowed to mutate into various forms of swindling and fraud — such as the bundling of dishonestly acquired mortgages into giant bonds and then selling them to pension funds desperate for “yield,” or the orgy of merger and acquisition in health care that turned hospitals into cash registers, or the revenue streams on derivative “plays” that amounted to bets with no possibility of ever being paid off, or the three-card-monte games of interest rate arbitrage played by central banks and their “primary dealer” concubines.

The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow
March 15, 2017

There’s been a lot of handwringing in Official Washington and across the Mainstream Media about the “post-truth” era, but these supposed avatars for truth are as guilty as anyone, acting as if constantly repeating a fact-free claim is the same as proving it.

But it’s clear what Kagan and other neocons have in mind, an escalation of hostilities with Russia and a substantial increase in spending on U.S. military hardware and on Western propaganda to “counter” what is deemed “Russian propaganda.”

Get Out

03.02.2017

Warning: Do not watch this if you have not seen movie, plan to soon, and don’t want spoilers.
Otherwise, if you want to save $14 a head and an hour and forty-five minutes, this is a decent substitute for one of the better movies of the last year.

 

How the baby boomers destroyed everything

The consequences of boomer overconsumption, underinvestment, and appetite for risk reveal themselves every time a bridge or bank collapses, but can be summarized in America’s prolonged economic mediocrity. Finding decent growth requires stretching all the way back to the 1990s, and even so, the 1990s barely edged out 1970s’ squalor on a per capita GDP basis. Thanks to boomer policies, the new normal is 1.6 percent real growth, well below the 2.5 to 3.5 percent rates prevailing from the 1950s to the 1980s. For the young, the price will be incomes 30 percent to 50 percent lower than they could have been.

How the Press Serves the Deep State

 

Concealing and Revealing
by Andrew P. Napolitano, March 02, 2017

 

Enemy of the Year: Why Russia?
What’s up with the current Russophobia craze?
by Justin Raimondo, March 01, 2017

 

In Afghanistan, America’s Biggest Foe Is Self-Deception
William Astore and Tom Engelhardt, March 01, 2017

blackedge

 

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street

 

Review: ‘Black Edge’

For those who do not remember: SAC Capital was once one of the most powerful hedge funds on Wall Street. Cohen, its fabled steward, was different from the other colossi of the industry (George Soros, Paul Tudor Jones) in that he never seemed to have a grand unified field theory of investing. Rather, he had a talent for reading the market’s movements and a freakishly high threshold for tolerating risk.

And, miraculously, he was on the right side of almost every transaction — “something that seemed, at least on the surface, to be impossible,” Kolhatkar writes. This improbable winning streak eventually got the F.B.I.’s attention, when it was investigating insider trading at a different hedge fund, the Galleon Group, and managed to lock up its chief.

But Cohen never faced a criminal charge. The most the government could do was order SAC Capital to shut down in 2013 and fine it $1.8 billion — a figure that sounds like an awful lot until you learn that Cohen had almost $10 billion of his own money left over, which he could still trade and invest as a private family office.