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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From the comments

Partisan centrism — Crooked Timber: "The great achievement of American plutocracy is that it has created partisan controversy over issues that are largely irrelevant to the steady concentration of wealth. Abortion, homosexual rights, immigration, and “terrorism” absorb and deflect so much political energy that the dirty work of fine print manipulation of the law for plutocratic advantage proceeds unhindered. Thus the people’s pockets are picked while they are distracted by a false politics of misdirection."

As Bad as the Great Depression?

Guest Post: Underneath the Happy Talk, Is This As Bad as the Great Depression? � naked capitalism

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The military failure machine

The military failure machine — Crooked Timber: "The US military has fought five large-scale wars in the past fifty years, resulting in a draw in Korea[1], a defeat in Vietnam, and three inconclusive outcomes in Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan. That’s a record that makes the worst inner-city public school look pretty good. At least the majority of students, even at the worst schools, end up more or less literate."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Decision Points

LRB � Eliot Weinberger � ‘Damn right,’ I said: "Despite the sales, it’s unlikely that many will ever read Decision Points, and even fewer will finish it. Those who do will find three revelations, besides the foetus in the jar. Junior killed his sister Doro’s goldfish by pouring vodka in the fishbowl. He was convinced he should run for president after hearing a sermon about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. And, as a man who likes to go to bed early, at 10 p.m. on the night of 11 September 2001, President George W. Bush was complaining that he needed to get to sleep."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

U.S. Military Seeks to Expand Raids in Pakistan - NYTimes.com

We have seen this movie before; in Cambodia and Laos.

U.S. Military Seeks to Expand Raids in Pakistan - NYTimes.com

Reality Check: Why Truth Will Protect Social Security � New Deal 2.0

Another interesting look at social security. Auerback is one of the few supporters of the program who deny the validity of the "trust fund" argument. Social security is just another line item in the budget and should be treated as such.
We do not have a fund to support future increases in the military budget, why do we need one for social security.

Reality Check: Why Truth Will Protect Social Security � New Deal 2.0

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Civilian Sidekicks

The gall of our military leadership knows no bounds.
To call their civilian commanders "sidekicks" shows the decline of the concept of civilian control of the military. Will their be outrage?

Yglesias � Civilian Sidekicks

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Facebook Friends

Facebook Friends - Chart Porn

| Time for Negotiation

Time for negotiation in Afghanistan | Open letter | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk


And a look at how COIN is going.

The Inequality That Matters

A thoughtful essay that offers a generalized explanation of income inequality and the causes of the crash.


"
That’s an underappreciated way to think about our modern, wealthy economy: Smart people have greater reach than ever before, and nothing really can go so wrong for them. As a broad-based portrait of the new world, that sounds pretty good, and usually it is. Just keep in mind that every now and then those smart people will be making—collectively—some pretty big mistakes."

The Inequality That Matters - Tyler Cowen - The American Interest Magazine

Monday, December 13, 2010

Summer's over

Larry Summers’ Warning About The Growth Of Government (Transcript) - Swampland - TIME.com

Tax Cuts Forever?

Tax Cuts Forever? | The Nation: "It's the standard bribery model of legislating that has come to characterize Washington in the era of oligarchy: if you want to put food on the table of the unemployed, you must lavishly wine and dine the CEOs and bankers who laid them off. Obama didn't create this system, but he is making it stronger before our very eyes."

Spencer Bachus, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee

The GOP is not even subtle about the bait and switch they use on the average tea party voter. This is the true GOP platform: how to better serve the banksters.

Spencer Bachus finally gets his chairmanship | al.com: "'In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks,' he said."

Lost 20 years

Even after 20 years of low growth and negative stock market returns, Japan takes care of most of its people.


Reconsidering Japan and Reconsidering Paul Krugman: "How, then, should we regard a country that has 5 percent unemployment, health care for all of its people, the lowest income inequality and is one of the world's leading exporters? This country also scores high on life expectancy, low on infant mortality, at the top in literacy, and low on crime, incarceration, homicides, mental illness and drug abuse. It also has a low rate of carbon emissions and is doing its part to reduce global warming. In all of these categories, this particular country beats both the US and China by a country mile."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Let’s Not Make a Deal

The last hope for the Obama administration is to hold fast and refuse to make a deal. Caving on this will only inspire the GOP.

Let’s Not Make a Deal - NYTimes.com

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Tax expenditures favor the banksters.

A good article describing most of the problems of the banking industry. To sum it up: bankers think that they are different and special and the MM model does not apply. They believe more leverage allows them to "do God's work."
Interesting conclusion that tax expenditures are the root of this problem. Eliminating the debt interest deduction would go a long way to lowering leverage of banks.


What Jamie Dimon Won’t Tell You: His Big Bank Would Be Dangerously Leveraged � The Baseline Scenario

Friday, December 03, 2010

Marines are not so tough

They cannot even deal with gays.

Marines chief opposes DADT repeal - War Room - Salon.com

A possible explanation for Obama's actions

Department of "Huh?!" (Is Barack Obama Stupid? Edition) - Grasping Reality with Both Hands: "There has to be a better explanation. And there is:

Obama is in fact a manchurian candidate. Obama is doing what Obama is programmed to do, but he was programmed by the Ivy League / Wall Street axis of elitism rather than the communists or the muslims."

Oliver North Classic

The end of the world as we know it?


RealClearPolitics - Voting With Their Feet: "WASHINGTON -- Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo tried and failed. Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev and Ho Chi Minh couldn't do it. But commander in chief Barack Obama may well succeed where others could not. If he has his way, he will demolish the finest force for good in the history of mankind -- the U.S. armed forces. And he wants to make it all happen before the end of the year."

Admiral Mike Mullen differs. Soldiers who are bigots can leave the service. And soldiers need to follow orders.

Teachable moments


The failure of Obama economic policy:

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hedge funds got access to loan funds intended for small businesses

Crony capitalism at its worst...

The Talf programme was set up in early 2009 and designed to kick-start lending to small and medium-sized businesses by pumping liquidity into the secondary loan market.


FT.com / Financials - Fed reveals it lent billions to hedge funds during crisis

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

75 Ways To Stay Unhappy Forever

75 Ways To Stay Unhappy Forever

Intelligence Hierarchy: Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom | The Big Picture

Intelligence Hierarchy: Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom | The Big Picture

The Right Under Bush vs The Left Under Obama - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Right Under Bush vs The Left Under Obama - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Wikileaks

Quote of the day: Gates on WikiLeaks and the nature of foreign policy - By Tom Ricks | The Best Defense: "Now, I've heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think -- I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought. The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it's in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets. Many governments -- some governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation.

So other nations will continue to deal with us. They will continue to work with us. We will continue to share sensitive information with one another.

Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest."

Why The GOP Is Like Bear Bryant | Talking Points Memo

Why The GOP Is Like Bear Bryant | Talking Points Memo: "It reminds me of the line attributed to the old football coach Bum Phillips, speaking about the legendary Alabama coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant: 'He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n.'"

Moment of Truth?

Organizational Innovation to Improve the Efficiency of Health Care Markets

Culter on healthcare. He makes change sound easy.

Organizational Innovation to Improve the Efficiency of Health Care Markets

Matt Stoller: End This Fed

Stroller outlines the issues with the current structure of the Fed. Less funny, but more informative than the talking bunnies.

Matt Stoller: End This Fed � naked capitalism