34 thoughts on “Stuff to Read

  1. The item about China dumping its T-bills is surprising and a bit scary at first, but the thing is pretty short on economics. To begin with, China has been dumping fantastic quantities of the stuff. You know what such huge sales do? They drive down the price, DUH, supply & demand. You know what has happened to the market prices of T-Bills? They remain as high as they possibly can be! That is to say: any higher, and they’d pay negative interest.

    How can that happen? There is a whole shitload of demand for the USA’s risk-free debt securities, that’s how. In fact, it bears out what I just reallly noticed today, though Brad DeLong has been making a point like this for weeks: The goverment is not borrowing enough money to meet the free market’s demand. I agree this sounds weird, but it’s happening. You don’t argue with the Market. Or do you? Hard to figure.

    Oh, and there’s all the inflation risk in 10-year bonds, and the gummint will have to pay higher interest rates. Yes, much higher than zero interest, which it now pays on the very short-term stuff. But about that risk, which is supposed to be the scariest thing in the world right now: The smartest guys in the room are right now lending the guvmint hundreds of billions of dollars for ten years at fixed rates barely over 3%. (For a moment it slid a bit below.) Do they think we’re headed for double-digit inflation through all this Spending? Whatever they say on TV, it’s plain what they really think.

    (Specifically, Doubling prices in 10 years would be unpleasant, bad for the country, and hurtful to real people — but it’s not catastrophic hyper-inflation, which is at least 10 times worse that that. And that doubling is about 7% annual inflation. So the guys who are worried about inflation and have to protect their fortunes are lending for 10 years at 3%. Right.)

    Maybe they’re wrong, which has happened before. But it’s useful to know whether they’re lying; and they are if they claim to believe the scare-talk of looming inflation.

  2. Whereas all one can say about the foreclosure is, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    Literally true, come to think of it.

  3. I miss Frank Rich, but today Kristof does a great job in describing the right wing’s ideal nation.
    It should be required reading – especially for those rube’s who can’t see where this country is headed.
    But, since many of them show no evidence of being able to read, maybe Kristof’s column could be recorded and sung or danced to on the next episode of “Distracting You F*cking Morons From Disaster with some C- Grade Stars.”

    I’d also, too, like to ask our Conservative “friends” a question:
    If we’re not willing to invest in our own country, why should others?

    This has been this morning’s edition of “Shit even an Alzheimer’s patient should be able to understand.”

  4. CUND GULAG – The question, ‘If we’re not willing to invest inour own country, why should others?’ Cuts to the heart of the matter.

    I was thinking about a web site that needs to be written.

    “WHERE-TO-RIOT.COM”. Consider history. Back in the 60s angry disenfranchised urban blacks rioted, stupidly burning their own neighborhoods as a response to the rage and futility they felt. Contrast that to the revolutions of France or Russia. They went directly after the nobility, executing the royal families even the children, to prevent their return to power.

    Technology allows a site to identify the geographic region of the PC on the web. I see lots of web advertising tuned to my city. This software can just as easily direct the mob to the richest, most elite neighborhoods in the area.

    When you can’t get unemployment insurance, or food stamps or Medicaid, and you are ready to riot, THOSE are the neighborhoods to torch. A half-ton truck will take out the gates. The rent-a-cops will flee at the first shots.

    I would love to target advertising for the site to righte web sites. I want the advertising to use geo-software and NAME the local posh subdivision. The point is not that I want to see neighborhoods of multi-million dollar homes burn. I don’t. But when things get bad enough, people WILL get violent.

    It’s time to create uncertainty among the millionares who are determined not to pay taxes, that the brunt of the rage will fall on them and their families intheir homes. The assumption that the rich can insulate themselves from the starving masses needs to be challenged at an emotional level.

    The Arab Spring proves that no government can suppress a mass uprising. The French and Russian revolutions are happening again in the Mid-east Sadat and sons will stand trial. Eventually, there aren’t enough cops or soldiers, when the underclass is large enough and desparate.

    Lets do the country a favor and NOT get to that point.

  5. Doug,
    If it comes down to it, I like the “WHERE-TO-RIOT.COM” idea. I might subtitle it “You, You’re F*cking First!!!”
    In NY City, there’s the original gated PARK, not community – Grammercy Park, so that might be a good place to start. As well as the Upper East and West Sides; and The Village, of course – but who wants to damage The Village?
    There’s also some ripe areas nearby:
    Montclair, NJ.
    Westchester County, NY.
    Many areas of Connecticut.

    Maybe if we let them know how we feel now, today, they might be more inclined to support tax increases tomorrow.
    And if not – forewarned is forearmed, the old saying goes. And it’s not only the rich and their armed guards that have arms. A lot of Liberals value the 2nd Amendment, too! Not that I hope it comes anywhere near coming to that – but, forewarned is forearmed, as they say…

    • Hey, *I* live in Westchester County, NY. On the whole it’s not that right-wing. Even the people with money vote for Democrats. Pick a place to riot that is both wealthy and conservative. Wealth and right-wing politics don’t necessarily go together.

  6. Sorry, maha. 🙂

    I live in Dutchess County, and there are plenty of right-wing Republican pricks and prickette’s here – so we can start here and work our way down, giving you plenty of warning. 😉
    But, unless the people in all areas make it obvious as to where they stand, red or blue will all look like green to anyone desperate enough.
    I don’t want those times to come – but, “The times, they are a’ changin’…”

    Also on the plus side – YEAH!!! – no stupid Matthews show today, or hour to see how much David Gregory can debase himself on “Meet the Republicans.”
    It’s the French Open!
    Nadal v. Federer – with not ONE American in sight.
    Sigh – anyone remember how great McEnroe and Sampras were?
    OK – I have to admit that they were really great – just NOT at the French Open.

  7. The ultimate pander?…. Correct!

    What a line up of creeps were featured at the FFC circle jerk..One was worse than the next! Jay Sekulow was especially repulsive with his brand of bigoted intolerance. I don’t get how you can sow hate under the guise of love and not know what you’re doing. They are some severely sick and twisted people

  8. “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the Galts, they kill us for their sport.”

  9. Here’s an example of real leadership : “The Cain doctrine would be real simple when it comes to Israel: You mess with Israel, you mess with the United States of America,” he said to a long standing ovation.

    Political felching?

  10. It was great to see Kristof’s article. I’ve been saying stuff like that for years, and it’s helpful for him to name a concrete example: Pakistan. Just as I’m starting to see Christians connect the dots on atheist Ayn Rand idolatry among their right wing politicians, I hope Kristof’s message reaches far and wide.

  11. Here’s a little something for you history buffs out there…
    “I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere,” Palin said. “Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that ‘hey, you’re not going to take American arms, you are not going to beat our own well-armed persons individual private militia that we have.'”

    She’s a major airhead… I doubt she ever cracked open a history book in her life!

    • Re the well-armed persons individual private militia — it wasn’t “private,” since it was under the command of the Continental Congress, and it wasn’t all that well-armed, and it was extremely ineffectual. The militia got whupped more often than not. General Washington very much preferred trained regulars to militia. I understand one American general, Daniel Morgan, took to sending out militia as a kind of decoy. The British would advance on the militia thinking they would run, as usual. When the Redcoats got close enough, Morgan’s regulars would pop out of hiding and start shooting, while the militia ducked. It was very effective.

    • Revere was apprehended by British at one point, and he did talk to them. However, this happened after he had carried out his mission, which was to ride from Boston to Lexington to inform Hancock and Sam Adams of British troops movements. So, strictly speaking, this didn’t happen on the “midnight ride,” but after. After the mission was accomplished, Revere and some other guys rode on toward Concorde, and along the way the British stopped them. Revere was taken prisoner and spent the next several hours under guard. Palin seems to think that the mission was to blab about American troops movements to the British. And the cognitively challenged William Jacobson has demanded that everyone apologize to Sarah Palin, because she was right and everyone else wrong. Unreal.

  12. With her Paul Revere “rebuttal”, Palin displays those traits that are so childish and nauseating among the right: twisting facts to suit her own interpretation (facts and opinion are conflated in her own mind, there’s no difference between them), and a complete inability to understand, much less, admit that she’s wrong. There’s a name for whatever mental illness she has, but most children outgrow it by the age of ten.

  13. I see where Israeli soldiers killed 14 protesters… Isn’t that great! Normally I would find mass killings a deplorable criminal act, but seeing how Israel is so persecuted and is our greatest ally, I’m sure God has endorsed the killings.

    Innocent civilians 0, Israel 14… Way to go!

  14. Revere’s ride was to remind the British about our 2nd Amendment rights, 12 years before our Constitition – but hey, like Sarah, he was a foreward thinker.
    And it wasn’t at midnight, but noon, after he woke up late -like Sarah.
    And he didn’t ride a horse, but rented a bus – like Sarah.
    And when he was captured, he wasn’t ‘under’ guard, but ON guard – like Sarah is with the MSM.

    That, boys ‘n girls, is todays lesson.
    No, not History!
    It was a lesson in “Sarah’n’dipity.”

    Tomorrow, she’ll come to NY City to talk about Washington’s strategic retreat from Levitown in Long Island, and how the Continental Congress learned never ever to abandon the Jews and Israel never ever again. Not never. Not ever. Not never ever.

    And on Tuesday, though she won’t tell the MSM, she’s headed for upstate NY to the town where a great battle took place, and was named for her – Sarah-toga.

    Never mind about her never cracking open a history book.
    I don’t think this twit’s ever even tried to read a “Bazooka Bubble Gum” wrapper – it was too complex.

  15. goatherd: excellent.

    I just started reading the bio Molly Ivins, A Rebel Life this weekend, and was shocked to learn that Molly very likely would have ended up married to an Ayn Rand-obsessed Galtoid, had he not died very young in a motorcycle crash. The gyrations of fate are strange indeed.

    Very good book, btw. I’ll miss Molly forever.

  16. I remember a number of ridiculous baggers screaming that “Obama wants to turn the US into a third world country.” I know the term has undergone some change in meaning from when Mao used it to describe the political alignment of nations. For the life of me I can’t quite make sense of the baggers’ claim without assuming that in Baggerworld, universal healthcare was somehow an attribute of third world countries because the US doesn’t have it and all of the EU nations do and that somehow in their universe, the EU is third world because, well because … Rush or somebody once said that… Okay, I can’t make sense out of it at all.

    I was thinking that we need a new term. Clearly, the Republicans have a set changes in mind that, if implemented would make us a lot more like Pakistan, and though that would not make us third world, it would engender changes that would give us a lot more in common with third world nations. Kristof mentions a number of them. The Republican agenda would give us an even greater income disparity, no union representation for labor, a much higher poverty rate and a much shorter life expectancy due to medikill and much higher illiteracy rate. That’s just for starters, we might have “enhanced interrogation for lesser crimes and repeal of child labor laws.

    So, what do you call a country like that if somehow, it still maintains a high level of development? Maybe I could ask a bagger. I think we need a new term, or am I just drawing a blank?

    I didn’t want to get into it before. But, sometimes, I do think we are in for a rough and violent ride. Here in NC, we have Xe and a LOT of very well armed “conservatives” hungering for the end of the world. I don’t think a fellow like me would last very long.

  17. I’m amazed about the death threats climate scientists are receiving in Australia. From afar, it looks like people in Oz would be the most aware of how climate change is affecting the planet.

    …Tomorrow, she’ll come to NY City to talk about Washington’s strategic retreat from Levitown in Long Island, and how the Continental Congress learned never ever to abandon the Jews and Israel never ever again…

    It’s too bad there isn’t some sort of “American Idol” for joke writing. You really have the funny bone, Gulag.

  18. Maha,

    In more than one engagement, the Militia were instructed to take two shots, then run like hell, drawing the redcoats, on the run, into firing range of the bluecoats waiting for them. The Militai had a reputation, to be sure!

    • Dan — according to family history, one of my great x 4 grandfathers fought with Gen. Morgan, but there’s no record of exactly what he did. I’m guessing he was militia, not regular. Well, at least he showed up.

  19. Gulag…Funny that you should mention the Battle of Levittown..Most people don’t even know how important that battle was in the cause for independence.. 🙂

    As an aside..here’s a link to an historical restoration project that I worked on as part of a three man team of carpenters back in the day. The town historian during the project was a guy named Rufus Langhans (born 200 years to late) who found an old requisition certificate in the town records issued by the British for some cattle and a cart while the British were in occupation of the town of Huntington. As a publicity stunt to boost historical awareness he dressed up in colonial garb and traveled to England to demand payment on the requisition paper. Rufus took his colonial history seriously.


  20. Thanks, moonbat!
    I really appreciate that.
    I figure we could all use a chuckle every once in awhile.
    I don’t always succeed, but I try. 🙂

  21. Even the “good news” on the homeowners foreclose bank highlights the lopsided misery of the situation. Homeowner foreclosed, major problem. Homeowner with no mortgage foreclosed, legal issues drag on for months. Bank foreclosed, inconvenienced ALL MORNING and then back to the same old same old. Will they even face more push back in the legal system for their claims?


  22. Sarah’s ability to admit and laugh at her own mistakes is really one of the most charming things about that amazing woman.

    I know we can’t ALL be descended from men who rode with Paul Revere that night, spreading the word about British troop movements. But those of us who ARE, we understand how someone who grew up in Idaho and Alaska might be a bit fuzzy on the details, and screw up. Heck, that’s why lots of people go to Boston’s Freedom Walk, to learn about all that stuff they “sorta remember” from school. It’s OK not to know everything.

    Sure, it’s a little embarrassing, what with the Longfellow poem and all, to not know the details, but hey, I’m not entirely clear about details of Seward’s Folly.

    But I’m pretty sure that if I said something completely backwards, like that Seward had been working for the Russians in that whole land deal and his “folly” was selling us the land so cheap, I’d be open to hearing that actually he was the American Secretary of State, and people thought he’d wasted good money on that wasteland, and laugh at how badly I’d gotten the story mixed up.

    It amazes me how hard she clings to this posture that she knows what she is talking about, even when she knows, and we know, it isn’t true.

  23. A few odds and ends:

    Remember the link to the high school pictures, etc., that was here a few days back? As I recall Sarah Palin, nee Heath was a member of the Honor Society. So obviously, the only logical explanation is that the real Sarah Heath was kidnapped by beings from outer space and replaced with some sort of “replicant”. Her real birth certificate would actually be a certified date of manufacture complete with repair manual. So, she may have her own constitutional issues. I hope they bought the extended warrantee.

    Joan: Boy, I loved Molly Ivins. I like to think that if she had married a Randian, she would have divorced him quickly and broken his jaw in the bargain. “Molly Ivins, A Rebel Life” sounds like a winner.

    I just started Chris Hedges’ “Empire of Illusion”. I’ve always like his work, it always rings true. It can be on the depressing side, and unfortunately the popularity of “The Sarah” and of the Randian world view seem almost inevitable given the current state of our society, according to his interpretaton. Costa Rica looks pretty good.

    I think one possible answer to my question about a term to describe a country like the US might become under the Republican agenda is “depleted state”. It describes countries like North Korea, which spends so much on its military that all the other requisites of a healthy society are dysfunctional. We still have and are likely to maintain a manufacturing capacity, but, already we have resources for health care, the social safety net, education, etc., being funneled into the military and military operations.

  24. “Costa Rica looks good”
    Perhaps, but New Zealand looks even better.
    Too bad I’m 56.999 years old, they don’t want me.

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