Sunday, May 18, 2014

Odds and ends 5/18/2014

ZeroHedge reports banks don’t collateralize loans with the deposits on hand. They create the money ex nihilo.

Bernanke and Krugman assume that huge levels of household debt don’t hurt the economy because more debt among households just means that savers have loaned them money ... i.e. that it is a net wash to the economy.

To make this assumption, they rely on the myth that banks can only loan as much money out as they have in deposits. In other words, they assume that if bank customer John Doe has $100 in the bank, then the bank can loan that $100 to someone else.

But Keen points out—as the Bank of England is now finally doing as well—that banks actually loan out money whether or not they have enough in deposits ... and then borrow the shortfall from the central bank.

Keen therefore says that it is not a wash ... and that high levels of private debt are the cause of economic crises.

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has created $2.8 trillion, and GDP has risen $1.3 trillion. That’s 46 cents of “growth” for every digital dollar put into circulation. Where’s that growth going?

À la the ’40s, Americans are saving their way through hard times. It’s a Keynesian catch 22: Savings translates to slow circulation. Slow circulation translates to low inflation. The Fed’s printing frenzy creates wealth sinks, not commerce.

“Once the artificially enhanced demand limits are reached, or even worse, consumers cannot afford to service their debt on the goods they previously purchased, the boom will come to a hard and fast end.” –Vox

MSNBC’s Krystal Ball reads Animal Farm:

At its heart, Animal Farm is about tyranny and the likelihood of those in power to abuse that power. It’s clear that tendency is not only found in the Soviet communist experience. In fact, if you read Animal Farm today, it seems to warn not of some now non-existent communist threat but of the power concentrated in the hands of the wealthy elites and corporations...

As new research shows that we already live a sort of oligarchy that the preferences of the masses literally do not matter and that the only thing that counts is the needs and desires of the elites, Animal Farm is a useful cautionary tale warning of the corruption of concentrated power, no matter in whose hands that power rests.

Like fascist, technocratic, totalitarian government.

Who does fascist, technocratic, totalitarian government love? Big business proxies.


I thought the fix was in, but I was wrong.

[New Clippers CEO Dick] Parsons said the Clippers could become “America’s team” in the aftermath of Sterling.

“America loves a story where someone gets knocked down and then gets back up into the ring. This team has talent,” Parsons said.

I interpret the awkward Thunder/Clippers game 5 result as the referees showing up Magic Johnson, who has been on a power trip of late.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks were just sold. I’m sure the new owners hold the right views.

The $550 million sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry is expected to be finalized by the NBA on Thursday, a source involved in the process told ESPN.com.

In the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal, there was a push within the league to have an extra thorough vetting of the new owners, sources said. That process, however, is complete and the league's Board of Governors will approve the transaction that was initially signed last month.

I bet the next crop of NBA recruits is ecstatic Lebron James is committed to stalling their pro careers over Donald Sterling’s non-racism. Any doubts he would volunteer to lead a player boycott if he was still seeking his first championship?

NBA Players Association Vice President Roger Mason Jr. said that James is willing to sit at the start of the 2014-15 season if Sterling is still running the Clippers.

“I was just in the locker room 3, 4 days ago. LeBron and I talked about it – he ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner,” Mason told “Jim Rome on Showtime.”

...

“At the end of the day, this is going to be a long litigation when it comes to that,” James said. “This guy who’s owned the team since the ’80s is not going to just give the team up in a day. So we understand it’s going to be long, but we want what’s right.”

James stated that he doesn’t want any Sterling owning the Clippers.

“As players, we want what’s right and we don’t feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team,” James said.


Do you wonder why voters are less enthusiastic about upcoming elections than they’ve been in 20 years? Nancy Pfotenhauer writes at The Hill:

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree universal health insurance is the central goal of successful healthcare reform. The left sold the Affordable Care Act on this promise; the right hopes to do the same with an alternative plan set to be unveiled later this year.

Republicans dig their grave by offering an alternative big-government plan. As a matter of branding, Boehnercare gives me no more comfort than Obamacare. “Universal” means big, bureaucratic, and impersonal.

The upside to this is that people will realize politics can’t save them, only God’s mercy can.


Drug dealing is a growth market in Texas, Cheyanne Weldon thinks:

Colorado analysts say the message is simple—the January taxes weren’t just from faddists who ran out to buy pot as a ‘new toy.’ Legal marijuana use is taking effect across the Centennial State, and Cheyanne Weldon of the Texas Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says Texas politicians can’t help but take notice.

“The way we can control it is through a regulated market,” Weldon said of failed efforts to reduce the use of marijuana by law enforcement. “We can capitalize not only on marijuana taxes themselves, but on the new industries, and the jobs.”


Cuba is still Communist, Michael J. Totten of City Journal reports:

When the ailing Fidel Castro ceded power to his less doctrinaire younger brother Raúl in 2008, the quasi-capitalist bubble expanded, but the economy remains heavily socialist. In the United States, we have a minimum wage; Cuba has a maximum wage—$20 a month for almost every job in the country. (Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can make a whopping $10 extra a month.) Sure, Cubans get “free” health care and education, but as Cuban exile and Yale historian Carlos Eire says, “All slave owners need to keep their slaves healthy and ensure that they have the skills to perform their tasks.”

Theodore Dalrymple mentions envy:

Resentment is the one emotion that can last a lifetime and will never let you down. All other emotions are fleeting and unreliable by comparison. I have tried hating someone for years, but found it impossible: hatred fades like the colors of pressed flowers. But resentment! It is the perfect solution to one’s failure in life. And we are all of us failures in some sense or other, thank God, for no one would be as intolerable and the cause of so much resentment as the complete success.

A year ago Rep. Paul Ryan “reached out” and got burned.

More than a month after the Wisconsin Republican ignited an angry backlash over comments that many viewed as racially insensitive, the House Budget Committee chairman sat down with members of the group to clear the air.

But Wednesday’s session on Capitol Hill didn’t bridge the gulf between Ryan’s philosophy of addressing poverty and that of the black caucus—whose members defend many of the current federal anti-poverty programs that Ryan’s proposed budget would cut.

The black caucus chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, stood next to Ryan after the closed-door meeting and thanked him for coming. But then she said bluntly that the meeting “didn’t get a whole lot accomplished.”

She said while the black caucus and Ryan both are concerned about poverty, “we just disagree on how we address the problem.”

Ryan opened the meeting explaining his comments a few weeks ago on a radio program—which triggered the invitation to sit down with the group—didn’t come out the way he intended, according to a Democrat who attended the session.

During a March interview with conservative commentator Bill Bennett, Ryan, who has been working on alternative ways to address poverty, said there is a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”

Many African-American leaders called the comments racially charged and the blowback prompted Ryan to swiftly admit his remarks were “inarticulate.”

He should study panderer Senator Rand Paul, whose latest betrayal shouldn’t surprise. He said:

Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing. I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.

If Ron Fournier thought conservatives were destroying themselves, he would let them, I pointed out last week. But he knows that conservative Republicans help themselves by speaking the truth. If they convert to social liberalism, Republicans are dead.


“It’s the 18th-century mindset that the sweat off your brow determines your ability to survive, not the government. But the notion of the great pioneer has been slowly chipped away by barbed wire and government regulation.” –Jeffrey Richardson

A Hollywood writer pitches a war story at a dinner party (hat tip Ed Driscoll):

When Chetwynd was a successful Hollywood writer specializing in historical dramas, he told the Dieppe story during a Malibu dinner party—as a sort of tribute to the men who died there so people could sit around debating politics at Malibu dinner parties. One of the guests was a network head who asked Chetwynd to come in and pitch the story. “So I went in,” Chetwynd told me, “and someone there said, ‘So these bloodthirsty generals sent these men to a certain death?’

“And I said, ‘Well, they weren’t bloodthirsty; they wept. But how else were we to know how Hitler could be toppled from Europe?’ And she said, ‘Well, who’s the enemy?’ I said, ‘Hitler. The Nazis.’ And she said, ‘Oh, no, no, no. I mean, who’s the real enemy?’”

“It was the first time I realized,” Chetwynd continued, “that for many people evil such as Nazism can only be understood as a cipher for evil within ourselves. They’ve become so persuaded of the essential ugliness of our society and its military, that to tell a war story is to tell the story of evil people.”

Kind of like how the real enemy in Man of Steel wasn’t General Zod, it was racism.


This could be a prank on the system, or sincere. After Her and Judge Vaughn Walker’s legal reasoning, it’s hard to argue with Mr. Sevier’s logic.

Mr Sevier argues that if gays should be allowed to marry, then so should other sexual minorities.

Mr Sevier states he has fallen in love with a pornography laden computer.

“Over time, I began preferring sex with my computer over sex with real women,” he told a court in Florida.

This appears to be not a passing holiday romance, but a lifelong commitment.

If gays have the right to “marry their object of sexual desire, even if they lack corresponding sexual parts, then I should have the right to marry my preferred sexual object”, he said.

...

If gays feel as if they are second class citizens, Mr Sevier argues then “those of us in the real minority, who want to marry machines and animals, certainly feel like third class citizens”.

Mr Sevier apparently sought a marriage license for himself and his “machine spouse”, but for some reason was denied.

“The exclusion from marriage to a machine denies myself a dignity and status of immense import,” he argues in his motion.

Marriage isn’t about “preferred sexual objects.” It’s about love.


Ten years ago, Steve Sailer observed a strong correlation between years married paired with fertility and social conservatism. It’s a good read, albeit mired in statistics jargon.

The less people are married, the fewer children they have, the more leftist they are. Family formation ensures the future of civilization and prevents the passing of society’s functions to the state.

Social conservatism is not just sound policy, it’s in Republicans’ self-interest to oppose abortion and marriage “liberalization.” Libertarians/social liberals will destroy the Republican Party. Worse, they will pave the way for totalitarianism.


What’s the point of this video: that Democrats should nominate someone more Leftist than Hillary Clinton? Instead of learning the true definition of marriage, the college students’ takeaway is that she’s a hypocrite—or, worse, a right-winger!.

The tactic, while humorous, is short-sighted. It fits into liberals’ strategy of purging impure thoughts from polite society. The kids’ conclusion is that Hillary Clinton might be to “right-wing.” That’s scary. You can’t win a Democratic primary unless you believe in marriage redefinition.

At 0:59, one student ascribes the quote to Dick Cheney. That’s ironic, since Cheney, whose daughter is gay, was ahead of most Democrats in his tacit support for marriage redefinition.


Epic comment by “Michael” at the Federalist:
A place like the “Brave New World” of Aldous Huxley would seem to be the point towards which the Progressives wish us to progress. Are the masses all to be mind-numbed sterile individual sex machines? Is it actually possible that Progessives see their “Brave New World” as a good place for human beings? Or is it more true to say that Progressives would like to eliminate the ‘human’ from the ‘being’ altogether other than for the top most of society’s members, the elites?

Social liberal Charles C. W. Cooke comes out against capital punishment. “Grayman” comments:

Liberal philosophy has created a world where there is no evil, and therein lies the rub. Evil really does exist, and it really doesn’t help trying to explain it away as the result of some political inequality. Lockett was evil, regardless of how he got that way, and keeping him alive thinking it’d make us a better people is just not a conviction I can share. As long as a man like that breathed air the world was a more dangerous place.

The only moral problem I have with the State executing bad guys is the State is demonstrably incompetent when it comes to deciding who the bad guys are. How many stories have we read since DNA testing became available where men on death row were exonerated? This doesn’t apply to Lockett, however. He was proud of what he’d done. Jonah was dead on (pun intended) when he said Lockett deserved to die.

I’ve ranted about Cooke before here. He supports prostitution, same-sex marriage, and legal marijuana.


Reminiscient of “Liberal scrooges,” David Harsanyi reviews a hit piece on Paul Ryan by Arthur Delaney. Excerpt from Harsnayi:

Delaney does offer us an insight into progressive thinking: These days, anyone who claims that the poor can succeed without the state’s guidance and anyone who claims that ordinary citizens can pick up the slack left by costly and failed welfare programs, is doing the bidding of the plutocracy. The state is in competition with local communities. It is in competition with religion. The headline of the piece might well have been, ‘If The Department of Health and Human Services isn’t helping you, no one really is.’

Rick Santorum must read me.

I think there’s a lot of common ground between libertarians and conservatives, but frankly there’s a lot of common ground between libertarians and liberals.

You read it here first.

The libertarian host responded: “American greatness is based on individual freedoms and individuals succeeding and getting the government out of their way.” Like Dead Poets Society (I prefer The Emperor’s Club), she takes virtue for granted.


It seems you can’t talk about immigration policy with much seriousness in the Netherlands, either. Christopher Caldwell reports at the Weekly Standard:

Wilders had one more question, though. After explaining that his party rested on straight talk and avoided political correctness, he asked the room: “Do you want, in this city and in the Netherlands, more or fewer Moroccans?” Wilders would explain in an interview a few minutes later—the post facto clarification is his political signature—that he didn’t mean all Moroccans, only the criminal ones. But the room did not insist on that qualification and hollered, “Min-der! Min-der! Min-der!” as lustily as it had for the other questions.

The fallout was almost immediate. One German news agency compared Wilders to the Nazi rabble-rouser Joseph Goebbels. Two of his 14 members of parliament exited the party. So did two city councilors and one of his European candidates. Then Wilders’s adversaries began to file judicial complaints against him for discrimination, 500 of them in a single day in the left-wing city of Nijmegen. The other parties debated whether to freeze Wilders’s party out of any involvement in governing, through what is called a cordon sanitaire. (Labour said yes; D66 said it would be undemocratic.) Wilders fell from 27 percent to 22 percent in the polls.

It was a signal that there are limits to what a populist candidate can say—but also that those limits might be getting less and less constraining. Five percentage points is not that many. As the days passed, it appeared that Wilders might be in the process of winning them back.

No matter who they are, no matter where they hail from, more of them is always better. Such is the multiculturalist’s religion of national and ethnic self-hatred.


Two years ago I was unemployed and having the time of my life. In May 2012 I went for a 3-day hiking trip in Virginia and West Virginia. I summarized the experience at my first blog, and I talked about it in an allegorical sense here.


Next week I’m going to Honduras on a mission trip with my girlfriend, her family, and others from our church. I’ll be gone a week. Pray for us, please.

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