Monday, January 21, 2008

Notes on the Economy|Part 2|Melissa...

I think it is always important to note that when looking at one day's performance we should take it with a grain of salt until we can confirm its biasness towards the overall direction of the economy. That being said let us look at some news today:
British shares in worst fall since Sept. 11 attacks FTSE 100 index drops 323 points as miners and banks weigh
The U.K. FTSE 100 index (UK:UKX: news, chart, profile) declined 5.5%, or 323.5 points, to 5,578.20, led by financials including the Royal Bank of Scotland (UK:RBS: news, chart, profile) , which dropped 8.2%, and mining giant BHP Billiton (UK:BLT) which fell 8.7%.
I do note it is interesting that their market took the biggest dive on what happened in the USA more than even their 7/7 and airline threats. It was also noted that other European Markets were down sharply with Economic fears cuff Asia; India, Hong Kong slide Recession fears spark heavy selling; Japan, China, South Korea also slump. And from the last link this interesting quote:
"The decoupling between the U.S. and Asian economies is still in progress. Though the U.S. growth rate has been declining, the growth of exports from Asia is steadily growing in double digits," said Yuihama.
I hear people talk about this supposed decoupling but we live in a global economy now and it is unlikely that any of the actors are going to suddenly be isolationist or enact autarkic policies as Jagdish explains how they fail miserably on all counts. If it worked then Cuba and North Korea would be the richest countries in the world. But I should still try to find out the exact way that some people are using this phrase and I am sure it is different than the common misperception of it is. Which brings me to a conversation that Loganthor and Melissa are having at Thom's.
Looks like the Europeans are NOT too impressed with Bush's tax package either.

Not that I care what they think.

Just out of curiosity.... anybody in UK have any plan of their own on how to fix the US economy?

Why would they care about fixing the US economy in the UK, they have their own problems.

I believe what is happening in the UK, is that they are trying to remove themselves from US association, and move more towards stronger European unity. My own feeling is, is that they are not too far off from converting to the euro, of course that will be the kiss of death for the USD.

(Boy, I miss Ron, he could add so much to this conversation.)

If we are too stupid to figure it out ourselves, than I dare say we deserve the economic mess we are in.

Watch the US markets tomorrow, should be interesting (glad I don't have anything in this market at the moment).
Thanks Melissa for the kind words, but maybe this is for the better. I got tired of ren's BS and living under different set of rules. Now I no longer have to abide by rule 10 or any rule for that matter that the fascist Thom can devise.

As far as being impressed, we in the USA are not here to impress them. We have to do what is prudent in what we do. The US was just criticized for lowering interest rates that could lead to the exchange rate going against the US dollar and increasing inflation in the US. So like usual we will not be able to satisfy the naysayers or nihilists. But as I noted before in Random Notes on the Economy, I like the use of fiscal stimulus and monetary policy working together to avert a possible recession. It must be noted that Fiscal Policy has lost much of its ability to control the economy since of a more open economy now, but it would be good that both economic arms of the Government work in the same direction. But maybe this is not enough considering that we are probably constrained since we have gone to the well too many times and ran up too much of a bill to continue to only use Fiscal stimulus to an economy without also using the brakes when it is needed also. (Meaning raising taxes or revenues when the economy becomes overheated-especially with respect to sectors.)

But I can say without a doubt the EU and UK is concerned about the US economy and they have followed these goals for a long time. Including in 1987 when the US dollar fell by 40% (85-86), Europe quickly stepped in and with various nations prevented further declines.

Lastly, I am not sure why Melissa does not understand certain things that I have emphasized to her but she still holds some views about currencies that run against any knowledge of the subject. Even if the UK adopts the Euro it will really mean not much to the US Dollar. Maybe a slight reduction of reserves of dollars since they can rely more heavily on the central banks of Europe to overcome any shortfall in currencies. But this process of adopting the Euro is not just a flick of the switch and nothing has even hinted they are ready to have a hard peg to the Euro anytime soon. I already had linked to creation of monetary unions on my final exam.

Ultimately, yes Tuesday could be an interesting day in the market. But we do have another round of worldwide markets before the US opens up tomorrow morning. And another thread at Thom's is a link to the Canadian news talking about the Canadian market in: TSX plunges more than 600 points.
Weighing on the benchmark Canadian stock index on Monday was a big drop in the price of oil. The price for light sweet crude oil for February delivery was down $1.95 US a barrel at $88.62 US a barrel.

Gold prices also plunged $19.50 to $862.20 US an ounce.
Well what may be bad for Canadians may actually be good for the USA. And on a positive note, if the USA slows down growth then I guess we will be consuming less hydro-carbons.

Anyway, take care Melissa. I did want to ask if you are going to own a home in London or rent?
U.S. jobless rate jumps to 5% as payrolls grow 18,000
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The unemployment rate shot up to 5% in December as job growth stalled, a sign that the U.S. economic slump has spread to the labor market. U.S. seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls rose by 18,000 in December, the weakest job growth since August 2003, according to a survey of thousands of businesses. Job growth was revised up by a total of 10,000 in November and October. Economists were expecting payrolls to increase about 58,000 in December. Private-sector payrolls fell by 13,000, the biggest decline in more than four years. A separate survey of households showed employment plunging by 436,000, marking the biggest decline in five years. The number of unemployed adults rose by 474,000, pushing the unemployment rate up to 5.0% from 4.7%.

Jobless rate jumps to 5% as payroll growth stalls December nonfarm payrolls rise 18,000, weakest gain in more than four years

Flipped out Even as teens shun work force, job opportunities await

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

We're on the brink of apocalypse! Again!

The title link starts out with:
The Puritanical roots of our fatalism and anxiety over American exceptionalism.

The sky is falling! The end is near!

Just in time for the Christmas season, Pat Buchanan has published yet another jeremiad warning that America is about to go belly up. You'd think that the American public would get tired of the unrelenting gloominess of the far right and left. But you'd be wrong. Already the book is climbing up the bestseller lists, giving us further proof that, despite our collective obsession with living the good life, we Americans love the sweet rush of anxiety. Maybe it's just the antidote for our apathy.
This is just to note that Pat Buchanan was mentioned in this article on the USA naval gazing and that it can occur on the right as easily as the left. I also wanted to note the following passage for thinking that American Exceptionalism is less to do with pride but with a deep sense of obligation to help others.
That meant they had a high standard to live up to. If they pleased the Lord, the Almighty would bless them. But if they did not, Winthrop cautioned, "We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of this good land." In other words, when Winthrop spoke of the new colony as "a city upon a hill," he saw its exceptionalism as less a boast than a warning.
And one more passage:
At its best, says Mckenna, the Puritan tradition of anxious providentialism has inspired the likes of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to improve the nation. King proclaimed that African Americans would win their freedom "because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands." But anxious providentialism can also devolve into self-indulgent cynicism, the kind that not only does not inspire but kills the very impulse to make the world better.

The same is true for the jeremiad. From the Puritans on, it has been used to exhort Americans to step up and fulfill their "errand into the wilderness" (in the words of another Puritan preacher). As one scholar put it, we experience a process of "liberation through lamentation." But since the late 1960s and the demoralizing effects of the Vietnam War, too many jeremiads have held out too little hope, abandoning the promise inherent in the Puritans' covenant -- the possibility of redemption. In these works, a new "reverse exceptionalism" has emerged, with critics portraying the United States as exceptionally bad, not exceptionally blessed. Although it's easy to identify the origins of the post-modern jeremiad in the New Left, a generation later, plenty of disgruntled right-wingers employ the same grim, apocalyptic rhetoric.
For myself, I grew up in a strong Christian background that while saying we are all sinners we can get redemption and have an obligation to help others in need. I became interested in politics as the morass of the Carter Administration was winding down and that Ronald Reagan presented a new image of a USA that was fighting for the freedoms of others around the world. Around this time we also learned about the complete failures of the last two tries at the Marxist utopia in China and Cambodia. When you count the victims by millions, then when someone mentions Pinochet, I just laugh to myself. Pinochet was an authoritarian regime and may have caused the death of 10,000 in 17 years. As compared to S21 where 17,000 died in one "re-education" camp where about a dozen that went there lived.

Anyway back to my apocalyptic views by looking at what Pat Buchanan has written recently. As in Is World War III on Hold? While the title is noteworthy, he basically discusses the issues without to much gloom and doom scenarios. As noted earlier he did mention about the sinking currency as in: Sinking Currency, Sinking Country.
Have gold, silver, oil, the euro, the pound and the Canadian dollar all suddenly soared in value in just a few years?

Nope. The dollar has plummeted in value, more so in Bush's term than during any comparable period of U.S. history. Indeed, Bush is presiding over a worldwide abandonment of the American dollar.

Is it all Bush's fault? Nope.
Actually he is wrong, the Dollar fell 40% in two years from 1985-1987 and no one seems to even remember that time. Not abandonment but more of a rewinding of excess reserves by some countries. We let our currency freely float but other countries find it in their interest to 'hoard' US Dollars to stimulate exports to the USA. Who we should blame is them and not some self-flagellation exercise.
A sinking dollar means a poorer nation, and a sinking currency has historically been the mark of a sinking country. And a superpower with a sinking currency is a contradiction in terms.
How can "living with in our means" be such a bad thing? And how can the stimuli we need to balance our trade imbalance is so bad. This will encourage exports and discourage imports. Thus get closer to balancing the trade balance.
The Chinese, whose currency is tied to the dollar, and Japan will continue, as long as they can, to keep their currencies low against the dollar. For the Asians think long term, and their goals are strategic.
Exactly as I stated above, but what solution does Pat provide? The rest of Buchanan's article is along the line of apocalypse.

And what does Pat Buchanan think of Apocalypse Now?
The scaremongers are not always wrong. The Trojans should have listened to Cassandra. But history shows that the scaremongers are usually wrong.

Parson Malthus predicted mass starvation 250 years ago, as the population was growing geometrically, doubling each generation, while agricultural production was going arithmetically, by 2 percent or so a year. But today, with perhaps 1 percent of our population in full-time food production, we are the best-fed and fattest 300 million people on Earth.

Karl Marx was proven dead wrong about the immiseration of the masses under capitalism and the coming revolution in the industrial West, though they still have hopes at Harvard.
All true enough Pat, but then why do you preach the words of apocalypse too? Maybe us Americans can only understand (or even listen) when people talk in apocalyptic mannerisms. As far as myself, I agree with Pat Buchanan, that even when Pat is talking in apocalyptic terms to take him with a grain of salt. LOL...

We're on the brink of apocalypse! Again!

Cleverly Firing Back at Atheism

Thom Hartmann is a Dweeb-or in his words:Has the Rise of Conservatives in Media and Politics Over the Past 26 Years Led to a Police State in America?

This has to be the most preposterous question ever:Has the Rise of Conservatives in Media and Politics Over the Past 26 Years Led to a Police State in America? Yes our pied piper of the left wing wackos is framing the USA as a Fascist/Police State without even a hint of irony that maybe more of his "facts" come from such liberal strongholds of the country. But we already know that his rose colored glasses only see that conservatives are the ones that want to promote Fascism when in fact Fascism is a theory deriving from and sustained on Socialist Principles. Anyway let us look at his proofs:
...And was Carol Anne Gotbaum a Victim of That? The daughter-in-law of one of New York's top officials yelled, "I'm not a terrorist!" and apparently fought with security and police in the Phoenix Airport before being wrestled to the floor and handcuffed. She was then shackled to a table in a holding tank and left alone. She died while seven police officers sat in their security office nearby.
Ok, so we have a lady screaming in a public place about terrorism, that could lead to panic and could be a diversion for a terrorist plot was subdued and held in detention. Nothing seems wrong with that. It looks like no one wanted to be her baby sitter after her public tantrum.
A student of color in LA had her wrist broke by a school security officer after not cleaning up dropped birthday cake to the his satisfaction. During the attack he called her a nappy head. This 16 year old girl was expelled and arrested for littering and battery. But wait.there's more -- when her mom went to the school to complain of the girls treatment and demand the security officer be arrested -- she was arrested and suspended from her job with the school district. The assault was caught on the cell phone of students nearby.
And Thom see no irony that he not only used the source for his primary source from Alex Jones but the videos were taken from Fox News!!! PrisonPlanet and InforWars are extreme Libertarian wackos and for Thom to attack Libertarians that are actually reasonable and then to take to word of the wackos makes me wonder if he even considered his sources of information?
A UCLA student was tasered by police without cause for studying in the university library without having his ID. Following Police orders to leave, the police tasered him while he was walking towards the door.
So at a "Liberal College" in a liberal town we have security guards that used too much force to enforce the regulations. The UC system is already noted for any liberal cause being good to protest on campus already as we saw in More Crazies at UCSB.
Para-style raids on homes have a 1300 percent increase over the last 25 years. The total annual arrests jumped from 3.3 million in 1960 to 14 million in 2004.
I don't see the second sentence in the article but I guess if the technique is working then we would expect that yes more criminals are rounded up. I did think the following needed highlighted:
Cato has released Balko’s new paper, Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America, which tells some of the stories of the innocent people whose homes were raided, and who lost their lives, to this new form of terrorism. It also documents over 150 examples of botched police raids.
So 150 "botched" raids vs. 14 million arrests. While I agree that the "War on Drugs" is another war that was never won or can be won. But that none of this indicates a Police State only that the laws are being enforced by our police and some security guards. So if we are afraid of a Police State forming then Legalize drugs and allocate our Law enforcement resources in more productive uses.
Police officer and security officers should learn how to restrain people in non-violent ways and train for dealing with citizens as human beings? Are we all becoming potential terrorists in the eyes of security and the police? Is authority making this clear with warrant less wiretapping our email, mail and a militarized police department?
Yes, and that Thom is just silly since they are using less than deadly force when encountering potential troublemakers. I would also point out that must be liberal idea to make statements as questions to somehow suggest that they are only asking a question when the question was already answered in their head. Also note that the government does not wiretap emails or mail and even when it was wiretapping it was not recording whole conversations only select words and patterns of calling. Much of the information that the government is now using is readily available through the market so is it really a question of Privacy?
Meantime a local middle school in Oak Park, Illinois has banned hugging -- calling the school a hug-free zone. The Principal says rampant hugging in creating bottlenecks in the hallway and making kids late for class.
Well what type of community is Oak Park, Illinois:
Oak Park has a long history of encouraging and maintaining racial and ethnic diversity, much of which was started in conjunction with the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement. The village operates a Diversity Assurance Program within its housing programs department to ensure a stable, diverse, and integrated population. Years ago, Oak Park eliminated the use of "For Sale" signs in front of houses, widely considered one of the keys of success to maintaining the high diversity.
Yes a solid Blue Stater with police problems? Funny that. But the story gets more interesting (note that the link to Chicago Times is no longer valid and this comes from Hugging Banned in the Hallways of an Illinois Middle School):
Hugging is now off limits at an Oak Park middle school.

The new policy went into effect at Percy Julian Middle School last month because of administrators’ concerns that so-called “hug lines” in the hallways were making students late for class and causing bottlenecks in the halls, according to WBBM-Channel 2.

Percy Julian Principal Victoria Sharts told the station hugging is “more appropriate for airports or for family reunions than passing and seeing each other every few minutes in the halls.”

Sharts also said some hugs between students were “too long, too close and usually between boys and girls.”

The school’s 860 students are not allowed to hug anywhere inside the building.
OK, so they may be late for school but also note the innuendo on sexual harassment issues. Yes our Liberal doctrine of sexual harassment must be stopped everywhere except when it is a President that you like does it...

Lastly this link at Just say “no” to hugs? explains the issues fairly well.
Let's talk about being a "we" society again where all people are valued and get our police and security officers trained appropriately.
Sorry but this is six-sigma thinking and not reality. Thom Hartmann has not shown any systemic failure of the system or even a pattern to this "crisis" but just a group of random events to spell out a vacuous philosophy of "train" more of the people. I am sure the people that have these jobs already have enough diversity training to last a lifetime without Thom giving them more. What we have is just 3 simple events that got out of hand out of a population of 300 million. Seems like a spectacularly low incident rate that I feel extremely comfortable saying the USA is not a police state from that article. But there is still a question of whether Thom Hartmann is a fascist? All this talk about "we" and them cons then maybe he is promoting Fascism? (Yes I could not resist a couple of question marks.)
A New Yorker’s Puzzling Death in the Phoenix Airport

Community responds to Taser use in Powell

Police SWAT raids: The new domestic terrorism?


Monday, January 07, 2008

Yes, it is official. Ron Paul is a Dweeb.

Just a note for all those out there that may think this is me at: My name is Ronald Rutherford. SR. But that is not me or any relation (as far as I know).

Ok now on to another Ron (i.e. Ron Paul). Maggie's Farm Blog always has some real interesting posts and

Hello Ron Paul! was no exception.
Now, young persons and people in rent-controlled apartments that work at fair trade coffee shops can afford the luxury of talking about whether the American Civil War was a good idea. If you just got out of college, Ron Paul! is right up your alley. Why talk about today's silly problems when Ron Paul! is arguing about whether we should abolish the Second Bank of The US? It's so much more lively to talk about history, because it's on the shelf and you can find any damn version of it you want to argue over. Real time isn't indexed yet.
What really amazes me is to somehow think our founding fathers could possibly have been geniuses at Economics. Political Science we could argue has not had a basic need to change since humans are basically the same. International Relations is different in the fact we now have so many different entities that of course IR should change with the times, and thus how we deal with the world must change also.

BUT, to think that any person let alone an "Economist" could possibly understand everything that is needed to know in the field of economics is silly at best and down right foolish in normal times. You would not expect to take the same advise from your doctor from the 1700s. Now economist have a lot more 'data' and knowledge of what works and what does not. One is having a central bank. Of course for some countries they almost are better without one (Zimbabwe), but it must tell you something when 184 nations of the world has decided to create Fiat Money and some gold standard that always ended in failure. And to show a little more taste of MF writing:
So Ron Paul! excites youth because they really don't think they have anything at stake yet in the affairs of the world. And he attracts the survivalist nuts who have already gone to the bunker, and desire someone to give the imprimatur of sanity to their decision to drink their own urine, hoard Kruggerands, and eat Spam underground already. The Pat Buchananites love anyone who says: Things used to be swell but now they suck. And conventional Conservatives, ashamed to call themselves that because the hip kids will photoshop them in Brownshirts or in a bathroom stall with Larry Craig, call themselves Libertarians for cover and adore Ron Paul! because he says over and over again that he's not interested in doing the one thing Libertarians hate: governing. So he's got the idealistic college kids, the country club anarchists, and the nuts. Who's that help?

Luckily I have not had any:Vote Spam for President in 2008 as of yet. But seeing how his supporters seem to be from the fringe of society, I suspect that what is said is correct.
Although the Ron Paul spam barrage does use a botnet, it makes no attempt to lure a clicker into downloading a file or viewing a malware-laced website. It has Ron Paul campaign leaders suspecting that the entire parade of emails were crafted by an "overzealous and well-intentioned Ron Paul supporter".

Powerline presents Better numbers for Ron Paul.
I have two responses. First, Paul has been a highly visible presence in this race for some time and does not do well in the polls. Even in New Hampshire (the "Live Free or Die" state), the Real Clear Politics average has him at 3.6 percent. In Rasmussen's poll, he's at 2 percent. One poll, by St. Anselm's college, shows him with 7 percent. That looks like an outlier, but let's assume instead that it's evidence of a trend others have missed -- 7 percent isn't going to get much done. In short, Ron Paul is not a serious force at this juncture, and there's no reason why the fact that 40,000 people saw fit to give him money should cause the rest of the population to give him a second (or a first) look.
Although this is a little old as far as campaigns, it still brought up some important facts. It looks like a fight between Giuliani and Ron Paul around the 10-11% polling according to GOP Outsider Ron Paul Dogs Giuliani in N.H. Race. I thought the following passage was funny also:
Speaking at the house party, he kept a positive message, although he did manage to get a dig in at Mr. Paul. Asked about his possible Cabinet, Mr. Giuliani cited President Lincoln, who named party rivals as his top advisers. He then joked that his Cabinet could comprise all of the Republicans on the debate stage Saturday night, "maybe with one exception." The crowd laughed, though it was initially unclear whether he was referring to Mr. Paul or Mr. Romney, who was roundly criticized at the debate. He later acknowledged it was Mr. Paul, citing his "isolationist" foreign policy views.
And one last comment from Powerline:
The only other seriously distinguishing feature of the campaign is that it's nutty. Being anti-war is respectable, but Paul's opposition to the war is founded on conspiracy theories, over-the-top isolationism, and an unhealthy dose of hostility to Israel. Paul's opposition to big government is not a distinguishing feature. There are plenty of other Republican candidates this cycle who embrace small government conservatism. Again, the only only distinguishing feature of Paul's small government platform is its nuttiness -- the gold standard, the Federal Reserve conspiracy stuff, etc.
One question that seems to be raised when talking about Ron Paul is whether he plans on becoming a spoiler in the race. As in:
Could Ron Paul Be the Ralph Nader of 2008?
At the same time, it seems to surprise many that Paul’s undeniable grassroots effectiveness hasn’t translated to a showing either in national or state polls. That’s surely due to the fact that many if not most of those who are sending money to Paul are not, in fact, Republicans. They are more plausibly among the 3 million or so who voted for Ralph Nader on the Green Party line in 2000, or even among those who rained money down on Howard Dean in the summer of 2003.

Which brings to mind an interesting scenario for 2008: Could Ron Paul run an independent candidacy for president in 2008 on a libertarian/anti-war/anti-monetarist platform? At this moment, it seems plausible, especially if the Democratic party nominates Hillary Clinton, who is bizarrely considered a neocon hawk by the Left netroots.

And despite Paul’s nominal standing as a Republican — and it is nominal — wouldn’t his candidacy draw more from disaffected Democrats, as liberal Republican John Anderson’s 1980 third-party candidacy pulled voters away from Jimmy Carter and not from Ronald Reagan?
I think the first paragraph is pure speculation, although the anti-war crowd is the most vocal group out there now. I also discussed this with my parents that Ron Paul could get more support from the left-depending on who the Dems nominate. So that scenario seems plausible but still low a low chance. But I suspect that Ron Paul's decisions will rest mostly with monetary considerations to run as an independent. If he still has money or can raise some good money from his net-roots campaigns then I see it as a good possibility. And what does Ron Paul say in Paul Won't Rule Out Run as Independent:
Paul said that while the chance of his running as an independent was slim, "I deserve one wiggle now and then." He ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988.
Another interesting item from that article is:
Paul said he was convinced that Israel and many neoconservatives in the United States would like to commence bombing on Iran. He repeated his argument that a major reason for Islamic terrorism against the United States was the country's high-profile presence around the world, including in Saudi Arabia.
The exact quote is not mentioned in the article but how does he propose lowering our profile? Stop the export of our products and services that may offend them. I specifically mean our entertainment industry. Even if we were to stop our export of cultural products, it would not stop the spread of them just like it does not stop the Chinese from black marketing those same products. So I reject his idea that "they" are over here since "we" are over there. We will always be in every part of this globalized world. Just as most countries are co-mingled with most other countries.

It was mentioned in an earlier article about Paul Defends Asking for Special Projects.
"I put them in because I represent people who are asking for some of their money back," said Paul, who likened it to taking a tax credit. "I'm against the tax system, but I take all my tax credits. I want to get their money back for the people."

The 10-term congressman and longshot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination added that although he has requested special projects known as earmarks, he ultimately ends up voting against them in the House. Paul is known in Congress as "Dr. No" for his votes against some types of government spending, including a medal for Pope John Paul II and civil rights leader Rosa Parks because of the cost to taxpayers.
I understand his reasoning for such actions, but does it make it morally right his actions? I question those but can not say that it limits me from voting for such a candidate in this regard. But then this got me to thinking about how he promotes himself in his district. Like does he give up the campaigning of bringing the largesse of Government to his constituents? Looking at his RonPaulforCongress site at Dr. Ron Paul... Working For Us! gives me a clue to what type of policies he considers 'fair'. In nearly every policy stance he is some way or another giving tax credits or breaks. So in his world not taxing some groups is OK. Ultimately he seems to support the bathtub theory that if we collect less revenue then Government would shrink, but that seemed to never work as well as planned. So in essence he also is promoting deficit spending, unless he also proposes a counter proposal that has tax increases for someone else.

Of course the wacky left has to 'dig' up the dirt to discredit him since he is not "anointed" by them as in: Ron Paul, In His Own Words. I seriously take this with a grain of salt.

I did happen to see that MPAC-UK posted a video of Ron Paul from the Fox News Channel.[American Muslims Remain Non Political As Zionists Attack Ron Paul] This video has the above phrase of they are over here since we are over there. LOL, the irony. It was presented without comment so the comments was more interesting.
mpacuk could teach CAIR a thing or two..recent high profile trials involving CAIR in the US have shown them to be everything they claim to despise..america is as split racially today as ever and people have lost confidence in politics,,BTW CAIR doesnt have much respect in the US among non muslims..keep up the good work mpacuk
you muppet:
CAIR are the american version of the MCB, a high level top end organisation but no real vision of changing the situation at the grass roots.
And lastly I end with the article entitled: Ron Paul's "noninterventionism" fraud.
Dr. Paul's libertarian prescription? If only we'd stop meddling in the "internal affairs" of other nations and bring our troops home, the world would be a better, safer, healthier place. Al Qaeda and other terrorists, having no further reasons to hate us, would either become peaceful or aim their aggressions elsewhere.

Now, I'd like to point out an interesting parallel between this common libertarian view of America's foreign enemies, and the common liberal view of America's domestic criminals.
In his debate clip earlier he talked about the need to "talk to our enemies" to find out what they want-to understand them. Then what? Subject ourselves to Sharia Law.

The author gives a good and quick account of what happened with the Shah of Iran situation in 1953 and then goes on to say:
The manipulative use, by Paul and too many libertarians, of vague, undefined smear terms such as "interventionist" and "neocon" permits them to blame the U.S. government for virtually anything it does in our legitimate, long-term self-defense, anywhere in the world. Actions to thwart coercive threats, such as forging defensive alliances, are "interventionism." Helping other nations counter a growing peril from a declared U.S. enemy nation (Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Iran, etc.) is "interventionism." Sometimes, even trading with adversaries of dictatorial regimes (e.g., trading with Taiwan, an enemy of China) is "interventionism."
A point I have continually made, that is that what we simply consider trading or doing 'business' others could consider interventionism including some of our own citizens.
The only "moral" alternative they imply, therefore, is a de facto, hunkered-down pacifism: a steady retreat by the U.S. from any interactions in the world -- lest we diss some backwater bully, cross his arbitrarily declared boundary lines, offend him for his subjective notions of religious or cultural blasphemy, or thwart his laughable claims of "national sovereignty."

Part of the sloppy thinking at the root of "noninterventionist" lunacy is the tacit equation of individual rights with "national sovereignty" -- and also the equation of "economic interventionism" (against peaceful individuals) with "political interventionism" (against despotic regimes). Philosophically, these twin equations are completely bogus.
And the rest of the article is well worth a read...
To paraphrase an old joke, then:

Ron Paul is my second choice for President.

My first choice is anybody else.
P.S.: My favorite Libertarian Supporter of Ron Paul has gotten the urge to label a post: [url=]Apocalypse Soon[/url]. Well not really soon but something that will affect our society in over 30 years. Which is the demographic shift our society is expected to go through unless we change something like our birth rate or death rate (increases) or we allow more immigration. Sure we could tinker with the system and ideally the tax burden for paying for the IOUs from the Social Security would come from the general funds. But that can only be stretched so far before young people balk at that and even immigrants will no longer desire to come to the USA.

But Ron Paul is still a dweeb...

PS (2-28-08): Ron Paul Confused About the Truth. Again. Once a person is consumed by paranoid logic then truths become fluid. Not to say I am perfect but sometimes you have to go back to the facts and re-evaluate the situation in an objective light.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) Introduces the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007!

Will Ron Paul Raise Most Money In Q4?

Paul Won't Rule Out Run as Independent

Paul Defends Asking for Special Projects

American Muslims Remain Non Political As Zionists Attack Ron Paul

Ron Paul, In His Own Words

Ron Paul's "noninterventionism" fraud

Ron Paul: The Racist, Sexist Homophobe 'Libertarian'?

Dr. No Apparently Says "No" to the Theory of Evolution-Video

Exclusive: Ron Paul Responds To New Republic Story


Friday, January 04, 2008

Not Anti-Americanism but American Nihilism

Slab wrote:
Grandpa Charlie wrote:
Better yet, I'd like to see a roll-back (in political consciousness) to where we would have been if the voters had never abandoned Carter in 1980.

Was the Carter Presidency good for the country?
I never thought so.

As I read it, Grandpa Charlie said: I'd like to see a roll-back (in political consciousness) to where we would have been if the voters had never abandoned Carter in 1980.

I therefore read that as he's talking about political consciousness, not Carter himself.

The political consciousness involved concepts like growing awareness of integral needs for:

1. environmental protection, managed by "us," not by the neoliberal magic marketplace that we now call the "Reagan Revolution," which has put us up against the edge of a cliff now, with a long fall and tremendous potential for social disruption in the short term (what's happening in the Middle East is the tip of it), since we abandoned any semblance of long term thinking as fast as possible once that consciousness itself was replaced by the smiling mask of the magic marketplace.

2. A societal "us" investing in a long term project to develop energy self sufficiency with increasing investment in renewable technologies like solar power, tidal hydrological power and a variety of other options, with investment incentives implemented through government oversights that at least have a potential to look long term, where the magic market tends to be by nature reactive and competitively short term instead of proactive, investing for the good of society, which would of course be for the good of the market, but that's not built into the dynamics.

That consciousness would have involved some major transformations over the next couple of decades in the way our present infrastructure looks today, had it played out. The transformation would probably have begun to look much more like what will eventually come to be, as the energy prices continue to soar, and as the reality of Peak Oil that is beginning to emerge finally sets in. The US could have been decades ahead of the rest of the world.

Where, in my opinion, Carter failed both the country and the political consciousness of the time, was after he listened to his National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was obsessively focused on the Cold War then, and who managed to convince Carter that the Middle East was the most important geostrategic region for the future of the United States, because of the interest the Soviets who were also directing their foreign policies to the region. With the overthrow of the US friendly Shah of Iran in 1979, and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, in a years time an alarmed Carter went from an emphasis on the above progressive environmental and renewable energy oriented programs to a focus on the Middle East. The political disruption in the Democratic party itself came out when Kennedy challenged Carter for the nomination, and Brzezinski became a controversial figure.

I think political consciousness in the country was at a turning point during the Carter Administration. Carter failed in his last years to allow that consciousness develop to a fruition that could have taken the US to a very different energy independent place now, as I see it, and Brzezinski was a focal point for that failure. A major party rift developed over him during the primaries as I remember it.

I will concede that Brzezinski is a brilliant geostrategic political "realist" but his ideas are not compatible with mine.
Slab wrote:


I recall the consciousness after the early 70's oil fiasco resulting in gas shortages.
With that, I can understand the lure of easy supply from the middle east and our countries decisions to stop building oil refineries.
Not sure to what consciousness you are referring to. If it is the mandate of better fuel milage brought on by the oil shortage or any attempts to use alternate fuels.
I was reading about the auto industry and the new era cars (2000+) put out 97% less polutants than the cars from the 70's.
If that is part of the consciousness, it seems we are heading in the right direction.

I look at the mid 70's misery index and it's affect on our country.
Times are better now IMO.
We could free ourselves from mid eastern dependency by providing for ourselves and conservation.

I returned from Vietnam in 1970, and went back to college. I did what amounted to a second minor in ecology over an undergraduate career that I stretched out for five years, because I kept discovering nearly every day there was so much I wanted to study.

I don't think I could possibly recreate, especially here on this board, the level of awareness that those of us who were awakening to environmentalism in the early 70's were envisioning. The systemic implications we were seeing were mind boggling to us, and would still be so for many today, only now it's been marginalized and vilified with some of the most carefully designed and pernicious propaganda of the last century, and so the thinking has become entrenched, and codified in many ways that predetermines the directions of creativity. Maybe that was always inevitable. I look at the nature of this society and I'm inclined to believe that.

Better mileage and cleaner emmissions for cars was a triviality in comparison; We were seeing a decentralized energy grid that would have virtually redesigned the entire infrastructure of the US into smaller regional modules. Some of this is taking place in Europe now, Germany has been working hard to develop a secondary energy system that feeds from renewable locales back into their grid, where independent producers get paid for their energy production.

A centralized energy grid is possible and even necessary to maintain for the fossil fuel distribution network, simply because it will make it as efficient as possible, due to the resource extraction and refinement process itself, and its inevitable ontology of technological creation related to it. Fossil fuel efficiency, therefore, creates the the potential for the opposite type of network of the renewables, which are by the nature of the renewable source creation technologies, situations where the localities have control of energy production and remove their dependency on hierarchically organized, centralized systems.

It would have taken planning and some sort of financial incentive the market doesn't provide to make a long term transformation take place. We saw that back then, Carter listened to some of the top people in the field and was moving in that direction. That all ended so abruptly I almost thought one day when I woke up in early 1980 that I'd imagined it all.

We are light years from that now with our systemic commitments, and the consciousness that was budding then was commodified by what followed in the 80s. That consciousness can only be found in marginalized sectors at the moment. That will, of course, change as the budding catastrophe of this poorly designed, unsustainable system becomes suddenly apparent one day, perhaps sooner than anyone wants to really imagine now. We had time then so we felt free to imagine. People are less prone to imagine when they are terrified, and terrified people have less problems slaughtering others when they have the means to do so. I'm guessing that's probably our plight now.

The planning to change what needs to be changed will involve a lot of years and time now, time that was being recognized and being thought about in the mid to late seventies. We might have been ready now, if we had started then. It's hard to say.

That planning had nothing to do with being stimulated by the US peak oil gas shortage in the early seventies. That peak oil situation was already recognized because fossil fuel was already recognized as a finite source of energy. That stimulative connection is more to politics and to the Carter administration and what it recognized as a political pressure point it needed to react to.

What was going on in the sciences -- in the halls of academia where these issues were suddenly on the table and where none of the corporate interests had yet figured out the need to intervene -- was really something entirely different. It was a moment of timely possibility, and it was fragile. It passed.

Vote for Change? Atrocity-Linked U.S. Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential Frontrunners


Moral nihilism

Allan Nairn

War Whisperers

Allan Nairn page

Declaring Forever War

Allan Nairn's Statement to his Arresting Officers and the Public


Thursday, January 03, 2008

To Melissa, with Love.

It looks like the next ice age started in the UK as in Freezing weather hits parts of UK. Be sure to bundle up like this young person:

In Hull, Lee Platts' daughter Rachel enjoys her first snow

I also advise you to be careful being in close contact with other people as in Stomach bug outbreak worst in UK for five years.
"My advice for those affected is to stay at home, take paracetamol and drink plenty of fluids. You should also wash your hands regularly so you don't infect anyone else and stay at home two days after the symptoms have gone."
Norovirus is highly contagious but not usually dangerous. However, young children and frail elderly people are at risk of complications from dehydration and may require hospital treatment.
Outbreaks are common in hospitals, care homes, schools and nurseries, as well as on cruise ships.
Oh, boy that sounds lovely.

And lastly, I was shocked but not necessarily surprised that this practice has a presence in Britain UK: 66,000 women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation.

Have fun in London. ;)


CAFE Standards|Part 3|What has happned to the station wagon?

Let me start with some deep thoughts:
Who decided that SUV's were better than the station wagon anyhow?
Why did the words on our bumper stickers change?
From even the framing of the questions we can see what the thinking process is for Kate. 'Who' indicates a conscious decision by an individual or a group that thought as one. Nothing was considered about the incentives that influence decisions for the individuals or corporations. Instead of a framework about personalities, economics thinks about the incentives/disincentives that do not control outcomes but change behaviors of individuals on the margins to alter outcomes in the aggregate. This is one reason I tend to avoid the idea of the "invisible hand of the market". It is not like this invisible hand just moves things around in the chess board, but more like it creates incentives for individuals and businesses to move their individual assets around the giant board called the 'economy'. Just as me and my wife found jobs in Alaska when the markets in Los Angeles was a little soft, thus we moved our human capital around till it gained the most benefits. I hear that Melissa and her husband are planning the same thing.

As far as Kate's second question, it is the most silly question I have read in a long time. A better question is do societies change? Duh!
Originally posted by TrishaB:
Why do Americans insist on having 50 different types of toilet paper to choose when wiping their butt and flushing trees down the toilet? HMMMMMMMM
Again, this is how the market works. If there is a demand for variety then I guess you get it. How many different brands and styles of table salt (iodized or non-iodized) is there in the grocery stores? I personally am glad that we have toilet paper around, as opposed to having to wash xxxx off your hands. Since many people do not wash hands after using the facilities, then I at least want TP for them to use. LOL.
Kate:I'm okay with compartmentalizing our conversations about SUV's and station wagons into a dedicated thread. I'd like to talk about something that has a commonality theme in it. I'm working real hard at being fair minded. All roads lead to world view, but I'm okay with staying away from essential world view stuff for a bit.

And, my brain thinks in connections, and sometimes those connections develop in the process of the conversation.
I have no idea what the first paragraph was suppose to covey in the message, but was funny for her fuzzy thinking. It is good to have cooperative dialogue to explore the issues, but Kate's uses of 'connections' is basic binary thinking. After finding a connection she then assumes 100% connection without looking at the degree in the connection or a more analytical view. So instead of connections being an either or they should be thought at as a probability factor or some other scale from 100% control to very weak correlations. And finally someone to answer the original question:
Originally posted by Rachel:
The real reason station wagons have been replaces with minivans and SUVs has to do with laws requiring auto manufacturers to reduce gas mileage. The rules for average gas mileage over a line of vehicles depends on whether the vehicle is classified as a car or a truck. SUVs at least are classified as trucks according to those laws. What happened is that car manufacturers needed to sell fewer large cars. The market for large cars stayed around, so they replaced it with trucks.
This shouts out CAFE Standards and CAFE Standards II! Earlier Kate brought up some facts about SUVs and safety and now she states:
Rachel, I read somewhere that you can get a huge tax break for a Chevy Suburban, because of how much it weighs, like it weighs as much as a truck. But I don't think that tax break applies to mini-vans and the "regular" sized SUV's. Are you familiar with this angle?
At least Kate does find a very good article about the tax break from an unlikely (IMHO) source:
Yup, I found it, tax break for Suburbans ... BUT looks like it only applies to small business owners, who are pretty savvy at doing their taxes.

The Suburban tax break urban legend lies here.[Loophole Gives SUV Buyers a Tax Break]
But Kate misses the Gorilla in the room (CAFE Standards and CAFE Standards II). Why did her phrase need the qualifier: "who are pretty savvy at doing their taxes"? Any good business tax adviser should know about such breaks.
Originally posted by dk:
The only wagons available today are the few models from Volvo, Mercedes, BMW and Audi.
Which is a good indirect point about the Cafe Standards and European Manufactures. They would rather pay the fines than try to adhere to our standards. Another example of these policies not actually promoting less consumption. He also points out:
The SUV is nothing more than a luxury pickup truck with a cap on it. Most SUV's and Pickups are built on the same frame.
And what does Kate do with this new information?
How does this analysis apply to the exploding Pintos and Vegas? (rear-end collisions caused the carnage in many of these cases; even the most alert and careful driver would not have avoided the disaster)
Stuck more on the safety issue, which was never really an issue for most station wagons and it is pointed out below that neither one of these poorly designed vehicles (but over-hyped on the problems) was the station wagon versions. Even for a short time my parents had a Pinto Station Wagon but it was awful since the back seats were hard plastic. In between bringing up more about SUV safety, Kate states:
cool, Maureen. ... still paying my sedan off, ... wonder what our Congress is driving
I would bet my SUV gets better overall MPG than her Sedan. And more deep thoughts:
I enjoyed this thread. It helped put a lot of the world in perspective for me.
But finally a voice of reason and yes CAFE Standards imposed by Government.
Originally posted by faredman:
Long time no see.
The disappearance of the wagon has to do primarily with CAFE standards. Station wagons are cars, built on car frames and subject to the CAFE standards for cars. SUV's are built on truck frames, and are subject to the much lower mileage requirements for work vehicles.

Auto makers foreign and domestic needed to raise the average economy of "cars", and so dumped the lowest-milage cars from their fleets. However, families still needed to seat 3 + kids, bring big bulky itmes home from the store, pack for vacations, and live through minor accidents. The result was car companies finding a loophole they could drive a truck through.

I love this story because it shows just how ineffective social engineering our way out of problems can be.
And I would agree with the social engineering part but try to be softer about such proactive phrases. And he follows up on someone else's comments:
Originally posted by faredman:
Social engineering? Weren’t the main reasons for enacting CAFE standards reducing pollution and dependency on the foreign oil?

Social engineering is social engineering whether one agrees with the intended result or not. In the name of a very noble cause, CAFE standards amount to an attempt by government to get people (manufacturers AND buyers) to do something they were not otherwise predisposed to do; an attempt to reorder the behavior of the masses by force of law. Consumers continued demanding a product with certain capabilities and producers found a way to deliver it. All that changed was the shape of the 7-passenger gas-hog in most drveways.
And the gerbil can not hear the words or even acknowledge that maybe yes extreme social engineering caused the extinction of the station wagon.

I first got interested in these issues when I went down to Saturn over 10 years ago and asked to see what models of Station Wagons they had. The sales man kept saying negative things about the one green display model he had. And always an astute observer of what incentives there are this made me wonder about these issues. Ultimately I did not get that vehicle and ended up with a Grand Am that replaced a variety of small cars including my first car I paid for-a Honda Civic Station Wagon.

Just during my lunch break I also took a note of how many station wagons I could spot. Using this non-scientific method, I saw 7 station wagons with one brand and all others spotted was one. The brand was Volvo. Obviously they market to a certain segment and as such did not abandon their market.

One of the articles by PBS, I feel that I should have covered more was: Why is the sport utility vehicle so popular?
I think the article brought up some important points but thinking that the station wagon was the transformation process into the mini-van is sloppy thinking. First and most importantly it is called a van for a reason. During the late 60s and early 70s the normal van (for work or hauling large number of people) was transformed by the 'custom vans'. So the mini-vans in my opinion is a transformation of the basic van design and not the station wagon.
Congress, remember, passed legislation [Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE), in 1975] that downsized cars. After the downsizing of cars, you ended up with a minivan. But then minivans were like extensions of station wagons. And people had this sense that they didn't want to be soccer moms. Young families didn't want to move kids only in those vehicles. ... Kids go to college every year, and they wanted something that was a little more sporty, a little more aggressive. And it expressed a sense of individuality. I think sport utility vehicles were almost like John Wayne vehicles. It was the excitement of discovery, the excitement of America, the rugged individual. ...

Links (PBS):
Why is the sport utility vehicle so popular?

[In the wake of Ford-Firestone] we have been talking about tires. But is this the scandal we should be talking about?

NHTSA and the hidden history of the SUV

Frontline/Rollovers/The Hidden History of the SUV


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

From Miles with love, or how Miles is a DWEEB! Pearlless

Yes, yes, yes. Miles gives me homage again. My responses are in brackets and bolded.
I think the case can be made that, although not as direct as waterboarding, deliberate deafness and the wearing of blinders, both of which result in terrible administrative behavior, constitute a form of torture. [LOL. Lots of hyperbole to start with.]
Lawrence quote:
... Thanks... I thought as much... I just wasn't sure...
... carry on... Big Grin
[I do love the fact that it seems everyone is using the "Carry on..." phrase lately.]
But rest assured, Lawrence: he’s already back as Slacker. Among other socks.[Sorry to disappoint all those devoured by Paranoid logic or any number of sock puppets but no I am not Slacker. That was someone from the old Thom's that has not posted in a long while.]
And he warned those in charge. Here’s what I wrote earlier, and since this falls under the above angle on torture (and is apparently not appropriate for the actually appropriate thread (see above)), I might as well re-post it here [More hyperbole.]:
As to your questions of “why”, o liberal administators, beyond the downpayments on new SUVs and whatnot, the answers you are looking for are of a clinical nature. [You have to love the slam on SUVs.]
Please note that the “victory” of which is spoken is precisely the type of “victory” Loganthor, too, is claiming on one thread in particular: a complete lack of actual response, no consideration whatsoever of anybody’s arguments, a faked absolutist adherence to law, irresponsibility, unsubstantiated “argumentation”, projection, projection, projection, and a loud mouth with a rotten-teeth smile proclaiming this very “victory”. [Yes, exactly. Miles is projecting again. Whether it is the same 'type' of victory is another question, but for me I am talking about results. I have the victory for lasting longer and defending my position on many issues.]
Do not say you have not been warned. [Yes, indeed. That when you let Trolls run wild with little consequences then you have to live with it!]
Indeed, it is this simple. Why? Because everybody can. And they do.
The result, or rather, the entire practice of it is the Projecting Psychopath, who is, as ever, omnipresent[Indeed, again. Miles is the epitome of what trollish behavior is.]:
Victory is mine! I am the winner!
[by nameless banned one]

[The link to my complete post is at: Victory is mine! I am the winner!]

If I am not the winner, I am at least a wiener!

You’ll realize that his little screw-up in the account-hacking department, of which activity you will, of course, not find a mention in this open epistolary gem, must be made to seem intended. [Again, hate to disappoint all the losers at Thom's Forums but I did not hack any account. It is more likely to be someone hacked into my computer.]
In reality, the last phrase is a nicely Freudian oyster, pearlless, in the light of which you’ll kindly consider the absence of the possessive verb.[LOL. Possessive Verbs? I love it when a non-English speaking person tells others their English is bad when they themselves just make up words. Yeah: pearlless. I think I will leave it since I when checking out the first entry under Google was:
RDRutherford: From Miles with love, or how Miles is a DWEEB!
In reality, the last phrase is a nicely Freudian oyster, pearlless, in the light
of which you’ll kindly consider the absence of the possessive verb. ... from-miles-with-love-or-how-miles-is.html]

Notice the giveaways. Do not say you have not been warned. [Yes, notice them all and be afraid, be very afraid. Paranoid Logic...]

Miles again as Monk:
Oo, nice one. Unexpected, too. “LOL!” “Big Grin”

And voilà: all in a row, with-the-crow-crow-crowing of the same old type of victory again.
Troll, concern troll (RR), LOLBOT and MS, you know, “Let’s make it a nice year and pretend it’ll nicely go away”.
Rest assured, Lawrence: he’s already back as Slacker. Among other socks.

Nope, as noted above. But I am sure that anything will now look scary to Paranoid Logic Libs.

And now for something completely different...
Sorry, to hear about Ron, I will miss his constant attempts of trying to disuade my decision to move to Britain, silly man!
No, I am sorry that you miss my intentions or even the reason for discussing Great Britain. It is only that when someone states that country X is better than country Y, then there is plenty of things that are negative about all countries, even about countries that I consider "free nations". Even Brent had to back down recently about his praises of Bhutan.

I think that everyone should move to where they want to that makes them feel better. As a libertarian, I think that Melissa should move to Britain and Brent to Canada...

PS: Let me include the link to PARANOID LOGIC.