November 9, 2010 archive

Sarah Palin Makes News at the Wall Street Journal

Sarah Palin has been bashing QE2, Ben Bernanke’s latest adventure in quantitative easing, and when the Wall Street Journal covered Sarah’s economic pronouncements like straight news, an angry mob of their relatively well-educated readers objected.

But most of their objections were personal, rather than substantial, and Andrew Polacek’s comment was typical.

Palin should stay out of things she doesn’t understand. Regardless, she is right that the Fed’s QE2 along with all the money printing in the world is not going to help us one bit.

Those Ivy-League bankers don’t want no moose-huntin’ hockey-mom to speak for them!

But most of the Journal’s readership hates Bernanke’s team at the Fed just as much as Sarah hates them, and some of their criticism of Bernanke is well-informed. For example, Thomas Dowling wrote that Bernanke’s main intention is “covering up the fact that he knew in 2006 and 2007 that banks like Citibank – and not just Citibank – were making intentionally bad loans.”

Reader Dowling isn’t really smart enough to figure that out for himself, and his comment is actually an unattributed quote from John Hussman, who has some claim to foresight about the collapsing credit bubble which continues to collapse. In 2003 he wrote…

“So the real question is this: why is anybody willing to hold this low interest rate paper if the borrowers issuing it are so vulnerable to default risk? That’s the secret. The borrowers don’t actually issue it directly. Instead, much of the worst credit risk in the U.S. financial system is actually swapped into instruments that end up being partially backed by the U.S. government.”

Now Bernanke is papering over cracks in the foundations of fundamentally unsound banks, and anybody (including Sarah Palin) who objects that QE2 won’t do much good for the rest of us is probably right, but what’s the Republican alternative, except…

More tax-cuts and deregulation!

For tea-baggers and most of the rest of the Republican Party, tax-cuts and deregulation are the magical twins which guarantee freedom and prosperity always and forever, and the only real problem with Sarah Palin as a spokes-person for Magical Republicanism is…

She’s stupid enough to believe their catechism, and usually recites it unadorned with the usual Republican pseudo-economics.

Karl Rove keeps whining about Palin’s lack of “gravitas,” but now that she’s learning some graver lingo, and chattering brightly about the Fed…

Poor old “Turd-Blossom” feels himself sliding into total irrelevance, along with so many other Bush-era confabulators, and good riddance!

Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck won the last election, and it’s time for the rest of the GOP to sing their tune.

Open Corso


A Tale of Two Americas

  How much is a life worth? How much would it cost you to run over someone with a car and leave them for dead?

 It’s not a question you will ever have to answer, unless you are very wealthy.

 Martin Joel Erzinger, who manages more than $1 billion in assets for Morgan Stanley in Denver, is being accused only of a misdemeanor for allegedly driving his Mercedes into a cyclist and then fleeing the scene, Colorado’s Vail Daily reports. The victim, Dr. Steven Milo, whom Erzinger allegedly hit in July, suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and, according to his lawyer Harold Haddon, “lifetime pain.”

  But District Attorney Mark Hurlbert says it wouldn’t be wise to prosecute Erzinger — doing so might hurt his source of income.

 Lord knows we don’t want to endanger the critical job of managing wealth for the uber-wealthy.

Haiti: Cholera Found In Port Au Prince

As feared, Cholera appears to have arrived in Port Au Prince, Haiti.  A first confirmed case has now been reported: the 3 year-old child with the disease had not left Port Au Prince.  This outbreak is a major threat to millions of people.  The report:

Docudharma Times Tuesday November 10

Tuesday’s Headlines:

The five most dangerous countries for journalists


Tax Cut Timing Is Proving Problematic for Democrats

Some judges chastise banks over foreclosure paperwork


Stockholm to investigate US embassy surveillance

Berlin excavation uncovers trove of sculptures confiscated by Nazis

Middle East

Hariri’s moment of truth nears

Israel permits new settlement homes


After 40,000 years, recognition for Aboriginal people beckons

Refugees flee Burma after poll violence


Deaths in Western Sahara camp raid

Opposition closes ranks in Côte d’Ivoire run-off vote

Latin America

Haiti tests for cholera in Port-au-Prince

More Americans opt for high-deductible health insurance plans

Rising costs lead to a nearly threefold increase in the number of workers covered by the policies since 2006. Health experts worry about consumers who forgo preventive care.

By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times

November 9, 2010

Looking to save money in a weak economy, Americans increasingly are turning to health insurance plans with low premiums and high deductibles – prompting doctors and health experts to worry that consumers may be skipping routine care that could head off serious ailments.

Nationally, the number of workers with individual deductibles of at least $1,000 has nearly tripled over the last four years, reaching about 20 million, according to a recent survey of employers.

Some have pushed their deductibles as high as $10,000, and, to keep medical bills low, are forgoing colonoscopies, blood tests and other preventive procedures.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

You have enemies?  Good.  That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

–Winston Churchill


This mother has her parental shit together.


This rare voice of sanity can see the Necker cube in both ways, without undue or muddled effort.  Flip, flop.  Disambiguate one way, then the other.  Sure, there is resistance in switching between perspectives by the mind, but once you know the trick, just how hard is switching between multi-stable points of view?  Less hard than people proclaim.  In fact, if you can’t disambiguate perception in several directions, then something is unusual about you, because most people can more easily pop their cubes this way or that than they will likely admit.

I am rarely gob-smacked in a good way.  This woman kicks ass.  And yeah, “Daphne” rocked the whole outfit.  I had hoped that (somehow) my Scooby-Doo cartoon-watching days would not leave me utterly mentally deficient.

My nephew, at eight years of age, watches Scoob and Shag, just like I did, in 1969, and I’m not commenting on the value of that media franchise, but Jiminy effing crickets, time flies, and it’s hard enough finding oneself without the undue pressure of expecting the cube to pop this way or that.

Late Night Karaoke

Better-than-expected jobs report is bullshit.

As Harry Frankfurt duly noted (pdf), “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.”  Obama’s awkward relationship with the truth consists, in part, of bluffing, bullshitting, and lying his way deeper into our economic morass.

Paul Craig Roberts:

If we cannot trust what the government tells us about weapons of mass destruction, terrorist events, and the reasons for its wars and bailouts, can we trust the government’s statement last Friday that the US economy gained 151,000 payroll jobs during October?

Apparently not. After examining the government’s report, statistician John Williams ( reported that the jobs were “phantom jobs” created by “concurrent seasonal factor adjustments.” In other words, the 151,000 jobs cannot be found in the unadjusted underlying data. The jobs were the product of seasonal adjustments concocted by the BLS.

As usual, the financial press did no investigation and simply reported the number handed to the media by the government.

Geo-Engineering Conference