October 29, 2012 archive


One of the best.  Originally posted July 27, 2011.

High Diving Hare

The Virtual Recovery or Major Structural Change

Paul Craig Roberts is, in many ways, one of the most interesting political commentators of our time. I’m not going to say he is always right but he is very happy to think outside the box of our traditional political arrangements. He is on the left and the right–he is an example of the sort of thinking we need that will transcend the traditional “liberal/conservative” categories which have become just our version of competing soccer hooligans. My few years of commenting on Daily Kos showed me how vicious so-called liberals are when confronted with ideas that go beyond slogans.

Robert’s latest essay deserves some attention and is available here. What he is saying, essentially, is what he has been saying for some time that our “recovery” is not really a recovery if you factor in real inflation. He makes the point that current government announcements about the economy are similar to government announcement on the wars we undertake, i.e., they are false.

I would go further I don’t believe we are in a long-term depression or recession in the traditional sense–what we are undergoing is a major structural change in our political economy and our society that reflects the current cultural reality.

The single most important thing to understand about the culture we live in is that it is now not based in creating a vibrant economy or even maintaining and expanding an empire. Its focus is on enabling most Americans to live in a world of custom fantasies because, for a variety of reasons, that is what most Americans want. Most Americans do not want to face reality or think beyond their daily tasks that put them in a position to watch reality shoes, sports, pursue various addictions and create their little interesting dramas. Larger-scale interests where we act in common are devalued. The source of meaning for us, increasingly, lies in fantasy role-playing because, without ever realizing it, the plutocrats have cut off our political legs by creating a system of propaganda and mind-control, sometimes using science and often just creative genius, to make people believe that they need product X or need to vote for candidate Y. The ability for the corporate state to control its subject population through capturing, not so much its consent, but its subconscious is what marks our age. Thus we do not question the phony statistics on inflation or unemployment or anything else. Thus we are unable to put two and two together to make four unless some authority says it’s so.  

On This Day In History October 29

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 29 is the 302nd day of the year (303rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 63 days remaining until the end of the year.


On this day in 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” makes its debut in Prague at the Estates Theater. It is an opera in two acts with the music by Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is about a “young, arrogant, sexually prolific nobleman who abuses and outrages everyone else in the cast, until he encounters something he cannot kill, beat up, dodge, or outwit.” The opera is sometimes characterized as comic because it combines comedy, drama and the supernatural. It is among the top 20 operas performed in North America.

Late Night Karaoke

Live Stream of Hurricane Sandy

No Comment

From Naked Capitalism.

The other day, bored with co-opting members of the Finance Committee, tired of issuing zero-collateral credit default swaps, I needed to amuse myself, so I ordered Ezra Klein and Andrew Ross Sorkin to dress up in sheep costumes.

This was hilarious for a few seconds.

Then, bored with Ezra and Andy as sheep I ordered them to get down on their hands and knees and say “bah bah bah”.

That was funny for two minutes, then it got boring again. So I ordered them (still on their hands and knees saying “bah bah bah”) to polish my gold Milton Friedman statue with a buffing wheel. This was hilarious for maybe five minutes, however it took them twelve hours to finish the job.

And while those two, the crème de la crème of US journalism (ha ha) were hard at work, me half watching them, half day-dreaming about student suckers going into debt to pay back bond-funded projects for me and my people, the following thoughts occurred to me:

Now that the State has been thoroughly co-opted, meaning now that my crew (the 0.01 percent) has sold out America’s future for a quick buck, what’s next?

People ask why Congress repealed Glass-Steagall, why put the country at risk of another 30s style Depression? The answer is simple: bucket loads of cash made them do it.

Did anyone believe deregulation would lead to increased wealth for the nation or the people?

Deregulation was designed to increase wealth for the chosen and talented people – If I were in charge of schools Atlas Shrugged would be required reading – oh wait, I own an 80% stake in the Ed Reform outfits run by Gates, Murdoch and Bertelsmann!. (LCB gets on the phone and speed dials Arne Duncan to dictate the first item on his Monday To Do List.)

So how *did* we get Goldman guys to control the Fed, Treasury and top positions in the Administration?

It was simple. Bucket loads of cash – the trick that never fails!

I’m thinking of attending the Goldman Halloween Party dressed as Ted Bundy this year. I’m thinking trillions of dollars in unregulated CMOs, I’ll provide margin collateral for long positions in Shanghai copper futures by writing credit default swaps on CDOs constructed from sub-prime mortgages backed by houses in Newark, New Jersey. And maybe the toxic bonds we unloaded on a few municipalites last week – hmm, let’s see – last week we did . . . Detroit, Atlanta, New York City, Laredo, Sacramento – and at least 7 more.

I’m thinking hypothecated derivatives, the total destruction of the world (except the top 0.01), rifle shots, the assassination of Brooksley Born, gambling muppet assets on a single structured finance product that bets on a steepening of the euro yield curve, issued by US investment banks by utilizing sovereign bonds from Greece and interest rate swaps with a Japanese trading house.

I love deregulation because it’s Heads I Win Tails You Lose. Every Time.

And what about the regulators you say? Remember the ones who tried to warn Congress about the dangers of deregulation, dark pools and derivatives…

Oh right, them. Brooksley Born is still living but she’s not talking. The others were lost in the Disposition Matrix. Yes, they were “disappeared”. Abducted and tortured, then dropped at night over the Atlantic ocean – either Jamie or Mike lent us one of his personal flying machines for that special op…

Shark bait, that’s what became of them.

There’s still some money in Social Security, Medicare 401(k)s and pensions. We’ll take that as well. Make up some story, something about a deficit or a Fiscal Cliff….oh wait, it’s already been done.

If all else fails, we still have access to the Fed’s Discount Window.

Now Ezra, now Andy, looks like you’ve got old Milton shining all purdy-like, so enough with the “bah bah bah”, shut the f**k up, get out of those stupid sheep costumes, go home and do whatever it is that you do.

Write a pro-Goldman column, attack Greg Smith, compare Gupta’s two year prison sentence to the Nazi invasion of Poland, whatever, just stay the hell out of my sight until my secretary calls you….

Lloyd C. speaks for me.

What’s Cooking: Pumpkin Soup

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Pumpkin SoupYes, I’m on a pumpkin kick but the the sweet, small “pie” pumpkins have been plentiful in the market this year and I found an easy way to roast them. But, is your lacking time, canned pumpkin works just as well. My favorite is Libby’s which can be found in most grocery stores year round and you cannot beat the pie recipe in the label.

So let’s start with picking the pumpkin. Pie pumpkins are small, about 8 inches in diameter and yield about two to three cups of puree per pumpkin. Like picking any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color.

To bake the pumpkin: This method from The Pioneer Woman works amazingly well, except don’t cut up the pumpkin. I found it easier to clean the “guts” out after the pumpkin was cooked.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the washed and dried whole pumpkin on a cookie sheet. No need to cut the top off of cut it into chunks.
  • Place in the oven for about an hour. Remove and let cool.
  • Cut the cooled pumpkins into quarters and with a spoon, gently separate the pulp and seeds from the flesh. If there’s a little of the stringy pulp left, don’t worry, it won’t hurt.
  • Gently scrape the flesh from the skin with a spoon or a knife.
  • Place the gooey flesh in a food processor and pulse until smooth. A potato masher, food mill, hand-held immersion blender or a ricer work well, too.
  • As I said, you should have about 2 to 3 cups of puree per pumpkin.

    Now you’re ready to make soup. I’ve tried various recipes and ended up with my own version.


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 cup unsalted vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup light cream, or half and half
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • In a large sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup of vegetable broth over medium heat. Add the chop onion, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add more broth if needed, do not let the onion dry out.

    Add the remaining broth, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until hot. Don’t boil.

    Ladle into warmed individual bowls and garnish with black pepper. Serve immediately.

    I serve the soup garnished with parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds, shredded Gruyere, croutons, chopped green onions and sour cream on the side.

    Storm Surge

    It’s really impossibly vain of me to suppose anyone cares, but there is a chance that underwater squirrels will attack my inter-tubz and disrupt the series of trucks that dump these ephemeral photons on your word TV thing.

    If you happen to notice any gaps or interruptions in the next few days or even failures of insight and inspiration I blame Global Warming.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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