"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.” - Bob Marley

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yes, Deficits DO Matter

From Bloomberg:

Treasuries Fall on Speculation U.S. to Increase Citigroup Stake

Anybody who's ever accumulated debt on credit cards, which then increased their interest rates by large amounts, knows this situation. Lots of debt at high interest rates means that just paying the interest off becomes a significant part of of expences, slowing the day when principal can be paid and draining funds from other activities. (I know - Iused to be stupid about my credit cards until about 5 years ago.)

So, the world looks on as we move in the direction of $15 Trillion in debt, and wonders if we can really pay it off. That increases doubt and the world wants more yield, lowering prices. At some point, this can become a vicious cycle, where the demand for higher yield raises the doubts, increasing the demand for higher yield.

So far, the effect appear small - but the possibilities are clear.

We are staring into the abyss - and it is staring back, hungrily.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Barry Ritholtz Explains Stimulus

Barry Ritholtz has the best explanation I've seen so far:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. No, they are borrowing it from China. Your children are expected to repay the Chinese.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China ?
A. Shut up.

After a long list of things you shouldn't buy, because they come form other countries, he concludes:
You can keep the money in America by spending it at yard sales, going to a baseball game, or spend it on prostitutes, beer (domestic only), or tattoos, since those are the only businesses still in the US.
Of course, since the tax cuts are done over the course of the tax year, it will be somewhere between $13 and $18 a week. Don't spend it all in one place!

Strangely enough, even though I earn less that the $250,000 that Obama claimed, (during the campaign), as the top end of the middle-class, I won't be getting any of this. (Yes, in a way that's good news, but still.)

From debate on C-SPAN, I understand the stimpack will triple DOE's budget, so I really should use the American talent for re-invention and "re-invent" myself as an Energy Expert Consultant of some sort.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This Atrocity Brought to You by The War On Drugs

Mayor and wife terrorized, dogs killed over weed PLANTED BY THE SWAT TEAM.

It doesn't get much worse than this. Local thugs, properly "annointed" as cops, committing the worst imaginable abuses of due process and individual rights. Not to stop terrorism. Not to stop musrder, rape, battery or any other violent crime. No, this is done ostensibly to prevent the hideous crime of people burning a weed NOT approved by the powers that be, rather than one that is.

No real problem, except they got the wrong people, after framing them, assulting them, killing their dogs - and not even so much as an apology.

Prior to the assault on the Calvo family last July 29, narcotics investigators had discovered that local drug dealers had been shipping drug-laden packages to the addresses of innocent people and then intercepting the packages before the residents picked them up. In mimicry of that tactic, drug investigators deposited a package on the Calvo family's front step, and then sent in a SWAT team to collect it.
Aside from eveything else, this doesn't even make sense. If the modus operandi of the actual "bad guys" is to send the drugs to people who are not involved and in fact don't receive the drugs, why send drugs to somebody and go after them? Where is there even an excuse for logic here? These "drug investigators" are STUPID.

But they are also unrestrained and unacquainted with the 4th amendment.
Prince George's County Police officials later maintained that the forcible entry – the use of a battering ram to break down the door, followed by the cuffing of Calvo and his mother-in-law, Georgia – was "justified" because Georgia let out a scream when she saw masked, heavily armed men scurrying across the front lawn.

Apparently, being terrified when confronted by state thugs employing terrorist tactics justifies the use of those tactics. In a variation on that rationale, police officials insisted that killing the dogs was the proper course of action because the labs "engaged" the SWAT team by barking at them.

There's no evidence that either dog bit or otherwise harmed or threatened the police; in fact, one of them was shot from behind, which would make it terribly unlikely that the dog had "engaged" the SWAT team. A thorough inspection of the home turned up only one item worth confiscating: The same box of marijuana the narcotics officers had planted on the Calvo family's doorstep. Nobody involved in ordering or executing the raid has been fired, sanctioned, or punished in any way. Georgia continues to show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The Calvo family lost their dogs, and had to spend countless hours scrubbing the bloodstains from their home.

And it gets better:

"That guy in there is crazy," one of the stormtroopers complained to Johnson as he emerged from the crime scene (that is, the scene of a crime committed under color of state "authority"). "He says he's the Mayor of Berwyn Heights."

"That is the Mayor of Berwyn Heights," Johnson told the assailant, a member of the Prince George's County police department (which has overlapping jurisdiction with the town police). Johnson quickly contacted Berwyn Heights Police Chief Patrick Murphy to tell him that a SWAT team had just laid waste to the Mayor's home and killed the family's dogs. Glancing around, he couldn't see any evidence of a search warrant. Inquiries about this omission were greeted with the assurance that the document was "en route."

So for a raid planned well in advance, complete with framing evidence, the thugs in the Prince George's County police department couldn't be bothered to have a search warrant.

Then, rather than continuing on his daily rounds, Officer Johnson stayed put, in order to make sure that Mayor Calvo and his mother-in-law weren't mysteriously hurt or killed.

"Not that I don't trust the police," Johnson later commented to the Washington Post. "But I wanted to personally witness what [was] going to happen to my mayor, so if they [the SWAT team] say this guy went for a gun – and he didn't – it's not going to happen on my watch."

Officer Johnson stayed behind to make sure his mayor wasn't murdered by his fellow police officers. [bobn comment: Actually Johnson worked for Berwyn Heights Police, whereas the SWAT Team was from Prince George's County police department - so these weren't really "fellow police officers" to Johnson.] A few days later, long after the raiders failed to find so much as a molecule of evidence to justify their criminal assault on the Calvo home, Chief Murphy publicly expressed exactly the same sentiments. Addressing a rally on behalf of the victims, Murphy pointed out that the SWAT team declined to notify him about the impending raid, which would have permitted the Chief to help them arrange a peaceful, orderly search of the property.

Take away:

  1. Drug laws should be abolished, at least up to crack and meth. If the drugs were not illegal, the profit motive would evaporate and whatever violence that accompanies the drug sales and the drug law enforcement would disppear.

  2. Drug Enforcement people are mostly thugs. They should be made to get real jobs that do not involve guns or sharp objects.

About Me

I'm a 57 year old geek. I voted Democratic for 20 years, because I disliked the Republicans more. But now, nobody really speaks for me. I'm for Guns, for more correct government regulation of the financial world, against illegal immigration and amnesty. (in 2008 I ended up voting Republican - too many questions about Obama, and voting against anybody who voted for TARP 1.) In 2010 I voted a stright republican ticket because the Democrats have completely lost their minds.