Geek Alarm – Too much time on their hands

September 19, 2009 at 19:18 | Posted in Humor, Minesweeper | Leave a comment

Some people…



September 19, 2009 at 19:03 | Posted in Blackwater, Humor, Military, War Nerd | Leave a comment

(I can’t help liking this guy. I guess it’s Mark Ames after all, but – let’s just pretend Gary Brecher is real)

By Gary Brecher

Hey, boss, where them bitches at?

One thing you notice more and more the longer you hang around this sleazy world is the way mainstream types can’t admit to the obvious. They always have to act shocked. So it’s like, “Bond Mogul Convicted of Fraud”-oh, the shock! Like they didn’t know, like everybody over the age of nine doesn’t know, that insider trading is the whole point of the market. So much lying. Makes me sick.

And if you say you weren’t surprised, you’re the bad guy. You’re “cynical.” I love that word, “cynical.” Why not call the guy who discovered germs “cynical”? That’s a nasty theory if I ever heard one: armies of little monsters too small to see, just waiting to turn your mucus membranes into their orgy pools. It’s true, sure, but gosh it’s so darn “cynical”! Let’s pretend it isn’t true.

No, see-nobody calls germs cynical because they don’t want to die of typhoid or diptheria or all the other stuff that people stopped getting once they faced up to the cynical facts like grownups for once in their wuss-ass lives. But just ask them to face up to anything that real where big animals like people are concerned and eeeek! They’ll scream like a cartoon elephant in a tutu at a mouse.

So take Blackwater. It’s shock’n’horror time because a couple of ex-mercs blew the whistle on Erik Prince’s Onward Christian Steroid Casualties operation in Iraq.

Yup, from shock’n’awe to shock’n’horror in only goin’-on-seven short years: that’s how fast normal healthy people can face facts. Give’em enough time, like at least until the statute of limitations runs out, which just happens to be seven years, and they’ll face facts like anything. A decent interval, that’s what they love.

The Blackwater defectors have filed a sworn deposition in federal court that Blackwater zapped Iraqis at random, aimed to kill Muslims anywhere and any time they could, paid little Baghdadi girls a dollar a head, so to speak, for sexual services and just generally behaved like cartoon baddies. David Axe at’s half-assed Inspector-gadget military blog “Danger Room” yukked it up with a headline calling Erik Prince a “super-villain” and called the defectors’ story “a fantastic litany of crimes, almost too fantastic to be believed.”

This is crap, of course. There’s nothing unbelievable or even unusual about what these Blackwater mercs did in Iraq. It’s what mercs always do, wherever they go. The only way you can be surprised about what happened is if you’ve been lying to yourself for your whole life.

Number one, and this will be bad news to all the computer dweebs at Wired: insurgency and counterinsurgency war is made with people. Not gadgets. So it comes down to the quality of the people you put in the field.

While we’re letting that sink in, and believe me it’s a real bummer for these Popular Mechanix war fans so it’ll take a while to sink in-while we wait, we’ll go on to bad news item #2: We hate the Iraqis. We didn’t go there to save them or help them or paint their thumbs purple, we went there to punish them, hurt them, fuck them up. This is one of the biggest and dumbest lies around, this “saving Private Iraqi” crap. Before the war people were a little more honest: we’re going to blast the fuckers, make them pay. “Pay for what?” wasn’t very clear but then who was asking? Nobody cared. Just make them pay.

Then they turned out to be unarmed, WMD-wise, and we were stuck like a Bakersfield cop standing over a dead cholo. What do you do, plant a .38 on him? Not in Iraq, not after you stupidly invited every damn news crew in the world on a ride-along in your big barrio-patrol adventure. So suddenly it was, “Uh…we shot this guy to, um, save a buncha other people, yeah, that’s it, because we love his cousins and his neighbors!”

So officially we love Iraqis, but the people saying that didn’t volunteer for Blackwater. You know why? Because everybody, and I mean everybody, in America knows that the “I heart Iraq” thing is a total lie and always has been.

The guys who volunteered for Blackwater didn’t go there to build peace-corps girls’ schools, they went to get rich in a free-fire, no-rules video game. And those men are still volunteering, by the way, you can go to their site and sign up at one of their regional HQ right now:

Here’s what I mean by people never ever looking at the obvious facts: go to an internet café if you can still find one and look over the shoulder of every male in the place (which is usually everybody except one weird girl in the corner). You’ll find every one of those guys is playing a first-person shooter game or something like World of Warcraft–you know, Eric Cartman and his friends vs. Dragons or Wizards or some crap.

That’s what’s going on in the heads of every male of military age. Now most of the guys in that internet place are nice Asian boys with moms who’d skin them alive if they volunteered for Blackwater–can’t blame them either. If I was Asian I wouldn’t feel all that safe on a Blackwater training compound, I’d make my will and wait for an “accidental” frangible round in the back of the head from some redneck training buddy. So they won’t actually go to Iraq to get head from little slave girls and shoot civilians for fun.

But they’ll think about it. It’s the world most male human beings, if you wanna call us human, inhabit by preference. In our free time, online, that is. We don’t actually live like that because our parents told us, you have to do your homework and get a job eventually. We don’t want to; we want the world on that screen, killing and raping. It’s just not practical as a career.

Except around 2003 it was practical, for a whole lot of guys from places you wouldn’t want to live: Tennessee, Alabama, North Georgia, Oklahoma. Guys who’d never had a choice worth making, or only had a choice of WalMart or the Service, no money with no benefits vs. no money with at least VA for life. Suddenly these guys were making $700 per day–yes, that’s right, per day–to do what every boy at that internet café is doing: strutting around in armor shooting people.

And the people they were hired to shoot were already officially designated targets: Iraqis, ragheads, whatever. I’m not even gonna focus on the hate-speech crap, because (and damn, I get so tired of having to repeat this, but I know you bastards will avoid reality if I give you half a chance)—because, I repeat, hate speech is normal. The human norm. The only way you can think hate speech is weird or criminal is if you don’t know anything about history and never ever even listen to the people around you. I guarantee, even if you live in San Francisco–Hell, especially if you live there–you’ll find most of the talk you hear is hate speech, because that’s how people talk and always have and always will. In SF maybe the hate speech is aimed at rednecks, fat white losers like, uh, me, but it’s the same hate speech. That’s how one bunch of primates keeps itself together: by hating on another buncha primates in the next tree.

It’s that simple. The reason the SF haters don’t go volunteer for Blackwater is (a) they can make more money without risking their necks; and (b) they wouldn’t get to kill fat rednecks like me, so it wouldn’t be any fun for them. I promise you, if Blackwater got a contract to “protect” someplace like Enid, Oklahoma from “Christian Extremists” you’d get half of SF volunteering and they wouldn’t even ask what the pay rate was. It’s who we are, it’s what we do. I wouldn’t blame’em. Imagine the fun it’d be for some Noe Valley yuppie, driving down those Okie alleys with your barrel playing eenie-meenie-miney-moe, catch an okie by the frontal lobe, or just making up games, “Lessee, I’m gonna shoot the next one I see with buck teeth…or a cowboy hat…no, maybe the next four-door pickup, I hate those things, shoot the next redneck driving a crew cab….”

And then you go home, take your steroids for the day to stay nice’n’pumped’n’pissed off, and wander over to the canteen where they’ve got some nice orphan Okie girls, around ten or maybe twelve years old, and while you’re getting head off them for a dollar you’ve got the extra zip of knowing you’re the all-conquerin’ bastard that offed their parents at the traffic light last week an’ orphaned them, so you got them into their present line of employment.

That’s how Genghis Khan felt, folks. He was just honest enough to say so. It’s been a while since anybody was that honest, and it never did take hold on this side of the ocean. We’re liars, mealymouthed gospel-puking liars from the get-go, but once it gets dark–and it got nice’n’dark in Iraq for a while there–once it gets dark, we act just like every other stinking male ape who ever got handed a gun.

So just stop lying and acting surprised. That’s all I ask. Just stop lying for once. Reminds me of that old NWA line, oughta be the national motto: “Bitch, stop lyin’.” You ain’t surprised at what these Blackwater apes did, you’d do it yourself if you didn’t have better job ops stateside, and if you ever even looked around you or just remembered what you felt like when you were nineteen you’d know there’s nothing “almost unbelievable” about any of it.

Of course they did all that shit. What did you think? More and more I think most moral, normal people spend most of their energy NOT thinking about anything–history, stats, money, or even remembering what they were like when they were still alive. They spend about a gigawatt per hour NOT thinking about stuff, and anything left over goes to some crap peaceable-kingdom fantasy.

You see that even in the nature documentaries. I’ve noticed there’s always some supposedly clean kind of ape, you know? When I was a kid they thought chimps were the nice ape. Then somebody filmed chimps hunting down monkeys and eating them alive, tearing off KFC arms and legs still hot. So much for the nice chimps. Then it was the pygmy chimp, the bonobo…except some other party-pooper just filmed these nice little feminist chimps doing the same thing, just with smaller monkeys. Whoops! Where’s the nice ape?

And who ever said there was one?

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to

Obama isn’t that bad when it comes to foreign policy

September 19, 2009 at 18:57 | Posted in Foreign Policy, Missile Defense, Obama | Leave a comment

It’s not just all doom and gloom in the presidency of Obama. While the poor fool has no clue about economics, at least he is not completely out to lunch when it comes to foreign policy. I’m not sure whether brilliant but batty Zbginiew Brzezinski has lost the President’s ear, or whether he and Henry Kissinger had the chance to talk a little bit about realty, but for the time being everybody seems to be playing nice.

The Russians were not asleep at the switch either, having just in time upped the ante so they can climb down the tree without really losing much.

And today Robert Gates took the opportunity to put some serious lipstick on the pig:


A Better Missile Defense for a Safer Europe


Published: September 19, 2009

THE future of missile defense in Europe is secure. This reality is contrary to what some critics have alleged about President Obama’s proposed shift in America’s missile-defense plans on the continent — and it is important to understand how and why.

First, to be clear, there is now no strategic missile defense in Europe. In December 2006, just days after becoming secretary of defense, I recommended to President George W. Bush that the United States place 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and an advanced radar in the Czech Republic. This system was designed to identify and destroy up to about five long-range missiles potentially armed with nuclear warheads fired from the Middle East — the greatest and most likely danger being from Iran. At the time, it was the best plan based on the technology and threat assessment available.

That plan would have put the radar and interceptors in Central Europe by 2015 at the earliest. Delays in the Polish and Czech ratification process extended that schedule by at least two years. Which is to say, under the previous program, there would have been no missile-defense system able to protect against Iranian missiles until at least 2017 — and likely much later.

Last week, President Obama — on my recommendation and with the advice of his national-security team and the unanimous support of our senior military leadership — decided to discard that plan in favor of a vastly more suitable approach. In the first phase, to be completed by 2011, we will deploy proven, sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles — weapons that are growing in capability — in the areas where we see the greatest threat to Europe.

The second phase, which will become operational around 2015, will involve putting upgraded SM-3s on the ground in Southern and Central Europe. All told, every phase of this plan will include scores of SM-3 missiles, as opposed to the old plan of just 10 ground-based interceptors. This will be a far more effective defense should an enemy fire many missiles simultaneously — the kind of attack most likely to occur as Iran continues to build and deploy numerous short- and medium-range weapons. At the same time, plans to defend virtually all of Europe and enhance the missile defense of the United States will continue on about the same schedule as the earlier plan as we build this system over time, creating an increasingly greater zone of protection.

Steady technological advances in our missile defense program — from kill vehicles to the abilities to network radars and sensors — give us confidence in this plan. The SM-3 has had eight successful tests since 2007, and we will continue to develop it to give it the capacity to intercept long-range missiles like ICBMs. It is now more than able to deal with the threat from multiple short- and medium-range missiles — a very real threat to our allies and some 80,000 American troops based in Europe that was not addressed by the previous plan. Even so, our military will continue research and development on a two-stage ground-based interceptor, the kind that was planned to be put in Poland, as a back-up.

Moreover, a fixed radar site like the one previously envisioned for the Czech Republic would be far less adaptable than the airborne, space- and ground-based sensors we now plan to use. These systems provide much more accurate data, offer more early warning and tracking options, and have stronger networking capacity — a key factor in any system that relies on partner countries. This system can also better use radars that are already operating across the globe, like updated cold war-era installations, our newer arrays based on high-powered X-band radar, allied systems and possibly even Russian radars.

One criticism of this plan is that we are relying too much on new intelligence holding that Iran is focusing more on short- and medium-range weapons and not progressing on intercontinental missiles. Having spent most of my career at the C.I.A., I am all too familiar with the pitfalls of over-reliance on intelligence assessments that can become outdated. As Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a few days ago, we would be surprised if the assessments did not change because “the enemy gets a vote.”

The new approach to European missile defense actually provides us with greater flexibility to adapt as new threats develop and old ones recede. For example, the new proposal provides some antimissile capacity very soon — a hedge against Iran’s managing to field missiles much earlier than had been previously predicted. The old plan offered nothing for almost a decade.

Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting what we are doing. This shift has even been distorted as some sort of concession to Russia, which has fiercely opposed the old plan. Russia’s attitude and possible reaction played no part in my recommendation to the president on this issue. Of course, considering Russia’s past hostility toward American missile defense in Europe, if Russia’s leaders embrace this plan, then that will be an unexpected — and welcome — change of policy on their part. But in any case the facts are clear: American missile defense on the continent will continue, and not just in Central Europe, the most likely location for future SM-3 sites, but, we hope, in other NATO countries as well.

This proposal is, simply put, a better way forward — as was recognized by Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland when he called it “a chance for strengthening Europe’s security.” It is a very real manifestation of our continued commitment to our NATO allies in Europe — iron-clad proof that the United States believes that the alliance must remain firm.

I am often characterized as “pragmatic.” I believe this is a very pragmatic proposal. I have found since taking this post that when it comes to missile defense, some hold a view bordering on theology that regards any change of plans or any cancellation of a program as abandonment or even breaking faith. I encountered this in the debate over the Defense Department’s budget for the fiscal year 2010 when I ended three programs: the airborne laser, the multiple-kill vehicle and the kinetic energy interceptor. All were plainly unworkable, prohibitively expensive and could never be practically deployed — but had nonetheless acquired a devoted following.

I have been a strong supporter of missile defense ever since President Ronald Reagan first proposed it in 1983. But I want to have real capacity as soon as possible, and to take maximum advantage of new technologies to combat future threats.

The bottom line is that there will be American missile defense in Europe to protect our troops there and our NATO allies. The new proposal provides needed capacity years earlier than the original plan, and will provide even more robust protection against longer-range threats on about the same timeline as the previous program. We are strengthening — not scrapping — missile defense in Europe.

Robert M. Gates is the secretary of defense.

[Or in plain English: the original plan was stupid on every level, and now was a good opportunity to drop it. Phew. Good for you, Mr. President. Now set up a call with Peter Schiff and Ron Paul to get some equally smart advice on domestic issues. You’ve proven you can listen.]

Golf is still a silly sport

September 18, 2009 at 11:37 | Posted in Humor, sports | Leave a comment

But next time I’m at a hole-in-one contest for $4 a pop, I’ll definitely give it a shot.


September 18, 2009 at 09:31 | Posted in Humor, Science | Leave a comment

Inflation Now, says The New America Foundation

September 18, 2009 at 08:27 | Posted in Christopher Hayes, economics, Mencken, New America Foundation | Leave a comment


No, it’s not a joke. Some people, such as that abominable fool Christopher Hayes, seriously think that inflation is the solution to our current economic crisis. Who said Keynes was dead?

I’m with you, Mogambo Guru, I’m with you – we are so FREAKING DOOMED!

Can our policy makers really all be this wrong? Isn’t there anybody with even the tiniest little bit of sanity and economic common sense? Maybe the critics are wrong, and the mainstream is right?

Well, I for one have complete faith in the unlimited capacity of people to act stupidly. Don’t forget: the Soviet Union was run (into the ground) by a group of very smart and highly-educated people who simply happened to be very, very wrong about everything that mattered. What makes us think our current form of government is less likely to experience the same? Because in a democracy, competition will result in the victory of best ideas? Yes, Popper thought so, too – but Popper never understood the fundamental difference between politics and science.

Mencken, on the other hand, had figured it out a long time ago:

I have alluded somewhat vaguely to the merits of democracy. One of them is quite obvious: it is, perhaps, the most charming form of government ever devised by man. The reason is not far to seek. It is based upon propositions that are palpably not true and what is not true, as everyone knows, is always immensely more fascinating and satisfying to the vast majority of men than what is true. Truth has a harshness that alarms them, and an air of finality that collides with their incurable romanticism. They turn, in all the great emergencies of life, to the ancient promises, transparently false but immensely comforting, and of all those ancient promises there is none more comforting than the one to the effect that the lowly shall inherit the earth. It is at the bottom of the dominant religious system of the modern world, and it is at the bottom of the dominant political system. The latter, which is democracy, gives it an even higher credit and authority than the former, which is Christianity. More, democracy gives it a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world – that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters – which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

All these forms of happiness, of course, are illusory. They don’t last. The democrat, leaping into the air to flap his wings and praise God, is for ever coming down with a thump. The seeds of his disaster, as I have shown, lie in his own stupidity: he can never get rid of the naive delusion – so beautifully Christian – that happiness is something to be got by taking it away from the other fellow. But there are seeds, too, in the very nature of things: a promise, after all, is only a promise, even when it is supported by divine revelation, and the chances against its fulfillment may be put into a depressing mathematical formula. Here the irony that lies under all human aspiration shows itself: the quest for happiness, as always, brings only unhappiness in the end. But saying that is merely saying that the true charm of democracy is not for the democrat but for the spectator. That spectator, it seems to me, is favoured with a show of the first cut and calibre. Try to imagine anything more heroically absurd! What grotesque false pretenses! What a parade of obvious imbecilities! What a welter of fraud! But is fraud unamusing? Then I retire forthwith as a psychologist. The fraud of democracy, I contend, is more amusing than any other, more amusing even, and by miles, than the fraud of religion. Go into your praying-chamber and give sober thought to any of the more characteristic democratic inventions: say, Law Enforcement. Or to any of the typical democratic prophets: say, the late Archangel Bryan. If you don’t come out paled and palsied by mirth then you will not laugh on the Last Day itself, when Presbyterians step out of the grave like chicks from the egg, and wings blossom from their scapulae, and they leap into interstellar space with roars of joy.

I have spoken hitherto of the possibility that democracy may be a self-limiting disease, like measles. It is, perhaps, something more: it is self-devouring. One cannot observe it objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself—its apparently ineradicable tendency to abandon its whole philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what happens invariably in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves, by a process as simple as taking a deep breath, into despots of an almost fabulous ferocity. Lincoln, Roosevelt and Wilson come instantly to mind: Jackson and Cleveland are in the background, waiting to be recalled. Nor is this process confined to times of alarm and terror: it is going on day in and day out. Democracy always seems bent upon killing the thing it theoretically loves. I have rehearsed some of its operations against liberty, the very cornerstone of its political metaphysic. It not only wars upon the thing itself; it even wars upon mere academic advocacy of it. I offer the spectacle of Americans jailed for reading the Bill of Rights as perhaps the most gaudily humorous ever witnessed in the modern world. Try to imagine monarchy jailing subjects for maintaining the divine right of Kings! Or Christianity damning a believer for arguing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! This last, perhaps, has been done: anything is possible in that direction. But under democracy the remotest and most fantastic possibility is a common-place of every day. All the axioms resolve themselves into thundering paradoxes, many amounting to downright contradictions in terms. The mob is competent to rule the rest of us—but it must be rigorously policed itself. There is a government, not of men, but of laws – but men are set upon benches to decide finally what the law is and may be. The highest function of the citizen is to serve the state – but the first assumption that meets him, when he essays to discharge it, is an assumption of his disingenuousness and dishonour. Is that assumption commonly sound? Then the farce only grows the more glorious.

I confess, for my part, that it greatly delights me. I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself – that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can’t make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with them, and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of. How can any man be a democrat who is sincerely a democrat?

Credit Is Shrinking?

September 17, 2009 at 19:39 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

By Jeff Harding.

The esteemed Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of UK’s Telegraph makes the unstartling announcement that U.S. bank credit has been shrinking for the past three months at a  rate (14%) that has not been witnessed since the 1930s.

Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research said US bank loans have fallen at an annual pace of almost 14pc in the three months to August (from $7,147bn to $6,886bn).

“There has been nothing like this in the USA since the 1930s,” he said. “The rapid destruction of money balances is madness.”

The M3 “broad” money supply, watched as an early warning signal for the economy a year or so later, has been falling at a 5pc annual rate.

Similar concerns have been raised by David Rosenberg, chief strategist at Gluskin Sheff, who said that over the four weeks up to August 24, bank credit shrank at an “epic” 9pc annual pace, the M2 money supply shrank at 12.2pc and M1 shrank at 6.5pc.

“For the first time in the post-WW2 [Second World War] era, we have deflation in credit, wages and rents and, from our lens, this is a toxic brew,” he said.

I’m glad someone over there finally noticed this, since, as noted, David Rosenberg and other deflationists (including The Daily Capitalist) have been reporting on this for quite a while.

But here’s the interesting point made by Mr. Evans-Pritchard:

It is unclear why the US Federal Reserve has allowed this to occur.

I suggest to Mr. E-P that if the Fed could have prevented a credit collapse it would have. Which means they have been flooding the economy with cash to keep financial institutions afloat, but somehow they haven’t been able to flog banks and consumers to lend and borrow. Which in turn means they can’t prevent it from occurring.

Here’s what’s been happening.

Money base (BASENS) has been expanding:

Click to enlarge

But, Banks Reserves (RSBKCRNS) has been growing:

Click to enlarge

As a result, money supply in the economy (M1 MULT, for example), has been declining:

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

Which means that as much as the Fed tries to push cash into the banking system, they can’t make banks lend or make consumers borrow.

Mr. E-P’s view is based on his conversation with Professor Tim Congdon, a well-known British Keynesian-Monetarist. Prof. Congdon believes, like Milton Friedman, that the Great Depression could have been avoided had the Fed not allowed the money supply to shrivel up. It’s not that simple and I believe that line of analysis is wrong. It ignores the true causes and cures of a recession, and would be analogous to shoving a water hose down the throat of a drowning man. The man is not thirsty, guys.

In an environment where real estate values are still declining, where there is a high level of debt burdening consumers, where banks are holding undersecured loans, and where business inventories are still falling, where the Fed Funds rate is at near zero, it is unlikely that a flood of new money will solve anything. All any flood of new cash will do is lead to inflation which will just paper over the issue and, as they like to say, “kick the can down the road” for us to deal with another day.

Professor Congdon blames a shrinking money supply on rules requiring banks to reduce leverage to somewhat more reasonable levels.

He should listen more to IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whom he criticized for arguing “that the history of financial crises shows that ‘speedy recovery’ depends on ‘cleansing banks’ balance sheets of toxic assets.” History and theory is on Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s side.

Psychotherapy for the Poor

September 17, 2009 at 18:20 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
View this document on Scribd

How to avoid traffic jams

September 17, 2009 at 17:39 | Posted in Science, traffic | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

I’m sure there are entire university departments dedicated to the science of traffic control – engineers, computer scientists, what have you. I’ve found really interesting simulations on-line, and read the weirdest stories – such as the one about how blocking a major street somewhere in New York actually seemed to improve traffic, rather than disrupt it as city managers had feared (if anybody can provide me with a reference to this story, I’d really appreciate that).

So I found the little video on how a single driver can improve traffic flow for miles behind him really intrigued me. Next time I’m out and about in my car I’ll give this a shot – should be even more interesting than my usual game of exiting the fast-flowing lane just before it starts slowing down.

(you may have to click on the link if the video does not display properly)

How to break up a traffic jam.

The Federal Reserve on… The Federal Reserve

September 15, 2009 at 13:36 | Posted in Economic Theory, economics, Federal Reserve | Leave a comment (check for yourself if you don’t believe it)


Page 29:


When the Fed prints money for banks it increases the national debt.

[Nice Strawman, should have stuck to that…]


Federal Reserve Banks do not print money, they manage the inventory of the existing stock of
currency. Money is printed by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, an agency of the U.S.
Treasury Department. Government debt is generated by government borrowing.The amount
of bor rowing, measured by the deficit, is not decided by the Fed.The government’s debt and
deficit are the result of the budgetary decisions of the Congress and President.


Ok, then…


The Fed is not a good supervisor of banks because it allows banks to keep only a fraction of
their deposits on hand.


The fact that banks are required to keep on hand only a fraction of the funds deposited with
them is a function of the banking business. Banks bor row funds from their depositors (those
with savings) and in turn lend those funds to the banks’ borrowers (those in need of funds).
Banks make money by charging borrowers more for a loan (a higher percentage interest rate)
than is paid to depositors for use of their money. If banks did not lend out their available funds
after meeting their reserve requirements, depositors might have to pay banks to provide
safekeeping services for their money.
For the economy and banking system as a whole, the practice of keeping only a fraction of
deposits on hand has an important cumulative effect. Referred to as the fractional reserve
system, it permits the banking system to “create”money.

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