Plutocracy In Action

The Spectator interviews Michael Lewis on the 2008 financial crisis.

      The author of The Big Short weighs in:

“Not nearly enough has been done — the regulatory response has been totally inadequate. The big banks have blocked serious reforms, meddling in the process so incentives haven’t changed enough to attack the heart of the problem — which is why it could happen again.”

“We still have the same short-term-oriented compensation, the same big bonuses at year-end…”

“I’ve never gotten over the feeling when I learnt Goldman Sachs had designed securities that would fail, so they could then short them.”

“The 1997 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was part of the problem [] but it goes back even before that. The earlier transformation of investment banks into public corporations was a big mistake — with bankers using shareholders’ money to bet, rather than their own.”

“It isn’t just the big campaign contributions. Anyone at the table talking about financial reform is a potential hire and likely to end up working in the financial sector for huge sums, so they get captured.”

More To Life Than Bacon – Stuffed Peppers

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

1 large red pepper, 1 large yellow pepper
(Serves 2 – adjust as needed)
  Green peppers less sweet, then yellow, red sweetest. You choose.
3 oz Couscous
1 oz toasted pine nuts
Handful of black olives, roughly chopped.
 Green olives or capers if you prefer
   I detest olives. And capers. I use cocktail onions or diced chorizo.
      If I want to spice it up a bit, I use diced jalepeno 😀
13/4 oz feta cheese
13/4 oz semi-dried tomatoes, snipped
 or handful of cherry tomatoes quartered.
2 tbsp shredded basil.
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Liberal Cheat Sheets for Rubio and Cruz

republican-logovia, he…

– Loves Hobby Lobby
– Is anti-abortion
– Blocks gun control
– Wants God in classrooms, country run by the Bible
– Wants to close Department of Education and HUD
– Anti-gay marriage or civil unions
– Will end immigrant amnesty and build Trump’s wall
– Will deny refugees
– Trashes Iran nuclear disarmament deal
– Thinks US military is too small
– Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi
– Blindly supports Israel, considers Palestinians terrorists
– Wants to abolish IRS and establish a flat tax (hat tip Ron Paul)
– Wants to get EPA out of water and clean energy
– Pro Keystone pipeline
– Would end Net Neutrality

Per, he wants to…

– Re-sanction Cuba, fight North Korea and Russia
– Build the Keystone pipeline
– Repeal ObamaCare and privatize Medicare
– Gain line item veto power
– Complete the TTP and TTIP
– Finance college students via investors in their future wages
– Gut public education via charter schools
– Build Trump’s wall
– End Net Neutrality
– Dismantle the Iran disarmament deal
– Expand military spending
– Deploy American troops against ISIS
– Increase domestic spying
– Cut corporate taxes
– Overturn Roe v. Wade

What’s not to love about these guys?

Top US Generals: Register Women For Draft

Yahoo – WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. Marine Corps and Army generals said on Tuesday that women should be required to register for the military draft, along with men, as the armed forces move toward integrating them fully into combat positions.

President Barack Obama’s defense secretary, Ash Carter, announced in December that the military would let women serve in all combat roles. The historic announcement prompted opposition from many Republican members of Congress, some of whom said it would force women to register for the draft.

Republican Senator John McCain pointed to studies that found that women suffer more injuries and did not perform as well. “Rather than honestly confront these realities, some have sought to minimize them,” McCain said.

The Tale of a Stereotypical Berner

A fable of disillusionment from (ironically) a deleted Reddit account.

nowBefore Bernie Sanders, it was Ron Paul. Before Ron Paul, it was Dennis Kucinich. Before Dennis Kucinich, it was Howard Dean. Before Howard Dean, it was Ralph Nader. And so on and so forth back to Eugene McCarthy in 1968.

For nearly fifty years, middle-class white college ideologues have latched onto this candidate or that, firmly believing that their political awakening has miraculously coincided with discoveries of Great Truths that escape the Brainwashed Morons that make up the electorate (and which just happen to align perfectly with their own particular socioeconomic interests), and that this Great Man is going to be the one to take the country to the promised land.

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Boko Haram kills 80+, burns children alive

Christian Science Monitor –  A survivor hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, among 86 people officials say died in the latest attack by Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremists.

Scores of charred corpses and bodies with bullet wounds littered the streets from Saturday night’s attack on Dalori village and two nearby camps housing 25,000 refugees, according to survivors and soldiers at the scene just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the biggest city in Nigeria’s northeast.

The shooting, burning and explosions from three suicide bombers continued for nearly four hours in the unprotected area. Troops arrived at Dalori around 8:40 p.m. Saturday but were unable to overcome the attackers, who were better armed, said soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Rise of the robots threatens the poor

And thank you very much, oh Mister Roboto, for taking my job, when I needed it…

Financial Times – Automation and the march of the robots will prove most disruptive to the world’s poorest nations, with 85 per cent of all jobs in Ethiopia in danger of being lost, according to new analysis.

Nepal, Cambodia, China, Bangladesh and Guatemala are among the other countries most at risk from “premature deindustrialisation.”

It claims to have seen the first signs of this trend, with the pace at which global supply chains are fragmenting starting to slow, and even go into reverse in some countries. The Philippines, China and Malaysia all sourced a greater proportion of the inputs for their manufacturing exports from their domestic market in 2011 than they did in 2005.

New York Times Endorses Hillary Clinton

NYT’s insights and content have driven learning and debate at The Agonist for many years. It comes as no great surprise that the editors of the Gray Lady have drawn many of the same conclusions we have about the Democratic candidates.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination – “In the end, Mr. Sanders does not have the breadth of experience or policy ideas that Mrs. Clinton offers. His boldest proposals — to break up the banks and to start all over on health care reform with a Medicare-for-all system — have earned him support among alienated middle-class voters and young people. But his plans for achieving them aren’t realistic, while Mrs. Clinton has very good, and achievable, proposals in both areas.”

The editors of the Washington Post criticize Bernie Sanders’s fiction-filled campaign – “Mr. Sanders is not a brave truth-teller. He is a politician selling his own brand of fiction to a slice of the country that eagerly wants to buy it. He assures Democrats concerned about the political obstacles in the way of his agenda that he will lead a “political revolution” that will help him clear the capital of corruption and influence-peddling. This self-regarding analysis implies a national consensus favoring his agenda when there is none and ignores the many legitimate checks and balances in the political system that he cannot wish away.”

If a real revolution were unfolding, Congress would already be stuffed with new faces and Obama’s bill signing hand would be cramping. Progress takes work and compromise, not bluster and promises.

Just For Fun…,

let’s try to answer a couple of questions posed by Numerian in his piece on The Bundy Bunch…, that by the way…, he has updated after the latest incident out there in Oregon…, Bundy Brothers Initiate War With U.S. Government.

Foremost…, let me say that I am pretty much totally in agreement with his, “This has been, from the start, an adventure in stupidity by privileged white ranchers who entertain fantasies of playing soldier” statement.  But it is fun to speculate and try to answer those questions I mentioned earlier.

Where are they going to get food?  That was the first question that came to mind when a group of self-appointed “militia” members seized a small federally-owned nature preserve tourist center in southeast Oregon this week. 
Why the Bundys chose to leave their armed compound in the first place is something to be wondered about, but boredom could easily be the answer. They’ve been in the compound for nearly a month, with no sign that the federal or local authorities were going to grant some of them their wish to die in a fiery showdown between the government and “patriots.”  They’ve been allowed to go into the nearest town for food and supplies with no interference from the authorities, and where they could meet with some of their supporters who chose to wait in the comforts of town rather than join the insurgents on a possible martyrdom mission.

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Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over

Reuters – Merkel said it was important to stress that most refugees had only been allowed to stay for a limited period.

“We need to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that, once there is peace in Syria again, once IS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained.”

Merkel said 70 percent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned. She urged other European countries to offer more help “because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in Spring.”