Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stupid, greedy and evil

A trifecta of bad policy, from Dr. Housing Bubble:

It should be abundantly clear and obvious that the government and Wall Street want nothing more than to keep home prices inflated and are sticking out a giant middle finger to the majority of Americans. You might have missed the glorious news that our stunningly cunning Senate decided to reinstate the heightened loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA (aka the entire stinking mortgage market). Of course the lobbying arms of the housing industry went gaga for this policy even though it keeps prices further inflated in bubble states like California and New York.

Since our politicians care so deeply about working Americans, they are also examining a push at giving residential visas to foreigners looking to buy at least $500,000 in real estate. Forget about the fact that the median home in the U.S. costs more like $170,000 to $180,000.

Then we have the Federal Reserve artificially keeping mortgage rates at historic lows and you hit the trifecta of housing welfare for expensive bubble ridden states while the overall economy falters.

The US is becoming a banana republic. In a banana republic, two simple rules guide economic policy: the poor cannot become the rich, and the rich are protected from becoming poor. The income tax, for example, is not a tax on being rich but a tax on becoming rich. The estate tax is not a tax on old money but on new old money, because the only thing Old Money hates more than New Money is New Old Money.

In the US banana republic, cash-rich foreigners get to bid prices up on housing, because what they're actually bidding on is citizenship. Hugely expensive homes must stay hugely expensive instead of hugely affordable, which is where the market has been trying to push them for the past three years. Savers who don't have the means or the desire to navigate the Wall Street casino are given no choice, because the Fed's casino barkers get to levy negative interest on their savings if they refuse to play.

It gets worse: student loans turn the aspiring middle class into lifelong debt-slaves, the huge alphabet soup of tax-deferred accounts acts as a giant sluice gate to Wall Street for Other People's Money. The hidden threads in this tapestry of tax, fiscal and monetary policy are the twin designs of keeping the money flow headed upstream and the barriers to socio-economic mobility fixed. Americans, as this commenter notes, are thrown into competition with the global poor for wages and with the global rich for housing.

Every action provokes reaction, and the US banana republic faces existential threat from an angry, desperate middle class. This threat has been considered and an appropriate policy response implemented: the American middle class is to be replaced with a compliant Third World peasantry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thanks for the memories

How many times in your life have you met someone, shaken hands, exchanged pleasantries. Then, later, you hear that they are dead and a sudden pang strikes you: I met that person, pressed his flesh, spoke with him.

What passed through the minds of these men when they heard Gaddafi had been killed? Did they recall when they met him, plenipotentiary to plenipotentiary, negotiating trade and other protocols? Did they recall how his voice sounded, his handshake, whether he was a pleasant guest or host?

The first three pictured with the Colonel, did they worry much over the ceremonial farce, knowing that they were just biding their time, and when the moment arrived, would assist in in his overthrow and lynching, and negotiate oil deals?

Democratic leaders can hide devious plots behind pleasantries and turn to war and assassination as callously and capriciously as the most tribalist dictator out there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

In memoriam: Col. Moammar Gaddafi

A man who embraced the modern American ideal.

America is not only for the whites, but it is for all. Who is the American? The American is you, me and that. When we go to America we will become Americans and there is no a race or nationalism called America and the Americans are those Africans, Indians, Chinese, and Europeans and whoever goes to America will become American. American is for all of us and the whole world had made and created America. All the people all over the world had made America and it shall accordingly be for all of us. I will never feel ashamed when I claim for my right in America and it will not be strange when I raise my voice in America."

George H.W. Bush says much the same thing in the linked entry, but one enjoys a Presidential pension and the other was bombed out of his capital city and killed by a mob.

Over and over again, we are told that America is a propositional nation to which anybody can belong. But as iSteve poster Baloo has pointed out, no thought is ever given to the ethnicity that developed the proposition and understands it, nor is there any recognition of the fact that a nation can have a proposition, but a proposition cannot be a nation.

Along these lines, there is still weeping and gnashing of teeth over the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim Yemeni cleric who nonetheless satisfied some technical criteria for US citizenship. But really, what other result follows from a bureaucratric state, totally detached from any notion of patrimony? 'America' is a global proposition, and its governors act globally to defend it. If Gaddafi threatens this global proposition, he will be assassinated. If al-Awlaki threatens this global proposition, he will be assassinated. If David Koresh threatens this global proposition, he will be assassinated. A citizen's good standing in the global proposition depends solely on administrative criteria which can be re-defined or ignored on bureaucratic whim.

The outrage should begin with the fact that American citizenship has become so debased that it warrants no particular consideration.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dems to OWS: You're on your own, Jack

Wall Street to Dems: you can't have it both ways
After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent a recent email urging supporters to sign a petition backing the wave of Occupy Wall Street protests, phones at the party committee started ringing.

Banking executives personally called the offices of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and DCCC Finance Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) last week demanding answers, three financial services lobbyists told POLITICO.

“They were livid,” said one Democratic lobbyist with banking clients.

The execs asked the lawmakers: “What are you doing? Do you even understand some of the things that they’ve called for?” said another lobbyist with financial services clients who is a former Democratic Senate aide.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, like the larger Left, is fundamentally incoherent. Do they really think all that vast welfare state infrastructure and social engineering would be possible just from current tax revenues? Do they realize the degree to which all levels of government in the US are reliant on Wall Street's leveraged financing schemes? Are they aware that a slight majority of voters with income over $200K voted for Obama?

Come to think of it, I haven't seen Obama or any other Democrat of much weight out there on the pickets.

It's funny and kind of sadly predictable how these movements degenerate into the typical hippy Marxist cornucopia: "free" medical care, END RACISM!, etc. The policies actually causing the harm--inflation, artifically low interest rates, rent seeking--are all stupidly (or deliberately) ignored.

Also, this is pretty funny too:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Autocephaly and the Orthodox Church in America

From the American Orthodox Institute (9/10/2011):

...TNH: What is the position of the Patriarchate of Moscow on the issue of the Orthodox Diaspora?

Hilarion: In the Russian Orthodox Church we believe that in the Diaspora it is possible to establish Canonical Orthodox Churches if there is agreement in the Orthodox populations of the particular countries. On this basis we granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970. But now the Orthodox churches are coming closer together and we are commonly decided that the granting of autocephaly should be a matter of Panorthodox concern and that Tomes of Autocephaly should be signed by all the Primates of All the Orthodox Churches. In fact we agreed on a different model from that which existed before. We also agreed to establish Episcopal Assemblies in the Diaspora to facilitate cooperation among the different jurisdictions.

TNH: With this new decision are you saying that the Ecumenical Patriarchate no longer has the historical and canonical privilege of being the only one to grant Autocephaly?

Hilarion: This seems to be the consensus of all the representatives of all the Orthodox churches, that autocephaly should be granted with the agreement of all the Orthodox Churches. It can be proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarch, but the Tome will be signed by all the Primates.

To my distant, uninformed ear, this sounds like, we should never have granted the Tome. The next step would be Moscow's agreement with the other Patriarchates that the Tome was not originally theirs to give. The persistence of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad suggests revocation is a matter of time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Inconvenient Truths, from 1982

NY Times: New Homosexual Disorder Worries Health Officials

...Epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control have done studies among homosexual men with and without the immune disorder but matched in age, background and other characteristics. After testing for more than 130 potential risk factors, they found that the median number of lifetime male sexual partners for affected homosexual men was 1,160, compared to 524 for male homosexual men who did not have the syndrome. The study also found more use of sexual stimulants and illicit drugs among the GRID patients.

As further evidence against simple contagious spread, epidemiologists note that the syndrome has not spread to other family members, hospital workers or researchers on the disease...[emphasis added]

The HIV/AIDS cover-up is now in its third decade.

Gnosticism: the facts--rampant drug use and exponential sexual contacts--are inconvenient and impolitic.

The facts must be suppressed, distorted, concealed because they contradict the gnostic ideal: sodomy is just a preference, normative ideas about sex are just more repressive patriarchy.

How to Prepare for Communion

A very good reference from the excellent Notes on Arab Orthodoxy blog

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Please help Georgia agri-business

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports multi-million dollar losses due to Georgia immigration enforcement, none of which goes beyond the federal criteria for residence in this country.

The immigration debate is faith-based. Robert Solow won a Nobel prize for modeling the fact that higher capital per worker leads to higher output per worker. But when it comes to immigration, too much is never enough. Producer inputs per worker must fall to Third World levels and somehow we all get rich. Why doesn't this magic formula work in the Third World?

Apparently these companies have no solution to E-Verify other than to let crops rot in the field. Surely the Southern planters would agree: there is no economically viable way to grow cotton without slave labor. Oh, but then this got invented.

A commenter on the AJC thread sums things up nicely.
I believe that we have already settled the plantations owner’s right to use slave labor. They simply changed to a lighter color slave and now pay them what it used to cost to house them – a thin veil if you ask me. I do believe that those who remain reliant on this labor should fail – smaller and local agribusiness’ will take up the slack quickly.