Recent comments

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   1 hour 39 min ago

    France's government spending is 57% of GDP.

     

    Now I am sorry to disabuse you of a much-loved set of factoids, but this Salvation by Faith-Based Deficit Spending and Moribund Gummint Industries Owning Most of the Stock in Corporations just won't work. Augustine said, in his mis-spent youth, "Lord save me, just not yet." At least he did get around to it. And France will, too.  I am a Liberal.  I believe government has a role to play in pulling nations out of slumps.  I believe in unions and most of what Keynes and Krugman had to say about the beneficial effects of government rescues - and the only parts I don't believe are strictly limited to minor details of the times and places those solutions were applied:  the basic principles are sound enough.  As every war is different, requiring different strategies and tactics, so economies and times are different.  France needs a stimulus of some sort.  Privatisation would help thing along considerably on the cash receipts.  I believe, with Kenneth Waltz, that once socialism replaces capitalism, reason will determine the policies of states.

     

    But I am not an idiot.  A nation where more than half the gross domestic product is controlled by the government is a socialist government, which must take its lumps along with the private sector, since it's an investor.  Where public and private sectors are separated, as they ought to be, when the private sector gets in a slump, the government can be the customer of last resort.  Such is not the case with France, where the government is also a stockholder.  Time for France to behave as if it lives on a round world.  And it's high time for the Hard Left to quit acting as if sums and fractions were Conservative Myths.  They're cold, hard facts.  For socialism to work, the government must remember it's a stockholder, too, and must start to behave like one.

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  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   7 hours 46 min ago

    that crippled the French economy.

    Kinda unfortunate to post it right below a list of French GDP growth from '00 to '08 tho.

    In future I'll try not to post facts that ruin these simplistic conservative myths.

  • Reply to: No U.S. ground troops?   8 hours 13 min ago

    but the world's largest population centres have turned their population engines around, fortunately going against the various faith-based objections to population control - one more sign of the defeat of faith in matters that count.  Unfortunately it seems faith-based nations will do their utmost to make matters as difficult as possible.

     

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-27/jeremy-grantham-fall-civilizati...

    At the top of the unexpected list is Iran, which has dropped from a fertility rate of 7 – children per woman! – in 1960 to an almost unbelievable 1.6 today. Another remarkable example of a large Islamic country is Bangladesh, which has also fallen from 7 in 1960 to 2.2. This is extraordinary given their extreme poverty. The particularly important India, with its 1.2 billion people, has fallen from 6 to 2.6.

    ---

    The world’s population is shown peaking around 2050 at just over 8 billion and then declining to near 6 billion by 2100. Ex-Africa, it reaches just under 6.5 billion in 2040 and declines to below 4 billion in 2100, back to where it was in about 1978. Africa is shown growing from about 250 million in 1950 to well over a billion today and, even under this relatively favorable outlook, continuing to expand to over 2.3 billion by 2100.

    And cutting consumption is happening, as austerity measures gain more support and traction in the West.

     

    The Earth could support a population of 4-5 billion with modern technology by 2150.  Even if the landing is not soft, it is certainly not inconceivable.  And all though human ingenuity and hard work, I might add, with no miracles.

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   10 hours 27 min ago

    *--That's my "will be mocking the idiot baseball writers and Internet commenters who have been saying that about Bryce Harper this year until they die of old age" sarcastic voice.

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   10 hours 43 min ago

    They're maniacs.  They're stuck in the past.  The French economy has been en panne since farther back than 2008.   More than half the GDP of France is the government - and you want more stimulus in that bloated nightmare?  

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   11 hours 28 sec ago

    Manifestly, it was de-regulation and an excessive deference to markets which allowed the housing/financial bubble and its collapse. There's no plausible alternative explanation.

     

    I'm glad you allow the factual positive record of stimulus. But if stimulus is sufficient for France's economy to recover, then excessive conservatism caused the economic crisis and is now obstructing its recovery. End of story.

     

    But you have to get in a word about how France's labor rules aren't competitive. Is this some new development that just happens to coincide with the economic downturn and conservatives strangling the continent with austerity? Of course not, France was doing fine before the economic downturn/age of austerity:

     

    2000 GDP: 3.7%

    2001 GDP: 1.8%

    2002 GDP: .9%

    2003 GDP: 1.2%

    2004 GDP: 2.5% 

    2005 GDP: 1.8%

    2006 GDP: 2.5%

    2007 GDP: 2.3%

     

    (Note: these #s are with a significantly lower pop growth than the US)

     

    Here's France's recent record:

     

    2012 GDP: 0%

    2013 GDP: .3%

    2014 Q1 GDP: 0%

    2014 Q2 GDP: -.3%

     

    Was it France's labor laws that changed? Hmmm ... maybe that's just another conservative con job to implement their antecedent policy aims. 

     

    France will do fine again if and when Europe's left-leaning political parties toss out "centrist" idiots like Macron.

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   11 hours 11 min ago

    I wonder if cooked golden goose tastes like duck.

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   12 hours 22 min ago

    Stimulus works.  I never said it didn't.  But France isn't competitive.  Germany is.  France lived through les trente glorieuses, the thirty glory years from 1945 to 1975 and folks, they are gone.  After the oil crunch, things were never the same.  Europe's enormous problems aren't going away any time soon.  Getting sick of the hard left still mooning about like Miss Havisham in her wedding dress.  

  • Reply to: No U.S. ground troops?   12 hours 40 min ago

    He talked tough, but I got in close, grabbed His collar, put my right foot behind His left leg and pushed Him over it. After He fell backwards, I ran around kicking Him as hard as I could every time He tried to get up. That's how I defeated God.

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   12 hours 42 min ago

    I inferred that he's a conservative b/c he was selected for his pro-austerity views to replace someone anti-austerity.

     

    Your own links don't really challenge his overall conservatism:

     

    A moderate relaying concerns to the president from the captains of industry, who had his ear, Macron is credited with supply-side reforms like Hollande's Responsibility Pact, which promises labor-cost cuts in exchange for hiring.

     

    ... He famously slammed Hollande's controversial proposal to tax high incomes at 75 percent, calling the plan "Cuba without the sunshine."

     

    This guy looks exactly like the problem, not the solution to Europe's woes. 

     

    Unfortunately, your comments do not reflect the fact that most of the west's economic problems are due to excessive conservatism. Thus you mistake "a pox on both their houses" moderation for sophisticated and genuine insight. But there's nothing sillier than a "moderate" or "centrist" viewpoint when conventional wisdom has an entire continent heading for a triple dip recession.

     

    As Krugman likes to say, the American left after the Bush years seems to have a greater understanding that men in suits often have zero idea what they're talking about. 

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   13 hours 6 min ago

    Beijing has decided it's time to take away any semblance of Hong Kong democracy, with HKers only allowed to vote for candidates hand-picked by Beijing

     

    There'll be protests, and likely some militarized police and armored vehicles (a few tanks?) will impose a curfew and shoot tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds in the name of safety and order. At least that's how anti-democratic forces in the western hemisphere operate.

     

    Will western businesses in HK remain neutral or support pro-democracy forces? Answer: neither. Western financial and accounting firms have already broadcast their open contempt for democracy.

  • Reply to: No U.S. ground troops?   13 hours 34 min ago

    I would never say man has defeated God. I don't even know what that means. First of all, I don't know if something we could call God exists. Second, if such a thing exists, nobody knows what God's intention is. And third, our victories are just as likely to be temporary as permanent. When you say matters are better "apart from the environment", that's like a criminal saying he's innocent, "apart from those people he killed". The environment is, literally, everything. We cannot survive an environmental collapse.

     

    We may reverse course yet, but right now our success trajectory looks parabolic to me, and we are somewhere close to the apogee, either just before it or just after it. If we don't reverse our environmental footprints within the next few years, you are looking at peak humanity. This, roughly speaking, may be as far as we get.

     

    When I say I have a high opinion, I mean that it is quite incredible that we have gotten to this point at all. I certainly don't mean that we have the capacity to maintain it. I hope we do, but so far the evidence is inconclusive at best, dismal at worse.

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   18 hours 29 min ago

    For sure, they've got advisors in country, especially the Poles.  NATO won't take this sitting down.  

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   18 hours 45 min ago

    Rand Paul's worldview is not the problem here.  America ought to be accountable for its actions in the world at large and the USA is not loved.

     

    Rand Paul is wrong to say Obama was eager for a US intervention in Syria.  Eager is not an adjective I'd use to describe any of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy.  I can sense this is how it all went down:

     

    "Okay, military dudes, Bashar Assad is using poison gas on his own people.  Give me some options."

     

    "Sir, that depends entirely on the outcome you want.  Do you want Bashar Assad gone entirely?  Coz we've been down that road with Saddam Hussein not so long ago and there don't seem to be any more good options to replace Assad than there were with Saddam."

     

    "Dammit, make him stop firing poison gas!  Can you give that to me?"

     

    "Assad has tons of it, sir.  Destroying it would probably kill more people, blowing around, than he is killing currently, just dropping a few rounds here and there.  Big problem for the British at Loos, sir, the gas they fired blew back over their own lines and killed more Tommies than Germans.  Think Bhopal, sir.   Only much larger and more deadly."

     

    "You don't say.  Well that changes things somewhat, doesn't it?  What can you give me, in a military solution, that will get them to stop this goddamn gas?"

     

    "Sir, this situation is AFU.  You might go down the hall and ask Hillary if there's a political solution."

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   21 hours 43 min ago

    here's a preview of what Clinton's line will be:

    “It’s disappointing that Rand Paul, as a Senator and a potential presidential candidate, blames America for all the problems in the world, while offering reckless ideas that would only alienate us from the global community.

    “Unfortunately, this is nothing new for Paul. Last week he criticized American policy to the president of another country on foreign soil. This week he’s blaming the Obama Administration for another nation’s civil war. That type of “blame America” rhetoric may win Paul accolades at a conference of isolationists but it does nothing to improve our standing in the world. In fact, Paul’s proposals would make America less safe and less secure.

    “Simply put, if Rand Paul had a foreign policy slogan, it would be – The Rand Paul Doctrine:  Blame America. Retreat from the World.”

    This is the best case debate.  If it's Clinton v Christie it will  just be contest over who promises to do the most bombing and invading.

     

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   21 hours 50 min ago

    nt

  • Reply to: Invasion open thread   21 hours 52 min ago

    and the climate is amazing. We're staying at this retro place at La Jolla Cove and bounced on the waves with the seals. On this one little beach, seals and people peacefully coexisted, with both species enjoying the surf, not ten feet away from each other. There was a hurricane somewhere to the southwest, and it brought the biggest waves in 30 years and warmer-than-usual water temperatures. Swimming in the ocean was a delight.

    But the experience is bittersweet because we're dropping off Miss BD to her next stage in life. She won't be needing a car because the school has a pretty good tram system. Pretty soon BD & Co. will have to withdraw its troops, return our conquered territories back to the indigenous people and head back to the Pacific Northwet.

     

     

  • Reply to: No U.S. ground troops?   22 hours 36 min ago

    We're going to have SOCOM involvement, AUMF or no.  We have operators in Iraq already and advisors among the Kurds.