Saturday, April 22, 2017

O'Reilly: A Look Back (a post in progress)

National Review: The G-File: Bill O'Reilly's Nostalgia Factor, by Jonah Goldberg.

I always thought O'Reilly (a former teacher, incidentally) was a real-life Asst. Principal Vernon.





VladTV: Cam'Ron's Famous You Mad Interview Resurfaces....

Excerpt from a book on O'Reilly.

O'Reilly's interview with Terry Gross here and here.






Friday, April 21, 2017

Frexit







More later.

Kunstler: A Matter of Mercy

The metaphor of a dementia-addled patient is strained, but Kunstler is right that stuff happens and is quickly forgotten.--P.Z.

Kunstler: A Matter of Mercy.

Paging Doctor Oz! A patient calling itself The United States wandered into the emergency room disoriented, wearing a filthy warm-up suit, claiming it was “the greatest” this and that… but was unable to complete the nine-page admission protocol or present valid insurance ID. Patient is growing increasingly violent, threatening staff and other patients….

Nations do develop something like Alzheimers. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that for some time now nothing sticks in the national brain-pan — if that’s what we can call the news media and its analogs on the Web waves. For months, an obsession about “Russian interference in the election” raged through the left lobe of the national consciousness. Then, about a week ago, it vanished utterly. Grandpa suffered similar delusions about the Russians meddling with “our precious bodily fluids.” (Paging Doctor Strangelove.)

Not so far back as last summer, a candidate named Trump un-ironically called for “an end to endless war in the Middle East.” The oft-applied policy of “regime change,” he said, was not working out in the various US-engineered failed states such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine. About two weeks ago, I seem to recall, the State Department even declared explicitly that we had no brief for regime change in the case of one Bashar al-Assad over in Syria.

Then there was something in the wifi waves about a poison gas attack. The evidence as to exactly who perpetrated it looked, how-you-say, not altogether convincing. This evidence amounted to the US Intel services, in their aggregate omniscience, asserting that, “yes, it was so that this weasel Assad bombed his people with Sarin.” Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow ran so hard with the story that they vanished over the horizon.

The patient had a dream after that: a dream of cruise missiles reigning down hellfire judgment upon a Syrian air base. Quite a few of them went astray and blew up some prickly pears in the desert and a pod of migrating sea turtles out in the Mediterranean. (Thank you Microsoft Windows.) Then the Secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson declared that “Assad must go.” The patient now was completely confused about who was coming or going. Then the patient forgot about the dream and we’ve heard no more about this fairytale land of Syria since then. Oh well….

It seemed like only yesterday that head honcho over North Korea — a character straight out of the James Bond fantasies with the weirdest haircut in recorded history — was threatening to blow up the United States. A US aircraft carrier fleet was soon steaming around his half of the Korean peninsula. A rocket lifted off somewhere… and promptly blew up. Well, at least something blew up. I forgot what, exactly….

And now I see on the morning wire that ISIS has gone and pulled off another terror incident in Paris — one cop dead, one injured in a street shooting. Weren’t there other incidents before this one, possibly even worse ones? I forget. Anyway, in this case, it was easy to figure out the man’s identity (one Karim Cheurfi) because the fucker had spent 15 years in prison after being convicted of three attempted murders, two against police officers, and was released on parole in 2015. There was some additional chatter in the wire story about the incident having an effect on an upcoming French election. But I forget who’s running. And when the darn thing is over, I’ll probably forget who won, and why.

That’s how we roll in the national Alzheimers ward. Shit happens and then is promptly forgotten. Sometimes the shit that happens is forgotten so completely that it’s like living in universe where nothing happens. The auditors who once reported to work in your brain have left their stations — with no duties left after the smart-phone came on the scene. They are among the millions “no longer looking for work” in those BLS reports.

Maybe this is a manifestation of what used to be called “God’s mercy.” Now that we’ve almost succeeded in making the planet uninhabitable, we don’t have to remember how it got that way, or what will happen to us in the meantime, while we’re still here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Hard Fall From the Top







Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Huffington Post: Bill O'Reilly Possibly Out at Fox News.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kunstler: Buy the Dip?

Kunstler: Buy the Dip?

The military frolics of spring have distracted the nation’s attention from the economic and financial dynamics that pose the ultimate mortal threat to business as usual. Note the distinction between economic and financial. The first represents real activity in this Land of the Deal: people doing and making. The second, finance, used to be a minor branch — only about five percent — of all the doing in the days of America’s putative bigliest greatitude. The task of finance then was limited and straightforward: to manage the allocation of capital for more doing and making. The profit in that enabled bankers to drive Cadillacs instead of Chevrolets, but not much more.

These days, finance is closer to 40 percent of all the doing in America, and it is not about making anything, but getting more than its share of “money” — whatever that is now — and what “money” mostly is is whatever the people engaged in finance say it is, for instance, Fannie Mae bonds representing millions of sketchy loans for houses of vinyl and strand-board built in places with no future… or stock issued by the Tesla corporation… or the sovereign IOUs of the US Treasury.

The list of things that pretend to be “money” these days would be long and shocking and the sheer churn of these instruments among the banks and markets “produces” the fabled “revenue streams” beloved of The Wall Street Journal. What happens when the world discovers that these instruments (securities and their derivatives) represent falsely? Why, bigly trouble.

And this is the season we’re moving into as the dogwoods blaze: the season of the re-discovery of actual value. For those of you gloating over last week’s demonstrations of US Big Stick-ism, be warned that our military shenanigans have given China and Russia every reason to discipline this country by undermining the international standing of the dollar. They’ve been preparing for this very deliberately for years: constructing an alternative to the US-sponsored SWIFT international payment system, stockpiling thousands of tons of gold, building trade partnerships to circumvent US dominated syndicates. Before the month of April is out, they’ll “pull the trigger” on new voting arrangements in the International Monetary Fund that will reduce the financial power of the US and the Eurozone, especially in the oil trade.

Around the same moment, America will wake up to the awful reality of the debt ceiling. This petard has been ticking the whole time that the political bureaucracy of Washington has wasted its mojo on the quixotic crusade to blame Russia for the 2016 election outcome. Congress will return from the Easter recess to discover that they have a few mere days to debate and resolve the debt ceiling problem — that is, to raise it so the country can borrow more “money” — or else they’ll be faced with a shut-down of government operations, including their own generous emoluments. It’s a good thing (for them) that they have plenty of walking-around money from the mysterious perqs of government service, but the rest of America doesn’t have $500 to pay for a new set of tires or the extraction of an abscessed molar.

Some readers may have long wondered what might happen in this country if the SNAP card refills and social security checks stopped coming. Perhaps we’re about to find out. Congress might find itself in a painfully tight spot. The Democrats would like nothing better than to let this drag on for a while in order to humiliate, and perhaps finish off, their arch-nemesis, the Golden Golem of Greatness. Many Republicans have a religious-strength ideological aversion to increasing the already appalling US debt load. The prospects are not bright for a quick-and-easy resolution to this quandary.

The IMF voting re-set and the debt ceiling quagmire have the power to disrupt many of the arrangements that allow the banks and markets to continue pretending that their stuff has value. When that consensus trance snaps, President Trump may find himself in the unhappy position of having to declare a bank holiday. Unlike the usual holidays in America, there will no Easter Bunny, no Jack-o-lanterns, no Santa Claus. Just empty supermarket shelves and pissed-off people marshaling in the WalMart parking lots with flaming brands and espontoons.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope to post more soon.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Kunstler: What Could Go Wrong?

Kunstler: What Could Go Wrong?

“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” Yeats wrote. The funny thing is, we didn’t seem to miss the center all that much after it was gone. America is perfectly satisfied hunkering down at the margins these days. Especially the margins of thinking.

One thing that used to occupy the center was public discussion, debate, and argumentation. Now and again, it featured a coherent exchange of ideas. These days, the main political factions are sunk in hysteria of one kind or another. Their primitive promptings hardly add up to ideas but rather limbic spasms of fear and rage. And then there is the shadow partner of the two parties called the Deep State, led by the quaintly dubbed “Intelligence Community.” These birds, many of them lifers, are dedicated to making the public discussion of anything as incoherent as possible so as to prevent any change in policy that might curtail the growth of the Deep State, a sort of cancer of the body politic.

Case in point, the recent Syrian aerial gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Elected officials were all over the cable networks selling the NSA’s story that Syrian president Bashar Assad bombed women and children with Sarin gas three days after State Department declared that it had a new policy of letting Assad remain in power after decades of sedulously scheming to shove him out. That might have led to the end of the six-year-long Syrian civil war, which Assad seemed to be winning, finally — with Russian assistance.

But instead the incident has led to new official calls to shove Assad out… to be replaced by what…? Nobody knows. Because the US Deep State thrives when chaos reigns in foreign lands. So much the better for their looting operations, such as the theft of Libya’s 141 ton gold reserves in 2011. And if not looting hard assets directly, the Deep State benefits when its many black box vendors — the private security armies, materials suppliers, arms sellers — are raking in the accounts receivable.

The fascinating part of the Syrian gas bombing story is how easily the public swallowed it. Those elected congressmen and senators infesting the cable stations told the public that the Intelligence Community “issued a consensus report” that the Syrian air force has dropped Sarin gas bombs on the hapless civilians. Nobody offered any actual evidence that this was so. These days, mere assertions rule.

That’s how we roll now. I’m still waiting to see some evidence that Trump’s campaign “colluded with Russia” to spin the election toward him. Those claims, too, were put out as “a consensus analysis” by the Intelligence Community. And then in March, months after the disputed election, just-retired NSA director James Clapper told NBC’s Meet the Press that his agency had no evidence of “Russian collusion” with the Trump forces. That was only a few weeks ago.

For the moment, it may benefit casual observers to adopt the most cynical attitude possible about the “consensus reports” that emanate from these myriad agencies. What it all finally seems to represent is the snowballing incompetence, venality, mendacity, and impotence of the US government in general, in all its layers and branches.

Hence, the idiotic PR stunt the other day of dropping the so-called “Mother of All Bombs (MOAB)” on some backwater of the once-and-future Mother of All Backwaters, Afghanistan. Did you happen to see a photo of that Mother Bomb? It looked bigger than any airplane that might be assigned to carry it, a cartoon of a bomb, more ridiculous than anything you might see in a Vin Diesel movie. It even had the acronym “MOAB” plastered on its fuselage in case anyone might confuse it with a canister of Round-up. I wonder what it cost. Got to be more than the $1 million-plus for a Tomahawk missile. You could probably run the whole Medicaid system of Alabama on what one MOAB invoice comes in at.

Meanwhile, the Navy’s Aircraft Carrier Strike Force 1 steams off the waters of North Korea and we lately have word that the US might just try to preemptively take out Kim Jong-un’s nuclear bomb assembly site. There’s a tang of excitement in the air (and on the cable channels). America’s back in the game, proving that when all else fails we can be depended on at least to blow some shit up. What could wrong?

One Thing Leads to Another

Reading Hattie's Twitter, I saw she retweeted this from Angry Black Lady, which links to Keith Boykin's tweet.



How the President descends the stairs of Air Force One is unremarkable to me. But I remembered how Obama would canter down (or up) the stairs. And I searched online for "Obama descending stairs."

Read for yourself.