Monthly Archives: October 2013

Robert J. Samuelson: The Greenspan paradox – Oy Vey!

An op-ed by Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post (and syndicated), entitled Robert J. Samuelson: The Greenspan paradox is a pretty fair assessment of Greenspan, but I’d like to take exception to some of it.

Greenspan’s critics have another story. “Deregulation,” championed by Greenspan, is their villain. Competent oversight could have curbed dangerous excesses. The reality is murkier. Many of the institutions that came to grief — banks, investment banks — were regulated. But regulators shared the optimistic consensus concerning the economy’s transformation. Complacency made regulation permissive.

This, to me, is talking out of both sides of one’s mouth and doesn’t say anything useful.  Sorry, Robert.  I was expecting something more astute.

Yes, the regulatory agencies still existed.  Their regulation wasn’t “permissive”. It was next to non-existent.  By design.  Regulation was intentionally sabotaged, by the conservative leaners, especially (but not solely) during Republican administrations.  Bush II especially put in regulators in many regulatory agencies who were particularly antipathetic to the very activities they were supposedly regulating.  Thus the fox was guarding the hen house.  The laisse faire-ist agency heads continually gave more and more room for the the risk-taking Wall Street bankers to play games with other people’s money.  It was not “complacency” – it was by intent.  Complacency implies that they were lazy and, well, these things just kind of happened.  It was anything but that. Continue reading

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Don’t Waste Your Time on This Book About the JFK Assassination

There is a new book out on the JFK assassination, entitled “A Cruel and Shocking Act,” by someone named Philip Shenon, that is reviewed in the Washington Post.  I have not read the book, only the review.  But if this bit about Oswald is any indication of the truth of the book, the author is delusional and the book is worthless.

This helps to explain how the commission missed out on the evidence that makes up the second major theme of Shenon’s book: the possibility that Oswald was working for or with Cuba’s revolutionary government. As a veteran journalist and former New York Times reporter, Shenon knows to hedge his bets when it comes to conspiracy theories. All the same, he can’t help but engage the strange Cold War netherworld of Soviet defection, repatriation and pro-Castro activism in which Oswald lived during his brief adult life…

This is utter nonsense.  Oswald was working with Guy Bannister and David Ferry – on the exact OPPOSITE side of the Cuban situation.  They were all working in the anti-Castro movement.  Shenon has it all bass ackward.

Then the idiot compounds his error , according to the reviewer:

Shenon is particularly intrigued by Oswald’s September 1963 trip to Mexico City, where the future assassin tried and failed to gain Soviet and Cuban visas. While in Mexico, Shenon writes, Oswald apparently had a fling with a low-level staffer at the Cuban Consulate, and he was spotted at a Chubby Checker “twist party” attended by a Cuban diplomat deeply hostile to Kennedy. Two months later, back on American soil, Oswald shot and killed the president.

Shenon goes to great lengths to emphasize his new evidence about Oswald’s Mexico trip, and understandably so. When it comes to the most-studied murder of all time, it is no mean feat to turn up even the smallest tidbit. Still, the book stops short of suggesting a Cuban conspiracy, arguing simply that the Warren Commission (along with the FBI and the CIA) should have done more to investigate the available evidence. In the end, “A Cruel and Shocking Act” offers many of the trappings of conspiracy literature — doctored evidence, a mysterious suicide, a secret affair — without quite arguing in favor of a conspiracy.

The evidence for this trip is in good measure a long distance photograph of a man purported to be Oswald, at the gate of the Russian Embassy in Mexico City.

The problem?  The man is clearly NOT Lee Harvey Oswald.

TOf all the groups who have ever been discussed as possibly running the assassination, the least probable was the Pro-Castro people.

Conclusion?  Shenon is a shill – a disinformation front man.

According to these two pieces Shenon doesn’t know what he is talking about.  Not about the assassination itself, nor the other possible group.  Focusing on the Warren Commission is also exactly the wrong place to look.  NO ONE on any side gives the Commission one iota of respect.  He is looking in the wrong place – in the one place no possible useful information can reside.

The book is a waste of paper.

The Simple Fix For the Republicans, vis-a-vis the Tea Party

The simple fix is for the GOP is to to just toss the Tea Party folks out of the Party altogether.  If it takes a litmus test or a loyalty oath, whatever.

The Tea Partiers have hijacked the GOP, and yes, only the GOP can repair the damage. But they’d better do it soon, before it is too late. If the Tea Party gets TOO big before then, it may be the Tea Parties throwing the GOP out of the GOP.

However, the GOP isn’t about to toss out the Tea Party, because then the Tea Party will instantly become a viable 3rd party, and with the conservative vote sure to be split between the two, the Democrats would clean up in almost all national elections, if not 90% of the state legislatures, too.

THAT the GOP is not ever going to be willing to do, though.  (See the end of this post…)

If the Tear Party take over the GOP completely, would THEY throw out the old-guard GOP?

My first thought on that is, “Frankly, my Dear, I don’t give a damn!”  But in reality, I do give a damn.  I would WANT the two to go their separate ways, certainly.  I would WANT them to shoot the entire dysfunctional family in the foot.  And in the temple.  And in the soul that we know at least one of them doesn’t have.

The old adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” – has ANY group run with that, and with it tied in with some 3rd entity, and NOT self-destructed in the process?

The GOP has only themselves to blame.  And it precedes them tying in with the Tea Party.  And before tying in with the Evangelicals.  It begins with having a core belief system that is so undemocratic that THEY CANNOT WIN AN ELECTION ON THEIR OWN.  The GOP MUST have a coalition.  In fact, it’s gone unnoticed, but the GOP IS a coalition.

That is their main flaw, the one that was always going to destroy them:  Their philosophy is a MINORITY philosophy, and as such it is never going to be accepted by enough voters – not in its native state.  Thus their need to sleep with criminals and crazies and cultists.

NO ONE is too weird, too ugly, too infected, for the GOP to sleep with.

The Democrats, then, are their (main) enemy, the one the GOP need allies against.  And one by one the GOP has aligned with – contracted with – different incarnations of the Devil.  They’ve HAD to.  How else are they ever going to win any elections?  Why do you think they need perverts like Karl Rove to do their planning?

But in doing so, they have gotten their just rewards – the threat of their very existence.  The Shutdown?  The destruction of the USA?  THOSE the Tea Party had in mind all along – and yet the GOP slept with them.  The takeover of the GOP was just the means to an end.

The tail is wagging the dog, and now the only thing to do is to kill the dog itself… and hope the tail dies, too.

Keeping the Tea Party in the GOP will just prolong the agony.

Hell, the BEST thing the GOP can do is to join the Democratic Party.

The Democrats are old-style Republicans, anyway!

Alfred Russel Wallace, Erratic Boulders, and More

[Correction: I had Wallace’s middle initial as E, instead of the correct initial R – for Russel… Oct 24, 10:53pm]

Alfred R. Wallace is the OTHER guy who came up with Evolution.

I am going to address something Alfred E. Wallace wrote back in 1893, The Ice Age and Its Work — I. Erratic Blocks and Ice-Sheets. (S481: 1893)

[http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S481A.htm]

I am going to try to punch holes in some of what Wallace said about erratic boulders.  In “(4) Erratics and perched blocks” [[pg 621]], Wallace begins with

(4) Erratic blocks were among the phenomena that first attracted the attention of men of science. Large masses of granite and hard metamorphic rock, which can be traced to Scandinavia, are found scattered over the plains of Denmark, Prussia, and Northern Germany, where they rest either on drift or on quite different formations of the Secondary or Tertiary periods. One of these blocks, estimated at 1,500 tons weight, lay in a marshy plain near St. Petersburg, and a portion of it was used for the pedestal of the statue of Peter the Great. In parts of North Germany they are so abundant as to hide the surface of the ground, being piled up in irregular masses forming hills of granite boulders, which are often covered with forests of pine, birch, and juniper. Far south, at Fürstenwalde south-east of Berlin, there was a huge block of Swedish red granite, from one half of which the gigantic basin was wrought which stands before the New Museum in that city. In Holstein there is a block of granite 20 feet in diameter; and it was noticed by De Luc that the largest blocks were often found at the greatest distance from the parent rock, and that this fact was conclusive against their having been brought to their present position by the action of floods.

Note that ALL these countries are VERY flat – Denmark, Sweden, Northern Germany, Prussia, St Petersburg, and Fürstenwalde. Mostly these areas are under 300 feet elevation , with little variation in elevation – over an area at least 400 x 500 miles (~200,000 square miles). Which specific areas of Sweden , I can’t tell. Southern Sweden is quite flat, while northward and toward Norway it begins to elevate. So, the area might be somewhat larger, but probably not much smaller.

With Wallace, it is important to watch the pea here.  He shifts around in a rather sneaky way, and you can miss it if you aren’t paying close enough attention.

Continue reading

THE CARDINALS HAVE BECOME THE BAD GUYS. WHO’DA THUNK?

In Major Leeague Baseball The St Louis Cardinals just romped the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 1 of the National League  Divisional Series.  Final score? 9-1

In Know Your Enemy,  and Cardinals as Villains? it seems that my beloved Cardinals have begun to be like the Yankees – enough success that everyone sees them as the establishment and their opponents as the underdogs that many want to root for.

My reaction?  Quite a bit of surprise, actually. Continue reading