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American foreign policy

Summed up in a single piece of (probably illegal) public art:

Soldiers raising the golden arches

Billions served!

Bernanke Blames the Blogs

In trying to explain why the incredibly expensive and blatantly corrupt bailouts & stimulus have failed to create jobs or inspire confidence, Bernanke has pulled out the old tired defense of blaming the critics. Except he’s taking it to the 20th century and singling out blogs and bloggers for “identifying … crises.”

Apparently, having people able to speak their mind and find faults in the system is a big problem for the way this guy thinks the economy is supposed to work.

This certainly wins my first annual “Blame someone else” award.

On the up side, he seems to have come to the conclusion that high finance should be treated like a utility, especially if we’re going to constantly be there to bail them out & regulate them like they can never fail.

That didn’t take long…

Just two days after the house tried and failed to pass the Patriot Act through with a legislative fast track, they’ve revisited the vote and chosen to renew it once again.

Who voted for the Patriot Act? Well, a whole bunch of Republicans – including the self-proclaimed Tea Party candidates who claim to be concerned about how powerful our government has become. Unfortunately, their concern for political restraint seems to be isolated to raising the necessary taxes for the wars and paranoid security state they insist on supporting.

Patriot Act fails fast track in house…

But the bill will be back before too long, when it will be able to pass with a simple majority.

Ron Paul gives great arguments, from many key points, about why this particular piece of legislation is a waste of time and a threat to our American liberties:

If only we could give him a few more minutes to talk…

Good morning Egypt

Hello Egypt,

With a hundred ways for things to go wrong, we hope you find the path of greatest peace and freedom.  There are those of us who fear that which could go wrong – more than they fear the reality of oppression and political illusion.

Prove them wrong.  We’ll help any way we can…

Olbermann is gone

It looks like Keith Olbermann is gone from MSNBC.  Without much warning, he abruptly announced that tonight’s show would be the final one.

NBC spokes persons were quick to deny that the recent merger with Comcast have anything to do with this development, but a lot of outside analysts are having a hard time with that story.  Why even go out of their way to make such a claim?  Well obviously, because Comcast has a lot of financial interest in promoting certain types of editorials over others.

The new normal

  • 10% unemployment.
  • Dead civilians at a political rally.
  • Bombs on Martin Luther King Day parade routes.

Don’t let anyone tell you the recovery is here.  If we start believing that, we’ll have accepted what we have as the new normal.  There are certainly those among us who are doing just fine with the way things are, but as a society we have to commit to the belief that things could and should be better.

Fed’s “Easing” May Cost You

The Federal Reserve has gone on another grand monetary experiment in hopes of jump starting the recovery and creating jobs.  Unfortunately, one of the consequences of this second round of quantitative easing (QE2), might hit your pockets at the grocery store and gas station.

When the Federal Reserve uses new money to buy bonds from the government, they’re pretty close to just printing up money from nowhere.  The intended effect is to spark economic activity and new investment in the kind of productive activity that pays the bills, but until and unless that money is then taken back out of the economy there is a risk of prices going up in relation to the growth of the money supply.

Workers in America will be hard hit since there are no raises in sight and most people are just glad to have a job, but the biggest critics of QE2 have been from the international scene.  Developing nations from Brazil to China have protested the effects of this, calling it exported inflation and an unfair trade advantage.  As we live in a world of fiat currencies, there is really nothing to stop these other nations from entering a new “race to the bottom” with undervalued currencies.  If two or more nations got in to such a game of monetary chicken, the ultimate effect might be both of them falling off the cliff together while the onlookers enjoy clearance-sale prices on the land and labor of the devalued nations.

They’re starting to recognize the depression…

For the last few years, we’ve been in the initial stage of a prolonged financial crisis, but its just now that many popular pundits are starting to recognize the fact that we’ve entered a new depression.  In particular, even Krugman is now saying that the depression has pretty much arrived despite the massive deficits and government spending (or perhaps because there wasn’t enough spending).

In the meantime, job growth isn’t exactly keeping up with demand and real estate shows no signs of recovery.  Financial and health-care reform bills in Congress don’t seem to really address the fundamental dysfunctions of our institutions, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a legislative alternative…  At least not one that is politically viable.

America still supports Israel … for some reason

Well, the politicians do anyway.  While popular support for Israel is really only overwhelming in the evangelical Christian population, the administration and most successful politicians have nothing but nice things to say – regardless of how many people Israel starves, displaces, or detains for peaceful demonstration.

To confirm, the U.S. is now blocking a UN investigation of Israel’s boarding of an aid flotilla in international waters.  While Turkey fumes, Nicaragua cuts ties with Israel, and Ireland demands the immediate and safe return of all nationals on board – any American attempts to ostracize Israel might actually be illegal.

Freedom indeed – just so long as you boycott the countries you’re supposed to boycott and defend the religious fundamentalists you’re supposed to defend.

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