Monday, June 30, 2014

Social Justice Fascism And Default Go Together Like Peanut Butter And Jelly

Our favorite fascists are at it again! In another series of crazy hijinks, those madcap Argentinians are about to default* on their loans, because ... they spent all their money on magic beans!
Argentina is on track to miss an interest payment on Monday, setting in motion a 30-day grace period for the country to make the payment and avoid its second default in 13 years. U.S. legal rulings bar Argentina from making payments to creditors that have accepted the country's debt restructurings since it defaulted in 2001, unless it also pays a group of hedge funds that have refused to sign off...

(I)nvestors say they are confident there will be a resolution because Argentina simply can't afford to default again. Another default could be disastrous for an economy that many analysts say entered recession this year because of raging inflation and shortages of U.S. dollars. The Argentine central bank's currency reserves, which the government uses partly to pay its debts, are at a 7½-year low of $29 billion.
Well, it wasn't exactly magic beans, it was actually Social Justice. In true Peronist, fascist fashion, they've sprayed money out of every conceivable government orifice, doing all of the things people like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich prescribe and the result has been the same as it always is. Default.

I love the bit above about default being disastrous for the economy. I didn't know impending disasters helped one come up with cash. I thought it was saving and investing that did the trick. Oh well, you learn something new every day.

* - The WSJ is cryptic about whether this would be a selective default, a partial default, a semi-default or one of those "You stepped over the line while serving the ball" defaults. Like it matters. In reality, here's what kind of default it is: They. Spent. All. Of. The. Money.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Politics Is The Inverse Of Science

... it's the art of finding the right data points to support a hypothesis instead of developing a hypothesis to explain all data points.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Solution Is Obvious: Buy Another Reading Chair

Our Maximum Leader has decided that the reading chair in our master bedroom is hers. Who are we to argue? We are but poor servants to her Serene Furriness.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Regression Towards The Mean

As a pronounced fuddy-duddy, I wish things were the way they used to be. Not ever having experienced the way things used to be in the distant past, it's an admittedly ignorant opinion, but there it is.

Traditional things, whether they be marriage, saving and investing or military strength, were not crazy ideas dreamed up by some power-mad, racist patriarchy struggling to maintain power. The people of the past were no more able to organize and manage conspiracies than we are. Such traditional things were the creatures of society interacting with the reality of Man and nature.

For a time, one can deviate from these things. You can sneer at marriage, borrow and spend and emasculate your military and coast along on the momentum of previous generations, but in the end, society will regress back towards the mean.
Regression to the mean (RTM) is a statistical phenomenon that can make natural variation in repeated data look like real change. It happens when unusually large or small measurements tend to be followed by measurements that are closer to the mean.
In the cases given above, the small samples would refer to American society of the last few years versus American society since, say, 1776.

One can see RTM occurring right now in the collapse of Iraq and the ever-greater use of violence and force in the Middle East. Pax Americana, a more-or-less stable and peaceful world, was maintained by the overarching threat of American military might. As it has now become clear that American military might is no longer worthy of consideration, the world is regressing towards the mean - nations and organizations using force and violence to exert power over each other without regard to such phantasms as "world opinion."

Pax Americana allowed people to convince themselves that a new world had come about, one based on peace, love and understanding. The Age of Aquarius had arrived and all that 19th Century militarist jazz was in the past. Now, all across the world, in China vs. Vietnam, Russia vs. Ukraine, ISIS vs. Iraq and Israel vs. Everyone, it's falling apart.

Traditional things are never gone for too long.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Leashes Are Really Off Now

Dig this.
Syrian government aircraft bombed Sunni militant targets inside Iraq on Tuesday, further broadening the Middle Eastern crisis a day after Israeli warplanes and rockets struck targets inside Syria.
Meanwhile, following the Kurds' practical declaration of independence, our Secretary of State had this to say.
“A united Iraq is a stronger Iraq, and our policy is to respect the territorial integrity of Iraq as a whole,” Kerry told NBC.
A good follow-up question would be, "Who cares what the US policy is?"

See also.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation, Jet Ski Edition

  1. Jet skis are fun.
  2. They go fast.
  3. More faster is more funner.
  4. GoPro cameras can capture some of the fun.
  5. GoPro cameras are limited by the quality of the lens and where and how you mount the camera.
  6. Given that the GoPro isn't bought for it's great optical characteristics, using a GoPro is all about finding a comfortable and stable mount for it.
  7. Jet skis are fun.
  8. Enjoy.

We fly back home today. This has been a wonderful family vacation. We broke the bank on this one because it's the last one before one of the lads moves out for good after his college graduation a few weeks ago.

I hope you and yours have a great summer this year, too.

Monday, June 23, 2014

We're Hoisting Gay Pride Flags Over Our Embassies. They're Sprinting For The Weapons Locker

Three recent events to consider.
  • Israel bombed Syrian positions. An Israeli civilian teenager was killed by assailants from Syria while driving in a car in the Golan Heights. Two other occupants of the car were injured. One dead, two injured Israelis earned Syria a major air strike where 9 targets were wiped off the face of the Earth with unknown Syrian casualties. The Israelis came out and explicitly said they didn't care who killed the teen, the Syrian government was responsible for attacks emanating from their nation. Israeli retribution was swift and overwhelming. I've no idea what the American ambassador's response was to the event or even if he's managed to get his thumb out of his mouth yet.
  • A running theme in the news coverage of ISIS is how fast they've progressed across Iraq. Reading this wonderful bit by Mark Steyn, it occurred to me that if ISIS had decided to conquer Iraq and moved as fast as they could to gather, train, equip, plan and supply an army of 12,000 starting when America arrested the film maker in response to the jihadist attack on the Benghazi Embassy, it would probably have taken about this long to get the thing going. The question, "How are they moving so fast?" is the wrong one to ask. A far better one is the logistics one, "Working backwards, when did they set their supply train in motion and what caused them to get going?"
Taking off my American blinders for a minute and looking at the world from the point of view of a warlord or national leader surrounded by enemies, it's obvious that there's no sheriff in town any more. None at all. In Benghazi, American territory was burned and Americans were killed. The response was so self-emasculating that I wonder if the warlords dove for their phones as soon as they read the Obama line of excuses and that an American film maker had been arrested. Those phone calls would have gone to their generals and weapons merchants. They must have been pressing the speed dial buttons so hard that they nearly broke their fingers.

If Benghazi hadn't been enough to convince them the leashes were off, then the red line in Syria did. By that time, anyone who was still scratching their heads, wondering if the Great Satan was still willing to wield a big stick were probably kicking themselves and dialing twice as fast, knowing the quicker ones had stolen a march on them.

If I were an arms dealer, I'd be increasing my sales staff and telling my suppliers to ramp up production. The global superpower has decided to focus on whether or not two men who sodomize each other can call themselves "husband and wife" while everyone else is arming, training, mobilizing, attacking and bombing.

They might also be thinking that they've got two and a half more years to redraw maps to their liking and grow too powerful to be pushed around easily. That's another reason to be sprinting. Anyone not running for the weapons locker now has got to be thinking they've waited almost too long.

Bonus Question: What if Obama suddenly came out of his choom haze, dropped the bong and found his inner Otto von Bismarck? How long would it take to bring a combat force of, say, 35,000 men into Iraq, complete with supplies, equipment and air power? The problem with sitting around arguing gender theory with each other while the rest of the world is showing young men how to sight an RPG is that the date at which we can affect events on the ground keeps slipping farther and farther into the future, giving our enemies time to grow ever more powerful.

Caribbean Reef Shark

A pair of these sleek beauties came by our dive group yesterday. They cruised around us several times. Maybe they thought there would be some spearfishing or maybe they were just curious. They're languid, graceful creatures. I thought their motions were kind of feline. Perhaps cat motions are kind of sharklike.

Two things to note in the video, which is in HD and worth the full screen effect. First, there's an instant where the shark looks like it has some kind of brief spasm. A mackerel had shot up, fast as a bullet, and eaten one of the tiny fish gathered around the shark's nose. The shark reflexively tried to bite the mackerel, but the mackerel was way too fast.

The other thing to note is the aforementioned cloud of tiny fish around the shark's nose. These guys are ride-alongs, waiting for the shark's messy meal so they can snap up the table scraps. The shark seems to ignore them as they're too small and too quick to be worth trying to eat. This shark had a larger, black fish following around his dorsal fin in addition to the cloud of tinies at his nose.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Canyon Dive

Yesterday, we felt a lot more at home in the water and I spent a little more time with the GoPro. I discovered a few things about it.
  1. You want to be pretty close to whatever it is you're trying to film.
  2. It would work best if the camera was on a tripod. In the air, you can hold it steady. In the water, even calm water, you're bobbing around too much to keep it from bouncing. It does OK with long, slow swimming, but if you want to capture a scene, you need a steady, solid mount.
  3. Forget photos. Underwater, there's so little light that the shutter speed is set too slow to get anything other than blurs.
The canyon below was how we got to the wall for our deep dive yesterday, about 100' down. It was great fun and we even saw a few sharks, one of whom I filmed and might post later. In any case, enjoy.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The IRS Is Laughing At You

Instapundit posted this as "Paul Ryan goes off on the IRS" or something like that, but the most amazing thing about the video is how the IRS guy is laughing at the congressman. He clearly thinks the whole thing is a waste of time and Congress can't touch them.

Check out his sneering responses around 0:55.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Quiver Of Stingrays

... in a feeding frenzy of fun a Stingray City in Grand Cayman. They're soft and smooth and they love to come up to see if you have any delicious squid treats for them. This is an HD video, so if might be worth putting it full screen.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Back To School

... go the fish!

I'm tired from this morning's dives and I've got a night dive tonight, so I didn't identify these guys. Oh well. I still think the image is worth a click to see the larger version. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Greetings From Grand Cayman, Proper

Many decades ago, when I was just a boy, I had dreams. Chief among them, I wanted to scuba dive among coral reefs and I wanted to see the Monkees in concert, specifically to see Mike play Papa Gene's Blues. Later, I added seeing a New Orleans Saints game at the Superdome, visiting the Vatican and going to Ireland to the list. These weren't worthy goals, they were just tidbits of pleasure on my bucket list*.

Thanks to my wonderful wife, after this week, only a trip to Ireland will still be on the list.

We haven't gone diving yet (videos to follow when we do), but we've checked in to one of the best vacation rental houses we've ever had.

The house next to us has a boat, but we don't. We've got a pair of kayaks which is plenty of awesomeness for us.

The house is right on the beach. This is the view from the second story balcony.

The water outside our back door is a lagoon. Surf breaks on the reef a ways out. We can walk out and snorkel right here.
This trip is going to be epic. Having said that, trips or no trips, Mike's words ring true. "I have no more than I did before, but now I've got all that I need, for I love you and I know you love me." Thanks, honey.

Important Aside: So what's the "proper" part in the title? Grand Cayman is part of Her Majesty's domains, the UK, and it seems to take that quite seriously. We landed in Grand Cayman yesterday afternoon and in the airport is a sign, right behind the Customs agent's desk. It tells you that among crimes for which you can be arrested and imprisoned are foul language and insulting a woman's modesty. I thought of the screaming such laws would cause in the US and then wondered why. Despite my chosen affectation of having a foul mouth, I could live my whole life without swearing and insulting women and have a good time of it at that. Frankly, I'd be a much better person if I did obey that law.

* - I've never been a fan of making a big deal of your bucket list. To me, it just seems like a lot of shallow nonsense. Once you've cliff dived into the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, then what? Do you get up from the emergency room operating table where the doctors have miraculously pieced you back together, grab a pen and scratch it off the list? It seems so anti-climactic. Instead, I'd suggest that your bucket list is empty calories, a dessert menu to sample after you've finished your delicious main course of serving God and serving others.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Climate Change Caused The Current Iraq Crisis

As we all know, the descent of Iraq into Islamofascist chaos is not the fault of President Obama. If his predecessors had not been so stupid, none of this would be happening and the Iraqis would be living lives of personal fulfillment, taking classes in critical race and gender theory at their local community colleges and building renewable energy systems out of recycled, organic materials. It is a well-known fact that President Obama is the first occupant of the White House not to inherit a perfectly stable world that required no American effort to keep peace and prosperity flowing in the form of water and fertilizer to golf course fairways and greens.

Since we cannot affix the blame with President Obama, who or what can we blame? Global Warming Climate Change, of course! It all started in the Uruk Period, around 3500 BC. "(C)ommentators have associated the end of the Uruk period with the climate changes." Because subsequent American administrations failed to deal with climate change and show sufficient sensitivity towards diversity, things went progressively downhill until we got to where we are today, a kinetic disturbance in reaction to an Internet video American imperialism.

It was all there, written out plainly, but Chimpy McBushitler and his gang of oil-looting murderers were too busy looting oil and murdering to notice. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Have You Ever Noticed How Obama Always Wins?

That crafty Bismark of the Beltway, President Barack Hussein Obama, is about to do it again. He's about to win in Iraq.

He won in Libya by teaming with the rebels.

He won in Egypt by teaming with the Facebooky crowd and then with the Islamofascist thugs and then with the Egyptian Army.

He won in Syria by teaming with the Russians.

He's now about to win in Iraq by teaming with the Iranians.
With worries continuing to mount over the Baghdad government's ability to counter the threat posed by ISIS, a U.S. official said the U.S. and Iran may hold talks as early as Monday on the spiraling violence there.
All that macho, "American" cowboyishness is for losers. Flexibility, open-mindedness and cooperation is what gets you ahead.

It's all about playing on the winning team. Forward!

One For My Dad

I meant to post this yesterday for Father's Day, but life got away from me and I didn't get to it.

This blog is one of the many things my father has given to me. I didn't realize it until I went with him to his West Point class reunion a few weeks ago. He was sitting with some of his classmates and they were chatting away about what they were doing these days when I realized that he was still working hard to improve and many of them were simply finding ways to amuse themselves.

When my dad retired from the military, he took up painting. Over time, he has become an accomplished artist to the point where some people only know him for his art and not for his substantial accomplishments serving our country. My mom continually strives to improve herself as well and has similar achievements. Growing up with such parents, continual improvement and work becomes second nature. It's inconceivable to me that you would do anything else.

This blog has been an educational tool, used more for learning than for picking up hits and readers. To feed it, I've read and pondered history, theology, economics, sociology, photography, videography and writing. The work I've done to cultivate The Scratching Post has been natural, flowing from who I learned to be growing up with my mom and dad.

Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Why The Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong About The Iraq And Afghan Wars

... it's because no one seems to understand Military Science at all.

Iran is our biggest global threat. Unlike Russia or China who are content to be regional hegemons and are sane enough to eschew the use of nuclear weapons, the Iranians have continually told us, quite explicitly, that they intend to not only obtain nuclear weapons, but make use of them.

In the absence of Air Force bases within range of Iranian targets, strike missions into Iran would have to be carried out by carrier-based aircraft. The only strike aircraft of any note is the FA-18. The FA-18 has a combat radius of 390 miles.

The Iranian Navy and coastal defense system has been designed to defend the Persian Gulf with the goal of sinking American aircraft carriers. Contrary to the opinions of the racists who write for the major newspapers, the Silly, Little, Brown People With Funny Names Who Live Far Away are actually quite sophisticated and good at their jobs. Only an idiot wouldn't expect them to carry out their missions successfully. Unless you had no problem with losing several aircraft carriers, you'd have to launch carrier strike missions from the Indian Ocean.

Now take a look at the map of Iran. (You'll have to click on it and open it in a separate browser window because I'm too lazy to resize my central column to fit a reasonably detailed map.) Notice how the high value targets are the ones farthest away from the Indian Ocean.

Using my fingers on the computer screen because I'm likewise too lazy to install Google Earth on my recently reformatted laptop, it looks to me like the farthest north you'd be able to hit from a reasonably safe Indian Ocean launch point would be Kerman and even that's quite a stretch.

"But we have all those flying, refuely things!" the gay marriage experts who write for the newspapers will wail. Right. And they launch from ... where? And they connect with your FA-18s ... where? We no longer have bases in Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Afghanistan (very soon). Turkey is Islamist and recalcitrant. Pakistan isn't going to stick its neck out for some pusillanimous waffler who draws red lines one day and wanders off to the golf course without doing anything when the lines are crossed the next.

In any case, have you ever seen a KC-135? They're ponderous monsters. You'd have to refuel in Iranian airspace. Good luck with that. Iran has been building air defense systems for quite some time and they can do the same range calculations you can. The Silly, Little, Brown People With Funny Names can be pretty clever once they finish with their rustic, native dances.

Not to worry, the Silly, Little, Brown People With Funny Names will only be able to furiously wave their pointed sticks at our Mighty Jets as they fly overhead. At subsonic speeds. In straight lines. For long distances. Our, big, fat, slow, unmaneuverable, Mighty Jets.
So now look at the map again and imagine trying to solve the problem from the Iranian point of view with lots of American bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Air Force bases, too. And bases in Pakistan because the Pakistanis know we're a serious nation since we were willing to stick it out for the long haul in both those countries. Until we left Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranians were totally screwed.

By pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we've completely neutered ourselves with respect to Iran. They are now free to do whatever they want, whether that's turning New York City into a sea of fire or slipping a few nukes to Islamist crazies with only the most nebulous ties back to Tehran so the Islamist crazies can turn New York City into a sea of fire.

Note to any MSM folks who might read this: I apologize for not covering an important topic like gay marriage, racism or social justice in this post. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm sure if you go to your browser's favorites, you can quickly click back to the Huffington Post and calm yourself by reading about how Tea Party Christians are crazy, racist homophobes.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

... which is the missing concept in the progressive foreign policy world view.

The concept that undergirds Obama foreign policy, as best as I can understand it, is that if we just leave people alone, things will be fine. The worst thing America can do is take a leadership role anywhere in the world outside of our own country. If circumstances force intervention in East Blargistan, for example, the only way we can intervene is with a bunch of other countries, preferably with someone else in the lead role.

This assumes that the countries wanting to intervene have the same ends in mind as we do. In Iraq right now, the country most wanting to intervene is Iran and it's doubtful that even the Light Worker will be able to find much common ground with them.

Backing up one step from our Prime Directive of Intervention: Don't Lead, it's apparent that there are some places in the world where leaving people alone will result in bad things. The power vacuum left by America when we pulled the last troops out of Iraq was not, as the progressives imply, going to continue indefinitely. Lambs were not going to frolic on springtime meadows while rustic herdsmen played their flutes and rustic women pursued advanced degrees and positions of national leadership while instituting strict laws against smooching without written consent in triplicate, filed with the Bureau of Fornication.

Instead, Islamofascist forces quite predictably (they had predicted it themselves in simple, easy-to-understand manuscripts, videos and, one presumes, sidewalk puppet shows) saw the power vacuum as their opportunity to seize power. Once in control, they've done exactly what they told us they would do which was to institute hardline Sharia Law.

This caught the Obama Administration by surprise because, as I said before, they feel that power vacuums can continue indefinitely and they hold a frankly racist view of the Little Brown People Far Away Who Say Funny Things Sometimes. When the Little Brown People tell us they hate us with every fiber of their being and hope to kill us all, the progressives want to smile and pat them on their heads and give them juice boxes because, as any Ivy League graduate knows, they just long for their simple, rustic lives where they live in harmony with the Earth.

Fortunately, the Islamofascists have said nothing at all about developing nuclear weapons and turning both Israel and the United States into seas of fire, so we don't have to worry all that much about power vacuums anywhere else.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Is Iraq Japan's Black Swan?

Foundational concepts:
  • A "Black Swan" is an unforseen event that cause significant disruptions in an economy
  • Iraq is falling apart as al-Qaeda militants are taking over key cities and moving towards the capital, Baghdad
  • Iraq produces a lot of oil
  • So do Libya, Venezuela and Nigeria - all of whom are in dire straits
  • So does Iran whose oil-producing infrastructure is rickety
  • Japan is living on the knife's edge with a debt surpassing 200% GDP
  • Japan imports all of its oil
If the price of oil jumps because Iraqi production facilities are disrupted, Japan is going to be hurt worse than most nations. Japan already has a negative balance of payments and this would exacerbate that. Enough to cause a loss of faith in their ability to cover their debt payments? Maybe.

It's certainly not happening yet.
A shift by investors into haven assets boosted the yen Wednesday after the World Bank cut its forecast for global economic growth.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The War On Women Myth Obliterated In One Chart

Traditional relationships with marriage first and babies second are unquestionably superior. It's almost like the Catholic Church was tipped off 2000 years ago or something.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Behold! Pegasus, Servant Of Greek Heroes!

What would you think of someone who kept insisting this was Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology?

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Finals Are Next Week

... and we're into the last, frantic rush of studying here in the Catican Compound. I'm feeling pretty good about my daughter's chances. If she can survive her Junior year and pass her classes she's pretty much home free. Her Senior year will only have two substantive courses. We can't wait for high school to be over. School has been 11 years of torture. The real world will be much, much easier than this.

As far as her Amerikkkan History class goes, it dawned on me yesterday that it wasn't history so much as critical race theory mixed with political cheer leading. That explained why the book slaughtered every narrative arc and why it's been so difficult to study. There's no plot to the thing at all. Each event is merely a chance to discuss racism and government expansion. Each plot point drowns in a sea of propaganda.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

My Daughter's High School English Class Remembers D-Day

... by reading about discrimination and African-Americans.

Her American history book's chapter on WW II has a good 5-6 full pages on discrimination and African-Americans in the war. D-Day through to the Normandy breakout gets three very brief paragraphs.

The whole book is one ginormous ad for the Democratic Party. The Crash of 1937 and the FDR Recession aren't even mentioned in the chapter on How Totally Awesome FDR And The New Deal Were.

Update: On a hunch, I went back through the textbook. There is no mention of the strategic bombing of Germany for obvious reasons. None.

Can you spot the reason why groups like 8th Air Force weren't mentioned in the book?

Friday, June 06, 2014

It's Not That Hispanics Are Different

... it's that the technology allows them to maintain connections in ways that other immigrant groups could not.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to have breakfast with a professor of theology from Notre Dame. He spoke at great length about the Latino Church in America and how it was different from everything else. For the life of me, I can't figure out just what makes it so different aside from the language, but I do recognize that they think it's different and perhaps that's the difference right there.

In the conversation, he discussed how Latinos maintain strong bonds with their countries of origin. They send money back, they keep in touch by phone and email and even continue to participate in local gossip. That's when it hit me - it's not the culture, it's the technology.

If you've ever been to an Irish pub on a weekend night, a pub that's really hopping, you'll find all kinds of Irish-Americans and wannabe Irish-Americans trying to immerse themselves in a bit of the old sod. You can't convince me that some Hernandez from Oaxaca loves his old home more than an O'Brien from Limerick loved his in 1845 when he came to America to escape the famine. Given the patriotism of the Irish at that time, fed by British repression, I'd argue that the O'Briens might have had even more love for the Emerald Isle.

The difference is communications. When you came to America in 1845, it was like Cortes burning his ships when he landed in the Americas in 1519. Once you got here, there was no way to get back and no way to even communicate with the old country short of spending a lot of money to send a letter. Gossiping with old friends still in Ireland? What a laugh. Wasn't going to happen.

Lads, it's time we gave up soccer for baseball.
Maybe the reason that Mexican-Americans boo the Stars and Stripes when Mexico plays the US in soccer here in the States is the cell phone and the Internet. Maybe the Irish would have done it, too, had they been able to Skype their mates in Ireland every day.

On the whole, I think the Irish got the better end of the deal. In the past few months, I've fired two Mexican gardeners who couldn't speak English despite having lived here for years. They kept their culture, but lost out on earning my money. Try feeding your family with Hispanic pride, hombres, and see how far it gets you. Meanwhile, the Irish are doing alright.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

"So You Won't Give People Jobs, Eh?"

The European Central Bank has crossed into uncharted territory, setting it's overnight deposit rate at -0.1%. That means if you are a bank and you store some cash with the ECB overnight, when you wake up in the morning, you'll have less than you originally deposited.

Yes, you heard right, banks will be punished for storing money with the ECB. At the press conference announcing this additional move of government intervention in the market, some interesting things were said.
But of course. It had to happen. Eventually a journalist had to ask about the fate of German savers. And lo, it has come to pass. Mr. Draghi’s response: the rates have been changed for banks, not for people. This is aimed at restoring jobs and promoting recovery.
Of course. It's all about promoting recovery. No mention is made of the hopelessly anti-business regulations that have crushed the recovery and led to this punishment. Except in the WSJ live blogging, of course.
What is the tipping point for European banks? At what moment does their cost of funds get so low that they can’t afford NOT to lend to homebuyers in Spain and small businessmen in France? This is the question the ECB is exploring.

As eye-catching as negative rates and a new LTRO are they are still only incremental moves in search of that elusive tipping point. Unless they are willing to pull out a giant bazooka of deeply negative rates and outright bond purchases – would they ever? – the risk is that they never find that point.

Broken record warning: The real problem there is that Europe’s political and structural reform process has stalled. The micro ingredients for growth are not there. You can make the cost of funds insanely cheap in nominal terms but if root demand is being squeezed by other forces, it will still be too expensive.
So, to recap, the French government, to take one example, has made creating jobs and running  business incredibly difficult. It's far better just to stash your cash than to risk it creating something. Now the ECB is punishing you for stashing you cash.

In effect, the ECB is driving banks and businesses out into the open where they can be harvested by the national governments in the name of Social Justice.

Tally ho! Let the hunt begin!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The World's Most Boring Cats

It might be because I'm punch-drunk from lack of sleep and I'm finding everything funny right now, but I thought the video below was hilarious. As soon as our animals let me get a decent night's sleep I might find it boring and tedious. In the meantime, enjoy.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Buying Education On The Installment Plan

As my daughter's school year is drawing mercifully to a close, I'm helping her review her Amerikkkan History in preparation for her final exam. In the chapter on the Depression, they blame it partially on easy consumer credit, where consumers were bamboozled by greedy businesses.

No mention is made in later chapters of modern government programs being funded in the same way. Well, it's the same way except for the fact that under the installment plan created by bloodsucking corporations, the debt was actually paid off over time instead of growing, growing, growing.

Monday, June 02, 2014

And This, Dear Readers, Is How It's Done

Contrary to popular belief, we Catholics don't spend all of our time worrying about what homosexuals are doing. In many decades of going to Mass, sometimes daily, I can't recall more than 5 times that the topic was even raised and then only obliquely within the context of a larger moral issue. While the broader culture obsesses on it, we don't.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Cheezburger of the Day

... features our very own Maximum Leader. She's gotten it into her furry, little head to snooze out in the Catican again. One of her favorite spots is inside my project car*. Her sleeping spots change throughout the Catican Compound from time to time and it's best to let her have her way.

After all, she is our Maximum Leader.

* - Yes, I know my project car, a '73 MGB, has been under construction for a long time. Unfortunately, my daughter's high school studying has taken precedence.