Kalbear

US Politics: Locked, Loaded, Fired Up and Capitalized

416 posts in this topic

50 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

 

That the person giving this defence of rule of law oversaw the incarceration, torture and execution of heretics tells you a lot about rule of law.

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They released the name of the woman murdered. 
Heather Heyer, she was 32 years old.

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14 hours ago, Starkess said:

Yes, this. I was really disappointed to read through this thread and see so many people advocating against free speech and for abandoning the rule of law.

That being said, absolutely advocate against violence. What happened in VA today is abhorrent and should not be in any way tolerated.

No-one is advocating against free speech, people are advocating against violence.

I am disappointed by how many people don't realize that inducing genocide and murder is violence. It is fucking scary how many people are fine with it, especially from groups that are ideologically aligned with the groups that have governed their country for centuries.

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Posted (edited)

Today in: Fiscal Numbskullery

Quote

The odds of a self-inflicted US debt crisis now look pretty good: hard-line Republicans are eager to hold the economy hostage, Democrats are in no mood to make concessions, and Trump is both spiteful and ignorant. So it looks fairly likely that by October or so there will come a day when the U.S. government stops paying some of its bills, including interest on debt.

 

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Until now, US debt has played a special role in the world economy, because it is — or was — the ultimate safe asset, the thing people can use to secure transactions with no questions about it retaining its value. In a way, the dollar is to other moneys as money is to other assets, and US dollar debt is the form in which dollars are held with ultimate safety.

Taking away that role could be very nasty. One prominent interpretation of the 2008 financial crisis is that it was a “safe asset shortage“: when people realized that those AAA securities engineered from subprime loans weren’t the real thing, they scrambled into an inadequate supply of trill safe stuff. Deprive them of dollar debts as safe assets, and terrible things could happen.

Here is a paper that explains what Krugman is talking about with regard to there being a safe asset shortage.
 

Quoting some from it:

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To start, the shortage of safe assets in the 2000s distorted the incentives of the financial system, especially in the United States, toward the issuance of “private label” safe assets: specifically, an explosion of the supply of AAA-rated securitized instruments manufactured by the financial industry (for example, using collateralized debt obligations based on mortgage-backed securities). Simultaneously, it made it easy for fiscally weak sovereigns such as Greece or Italy to issue debt at favorable yields. These additional assets, initially perceived as “safe” by naive investors, reduced the safe asset shortage and the downward pressure on global real interest rates. But when the subprime and European sovereign debt crises eventually erupted, the sudden loss of safe status of these pseudo-safe assets abruptly accelerated the underlying trend by simultaneously contracting the supply and increasing the demand for safe assets as most economic agents tried to de-lever. Safe interest rates declined precipitously, but soon reached their effective lower bound, that is, the rate at which cash becomes more attractive than financial assets and cannot be lowered further.

Huh. That's interesting. Seems like a different story than the one conservative numbskulls try to sell by blaming the whole thing on poor minority people through the CRA.

More here:

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After August 9, investors recognized both the need and the inability to figure out which intermediaries holding mortgage-related instruments were stuck with the toxic components and which ones were not. This same challenge applied to the market for repurchase agreements (repo) where people were using these instruments as collateral for short-term loans. Gorton makes an analogy to the problem of tainted meat. Imagine you wake up one morning to news that some part of the hamburger supply is contaminated with a dangerous form of the bacteria E.coli. Most of us are not equipped to run safety tests on the meat that we purchase, so our natural reaction is to shift to eating something else for a while. In the same way that news about E.coli leads households to steer clear of hamburger, investors who are unprepared to do a detailed examination of structured financial products will stop buying them, accepting them as collateral, or lending to inadequately capitalized entities that hold them. Having failed to screen the ultimate borrowers adequately in advance, post-Paribas adverse selection undermined a range of financing mechanisms that relied on the collateral value of structured credit. The result was a large negative shock to the aggregate supply of credit precisely when intermediaries’ need for funds surged.

In short, when people got scared and decided to look into how the sausage was made, they didn't like it very much.

 

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 With real safe rates unable todecrease so as to clear markets, the demand for safe assets remained too elevatedand the economy had to slow down and operate below its potential. This is a modernversion of the paradox of thrift: faced with elevated safe real rates (relative to theirequilibrium level), households prefer to save and postpone consumption; simultaneously,faced with low demand and elevated risk premia, firms prefer to postpone
investment. Aggregate demand suffers and a recession ensues. In short, unable to
clear markets via prices (the safe real rate), the economy clears by adjusting quantities
(Caballero and Farhi 2017; Caballero, Farhi, and Gourinchas 2015, 2016).

Now conservative sorts of people, I don’t think much of price clearing market process, at least not price clearing processes in logical time. Prices and quantities adjust in historical time.

I like to think in disequilibrium models like say Barro Grossman. It’s too bad they kind of died off in the 1970s, kind of like Disco, but I’d argue they were better than disco.

Now conservative sorts of people, think of a very inelastic supply curve. It’s almost vertical. That’s the supply of safe assets. The reason it's very inelastic is because the private market has a limited ability to produce them because of adverse selection problems and other reasons. Now think of a downward sloping demand curve which intersects our very inelastic supply curve. That’s the demand curve for safe assets. Obviously they intersect at some point and where they intersect gives us the general price level of safe assets. And the price is P = 1/1+r, in other words the price level is the inverse of the safe interest rate r. Where P = 1, that means the nominal safe interest rate is 0.

Now when the demand curve intersects way below where P = 1, the safe asset market has the ability to clear rather quickly (though in historical time, not logical time conservative sorts of people) particularly if the FED buys safe assets. And if the safe asset market clears in this case it prevents disequilibrium happening on other markets like say the labor market or the consumption market.

But if the demand curve shifts upward above where P = 1, then things become much more difficult because the FED can’t implement safe asset market clearing so easily (it essentially has to engineer negative interest rates or P > 1). And if people and institutions can’t buy all the safe assets they want at the current price, they don’t take that money and spend it on consumption goods or on riskier assets(well kind of sorta. But not enough to make up for the inability of capital good prices to adjust and it's a reason why spreads between treasuries and equities are increasing). In short, conservative sorts of people, it creates disequilibrium on other markets.

Anyway, when all the Mortgage Backed Securities went vamoose it essentially shifted the supply curve to the left and basically put the marketing clearing price above 1.

Now here is the point: There are good reasons to think there is a safe asset shortage and that it was a major cause of our problems. So it’s really fuckin’ stupid to impair the US governments ability to produce those safe assets right now. And also, it implies that we should at this juncture, proceed rather cautiously with current deficit cutting measures. So all this debt ceiling stuff is nonsense.

It also has implications for trade. Our trade deficits aren’t so much about foreigners beating up on America as it is of foreigners looking to hold US safe assets (cause of their home country's inability to produce them sufficiently). This is of course is a very different story than what the Trumpster is trying to sell.

Also probably relevant to current inflation issues:

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The fact that bonds become close substitutes for money when their yields are similar explains how the supply and demand for bonds can influence the inflation rate. Normally, we think of an increase in the demand for bonds as lowering bond yields. This is correct. But what happens when those yields approach the corresponding yield on interest-bearing money? (In the old days, when interest on reserves was zero, this limit was called the zero-lower-bound). An increase in the demand for bonds in this case must manifest itself in other ways. One way is for the price-level to fall. That is, a market-mechanism for expanding the real supply of nominal bonds is for the price-level to fall. One way this manifests itself is as China selling its goods for less USDs to acquire the USTs it so desperately wants.


 

Edited by OldGimletEye

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15 hours ago, Kalbear said:

If that alienates you so much that you are on the side of nazis so be it. 

And therein lies the problem. You're so offended that I don't want to use violent means against nazis that now, in your line of argument, I am easily conflated with nazis. So now I'm one of the ones that ought to have violent means used against me. Once you start advocating for a loss of rights based on ideology, it becomes really easy to expand that to basically anyone.

Just look through this thread. Some people are saying that anyone who is a nazi forfeits their rights. Some say KKK or neo-nazis. Some say white supremacists. If you expand outside this thread, there are those that argue that anyone who has ever even voted for a racist politician has forfeited their rights.

Restricting free speech based on ideology is a road I don't want to be on. There are already exceptions to free speech for incitement and threats.

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45 minutes ago, Starkess said:

And therein lies the problem. You're so offended that I don't want to use violent means against nazis that now, in your line of argument, I am easily conflated with nazis. So now I'm one of the ones that ought to have violent means used against me. Once you start advocating for a loss of rights based on ideology, it becomes really easy to expand that to basically anyone.

Just look through this thread. Some people are saying that anyone who is a nazi forfeits their rights. Some say KKK or neo-nazis. Some say white supremacists. If you expand outside this thread, there are those that argue that anyone who has ever even voted for a racist politician has forfeited their rights.

Restricting free speech based on ideology is a road I don't want to be on. There are already exceptions to free speech for incitement and threats.

Seconded. This idea that you're a "mealy-mouthed coward" if you're not down with killing nazis is a 1930's Germany era nazi meme.

"If you're not with us, you're against us". You are adopting the tactics of your ideological enemy if you promote this way of thinking. 

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Posted (edited)

23 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Seconded. This idea that you're a "mealy-mouthed coward" if you're not down with killing nazis is a 1930's Germany era nazi meme.

"If you're not with us, you're against us". You are adopting the tactics of your ideological enemy if you promote this way of thinking. 

This thing that happened yesterday, there were actual legislators pushing to make it legal to run over protesters in the streets since Trump's inauguration.  Yes, this guy is being charged.  But this is happening with a back drop of 'both sides are bad' equivocating.  With a POTUS who has advocated for physically assaulting protesters at his rallies, advocated for police using more physical force with suspects, and has moved to downplay the threat that white supremacists organizations pose.   Everyone is not being treated equally before the law. 

Do you really think that under this administration that the rule of law will become more fair for anyone who isn't a white dude?  This won't be the last time this happens and there will eventually come a time for the 'if you're not with us you're against us'.  And in the meantime the bodies will continue to pile up.

Edited by larrytheimp

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It's the summer of 2017 and white people are openly marching with confederate flags, nazis flags, chanting slurs and decades-old slogans. Racism continues to be alive and well in each generation in this country. White supremacy is not condemned at the highest post of government in this country. White people assemble in groups while conjuring up inflammatory and painful images of the past. It hasn't died out. It's not going away under rule of law. Free speech allows and quite frankly accepts it's existence, as if all ideas are equal. Spoiler: they aren't. 

One group says : this is bullshit, and if it takes force to wipe it out so be it.

Another group says: free speech, slippery slope, rule of law.

One group says: none of that is working guys, they need to be silenced and stomped out because what they promote is wrong, yeah? It's wrong and needs to be eradicated, right? Right?

Another group says : we don't like your solution, it's equally bad to them, free speech, slippery slope, rule of law, here's this MLK meme I found on the internet.

Another group, provide a solution(s) to the problem instead of protection for it. All your countering to restricting it is allowing it to keep happening. Somehow eradicating movements with destructive histories, movements becoming normalized on a daily basis, makes you more worried about what might happen instead of what is actually happening. Your desire to cling to words from hundreds of years ago continues to allow the marginalization of, abuse of, and death of fellow citizens. 

If we can't go to war against Nazis, against white supremacy, then what exactly are we going to do about? The status quo of this country is broken so what are you proposing to fix it?

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6 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

This thing that happened yesterday, there were actual legislators pushing to make it legal to run over protesters in the streets since Trump's inauguration.  Yes, this guy is being charged.  But this is happening with a back drop of 'both sides are bad' equivocating.  Everyone is not being treated equal before the law. 

Do you really think that under this administration that the rule of law will become more fair for anyone is isn't a white dude?  This won't be the last time this happens and there will eventually come a time for the 'if you're not with us you're against us'.  And in the meantime the bodies will continue to pile up.

 I'm 100% with you on that. Yes, this administration has emboldened these neo-nazi fucks. I get that this is dangerous. I get that it needs to be opposed. This is some scary shit, and it appears that our POTUS is more concerned with appeasing these people than he is in condemning them.

 It is outrageous that any politician was even willing to support any sort of legislation that would allow someone to run over a pedestrian. That we've gotten to a point where this idea is even posited is scary, but how in the hell is legislation of that sort going to be made law? 

 To your last point, that systemic form of racism has been a huge issue with our legal system for much longer than the existence of this administration. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm pretty sure it's not killing.

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10 minutes ago, kairparavel said:

If we can't go to war against Nazis, against white supremacy, then what exactly are we going to do about? The status quo of this country is broken so what are you proposing to fix it?

 That would be great if this was a foreign power we were talking about. This is not a WW2 sort of dynamic. We don't have an army of Nazis occupying say an ally, or one of our states. These are our fellow citizens we are talking about. How do you go to war with your fellow citizens? By what barometer do we determine who the enemy is? What methods are we going to employ to excise this cancer from our society? Think about what that might look like and tell me you're down with it. Because I don't think you've visualized it effectively. 

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The argument that 'now is not the time for rule of law bullshit' or 'things have gone too far to worry about crap like free speech' kinda ignores the fact that societies are only about rule of law/free speech when it's a crisis and comes at a cost. If you're only about free speech and rule of law when it's easy, when it's a weapon against your ideological adversaries, but drop them when that ceases to be the case...you know who that's like, right?

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We went to war with our fellow citizens once before.  It was for a just cause.  I'm not exactly down with the idea of going to war with my neighbors, but I'm absolutely positively without a doubt not down with my neighbors electing and supporting white supremacists and nazis and all that entails.  This is one of those actual 'lesser of two evils' things.  Fuck the nazis.  They should not be allowed to gain more power, recruit more people, don't give a fuck if they are fellow citizens or not.  Think about what it looks like when they start rounding people up into camps (oh wait, they already do, are you ok with that?).  

I'd like to think that if I were living in the 1930s, I would have been ok warring with my fellow German citizen who was also a nazi.  In the 1860's, I hope I would have been ok warring with my fellow citizen who was also a slaver.  I can name off a whole bunch of places in the last two decades where I feel I would be ready and willing to face off against my fellow citizens if the cause were just.  

I don't think YOU'VE effectively visualized what it means to just advocate doing nothing but try to share some ideas and cross your fingers the rule of law will somehow maybe kinda hopefully work itself out.

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Who's rounding people into camps? 

This is not a classic wartime situation like the one you are equating it to was. There is no clear line that you can draw as there was during the Civil War. The type of war you are advocating would assuredly require the use of deathcamps. Are you cool with that?

You say I need to share some ideas? For starters, we're not going to advocate killing our fellow citizens. We're not going to round them into detainment camps. We're not going to adopt foundational fascist tenets in order to defeat fascism. That's not how our system works. And I don't want to be a part of any system that adopts this sort of ideology. 

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Posted (edited)

Okay on this rule of law thing:

Obviously, I think most of us would think that rule of law doesn’t always prohibit, from an ethical point of view, the use of violence. I mean certainly most of us would say that slave would have the right to kill his master to gain his freedom.

And most of us would say, that once Nazi’s took power, people were entitled to use force to prevent being sent to concentration camps.

And, of course, it should go without saying, that people are definitely entitled to defend their lives or property from attack.

So, most of us would, recognize rule of law does have its limits.

On the other hand most sane people would think that peace is a desirable state of affairs. And most sane people would only justify the use of violence in the most dire of circumstances.

So, if were going, to start advocating the use of violence, particularly that of an offensive character, let’s be really, really sure we have to go down that route.

Otherwise we might end up like George W. Bush with “pre-emptive” violence.

Now, yes Trump and his supporters are assholes. No doubt about it.

But, really, did Trump really need Nazi’s and the KKK to win the White House. I’d submit nope.

Because white resentment politics doesn’t work like that. It’s usually works on a lower level than a bunch of goobers wearing Brownshirts and listening to the Hort Wessel Lied.

It’s stuff like, “Black people would be better off, if they just tried harder” that, in my view, is way more insidious. And the people  that believe that kind of crap usually aren’t Nazis. 

And Trump and his supporters certainly isn’t our first go around with white resentment. And politicians that know how to exploit it, don’t have to really say “seig heil”. They can just use dog whistle’s like saying going down to Mississippi and saying that they are for “state’s rights”. 

So my point is before anyone says,”hey grab your rifle, it’s war!!” lets be really, really sure that’s situation. Personally, I’m not quite convinced were quite there yet.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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6 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Who's rounding people into camps? 

Perhaps the ACLU could help you answer that.

Quote

Our immigration detention system locks up hundreds of thousands of immigrants unnecessarily every year, exposing detainees to brutal and inhumane conditions of confinement at massive costs to American taxpayers. Recently, mothers and children, who are mainly asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America, have been detained in family detention centers.

The “lock ’em up” approach to detention is contrary to common sense and our fundamental values. In America, liberty should be the norm for everyone—and detention the last resort.

 

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2 minutes ago, Nasty LongRider said:

I'm not advocating that sort of action, but this is significantly different than rounding up your own citizenry and rounding them into detention camps due to a difference in ideology. This is more akin to refugee camps, isn't it? Refugees come to the border and while the government decides whether or not we will let them in legally or send them back, they are housed in a camp. That's not the same thing in my estimation. Now if we're talking about rounding up immigrants who are already here and putting them into camps, that more closely resembles the idea of a detention camp. In any case, I'm against splitting up families in the manner that Trump's rigid enforcement of the immigration laws has resulted in.

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I'm shocked that people in this thread are essentially arguing for a civil war. Lord help us all. The fall of the US is going to be swift at this rate.

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It's this line between espousing an (abhorrent) opinion and inducing violence where things get muddy. 

As a sci-fi fan I keep thinking of Asimov's Foundation and Salvor Hardin's line "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." I don't know if I agree with that 100%, I do know I believe in exhausting all other methods before violence is used.

I remember even as early as when I was a teen in the 90's seeing from time to time white supremacists in a talk show or whatever talking about a race war coming and in my head was the thought "if that ever happens I'm picking up a gun and standing against you" and I still feel that way. I just don't think we're at the point where the better means have been exhausted yet.

Charge me with being privileged, charge me with not understanding what it's like for those dealing with this shit every day, charge me with any litany of "you don't know" examples, fine. Just don't say I don't believe in going to war against Nazis. I'm no soldier, if I did pick up that gun I'll probably be dead before I even fired it, but if I see Nazis putting actions to their words I won't stand aside.

But right now the Nazis, alt-right, klan, whatever are using words in their war. Individuals here and there that are not face repercussions in the law. Maybe that's not good enough, maybe law enforcement is too corrupt, maybe justice isn't being served, maybe some are getting away with it. 

How do I fix it? You won't like it. I don't completely like it myself, but I'll take it over the alternative. Continue to rally, continue to protest, civil disobedience, vote to change things, change the people in power, keep reporting the injustice people are facing, keep it in front of our faces. It's been a two steps forward one step back deal from the 60's up to 2016. In 2016, I admit, I think we've taken two, maybe three steps back, and a step forward hasn't even come yet. But I believe it will. I see progress made inch by inch when compared to where we were 50 years ago, a hundred years ago. Progress will start to inch forward again. There is outrage out there. Outrage against what is happening. Outrage against what all these fascists are saying. It's among disorganized groups of people that quibble among ourselves here and there, and is difficult to get us moving in the same direction, but we are a much larger group than the alt right or whatever ones. I won't deny that that evil is pervading through us right now, growing stronger, but resistance at this point must come from the methods I listed at the beginning of this paragraph. 

As long as it's mostly words being used to fight by those evil people, I won't condone premeditated violence. Even if the words are seen as incitement or inducement I'd want legal actions to counter that over vigilante means. I don't see us at the point of no return, not yet. Until then, to endorse violence as a solution is an endorsement of a world I don't want to be a part of.

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13 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

I'm not advocating that sort of action, but this is significantly different than rounding up your own citizenry and rounding them into detention camps due to a difference in ideology. This is more akin to refugee camps, isn't it? Refugees come to the border and while the government decides whether or not we will let them in legally or send them back, they are housed in a camp. That's not the same thing in my estimation. Now if we're talking about rounding up immigrants who are already here and putting them into camps, that more closely resembles the idea of a detention camp. In any case, I'm against splitting up families in the manner that Trump's rigid enforcement of the immigration laws has resulted in.

OH ffs, read some of these links.

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Over the last several years, the use of detention as an immigration enforcement strategy has increased exponentially, and immigrants, including lawful permanent residents and asylum seekers, have been detained for prolonged periods of time without any finding that they are either a danger to society or a flight risk.

The government is spending millions of dollars to lock up people whose detentions serve no purpose. In addition to being cruel and unnecessary, prolonged immigration detention makes it nearly impossible for individuals to fight their cases—including those with legitimate claims for legal status in the United States.

 

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6 minutes ago, Mexal said:

I'm shocked that people in this thread are essentially arguing for a civil war. Lord help us all. The fall of the US is going to be swift at this rate.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity. 
 
Surely some revelation is at hand; 
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi 
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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