Two sides present their arguments (via comments on USA Today)

Senate GOP votes to watch in debt-limit drama – On Politics –

I thought these two comments encapdulated the debates nicely.

vintel7 (3 friends, send message) wrote: 33m ago Americans have only themselves to blame for this splintered government and for the fact that the nation is in financial dire straights. It was Americans that elected republican majorities from 1994-2006 in the Congress. It was stupid Americans that elected George W Bush to 2 terms in the White House. It was stupid Americans that elected the Republicans and many tea party extremists to the current Congress. Yet, if you listen to republican voters, they complain and act like spoiled narcissistic children when they don’t get their way. These low IQ voters act victimized and point fingers at and blame the government. In doing so they are hating and rejecting their own selves because it was they that elected the very people that they now blame for their problems. Inability to take responsibility for one’s self and life is indicative of the pervasive narcissism that afflicts this country…particularly among republicans. Acting like a victim or rather reacting like a victim is also a hallmark of narcissism and hence why we see this response consistently from republicans, who are indeed the “party of narcissism”. Republicanism is nothing but codified and politicized narcissism…which is not “excessive self love” like some pop psychologists teach but a profound disease of the mind and soul. This epidemic narcissism is the root cause of all of the USA’s troubles. Republicans are the “People of the Lie” that bestselling author M. Scott Peck wrote about in his book “The People of the Lie.” 5 Recommend | Report Abuse

Vickie803 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 57m ago Congress needs to be watched as we are increasing the debt ceiling -borrowing from China to raise Mexico. How insane is that. Our government is no longer protecting its borders and citizens suffer.

Obvious solution to this conundrum for retarded people? Cut taxes.

Apple Has More Money On Hand Than The US Government – 3 hours ago With news that the United States Treasury could default on Monday if the Democrats and Republicans don’t compromise and raise the debt limit, it has been revealed that Apple – the manufacturer of the iPod and the iPad – has more money on hand than the …

Stock Market Crush

Well, it wasn’t a crash like I predicted, but it does look pretty much like a crush.   This is a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from July 21st-27th.

Market Reaction to Ongoing Deb Ceiling Walkouts/Tantrums

Something to note about the graph…note the huge drops due to “overnight” trading (those are the big gaps where the DJIA opens well lower than where it closed).  That’s when the rest of the world takes over for the global economy, and then we open up the floor for trading and recalculate the price of things.    What we’ve seen over the last five days is a steady erosion in investor confidence.  This is directly due to a manufactured political debt crisis that went critical last Friday.

This will continue, if not accelerate, until we get a deal done.   There is real and palpable damage being done RIGHT NOW to our economy thanks to this idiocy.    One side understands that, and is willing to compromise to get things right.  The other side is split.  Some of them get it, others are hoping, literally, that we crash and burn, somehow thinking this will be better in the long haul.  This is kinda like thinking that blowing out a knee in college is, somehow,  absolutely awesome for the prospects of someone who wants to be a professional athlete.

There was, before this whole episode, a large and growing contingent of countries that think using the Dollar as a reserve currency is looking more and more like something that shouldn’t be done any more.    It’s hard to explain to people who can’t understand how defaulting on our loans would be bad, that losing this *very* privileged and unique position would cause further harm to the economic prospects of everyone in this country.

We get a fairly large dividend by underwriting the global economy.   We are going to lose that dividend, and soon, as more and more evidence is added to the pile that says we are simply not functional enough as a political entity to deserve that pedestal.

If you want a nice and stark piece of data to use to mark the end of the American economic dominance, that’s the one.     And we are now rushing towards it…and half the crew doesn’t even believe it exists.

Common Wisdom: “Government Should Run Its Finances Like Real Americans” Reality: That would mean more debt

This one is funny, as we have yet another case where the numbers illustrate how the rhetoric fails.

Americans criticize government leaders for running up the federal budget deficit, but do they practice what they preach?

Not really.

Individuals are living beyond their means at an even greater rate than the government, based on recently released household debt figures.

U.S. household debt totaled $13.4 trillion at the end of 2010, or about 107 percent of the $12.5 trillion Americans earned in total household income last year, according to the Federal Reserve.

The government’s total debt of $13.8 trillion represented about 94 percent of the $14.7 trillion in national income, or Gross Domestic Product (GDP), last year.

Indeed, as this personal debt has risen, it has led to some changes in how such credit is used.

“People are still doing some spending, but what we’re seeing now is people using credit for basic necessities,’’ said Melodee Sheils, director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Miami Valley. “People are using their credit cards now to survive.’’

Sheils says the counseling service’s clientele has changed dramatically from a few years ago, when many people were leveraging easy credit to buy cars and remodel their homes.

“When you’re talking about some of the things that people are charging now, you’re not seeing as much of the want as the need,’’ she said.

I find the whole “family finance” analogy a bit hard to swallow generally.  I don’t see how talking about running the world’s largest economy with over 300,000,000 people of all ages, abilities, and situations, an active military, and a multi-trillion dollar budget is in any way the same as budgeting for a small family.    Sure, there are some basic similarities, but the overall comparison loses any illustrative ability when you somehow equate paying for cable TV on the family level with paying for Medicaid on the national level.

The notion also loses functional metaphor status when you start talking revenues (which is the real point of using it, IMHO) and taxes.    If seems pretty simple that a family that wants nice stuff has to work harder to earn more money, but this falls apart when you think of a nation that wants nice stuff has to raise taxes to earn more money.

We’ve been told for the last 30 years or so that by cutting taxes, we can raise revenue.   We have a $14.3 Trillion dollar deficit to prove that isn’t true.  Now that the end results are in, and we know that cutting taxes didn’t raise revenue, or create jobs, we are being told by some that spending our own money on 0urselves* is the real problem, and we should stop doing that.

The Republicans get away with this because most Americans think we spend vast amounts of money on foreign aid,  and they assume that’s the “spending” the Republicans want to cut.

Let’s start with international assistance. Sixty percent of people we questioned say they’d like to put foreign aid on the chopping block. So would that make a dent in the deficit?

No – but try telling that to the American public. According to the poll, on average, Americans estimate that foreign aid takes up 10 percent of the federal budget, and one in five think it represents about 30 percent of the money the government spends. But the actual figure is closer to one percent, according to data from the Office of Management and Budget from the 2010 fiscal year’s $3.5 trillion budget.

There are just so many disconnects in the current worldview of Americans, both of themselves and their government, and what it does, that I have a sincere feeling that many of us are trying to solve the wrong problems by exacerbating the real ones.

We have build up this strange notion of ourselves as  Americans that we are all self-made, completely independent, self-sufficient, and don’t need nobody.    We think this *even as we pitch in to help one another*.     Now, it seems, we are starting to believe our own hype and saying stuff like this…

So yea… there ya go, another talking point bubble burst…which will absolutely not stop certain people from using it.

S&P Tells Tea Party GOP What “Not Raising the Debt Ceiling” Means in Practical Terms

Here’s the news story.  It’s absurd that it has gone to this point.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — More than 40 House Republicans on Thursday met with a top official from Standard & Poor’s and representatives of other Wall Street groups to hear what could trigger a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

“It was a lively discussion,” said the meeting’s organizer, Rep. Nan Hayworth of New York, who characterized the information the lawmakers were given as “nonpartisan,” “dispassionate” and “objective.

Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas stressed that “one of the … messages they had for us today that was unmistakable — that if we kick the can down the road, it’s a bad outcome for U.S. Treasuries.”

The other message: Raise the debt ceiling.

[full story]

The sad thing?  Even after being told that they are completely conceptually wrong about what the “debt ceiling” is, or how not raising it would work, they still double down on the stupid.

The Bipartisan Policy Center has estimated that the Treasury wouldn’t be able to pay nearly half of the bills coming due in August and would temporarily cut government spending by 44% immediately, with adverse effects on the economy.

But some Republicans have suggested the Treasury would be able to harvest cash from various investments to make up for the shortfall in revenue.

Two members who attended Thursday’s meeting on Capitol Hill seemed to suggest as much again, although they said things could get very serious by Aug. 15, when Treasury must make a large interest payment to investors and rollover a sizeable amount of debt.

“Starting August 2, I’m sure some decisions will have to be made. But it won’t be catastrophic. But clearly each day will be important after that. And I think August 15 is going to be, potentially, a very serious point in time,” Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana told CNN.

That part I bolded up there?  Complete and utter idiocy.  What Republicans are now suggesting we do is the exact same thing the Treasury Department has been doing since we hit the limit back in May.

I’m not sure exactly how the meeting went, but I did find this…which is probably a pretty close approximation.

Code_Archeologist [TotalFark] Quote 2011-07-22 12:45:09 PM
A summary of the meetingS&P: Not raising the debt ceiling would be a bad
GOP: …for Obama
S&P: No… for everyone. Because it would raise interest rates
GOP: Which is a good thing
S&P: No… that is a bad thing because that would make it more expensive to pay back the debts that are already outstanding
GOP: And that’s a good thing, because then we could cut more government programs
S&P: No… its a bad thing, because of compounded interest. If the debt ceiling does not go up and you cut spending to make up the difference you will eventually run out of things to cut
GOP: And then we win!
S&P: No… then the United States implodes because it will be unable to service its creditors.
GOP: Then we will cut those government services to
S&P: facepalm… no, the nation would experience run away inflation like a third country and you will have to raise taxes in order to rescue the economy.
GOP: Oh! This is just another tax and spend Democrat party conspiracy, we are done talking to you now.
S&P: What?! Are you kidding? We are being serious here, you are going to destroy the country.
GOP: sings LA LA LA! LA LA LA! We can’t hear you

What Happens When I Get Really Angry

This is probably just a coincidence, but I realized my frustration with the current debt ceiling debate, which had been building for months and finally bubbled over the past week or so, has had some severe consequences.  Sorry about that.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has put together this animation of the phenomenon with their quickly dwindling funds.   There will come a time where we remember, as Americans, when our government was capable of doing such things (and back when we had, I shit you not, “space shuttles”.  This was all back before the Tea Party bankrupted the country…my…those were the days) routinely.

Here’s the gist of what’s going on in response to my annoyance. (and check out the animation, it’s integral to my argument presented below). 


Heat Wave Sweeps Across the U.S.
A shroud of high pressure has taken a foot-hold over the U.S. from the Plains to the Northeast, and with it has brought temperatures well into the 90’s and 100’s for half of the country. This animation shows the predicted daily high temperatures from NOAA’s high resolution North American Model (NAM) from July 13-21, 2011.

As evidence that it’s me causing this, well, I offer to you the same amount of evidence as is currently required for a “solid, fact-based argument” in an Idiocracy like mine…coincidence.

I am angry.  I live in Dallas, TX.  It looks like, if you watch the animation….the heat is centered on, and perhaps even emanating from, Dallas.

‘Course, could be all the bullshit around here…which the proximate cause of my anger….and the heat ain’t helpin’ neither…

I dunno…it’s hot…not stopping…cool animation.  Figured I’d link it both figuratively and literally to my personal interpretation of reality, that’s what blogs are for, after all.

Stay frosty, my friends.

And pass the damn debt ceiling.   I’ll cool it off if you do.  Promise.

UPDATE: Videoe evidence…

* and on a 100 point scale no less.

News Corp Whistle Blower found “murdered”?

News of the World Whisteblower Found Dead | Reuters

Notice how I used scare quotes, an associative relationship, and a question mark in the title (and URL) to insinuate something that might be, but probably isn’t, true?

I learned it from watching you, Rupert. I learned if from watching you.


In ironic news, this small piece of this story is just juicy enough to give it a few more legs…which makes Fox’s continued non-coverage even more egregious.

It is now accurate to refer to News Corp as an international criminal ring that focuses on propaganda (and the fact that the evidence of that last bit is on public display in Presidential libraries makes it even more hilarironic).   It also occasionally dabbles in “shock journalism”.

Need I remind everyone it was founded by an Aussie?  K, nuf said.

June 2011: Hottest June Ever in Texas; Oct 2010 – Jun 2011: Driest Year Ever (so far)

You’d think after a while we could somehow use science to understand why this might be happening.

You’d think that.

DALLAS — If you thought last month seemed like the hottest ever, you were right.

Texas recorded its warmest June since 1895, according to the National Weather Service. The mean temperature for the month was 85.2 degrees.

In addition, October 2010 to June 2011 was the driest of any nine-month period for Texas since 1895. The state has recorded just 5.81 inches of rain so far in 2011, according to NWS maps.

The previous record was the stretch from June 1917 to February 1918.

[full blurb]

I guess it’s only fitting that Texas bear a good bit of the brunt of global warming.  It certainly has one of the highest concentrations of deniers and denier funders in the world.

I’m still wondering at what point folks are going to start to realize this train is heading only one direction if we keep pouring gas on the fire.      I thought that would have been already a settled case by now, as the deniers have been proved wrong again and again, but my optimism that logic works for everyone is misplaced.   It certainly doesn’t seem so, and continually breaking temperature records while HAVING THE WHOLE STATE DECLARED A DISASTER AREA didn’t even budge the needle, so my former optimism has waned considerably.

Not much to say here, except that it will keep getting hotter.   This isn’t an aberration, it’s the new “normal”.