Thursday, June 7, 2012

Last Call

Super Mario Draghi, head of the European Central bank, is storming Europe this summer and apparently he's gone all Wario on us.  Ezra Klein doesn't pull his punches:

Do people understand that the European economy is being held hostage?

Mario Draghi is the president of the European Central Bank. He can print money. He can lower interest rates. He can fund banks. He can comfort investors. He is perhaps the only person on the planet who, with a few words, could mostly end the euro zone's crisis. But he refuses to say those words. And that's because he doesn't want to end the crisis. He wants to keep it going.

That's a hell of a charge to lay at Draghi's feet, but Ezra makes it for the following reason:

To be fair to Draghi, he's not just a sadist. His view is that if the ECB steps in to save the day, the euro zone won't make the structural reforms necessary for its future. Pain and terror are leverage to force member countries to make tough decisions, like handing more authority over their budgets to Brussels, or forming a banking union. Which is why, despite the fact that Europe is in vastly worse shape than the United States and facing a looming recession, Draghi refused to cut interest rates below one percent yesterday. He wants to keep the pressure on

In other words, Europe has to BURN TO THE GROUND before it can be repaved and rebuilt.  If the ECB actually fixes the problem, Europe won't learn nothin'.  Of course, millions of lives will be disrupted and billions lost in euros, but I guess some eggs have to be put into a railgun and fired into to sun in order to make some omelette du fromage.

Mario here could end this crisis at any time by cutting interest rates.  He won't.

Oh, here's the best part in relation to our own little economic quiche here:

There are some in our central bank who agree with this vision. Richard Fischer, the president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, argues that the Federal Reserve shouldn't be stimulating the economy and keeping interest rates so low because that takes pressure off of Congress to cut the deficit. If the Fed let interest rates rise, Fisher says, then Congress would better see the cost of its borrowing and choose to fix it.

Sure they will.  Of course, the deficit will immediately fail to matter should Romney take office.  You'll see a stimulus program in the trillions before next Easter.

Playing The Game To Be Played

Within 24 hours of Senate majority leader Harry Reid finally developing a pair of gonads and saying this on Tuesday:

“You have heard, as I’ve heard, that there’s a battle going on between Cantor and [House Speaker John] Boehner as to whether or not there should be a [highway] bill,” Reid told reporters. “Cantor, of course — I’m told by others that he wants to not do a bill to make the economy worse, because he feels that’s better for them. I hope that’s not true.”

Mitt Romneybot countered with this on Wednesday:

“A book that was written in a way thats apparently pro-President Obama, was written by a guy named Noam Scheiber and in this book he says that there was a discussion about the fact that Obamacare would slow down the economic recovery in this country and they knew that before they passed it.  But they concluded that we would all forget how long the recovery took once it had happened, so they decided to go ahead.  The idea that they knowingly slowed down our recovery in order to put in place Obamacare, which they wanted and they considered historic but the American people did not want or consider historic, is something which I think deserves a lot of explaining, because I think the President’s responsibility is to put people back to work. To get people out of poverty and to help people have good jobs and have prospects for a brighter tomorrow.”

"Obamacare destroyed the economy" will now be repeated by the Village media until it becomes accepted conventional wisdom.  Watch.

Or better yet, don't.

A Short Musical Career

The big story today in Cincy involves Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy new and now former music instructor.

Jonathan Zeng says he was offered a job with Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy teaching music at their downtown location, the Armleder School, but because of his sexual orientation, wasn't hired.

Zeng claims that before he was officially hired he had to meet with the head of the school and the board for final approval.

He said a board member called him back in for a meeting to talk about religious questions on his application. "In those answers I talked about Christ's unconditional love and I talked about how we as followers of Christ, are ultimate goal is to show that love to everyone without judgment," Zeng said.

During the meeting, Zeng claims he was questioned about whether he was a homosexual. "I was shocked and surprised," he said. Zeng asked why he was being asked the question.

He says the administrator said it was school policy not to employ teachers who are homosexual because of the work with children and the sanctity of marriage. Zeng was offended and hurt by the comments.

He told administrators he was homosexual and claims he wasn't offered the job because of it. 

Needless to say, the Human Rights Campaign isn't sitting on their laurels over this.

Cincinnati includes sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination protections. However, HRC respects that Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, as a religious school, is exempt under the law. But that doesn't make their action morally right. Polling last year found that 86 percent of Christians believed the very tenets of their faith compelled them to support protections for LGBT people under the law. HRC and Equality Cincinnati are calling on members and supporters to contact the CHCA administration and Board of Trustees, urging them to do the right thing and hire the most qualified candidates for open jobs – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sadly, under both Hamilton County and Ohio law, CHCA is completely within their rights to do this as a religious private school.  It just makes them complete assholes is all.  We'll see how Mr. Zeng's story works out.

OMG Texting Teen Sentenced

Aaron Deveau, 18, who became the first driver in Massachusetts to be convicted of motor vehicle homicide by texting, has been sentenced to two years in prison and loss of his license for 15 years, the Associated Press reported.
Prosecutors said Deveau, who pleaded not guilty, was texting on Feb. 20, 2011, when his vehicle swerved across the center line of a Haverhill street and crashed head on into Donald Bowley's truck, killing the 55-year-old father of three.
Deveau was charged with motor vehicle homicide and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, using a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle, reading or sending an electronic message, a marked lanes violation, and two counts of negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use.
I haven't been able to dig this out yet, but something is troubling me.  There are no witnesses mentioned that saw him texting.  Time stamps and the difference that could be between them make all the difference. It may not change Deveau's role in the accident, but the truth is important.  Was he texting or not?  The burden of proof is on the prosecution.  A time stamp seems a bit flimsy to me.

A double tragedy, one life lost and one destroyed.

Professional Victims, Inc.

If you thought the ridiculous calliope music blaring from the right over Brett Kimberlin ended last week when a Maryland judge granted a peace order to get a bunch of insane people off Kimberlin's back, apparently the wingers are now whining to Congress and the Lamestream Media to DO SOMETHING.

A number of conservative bloggers allege they have been targeted through the use of harassment tactics such as SWAT-ting (fooling 911 operators into sending emergency teams to their homes), in retaliation for posts they have written, and now Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has stepped into the matter. He has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to investigate the SWAT-ting cases to see if federal laws have been violated.

“I am writing with concern regarding recent reports that several members of the community of online political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels,” Chambliss wrote in the letter.

“Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family’s safety,” Chambliss continued.  “While I am certain that local law enforcement is reviewing each of these instances, I am asking you to please look into each of these cases as well to determine if any federal laws may have been violated. Future targets of SWAT-ting, whether engaged in political speech or not, may not be so fortunate as to escape physical harm.”

Nowhere in the ABC article is the peace order even mentioned, when the judge became so incensed at the blogger bringing these allegations against Kimberlin that he granted the convicted bomber the Maryland equivalent of a restraining order to keep the crazy wingers away from him.

How long before the calls for Eric Holder's resignation come for refusing to make this case a national priority?  And the winger bloggers have access to a United States Senator and they whine that they are powerless victims?

Insanity.  Absolute insanity.

The Barren Moose

Sarah Palin has jumped on the austerity train and is riding it across Griftopia.

“It’s good and encouraging news,” Palin told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren after Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday. “It’s good for the entire country because people are going to recognize through Gov. Walker’s efforts that austerity measures — responsible austerity measures of reigning in government growth — really will help our nation as a whole with the economic woes that we face.”

“This is positive news,” she added. “And Wisconsin is living up to its state’s motto, that providential motto of ‘forward.’ They’re moving forward.”

I thought 'forward' was COMMIE PINKO.

Now, my explanation for what happened in Wisconsin -- voters are tired of recalls and the ennui brought on by $50 million in soul-crushing ads -- seems to make more sense.  But then again, I'm not a grifter from Alaska, either.  Of course this means the Walker formula can be used to destroy unions in other states until we're all losers with wages stuck since 1970 and asked to work harder and longer for less money, fewer benefits, and vacation time you can lose your job over actually using.

Forward, alright.  To London during the Industrial Revolution, maybe.

The QE3 Is About To Set Sail

All abooooooooooooard the Bernanke Boat!

Equities gained as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said officials stand ready to act as the euro region’s growth outlook worsens. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta PresidentDennis Lockhart said extending Operation Twist, the program to lengthen maturities of debt on the central bank’s balance sheet, is an “option on the table.”

The Fed said in its Beige Book survey of business conditions today that the U.S. economy maintained a moderate pace of growth as factory output rose and the real-estate market improved. The report gives central bankers anecdotal evidence on the state of the world’s largest economy two weeks before they meet in Washington.

“There’s always hope that some magic tool would be found,” said Ron Florance, managing director of investment strategy for Wells Fargo Private Bank. His firm manages $169 billion. “There’s no sense of any economic recovery on the near-term horizon for Europe. I would be surprised if the Federal Reserve isn’t already having a contingency plan if everything unravels in Europe.” 

Helicopter Ben has a plan to save Europe.  At least, that's the rumor.  Of course, I'm thinking anything the Fed might try to do will run face first in the GOP doing everything they can to destroy the economy in order to win, and that's going to be an ugly battle here on Capitol Hill.  Anything remotely looking like "stimulus" comes across from Ben's office, it will be war.

And I'm pretty sure the losers in that war will be your average Americans.


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