ChrisWeigant.com

Nominations Still Open For Round Two Awards

[ Posted Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 – 17:49 PST ]

Just a quick reminder to everyone, we're still accepting nominations for the second round of our year-end awards. The column will appear this Friday, so you've got until then to make your suggestions.

To remind everyone, here are the categories left to be awarded this week:

Destined For Political Stardom

Destined For Political Oblivion

Best Political Theater

Worst Political Theater

Worst Political Scandal

Most Underreported Story

Most Overreported Story

Biggest Government Waste

Best Government Dollar Spent

Boldest Political Tactic

Best Idea

Worst Idea

Sorry To See You Go

15 Minutes Of Fame

Best Spin

Most Honest Person

Most Overrated

Most Underrated

The final category is not an award, but rather a chance to make predictions about the year to come. What do you think will happen in 2018? Here's your chance to predict it in advance!

For those of you still left with time on your hands, you could always nominate a word to be banished, over at Lake Superior State University's nomination page. We'll be writing about this, as usual, probably next Tuesday (unless they announce the banished words early, in which case we could cover it tomorrow).

That's it for now. Sorry for the lack of substantive column today, but we're still kind of in holiday mode. Here's hoping you and yours are having a great holiday season this year, too!

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

138 Comments on “Nominations Still Open For Round Two Awards”

  1. [1] 
    Kick wrote:

    Destined For Political Stardom

    DEMOCRATS

    Cory Booker -- Everybody knows him already, right?

    Pete Buttigieg -- Rhodes Scholar, served his country in Afghanistan, and an unbelievable public speaker and explainer who understands the fact that the Trump corporate tax cut contains subsidies that encourage companies to replace human labor with machines and that Americans aren't primarily losing their to jobs to Mexico but to mechanics, machines, and technology.

    REPUBLICANS

    "Bobby Three Sticks" Mueller

    Marco Rubio

  2. [2] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Oh great, the Luddites ride again!!!

    Any person of either political persuasion, dumb enough to think that cutting corporate taxes equates to "subsidies that encourage companies to replace human labor with machines" deserves to be nominated for 'Economic Ignoramus of the Century' award.

    What encourages companies to replace human labor with machines, technology, robotics etc., is payroll taxes, employee medical insurance, unemployment insurance, and every other thing that adds to the cost of labor, thereby serving to make it impossible for the companies that bear the burden of all that overhead to compete with other (foreign) companies that do not have to bear those expenses.

    If we were being led by people who are smart enough to understand the laws and principles of economics, we would abolish producer (corporate) taxes and payroll taxes entirely and finance the operations of the fed. gov't 100% by means of income taxes.

  3. [3] 
    John M wrote:

    [2] C. R. Stucki

    "What encourages companies to replace human labor with machines, technology, robotics etc., is payroll taxes, employee medical insurance, unemployment insurance, and every other thing that adds to the cost of labor, thereby serving to make it impossible for the companies that bear the burden of all that overhead to compete with other (foreign) companies that do not have to bear those expenses.

    If we were being led by people who are smart enough to understand the laws and principles of economics, we would abolish producer (corporate) taxes and payroll taxes entirely and finance the operations of the fed. gov't 100% by means of income taxes."

    1.) Payroll taxes ARE income taxes! Payroll taxes, also known as withholding, are an advance payment of income taxes covering, among other things; income taxes, social security contributions, unemployment and disability insurance, and medicare, etc. They are based exclusively on wages.

    2.) The cost of company provided employee medical insurance is the BEST argument IN FAVOR OF a NATIONAL single payer health insurance program run by the government and paid for through federal taxes like medicare. Lifting this burden and its associated paperwork and overhead from American companies would help level the playing field and allow American companies to be more competitive with their foreign counterparts in nations where national health insurance exists like Germany, Canada, Japan, France, Britain, etc. and where corporations do not have to bear those expenses, since they are borne by the national government as a whole, instead of by individual businesses.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    CRS,

    Yer preaching to the deaf...

    It was Margret Thatcher who said that the Left doesn't care if the poor get poorer as long as the rich don't get richer...

    That's the epitome of the hysterical Left Wingery...

  5. [5] 
    DecayedOldBritishLiberal wrote:

    Reply to Michale [4]:

    TL;DR.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    DOBL,

    And yet, you replied.. I feel so speeshal.. :D

    You remind me of a 3rd grader who insists on telling the smarter kids how much he is ignoring them.. :D

  7. [7] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M

    Re 1.) You're partially correct, and for that I congratulate you heartily, it places you MILES ahead of normal Dems/Libs!

    The portion of taxes withheld that represent pre-payment of the employee's income taxes are indeed 'income' taxes, and that cannot be changed. However, the employer's half of the SS taxes and ALL OTHER payroll-related taxes you listed ARE 'labor expense' for the employer, and therefore constitute motivation for the employer to replace the human with a robot (or whatever) which NEVER gets sick, NEVER gets unemployed, NEVER retires, etc.

    Re 2.) 100% correct, national health care is the only correct and sensible way to go from an economic stand point, BUT it, as ALL gov't programs, should be financed by income taxes, NOT by payroll taxes of any sort.

    (You don't get quite the level of congratulations on your No. 2, because it, unlike your No. 1, is something that mostly comes 'natural' to Dems/Libs.)

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    CRS [2]: Another great theory ... sadly your solution is asinine because you fail to understand one of the simplest of economic laws - the fungibility of money.

    Try again when you've read an Economics 101 book and we can chat.

    And drop the Dunning-Kruger based arrogance, it is getting boring.

    Oh, and if you want some facts that completely contradict your assessment, try the following:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/27/business/the-robots-are-coming-and-sweden-is-fine.html

  9. [9] 
    neilm wrote:

    CRS [7]

    For crying out loud, changing who pays the taxes from the employer to the employee makes no difference - a dollar in taxes is still a dollar - where do you think the employee gets the dollar to spend in income taxes from? Try to understand before one of us passes away.

  10. [10] 
    neilm wrote:

    This is pretty simple. We need to tax either capital or labor if we want to spend money (we can also borrow against the future, but that just creates more headwinds today and slows long term growth).

    We want to spend taxed money because (1) we like nice things (roads, bridges, and completely over the top military, not having kids starve to death on our streets, etc.), and (2) we want to invest in the future (e.g. education so we have the smart people who can build better robots than the people from other countries and we don't become a third world country).

    Companies are fluid and can either move operations from country to country, or fail in one country and thrive in another. Companies seek lowest costs of doing business, but also need to have the best educated people in today's economy. (Reference the article about Carrier's parent company I posted a couple of weeks ago:

    Well at this point you may be asking yourself: Why are UTC moving a factory to Mexico from relatively cheap Indiana and opening a facility in high tax, expensive Connecticut.

    Well of the 1700 jobs at the new CT plant, 350 are Ph.D.'s, and the rest are highly paid engineers.

    We need an education revolution in this country. Is it ridiculous to think that we can get 90% of our kids though tertiary education with valuable degrees that get jobs that buy a World class living?

  11. [11] 
    neilm wrote:

    Oh, and check out the jobs UTC left at the Carrier plant in Indiana - mostly engineers with a nice subsidy from Indiana tax payers to help cover their costs.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil [9]

    Try to understand before one of us passes away.

    Heh.

    :-)

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Most Underreported Story:

    The increasingly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the role the US government is playing there, in particular, and in the region, generally speaking.

    Well, let me just say that this is an underreported story in much of the news media but, good information can be found if you know where to look for it.

    I'd like to see more coverage of foreign affairs and the US role internationally here at CW.com. Mostly because I have little or no interest in the current state of US domestic politics.

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's clear that this commentary has gone way way OFF TOPIC...

    I'm sure I'll get blamed for it.. :D

    But since we're here...

    TRUMP MATCHES OBAMA END OF FIRST YEAR
    46% APPROVE, 53% DISAPPROVE

    BBBWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Since ya'all are TOTALLY devoted to polls, I am SURE ya'all will accept this without ANY equivocation or spin....

    Right???

    :D

    You guys are soooo easy...

  15. [15] 
    neilm wrote:

    I'd like to see more coverage of foreign affairs and the US role internationally here at CW.com. Mostly because I have little or no interest in the current state of US domestic politics.

    Are you sure you are hanging around with the right crowd at the moment Elizabeth?

  16. [16] 
    neilm wrote:

    My God, it is like shooting fish in a barrel with Michale:

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

    First year (2009) for Obama (from above): App. 56.5%, Dis. 36.3%, overall +20.2%

    First year (2017) for 45 (also from RealClear): App. 39.3%, Dis. 56.2%, overall -16.9%

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    'the heck d'ya mean, Neil?

    It's the only crowd I have right now ... :)

  18. [18] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    It was Margret Thatcher who said that the Left doesn't care if the poor get poorer as long as the rich don't get richer...

    Unintentional affirmation of the future? A few days after this quote Maggie lost her prime minister position and the conservative party was in the beginning of it's decline from power...

  19. [19] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    I do not recall offering a "solution", or even discussing any problem that needed a "solution' in my [2] post to which you respond. I recall attempting to explain why financing the gov't by means of payroll taxes levied on the employer (vs. personal income taxes levied on everybody) constitutes motivation for the employer to replace the employee with a robot, which unlike a human, does not go on the payroll. I see that as a 'situation', not as a problem in need of a "solution". If you consider that situation to be a "problem", I'm guessing that is a reflection of your ignorance of the historical results of replacing labor with capital.

    Re "For crying out loud changing who pays the taxes from the employer to the employee . . . etc"!!!

    If you can't understand that taxing the producer (employer) puts him at a competitive disadvantage in the market, while taxing his employee does NOT do, you need to move on to another topic.

    But BTW, you can't possible expect an old man such as I to comprehend a principle so abstruse, so sophisticated, so complicated, as the fact that any one dollar is completely inter-changeable with any other dollar for any and all purposes.

    Only one of your level of superior intelligence could possibly grasp such a concept.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Neil..

    So, yer gonna cherry pick your polls...

    Which simply proves what I have been saying all along.. :D

    Ya'all ONLY support polls that say what ya'all want to hear...

    Any poll that "proves" ya'all are full of kaa-kaa you conveniently ignore.. :D

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Rasmussen Poll shows Trump at 46% APPROVE this morning, with 53% DISAPPROVE...

    What about Obama at same exact date first year in presidency?? 46% APPROVE, 53% DISAPPROVE!

    It's a POLL so ya'all *HAVE* to accept it because ALL polls MUST be believed...

    Right??

    Or are you finally willing to concede that the ONLY polls ya'all will believe are the polls that confirm ya'all's bias and bigotry?? :D

  22. [22] 
    neilm wrote:

    Michale [21]

    You do understand that Real Clear is a poll of polls and selectively picking Rasmussen on one day is the poster child for cherry picking, right?

  23. [23] 
    neilm wrote:

    CRS [19]

    If an employer has to pay $1 directly to the government in payroll taxes vs. paying it to an employee who then pays it to the government via income taxes, how exactly is there a competitive disadvantage?

    Your solution of moving the tax burden from the employer to the employee fails as the employee is getting a pay cut and will demand higher wages to compensate. You know, markets and all that.

  24. [24] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I recall attempting to explain why financing the gov't by means of payroll taxes levied on the employer (vs. personal income taxes levied on everybody) constitutes motivation for the employer to replace the employee with a robot, which unlike a human, does not go on the payroll.

    First, I would think an employer would replace workers with robots to avoid the total wage/salary rather than the much smaller employers share of the payroll tax, a tax that is or was Deductible.

    Second, what happens to your theory when the robots are taxed?

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    You do understand that Real Clear is a poll of polls and selectively picking Rasmussen on one day is the poster child for cherry picking, right?

    And if ya'all would limit your poll-spouting to JUST RCP polls then ya'all would likely never hear a peep from me about your poll spouting..

    But ya'all don't, so ya'all do...

    Ya'all ONLY quote the polls that confirm ya'all's bigotry and ignore the polls that dispute ya'all's bigotry...

    Further, I am constrained to point out that even the RCP Polls were way way WAY wrong in the election of 2016...

    Am I wrong???

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, the polls WEREN'T totally and utterly wrong in 2016???

    You see, this is exactly why it's impossible to have rational discussions.. Ya'all are off in some fantasy driven version of reality where Hillary actually won the election..

    Or.... You were just making a joke...

    In which case.. ha...... ha...... and...... ha..... :D

  28. [28] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    BB [24]

    No question about that, subsidize something, you get more of it, tax something and you get less of it - law of economics.

  29. [29] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    So, the polls WEREN'T totally and utterly wrong in 2016???

    The polls had Clinton up slightly in the days before the election. Clinton won the popular vote. How is that "totally and utterly wrong" or "way way WAY" wrong?

    More likely it's just the rising hysteria of the local anti-left...

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Clinton won the popular vote. How is that "totally and utterly wrong" or "way way WAY" wrong?

    Simple...

    The vanity vote is utterly meaningless in an election..

    The polls had Clinton WINNING the election, not the vanity vote..

    THAT is how the polls were totally and utterly and way way WAY wrong...

    duh.........

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    It's impossible to have rational discussions with you because you make too many wrong-headed assumptions.

    In future, try not to do that. To be clear, do not put words into mouths that would never utter same and do not make assumptions about what people think based on your own misinterpretations of what people say.

    Deal?

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    More likely it's just the rising hysteria of the local anti-left...

    Yes.. YOUR "truth" is that Clinton won the election... :^/

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's impossible to have rational discussions with you because you make too many wrong-headed assumptions.

    No, I make perfectly logical and rational assumptions that show case ya'all's political bigotry..

    And ya'all don't like that..

    Ya'all's adherence to ONLY the polls that say what ya'all want to hear is a perfect example.

    You want to prove me wrong??

    Show me a time when ya'all accepted the results of a poll that ya'all disagreed with...

  34. [34] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The polls had Clinton WINNING the election, not the vanity vote..

    Really? I thought they were of how respondents would likely vote. And those polls were within the margin of error on a national level.

    Yes.. YOUR "truth" is that Clinton won the election... :^/

    Please back this up. You have access to the posting history on the left side bar. Point out where I have written anything of the sort.

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Really? I thought they were of how respondents would likely vote.

    See what ya get fer thinking....

    :D

  36. [36] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Taking pedantry to sophomoric levels again?

    Yawn.

  37. [37] 
    Paula wrote:

    http://theweek.com/articles/745394/media-blinded-by-obsession-rural-white-trump-voters

    And where are the lavish profiles of people (broke, white, or otherwise) who have soured on Trump? After all, his approval rating has fallen dramatically since taking office. A Morning Consult poll from October found double-digit drops in every state without exception. Trump undoubtedly retains the majority of his support that propelled him to a 30-point victory in Kentucky. But his approval rating in that state has fallen by 20 points. In the critical swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — the heart of "Trump Country" — it has fallen by 17.9, 22.6, and 15.6 points respectively. Given the polling, there must be millions of people who have soured on Trump. These people swung the election — and may swing the next one. Surely they deserve at least equal billing with the die-hards.

    He goes on to say most reporters didn't take Blotus seriously and were shattered when he "won". And concludes:

    So reporters broke out their biggest gun — the long, textured, deeply reported, indulgent profile — and trained it on the people they supposed were responsible for Trump: the white working class. On one level, they were correct to do so. These people, for all their many sins, really have been ignored and ground under the tank treads of global capitalism for decades.

    But in the process, they missed the people right next to them: the professional class Republicans who mostly went for Trump too, and the Wall Street goons who make up most of his Cabinet and have written all of his policy. Since the election, journalists have obscured the significant erosion in his support. And for the whole time, they have largely ignored the black and brown working class who never fell for Trump's nonsense.

    There is nothing wrong with traipsing into West Virginia to see what the people are thinking. But let us not be blinded to the broader reality.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Taking pedantry to sophomoric levels again?

    Yawn.

    Whatever you have to tell yourself to make it thru the day.. :D

    And yet, I STILL sucker you in each and every time. :D

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Paula wrote:

    ANOTHER example of cherry picked polls, picked SOLELY because they say what ya'all want to hear....

    You see my point, Neil??

    Polls are useless because you can find a poll that says whatever you want to "prove"....

  40. [40] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    So you admit you are basically the Entity Beta XII-A of this forum. Sad.

  41. [41] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    *Entity of Beta XII-A

  42. [42] 
    Paula wrote:

    Another good piece: https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/27/2017-was-the-year-i-learned-about-my-white-privilege/

    Adam Serwer argues persuasively in the Atlantic that Trump’s election could not be explained by “economic anxiety,” because the poorest voters — those making less than $50,000 a year — voted predominantly for Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, “Trump defeated Clinton among white voters in every income category,” from those making less than $30,000 to those making more than $250,000. In other words, Serwer writes, Trump does not lead a “working-class coalition; it is a nationalist one.” That doesn’t mean that every Trump supporter is a racist; it does mean that Trump’s victory has revealed that racism and xenophobia are more widespread than I had previously realized.

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    So you admit you are basically the Entity Beta XII-A of this forum. Sad.

    I admit that you have to delude yourself about me because I constantly kick your ass six ways from Sunday...

    I freely admit that.. :D

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Another good piece: https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/27/2017-was-the-year-i-learned-about-my-white-privilege/

    White privilege????

    BBBBWWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Oh...

    "You were serious about dat??"
    -Joe Pesci, MY COUSIN VINNY

    :D

  45. [45] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I admit that you have to delude yourself about me because I constantly kick your ass six ways from Sunday..

    Still, a true legend in your own mind?

    Still sad...

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Seriously...

    No one else here buys into that crock of bullshit that is "White Privilege"???

    Anyone???

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Still, a true legend in your own mind?

    Still sad...

    And yet, you always come back for more.. :D

    Funny how that is, eh?? :D

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    Face the facts, Bashi.. I live, rent free, in your head.. :D

  49. [49] 
    John M wrote:

    [13] Elizabeth Miller

    "The increasingly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the role the US government is playing there, in particular, and in the region, generally speaking."

    One reason for American involvement is the extreme importance of Yemen to the stability and existence of Saudi Arabia.

    Yemen is the major geopolitical threat to Saudi Arabia, not Iran.

    Yemen is only one quarter the size of Saudi Arabia but has the same number of people. It's population has doubled since 1995. That translates into a lot of unemployed young men with nothing to do, more loyal to their particular tribe than to the almost non existent national government, and awash in guns, with 3 guns for every person per capita. Yemen also contains the only agricultural land in the Arabian peninsula, but its underground water supplies are drying up.

    On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is basically just a series of isolated oases separated by barren tracts, and built on loyalty to one extended family, and with an also rapidly growing very young population. And across the Yemeni border into Saudi Arabia flows a large amount of weapons, explosives, and narcotics. Add in that the Houthis, who are Shia, now control what is left of the Yemeni government, while the Saudis are Sunni with a restive Shia minority of their own concentrated in their oil producing region, and you end up with a very explosive mix.

  50. [50] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Face the facts, Bashi.. I live, rent free, in your head.. :D

    Yawn.

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Face the facts, Bashi.. I live, rent free, in your head.. :D

    Yawn.

    The fact that you continue to respond puts lie to the indifference you attempt to convey.... :D

    I own you, Bashi.. :D

  52. [52] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Yawn.

  53. [53] 
    John M wrote:

    [46] Michale

    "No one else here buys into that crock of bullshit that is "White Privilege"???"

    Your attitude is hardly much of a surprise, given how much of a product of white privilege you yourself are. That's like asking someone to see the forest when they are themselves simply only one tree standing among many clone like others. You really have to work hard at stepping outside yourself to be able to do that and see things from another perspective.

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Your attitude is hardly much of a surprise, given how much of a product of white privilege you yourself are.

    Give me one FACT that supports your bullshit claim..

    Just one...

    Preferably a FACT that doesn't rely on "code words" or "dog whistles"...

    All you have is "woke" metaphysical claptrap bullshit that doesn't have an iota of FACT to support...

  55. [55] 
    John M wrote:

    [54] Michale

    "Give me one FACT that supports your bullshit claim..

    Just one..."

    1.) You're white

    2.) You're male

    3.) You're well educated

    4.) You're ex law enforcement

    5.) You're relatively well off financially

    6.) You're a Star Trek fan, a computer owner, and know your way around the internet. All of which gives you more than a passing knowledge of geeks, nerds, tech, etc.

    7.) You live in the suburbs

    8.) You own a home and a car.

    9.) You're married.

    10.) You're over 40 years old

    If I were profiling you for the F.B.I I would say that you fit the stereotype definition of insular middle age white privilege.

  56. [56] 
    Paula wrote:

    John M: interesting stuff about Yemen. Thanks.

  57. [57] 
    Paula wrote:

    In other news, yesterday Blotus goes to absurdist lengths to hide the fact that his lazy fat ass was, yet again, on the golf course, using a box truck to try to block anyone from seeing him.

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/27/1727970/-After-CNN-took-a-video-of-Trump-golfing-his-staff-went-next-level-ridiculous-on-the-next-golf-trip

    And in "good guy wins" category, judge dismisses Roy Moore's sad attempt at overturning his election defeat, and Doug Jones is sworn in.

  58. [58] 
    Paula wrote:

    Correction: Doug Jones will be sworn in January 3rd. His win was "certified" today.

  59. [59] 
    Michale wrote:

    1.) You're white

    2.) You're male

    3.) You're well educated

    4.) You're ex law enforcement

    5.) You're relatively well off financially

    6.) You're a Star Trek fan, a computer owner, and know your way around the internet. All of which gives you more than a passing knowledge of geeks, nerds, tech, etc.

    7.) You live in the suburbs

    8.) You own a home and a car.

    9.) You're married.

    10.) You're over 40 years old

    OK, so if a guy was all of that but black instead of white, I could say he has "black privilege" and that would be a thing to, right??

    You people.. You are so fraked in the head, with all your woke meta-physical clap trap, you can't even think straight...

    It's funny how ya'all claim to WANT to live in a world that is color-blind but you go to delusional heights to emphasize the DIFFERENCE in people and their color...

  60. [60] 
    Michale wrote:

    If I were profiling you for the F.B.I I would say that you fit the stereotype definition of insular middle age white privilege.

    And is "white privilege" a think outside of the delusions of the hysterical Left Wingery??

    Yunno.. In the REAL world???

    No, it's not...

    It's simply a creation of hysterical Left Wingers pushing an Identity agenda..

    For you people, a person can't just be a person. He HAS to be a black person. Or a white person. Or a gay person...

    Gods, no wonder ya'all had yer asses handed to you in 2016.....

  61. [61] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    John,

    One reason for American involvement is the extreme importance of Yemen to the stability and existence of Saudi Arabia.

    How do you see the Saudi-led coalition's efforts in Yemen impacting on the stability of Saudi Arabia and how should the Trump administration be responding to the world's biggest humanitarian crisis?

    Obviously, Saudi Arabia is in need of sound advice from its friends and allies. Unfortunately, President Trump's ignorance prevents a cogent US response to this crisis.

    Yemen is the major geopolitical threat to Saudi Arabia, not Iran.

    How so? Are you saying that the war in Yemen is no more than an attempt to quiet the restive and armed Yemeni males and to stave off climate-induced food shortages?

    Saudi Arabia is working to limit and reverse the influence of Iran in the region. Ironically, it was the US invasion of Iraq that emboldened Iran and increased Iranian influence in the Middle East.

    There are better ways to reduce your perceived Yemeni geopolitical threat to Saudi Arabia and to limit Iranian influence in the region. There are, of course, no military solutions here.

  62. [62] 
    John M wrote:

    [61] Elizabeth Miller

    "How do you see the Saudi-led coalition's efforts in Yemen impacting on the stability of Saudi Arabia..."

    Well, for one, if Saudi Arabia fails to address the crisis in Yemen in a mitigating way, and makes matters worse instead of better, and worse would definitely be failure, that could very well destabilize Saudi Arabia itself, and led to internal turmoil and perhaps even revolution inside the Kingdom itself. Keep in mind that the population of Saudi Arabia has basically been bought off by the Royal Family or the government, the two are one in the same, with revenue from oil wealth. From free education to medical care to subsidized and cheap gasoline and food, consumer goods, and "make work" government provided bureaucratic jobs to keep unemployment low. Everything except political or social freedom.

    "How so?"

    Look at recent examples. The flood of refugees into Europe. Guns and drugs in Mexico. And this was among mostly democratic well developed nations with established institutions and infrastructure with a history of accepting diverse migrants. And they could barely cope.

    Now take a third world nation like Saudi Arabia, a static, very rigid and hierarchical society with no such institutions and barely able to pacify and keep a lid on its own population's aspirations. Flood it with guns, drugs, refugees, with no history of accepting and welcoming a seething turmoil of outsiders, burden it financially, and raise its unemployment level with thousands of new populations seeking work. What's the likely end result going to be?

    "Are you saying that the war in Yemen is no more than an attempt to quiet the restive and armed Yemeni males and to stave off climate-induced food shortages?"

    The war in Yemen is Saudi Arabia's effort to prevent importing all that chaos and unpredictable change into Saudi Arabia itself. To keep it at arms length and from spiraling out of control. It's the same reason China props up the North Korean regime. Only writ much larger. It would be the same reason why the USA could never afford to let Mexico turn into a version of Somalia. Remember the children on the U.S. border a few years back? Magnify that a hundred or a thousand times.

    It's an attempt to prevent revolution inside Saudi Arabia itself and the overthrow of the existing order.

    "Ironically, it was the US invasion of Iraq that emboldened Iran and increased Iranian influence in the Middle East."

    Exactly correct. No dispute there. Without the strong central authoritarian government in Iraq, that the USA removed, all the old underlying divisions came roaring back, with Iran ready, willing and able to step into the resulting vacuum. Historically, southern Iraq was culturally and religiously part of ancient Persia anyway.

    "There are better ways to reduce your perceived Yemeni geopolitical threat to Saudi Arabia and to limit Iranian influence in the region."

    I didn't say there wasn't or might not be. It's just that for the present, Saudi Arabia and its allies, for good or bad, have elected and opted to try a military solution first. Perhaps because they have no better ideas.

    "...how should the Trump administration be responding to the world's biggest humanitarian crisis?"

    Good question. Maybe by talking to the Houthis? Pressing Saudi Arabia to try a diplomatic approach, along with letting massive amounts of humanitarian aid in? Something they are not currently doing. ETC.?

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The war in Yemen is Saudi Arabia's effort to prevent importing all that chaos and unpredictable change into Saudi Arabia itself.

    If an influx of refugees were the reason for this conflict then it would have started a very long time ago.

    ...if Saudi Arabia fails to address the crisis in Yemen in a mitigating way, and makes matters worse instead of better, and worse would definitely be failure, that could very well destabilize Saudi Arabia itself, and led to internal turmoil and perhaps even revolution inside the Kingdom itself.

    Saudi Arabia caused the current crisis in Yemen, far from addressing it!

    There are many reasons why the House of Saud could face instability and Mohammed bin Salman is making an attempt to mitigate that sort of development. Unfortunately, escalating conflict with Yemen is not conducive to stability in the kingdom.

    I think you underestimate what a driving force the concern about Iran is within the SA coalition. Not coincidentally, the Trump administration's policy in the region is also being driven by an overwrought concern about Iran.

  64. [64] 
    Paula wrote:

    A really well-written (funny) take-down of Blotus:

    https://thebaffler.com/latest/the-president-of-blank-sucking-nullity-roth

    It is not quite fair to say that Donald Trump lacks core beliefs, but to the extent that we can take apart these beliefs they amount to Give Donald Trump Your Money and Donald Trump Should Really Be on Television More. The only comprehensible throughline to his politics is that everything Trump says is something he’s said previously, with additional very’s and more-and-more’s appended over time; his worldview amounts to the sum of the dumb shit he saw on the cover of the New York Post in 1985, subjected to a few decades of rancid compounding interest and deteriorating mental aptitude. He watches a lot of cable news, but he struggles to follow even stories that have been custom built for people like him—old, uninformed, amorphously if deeply aggrieved.

    There’s a reason for this. Trump doesn’t know anything or really believe anything about any topic beyond himself, because he has no interest in any topic beyond himself; his evident cognitive decline and hyperactive laziness and towering monomania ensure that he will never again learn a new thing in his life. He has no friends and no real allies; his inner circle is divided between ostensibly scandalized cynics and theatrically shameless ones, all of whom hold him in low regard and see him as a potential means to their individuated ends. There is no help on the way; his outer orbit is a rotation of replacement-level rage-grandpas and defective, perpetually clammy operators.

  65. [65] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    4

    It was Margret Thatcher who said that the Left doesn't care if the poor get poorer as long as the rich don't get richer...

    Please keep posting this crap over and over as if something Margaret Thatcher said about one Simon Hughes almost three decades ago has any relevance whatsoever to an entire political party in the United States.

    That's the epitome of the hysterical Left Wingery...

    That's the epitome of your pathetic understanding regarding multiple different political parties in multiple different countries on multiple different continents in wholly different centuries. :)

  66. [66] 
    Kick wrote:

    CRS
    2

    Any person of either political persuasion, dumb enough to think that cutting corporate taxes equates to "subsidies that encourage companies to replace human labor with machines" deserves to be nominated for 'Economic Ignoramus of the Century' award.

    You've got this knack of conflating things, putting words in people's mouths, and then letting your BS spew forth and attributing it to others. Slowing down and paying attention would go a long way to making you seem way less ignorant than you already do. Here we are again where you once again conflate what I said. What I said was: "the Trump corporate tax cut contains subsidies that encourage companies to replace human labor with machines."

    Do you need the word "contains" and/or the word "subsidies" explained to you or are you content spewing your false equivalencies and ignoring simple English?

  67. [67] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    13

    Most Underreported Story:

    The increasingly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the role the US government is playing there, in particular, and in the region, generally speaking.

    Agree 100%

    This is easily the most underreported story today where Trump trumps literally almost everything.

  68. [68] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    59

    All of the things John M listed don't have to apply to you for you to be able to understand the simple concept of "privilege." You need only be white to enjoy white privilege. One can easily recognize the concept of any type of privilege by realizing that it basically means that a person is aware that certain people have to work harder in order to experience things that other people take for granted. Being white in America does have its advantages/privileges; to deny that fact is to deny reality and delude yourself.

    Example 1: If you're white in America and you kill a whole bunch of people simultaneously, people generally assume you have mental issues. If you're a person of color in America and you do likewise, people generally assume you're a thug or a terrorist.

    Example 2: A white person in America can be articulate and educated without being referred to as a "credit to their race."

    Example 3: If a white person in America gets pulled over by law enforcement for driving an expensive car, that person knows that race wasn't a factor in the officer's decision to detain him.

    There are plenty more examples where that came from. Whether or not you acknowledge its existence, white privilege is alive and well in America and not really that complicated an issue. It's hard to believe that an ex law enforcement officer with any kind of self-awareness or decent training whatsoever would argue that white people don't enjoy privileges that people of color generally do not since profiling too is alive and well.

  69. [69] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    It always amazes me that the US media and many Americans are so quick to refer to their president as the leader of the free world and yet seem to have little interest in foreign affairs or in US foreign policy and how the rest of the world is impacted by how the US decides it will act or not act.

    This indifference to all things foreign predates the Trump era but he is the first president in modern times with a reflexive tendency toward disengaging from the world.

    Disrupting the apple cart can be a good thing but only if it is preceded with a prerequisite and fundamental understanding of strategy and tactics and is executed with all due diligence and finesse.

    I'll tell you what, no matter how much longer Trump remains in office, foreign policy and national security will have to be firmly in the wheelhouse of the next president of the United States ...

  70. [70] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    64

    A really well-written (funny) take-down of Blotus.

    Thanks for the link... love it. This guy totally nails it. :)

  71. [71] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    69

    It always amazes me that the US media and many Americans are so quick to refer to their president as the leader of the free world and yet seem to have little interest in foreign affairs or in US foreign policy and how the rest of the world is impacted by how the US decides it will act or not act.

    On this we can agree 100%. I refer to the current POTUS as the biggest threat to our country/democracy, and this would sadly be the case had he won or lost the election. I believe Trump would be even more potent had he lost, and now regardless we are witnesses to the largest criminal and counterintelligence investigation in world history with parallels to Watergate being remarkable... meaning, we've seen this before, and we survived it; Trump too shall pass.

    This indifference to all things foreign predates the Trump era but he is the first president in modern times with a reflexive tendency toward disengaging from the world.

    You will find that Trump's genuine concern with foreign issues will be limited to that which affects either his reputation/ego and/or his assets; Trump is genuinely not concerned with anything except Trump or how any said issue affects Trump, but presidents come and go every 4-8 years, and Trump too shall pass.

    I'll tell you what, no matter how much longer Trump remains in office, foreign policy and national security will have to be firmly in the wheelhouse of the next president of the United States ...

    Again, I agree 100%. Do we perhaps know anyone who fits this description? Say it with me: Joseph Biden. I believe if Joe chooses to run in 2020, he should run on a platform that he will lead our country out of this quagmire and turn over the reins to the presidency after 2 years, with the proviso that his running mate be no older than 55. America needs Joe's experience, but she also needs to make way for a new generation of leaders. Republicans I would trust to lead this nation forward include John Kasich and Marco Rubio (with a big maybe as a qualifier), yet very few others as the GOP we once knew has given way to the Bannonites, nativists, Birthers, conspiracy nuts, white supremacists, paranoids, anti-science uneducateds, misogynists, isolationists, and others who have moved from the far-right fringes into the mainstream and have now taken over the Republican Party.

    I will take Biden/Booker in 2020 for the win... one can dream. :)

  72. [72] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Kick,

    I normally agree with the majority of your posts 100%, but your response to Michale in [68] is definitely the exception!

    In your Example 1:

    1: If you're white in America and you kill a whole bunch of people simultaneously, people generally assume you have mental issues. If you're a person of color in America and you do likewise, people generally assume you're a thug or a terrorist.

    These days, any shooter that shoots multiple victims is a “terrorist”. The guy who shot at the Congressional Republicans practicing baseball was labeled a “terrorist”. And the term “mental issues” is typically a polite way of saying “nut job” and is not intended to show sympathy towards the shooter.

    Example 2 isn’t a reflection of the person being described as much as it is the person making the comment! Kinda like if a white person is described as a “credit to their race”, you can safely assume the person making the comment is a member of the KKK! The phrase “a credit to their race” has probably never been uttered by anyone who wasn’t white!

    In Example 3, you will never know if race was the reason you were stopped unless the officer tells you that was the reason! People fail to realize that most officers do not know the race of the driver of the vehicle they are stopping until they get to the driver’s window and ask for the license and registration.

    Chris Rock made headlines when he tweeted out how he’d been stopped three different times within 48 hours. Only thing was that he failed to say WHY he had been stopped. If you are driving 85 in a 35 zone, race has very little to do with it; unless you are claiming that race plays a factor in your ability to obey the law. He also forgot to say that the third time he wasn’t driving but was a passenger in the car being driven by a white man. But it was all still somehow blamed on the fact that he was black!

    I am not saying for a minute that white privilege doesn’t exist, it does and has for years (centuries). For those on the right who don’t believe “white privilege” is real and for those on the left who claim that our country has never addressed the issue: we wouldn’t have affirmative action if we hadn’t already acknowledged that white privilege existed and was a problem. This isn’t a new issue, even if the majority of Americans are too stupid to realize this.

  73. [73] 
    John M wrote:

    [63] Elizabeth Miller

    "If an influx of refugees were the reason for this conflict then it would have started a very long time ago."

    Sorry, but you just ignored everything I said previously about weapons and drugs flowing over the border into Saudi Arabia from Yemen. Not to mention Yemen being a safe haven for terrorists and political dissidents wanting to operate inside Saudi Arabia from a close base of operations. It never has been "just" about refugees. I never said it was only about that. Only that it was a long term major concern of the Saudi regime.

    "Saudi Arabia caused the current crisis in Yemen, far from addressing it!"

    NO, it DID NOT. That is a gross over simplification of the situation. Saudi Arabia's involvement definitely made things much more complicated and worse than they otherwise would have been, but the civil war in Yemen, and the accompanying famine, among other things, existed long before Saudi Arabia's intervention in the conflict. Saudi Arabia did't cause the current crisis, it only made it much bigger. But it still would have existed anyway.

    "I think you underestimate what a driving force the concern about Iran is within the SA coalition."

    Not at all. What I am saying is that Yemen is a far more immediate threat to Saudi Arabia right next door. More so than some possible long term future Iranian threat across the Persian Gulf. That would still be true with or without any Iranian backing for Yemen. Iran is not the cause of Yemen's threat to Saudi Arabia. That would still exist without Iran. Iran is only taking advantage of it. Which of course does provoke concern about Iranian involvement and intentions. As I said, that only makes things worse and more complicated, but Iran is not the underlying cause anymore than Saudi Arabia is.

    Iran's threat to Saudi Arabia is one of prestige and influence at the expense of Saudi Arabia's own, in places like Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. But unless and until Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is no threat to the survival of Saudi Arabia itself. Yemen, on the other hand, all by itself, can pose such a threat.

    If Saudi Arabia's leadership focuses its emphasis on Iran instead of Yemen, it would be a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees.

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russ,

    In Example 3, you will never know if race was the reason you were stopped unless the officer tells you that was the reason! People fail to realize that most officers do not know the race of the driver of the vehicle they are stopping until they get to the driver’s window and ask for the license and registration.

    Exactly..

    There was an incident down here in FL where some hoity toity council person or something was screaming **RACISM!!!!!! to the high heavens when she was pulled over...

    But she was pulled over because her window tint was too dark and the officers who pulled her over couldn't even SEE her....

    You see, this is exactly the problem with screaming racism for EVERYTHING...

    People become desensitized to the claim and, when REAL racism rears it's ugly head, it's simply lumped in with the bullshit claims and given a big collective yawn. By claiming EVERYTHING is racism, then NOTHING is racism...

    Do you see the point??

    As far as this claim of "white privilege", do you have ANY facts that show it exists as an institutionalized problem??

    No, there are no facts that exist... It's all "code words" and "dog whistles"....

    It's like every other hysterical Left Wing construct designed to push an unpopular agenda...

    Are you "woke"?? Com'on!! You have to admit that THAT is the most stoopidest thing on the face of the planet...

  75. [75] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    John,

    You don't want to discuss ... just argue. I'm not into that.

  76. [76] 
    John M wrote:

    [75] Elizabeth Miller

    Elizabeth,

    You just want to be right about everything. I'm not into that either.

    Besides, we were discussing, not arguing. I never took it that way. I am sorry that you did. I thought we were having a very informative back and forth on the subject.

    I even pointed out when I thought you were correct in your assessment regarding Iraq and Iranian influence and the consequences of American policy regarding the latter.

    What, someone can't hold different opinions than yours? Especially someone who who holds an actual degree in political science like I do, and is an admirer of the writings and teaching of both Robert Kaplan, former member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski? A lot of the information and opinions I have provided are from their materials.

  77. [77] 
    Michale wrote:

    What, someone can't hold different opinions than yours?

    I wonder if you can appreciate the irony of you asking Liz that question. :D

    Especially someone who who holds an actual degree in political science like I do,

    Ahhhh So you should get credit for your training, education and experience, but no one else should, is that it?? :D

    Again, Irony upon Irony... :D

  78. [78] 
    Michale wrote:

    These days, any shooter that shoots multiple victims is a “terrorist”.

    This is not factually accurate..

    Or, to be more accurate, this is not reality.. To a lay person, ANY mass shooting is "terrorism" because they believe that ANY mass death incident is terrifying...

    The Democrat who gunned down Republicans, THAT was terrorism because of the political angle...

    But the Vegas shooting wasn't terrorism, as far as we know...

    The Texas church shooting wasn't terrorism...

    Even the Fort Hood shooting wasn't terrorism...

    All for different reasons, but it wasn't terrorism...

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    These days, any shooter that shoots multiple victims is a “terrorist”.

    This is not factually accurate..

    Re-reading what you wrote, I get the feeling that you were saying the same thing I am saying..

    My apologies for the redundancy...

    "If the dictionary under 'redundant' it says, 'SEE REDUNDANT'...."
    -Robin Williams

  80. [80] 
    Michale wrote:

    Re-reading what you wrote, I get the feeling that you were saying the same thing I am saying..

    My apologies for the redundancy...

    For the record, I plead mind-numbing cold..

    Where is frakin' Global Warming when ya need it, eh!???

  81. [81] 
    Paula wrote:

    Blotus' NYTimes interview reveals -- as if we didn't already know this -- that he is either going into dementia or is faking it so that when Mueller comes calling he can claim mental unfitness to avoid jail.

    Among other things he yammers about beating HRC and the electoral college, whines that Jeff Sessions isn't protecting him but claims Eric Holder protected Obama, and talks about "associations" that are now somehow delivering healthcare or are going to. He is literally incoherent, repeats words over and over -- this guy belongs in a nursing home, not the white house.

    Now here’s the good news. We’ve created associations, millions of people are joining associations. Millions. That were formerly in Obamacare or didn’t have insurance. Or didn’t have health care. Millions of people. That’s gonna be a big bill, you watch. It could be as high as 50 percent of the people. You watch. So that’s a big thing. And the individual mandate. So now you have associations, and people don’t even talk about the associations. That could be half the people are going to be joining up. … With private [inaudible]. So now you have associations and the individual mandate.

    I believe that because of the individual mandate and the associations, the Democrats will and certainly should come to me and see if they can do a really great health care plan for the remaining people.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/us/politics/trump-interview-excerpts.html?rref=collection%2Fnewseventcollection%2FThe+Trump+White+House&action=click&contentCollection=Politics&module=Collection&region=Marginalia&src=me&version=newsevent&pgtype=article&_r=1

  82. [82] 
    Paula wrote:

    Then Alabama law professor Joyce White Vance tweets:

    The first time President Obama met with his US Attorneys, he told us, “I
    appointed you but you don’t serve me. You serve the American people. And I expect you to act with independence & integrity.” None of us ever forgot that

    While Blotus claims the DOJ is HIS to do whatever he wants with. Oh, and he and the GOP gang are dismantling all the protections put together to keep banks from creating another meltdown. Coz BANKS were so mistreated!

    Blotus and GOP, serving big corporations and 1% billionaires! Draining the swamp? What a dirty fucking joke.

  83. [83] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Trump has delivered on a number of promises for his base. But there was an impressive amount of breakage along the way. You might say he President Trump did as much demolition as he did construction. The press is doing a good job of telling us what he accomplished in 2017. But they keep leaving out all the stuff he broke that probably needed to be broken. I’ll fix that for you here.

    GOP – Trump broke the GOP and reconstructed it along his terms, successfully it seems.

    DNC – The DNC has no charismatic leader, no game plan, and little money.

    Clinton Dynasty – Done

    Bush Dynasty – Done

    Mainstream Media – The public learned that news coverage is based on bias as much as fact.

    NFL – Ratings down, attendance down.

    FBI (leadership) – The FBI as a whole is still highly credible, but the leadership is not.

    Pundits – Nearly all the pundits were wrong about Trump’s nomination, election, and successful (by Republican standards) first year.

    Government Regulations – For good or bad, we have fewer regulations now.

    Hollywood – Big stars are alienating 40% of their potential audience whenever they take time off from groping.

    North Korea – They used to have a pathetic but functioning economy. That situation is changing rapidly.

    ISIS – Remember ISIS? They used to be a big deal.

    TPP – Pulled out

    Paris Climate Accord – Pulled out

    Reality – I told you in 2015 that candidate Trump would change more than politics. I told you he would change the way we saw reality. Do you remember when you thought the news reported facts and that humans used those facts to make reasoned decisions? You probably don’t think that anymore.

    I’m probably leaving out some stuff that got broken. It’s been a busy year.
    -Scott Adams

  84. [84] 
    Michale wrote:

    Blotus and GOP, serving big corporations and 1% billionaires! Draining the swamp? What a dirty fucking joke.

    Waaaaaa waaaaaaa waaaaaa

    You lost, cry-baby.... Get over it...

  85. [85] 
    Paula wrote:

    And Blotus gets a physical next week, with results supposedly to be released to the public. Wouldn't surprise me if he is found to have some problem or other that enables him to step down for "health" reasons. Which would be the smartest thing for him to do. He always manages to skate away, leaving others to clean up the mess. MIght as well stay true to form.

  86. [86] 
    Michale wrote:

    Paula wrote:

    "The butt-hurt is strong with this one..."

  87. [87] 
    Paula wrote:

    But it's really no longer about criminal-demented Blotus -- the real story is the traitorous and irresponsible GOP which is allowing this criminal to remain POTUS. Derelict in their duty.

  88. [88] 
    Michale wrote:

    But it's really no longer about criminal-demented Blotus -- the real story is the traitorous and irresponsible GOP which is allowing this criminal to remain POTUS. Derelict in their duty.

    Yea?? Any *FACTS* to support the claim??

    No??

    Of course not...

    You LOST, butt-hurt.... Get over it...

  89. [89] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula Re [82]

    The "meltdown" to which you refer was caused by the banks loaning money to poor people (people who didn't earn enough to buy a new house). They did it, at congress' urging, because everybody thought it would be OK, because houses had not decreased in value for 75 yrs, so it wouldn't matter if the buyers defaulted, because the houses could be re-sold and the loans paid off with the re-sale proceeds.

    Of course, when prices DID decrease, all those people DID default on their loans, requiring the houses to be re-sold at a huge LOSS, causing the "meltdown" (financial crisis), which required the bank bail-out.

    Explain for me please what exactly you think the "protections" (presumably from Dodd-Frank) are that you feel are being "dismantled"?

  90. [90] 
    Paula wrote:

    [89] Stucki: Go watch The Big Short. Your claim re: the meltdown was all about poor people's loans is stupid and wrong. The # of those homes and the initial value of those loans was nowhere near enough to destroy the economy if they all failed at once. The problem was that each loan had been packaged (claiming Triple A value to boot) and sold as investment vehicles over and over and over, creating a "fake" value multiple times the actual value of any individual home. There were failures every step of the way by ratings agencies and investment houses. It's all documented.

    When you trot out this sort of nonsense you make very clear that you don't actually have any idea what's going on or went on. You just have a bunch of very out-dated notions that bear no relationship to real-world events.

    Willful ignorance is what today's "conservatism" is based on. That and non-stop dishonesty. Do some real research or stfu.

  91. [91] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    Dead wrong about those loans "not being near enough to destroy the economy".

    You are correct about the loans being "packaged and sold as Triple A investment vehicles", but not true about "over and over", and "fake value multiple times". I suspect that you have zero understanding of the many so-called derivatives that were derived from the bad loans, causing you to demonize them unjustifiably, out of your abundant ignorance of how and what those derivatives actually were.

    I read "The big Short" long ago.

    You are evading my question. How about specifying the "protections being dismantled?. I suspect you are repeating things others have written about subjects that are way over your head.

  92. [92] 
    Paula wrote:

    [91] Stucki: You repeated the canard about "poor people caused the meltdown". It's incorrect and if you don't know it you are ignorant and if you do know it and repeat it anyway you are dishonest.

    As for you question, I'm not going to waste my time getting links for you and all the rest. If you're not following the news re: all the ways Blotus and his minions are dismantling protections against predatory bank behavior, that's your shortcoming, not mine. I have no obligation to either educate you or attempt to change your mind. And if it gives you a warm feeling to believe I'm in over my head and don't understand these matters, well bless your lil ol' heart! Whatever gets you through the night!

  93. [93] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Sorry, but you just ignored everything I said previously about weapons and drugs flowing over the border into Saudi Arabia from Yemen.

    Next time, try leaving a sentence like that out. :)

    This blog needs more civility.

  94. [94] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    FYI John,

    What, someone can't hold different opinions than yours? Especially someone who who holds an actual degree in political science like I do,

    That's also a big turnoff for me.

  95. [95] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Sorry, but you just ignored everything I said previously

    Actually, I ignored everything you said after that. Heh.

  96. [96] 
    DecayedOldBritishLiberal wrote:

    Michale [6] wrote:

    You remind me of a 3rd grader who insists on telling the smarter kids how much he is ignoring them.. :D

    That's me! Back of the net, Michale! But in my declining years there are fewer and fewer pleasures open to me. Have a heart! Cut me a bit of slack!

  97. [97] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    Didn't ask for links, only for your opinion. Your response pretty much confirms my suspicion about you repeating things you've read but failed to understand about subjects that are way over your head, right?

    Big lie, I never "repeated the canard about poor people causing the financial crisis". I'm quick to admit that greedy bankers caused the crisis, but they did it by loaning mortgage money to millions of people whose only hope of repaying lay in the perpetual appreciation of the value of their houses.

    You'd be well advised for purposes of these discussions to stick to the standard Dem/Lib canards about Reps/Cons, such as "All republicans are evil greedy bastards", etc., rather than getting into the specifics. That way you avoid revealing yourself to be the financial dilettante/ignoramus you actually are.

  98. [98] 
    neilm wrote:

    CRS [97]

    Paula is basically right. I was there. The side bets (synthetics, etc.) leveraged low quality loans dressed up as AAA instruments which failed because the system was rotten.

    I spend five years presenting at conventions around the World, consulting with top financial agencies across Asia and selling sophisticated risk management software after the crisis (I had a standing invite to visit the JFSA every time I was in Tokyo to chat with them about latest developments). It wasn't very difficult to figure out what happened after the event, and one of the parties who bear least responsibility were the NINJA mortgage recipients.

    Your level of ignorance about this subject is superlative. You claim to have read "The Big Short" which does a pretty good job summing up the situation, so you either didn't understand it or didn't want to understand it for ideological reasons.

    The ironic part of this is the fact that it was predicted in 2008 that the banks would come out pretty much intact, the regulations would be eroded over time and that the poor and immigrants would be blamed, just as you are doing.

  99. [99] 
    neilm wrote:

    That way you avoid revealing yourself to be the financial dilettante/ignoramus you actually are.

    Oh, and by the way, Paula isn't the person revealing their level of ignorance on this, you are.

  100. [100] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Destined For Political Stardom
    -Omarosa Manigault Newman (probably as a republican)

    Destined For Political Oblivion
    -anthony scaramucci

    Best Political Theater
    -john mccain returning from brain surgery to vote against trumpcare.

    Worst Political Theater
    -NFL protest coverage

    Worst Political Scandal
    -roy moore child molestation

    Most Underreported Story
    -judicial filibuster abolished to confirm gorsuch

    Most Overreported Story
    -anything involving hillary clinton

    Biggest Government Waste
    -"voter fraud" commission

    Best Government Dollar Spent
    -missile response to syrian chemical weapons attack

    Boldest Political Tactic
    -#MeToo movement

    Best Idea
    - RNCPRBS getting out when he did

    Worst Idea
    - firing comey

    Sorry To See You Go
    -Al Franken's reputation

    15 Minutes Of Fame
    -Doug Jones elected to the senate

    Best Spin
    -john kelly hiring

    Most Honest Person
    -Tillerson calls POTUS a "fucking moron"

    Most Overrated
    -the current wall street bubble

    Most Underrated
    -bipartisan anti-gerrymandering efforts

    JL

  101. [101] 
    Paula wrote:

    [97] Nice of you to admit part A: I'm quick to admit that greedy bankers caused the crisis,

    But you nullify it with part b:

    but they did it by loaning mortgage money to millions of people whose only hope of repaying lay in the perpetual appreciation of the value of their houses.

    That is a gross oversimplification of the events that took place and you know it. They made bad loans to bad risks. For every schmuck who believed the nonsensical idea being spread by all sorts of educated (and many very wealthy) people that houses could appreciate in value indefinitely, there was a banker making that bad loan. Folks like you like to focus on the "believers of the lie" over the "purveyors of lie". Then those bad loans were fraudulently packaged and sold to more "marks", making lots of money for some people while taking the world's economy to the edge of an abyss. And every institution entangled in that mess failed in their jobs -- lots and lots of well-off, well-educated people watched the pyramid build then screamed "no one could have predicted" when it -- entirely predictably -- began to crash.

    So yeah, people on the bottom were fools for believing the bullshit pedaled to them by all those people who USED them for gain. And now the banks want carte blanche to do it all again and Blotus and his fellow GOP traitors are giving it to them.

  102. [102] 
    Paula wrote:

    [98-99] neilm: Yep!

  103. [103] 
    Paula wrote:

    Now, it is possible to believe all the bankers/financial wizards/ratings agency personnel etc. weren't knowingly dishonest-corrupt. Rather, they were willfully naive, choosing to avoid dealing with certain realities because, for a time, large profits were happening. It's amazing how persuasive profits are!

    One can acquit them of "evil intent". But likewise, the chumps at the bottom can be acquitted of "greedy intent" as well. They were naive.

    Undoubtedly there were bad apples at all levels. But when you place "average joes who are not financial professionals" on the same level as the pros, and assign them equal or more blame for the crash you are not being even close to accurate.

  104. [104] 
    neilm wrote:

    Undoubtedly there were bad apples at all levels.

    The common belief most of them shared when I or my compatriots talked to them afterwards was that the system had enough checks and balances to keep anything catastrophic from happening.

    The rating agencies knew that they were selling inflated ratings, but thought that it was only a bit of price gouging on behalf of their customers.

    The banks knew some of the loans were more dodgy than they were rated, but thought the percentage of junk loans was low enough that nothing really egregious was taking place.

    One of my neighbors owns a mortgage company and he was going through a divorce at the time and was depressed, so he told me he'd cheer himself up by selling a $5,000 mortgage every night and then have a very nice bottle of wine (he had a great wine cellar!). He couldn't believe the big banks were buying up the loans even when he sold them more and more crap ones, but they just kept asking for more, and you know, they were backed by houses and all that.

    The people creating the instruments were not fully aware of the quality of the loans they were putting in them, and again thought that some people would see a haircut when the instruments dropped in price, but they didn't see them going to near zero.

    Very few people saw enough of the picture to predict the intensity of the crash. Plus Greenspan (who I spent 45 minutes talking to in a green room at the NYSE in 2007 when I launched a new risk management product and he was the key speaker) didn't think the banks would ever risk their own viability (he was of the old school where most of the investment houses were partnerships).

    It was a "fog of war" situation for the most part.

  105. [105] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    This blog needs more civility.

    Yes it does..

    And the FIRST step to civility is to admit that other people might have differing opinions and that doesn't make them "RACIST" or "DEPLORABLE"...

    You people would do well to learn that...

  106. [106] 
    Michale wrote:

    You see, THAT is the exact problem with ya'all...

    You demand tolerance and respect....

    But NO ONE is willing to BE tolerant... or BE respectful....

  107. [107] 
    Michale wrote:

    DOBL,

    That's me! Back of the net, Michale! But in my declining years there are fewer and fewer pleasures open to me. Have a heart! Cut me a bit of slack!

    Fair enough...

    As long as you recognize the reality, who am I to begrudge you your few pleasures in yer declining years.. :D

    Let senility reign!!!! :D

  108. [108] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    My opening stmt [89] was "The meltdown was caused by THE BANKS loaning mortgage money to poor people . . ." You cannot distort that to claim I said the poor people caused the meltdown. 'The banks' is the subject, 'loaning' is the verb, and 'the poor people' is the OBJECT of the sentence.

    When assigning blame, or designating honest/dishonest, it's worth mentioning that right up to the moment the bubble burst, there was no such thing as a bad mortgage!!! With hindsight, we can say, The mortgage brokers who signed up the clients, the retail bankers who bought the mortgages, the ratings guys who gave 'em AAA, the Wall St bankers who packaged and re-sold the mortgages, the investors who bought the mortgage bonds, and the bankers and insurance people who insured the bonds, ALL should have foreseen the defaults coming, but NONE OF THEM (including me and you) DID!!!

    Of course, Dr. Burry did, John Paulson did, and Goldman-Sachs did. That's why they're millionaires/billionaires, and the rest of us are all poor! But that doesn't prove ANYBODY was 'dishonest'! You cannot criminalize greed and/or stupidity!

  109. [109] 
    neilm wrote:

    But NO ONE is willing to BE tolerant... or BE respectful....

    Well, it doesn't take long to see who rails against politeness, tolerance and respect most - labeling it as political correctness. All you Republicans seem to think that saying "Happy Holidays" is too tolerant of non-Christians, that anybody speaking out for a minority hates white people, and that nobody has it harder in today's America than the downtrodden White Christian Male.

    When will you stop crying yourself to sleep every night at every micro-aggression you perceive?

  110. [110] 
    Michale wrote:

    When will you stop crying yourself to sleep every night at every micro-aggression you perceive?

    Says the guy who represents the Party who INVENTED the term "micro-aggression".....

    You want to clean house, clean your OWN house first, sunshine...

  111. [111] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    I perceive from your [101] that you may be laboring under the mistaken belief that the greedy bankers PROFITED' from the mortgage defaults/financial crisis.

    NOTHING could be further from the truth. Some people in the financial chain (primarily brokers and others who got their take in the form of commissions) did indeed profit, but for the banks themselves, it was an unmitigated financial disaster. Numerous banks and mortgage lenders disappeared in bankruptcy and no longer even exist. Foreclosing on defaulted mortgages is a huge money LOSER for banks and other lenders, it is not a profit maker.

  112. [112] 
    Kick wrote:

    ListenWhenYouHear
    72

    I normally agree with the majority of your posts 100%, but your response to Michale in [68] is definitely the exception!

    I have never "met" a person who agreed with me 100% and would be truly shocked if one existed. We each form our opinions based on our lifetime of experiences, and I believe that it is our diversity and these differences that inform us and make us stronger and that almost everyone has something to contribute. While I may be fairly described as opinionated and stubborn, I have been known to change my mind a time or two based on the input of others.

    These days, any shooter that shoots multiple victims is a “terrorist”.

    "Any" shooter? You might want to rethink that one because I believe you're well aware that this is technically false.

    The guy who shot at the Congressional Republicans practicing baseball was labeled a “terrorist”.

    You sure about that?

    https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/washingtondc/news/press-releases/law-enforcement-shares-findings-of-the-investigation-into-the-june-14-alexandria-virginia-shooting

    At this point in the investigation, the FBI does not believe there is a nexus to terrorism.

    Did I miss something?

    The phrase “a credit to their race” has probably never been uttered by anyone who wasn’t white!

    Exactly my point, though, about white privilege. Can't you just hear the howls from a large portion of America if Michael Jordan were to declare that Larry Bird was a "credit to his race" or if Jackie Robinson back in his time were to have ever exclaimed that Babe Ruth was a "credit his race" because Bill "Bo Jangles" Robinson and the Babe were friends?

    In Example 3, you will never know if race was the reason you were stopped unless the officer tells you that was the reason!

    While I agree with you regarding general traffic stops, I used the specific example of being pulled over for "driving an expensive car." While this type racial profiling might not be practiced in your "neck of the woods," I can assure you that it never remotely stopped being practiced in mine. In my "little" town, it is not at all uncommon to be pulled over and asked to show your papers if you are a person of color driving a nice car... come to that, it is also not at all uncommon to be pulled over and asked to show your papers if you are a person of any color driving any type car... if y'all know what I mean.

    I am not saying for a minute that white privilege doesn’t exist, it does and has for years (centuries). For those on the right who don’t believe “white privilege” is real and for those on the left who claim that our country has never addressed the issue: we wouldn’t have affirmative action if we hadn’t already acknowledged that white privilege existed and was a problem. This isn’t a new issue, even if the majority of Americans are too stupid to realize this."

    Absolutely. Anyone who insists white privilege doesn't exist might want to consider the fact that our former president was repeatedly asked to show his papers for being the President of the United States while black. Raised to believe that the country and its leadership belongs to them simply by virtue of their being born white, the "other" in the white house could never be legitimate in their eyes by virtue of the color of his skin. That is certainly not to say that everyone feels this way, but to deny the existence of white privilege is to ignore reality and delude oneself. :)

  113. [113] 
    neilm wrote:

    Says the guy who represents the Party who INVENTED the term "micro-aggression".....

    Of course a Democrat invented the term "microaggresion" (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression).

    Look, the Democrats are the party of the educated and intelligent, so basically invent just about everything - which is something I'm proud of - I'm not part of the dumb-people party as the Republican Party has become, which is why it has lost many of its natural supporters, such as myself.

    Look at the Republican attacks on education - who do you expect people with a functional IQ to support - it isn't like there is much of a choice.

    We're sitting watching the Republican Party deploy the worst excesses of the Country club social mountaineers, abetted by the Libertarian teenagers and the evangelicals.

    We need a sensible center right party in this country - and the reason some of our more left wing Weigantians rail at some of my viewpoints is that I'm probably at the right end of the core of the current Democratic Party.

    I'm exactly the sort of person who the Republican Party should be reaching out to, and who in the past they could have reached out to. But currently I think it will be a generation before I expect to even look at the Republican Party as being a sensible, intelligent, and educated choice for America. This is not something I'm happy about.

  114. [114] 
    neilm wrote:

    For the record, I plead mind-numbing cold..

    Where is frakin' Global Warming when ya need it, eh!???

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cxy8S2UXcAA6KYM.jpg

    ;)

  115. [115] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    I have heretofore assumed that you might be the only person here other than this writer who understands the true nature of the financial crisis and especially the role of the derivatives (mainly the infamous CDS's), but your post [98] where you mention "the side bets (synthetics) etc" causes me to question that assumption. Can you actually define what a CDS actually is? I'm certain Paula wouldn't have a clue, and now I'm starting to wonder about you.

    Give me any example of something you think "I didn't understand" about Lewis's "The Big Short", or the financial crisis in general, and I'll be happy to clarify.

    I have repeatedly written that the financial meltdown was caused "By the banks loaning mortgage $ to people whose only hope of repayment lay in the perpetual increase in the appraised value of their houses." You'll note "The banks" is the subject of that sentence, "loaning" is the verb, and "the poor" is the OBJECT!

    I have NEVER blamed "the poor and the immigrants" for the meltdown, that's bullshit of the 1st magnitude.

  116. [116] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm [114]

    Presuming you're referencing Trump's Tweet to the effect of "please send some of that global warming".

    I understand how the believers in global warming believe that you cannot connect or perhaps conflate, the current weather on any given day to global warming, but I have to wonder, How then does global warming manifest itself???

    If weather is totally disconnected from global warming, what do you guys think IS connected?

  117. [117] 
    neilm wrote:

    the financial meltdown was caused "By the banks loaning mortgage $ to people whose only hope of repayment lay in the perpetual increase in the appraised value of their houses."

    If that was the only cause then the economic impact would not have been anything like as large in the U.S. as it was, and would not have had the global impact it did.

    CDSs, CDOs, CDO-squared, and other synthetics greatly magnified the impact of the underlying mortgage issue and were the cause of most of the pain in the U.S. and just about all of the pain in the rest of the World.

    There are plenty of books and articles that explain these.

    You are correct about the loans being "packaged and sold as Triple A investment vehicles", but not true about "over and over", and "fake value multiple times".

    Paula was correct about the same underlying mortgage being leveraged multiple times - basically that is what the "squared" in the CDO-squared stands for, just as one example. Thus the "fake value" which we all agree on was used not just once, but underpinned an inverted pyramid of instruments.

    Post [89] The premise of this post is that a lot of mortgages failed and that caused the meltdown. The mortgage failures did not cause the meltdown, the mortgage failures were the trigger for the failure of the inverted pyramid of financial instruments that caused the meltdown.

    It is akin to strapping a bomb to every car, then claiming the huge number of deaths are due to bad driving - sure a bad driver, or a driver who made a genuine mistake, could cause an accident, but the fact that his car, plus the car that he hit, and all the others around exploded is really caused by the bombs, not the fender bender.

  118. [118] 
    neilm wrote:

    If weather is totally disconnected from global warming, what do you guys think IS connected?

    Inflation, population growth, and productivity are the main drivers of capital markets over decades. However the random walk of the stock market on a daily, or even annual, basis cannot be directly attributed to any of these factors as there are other short term factors that move stock prices.

    I'm sure I don't need to telly-tubby this and extrapolate to climate, regions and weather.

  119. [119] 
    neilm wrote:

    Presuming you're referencing Trump's Tweet to the effect of "please send some of that global warming".

    "Global warming isn't real because I was cold today. Also, Great News: World hunger is solved because I just ate."
    - Steven Colbert

    ;)

  120. [120] 
    Paula wrote:

    Stucki: Actually there WERE people saying the way the system was working was destined for an inevitable crash - but no, I'm not going to start hunting up links from 2006-7. And even in my limited way it was clear to me years ago that the notion houses could appreciate indefinitely was not-to-be-believed. That there could be areas in the country where homes could command exorbitant prices relative to their square footage, amenities, etc. - L.A., Manhattan and environs, etc. I could see -- but the same wasn't going to be true everywhere.

    [104] neilm: Yes, I can believe most relevant folks on Wall Street etc. underestimated the potential for disaster, but I think a certain amount of that related directly to their own complicity and, for some, because they benefitted. It's just like repubs now being shocked there are unexpectedly bad things coming to light in the tax heist. They're surprised because the process obfuscated content -- but they stood by and let it. It's their job to take care of the country's business, and they didn't. They got warnings from several quarters and put their hands over their ears. But be that as it may, thank you for more clearly explaining points I was trying to make.

    Separately from that, in this sort-of-relevant article: https://theintercept.com/2017/12/28/scott-pruitt-failed-banker-running-epa-superfund-program/ we learn about Scott Pruitt's buddy who is now working for the EPA in a position he is utterly unqualified for. Funnily enough, this guy inherited the bank his Grandpa started. During build-up to the meltdown he gave Pruitt -- then a Oklahoma State Rep earning $32k, with a wife who reported no income -- a mortgage for a $500k home. AMONG OTHER THINGS. Pruitt ended up selling that house for a loss a few years later. Pruitt became OK Attorney General, salary a bit over $100k, got an even bigger mortgage from his buddy. Pruitt was the ONLY Atty Genl to turn down federal funds provided to help people in foreclosure. BECAUSE, said this fucker, "it penalized financially responsible homeowners". Pruitt's buddy has since been "banned from banking for life" and now has a nice little job under Scottie, helping destroy the EPA. Blotus' folks are all cut from the same cloth.

    Among other notes in the article is this:

    “One of the things that was so illuminating to me was income didn’t” determine who banks targeted for unfavorable loans, said Gobar, whose study found elevated foreclosure rates in census tracts with higher concentrations of residents of color. “African-Americans who could have afforded a prime loan were steered by these institutions to get subprime loans.”

    When people do their "greedy poor people took bad loans" schtick there's often a "and they were all black" subtext. They either don't know, or don't mention the fact that black people were deliberately pushed into sub-prime loans. By sleezoids working in banks throughout the U.S.

  121. [121] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm [117]

    Dead wrong about the defaulted mortgages being the "small part" of the financial crisis. The defaulted mortgages represented 100% of the direct net losses to banks and/or investors and to the world economy as a whole. Obviously, the housing bubble which represented perhaps the biggest mis-allocation of resources ever perpetrated upon the world economy, would have secondary repercussions. It's only reasonable to realize that there would be huge consequences (Losses) to the economy resulting from millions of homes being built for which there were no qualified buyers. The mass unemployment, the bankruptcies of two of the 'big'three automakers, etc etc., but every bit of that was the fruit of the collapse of the residential construction industry, caused by diverting $billions of capital into building houses for which there were no qualified buyers.

    The derivatives/synthetics are merely a large-scale equivalent of a friendly neighborhood poker game, meaning for the most part a zero-sum game. The money that AIG lost selling CDS's to Goldman-Sachs was exactly the money that G-S won by buying the CDS's. Not a cent of net loss to the economy.

    Once again, you're causing me to wonder if I'm the only one around here that really understands the financial crisis/meltdown.

    [118] How did the daily doings of the stock mkt get into a discussion of global warming?

  122. [122] 
    neilm wrote:

    The defaulted mortgages represented 100% of the direct net losses to banks and/or investors and to the world economy as a whole.

    You totally misunderstand the concept of leverage. Sorry. Re-read the "bombs on cars" analogy.

    Most people in the U.S. held on to their houses through the financial crisis, therefore only saw paper losses. It was the paper that was leveraged on those properties that lost money.

    There are about 126 million housing units in the U.S., and in 2008 there was a record low in housing sales ... explain to me again how realized property losses were 100% of the "direct net losses" to banks?

  123. [123] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Kick,

    I guess I am a little confused as to who it is that you are saying is demonstrating “white privilege” with their statements.

    At this point in the investigation, the FBI does not believe there is a nexus to terrorism.

    Yes, the FBI did not feel the shooter fit their definition for “terrorist”, but I have never seen them officially refer to a person of color that commits a mass shooting as a “thug” either. However, the general public would and do use both terms.

    I don’t consider the “credit to your race” comment as being a case of “white privilege”, because there is no benefit being granted; it’s just a bigoted statement that is usually made by someone trying to give what they consider to be high praise to a person of color, but failing miserably!

  124. [124] 
    neilm wrote:

    [118] How did the daily doings of the stock mkt get into a discussion of global warming?

    I hoped I didn't have to telly-tubby it ... oh well, here goes.

    There are long term drivers and short term drivers to systems.

    The DOW was 381 at its peak in 1929. It is now almost 25,000.

    Inflation is a major part of that increase. So is population growth. And productivity.

    The DOW was 20,000 in January of this year. There hasn't been a combined 20% increase in inflation, population growth and productivity this year.

    Next year the DOW could be 16,000 or 30,000.

    In 80 years time, do you think the DOW is more likely to be 10,000 or 200,000?

    Do you think the same drivers that impact the DOW between now and December 2018 are the same as those that impact the DOW between now and December 2097?

    Climate works the same way - long term drivers manifest themselves over decades, short term drivers over days, weeks, or sometimes (e.g. El Nino) years.

  125. [125] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm [122]

    "Most of the people in the U.S. held onto their houses through the financial crisis, therefor only saw paper losses."

    The buyers/owners who bought during the run-up to the bubble burst mostly had zero losses. The vast majority were bought with no down pmt, meaning the buyers had no equity, meaning they had nothing TO lose, which is why they simply walked away or were evicted. The losses were sustained NOT by the buyers/owners, but by whomever loaned the mortgage money or bought the bundled mortgage bonds. Whoever wound up with the foreclosed houses had to re-sell, once the market stabilized enough for some buyers to return, always at a huge loss.

    The myth exists among Dems/Libs that all those poor folks got cheated out of their new houses when the mortgage owners foreclosed, but if you have no equity, you don't get cheated out of anything, only the mortgage holders get cheated, because the proceeds of the re-sale don't even come close to the amount of money they originally loaned.

  126. [126] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    Re my [115] "Can you define what a CDS actually is?"

    Still waiting! I'm beginning to suspect that you and Paula are at the same level in discussing the intricacies of the financial crisis - both over your heads. If all you can do is badmouth the derivatives from having heard that they were "somehow" at the root of the financial crisis, it can only reinforce my suspicions.

  127. [127] 
    neilm wrote:

    "Still waiting!"

    Oh for Pete's sake, I worked with the software that valued the damn things. They are a simple vehicle to transfer risk.

    Given your bizarre understanding of the basics of capital markets and the events of 2008 I'm not really the one who needs to prove anything.

    Tell me, when did you last meet with top analysts in the JFSA? China's Finance Ministry's CIO? Alan Greenspan? Debate Barry Ritholz? Have dinner with Tim Harford? Present with Martin Wolf? Consult with Larry Tabb?

    You probably haven't even heard of half of these people.

    Grow up.

  128. [128] 
    neilm wrote:

    The myth exists among Dems/Libs

    And here is your problem ... this is a "Dems/Libs" thing for you. You view the whole crisis using Bush/Obama ... Dems/Repubs ... Us/Them.

    If you really think that the only vehicles that caused losses were the mortgages that were defaulted on it is useless to discuss any further. Do yourself a favor, stop trying to defend this position, it isn't making you look any smarter.

  129. [129] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    'Nuff said!

  130. [130] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Is that a promise?

  131. [131] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz

    Nope, no promise, sorry.

    P.S. For those whose only knowledge of the financial crisis comes from fellow Dems/Libs who themselves are totally ignorant of everything about it beyond the fact that all bankers are greedy Rep bastards, or who got it from watching "The Big Short", I'd heartily recommend that you forget the movie and read the actual book.

    Mike Lewis wrote the book as info/expose, but Hollywood made the movie as Dem/Lib entertainment/propaganda, because that's what Hollywood does. The book wont dispel all your misconceptions for various reasons, one of which is most Weigantians don't really WANT their misconceptions dispelled, but it's a great read and may help a little.

  132. [132] 
    Paula wrote:

    The Big Short doesn't tell the entire story - but it's a great intro. to people who don't really understand/know what precipitated the financial crisis. When things were starting to come unravelled Greenspan and lots of others were busily spinning the "no one could have anticipated" narrative, and lots of folks were engaged in CYA. Maybe, as neilm explains, they all really believed it - that no one could have anticipated the collapse of the pyramid/bubble. As noted [120], I think there was a hell of a lot of people NOT WANTING TO anticipate the collapse going on. And there were a lot of folks who wanted to make the narrative all about "greedy poor people". It took awhile for the stories to start coming out about how the puzzle pieces actually fitted together. But they came out eventually.

    Anyway -- no one can make the same arguments going forward. (No one who isn't lying or negligent.) We now know exactly how things went down and efforts to "free" banks from Dodd Frank and other restrictions are stupid and reckless. Trying to kill the CFPB: ditto.

  133. [133] 
    Paula wrote:

    The Big Short doesn't tell the entire story - but it's a great intro. to people who don't really understand/know what precipitated the financial crisis. When things were starting to come unravelled Greenspan and lots of others were busily spinning the "no one could have anticipated" narrative, and lots of folks were engaged in CYA. Maybe, as neilm explains, they all really believed it - that no one could have anticipated the collapse of the pyramid/bubble. As noted [120], I think there was a hell of a lot of people NOT WANTING TO anticipate the collapse going on. And there were a lot of folks who wanted to make the narrative all about "greedy poor people". It took awhile for the stories to start coming out about how the puzzle pieces actually fitted together. But they came out eventually.

    Anyway -- no one can make the same arguments going forward. (No one who isn't lying or negligent.) We now know exactly how things went down and efforts to "free" banks from Dodd Frank and other restrictions are stupid and reckless. Trying to kill the CFPB: ditto.

  134. [134] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    Yeah, about that "Dodd-Frank" thing, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank were at the top of the whole (mostly Dem/Lib) group pushing the "mortgage money for poor folks" concept for the decade it took for the bubble to form (along with two or more presidents of both parties).

    It is the epitome of irony that Chris Dodd (aka one of the top "Friends of Angello" as in Angello Mozillo, founder and CEO of Countrywide Lending, the absolute single largest perpetrator of bogus sub-prime loans in the whole country) had his name attached to the congressional bill that was supposedly crafted to correct all the wrongs that produced the financial crisis.

    I don't have strong opinions either way on the efficacy of Dodd-Frank, but I seriously doubt that the repeal thereof would produce another sub-prime mortgage crisis, at least not in the lifetime of anybody now living.

    Regardless of how greedy and stupid the high-finance types are, nobody is THAT greedy and stupid.

  135. [135] 
    Paula wrote:

    And you come back to the "mortgage money for poor folks."

    As for whether high finance types are THAT greedy and stupid or not, the point is not to EVER let it come down to it being a matter of whether a set of people ARE or ARE NOT stupid and greedy. You build in preventative measures which Dodd Frank does and which GOP lickspittles are tearing down. It is the height of stupidity to decide "oh, everyone has learned their lesson" and they'll never do it again. Throughout the build-up to the crisis way too many people told themselves "oh, no one would be this stupid/greedy/irresponsible". But they were.

  136. [136] 
    Paula wrote:

    And Blotus's entire cabinet is filled with shitheads who are tearing down protections on every level. Because they are shitheads and when you put shitheads in power they do shithead things. You need checks and balances and laws to prevent that stuff. Because people are capable of high degrees of shitheadedness -- republicans have made that clear and Trumpers even more so.

  137. [137] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    For those whose only knowledge of the financial crisis comes from fellow Dems/Libs who themselves are totally ignorant of everything about it beyond the fact that all bankers are greedy Rep bastards, or who got it from watching "The Big Short" ...

    Really, Stucki?

    I actually learned quite a lot from Tim Geithner through his many hours of testimony and Q&A before various congressional committees.

  138. [138] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula [134]

    Yeah, it's hard to get away from that "mortgage money for poor folks" thing in a discussion of the mortgage default financial crisis.

    You'd probably be amazed at how few rich folks defaulted on THEIR mortgages!!!

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