Category: Europe

Thank you Keynesians, marxists, and progressives!

At least some people are admitting that we are running out of other people’s money, and that the cost to address this problem is going to be brutal:

Much of the Western world will require defaults, a savings tax and higher inflation to clear the way for recovery as debt levels reach a 200-year high, according to a new report by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF working paper said debt burdens in developed nations have become extreme by any historical measure and will require a wave of haircuts, either negotiated 1930s-style write-offs or the standard mix of measures used by the IMF in its “toolkit” for emerging market blow-ups. “The size of the problem suggests that restructurings will be needed, for example, in the periphery of Europe, far beyond anything discussed in public to this point,” said the paper, by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. The paper said policy elites in the West are still clinging to the illusion that rich countries are different from poorer regions and can therefore chip away at their debts with a blend of austerity cuts, growth, and tinkering (“forbearance”).

The presumption is that advanced economies “do not resort to such gimmicks” such as debt restructuring and repression, which would “give up hard-earned credibility” and throw the economy into a “vicious circle”. But the paper says this mantra borders on “collective amnesia” of European and US history, and is built on “overly optimistic” assumptions that risk doing far more damage to credibility in the end. It is causing the crisis to drag on, blocking a lasting solution. “This denial has led to policies that in some cases risk exacerbating the final costs,” it said. While use of debt pooling in the eurozone can reduce the need for restructuring or defaults, it comes at the cost of higher burdens for northern taxpayers. This could drag the EMU core states into a recession and aggravate their own debt and ageing crises. The clear implication of the IMF paper is that Germany and the creditor core would do better to bite the bullet on big write-offs immediately rather than buying time with creeping debt mutualisation.

The paper says the Western debt burden is now so big that rich states will need same tonic of debt haircuts, higher inflation and financial repression – defined as an “opaque tax on savers” – as used in countless IMF rescues for emerging markets. “The magnitude of the overall debt problem facing advanced economies today is difficult to overstate. The current central government debt in advanced economies is approaching a two-century high-water mark,” they said.

Things are bad. Really fucking bad. And yeah, this article focuses primarily on Europe, but Obama and the last 5 years have put the US, whom was on a slow road to the same disaster before the left took over, on the same fast track to disaster. The fact is that our elite have been acting as if their shit don’t stink, and they have basically set us all on a course to becoming a banana republic. With a hard stop in “fuck over the productive tax payers” land, first.

What we have now is unsustainable. Some of us saw this a long time ago. With finite resources this overspending put us on a road to disaster. Worse yet has been the focus on wealth redistribution and the cradle to grave welfare state, geared primarily towards the chronically unproductive, at the cost of the productive, especially in the upper lower and middle classes, whom get shafted far harder by these schemes and scams, and the wealth producers, despite the left’s assurance that was never supposed to be the case. The progressives, with their need to pick who gets to succeed/win and who doesn’t, have destroyed our economies and hobbled our ability to produce new wealth (a concept the progressives simply seem unable to grasp). Sure they will tell you it’s capitalism’s fault, but the real problem has always been that when government starts interfering and favoring something/someone over another, that capitalism no longer exists. What we have, and have had for the longest time, is cronyism: a system where the private sector is in bed with government, and in the US with one particular party which controls practically all access to abuses of the law to favor one group over another (do I need to remind you which party that is again, or can you guess?), and uses favor buying to keep out competition or advancement other than those the intelligentsia approve of, all while larding their campaign coffers and their own bank accounts. It’s not by accident that despite all the progressive overregulation of the Obama years that the rich have gotten richer, while everyone else, and especially the middle class, have gotten hammered.

Oh, the Keynesians will disagree and demand we have more of the same old shit that got us where we are today. But as I have often pointed out, the definition of insanity is that you keep doing the same shit, over and over, expecting different results. All we have done is drastically increased our nation’s debt while exacerbating the problem. Now we are told by the same people that caused this problem that what we need is to let them do even more of this insane tax & spend, government controlled, cronyism. Yeah, and this time it really, really, really, will work. These fucking idiots remind me of the doomsday cultists that constantly find an excuse for why their promise never came to pass, and then, tell us they know what went wrong and the next time they predict doom, it will really be real thing. Only our progressives are predicting salvation and delivering doom, in an ironic twist of faith.

The sooner we dismantle the nanny state, the sooner we can get things back in order. It’s pain now, or a lot more pain, if not outright death, later. But the fact is that what we have today doesn’t work and can’t be continued. Anyone pretending otherwise is not just deluded, but should make the rest of us wonder about their intent. When it is obvious how this plays out, and you will not give it up, we should be able to question your motives. And we should start calling them out on that.

When you run out of other people’s money…

You get something like this in social paradise:
Welfare advocates regularly urge Americans to look to the European welfare state as a model. At least in the case of the Netherlands, they might be on to something.

The Dutch have just announced a massive reform of their welfare system, designed to reduce dependency and put a new emphasis on work. For example, welfare applicants will now be required to prove that they spent at least 4 weeks actively searching for a job before they become eligible for any assistance. And once they begin to receive benefits they will either have to work or perform volunteer community service. Dutch welfare recipients would be required to take available jobs even if they had to move or commute up to three hours per day.

Given that just 42 percent of U.S. welfare recipients are engaged in even broadly defined work activities (including job training, college, or job search), and that an attempt to restore work requirements to the food stamp program has been met with a storm of resistance, the Dutch appear to be much more pro-work than we are.

Other reforms would reduce benefits by treating families as a single unit, rather than as separate individuals. For instance a mother with two children would receive a single payment rather than three separate payments. The combined payment would be less, based on the assumption of “shared expense.”

This is just another change in the whole unsustainable system. A few years back they reformed their healthcare system to provide catastrophic coverage for all while leaving it up to the individual to provide the other coverage needs. Oh yeah, while the article isn’t clear on this issue, I bet that like they did when they reformed healthcare in the Netherlands, they kept the taxes untouched.

People clamoring for European style welfare, be it around healthcare or otherwise, in the US should be weary. There is no such thing as a free lunch…

Yule Log

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year. I will be posting some other Christmas related posts in the next week or so, no War on Christmas posts are coming so relax, and to start it off (they will get better, I promise) I will “roll out” this one;

I really don’t know what to say, other than, you’ve got to be kidding me? Tourists will buy anything, I guess.

I remember years ago visiting Tijuana (or any flee market for matter selling cacti) where I would see the cactus planter of the Mexican guy with his big sombrero and the long phallic shaped cactus emanating in close proximity to his nether regions (do they still sell those things?) I often wondered, aside from say a gag gift, do people actually buy these things and display them in their homes? Here is another one for that category.

Those low interest rates are fucking us savers over

I do not believe that it was coincidence that US interest rates, and for that matter interest rates across the globe, have been held so low for the last 5 years or so. That’s because as the report titled McKinsey Global Institute -Quantitive Easing (QE) and ultra-low interest rates: Distributional effects and risks (72 pages) shows, our government, and many others, used QE to transfer wealth from savers to themselves.

Traditionally interest rates have floated around 5 to 6½ percent, and served as a means for many savers to make a decent return on their cash. But in 2009, as Keynesian idiots an progressive tax & spenders took control around the globe, it looks like governments decided they wanted that money for themselves, so they dropped the interest rates to near non-existent rates as the graph below clearly shows.

Government Interest Rates

Government Interest Rates

As can clearly be seen, the last 5 years have allowed governments to get away with rates that were unprecedented. This allowed them to not only pay peanuts on money they borrowed, but they have been able to print tons of cash, devaluing the currency, while taking very little risk on their part. This has allowed our governments, but especially ours in the US, to save ridiculous amounts of money, as the next graph shows.

Government Savings Due to Low Rates

Government Savings Due to Low Rates

And these savings have come while these governments, but again, especially the one in the US, has engaged in terrible fiscal policy. This Keynesian shit doesn’t work. The left can keep deluding themselves otherwise, but the fact is that all we have done is traded $6 trillion in new debt – so far – for the illusion that the economy isn’t as bad as these progressives and their social engineering policies have turned it into. The damage, as is usually the case when government institutes these social engineering policies, is born by the people doing the right things, just like the next graph shows.

Impact of Lower Policy Rates on Savings

Impact of Lower Policy Rates on Savings

Literally our Keynesians have transferred trillions from those of us trying to save for our future to an inefficient, bloated, corrupt and mismanaged government and some of the richest people in the banking and commodities industries, while taking that money from the people trying to save for their future (like me). In short, the entire QE and debt policy of these governments, but especially that of our US government, has amounted to a massive hidden tax on those people engaged in the right fiscal policy of saving for their futures. This is not by accident. The progressives want government to control everything and everyone, and when people are destitute and beholden to government for the important things (healthcare now too!) they are far easier to control.

Reality is that eventually they will no longer be bale to keep these low rates. And then they are going to get hurt. In the US, where we now have hit $17 trillion dollars in debt, with the current government on pace to tack at least another $4-6 trillion more before they finally get send to pasture, literally doubling the debt accumulated in some 60 years in but a single 8 year presidential term, by what history should record was the most inept president and the most destructive decade of leftist failed economic policies in the history of this nation, and with the greatest fiscal burden ever put on our tax payers in the form of a government healthcare takeover, this gravy train can’t keep going. Sooner than later inflation will rear its ugly head, and then, we are going to get screwed. Hard. The debt we have accumulated, at normal historical interest rates, is going to suck up the bulk of the over $2.5 trillion the US government collects in taxes.

The writing is on the wall: the progressive nanny state is doomed. Despite the fact that the left is increased the pace of this destruction and is now piling on the added burdens we will face at staggering rates, we have choices that are going to need to be made. They are going to be hard choices, but the alternative is a collapse of our economy. Of course, with the progressives accumulating power and wealth like they have been doing for a while now, I feel this was the plan all along. These scumbags have positioned themselves to take over when that happens and they will be fine. The rest of us will find ourselves living in another version of the USSR only with even more inept and petty masters. But they all will tell us they are doing it for our own good.

The Baby Thieves

I’m sure the only reason this hasn’t happened more often is because no one had ever thought of it:

Last summer a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week Ryanair training course at Stansted. Staying at an airport hotel, she had something of a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy. She called the police, who arrived at her room when she was on the phone to her mother. The police asked to speak to the grandmother, who explained that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication to calm her down.

The police told the mother that they were taking her to hospital to “make sure that the baby was OK”. On arrival, she was startled to see that it was a psychiatric hospital, and said she wanted to go back to her hotel. She was restrained by orderlies, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and told that she must stay in the hospital.

By now Essex social services were involved, and five weeks later she was told she could not have breakfast that day. When no explanation was forthcoming, she volubly protested. She was strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken into care by social workers. She was not allowed to see her baby daughter, and later learnt that a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, had given the social workers permission to arrange for the child to be delivered. In October, at a hearing before another judge, she was represented by lawyers assigned to her by the local authority and told she would be escorted back to Italy without her baby.

The mother is back on her medication now (she was likely off due to the pregnancy). But the authorities refuse to give her daughter back. The Chelmsford court says they can’t risk her going off the meds, since, apparently, in the UK, no parent is ever off their meds. The Italian authorities concluded that they can’t do anything because she didn’t protest her treatment at the time — you know, that time when she was confused and disoriented in a foreign country and was sectioned anyway. Her ex-husband has tried to adopt, but the courts say he has no blood tie. Unless someone steps in, she will never get her child back. Even is she does, she has already missed the first year and a half of her child’s life.

Now this is an extremely rare event so we shouldn’t read too much into it, right? Wrong. In this country, we’ve had children yanked out of parents arms for being obese. We’ve had children put into foster care because their parents had some pot. We’ve had babies ripped from their mothers’ arms because they ate a poppy seed bagel. And custody battles are often decided in favor of whoever is the worst helicopter parent.

One of the running themes of the Nanny State is that you are not a good enough parent. Your child has too high a BMI! And what’s that scrape on their knee? Do I smell booze on your breath? Are those cigarette butts? Who did you vote for? For God’s sake, are you using formula to feed your newborn?! What kind of monster are you? And the Nannies see Britain — with its sectioning and ASBO’s — as a shadowy model for what they want to build here.

But surely even the Nannies would draw the line at an invasive medical procedure, right? Wrong. Just a few weeks ago, we found out about David Eckert. He was pulled over for a routine traffic stop but officers thought, based on a drug dog alert and him seeming to clinch his butt cheeks, that he had drugs in his rectum. Then this happened:

Mr. Eckert released medical records to local reporters, who reviewed them and noted that the following things were done to him by doctors and staff at Gila Regional Medical Center:

1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

Allow me to repeat: no narcotics were ever found during Mr. Eckert’s encounter with police and doctors.

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures.

This is coming, folks. One day, we will read that some American woman has had her baby literally ripped from her belly, most likely in the name of the War on Drugs. Let’s not say we didn’t see it coming.

Play on, PLAYA!

A new round of talks is scheduled to start between Iran and what is known as the 5+1 group – the 5 UN security council members with a veto and Germany – and this time everyone has high hopes about these talks going somewhere for a change. I sure it isn’t because these idiots have fallen for the narcissist in chief’s misguided belief that Iran will see he means well and finally give up its nuclear ambitions, because if we look at the very words Iran’s leadership is quoted of using to describe their ambitions in this New York Post article, we find that:

The core issue, once again spelled out by Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei last week, is this: The Islamic Republic sees itself as successor to the defunct Soviet Union in the role of chief challenger to “American global hegemony.” It hopes to dominate the Middle East, and beyond it “the Muslim world,” with a narrative of jihad and eventual triumph of Islam.

To that end, Iran needs to champion the destruction of Israel to attract support from “Arab masses.” To consolidate its status as “a Grand Power,” in Khamenei’s words, the Islamic Republic also needs, again in Khamenei’s words, “complete mastery of nuclear science and technology” even if not it doesn’t build an arsenal of nuclear weapons at this time.

Not sure how you compromise with people that have that “we need nukes to fight America and to wipe out Israel” strategic long-term goal, but I am willing to listen to people that think they have something, this time, that will work, as opposed to their efforts of the last 2 plus decades, that have been nothing but a weak delaying tactic. Iran’s goal is to pretend it is giving a concession, without really giving up its pursuit of nukes, while getting the sanctions lifted. As the article points out, Iran can easily do so by agreeing to a moratorium in production of enriched Uranium and Plutonium, for a limited time, while getting the 5+1 group to agree Iran has a right to nukes. The narcissist in chief gets to pretend he solved a problem, the west can pretend this is not of concern to them for a while, the Europeans can now start selling Iran shit and making money, and the problem has been kicked down the road. Iran not only loses the sanctions but gets to carry on with its apocalyptic plans.

It will be up to Israel to stop these mad fucks in Teheran from getting nukes, as I always expected it would be, and the world will again hate the Jews for doing the right thing. We are our own worst enemy. We continue to enable Iran, and we will be all flabbergasted when they get nukes and use them.

The one thing the article doesn’t mention?

The Dutch are starting a campaign to turn their citizens into snitches, by educating them on the means to spot and turn in illegal marijuana growers. The article talks about the “risk” associated with these illegal growers, whom get accused of stealing power to keep their hydroponic operations going, to give this campaign the veneer of legitimacy. But the real reason that the Dutch government is doing this is never mentioned. From the article:

Police estimate the bulk cultivation and sale of cannabis was worth some 2.2 billion euros in 2012, most of it in the hands of criminal organisations.

And that’s the real motivation behind this campaign to turn people into snitches folks. The Dutch politicians are pissed government isn’t getting its cut of that 2.2 billion euros. If you are growing the stuff to sell, you need to be licensed and pay taxes. Pay up BITCHEZ! It’s always about their take with these “social justice” types. It is genius that they pretend to be concerned about anything but the money, though.

I suspect that this campaign will work, and work well. The Dutch have been heavily inculcated with envy of what others have and had subservience to the state beating into them hardcore. After all, this is a country that passed a law restricting the top pay of private company leadership to be on par with what they pay politicians, under the pretense of social justice, and fairness, and what not, but really so the political class could tie support for pay increases of their pay to big donations from their corporate cronies. And they did that by playing on the sheeple’s envy of what others have.

The Swiss Miss

OK:

Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.

For married couples, you’re talking about $67,000 a year for blessing the planet with your presence. I know couples with two PhD’s who don’t make that much. Switzerland is a wealthy and expensive country — the per capita income is nearly $80,000. But this is ridiculous. In addition, Switzerland enacted “say on pay” limits to executive compensation and have an upcoming referendum to limit executive salaries to 12 times the lowest paid staff member. They may not be going quite full communist, but they’re close.

If these pass and you open a business in Switzerland, you will have to pay every employee no less than $34,000 a year and you yourself will not be able to take home more than $400,000 per year. I’ve always liked Switzerland, but I can see this driving away a lot of businesses.

Leftist reminds us why pacificsts can’t be trusted on foreign policy issues

Nick Baumann over at Slate, a hard core leftist, has an unbelievably stupid post up titled “Neville Chamberlain was right“, where he makes the insane assertion that Chamberlain, the man that let Hitler rape Czechoslovakia and emboldened him to actually think that he could do whatever he wanted, because the diplomatic types, in an effort to avoid conflict, would turn a blind eye to his efforts. No, I am not making that up. This idiot actually wrote an article where he makes the case that Chamberlain did the right thing by kowtowing to a bully. Baumann writes:

Seventy-five years ago, on Sept. 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact, handing portions of Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler’s Germany. Chamberlain returned to Britain to popular acclaim, declaring that he had secured “peace for our time.” Today the prime minister is generally portrayed as a foolish man who was wrong to try to “appease” Hitler—a cautionary tale for any leader silly enough to prefer negotiation to confrontation.

But among historians, that view changed in the late 1950s, when the British government began making Chamberlain-era records available to researchers. “The result of this was the discovery of all sorts of factors that narrowed the options of the British government in general and narrowed the options of Neville Chamberlain in particular,” explains David Dutton, a British historian who wrote a recent biography of the prime minister. “The evidence was so overwhelming,” he says, that many historians came to believe that Chamberlain “couldn’t do anything other than what he did” at Munich. Over time, Dutton says, “the weight of the historiography began to shift to a much more sympathetic appreciation” of Chamberlain.

First, a look at the military situation. Most historians agree that the British army was not ready for war with Germany in September 1938. If war had broken out over the Czechoslovak crisis, Britain would only have been able to send two divisions to the continent—and ill-equipped divisions, at that. Between 1919 and March 1932, Britain had based its military planning on a “10-year rule,” which assumed Britain would face no major war in the next decade. Rearmament only began in 1934—and only on a limited basis. The British army, as it existed in September 1938, was simply not intended for continental warfare. Nor was the rearmament of the Navy or the Royal Air Force complete. British naval rearmament had recommenced in 1936 as part of a five-year program. And although Hitler’s Luftwaffe had repeatedly doubled in size in the late 1930s, it wasn’t until April 1938 that the British government decided that its air force could purchase as many aircraft as could be produced.

All of this factored into what Chamberlain was hearing from his top military advisers. In March 1938 the British military chiefs of staff produced a report that concluded that Britain could not possibly stop Germany from taking Czechoslovakia. In general, British generals believed the military and the nation were not ready for war. On Sept. 20, 1938, then-Col.Hastings Ismay, secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defense, sent a note to Thomas Inskip, the minister for the coordination of defense, and Sir Horace Wilson, a civil servant. Time was on Britain’s side, Ismay argued, writing that delaying the outbreak of war would give the Royal Air Force time to acquire airplanes that could counter the Luftwaffe, which he considered the only chance for defeating Hitler. British strategists, including Ismay, believed their country could win a long war (so long as they had time to prepare for it). This was a common belief, and doubtless factored into Chamberlain’s calculations.

Seriously? What a douche you are Baumann. Whether England was ready for war or not, bowing to Hitler’s pressure to allow him to annex his neighbor’s property served only to encourage Hitler to pursue that war Baumann claims England was not ready to fight. Here is a revelation for you Baumann:. Germany was not ready for war in 1938 either.

Hitler bluffed, nobody called that bluff, and he then did the next logical thing in his mind: he got bolder. When he won that easily he took away the lesson that the other European powers, so afraid of war, would do anything to avoid conflict. Queue a series of events that all but guaranteed a war that Europe was never going to be prepared for. Chamberlains weakness all but assured Hitler would push things to the point where war became inevitable. No serious historian would make the case otherwise. No country is ever ready for war when it comes knocking at the door, but the ones that refuse to fight when it is obvious that the fight is coming unless the enemy understands the costs, are the ones that guarantee conflict.

So I ask myself WTF is this idiot trying to make a point about? We finally get it towards the end of this ridiculous article.

Historians often find themselves moving against popular opinion. In the case of Chamberlain, though, the gap between public perception and the historical record serves a political purpose. The story we’re told about Munich is one about the futility and foolishness of searching for peace. In American political debates, the words “appeasement” and “Munich” are used to bludgeon those who argue against war

Revisionist douchebags, especially the pacifist kind, that think they are suddenly being clever and see something nobody else was able to for over 7 decades, suck. Peace at all costs brought Chamberlain’s England, and for that matter the world, a horrible and costly war. Had England told Hitler there would be consequences and war would come if he violated a sovereign nation, Hitler would have thought twice about his “Anshluss” policy. Hitler was the equivalent of your average high school bully. Attempts to negotiate peace with a bully always fail. Anyone incapable of understanding this principle should never be allowed near the leavers of power.

Swiss war game invasion by bankrupt frogs

And I have to say that as far as insane scenarios go, to me, this one would rank second, right after the one where France votes itself into an Islamic Republic, and then decides it needs to conquer the rest of Europe. I do have to say that a horde of angry & starving marxist-wannabe frogs charging you to steal your shit is a funny thing to war game against, but the Swiss might be on to something when you hear stories like this in a country that has one of Europe’s highest unemployment numbers and one of of the shitties economies to boot. Even the French unions are pissed that their government won’t let people work from what I have read, and that one is just an eye opener.