25 May 2010

Me? I’m Still Shorting their Sorry Asses

As one would expect, EUtopia is gunning for investors to give ‘the masses’ something to build some false social solidarity around.

“For the locusts in the finance sector, a new age is dawning.” This is how German Social Democrat and Member of the European Parliament Udo Bullmann commented on the prospect of new EU-wide regulations for hedge funds.
Those ‘locusts’ are making the revenues that happen to be buffering the collapse of your retirement, Udo baby. They’re also offering a hint at what those assets are really worth. Since you’d rather see the rating agencies lie to the public about what the sectors and industries people work for, investors and hedge funds snapping to and fro are the only approximation of mark to market you’ll ever really see.
That the Social Democrats would triumphantly bring out their “locust” bon mot again now is particularly troubling when one considers that the EU’s current offensive against hedge funds appears to be all about offering up a convenient scapegoat to public opinion, as opposed to addressing the fundamental problems underlying Europe’s debt crisis. Anti-Semitism, after all, has always been a matter of finding a scapegoat.
And look for it, they will. The old reliable straw man of European “intellectualism” is being pointlessly and evasively employed again, when it’s Europe’s government pandering to people for votes that have bankrupted society to make the political class look “generous” with people’s own money.
The comparison sparked controversy, especially after historian Michael Wolffsohn accused Müntefering and the Social Democrats of using rhetoric reminiscent of Nazi screeds. Indeed, as the German journalist Ulrich Speck pointed out at the time in a (no longer available) blog post, the “swarm of locusts” metaphor had a long history in anti-Semitic discourse dating back to at least the early 19th century. It is used, moreover, in the infamous Nazi propaganda film Jud Süß (“The Jew Süss”). In the film, the Jews are said “to descend upon our country like locusts.” Implicit in the German discussion — though rarely if ever stated openly — was the fact the Nazis had, of course, always associated Jews with finance, and vice-versa, and that this association was indeed an essential part of their anti-Semitism. (The “Jew Süss” to whom reference is made in the title of the eponymous film, for instance, is the 18th Century Jewish financier Joseph Süss Oppenheimer.)
Not to mention the fact that it’s also used by the left, right, and center in many of these “great cultures”.
The Social Democrats reacted indignantly to the criticisms. But it did not help the credibility of their cause when Germany’s biggest trade union, IG Metall, published a cartoon depicting the famous “swarm” of financial investors...
No need to guess that in the absence of an easy outsider characterization as Jews, that these locusts took another form.

Like you couldn’t have guessed that one

13 May 2010

The Benign Stupidity of the World’s Navel

Economics is a social science. Aptitude in the understanding of economic matters requires a kind of facility with understanding human behavior, and divorcing oneself of the arrogance of imagining whatever forms of utopian should be forced on the society at large.

So it comes at no surprise to discover that in that social science, conservatives and libertarians show an exemplary understanding of economics compared to leftists, whatever their level of education:

Based on a Zogby International online survey of 4,835 American adults, Columbia University psychologist Zeljka Buturovic and George Mason University economist Dan Klein find that economic enlightenment is not correlated to going to college.

They also find that it is the highest among those self-identifying “conservative” and “libertarian,” and descends through “moderate,” “liberal,” and “progressive.” Other variables include party affiliation, religious participation, union membership, NASCAR fandom, and Wal-Mart patronage.
Yes, those barbarian mouth-breathers who are fans of NASCAR and lower themselves to step into a Wal-Mart.
Even with the caveats in mind, however, the results are important. They indicate that, for people inclined to take such a survey, basic economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college.
Or to put the motives of the state-centrism of the left, we have this old European saying consistent with the center-to-far left’s social and economic world view:
“Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato”

“Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

- some minion of Mussolini

Which is also why engaging with the ideas of the structurally more “progressive” social attitudes, politics, and polity of Europe reminds me of trying to talk to a class of dull-eyed, predictable adolescents. Some staring off into space, a few picking their noses, one or two of them staring at your crotch, but all of them prone to destroy something sooner or later based on single-mindedness, and a lack of personal moderation. Such is the state of those you’ll be sure to see protesting in the European streets in the coming year over matters of economy, wages, services, and entitlements.

11 May 2010

A Coalition of the Tripping

UK, with its’ mother of Parliaments is rotting from the neck up. The Conservatives won the most votes and the most Parliamentary seats, and yet the buzz of the blogsphere seems to be limited to pretending that this does not matter. The LDP, the Provisional Wing of disaffected Labour party voters, is inclined to support a proportional representation arrangements that guarantees in perpetuity to let whoever got the LEAST votes has the king-maker’s power to declare themselves Líder Máximo.

Then again, that might be what these clucks wondering how to dispossess the winner of the most votes of any access to government: to construct a “rainbow coalition” (a puzzling metaphor in a nation that’s 92% white,) of single issue nutballs, greens, separatists who can’t seem to separate enough to not run as MPs,

Due to their refusal to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen, the five Sinn Fein MPs do not take their seats in the House of Commons, meaning that the “rainbow coalition” needs 323 MPs for a majority, only eight more than the Liberal Democrat and Labour votes combined.
and anyone who can be bought off with unequal and superior treatment under the law.
Both the Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties have indicated that they would support a Lib-Lab coalition and have MPs in London ready to negotiate a deal. The parties are likely to insist that Scotland and Wales are protected from spending cuts.
That notwithstanding, the love-train ritual must go on, even thought:
This so-called “coalition of losers” would only just be able to get enough votes for a Commons majority. Labour has 258 MPs, while the Lib Dems have 57, so a coalition of just these two parties would have only 315 seats.
Much dress up is also required, but I think they’re used to this kind of thing, at least for a night:
There are six SNP MPs and three Plaid Cymru MPs in Westminster. The votes from these nine MPs would be just enough for the coalition to reach a majority provided that the Sinn Fein MPs do not vote.
SO. Should it actually get that far, the formation of the British Government will depend on 6 IRA sympathizers fighting the temptation to vote even just once.

Someone, quite clearly, has been drinking the bong water.

05 May 2010

Europe? America? Hello, are you Listening?

Hungary announces a reduction in government.

Viktor Orbán, Hungary's new prime minister, has announced the composition of his cabinet, reducing his team to nine and the number of national ministries to eight.

Orbán has explained his decision to reduce the number of ministries, from 12, and to reduce the size of his cabinet team, from 15, as a cost-cutting measure.