Archive for October 2nd, 2008

Anticipation

Don’t know about you, but I sure am looking forward to the vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. Also, I’m looking forward to putting out the bin tomorrow morning, and to oiling the hinges on the doors of the house on Saturday.

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Et Du Fils

Some things you just have to blurt out to people, even if you run the risk of appearing stupid. Someone has probably already mentioned this, but how come the American ruling class entrusted the running of the financial system to some guy whose drunk-driving papa was responsible for the death of Princess Diana? There is a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered right there.

The Time, The Place

Guess where I’m gonna be (v. probably) on US presidential election night.

I Was Right Part Five Million

A few hours ago, I observed:

there’s been some progress on the training component, in particular the rather thorny task of laying bare the internal contradictions of capitalism

And then, I find this, in the Irish Independent:

It’s enough to make you join the Workers’ Party.

From Martina Devlin.

If Martina Devlin is thinking of joining the Workers’ Party, capitalism’s downfall is inevitable.

‘History’

For the crack, I decided to follow a google ad link on the London Times news page, tantalisingly asking the question Will the US and UK heed History’s Warning Signs?, expecting a sensible analysis of predictions set forth in the Michael Jackson compilation of the same name. It took me to a subscription, but I burrowed my way through to the real meat, an article on America’s “House of Cards”. Imagine my disappointment as I trawled through a rather dull, if portentous, review of mainstream commentary on America’s current predicament -Fareed Zakaria, Thomas Friedman, the Economist, New York Times, blah blah. Then, some 2,000-odd words in, I come across the following:

Believe it or not, the future of China, the European Union and the United States are primary components of Bible prophecy, providing a picture of what lies ahead for the world.

The European Union is foretold to transform into a military/economic juggernaut—a “United States of Europe” that will be a great socio-political world force, combining tremendous economic power (Rev. 18:18-19) with a powerful and convincing religion (Rev. 13:11-15).

China will also play a leading part on the world stage, aligning itself with Russia (Rev. 9:16) to challenge the European power initially.

Yes, the Bible reveals that Europe and China (allied with Russia) will influence and dominate foreign affairs. However, the United States and her sister nations—Britain, Australia, France, Canada and others—will suffer dramatic reversal.

Wot no Michael Jackson? Sheeit. But still. Apparently Ireland’s second vote on the Lisbon Treaty will have some sort of bearing on events.

Boggle

Is that what we want? We’d probably prefer to have a proper debate first, because the numbers are boggling. Potter calculates the Irish guarantees represent €92,000 (£72,000) for every citizen, 2.2 times GDP, or 7.5 years of government spending. He is a fan of the scheme, but admits risks are huge: “In extremis, Irish taxpayers could be paying for this for a generation.”

If the last while is anything to go by, ‘in extremis’ really means ‘in line with conservative expectations’. But what the hell. Proper debates is for wimps.

Morgan Kelly:

Suppose that you are a bank that has lent €100 million each to 10 developers who are having problems meeting their repayments. What you do is bundle the loans into one asset and sell it, with Brian Lenihan’s signature on the bottom, on financial markets for €1 billion. When the borrowers default, the taxpayer will be left taking up the tab.

Of course, borrowers don’t default. Well, they might, if they lost their jobs. But of course, there’s no chance of that happening, because foreign direct investors love Ireland forever. And of course, even if investment dries up, and there’s no chance of that happening, there’s always the thriving construction industry to keep things afloat.

Please Jesus send me enough Factor 250 so as I can do a runner to somewhere sunnier.

Grave Diggers 2.008

Bernie Sanders:

If we are going to bail out Wall Street, it should be those people who have caused the problem, those people who have benefited from Bush’s tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, those people who have taken advantage of deregulation, those people are the people who should pick up the tab, and not ordinary working people. I introduced an amendment which gave the Senate a very clear choice. We can pay for this bailout of Wall Street by asking people all across this country, small businesses on Main Street, homeowners on Maple Street, elderly couples on Oak Street, college students on Campus Avenue, working families on Sunrise Lane, we can ask them to pay for this bailout. That is one way we can go. Or, we can ask the people who have gained the most from the spasm of greed, the people whose incomes have been soaring under President Bush, to pick up the tab.

They chose the latter I mean former, somewhat unsurprisingly. As Barbara Ehrenreich notes, the Communist Manifesto just turned 160. I remember its 150th birthday. The crisis then afflicting capitalism (remind me what it was again) had produced admiring commentary on Marx’s text from banking executives and captains of industry. Well, looking at what’s happening in America at the minute, the word ‘gravedigger’ sprung to mind:

The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.

Just as you can have free market advocates rehearsing arguments, in light of the current crisis, that the fundamental reason is that markets are not free enough, you could argue that Marx’s rather upbeat prediction here (in part intended to scare the crap out of the bourgeoisie, of course) is essentially correct, but that the bourgeoisie is still in the process of perfecting its grave-diggers. Well, I don’t know (de omnibus dubitandum, etc): if this is the case, I think they’ve still got a lot of work to do – a couple of centuries is a long time to be working on a project, so expectations should be realistic with regard to an end date. But the Wall Street bailout appears to indicate that there’s been some progress on the training component, in particular the rather thorny task of laying bare the internal contradictions of capitalism.


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