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Thought for the day

Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question-how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not. 

C.S. Lewis 

Caught in climate change

Australia’s economy is dependent on burning and exporting coal, which doesn’t help matters:

The last 60 years have been the hottest in Australasia for a millennium and cannot be explained by natural causes, according to a new report by scientists that supports the case for a reduction in manmade carbon emissions.


In the first major study of its kind in the region, scientists at the University of Melbourne used natural data from 27 climate indicators, including tree rings, corals and ice cores to map temperature trends over the past 1,000 years.


“Our study revealed that recent warming in a 1,000-year context is highly unusual and cannot be explained by natural factors alone, suggesting a strong influence of human-caused climate change in the Australasian region,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr Joelle Gergis.


The climate reconstruction was done in 3,000 different ways and concluded with 95% accuracy that no other period in the past 1,000 years match or exceeded post-1950 warming in Australia.

Bill Black on austerity

From the RealNews.com:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Washington.

Bill Black is a white-collar criminologist. He was on the committee that investigated banking fraud in the Savings and Loan crisis, and he’s been an often critic of the media and how it covers the current financial and economic crisis. He recently wrote a piece about The New York Times journalists and how they don’t even read some of their own financial guys, like Krugman. And he now joins us to talk about his critique of The New York Times and the media. Thanks for joining us. Bill joins us from D.C., where he’s now visiting. Bill, I think I did the whole introduction, except to say that you’re also the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One. Thanks for joining us again.

WILLIAM K. BLACK, ASSOC. PROF. ECONOMICS AND LAW, UMKC: Thank you.

JAY: So talk a bit about your piece about The New York Times. And what was your point?

BLACK: Well, there were a series of articles in The New York Times covering the recent elections in Europe, particularly in France and Greece, but also mentioning Germany and England. And the common denominator in each of these elections was that the people rose up against the parties imposing Berlin’s austerity program, which has forced Europe back into recession and forced the periphery of Europe back into depression. And they rejected this soundly in these votes.
But the amazing thing was that The New York Times reporters were treating this like, well, these people must be financially illiterate, because everybody knows austerity is the only thing that can be done, and austerity must be done, and it’s good and such. So the more they destroy the economy, the more the New York Times reporters seem to think that destroying the economy is the objective.

And Paul Krugman has been very good. He is, after all, Nobel laureate in economics. He writes a regular column for The New York Times, and for months he’s been explaining how insane the austerity program is. But apparently the New York Times reporters don’t read their own Nobel prize winning economists.

JAY: Well, the same thing was happening here during the high tide of the super committee and all the focus on the American debt and deficit. The same thing was happening. The media was just presupposing that you need to have these kinds of cuts and they’re good for the economy, and this kind of notion that if you have austerity, it frees up the society for growth. I mean, that’s the argument, and I guess most journalists seem to buy into that. So what’s wrong with that?

BLACK: Well, it’s the opposite is true. If you’re in a recession, the problem is you don’t have sufficient demand to keep people employed. And so that typically means private-sector demand is seriously inadequate. Austerity means that you reduce public-sector demand at the same time that private-sector demand is already inadequate. Well, if you do that, then you have really inadequate demand and you have really severe unemployment, which is why unemployment has shot upward throughout Europe, why it’s over 20 percent in a number of the nations of the periphery, why youth unemployment is over 50 percent, why immigration is a leading strategy of European kids when they get their college degree. And it’s a policy that is tearing the European Union apart politically, and socially as well.
You know, this is the equivalent up bleeding a patient, and then, of course, they don’t get better, because you bled them, so you bleed them some more, and then you yell at them for—you know, what’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you recovering? And you bleed them some more. And, you know, pretty soon they’re pretty near death’s door and you’re—can’t understand why they’re not praising you and instead they’re voting you out of office.
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Oh dear

Very wealthy people are not notable for their patriotism these days:

WASHINGTON — Populist anger at Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s decision to renounce his U.S. citizenship — a move that could save him hundreds of millions in taxes if his Facebook stock gains value after the company goes public on Friday — has inspired two senators to propose legislation that could hit Saverin with heavy taxes and bar him from ever reentering the United States.


Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) are unveiling the Ex-PATRIOT Act, which stands for “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy,” on Thursday. The bill would force anyone who “expatriates for a substantial tax purpose — as judged by the Internal Revenue Service” to pay a mandatory 30 percent tax on future capital gains and to be turned back at the border should that person try to return.


“This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong,” Schumer told reporters Thursday. “Eduardo Saverin wants to defriend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes. We aren’t going to let him get away with it.”


Schumer called Saverin’s behavior “outrageous,” arguing that “Saverin has turned his back on the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire.”


Schumer also predicted the GOP would go along with the measure.


“Why wouldn’t they?” he said. Casey added, “I’d like to hear the reason why not.”


According to his lawyer, Saverin renounced his citizenship in September, although his name just showed up on an Internal Revenue Service list two weeks ago, and has become a permanent resident of Singapore.

T
he New York Times on Thursday reported that Saverin said he had been misunderstood when it came to allegations of tax avoidance. “I’m not a tax expert,” he told the Times. “We complied with all the known laws. There was an exit tax.”

JPMorgan

Canary in the coal mine?

R.I.P.

Donna Summer, 63:

On, Wisconsin

You’ve all heard the story by now, how the DNC is refusing to give $500k to Wisconsin Dems to help defeat Gov. Scott Walker. Unfuckingbelieveable.

And you may have already gotten an email from Daily Kos, or MoveOn.org, asking for donations. If you can, you can also donate here. Five bucks is good; 20 bucks, even better.

Let’s do. Let’s kick this guy’s ass.

I hesitate to say this (because I might be horribly wrong), but I have a feeling this year will be like 2006, when we took back the House and the Senate. Back then, if you recall, the blogosphere put many, many Dems over the top that the DNC wrote off. We did it, with our little blogs. Maybe we can do it again. So if you can help, do it.

Also, fuck the DNC.

The ‘good’ cholesterol

Not so good, apparently.

Irony is not dead

George Bush to publish a book on how to produce economic growth.

Hah

It seems to me if you can afford to spend $10 million on an attack ad, you can probably afford to renovate your own damned stadium. And it seems like Mayor Emanuel has come to the same conclusion:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not returning calls from the Ricketts family and is “livid” over a New York Times report that Joe Ricketts commissioned a proposal for a multimillion-dollar ad campaign linking President Obama to the president’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, according to an Emanuel aide.

Joe Ricketts’s children, which include Obama bundler Laura Ricketts, bought the Chicago Cubs in 2009 and have been in talks with the city about renovating the team’s 98-year-old stadium, Wrigley Field.

That appears to be on hold now.

“The Mayor was livid when he read that the Ricketts were going to launch a $10 million campaign against President Obama – with the type of racially motivated ads that are insulting to the president and the presidential campaign,” said the aide, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the situation. “He is also livid with their blatant hypocrisy.”

The aide also said Emanuel, who is Obama’s former chief of staff, has cut off communication with the family.
“The Ricketts have tried to contact the mayor, but he’s said that he does not want to talk with them today, tomorrow or anytime soon,” the aide said.

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