Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, May 2, 2013 6:59 am

“[The Iliad] was a bitch to write, by the way. But it seemed to catch on.”

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:59 am
Tags: ,

The Onion spills the beans on history’s greatest cultural fraud: ancient Greek “civilization.” Because these days, if it’s in the Onion, it’s got to be true, right?

Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:07 pm

Learning from the (not-so-ancient) Greeks

Thereisnospoon (@DavidOAtkins), writing at Digby’s Hullabaloo:

It turns that when you throw a proud people who have lived a relatively decent lifestyle with modest provisions for the middle class into the desperate grinder of austerity economics, fascist movements start to develop. That’s pretty much how it happened in Germany in the first place, which is why the the rest of the world learned from its Post-WWI mistake to implement the Marshall Plan after the Second War. When people start to lose everything, it’s easy to blame immigrants and the dispossessed. Those people start to become scapegoats for the sorts of scoundrels who use jingoistic xenophobia for career advancement in the guise of patriotism.

It’s no surprise that the ascendance of the far right in the United States tracks alongside the erosion of the middle class. Fortunately, America has been spared the full force of austerity. So far.

But the rise of a Golden Dawn [Greece's fascist neo-nazi movement, now polling at 14% there -- Lex] in the U.S. isn’t at all unthinkable. All that need happen is for the Very Serious People to get their way in voucherizing Medicare and Social Security, destroying the safety net, and remaking society in Ayn Rand’s image.

History repeats itself, and sometimes, if it doesn’t feel like you heard it the first time, it shouts.

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 7:07 pm

Anyone who argues differently is not trying to sell you something, he’s trying to steal what little you have left.

Facts and logic having failed to persuade anyone to do the right thing with respect to the economy, I decide instead to try a good rant, outsourced to Charlie Pierce:

Austerity has murdered any hope of recovery in the UK. It seems to have done the same thing in Italy. And, in Greece, the citizens of democracy’s birthplace seem to be taking offense at the notion that their first obligation is to punish themselves to make a lot of international bankers whole again, and to cement Angela Merkel’s place in European history, which will be further propped up in Germany by an economy that depends on strong labor unions, a thriving government safety net, and the world’s oldest universal health-care system, to which Germans are entitled, but to which Brits, Italians, Greeks and, if you believe David Gregory, Americans, are not. Make no mistake about it. “Austerity” is a theological construct. It is about punishing the alleged sins of sloth and gluttony. It is about purging through pain. It is about enshrining into law every misbegotten slander about the poor and struggling that’s been floating around the political dialogue for generations. And it doesn’t work.

The deficit is not our biggest immediate economic problem. Joblessness is. Questions? See post title.

 

Monday, February 15, 2010 9:56 pm

Vampire squid in the searchlights

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 9:56 pm
Tags: , ,

Goldman Sachs apparently played a larger and more nefarious role in Greece’s economic crisis than had been clear earlier (although Zero Hedge argues that Goldman’s role and intentions were, in fact, made perfectly clear in a February 2009 prospectus). Which means that Goldman Sachs may yet end up killing us all, financially speaking, because, as Simon Johnson observes, “a single rogue bank can bring down the world’s financial system.”

Which is, you know about par for the course for a Monday, but still.

Johnson believes — no doubt because European governments aren’t quite the regulatorily captured whores of their American counterpart — that the European Commission will investigate Goldman’s actions. He offers 10 sets of questions. Nine of them are beyond my ken, but the tenth seems pretty straightforward: “Did any responsible official really think that what Goldman was constructing was really some sort of productivity-enhancing financial innovation – as opposed to a sophisticated form of scam?”

To which my answer would be, “Define ‘responsible official.’”

“We’re all werewolves now.”

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 7:47 pm
Tags: , , , ,

James Howard Kunstler, with his usual Monday dose of cheer, observes that the implosion of Greece is both a beginning and an end: the beginning of a series of nation-level financial disasters that may or may not be confined to that side of the Atlantic, and the likely end of one of the longest stretches of peace in non-Balkan European history:

A larger question is what happens to the vaunted peacefulness of contemporary Europe now that the narcotic of universal prosperity is wearing off. Maybe it will be too shellshocked for a while to do anything.  More likely, though, old and new animosities will burble out of those lovely old streets. Nations that seemed to be populated by effete cafe layabouts will be transformed back into warrior societies. Never under-estimate the sheer power of testosterone in idle, unemployed young men.

For another thing, I expect Europe to join the global contest for the world’s remaining oil resources. Germany and France, at least, won’t enjoy the luxury anymore of kicking back while the US Military desperately tries to keep a western “police” presence in the deserts down there. Germany and France will also not have the luxury to drink espresso and watch Iran become a mad dog nuclear power, with missiles capable of striking Frankfort and Lyon. Won’t that be interesting?
The only piece of his scenario I think unlikely is that France and Germany will intervene militarily in Iran if called upon to do so. I think that, if it becomes necessary, it will fall once again to the U.S.

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