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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The conspiracy theorists were right

As I have repeatedly written, the Conspiracy Theory of History is the only one that stands up to critical analysis.  Not only that, but the closer you look, the more readily apparent the various conspiracies become.  Matt Taibbi, who has been doggedly investigating the world of high finance since the 2008 crisis began, finally throws up his hands and admits what was always readily apparent to the sufficiently logical:
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.

You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that's trillion, with a "t") worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it "dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets."

That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world's largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world's largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.

Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It's about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.

It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture.
Nor should it come as any surprise that the chief role of government in all of this has been to enable and defend the conspirators.

"But the biggest shock came out of a federal courtroom at the end of March – though if you follow these matters closely, it may not have been so shocking at all – when a landmark class-action civil lawsuit against the banks for Libor-related offenses was dismissed. In that case, a federal judge accepted the banker-defendants' incredible argument: If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place."

The reason all of this information is finally coming out is because the system is breaking down.  The scale of the efforts required to attempt salvaging the players precludes any ability to keep everything behind the veil of genteel respectability while the straightforward demands for access to taxpayer funds and bank deposits prevents any attempt to confuse matters by appealing to their complexity. 

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88 Comments:

Anonymous Stilicho May 08, 2013 1:09 PM  

If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place.

There is some truth there, but it does not excuse the fraud. Hell, the Federal Reserve system was cobbled together by banks that were tired of competing and figured it would be more profitable if they banded together to rig the markets and shear the sheep.

Of course, it is unlikely that we will see this reasoning applied against the banks: "If banks and other investors lost money because the debtors failed to pay, it was their own fault for thinking that the debtors were able to repay the loans in the first place."

Anonymous Porky May 08, 2013 1:10 PM  

Darn. If only Ron Paul had been elected....

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick May 08, 2013 1:10 PM  

All this continues to prove is that borrowing is for suckers.

Blogger Jack Black May 08, 2013 1:27 PM  

I'm pretty firmly convinced that guys like Alex Jones and other conspiracy mongers are out there simply to hide and make people feel ridiculous when they run across a real conspiracy. Real conspiracies get washed out in a wave alien built the pyramids and government mind control rays type bullshit.

Anonymous Stilicho May 08, 2013 1:29 PM  

alien built the pyramids

Wait, I thought it was illegal aliens doing the jobs Egyptians wouldn't do.

Anonymous mistaben May 08, 2013 1:29 PM  

Meanwhile decent, often historic, but ill-connected community banks were shuttered by the hundreds in the past few years after having been played by the TBTF bunch. This is a nasty bunch of people running the show.

Anonymous RINO May 08, 2013 1:34 PM  

Real conspiracies get washed out in a wave alien built the pyramids and government mind control rays type bullshit.

That's the problem right there. Imagine if all the airtime that is given to the pyramids and the masons was devoted to highlighting contemporary financial corruption.

Anonymous Toddy Cat May 08, 2013 1:34 PM  

Tabbai is a strung-out commie junkie who should have been offed by Putin, but he's right about this. I guess that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 1:38 PM  

Meanwhile decent, often historic, but ill-connected community banks were shuttered by the hundreds in the past few years after having been played by the TBTF bunch. This is a nasty bunch of people running the show.

This is especially true. These banks - with assets in the $500M to $4B range are critical to a well functioning small and mid-market companies. The ones who make things and basically keep stuff moving.

Anonymous Hyperphrenius May 08, 2013 1:39 PM  

As I have repeatedly written, the Conspiracy Theory of History is the only one that stands up to critical analysis.

I've seen you write this before, but what exactly do you mean by The Conspiracy Theory of History? The theory that all nations past and present contain multiple secret conspiracies?

The reason all of this information is finally coming out is because the system is breaking down.

With even the progs at Rolling Stone taking notice, this peeling back of the veil is certainly a major game changer. And the more time that passes the more obvious the banksters secret machinations are going to become. The illusion is shattering.

I expect the progressive solution to this revelation will be to call for full communism, and the nationalization of the banks.

Blogger Giraffe May 08, 2013 1:40 PM  

Nor should it come as any surprise that the chief role of government in all of this has been to enable and defend the conspirators.

And blaming any problems on the "free market".

Wait, I thought it was illegal aliens doing the jobs Egyptians wouldn't do.

Those immigrants were all legal. Diversity worked out for Egypt for awhile anyway.

Anonymous Stilicho May 08, 2013 1:50 PM  

I expect the progressive solution to this revelation will be to call for full communism, and the nationalization of the banks.

Taibbi has done some good reporting on this but, as you expect, his solutions always involve moar cowbell.

Anonymous JartStar May 08, 2013 1:56 PM  

All this continues to prove is that borrowing is for suckers.

Not if you are a major corporation borrowing at artificially low rates to buy back your stock. Then it's gold!

Blogger IM2L844 May 08, 2013 1:57 PM  

what exactly do you mean by The Conspiracy Theory of History? The theory that all nations past and present contain multiple secret conspiracies?

The Conspiracy Theory of History as opposed to the Accidental or Coincidental Theory of History.


Part of the problem is that even Christians who know it's true tend to gloss over or fail to acknowledge the fact that there are orchestrating supernatural intelligences on the world stage because that would just be crazy talk.

It doesn't matter. Every knee will bend and ever tongue will acknowledge before it's all over.

Anonymous Anonymous May 08, 2013 2:01 PM  

"Real conspiracies get washed out in a wave alien built the pyramids and government mind control rays type bullshit."

What are you smoking? Alex Jones doesnt support either of those ideas

Anonymous Gen. Kong May 08, 2013 2:02 PM  

mistaben:
Meanwhile decent, often historic, but ill-connected community banks were shuttered by the hundreds in the past few years after having been played by the TBTF bunch. This is a nasty bunch of people running the show.

Yes, but the idiocracy keeps on falling for the same shell-game over and over, R's and D's, Tea-Party patriotards and OWS Lunes, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb. The average elector in western "democracies" has all the intelligence of that stupid pink rabbit next to where I'm typing this, possibly even less.

Anonymous Josh May 08, 2013 2:03 PM  

This is especially true. These banks - with assets in the $500M to $4B range are critical to a well functioning small and mid-market companies. The ones who make things and basically keep stuff moving.

And these banks are getting hammered by new banking regulations that were passed to allegedly police the TBTF banks.

And the mid market companies are getting screwed right now by large fortune 500 companies (p&g just announced that they're paying all their vendors on 75 day terms).

Anonymous demon May 08, 2013 2:06 PM  

It goes deeper than ever. Go look at all the big companies on public stock exchanges around the world and follow the ownership trail to see how few actually own the shares.

Limited liability shareholders is partially to blame for this mess. Instead of becoming a nice low risk investment opportunity for the masses it was always about allowing bankers to lend themselves money to acquire companies on public stock exchanges. All the while minimisng personal liability.

Prior to this companies operated as partnerships with higher liability and the owners were less likely to give shares to bankers who print themselves the money. These owners had a greater stake in actual productive endeavours. Then limited liability public companies, and corporate raiders.

So what if the older style companies went bankrupt, others could purchase the assets and continue on. What we have now is corporate raiders that contribute nothing.. these parasites don't turn around companies and better utilise assets, they destroy them.

Anonymous JartStar May 08, 2013 2:11 PM  

Part of the problem is that even Christians who know it's true tend to gloss over or fail to acknowledge the fact that there are orchestrating supernatural intelligences on the world stage because that would just be crazy talk.

This is certainly true for mainline and evangelical Protestants as they may begrudgingly admit demons exist, but live their lives as though they don't.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 2:11 PM  

What is the Conspiracy Theory of history?

Anonymous Stilicho May 08, 2013 2:12 PM  

Those immigrants were all legal. Diversity worked out for Egypt for awhile anyway.

Joseph famously refused Potiphar's wife, but was Joseph's grandson involved in Pharoah's finances?

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 2:16 PM  

And these banks are getting hammered by new banking regulations that were passed to allegedly police the TBTF banks.

Exactly. These small banks failed in the right numbers during the financial crisis. They ones with bad loan portfolios failed. Their operations were wound down by the FDIC, subsumed by other banks that were stable, and their officers and shareholders wiped out.

What should have happened is the banks with good loan portfolios should have been rewarded, gained market share, expanded assets and geographical area. Instead, they were saddled with less than great acquisitions, and still at a huge disadvantage to the largest banks that are TBTF.

At the time, I argued for a wider approach to winding down the TBTF banks, which involved breaking up their deposits and assets to appropriately sized regional banks and credit unions according to a formula. Instead we got TARP and Fed programs that have made things worse.

Dodd-Frank, likewise, is a problem because it does not unwind these institutions, only provide a method to unwind them in the future should the need arise. Not good enough.

Anonymous Stilicho May 08, 2013 2:19 PM  

dh, tell us again why you're a liberal?

Anonymous Sensei May 08, 2013 2:22 PM  

This is certainly true for mainline and evangelical Protestants as they may begrudgingly admit demons exist, but live their lives as though they don't. -Jartstar

Indeed. I graduated from a prominent evangelical seminary and the subject was treated as its own (marginal) topic. The supernatural totality of our world and the spiritual battle we're all participating in (whether we like it or not) is simply not something American evangelicalism acknowledges, to the church's great detriment.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 2:24 PM  

dh, tell us again why you're a liberal?

Because most people are idiots.

Blogger IM2L844 May 08, 2013 2:25 PM  

dh,

The first time I encountered the term was in Gary Allen's book, "None Dare Call it Conspiracy" back in the late 70's or early 80's.

Excerpt from the book:

"Those who believe that major world events result from planning are laughed at for believing in the "conspiracy theory of history." Of course, no one in this modern day and age readily believes in the conspiracy theory of history — except those who Those who believe that major world events result from planning are laughed at for believing in the "conspiracy theory of history." Of course, no one in this modern day and age really believes in the conspiracy theory of history — except those who have taken the time to study the subject. When you think about it, there are really only two theories of history. Either things happen by accident neither planned nor caused by anybody, or they happen because they are planned and somebody causes them to happen. In reality, it is the accidental theory of history preached in the unhallowed Halls of Ivy which should be ridiculed. Otherwise, why does every recent administration make the same mistakes as the previous ones? Why do they repeat the errors of the past which produce inflation, depressions and war? Why does our State Department "stumble" from one Communist-aiding "blunder" to another? If you believe it is all an accident or the result of mysterious and unexplainable tides of history, you will be regarded as an "intellectual" who understands that we live in a complex world. If you believe that something like 32,496 consecutive coincidences over the past forty years stretches the law of averages a bit, you are a kook!"

Anonymous Earl May 08, 2013 2:26 PM  

Ron Paul would have been assassinated by now.

Anonymous Stilicho May 08, 2013 2:31 PM  

Because most people are idiots.

Putting inmates in charge of the asylum is not a solution. Amusing, but no a solution.

Anonymous Josh May 08, 2013 2:31 PM  

Because most people are idiots.

Wouldn't you want to limit the impact of said idiocy on your own life?

Blogger tz May 08, 2013 2:38 PM  

This parallels the Amazon story earlier. It isn't just the Koch brothers, there are those who say they hate big government, then have no trouble with big corporations, who are only big because of the big-government laws (remembering the MicroSoft anti-trust trial).

It is also why everything must be a class-action which can be dismissed or overridden with an "opt-out" arbitration clause.

And why they want regulation - not justice. If Jamie Daimon did a "Pidgeon Drop" or other classic bunko on an old lady for $1000, he would go to jail, but stealing $250k via a fraud which is no different in kind or nature - and larger in magnitude is something only the SEC could have done something if they weren't waiting out the Statute of Limitations.

And going back to the root, Corpseorations are undead creations of the Frankenstate and are undead horrors. You have no right to take liability and make it go "poof" - You can issue bonds - debt - which convey no ownership, or stock which does. But isn't the owner responsible for the owned? Oh no! that is what "limited liability" is about - but it means no one, no person, ends up being responsible. What the joker in Colorado missed is if he simply formed a corporation, he could have killed all those people and just said "I have no responsibility - it was all my corporation".

Blogger tz May 08, 2013 2:42 PM  

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

And the reason Christians have been ceding authority to "them" - from marriage to helping the poor, sick, etc. ... is what? Oh, charity is so messy, and we need someone to keep us safe from the terrorists even if we have to trust those slaughtering the unborn!

Anonymous hideous May 08, 2013 2:48 PM  

I appreciate dh's honesty!
I believe he/she must be referring to the innate appeal of facism to liberals.
Every "high-church" liberal believes the idiots have to be controlled; those who think wrongly (differently) can't be allowed to live freely. Much too dangerous. With the liberals and their friends doing the controlling, of course, because they know best.

While perhaps not true of dh, I believe it may often have something to do with being a smart nerdy guy in middle school that was picked on by jocks. Leaves one with an life-long need to get those ignorant meatheads under proper control?

Blogger Ron May 08, 2013 2:55 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera May 08, 2013 2:59 PM  

As for Alex Jones, yes, any good conspiracy theory should assume clever disinformation schemes and honeypots. Not saying Jones is clever, but the culture of the nuttersphere should tip you off as to what I mean. In the information age, you can't remove the truth. You can only obscure it in untruths.

I expect most of the honeypots are set up to ensnare the majority of people with emotional pablum. Some of them will have only a single, well-planned lie to deceive the elite.

Course, the other option is to end the information age. Snip the backbones (more likely, just unplug most of the tier-1 patchboards).

Being honest with ourselves, we don't stand a chance against this superintelligent evil without Jesus' help.

Blogger Laramie Hirsch May 08, 2013 3:00 PM  

I remember reading this a few weeks ago and asking myself, "What would Vox say about this?" This Rolling Stone is right up his alley.

So, we now see what a trendy lib magazine does in the face of blatant scandal and conspiracy. Think they'll continue investigating this line of criminality with an open mind? I am curious of your prediction.

As for myself, I think Rolling Stone editors will just let the issue warmly dissolve into forgetfulness. Their racist little rag is all emotion-based, anyway.

All I'd add is that the grandest conspiracy of all is that the Devil himself is behind this Evil temporal power grab that we are all witnessing. Once his foul chess pieces are set, he will move the powers of the world's weakest men ever against all of the goodness that we recognize.

The latest article detailing the exodus of Christians from Islamic countries is merely a precursor of what is to come.

Thank God that existence is beyond this dimension, and that He has won already.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick May 08, 2013 3:02 PM  

Not if you are a major corporation borrowing at artificially low rates to buy back your stock. Then it's gold!

I am seriously considering betting against Apple on this. Some nice put options just might do the trick.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera May 08, 2013 3:04 PM  

Some of them will have only a single, well-planned lie to deceive the elite.

Ironically, this is why I distrust Vox, Tex, Sailer, Roissy and similar even more than ordinary sites. At least I can trust the stupid, dishonest MSM to be stupid and dishonest.

But what if these clever people are telling me 99 truths and one, well-placed, deadly lie? What if they are, themselves, deceived? It's a humbling thought.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 3:06 PM  

IM2L844
Thanks, this was perfect.

I believe he/she must be referring to the innate appeal of facism to liberals.
Umm, well, close. Totalitarianism, not classic fascism.

ose who think wrongly (differently) can't be allowed to live freely. Much too dangerous. With the liberals and their friends doing the controlling, of course, because they know best.
I agree with minor changes. I would strike liberals and replace with, perhaps, elites. Most jobs that are governmental in nature don't require a left-right decision, they instead require anti-democracy, anti-liberty mindset. That comes in all political stripes - perhaps 60/40 in favor of leftism over other orientations. Or maybe 75-25.

While perhaps not true of dh, I believe it may often have something to do with being a smart nerdy guy in middle school that was picked on by jocks. Leaves one with an life-long need to get those ignorant meatheads under proper control?
Close. I grew up as a minority in a very divided country (that ended up splitting in many factions and having a terrible civil war. I think it's cute the anti-bullying stuff that goes on).

Anonymous Lucifer May 08, 2013 3:22 PM  

Nutters?

;-)

Blogger RobertT May 08, 2013 3:23 PM  

Completely off the point.
A couple of days ago I responded to a comment warning about inbreeding if we shut off immigration by saying that all societies in breed. I just ran across supporting evidence on Business Insider of all places ... http://www.businessinsider.com/europeans-all-closely-related-gene-study-shows-2013-5

Anonymous Heh May 08, 2013 3:25 PM  

The cat conspiracy: Cats turn women into Democrats!

http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2013/05/mind-altering-parasites.html

Toxoplasma gondii. Commonly found in domestic cats, it sexually reproduces only within feline intestines. Humans can contract the parasite by ingesting anything contaminated with cat feces. Once infected, individuals may succumb to mild, flu-like symptoms for a couple weeks, but little more. Often no symptoms manifest at all. The parasite's apparent harmless nature cloaks its presence. Soon after finding its way into a human host, it weasels its way into the brain. There, "sheltered from the full fury of the immune system," it can remain in what's called a tissue cyst for decades, not reproducing, just persisting. But in this form, researchers are finding that it can produce some subtle and startling changes in the host's behavior.

Biologist Jaroslav Flegr, one of the leading researchers on T. gondii has discerned some very peculiar findings when comparing people with the infection to those without it. Kathleen Mcauliffe reported on this last year in The Atlantic:

...males who had the parasite were more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other people's opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules. Infected women, on the other hand, presented in exactly the opposite way: they were more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding than uninfected women.

Additionally, people infected with T. gondii display slightly impaired motor skills, undertake more risks, and get into more automotive accidents.

Anonymous hideous May 08, 2013 3:47 PM  

dh,
Interesting. So I have always maintained that liberals have 2 primary characteristics:
1) Control.
"High-church" liberals: the desire to control others.
"Low-church" liberals: the desire to BE controlled. Sometimes in exchange for something like security, or more often, the illusion/promise of security. But a lot of the time, people surrender to control for reasons I don't understand.
This is a counterpoint to at least some conservatives and most libertarians, who aren't very interested in controlling others and are vehemently opposed (perhaps genetically) to being controlled.

So, my question is: if you had a reasonable guarantee of your personal safety, would you still feel the need to control the idiots?

2) The end justifies the means.
Most liberals that I've talked to who understand this saying initially object that it applies to them. But after a little discussion, most eventually admit it's true. A small bending of principle is worthwhile to achieve the greater good. True for you?

Anonymous Lysander Spooner May 08, 2013 4:10 PM  

Just about every election since I have been alive
Benghazi
911
Oklahoma City
Branch Davidian Massacre
Ruby Ridge
World Trade Center Bombing
JFK Assassination
RFK Assassination
Gulf of Tonkin
Dresdin
The Maine

To name a few.



Anonymous DJF May 08, 2013 4:16 PM  

"""""In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements""""

And this is why they keep doing it, pay a few million dollars in settlements in exchange for making billions. These banks can find a few million dollars under the seat cushions of the couch in the executive washroom.

Anonymous Gen. Kong May 08, 2013 4:19 PM  

Laramire Hirsch:
So, we now see what a trendy lib magazine does in the face of blatant scandal and conspiracy. Think they'll continue investigating this line of criminality with an open mind? I am curious of your prediction.

As for myself, I think
Rolling Stone editors will just let the issue warmly dissolve into forgetfulness. Their racist little rag is all emotion-based, anyway.

That's basically what they (the RS editors) and their readers did with all the info exposed in Taibbi's 2008 articles. They lined up like lemmings to vote for the magic negro teleprompter-reader, because he was somehow just so different from the drooling old cancerous warmonger teleprompter-reader wearing the R-jersey. Tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb. Ilana Mercer is correct that we truly live in the "age of the idiot". Spin the dial or roll the dice as much as you like - the banksta is always the winner.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 4:27 PM  

2) The end justifies the means.
Most liberals that I've talked to who understand this saying initially object that it applies to them. But after a little discussion, most eventually admit it's true. A small bending of principle is worthwhile to achieve the greater good. True for you?

Yes, 100%. I am not a believer, not a Christian. I have previously stated on these pages that I would follow a democratically enacted law that directed me to personally shove jews into the oven. Law and order is important, very important. More important the liberty or life of a few people. The ends do justify the means. It is often, however, difficult to determine what the "end" is, and so that tends to moderate my more radical nature.

So, my question is: if you had a reasonable guarantee of your personal safety, would you still feel the need to control the idiots?

If I was personally secure, to a sufficient degree of confidence, I would exterminate the idiots.

Anonymous Athor Pel May 08, 2013 4:28 PM  

There is another theory of history and that's the great man theory. It is the only concession to human based planning being a cause of historical turning points you might see in academia. In that a single man having an outsized effect on events to such an extent that it must be acknowledged in some way for it cannot be avoided.

Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan being two examples.


I got a BA in history and it was only some years after I got it that I began to notice the disconnect between how history was taught and what I knew to be reality. In that, it's all about how you frame the events, not the events themselves.



Go read the dictionary definition of conspiracy. The word has heavy connotations of secret machinations being intrinsic to it. When in fact there are open conspiracies, they are not secret. We have names for them in fact. Political parties are one example, NGO's, corporations, lobbying organizations, trade organizations, your local chamber of commerce, labor unions, I think you get the idea. These all have an agenda and all members of those groups work toward that agenda. They are all conspiracies. It's how humans work. It's how we get anything large or important accomplished. We work together. That's all it is.

That some people wish to hide their real agenda should not be a surprise to anyone.

Anonymous Noah B. May 08, 2013 4:28 PM  

I wonder if grand juries ever laugh off prosecutors as kooky conspiracy theorists. If not, maybe they should start.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 4:29 PM  

And this is why they keep doing it, pay a few million dollars in settlements in exchange for making billions. These banks can find a few million dollars under the seat cushions of the couch in the executive washroom.

Exactly. Not one single fine has imperiled the existence of a big bank. There are thousands of fines I could incur as a private citizen that would simply bankrupt me. There are none that the government could incur, or the courts, that would end a big bank.

Anonymous JartStar May 08, 2013 4:29 PM  

What's interesting about the article is that at the end he relates that the price of gold and silver is actually set by an even smaller group of people. The price of gold in the current markets is irrelevant if you plan on holding it long term and expect the status quo to change.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 4:30 PM  

Wouldn't you want to limit the impact of said idiocy on your own life?

Not possible, too many idiots.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 4:31 PM  

Putting inmates in charge of the asylum is not a solution. Amusing, but no a solution

When the inmates run the asylum the definition of who is crazy and who is not is as you would expect.

Anonymous Catan May 08, 2013 4:39 PM  

dh is one of the most disgusting human beings I have ever encountered.

What makes you so damn sure that you and your elitist buddies can construct a method of total control that will never fall out of your hands?

What makes you so damn sure that YOU will be one of the controllers, and not simply shoved into the cattle car yourself?

Anonymous Catan May 08, 2013 4:41 PM  

dh, there's a little thing you've forgotten about, that is going to destroy every single one of your idiotic totalitarian dreams.

It's called the Law of Unintended Consequences. You and your ilk may think you have everything planned for, every contingency plotted.

You don't. You never will. You are going to live a life of neverending anguish, because your evil dreams are going to be constantly thwarted by reality. As you descend into madness, your desire to use violence to destroy those in your way will only increase.

What a little Hitler.

Anonymous Noah B. May 08, 2013 4:43 PM  

"If I was personally secure, to a sufficient degree of confidence, I would exterminate the idiots."

What if you're the idiot?

Anonymous Noah B. May 08, 2013 4:49 PM  

We should all applaud dh for his honesty. If all collectivists were this honest, our work would be so much simpler.

Anonymous Lysander Spooner May 08, 2013 4:54 PM  

In The State, by Franz Oppenheimer, speaks to the concept of "Universal History", an idea that fits quite neatly with The Conspiracy Theory of History. After all it does take a certain bit of planning and conspiracy to slaughter entire populations of humans on a regular basis.

Anonymous Noah B. May 08, 2013 5:00 PM  

dh, I would be fascinated to know if you are familiar with the Nuremburg Principle and its application.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 5:08 PM  

\You don't. You never will. You are going to live a life of neverending anguish, because your evil dreams are going to be constantly thwarted by reality. As you descend into madness, your desire to use violence to destroy those in your way will only increase.
I didn't forget that little law, I pretty much said that the uncertainity of the ends - i.e. the consequences - are way this hasn't already come to pass. Stalin or Mao is all you need to recognize that leftism taken to it's ultimate end is genocidal. It's enough to quench most radicalism.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 5:08 PM  

What if you're the idiot?

Then I guess I get the boot.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 5:14 PM  

What makes you so damn sure that you and your elitist buddies can construct a method of total control that will never fall out of your hands?

Can't.

What makes you so damn sure that YOU will be one of the controllers, and not simply shoved into the cattle car yourself?

Can't be sure. Recommend the The Prestige (try the book, the movie is so-so if reading isn't your thing). It takes some amount of courage to know if you are going to be the bird that gets squashed, or the bird that gets to fly free.

Both factors are moderating factors that tend to push leftists into allowing wiggle room into their worldviews. It's why given the chance a lot of low-church style leftists hesitate to push the last levers.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 5:26 PM  

The price of gold in the current markets is irrelevant if you plan on holding it long term and expect the status quo to change.

Is the thinking that once the collapse comes, it's not going to be about what you can "sell" gold for? In a society without an abstract container of value of debt or credit money, what is the value of gold, other than for it's utilitarian purposes? What is the history of gold having value, other than for it's utilitarian or decorative purposes? Recommended reading?

Nuremburg Principle

I am familiar with it and the application of it. In general, I am bad leftist in this regard, because I am not a strong proponent of international law. I find it to be un-useful and ill-defined in most cases.

The basis of all of the principles are that there is a such thing as a war crime, which I also find to be un-useful and not particularly rooted in a concept that makes rational sense.

In my prior example, the natural reaction is that the State shouldn't murder it's citizens, by shoving them into ovens. But the same people who say that have no problem (for the most part) saying that the State can kill convicted murders. But the same people who say that also say that the State should aggressively kill convicted or alleged terrorists or foreigners. It's incoherent. If the State has the power to kill, or not to kill, then all we are is arguing about the criteria, which is not interesting. If we agree that the State can kill, if it deems it necessary in any set of situations, you are a defacto leftist. It doesn't matter if it's a ticking time bomb, or an abortionist who kills born alive babies, or a guy flying a plane into a building, or a child molestor or a gun-wielding nutjob. Once you concede that government can kill a citizen, it's over. You're a leftist.

From there it's a very small intellectual leap to shoving jews in the oven, and I am comfortable with that in a philosophical sense. I would not constrain a future leftist government from taking a democratically arrived at position.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera May 08, 2013 5:35 PM  

dh,

I'm both an intelligent person and an idiot. (This isn't abstract or zen or anything, I've clearly displayed both on previous VP threads.)

Where do I fit into your scheme? Do I run the place or do I go in the cattle cars?

Anonymous Mr. Pea May 08, 2013 5:37 PM  

When you whore for the Mother of Harlots, whether you are a janitor, or a gun toter… why be surprised when you die of the occupational hazard?

Blogger IM2L844 May 08, 2013 5:38 PM  

I would not constrain a future leftist government from taking a democratically arrived at position.

What about a future right wing government taking a democratically arrived at position that is at philosophical odds with your own weltanschauung?

Anonymous hideous May 08, 2013 6:03 PM  

dh,
Haha, well you certainly seem to aspire to be a truly evil fellow, with eyes wide open to it! Only limited by your impotence at the moment, as C.S. Lewis pointed out is true of many.

Apparently you not only know but approve that "the ends justifies the means" was nearly always used to perform the most evil acts in history. A lot of people have died for "some other bastard's idea of what the greater good is."

Anyway, I think some law and order is important, but as I see it, it always comes down to personal security for the reason. So why not have minimal amount of laws to try to achieve that and maximize liberty for as many possible? No elites in control of the masses. I think the following is interesting (although not quite ideal in my opinion):

The Smallest Social Philosophy
■ The universe owes us nothing – not food, not pleasure, not security, not life.
■ Every human interaction must be mutually voluntary.
■ Denial of cooperation is fully acceptable.
■ If you want to do something, do it yourself, or...
■ If you want someone else to do something, convince or pay him.
■ Do not resort to violence, but separate instead.
■ Do not take what another has.
■ Do not intrude into the private sphere of another.
■ Keep your promises.
http://minorscribbles.com/2012/03/the-smallest-social-philosophy-condensed-version/

(I would rephrase and maybe shorten it along the lines "No offensive coercion by force." under penalty of "reactive coercion by force", along with something about owership rights...)

Do you have any other reasons why you believe that "law and order" is very much more important than "liberty and life of a few people"? Or, what more than the above philosophy is better and why?

Also, what did the Jews do to you, if you don't mind sharing? It sounds personal.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera May 08, 2013 6:06 PM  

Also, what did the Jews do to you, if you don't mind sharing? It sounds personal.

I think it's just a potent example of "democracy makes right".

Anonymous Noah B. May 08, 2013 6:11 PM  

"If the State has the power to kill, or not to kill, then all we are is arguing about the criteria, which is not interesting."

You may not find the discussion interesting, but the distinction of when the State has the right to kill and when it does not is a critical one. If killing is necessary to protect the life, liberty, or property of oneself or another, it is moral to kill. The far more difficult problem is determining when such action is indeed necessary. It should be readily apparent, though, that killing the innocent and helpless is not moral or justifiable.

Anonymous hideous May 08, 2013 6:24 PM  

Regarding the State having the right to kill: with regards to the death penalty, there is a difference between State death squads vs. the State merely acting out the sentence decided by a jury of peers.

So if a murderer is executed due to trial by jury, I regard the people (through the jury) as the Agent of execution and the state is merely the obedient headsman.

A big difference and important.

Blogger Bogey May 08, 2013 8:59 PM  

1 Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

The love of money, not maybe, not in theory, but is the root of all evil.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 10:37 PM  

Apparently you not only know but approve that "the ends justifies the means" was nearly always used to perform the most evil acts in history. A lot of people have died for "some other bastard's idea of what the greater good is."

Sure. But then again, all the other evil acts in history were done in the name of some other ideology or justification. It's hardly a convincing argument.

Do you have any other reasons why you believe that "law and order" is very much more important than "liberty and life of a few people"? Or, what more than the above philosophy is better and why?

All of your personal points of order assume that you can create some distance between yourself and those that you have a problem with. This may have been true in America the frontier land. But that country is dead. And now, you can't get away. Oh sure, for a few more years you can get away to one of the more rural areas of the country or the world, but it's only a matter of time until the planet is covered in development, from edge to edge. 50 years? 100 years? It's coming. Then what?

Also, what did the Jews do to you, if you don't mind sharing? It sounds personal.
I really think you misunderstood. I re-raised the point of the Jews because I had been previously asked about that scenario. I think that for many, they are a useful case, because of the "just following orders" defense to evil. You can substitute gays, Christians, blacks, women, children, dwarves or Starks into the equation and the answer is the same.

I can readily admit that the leftist platform of today has many goals and policies in common with the Nazi platform of the early WWII era and before. Many on the left just can't handle any discussion of this (and the right, and the middle, of course). I don't suffer from that affliction.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 10:41 PM  

Regarding the State having the right to kill: with regards to the death penalty, there is a difference between State death squads vs. the State merely acting out the sentence decided by a jury of peers.

This is not sound. The show trials and purges all over the world are just as real as death squads. For the target, it's all the same. The fact that a jury of stooges agree with the State make it no more or less moral or ethical.

So if a murderer is executed due to trial by jury, I regard the people (through the jury) as the Agent of execution and the state is merely the obedient headsman.

A big difference and important.


I do see a difference, but it's really irrelevant. Saying that being murdered by a well organized mob with a nice chain of command is no better than being murdered by a traditional lynch mob.

I suspect you would not want to apply the same standard to abortion providers. The abortionist is only obedient headsman of the woman. He has clean hands, right? What if there is a vote first, do the clean hands transmute to the woman?

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 10:43 PM  

It should be readily apparent, though, that killing the innocent and helpless is not moral or justifiable.

This is weak. All you are saying is that if we have a sufficently complete justification, it's okay.

In your scenario, a helpless person receiving medical treatment that I need to live is fair game, because it's in self-defense of my own life. Whether I smother the person myself, or use a political process to take from him and appropriate for myself does not change the underlying calculus one bit.

Anonymous dh May 08, 2013 10:44 PM  

Where do I fit into your scheme? Do I run the place or do I go in the cattle cars?

It's a roll of the dice. Either way you aren't getting out alive.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera May 08, 2013 11:31 PM  

I'm not entirely satisfied by that answer because it's not different from any other state of affairs. I'm not getting out alive, period, and it's a roll of the dice when it happens.

What I'm curious to know is whether your worldview prefers a population of ADD-afflicted, half-insane physicists or idiots who can only work on an assembly line, but never make mistakes.

This interests me, to put it simply.

Blogger IM2L844 May 09, 2013 1:23 AM  

Law and order is important, very important. More important [than] liberty or [the] life of a few people. The ends do justify the means.

dh, you either don't actually believe this or you haven't thought it through. Law and order is amorphous and malleable and can mean a lot of different things to different people at different times. Would you be on board with the laws and orders that could potentially be imposed by some radically extreme religious theocracy? If the crusades were successful and ongoing, would you jump on that law and order bandwagon? The pendulum she swings.

Blogger Unknown May 09, 2013 6:22 AM  

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Blogger JaimeInTexas May 09, 2013 9:46 AM  

"I would follow a democratically enacted law that directed me to personally shove jews into the oven." 8O

I am sure that you were not limiting yourself to jews, either.

So, it seems that you will walk into the oven yourself, it the law was targeted you, your family, or whatever group you belong to?

You did say you were a minority in the school you attended.

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 09, 2013 9:47 AM  

dh, it seems you fit the definition of a nihilist.

Anonymous hideous May 09, 2013 10:15 AM  

>>all the other evil acts in history were done in the name of some other ideology or justification<<
Well... yeah. But if we agreed on the "most" qualifier then maybe you could see that to stop following that particular justification, or at least question it, would knock out "most" on the pareto chart of evil acts. I'm certain that explanation made the argument much more convincing for you, since you are clearly not proudly entrenched in your position beyond any logic or reason.

>>[soon won't be able to] create some distance... 100 years? It's coming. Then what?<<
What? Are you serious? If there are no population-depleting catastrophes to upset its development then we will certainly be well-established in sea-steading in 100 years. And eventually, Space! The (endless) final frontier... C'mon, you can only keep points for honesty if you won't be deliberately stupid when you think it's advantageous.

>>Many on the left just can't handle [their basically Nazi platform]... I don't suffer from that affliction.<<
OK, kudos. Seriously. But all that means is that it would be in the best interests of society in general to imprison you before you get access to any kind of opportunity. I don't want to read in the news that you've kidnapped young girls and held and tortured them for the last 10 years because you thought they were idiots and decided that your personal risk was small enough, which from what you've said could very well be the sum total of your moral code.

>>This is not sound. The show trials and purges all over the world are just as real as death squads. For the target, it's all the same. The fact that a jury of stooges agree with the State make it no more or less moral or ethical.<<

I don't think I was referring to "show" trials and purges and stooges. In fact, those were directly counter to my point.

>>The abortionist is only obedient headsman of the woman.<<

Neither an obedient executioner, as I referred to the State for a particular case, nor an abortionist as an obedient headsman, has clean hands. They bear their own responsibility in addition to the primary agent. It would amaze me that you would infer anything otherwise from my comments, but I think you must be reflecting your own views.
Because while most of us think Hitler and those who agreed with him were the primary guilty parties, we also blame those who carried out his orders even if they disagreed with them. But apparently you think all the Nazis from high to low were morally right, or close enough.

Anonymous dh May 09, 2013 10:46 AM  

Would you be on board with the laws and orders that could potentially be imposed by some radically extreme religious theocracy? If the crusades were successful and ongoing, would you jump on that law and order bandwagon? The pendulum she swings.

Yes, she sure does swing. This is the point I made earlier and have to keep making. The fact that the pendulum swings is what moderates the radical nature of leftists (and other groups as well).

Anonymous Alexander May 09, 2013 11:56 AM  

Disagree. The constant gloating I hear about how everything the left disagrees with will inevitably end up in the dustbin of history as we continue our unstoppable march of 'progress' indicates that they have no idea whatsoever that the pendulum swings. At best, they'll acknowledge that once-upon-a-time it swung, but now we've totes got it figured out and we're never changing course ever again.

Blogger IM2L844 May 09, 2013 1:16 PM  

Yes, she sure does swing. This is the point I made earlier and have to keep making. The fact that the pendulum swings is what moderates the radical nature of leftists (and other groups as well).

Stop being a weasel and simply answer the direct question. Is Law and order important enough for you to get on board with some future extremist theocracy? Yes or no?

While I'm at it, I have another direct question. Which philosophical system or doctrine or combination of philosophical systems or doctrines most closely resembles your personal worldview? Obfuscations are unacceptable.

Anonymous Alexander May 09, 2013 2:38 PM  

The other question is why does dh disagrees with any position taken by anyone on this board, since he would be more than willing to follow that position provided it first became law.

Anonymous Eric Ashley May 09, 2013 8:28 PM  

We're not remotely close to filling up the Earth. We could stick all the farms of the world, and all the people of the world inside America and have abundant space left over (not even using Alaska, btw) and a nice setup with spacious houses and worthy views.

And then turn the rest of the world into a nature preserve if we wanted too.

The planet ain't overpopulated or anywhere close to it. 'Hideous' is correct but he's underselling his point.

Anonymous dh May 09, 2013 11:55 PM  

march of 'progress' indicates that they have no idea whatsoever that the pendulum swings.

I think you are just listening to the idiots more than you should. Most of all people are idiots, and it's especially true for liberals/leftists.

Stop being a weasel and simply answer the direct question. Is Law and order important enough for you to get on board with some future extremist theocracy? Yes or no?
I happily answer direct questions. It's just "get on board with" is not a direct question. It's a metaphor. If the question is would I participate in a future extremist theocracy? No, I don't think I would. There are extremist theocracies I could participate in now, and I don't. If you are asking, if there was a extremist theocracy that was enshrined in law, would I support it? The answer is, I would support it to the extent it was democratically elected. I don't believe there is a generalized ability to "opt-out" of government systems I disagree with. If I missed the mark, try to restate and I will do my best to answer.

While I'm at it, I have another direct question. Which philosophical system or doctrine or combination of philosophical systems or doctrines most closely resembles your personal worldview? Obfuscations are unacceptable.
I don't know. On almost all issues I am to left of American Democrats, and to the left of most European Christian Democratic parties. I may be closer to the American Green party, except I am substantially more open to resource extraction, and business interests than they are. I also am not a feminist, bordering on an anti-feminist point of view.

The other question is why does dh disagrees with any position taken by anyone on this board, since he would be more than willing to follow that position provided it first became law.
I do think there is a difference between following the law, and supporting the law. I think laws against U-turns are stupid and pointless. Whenever legal, I use U-turns freely to my driving advantage. When I have the opportunity, I support policies that would end pointless bans on U-turns. However, where forbidden, I do not make U-turns. I suppose in a way that makes me a U-turn turncoat, or a U-turn sympathizer?

We're not remotely close to filling up the Earth. We could stick all the farms of the world, and all the people of the world inside America and have abundant space left over (not even using Alaska, btw) and a nice setup with spacious houses and worthy views.
Nope, I don't think so. There are 3.9 million square miles in the US, including Alaska. There are just under 7 billion people. That is a population density, raw (that is, no including uninhabitable deserts, swamps, rivers, inland lakes, etc) of 1788 person per square mile. That is 20 times more dense the US is currently populated. At 1788 persons per square mile, you aren't as dense as a major city (about 10k person per square mile) and certainly not as dense at NYC, at 30k per square mile, but it's still tight. And of course that's not to say anything about farm land, which would be developed over. As a comparison, that level of population would be almost twice as dense as New Jersey, not a state well known for it's lovely wide open spaces, farms, and quality of living.

In general, are we close to filling up earth? No. We aren't there yet. But we are developing at a rate which is causing problems, overall. Current development is expanding outwards into previously undeveloped spaces, and going back into previously developed areas (aka gentrification) to increase density.

The American ideal of open space and making your own way is effectively over (for Americans, it never was, it's always been a sort of fairy tale American aspiration; you were even more likely to die near where you happened to be born during the frontier period than any time since).

Blogger IM2L844 May 10, 2013 8:22 AM  

The answer is, I would support it to the extent it was democratically elected. I don't believe there is a generalized ability to "opt-out" of government systems I disagree with.

So, if the democratic process produced a radically extremist theocracy that enshrined in law a mandate for you to participate in faithful obedience to all the tenants of their sacred scriptures, however ludicrous and repugnant they might seem to you, you would do it and follow through with any and all requirements set forth in those scriptures for the sake of maintaining law and order?

I'm not asking trick questions in order to trap you or something. It's just that your mindset seems so foreign to me. I'm trying to understand your logic and it's limits.

Blogger IM2L844 May 10, 2013 8:43 AM  

It's just "get on board with" is not a direct question.

Metaphor, colloquialism or idiom, it's a widely known figure of speech meaning "to go along with" and perfectly acceptable in the context of the direct question I asked. No need to start retreating into pedantic meanderings. I think you're smarter than that. I hope I haven't misjudged.

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