Thursday, May 30, 2013

Northern Ireland Town Fakes Prosperity for G8 Summit

This from "The World"  --  please follow link to original.

I guess this is the "Irish Miracle" all the VSP's are talking about.

A town in Northern Ireland is getting spruced up for the arrival of some special guests.
World leaders are gathering in the town of Enniskillen for the G8 summit next month.
And to get ready, the town is putting up fake storefronts on shuttered businesses.
Anchor Marco Werman speaks with Irish Times reporter Dan Keenan about the efforts to make the town look prosperous.
Read the Transcript
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Marco Werman: I do it. You do it. We all do it, I hope, especially if I’m coming to your house. We do it when we have special guests. Fresh towels in the bathroom, give the counters a wipe, maybe even hide our dirty laundry in the closet. Well, the town of Enniskillen, in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland is sprucing up for some very special guests: President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to name just three. In a little over two weeks they and other leaders will gather for a G8 summit at a golf resort in Enniskillen. And as the date approaches the cleanup is moving into high gear. It includes new coats of paint on houses, tidying up lawns, and putting up fake storefronts on shuttered businesses. Irish Times reporter Dan Keenan visited Enniskillen and saw the cleanup process. Describe these fake buildings, first of all. What do they look like?
Dan Keenan: These are basically empty shops that are being now made to look as if they are thriving businesses, and they’ve done that in a very clever fashion indeed.
Werman: How do they do it?
Keenan: What they’ve done is they have filled the shop front window with a picture of what was the business before it went bankrupt or closed. In other words, grocery shops, butcher shops, pharmacies, you name it, they have placed large photographs in the windows that if you were driving past and glanced out the window, it would look as if this was a thriving business. It’s an attempt really by the local authority to make the place look as positive as possible for the visiting G8 leaders and their entourages, and it’s really tried to put a mask on a recession that has really hit this part of Ireland really very badly indeed.
Werman: So it’s kind of like a trompe l’oeil, and I saw a picture in one newspaper. I’m a little confused because the door looked open.
Keenan: Yeah, it looks as if the door is open and inside you can see a well-stocked shop. It’s nothing of the sort. That door has been locked shut for well over a year because that particular business went bust this time last year, and that is an image to make it look as if everything is normal in the town and in the county, but unfortunately it’s not. The County of Fermanagh has suffered terribly as a result of the credit crisis and the resulting recession.
Werman: How are the citizens of Enniskillen reacting to this? It’s kind of, not very funny, is it?
Keenan: It’s not funny. We’re inclined to take a very light-hearted look upon it but the residents of this part of the world are looking upon the arrival of the G8 positively because at the end of the day, it’s not often you have the eight wealthiest and most powerful leaders on Earth visiting your part of the world. But on the other hand, they are a little bit skeptical of really very shallow attempts like this to make the place look better than it actually is. They would rather that it was an honest attempt to promote Fermanagh in its most positive light and really they would prefer if these problems were not masked in the way that they are.
Werman: Where is the money coming from for all these very accurate-looking photographs of meat and other things for sale?
Keenan: This is one big initiative really stemming from the Foreign Office in London. This is David Cameron’s gig. It’s his invitation, it’s his decision to host the G8 in County Fermanagh, which is, don’t forget, part of the United Kingdom. It’s also on the island of Ireland, it’s in Northern Ireland, but he will be the hosting head of government and it’s his say so. Much of the money that has been spent in and around the host town of Enniskillen, about more than £300,000 worth, that’s getting on from half a million dollars, the bulk of the cash and certainly the driving force behind the plans to tidy up the place, that’s all coming from London.
Werman: Dan, you and I are talking about these fake storefronts, other news outlets are talking about it. Presumably the leaders in their limos will know that that butcher shop they see on their drive to the resort is not real. Do you think that some Irish, some people in Enniskillen, are hoping that the leaders realize that it’s fake, and will understand just how bad things have gotten there?
Keenan: The fact that it’s made my newspaper and it’s made the newspapers across the Atlantic, and of course if you look on the Twitter-sphere, it’s everywhere at this stage, so they can do what they like but whenever people get talking about an initiative such as this, then the truth will come out, and that’s what’s happening.
Werman: Irish Times reporter Dan Keenan speaking with us from Dublin. Thank you, Dan.
Keenan: Thank you.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!!

It's a holiday.  Go read other left wing blogs and sites.  see if anything makes sense.  Government agents killing bees for Monsanto, Catholic Bishops and Cardinals openly favoring homophobia.  Folks who call for violence against LGBT people.  Other folks acting on it.

Freedom of the press denied. 

Anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-education, people wrapping themselves in the flag and religion.  Others saying The Declaration Of Independence is some sort of "religious document".  Folks still clinging to the "lost cause" crap in the south.  Racism rampant.  Muslim insanity defended all over the world.  Christian insanity, Buddhist insanity, Hindu insanity, equally defended.  Mormonism, Scientology, also defended as "the one true faith".

Total insanity all over the world  --  meanwhile people are starving, losing everything.  Climate change (GLOBAL WARMING) dismissed and ignored as we fall into disaster.  Another lawless period, a fall of civilizations, mass death soon to follow.

I know I sound like someone carrying a placard  the says, "The End Is Near"  --  but I honestly think we either act or suffer mass displacements of people and a crashing, crazy economy.  It might not happen for 20 - 30 years, but happen it will.  Our current rich people will also lose everything - all except that old money that is so entrenched, and has hedged its bets so well that it might be damaged - but it will survive.

These days, when I read "The News", or watch TV, ALL of it looks like propaganda  --  left and right.  Very little seems to actually put any of the people, the CITIZENS first.

Good luck to all you young folks.  Please read some labor history.  Look at how the corporations have destroyed peoples lives.  Look into the reasons some union leaders entered into Faustian bargains with thugs  when fighting against the private armies folks like Henry Ford used against his employees.

Look at what actual principles our nation was founded on.  Look at the history of common people.  Look at the history of both anti-war and AMERICAN radical movements.

Go beyond the "John Wayne" crap.  Understand WHY we HAD to adopt The Bill Of Rights to get The Constitution adopted. 

Perhaps you too will see why we need a "peoples party".

By the way  --  until we form a real party of the people  --  vote Democratic, it's still "the lesser of two evils".

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Meet Roan Garcia-Quintana, South Carolina’s non-Native Tea Party Nativist By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson

I read this on "Politicus" and just had to post it.  Some folks are just beyond insane.  Their hatred makes them both unstable and dangerous.  I wonder if he realizes a lot of folks are laughing at him behind his back?  I'd bet he'd be among the first to go if his beliefs were ever put into action.

Oh yeah  --  he's another reason all of us who can should be proficient in some form of self defense.  Being an old woman I favor "gun-fu"  --  9mm, 40S&W, or 45 ACP.

I think the attacks against people who are "different" will increase until all the active and latent hatred is worked out.

Anyway, please follow link to original

Roan Garcia-Quintana of Greenville is, despite his name, a white supremacist. Being a white supremacist, it is not so surprising that he is a Tea Party activist.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Garcia-Quintana is also a rabid nativist. Merriam-Webster defines nativism as “a policy of favoring native inhabitants as opposed to immigrants.”
Where you think this would become a problem for Garcia-Quintana is that he was born in Havana and is a naturalized citizen. So here we have a non-native endorsing a policy which would make him a second-class citizen.
In other words, Garcia-Quintana does not want America to be for others what it has been for him.
Nobody said the Tea Party made any sense. Therefore, the befuddled Garcia-Quintana can say, apparently without a sense of irony, that Latino immigration is an “illegal alien invasion.”
If you want to know Garcia-Quintana’s logic, it runs thusly, reports the SPLC: “Although Cuban by birth, Garcia-Quintana does not consider himself Latino. His ancestors, he says, were Spaniards and this makes him white. He refers to himself as “Havana born, Savannah raised” and as a ‘Confederate Cuban.’”
Never mind that the Spaniards themselves were immigrants. Never mind that every white person born in America is the descendent of immigrants. Being bigoted and careless with facts, Garcia-Quintana can advocate that English be made the official language of South Carolina.
Given his logic that he is a Spaniard, you would think he would advocate for Spanish. He may be a white person, but he is certainly not English. Garcia-Quintana is all about Europeans and opposes “the mas­sive immi­gra­tion of non-European and non-Western peo­ples into the United States that threat­ens to trans­form our nation into a non-European major­ity in our lifetime.”
I would like to remind Mr. Garcia-Quintana and everyone else, again, that he is not English and that the language of Europe is not English.
According to his “Quintana for SC Senate” website in 2008, reports the SPLC, Garcia-Quintana said: “‘What we want to accomplish is to STOP the enticements for illegal aliens. To do that we must remove the license to operate a business from anyone who continually hires illegal aliens and make it unpleasant for illegals to live here in South Carolina.”
Welcome to the “do as I say and not as I do” world of Tea Party activism. No wonder South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, herself the daughter of Indian immigrants, like Garcia-Quintana enough to name him to a “164-member steering committee comprising folks from all 46 of her state’s counties.”

The SPLC says that,
Garcia-Quintana is a lifetime member and current board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which is listed as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The CCC is the linear descendant of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South, and has evolved into a crudely racist organization. Its website, for example, has published pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “the CofCC has called mixed-race mar­riage ‘the mon­gre­liza­tion of the races.’” I realize people hate Hitler comparisons but this language is right out of the National Socialist playbook.
You have to laugh at this too, because a little farther north, in the Dominion State, Right Wing Watch reports that Virginia Republican Lt. Gov. nominee E. W. Jackson wants to know, apparently also without a sense of irony, “why [blacks] are “allowing the Tea Party to be made into [their] enemy.”
Gosh, I dunno Mr. Jackson…I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s because the Tea Party is racist.
Jackson pretends it’s all about God. He knows that black voters cannot be made to vote Republican because the GOP is all about Jim Crow. But he apparently harbors that GOP fantasy that black voters will leave Obama and the Democratic Party behind on account of their religion.
Hope springs eternal when reality doesn’t enter into the equation. Jackson claims that liberal indoctrination is responsible for “the radical homosexual rights people to be made into your friends and allies when they reject everything you believe and most of the Tea Party activists embrace everything you believe.”

Yeah. I don’t think black voters embrace being treated like second class citizens. Let’s face it, the Confederate flag is a bit obvious. It’s not liberals, after all, who embrace the fantasy that blacks were better off as slaves, but God-fearing Tea Partiers.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

This is "Memorial Day Weekend".  It is a time for cookouts, and a time to celebrate our "warriors".

When did soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines become "warriors"?  When did we develop such a "military caste"? 

Do any of you remember when folks who served in the armed services were "citizen soldiers"?  Do you remember when they were "veterans" after service?  Remember the original G.I.Bill  --  that thing that helped form our middle class (along with things like workers rights and UNIONS)?

Now we play "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at baseball games, we have "flyovers" by various agents of destruction during pre-game "festivities", and we celebrate those who kill, supposedly in our name.

Memorial day no longer memorializes the CITIZENS lost in all our various wars (if you were to keep track, you'd realize we are ALWAYS at war), it celebrates our "warriors". 

Time to go back to "citizen soldiers".  Time to go back to THE DRAFT.  If more folks were at risk, not just poor kids and members of the military caste, we might not be so quick to go to war. 

This is not the country I was born in.

Evangelical Family Research Council, as Completely Expected, Says Moore Disaster Is From God:

From "The Rude Pundit"  --  follow link to original.


In an utterly predictable move, the evangelical Christian Family Research Council (motto: "Holier than thou, thou, and, yeah, thou in the back, too") says that the tornado that wiped out a large chunk of Moore, Oklahoma, was a message from God. This is not an Onion parody. It is sadly, awfully real.

The Rude Pundit received his weekly Prayer Target email yesterday, as is his reward for having signed up for the FRC's Super-Duper Prayer Team some years ago under a nom de rude. Each Wednesday (or Thursday, depending on who is feeling lazy), he gets his praypulation orders on various topics, usually gays, abortion, and gays, about which he should drop to his knees and give Jesus a shout-out.

Yesterday, he was a bit disturbed to read that, while we should pray for and give money to help the Moore victims, "there is more that we need to do in response to these and a growing number of devastating natural and man-made disasters that have been striking America in recent years." Whatever could it be? Funding for infrastructure reconstruction? Reduction of carbon emissions to slow the devastation of climate change? What?

Nope. Instead, the email quotes crazy-ass preacher Richard Owen Roberts saying (and let's let this go long because it's a crazy-ass quote from his crazy-ass call to "Solemn Assembly"), "Our Fathers believed God was offended by sin. They themselves were deeply troubled both by the existence of personal sin in their own lives and by the presence of unconfessed corporate sins in the churches and in the nation. They regarded natural calamities as manifestations of the displeasure of God Almighty against sin and allowed such events as earthquakes, fires, volcanoes, epidemics, floods, and droughts to prompt them to special seeking of God's face in fasting, prayer, and corporate repentance. They also sought the Lord in Solemn Assemblies in connection with wars, murders, rapes, etc., believing such outbursts of wickedness to be directly related to the general decline of moral and spiritual life in the churches." Man, we must suck so hard if God is always on the verge of "allowing" volcanoes to explode and wars to rage.

Lest you think that the FRC was merely just implying, wink-wink, that God is such a dick that he'd stone cold spree kill nine children in order to remind people that they need to tell him how awesome he is more regularly, the email evokes God, Jr. hisself: "Jesus asked his followers for their thoughts about those killed in two major disasters of their day. Did they suppose the victims were greater sinners than their unaffected countrymen? He answered his own question twice, 'I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' He warned of calamity to come for all men if they did not repent."

That's pretty clear, no? Picture Jesus holding a lightning bolt to the head of a 4th-grade girl, saying, "You. Down. On your knees. Repent or the kid gets it." That's a fine religion you got there.

(Remember: This is not fringe nonsense. FRC President Tony Perkins is a regular on the news networks, offering a conservative opinion on everything from gays to abortion to gays. He advises people like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will appear on his radio show today. And you can bet that Perkins will filthy up your TV screen soon talking about the Boy Scouts decision allowing gay scouts, but telling gay scoutmasters to take a hike in the woods alone.)

This section of the FRC email concludes with the odd statement that "The sovereign God of the Bible, who has protected America for four centuries, is calling the church and nation to return to her first love." Well, okay. The Rude Pundit's 2nd grade girlfriend, Sandy, is gonna be a bit surprised, but if it'll stop God from murdering people with tornadoes...

Obviously no comment necessary from me.  I'll just repeat, we are ruled by crazy people.  The "opposition" is totally inane.  The currently active "rulers" are insane.

try to look at what we call "the news" with an open mind.  Most of it is propaganda  --  no matter which "side" it pretends to favor.  

Just One Little Headline

Here's a headline from "Raw Story"  --  go there to read the article.

Why do "The Boy Scouts" still exist?  Also, if you were the parent of a gay boy  --  would you really allow him to be a scout?  Our world is populated by crazy people.  Insane wankers in total denial of reality.

Boy Scouts to allow gay members but ban on gay and atheist leaders continues


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"More On The Madness Of Muslim: Sharia Is For Shit"

This is from "Atheist Oasis"  --  just another description of RAPE CULTURE around the world.  We are all moving backward, women are under siege all across the world   --  but this crap is really beyond all human decency.  Will women EVER be considered HUMAN?

Please follow link to original.

When I read horrendous accounts like this, it’s almost too much to bear:
Alicia Gali: Rape Victim Who Was Jailed For Being Assaulted in UAE Tells Her Story
Those familiar with the Steubenville case or the Rehtaeh Parsons suicide are aware of the backlash against rape victims in contemporary society. Another rape victim, Alicia Gali, has recently come forward to describe her experience in a foreign prison as result of rape.
In 2008, Gali, then a 27-year-old Australian woman, was hired as the manager of the Starwood Le Meridien Al-Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah, spa and beauty salon in the United Arab Emirates.  One night, after having her drink spiked in the employee bar, she awoke in her room, naked, covered in bruises, with four broken ribs. Reports were made during the night in response to her screams. Guards who entered the room saw her unconscious and three naked, male hotel employees in her room.
When Gali reported the assault, reportedly neither the Australian Embassy nor the hotel offered her assistance, an accusation the hotel denies. After seeking medical attention, she reported the assault to the police, which she did not know entailed admitting to illicit sex, a crime under United Arab Emirates law. According to UAE law, proving rape requires four adult male witnesses to the sex act who will affirm that it occurred. She also confessed to consuming alcohol, which is illegal without a license. Gali signed a confession in Arabic, which she did not understand.
She was sentenced to eleven months in prison for illicit sex and one month for alcohol consumption. Two rapists received twelve-month sentences as well, also for illicit sex; the third received thirteen months. After eight months in prison, which she described as “appalling” and a “nightmare,” she was pardoned. Her rapists were released on the same day.
And there you have it. There is no long complicated explanation to it: Islam is a rape culture. There are no involved sociological explanations, no wishy-washy bullshit watered down moral relativism to invoke.
Islam is a rape culture.
No ideology can lay claim to being ‘civilized’ when such inequities, such injustice, such horrific discrimination is visited upon someone simply because of their gender.
All religion is evil, but Islam is by far the most barbaric.
It’s gotta go.
Till the next post, then.

A Little Bit Of "The Real World"

This past weekend we worked a small swap meet  --  just to see what it would take to earn some money that way.  It seemed an awful lot of older, gray-haired, not too mobile, folks were working at the swap meet.  Some were very helpful, trying to show us the ropes, explaining how they manage to make enough to ward off losing their home, and, of course, starvation.

None of these folks was rolling in dough.  Most needed the extra funds.  Many had no other source of income  --  other than Social Security.

In conversation more than one mentioned they had to get some groceries/soda/snacks/veggies/etc. at Walmart.

Now, I know Walmart is a company HATED by all good thinking liberals.  They think it a SHAME, a SHAME I tell you, that such places exploit their poor workers.  Of course the fact they sell brand name goods cheaper than most other supermarkets seems to escape those well meaning (I think) folks.  They also forget that Walmart "Super Stores"  --  the ones with all sorts of EVERYTHING  --  also sell a wide variety of fruits and veggies.  In fact, in many of our poorer neighborhoods, if the Walmart closed an awful lot of folks would depend on overpriced stuff from a local corner store.   Places that carry very little in the realm of fresh stuff.  That would also be the case in many rural areas.  We would go back to having "food deserts" in places that are now well served. 

The average well fed, well groomed, well coiffed, "liberal" seems to have either forgotten, or never knew any of this.  In their "Whole Foods World" the idea of locally sourced, organic, way over priced stuff reigns supreme.

By the way, when you stop to think about it, Target is just a Walmart for folks who see themselves as "just a little better".  I always see places that call employees "team members" as a little less honest than places that tell the truth.  The fact they still exploit workers, limit workers rights, and pay very little, seems to be dismissed by those who WANT to like the stores.  I see Walmart as a bit more honest. 

The entire idea there is a HUGE "underground economy" seems beyond of these "well meaning" folks.  The fact it is actually NECESSARY is also not well understood.

With these poor folks cash reigns supreme, and life is still day to day and much harder than it should be.  Still, our "well meaning liberals", and the VSP's (Very Serious People) still call for cuts to the meager "safety net" the USA has.  It seems they would be quite happy to have folks starve to death, go hungry, and/or homeless, as long as they don't make a fuss, and are not too noticeable.

Powdered, pampered, well barbered, folks who don't give a damn about our history, traditions, and the real "promise of America"  ---  giving to causes that allow them to feel good about themselves, "doing their part", while children go hungry, and seniors seem to live on a steady diet of various and sundry pain pills.  I was surprised by how many of the older folks pop hydrocodone, Valium, and God knows what, just to get through a day at a swap meet.

So, our vaunted system of "self reliance" seems to have led to a bunch of tax evading, senior citizen junkies, doing what they can to stay afloat.

I'm so disgusted by what we have allowed our country to become, by our lack of both understanding and empathy, and by much of the supposed "economic discourse", that I've found it difficult to post much of anything.       

Friday, May 17, 2013


Western State Bank, Devils Lake, North Dakota, Assumes All of the Deposits of Central Arizona Bank, Scottsdale, Arizona

May 14, 2013
Media Contact:
Greg Hernandez (202) 898-6984
Cell: (202) 340-4922

Central Arizona Bank, Scottsdale, Arizona, was closed today by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Western State Bank, Devils Lake, North Dakota, to assume all of the deposits of Central Arizona Bank.
The sole former branch of Central Arizona Bank will reopen tomorrow as a branch of Western State Bank during its normal business hours. Depositors of Central Arizona Bank will automatically become depositors of Western State Bank.  Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits.  Customers of Central Arizona Bank should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from Western State Bank that systems conversions have been completed to allow full-service banking at all branches of Western State Bank.
This evening depositors of Central Arizona Bank can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards.  Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.
As of March 31, 2013, Central Arizona Bank had approximately $31.6 million in total assets and $30.8 million in total deposits.  In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Western State Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank’s assets.  

Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-423-6395. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Mountain Time (MT), and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., MT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $8.6 million.  Compared to other alternatives, Western State Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF.  Central Arizona Bank is the 13th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in Arizona.  The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Gold Canyon Bank, Gold Canyon, on April 5, 2013.

W.C. Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chris Layton - Little Thing jam

W.C. Clark - Bass
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Guitar
Chris Layton - Drums

Stevie Ray Vaughan - If The House is Rockin' (Live on Austin City Limits 1990)

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Guitar / Vocals
Reese Wynans - Keyboards
Tommy Shannon - Bass
Chris Layton - Drums


We've been getting ready for a very busy weekend.  As a result, I've put very little time into this blog.

It really doesn't matter since every "scandal" of the recent past has been shown to be a made up jumble of nonsensical ka-ka (notice how delicate and precious I am).  Our dear Republican "lawmakers" have shown, once again, they are very willing to lie, and do so poorly.

In the little spare time I've had, I have begun re-reading David Williams "A Peoples History Of The Civil War - Struggles For The Meaning Of Freedom".  From it's very beginning he shows how slavery degraded both the south and the north.  He also shows how religion has been a tool of the oppressor throughout the history of the USA.  Religion has always been a tool of the oppressor  --  being pro-slavery, pro-wealth, anti-Union, anti-"common man", anti-woman.

How anyone with a clear mind can support religious institutions is totally beyond me.

Buy and read this book  --  it's interesting, makes sense, and explains a lot about our current plight.  READ IT!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Triumph of Progressivism: Graduation 2013 and 1968

The latest from Robert Reich  --  he's a lot more hopeful than I am.  I think our corporations have unheard of amounts of power today  --  there isn't even anywhere to run or hide.

In any case, read this and follow the link to the original

Many of you soon-to-be college graduates are determined to make the world a better place. Some of you are choosing careers in public service or joining nonprofits or volunteering in your communities.
But many of you are cynical about politics. You see the system as inherently corrupt. You doubt real progress is possible.
“What chance do we have against the Koch brothers and the other billionaires?” you’ve asked me. “How can we fight against Monsanto, Boeing, JP Morgan, and Bank of America? They buy elections. They run America.” 
Let me remind you: Cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophesy. You have no chance if you assume you have no chance.
“But it was different when you graduated,” you say. “The sixties were a time of social progress.”
You don’t know your history. 
When I graduated in 1968, the Vietnam War was raging. Over half a million American troops were already there. I didn’t know if I’d be drafted.  A member of my class who spoke at commencement said he was heading to Canada and urged us to join him.
Two months before, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. America’s cities were burning. Bobby Kennedy had just been gunned down.  
George (“segregation forever”) Wallace was on his way to garnering 10 million votes and carrying five southern states. Richard Nixon was well on his way to becoming president.
America was still mired in bigotry. 
I remember a classmate who was dating a black girl being spit on in a movie theater. The Supreme Court had only the year before struck down state laws against interracial marriage.
My entire graduating class of almost 800 contained only six young black men and four Hispanics.
I remember the girlfriend of another classmate almost dying from a back-alley abortion, because safe abortions were almost impossible to get.
I remember a bright young woman law school graduate in tears because no law firm would hire her because she was a woman.
I remember one of my classmates telling me in anguish that he was a homosexual, fearing he’d be discovered and his career ruined. 
The environmental movement had yet not been born. Two-thirds of America’s waterways were unsafe for swimming or fishing because of industrial waste and sewage.
I remember rivers so polluted they caught fire. When the Cuyahoga River went up in flames Time Magazine described it as the river that “oozes rather than flows,” in which a person “does not drown but decays.”
In those days, universal health insurance was a pipe dream.
It all seemed pretty hopeless. I assumed America was going to hell.
And yet, reforms did occur. America changed. The changes didn’t come easily. Every positive step was met with determined resistance. But we became better and stronger because we were determined to change.
When I graduated college I would not have believed that in my lifetime women would gain rights over their own bodies, including the legal right to have an abortion. Or women would become chief executives of major corporations, secretaries of state, contenders for the presidency. Or they’d outnumber men in college.
I would not have imagined that eleven states would allow gays and lesbians to marry, and a majority of Americans would support equal marriage rights.
Or that the nation would have a large and growing black middle class.
It would have seemed beyond possibility that a black man, the child of an interracial couple, would become President of the United States.  
I would not have predicted that the rate of college enrollment among Hispanics would exceed that of whites.
Or that more than 80 percent of Americans would have health insurance, most of it through government.  
I wouldn’t have foreseen that the Cuyahoga River – the one that used to catch fire regularly – would come to support 44 species of fish. And that over half our rivers and 70 percent of bays and estuaries would become safe for swimming and fishing.
Or that some 200,000 premature deaths and 700,000 cases of chronic bronchitis would have been prevented because the air is cleaner.
Or that the portion of children with elevated levels of lead in their blood would have dropped from 88 percent to just over 4 percent.
I would not have believed our nation capable of so much positive change. 
Yet we achieved it. And we have just begun. Widening inequality, a shrinking middle class, global warming, the corruption of our democracy by big money – all of these, and more, must be addressed. To make progress on these — and to prevent ourselves from slipping backwards — will require no less steadfastness, intelligence, and patience than was necessitated before. 
The genius of America lies in its resilience and pragmatism. We believe in social progress because we were born into it. It is our national creed.
Which is to say,  I understand your cynicism. It looks pretty hopeless.
But, believe me, it isn’t.
Not if you pitch in.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Jutta Hipp-After Hours

Pf:Jutta Hipp
Bs:Peter Ind
Dr:Ed Thigpen

Zoot Sims - Jutta Hipp Quintet 1956 ~ These Foolish Things

Zoot Sims - Tenor Sax
Jerry Lloyd - Trumpet
Jutta Hipp - Piano
Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Bass
Ed Thigpen - Drums

Jimmy Smith - Midnight Special

Everyday I Have The Blues - Jimmy McGriff & Hank Crawford Quartet

Jimmy McGriff - Hammond organ, Hank Crawford - alto sax, Bob DeVos - guitar, Jimmie Smith - drums. San Diego, CA 1989

Gene Ammons - Richard "Groove" Holmes Trio Live 1961 ~ Exactly Like You

Gene Ammons - Tenor Sax
Richard "Groove" Holmes - Hammond B3 Organ
Gene Edwards - Guitar
Leroy Henderson - Drums

Harlem Nocturne By Sonny Stitt Quartet

Sonny Stitt(alto sax)
Doro Coker(piano)
Edgar Willis(bass)
Kenny Dennis(drums)

Friday, May 10, 2013


We've passed the 7 billion mark and have just passed the 400PPM CO2 level.

Everyone go ahead and jump for joy  --  as for me, once again I'm happy to be 74 and not 34  --  good luck folks, hope you manage to save civilization, or at least some part of it.

Highest paid public employees are usually COACHES. That's right, COACHES. After all, we need folks who can lead little Johnny in activities where they get their brains scrambled -- much better than actually TEACHING them anything.


Wolf Richter: When Flight Safety Gets Outsourced To China

This from "Naked Capitalism"  --  please follow link to original

Wolf Richter: When Flight Safety Gets Outsourced To China

By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Cross posted from Testosterone Pit.
Aircraft maintenance was a highly paid blue-collar job that required education, training, manual skills, and brains. It was one of the perfect American middle-class jobs with generous healthcare, retirement, and vacation benefits; and free flights! They were working for icons like Delta, American Airlines, Continental, TWA, or Pan Am. Icons indeed!
After endless rounds of Wall Street engineering and tough competition, they all went bankrupt, some of them twice. High wages and generous fringe benefits of maintenance mechanics got whittled down. Then the actual jobs, these well-paid blue-collar specialty jobs that required a lot of training and brains, the bedrock of the American middle class, were outsourced to cheap countries, including China.
Specifically to one company. It started in 1997 when Boeing announced that it would acquire for $11 million a 9.1% stake in an outfit that had opened for business the year before: Taikoo Aircraft Engineering Co. (TAECO), based at Gaoqi International Airport in Xiamen, China. Its largest shareholder is Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. (HAECO); among the other shareholders are Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. TAECO does “heavy maintenance” on aircraft, a labor-intensive job that takes around four weeks per plane – if you have enough mechanics. And cheap labor makes a huge difference for Boeing and its airline customers.
I should probably disclose that my parents died in a Boeing nearly 40 years ago. So, for me, there is an extraneous exclamation mark behind every flight-safety issue. Turns out, it is a flight safety issue.
On Thursday, Syndicat ALTER, one of the unions representing the pilots of Air France, complained about an incident involving aircraft maintenance. On April 7, an Air France Airbus 340, flying from Paris to Caracas, had to be diverted to the Azores “for technical reasons.” Various issues had marred the flight, from overflowing toilets to the failure of two high-frequency radios. According to ALTER, it was the aircraft’s first commercial flight after heavy maintenance had been performed by TAECO.
Air France denied that the “technical problems” were in any way, shape, or form linked to the maintenance work done in China. The spokesperson defended TAECO, a company that is “internationally recognized and works for all major global airlines.”
The union retorted that this incident was “but the latest in a too-long series” and pointed at three other problems that Air France had run into with TAECO, one of them affecting an Airbus, the others Boeing 747s. In one incident, a Boeing 747-400 was grounded in 2010 after someone discovered that three weeks earlier, TAECO had repainted portions of the plane using flammable paint that didn’t meet heat certification criteria. In another incident there was an issue with certain parts of the wing.
Then in November 2011, an Airbus 340 was grounded in Boston, after someone discovered that about 30 screws were missing from a “large protective panel” between the fuselage and wing that serves to reduce drag. The plane had flown for five days in that condition, after heavy maintenance had been done by TAECO. ALTER described the incident in an internal document that was then leaked. Air France tried to step out the brushfire. The missing screws were supposed to hold down a piece that “was part of the outer covering of the wing and at no point was flight safety compromised,” the company’s spokesman said at the time.
A union spokesman wasn’t so nonchalant. “Deplorable,” was how he described the oversight at the TAECO plant. “Pieces of an aircraft should never simply go missing during maintenance,” he explained. “It is not the first time this has happened either.”
A month later, Air France buckled and suspended TAECO from performing heavy maintenance on its aircraft. Then, quietly, it restarted using TAECO, “for purely financial reasons,” the union pointed out. The addiction to cheap labor, regardless of what the costs.
So on Thursday, given the “serious incidents involving maintenance carried out in the workshops of TAECO,” the union demanded that management “put a definitive end to the outsourcing of maintenance” of long-haul aircraft “before one incident too many occurs.”
These kinds of incidents are not made public, neither by the airlines nor by TAECO. They would rather keep them quiet. And who knows how many times they succeed. They bubble up only if an interested party – such as a union whose pilots are impacted – finds out about it and writes up an “internal” report that then gets leaked. The mainstream media don’t appear to be eager to dig them up either, though it would help keep airlines honest about outsourcing maintenance to countries where people have trouble with the basics, like reading voluminous English-only maintenance manuals and making sure all the screws are in place.
There could not possibly be any clouds on the horizon with the Dow and the S&P 500 setting all-time highs, while the German DAX is getting there, and with the Japanese Nikkei soaring. But just then, a deeply connected representative of the global real economy spoils the rosy scenario. Read….. “During The Last Crisis, We Had China,” Now We Have No One


Synovus Bank, Columbus, Georgia, Assumes All of the Deposits of Sunrise Bank, Valdosta, Georgia

May 10, 2013
Media Contact:
LaJuan Williams-Young
Office: 202-898-3876

Sunrise Bank, Valdosta, Georgia, was closed today by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Synovus Bank, Columbus, Georgia, to assume all of the deposits of Sunrise Bank.
The three former branches of Sunrise Bank will reopen as branches of Synovus Bank during their normal business hours. Depositors of Sunrise Bank will automatically become depositors of Synovus Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of Sunrise Bank should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from Synovus Bank that systems conversions have been completed to allow full-service banking at all branches of Synovus Bank.
This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Sunrise Bank can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.
As of March 31, 2013, Sunrise Bank had approximately $60.8 million in total assets and $57.8 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Synovus Bank agreed to purchase approximately $13.2 million of the failed bank's assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.
Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-508-8289. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EDT; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., EDT; on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., EDT; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EDT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $17.3 million. Compared to other alternatives, Synovus Bank was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Sunrise Bank is the 12th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the third in Georgia. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Douglas County Bank, Douglasville, on April 26, 2013.


Capital Bank, National Association, Rockville, Maryland, Assumes All of the Deposits of Pisgah Community Bank, Asheville, North Carolina

May 10, 2013
Media Contact:
LaJuan Williams-Young
Office: 202-898-3876

Pisgah Community Bank, Asheville, North Carolina, was closed today by the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Capital Bank, National Association, Rockville, Maryland, to assume all of the deposits of Pisgah Community Bank.
The sole former branch of Pisgah Community Bank will reopen as a branch of Capital Bank, National Association during its normal business hours. Depositors of Pisgah Community Bank will automatically become depositors of Capital Bank, National Association. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of Pisgah Community Bank should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from Capital Bank, National Association that systems conversions have been completed to allow full-service banking at all branches of Capital Bank, National Association.
This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Pisgah Community Bank can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.
As of March 31, 2013, Pisgah Community Bank had approximately $21.9 million in total assets and $21.2 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Capital Bank, National Association agreed to purchase approximately $19.8 million of the failed bank's assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.
Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-450-5143. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (EDT); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EDT; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., EDT; on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., EDT; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EDT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $8.9 million. Compared to other alternatives, Capital Bank, National Association was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Pisgah Community Bank is the 11th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in North Carolina. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Parkway Bank, Lenoir, North Carolina, on April 26, 2013.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lester Young 1939 ~ Original Lester Leaps In (Take 1)

Personnel: Count Basie Kansas City Seven
Lester Young - Tenor Sax
Buck Clayton - Trumpet
Dicky Wells - Trombone
Count Basie - Piano
Freddie Green - Guitar
Walter Page - Bass
Jo Jones -Drums

Lester Young and Teddy Wilson - Love me or Leave me

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Niall Ferguson’s Latest Gay Bashing is the Least of His Problems - By William K. Black

The following is a long post by Bill Black from "New Economic Perspectives" on the Niall Ferguson mess.  I hope this clarifies it for everyone.

Please follow link to original

It is always a disaster when devotees of theoclassical economists speak their minds in front of what they think are friendly audiences.  Mitt Romney’s attack on 47% of Americans as leeches that it was his job not to represent were he elected President was the final nail in his self-constructed electoral coffin.  We now have Niall Ferguson, a history professor at Harvard and Hoover fellow whose theoclassical views have proven so influential with Prime Minister Cameron’s government’s adoption of austerity policies that have killed the UK recovery.
Ferguson has had a terrible last 10 years.  He was a strong proponent of invading Iraq and pines for us to stay indefinitely in Afghanistan.  He was a Romney supporter who wrote an anti-Obama screed in Newsweek that demonstrated his contempt for facts.  He was an advisor to Senator McCain’s campaign for the presidency.  Because of his record of getting every important policy issue wrong he was paid a great deal of money to speak to an “alternative investment” conference that began, with no small irony, on May Day.  Ferguson was presenting his thesis that the West has become “degenerate.”  He certainly proved that point about himself.
Krugman v. Ferguson (2009) (TKO for Krugman in the First Round)
Ferguson has been spinning out of control in recent weeks.  In 2009, he made the mistake of trying to debate a Nobel Laureate in Economics (Paul Krugman) about  Krugman’s specialty.    If it had been a fight the ref would have stopped it in the first round and awarded a TKO.  Ferguson did his ode to austerity as a response to the Great Recession and claimed that the stimulus program was causing, and would continue to cause, interest rates to soar and prevent a recovery.
Austerity created the gratuitous über-Depression in the Eurozone’s periphery.  U.S. interest rates have fallen to record lows.  Ferguson admitted recently that stimulus had not produced his predicted surge in interest rates and that austerity in response to the Great Recession proved self-destructive.  That was fine, but Ferguson could not leave it there.  He added three points got him trouble – and those three points prompted Ferguson’s latest and greatest of own goals.  First, Ferguson tried to reinvent the history of the position he took during the 2009 debates with Krugman.
Second, having agreed that Keynes had proven correct and Ferguson had again been proven incorrect in his predictions, Ferguson proceeded to continue to demonize Keynes as the cause of much of the West’s supposed degeneration.  This is more than passing strange because it is Ferguson’s policies that have proved disastrous and Keynes’ policies that have proven correct.
Third, Ferguson responded furiously on March 6, 2013 to Krugman’s article pointing out Ferguson’s effort to air brush out of history Ferguson’s history of predictive failure.  Ferguson’s cri de cœur is so delectable because it sends a frisson through one’s body to see such naked hypocrisy and whining in print from the self-proclaimed champion of American military adventure designed to create and expand a new American empire and a writer whose works are now redolent of innuendo.
“In my view Paul Krugman has done fundamental damage to the quality of public discourse on economics. He can be forgiven for being wrong, as he frequently is–though he never admits it. He can be forgiven for relentlessly and monotonously politicizing every issue. What is unforgivable is the total absence of civility that characterizes his writing. His inability to debate a question without insulting his opponent suggests some kind of deep insecurity perhaps the result of a childhood trauma. It is a pity that a once talented scholar should demean himself in this way.”
Ferguson, trained as a historian, uses innuendo to make up a (self) “suggest[ed]” history to smear a critic who (1) proved correct, (2) proved Ferguson incorrect, and (3) correctly called out Ferguson’s effort to change history to mislead readers about point #2.  But what sends the frisson through your body when you read Ferguson’s effort to smear Krugman is Ferguson’s naked hypocrisy – and his blindness to it.  As with his repeated efforts to smear Keynes, Ferguson’s attempt to smear Krugman reveals everything important and true about Ferguson and nothing important or true about Keynes or Krugman.  The nice thing about Ferguson is that despite the adage that “practice makes perfect” he is getting ever cruder and more self-destructive in his efforts to smear those with whom he disagrees.
Ferguson, of course, has no proof of any childhood trauma and makes no pretense that he conducted any research before unleashing his triple innuendo (Krugman must have suffered a childhood trauma that must have caused some “deep insecurity” and that must have left him unable to “debate a question without insulting his opponent.”  Feguson simply used innuendo to make up as an ad hominem smear of someone who crushed him in a debate through superior logic and expertise.  Ferguson, having failed as an arm chair economist in his debate with Krugman, now appoints himself an arm chair psychoanalyst of Krugman and proceeds without interviewing Krugman to declare him deranged.  That’s the only way Ferguson could “win” a debate he lost.
May 2, 2013: Ferguson’s Epic Fail
All of this provides the essential setting for understanding Ferguson’s latest epic fail.  Here is Ferguson’s explanation of what happened when a member of the audience at the investor conference asked him a question on May 2, 2013.
“In his apology Ferguson explained: ‘I had been asked to comment on Keynes’s famous observation ‘In the long run we are all dead.’ The point I had made in my presentation was that in the long run our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are alive and will have to deal with the consequences of our economic actions.’
He added: ‘I should not have suggested – in an off-the-cuff response that was not part of my presentation – that Keynes was indifferent to the long run because he had no children, nor that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.’”
So, we have Ferguson apologizing for making a claim that he knew to be the “obvious[ly]” false.  Ferguson claimed that gay people who have no children did not “care about future generations.”  Ferguson calls his statement “doubly stupid” because “I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.”  The second aspect of that self-described “stupidity” is an allusion to the fact that Ferguson did not make a single quip bashing gays as indifferent to future generations.  Ferguson went on an entire, snide riff mocking Keynes and his marriage.  It is this aspect of Ferguson’s ad hominem attack on Keynes that prompted the portion of Ferguson’s apology that termed his assault “insensitive”:  “I made comments about John Maynard Keynes that were as stupid as they were insensitive.”  One reporter at the event, Tom Kostigen, reported extensively on Ferguson’s gay bashing and made clear his disapproval.  He reported what Ferguson said in his extended his attacks on Keynes’ sexual orientation.
“Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of ‘poetry’ rather than procreated. The audience went quiet at the remark. Some attendees later said they found the remarks offensive.
It gets worse.
Ferguson, who is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, and author of The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, says it’s only logical that Keynes would take this selfish worldview because he was an ‘effete’ member of society.’”
We have just witnessed a variant of what economists call “revealed preferences.”  Economists are skeptical of what people tell pollsters they would do in terms of economic actions in response to hypothetical financial incentives.  We teach that it was people actually do in response to the incentives that reveals their true preferences.  Ferguson’s great problem is that he spoke what he believed – and what he believes is false and bigoted.  Begin with what should have been the most obvious point that Ferguson’s apology ignores.  If Ferguson’s “obvious[ly]” incorrect claim was based on the “stupid” premise that adults who do not have children do not care about future generations – why did he raise Keynes’ sexuality?  It would have sufficed for Ferguson to simply make the “obvious” and “stupid” claim that because Keynes had no children he did not care about future generations.  Keynes’ sexuality is irrelevant and gratuitous to Ferguson’s obvious and stupid claim about the purported reason that Keynes was childless.
Ferguson brought up multiple homophobic tropes about gay males in his recent speech.  They are “effete,” even when they marry women they are so effete that they read their wives “poetry” rather than have sex, which is why they do not reproduce even if they are bisexuals, closeted gays who marry women, or men who identify as heterosexuals though they had homosexual relationships when they were younger.  This last absurdity, belied by millions of children fathered by closeted gay or bisexual American males over the history of this Nation even before gay couples could produce children through surrogacy or via adoption, is what prompted Ferguson’s apology for forgetting that Keynes’s wife suffered a miscarriage.
I presume that Ferguson is aware that men who identify as gay, bisexual, and heterosexual males who had gay sexual experiences in their youth have fathered children.  Indeed, Ferguson brought up his views about Keynes’ sexuality after he brought up the fact that Keynes did not have children.  That makes Ferguson’s gay bashing even more gratuitous.
Ferguson loves counterfactuals, so let’s try this counterfactual.  What if Ferguson had made the obvious, stupid claim that people who are childless do not carry about future generations?  We know that he despises Keynes and Krugman (in the same talk he archly referred to Krugman as his “arch-enemy”) and that both are childless.  Ferguson could have claimed that Keynes and Krugman were indifferent to the lives of future generations because they were childless.  How would the audience have reacted to such a claim?
The perhaps 25% of the audience who were childless would have stared at him like he was an idiot who had gone out of his way to insult them.  The Americans in the audience would have thought first of themselves if they were childless, then of their relatives and close friends who were childless, then of George Washington, and finally of Jesus.  Any of them with friends or relatives serving in the U.S. or U.K. military in Afghanistan who are childless would have felt a special rage for Ferguson’s obvious, stupid insult.  Ferguson would have lost the crowd instantly.  An angry buzz – “did he really say that?” – would have spread throughout the room.
Ferguson changed that dynamic by inventing a trait (unconcern for future generations) that he falsely ascribed to Keynes by willfully misinterpreting Keynes’ words, blaming that trait on Keynes’ sexuality, mocking Keynes’ sexuality at some length, claiming that Keynes’ fictional unconcern for future generations was a trait characteristic of homosexuals, and falsely conflating gays with childlessness.  It was a full-fledged smear not only of Keynes but all homosexuals that Ferguson developed not in a single quip, but in an extended, purportedly logical analysis that was stitched together from an extended series of “obvious[ly]” “stupid” statements.
Here’s the key – by gay bashing Keynes and homosexuals Ferguson was almost able to (again) get away with a smear that would have failed instantly had Ferguson not gratuitously brought up homosexuality and instead had rested his attack on Keynes on his not having children.  Some members of the audience were reported to be upset by Ferguson’s gay bashing, but apparently no one said anything out loud at the conference to call Ferguson on his gay bashing.  The first web account reported some of Ferguson’s words when he engaged in gay bashing Keynes – but made not a word of comment, much less a complaint or response.
It was not until Kostigen made public what Ferguson said and expressed his disgust at Ferguson’s gay bashing that things changed.  (Kostigen’s column immediately drew a comment wanting to know whether he was a homosexual.)  It was only at this juncture that Ferguson realized that he could no longer get away with gay bashing in public.  Back in the “good old days” when he was a darling of the Thatcherites his smears of Keynes would have been won Ferguson praise for his wit and erudition.  Today, bigotry is (albeit with a lag) seen as bigotry and instead of wit and erudition the Fergusons of the world are forced to admit that their smears were “obvious[ly]” “stupid.”  Of course, the point is that Ferguson’s homophobic innuendo was always obviously stupid and vicious.  The fact that it was treated as respectable and even brought him praise from his ultra-conservative colleagues shows how intellectually dishonest and bigoted the portion of the world Ferguson inhabited in his formative years was.
As I will explain, Ferguson has a long, sad history of gay bashing Keynes using a whole series of homophobic tropes and crude insults based on innuendo that began in print at least 18 years ago.  As Brad DeLong and others have pointed out, Ferguson was also mining a rich vein of homophobic attacks on Keynes by other theoclassical critics of Keynes.  Ferguson’s mistake was in forgetting how much the world had changed in such a relatively short time when it comes to gay bashing.
The Conservative Roots of Gay Bashing Keynes
Brad DeLong provides the nasty source of the river of bile that led to Ferguson’s extended rant about Keynes and homosexuality.
“The source appears to be a rather remarkable screed by Gertrude Himmelfarb in a rather McCarthyite vein, that manages to get a lot about Keynes’s economics and his family life substantially wrong in a very short space, which in turn appears to be based on the views of Joseph Schumpeter.  Gertrude Himmelfarb [wrote]:”
From Clapham to Bloomsbury: a genealogy of morals: In one sense Keynes is the most interesting of the [Bloomsbury] group, because he defied at least one of its precepts. He not only lived a ‘life of action’; he did so in the most bourgeois and materialistic of professions. If it was partly accident that originally drew him to economics, it was talent and ambition that kept him there. Yet even while pursuing that sordid occupation, at Cambridge and at the Treasury, he made it clear that he regarded economics as a separate and altogether inferior sphere of life and that he personally deplored any emphasis on economic motives or criteria. Bertrand Russell recalled that while Keynes “escaped into the great world,” he did so with the air of a ‘bishop in partibus’; when he ventured forth into the mundane world of economics or politics, “he left his soul at home.”
In fact, something of the “soul” of Bloomsbury penetrated even into Keynes’s economic theories. There is a discernible affinity between the Bloomsbury ethos, which put a premium on immediate and present satisfactions, and Keynesian economics, which is based entirely on the short run and precludes any long-term judgments. (Keynes’s famous remark. ‘In the long run we are all dead,’ also has an obvious connection with his homosexuality – what Schumpeter delicately referred to as his ‘childless vision.’) The same ethos is reflected in the Keynesian doctrine that consumption rather than saving is the source of economic growth – indeed, that thrift is economically and socially harmful. In The Economic Consequences of the Peace, written long before The General Theory, Keynes ridiculed the “virtue” of saving. The capitalists, he said, deluded the working classes into thinking that their interests were best served by saving rather than consuming. This delusion was part of the age-old Puritan fallacy… “
Ferguson’s 1999 Gay Bashing of Keynes
This is not the first time that Ferguson has gone out of his way to emphasize Keynes’ sexual orientation in a manner designed to raise animus against Keynes through a smear comprised entirely of innuendo (note Ferguson’s use of “perhaps”).
“Thursday’s remarks were not Ferguson’s first comments on Keynes’ sexuality. In his 1999 book ‘The Pity of War,’ Ferguson wrote that World War I ‘made Keynes deeply unhappy. Even his sex life went into a decline, perhaps because the boys he liked to pick up in London all joined up.’”
Right, because an Englishman couldn’t be “deeply unhappy” at the massive loss of life and limb caused by World War I – at least if he were gay.  A gay Englishman would “perhaps” be “deeply unhappy” because the war interfered with his sex life.  (Note that Ferguson adds the homophobic trope that gays are out to recruit our young “boys.”)
Ferguson’s 1995 Gay Bashing of Keynes
In a similar smear four years earlier, Ferguson raised the possibility in an article entitled “Keynes and the German Inflation” that Keynes sympathized with Germany’s position on paying reparations because perhaps he was a lover of one of the German negotiators (Ferguson 1995: 369-370.)
Ferguson adds the homophobic trope that gays are a security risk and potential traitors.  Ferguson’s 1995 smear is a classic.  He begins with an innocuous phrase (essentially, “I love that guy”) by Keynes that virtually every male of any sexual orientation has likely said many times.  Keynes said that “he got to love” Carl Melchior, who he worked with in the course of his negotiations with the Germans about reparations.  Given the widespread homophobia in Keynes’ era in England and the widespread hate for Germans there is no chance that he would make such a remark if he felt there was any risk that it could be read as an admission of a traitorous, gay affair with a German negotiator.  (Ferguson also adds gratuitously that Melchior was Jewish.)  But at this juncture Ferguson is feeling very clever about his smear.  He begins by claiming, falsely, that there is “no question” but that there was an “emotional dimension to Keynes’s position” on German reparations because of the single innocuous comment about Melchior.  You know gays, all emotion; no ability to be logical.  Ferguson has a low threshold for rocketing from wild speculation prompted by a single statement to unquestionable fact (“no question”).  Ferguson realizes this is nonsense, so after creating a purported excuse for bringing up Keynes sexuality, and planting the innuendo that that, at best, Keynes’ position was compromised by his “emotional” connection with a German negotiator, Ferguson drops another innuendo – Keynes “may” have been referencing a “sexual attraction” towards Melchior.
All of this would be disgraceful for any writer, but for a historian it is beyond the pale.  It is revealing how Ferguson next tries to remove his fingerprints from his quadruple effort to smear Keynes (gay, emotional, swayed by his sexual attraction, for a representative of the enemy).  Ferguson now declares that it “seems more probable” that Keynes was “captivated” by his post-war “pessimism.”  Ferguson is trying to position himself as the one who put in writing his belief that the “more probable” explanation for Keynes’ behavior was that he was not a traitorous homosexual – that was the less probable explanation. See?  Ferguson, cast some doubt on the smear he invented and spread through innuendo about Keynes.  Ferguson is Keynes’ defender!
The Immoral Effort to Moralize Economics
DeLong is correct that Himmelfarb manages to pack a large number of errors about Keynes and about economics into three paragraphs.  I will return briefly to some of those economic errors later in this article.  First, I want to note that Himmelfarb’s screed is like Ferguson’s screed in another way – it attempts to moralize economics.  Himmelfarb is explicit about making that effort even in the title of her work.  People who challenged the conservative English social order were pathetic, child-like creatures who “put a premium on immediate and present satisfactions.”  Homosexuals are immoral (because they are assumed not to have children) – the “connection between lack of concern for future generations and homosexuality is “obvious.”  Homosexuals like Keynes drag the world into degeneracy by impugning the ‘virtue’ of saving.”
When Keynes was alive and could defend himself directly against the moralizers he skewered them so successfully that he dominated the field.  James Galbraith’s article chiding Paul Krugman for ignoring the economists who got the ongoing crisis right (“Who Were These Economists, Anyway?”) contains Keynes’ devastating retort in 1936 to the immoral moralizers.  Sadly, the same retort applies today to theoclassical economics.
“It must have been due to a complex of suitabilities in the doctrine to the environment into which it was projected. That it reached conclusions quite different from what the ordinary uninstructed person would expect added, I suppose, to its intellectual prestige. That its teaching, translated into practice, was austere and often unpalatable, lent it virtue. That it was adapted to carry a vast and logical superstructure, gave it beauty. That it could explain much social injustice and apparent cruelty as an inevitable incident in the scheme of progress, and the attempt to change such things as likely on the whole to do more harm than good, commended it to authority. That it afforded a measure of justification to the free activities of the individual capitalist, attracted to it the support of the dominant social force behind authority.
“But although the doctrine itself has remained unquestioned by orthodox economists up to a late date, its signal failure for purposes of scientific prediction has greatly impaired, in the course of time, the prestige of its practitioners. For professional economists…were apparently unmoved by the lack of correspondence between the results of their theory and the facts of observation; – a discrepancy which the ordinary man has not failed to observe…”
Keynes’ remarks stress three points.  First, he knew that the “austerians” claim that inflicting additional pain on households in response to a recession represents “virtue” found a responsive chord in many politicians.  President Obama and the very serious people that live within the beltway genuflect whenever the mantra “shared sacrifice” is chanted.  What Keynes pointed out, and what the overwhelming majority of economists believe, is the fallacy of thrift during an economic contraction.  Keynes explained that it was rational for households to respond to a recession or depression by cutting their spending, and that their collective action could deepen the recession or depression by further depressing already grossly inadequate demand.  This could cause severe, long-run suffering.  The austerians frame this long-run suffering as a virtue.  Keynes saw it as self-destructive.  Austerity in response to a recession or a depression is akin to bleeding a patient to heal him.  A nation with a sovereign currency is not “just like” a household.  It can, and should, step forward and supply the lost demand to speed the recovery and reduce suffering.  This is helpful in all time perspectives (short-to-long).  The claim that Keynes did not care about longer-term effects is a fiction.
Second, Keynes did not simply point out that what we would call today “automatic stabilizers” and “stimulus” programs were not “immoral.”  In the quoted passage his primary message was that the moralizers’ embrace of thoeoclassical economic dogmas was profoundly immoral.  Keynes exposed these economists as shills for the plutocrats who became the most notorious apologists for those who became wealthy by inflicting “social injustice” and even “cruelty.”  Part of the plutocrats’ cruelty was telling those that were not wealthy that their path to morality was to suffer stoically these self-destructive, gratuitous double-dip recessions caused by austerity.
Ferguson does not understand the irony of decrying an invented lack of altruism by Keynes to a group of investors who disproportionately studied economics, finance, and business and who are generally exceptionally wealthy and include a disproportionate number of CEOs.  These are the three groups in America we know of that rank at the bottom in altruism (or exceptionally high in narcissism) and many aspects of care for the future generations, e.g., climate change.  (It would be interesting to explore whether there is an interaction effect that makes wealthy CEOs from an economics or finance background rank even lower on altruism.  In addition to putting the lowest weight on the importance of climate change (the quintessential burden we are placing on our children), the wealthy were found in a recent study to have the opposite priorities from the general public on a series of issues critical to future generations.  The wealthy want cuts to Social Security, government health care programs, and food stamps (SNAP).
University students who study economics self-select when they enter our programs and display significantly lower altruism on most tests.  Research shows if they major in our programs the study of economics and their peers’ views combine to produce even lower altruism scores.  This article by a student pulls together some of the research citations.
CEOs rank exceptionally high in psychological tests measuring narcissism.  One of the factors positively associated with CEO narcissism is financial fraud.
What all of this means is that if Ferguson was really concerned that too many Americans are becoming “degenerate” because they lack sufficient concern for the plight of other less fortunate Americans and future generations then he was speaking to the right audience.  Statistically speaking, his audience was unusually likely to be weak in altruism.  Of course, that speech would not have gone down to well with a group that is paying his speaker’s fee.
Third, Keynes pointed out the consistent predictive failures of theoclassical economists.  Ferguson tried his hand at economic predictions in his debate with Krugman in 2009.  Ferguson claimed that the fact that the stimulus program was pushing up interest rates, which he predicted would surge and cause a severe crisis.  Krugman explained why Ferguson was wrong.  If it were a fight, it would have been ended by the ref as a TKO after Krugman’s response.  The facts proved Krugman correct, so Ferguson responded by changing his position – retroactively!  He now claims that he did not say what he actually said in 2009.  Sadly for Ferguson, there are records of what he said and Krugman was happy, in his February 19, 2013 column, to compare and contrast Ferguson’s statements in 2013 about what he (didn’t) say in 2009 with what Ferguson actually said and predicted in 2009.
In the Long Run Ferguson’s Dishonesty about Keynes’ Quotation Will be an Epic Fail
Himmelfarb and Ferguson cite Keynes’ famous observation (“in the long run, we are all dead”) as proof that his economics, warped by his homosexuality, were concerned only with the short-run.  This is particularly disturbing for those who write history because, in context, that interpretation of what Keynes was actually saying is impossible for any honest historian to hold.
Krugman has just written a column explaining this point.
“One dead giveaway that someone pretending to be an authority on economics is in fact faking it is misuse of the famous Keynes line about the long run. Here’s the actual quote:
‘But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.’
As I’ve written before, Keynes’s point here is that economic models are incomplete, suspect, and not much use if they can’t explain what happens year to year, but can only tell you where things will supposedly end up after a lot of time has passed. It’s an appeal for better analysis, not for ignoring the future; and anyone who tries to make it into some kind of moral indictment of Keynesian thought has forfeited any right to be taken seriously.
And there’s an important corollary: how you should go about getting to some desired long-run outcome may depend a lot on how you think the economy works in the short run.”
Ferguson’s Apology is Also an Epic Fail
Ferguson’s “unreserved” apology is nothing of the kind.  He does not apologize for his past efforts to smear Keynes.  He tries to make it appear that the latest smear was a one-off, unthinking quip.  It was neither.  He apologizes for being “insensitive.”  What could that mean in this context where he is supposedly agreeing that what he said was false – not true but “insensitive?”  Ferguson simply made up the part about Keynes and “poetry.”  Ferguson’s spreading of homophobic tropes isn’t “insensitive” in this context – it’s false and it is nasty.
Ferguson apologizes for forgetting that Keynes’ wife suffered a miscarriage.  But what is the relevance of that fact to Ferguson’s smear or apology?  Is he saying that the pregnancy falsifies his implicit smear that Keynes wasn’t “man enough” to have sex with a woman?  Did he think gay or bisexual males were sterile or impotent?  Why did he emphasize his claim that Keynes married “a ballerina?”
Why didn’t Ferguson apologize for his substantive misstatements?  As a historian who has read Keynes he knows that Keynes’ quip about “in the long run we are all dead” had absolutely nothing to do with claiming that the longer-term health of the economy was unimportant or a matter in which Keynes was uninterested.
Here’s the portion of the initial news report (which expressed no criticism at Ferguson’s gay bashing) that shows the context of Ferguson’s attack on Keynes’ sexuality.  The questioner, Paul McCulley (a famous, wealthy financial guru) asks a serious macroeconomics question.  I’ve been on panels together with him in Ireland at the Kilkenomics Economics Festival.  He is someone who was asking a question like this to smoke out Ferguson’s knowledge and beliefs about one of the most important macroeconomic questions.
Note that McCulley understands the context of Keynes’ famous quip about the long run – and the important substantive point that Keynes was making, which is why McCulley premised his question by quoting a longer excerpt from Keynes’ statement about the long run.  Keynes was making the point that economic policies that might make sense in a context of an economy that was performing well at or near full employment would be nonsensical in a very different (“current”) economic context.  One of the prime examples of where this would be true is if the economy were in a liquidity trap.
The reporter’s notes of Ferguson’s response to McCulley follow:
Paul McCulley
“‘The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs…in the long run we are all dead.’
Are we in a liquidity trap, are we at a zero bound of interest rates and stuck at 8% unemployment?”
“Keynes was a homosexual and had no intention of having children. We are NOT dead in the long run…our children are our progeny. It is the economic ideals of Keynes that have gotten us into the problems of today. Short term fixes, with a neglect of the long run, leads to the continuous cycles of booms and busts. Economies that pursue such short term solutions have always suffered not only decline, but destruction, in the long run.”
Notice that Ferguson not only does not answer McCulley’s question – he does not even address the question.  Answering McCulley’s question correctly is critical to determining how we should respond to the ongoing crisis.  It is also a tough question.  If Ferguson agrees we are in a liquidity trap then his pleas for austerity are even more self-destructive.  The notes show that Ferguson had earlier opined that monetary policy offered no real hope for recovery, which would suggest that he believed we were in a liquidity trap.
Ferguson’s response to a difficult question was to ignore the substance of the question and launch a diversionary strike on Keynes’ sexuality and to invent “ideals” that Keynes never held in order to blame him for “the problems of today.”  Ferguson’s disingenuous apology only addresses one of these three wrongs.  Indeed, it actually renews the other wrongs.
McCulley’s quotation of an excerpt from Keynes shows that McCulley understood that Keynes was not dismissing the importance of the long run.  His quotation, while only a brief and partial excerpt, contains part of Keynes’ critical language: “Th[is] long run is a misleading guide to current affairs.”  This makes Ferguson’s non-response to McCulley’s question, his willful distortion of Keynes’ quotation, his complete invention of a “ideal” (screw future generations) that he falsely assigns to Keynes, and his gratuitous, extended homophobic smear of Keynes that was designed to buttress Ferguson’s invention of a Keynesian “ideal” of screwing future generations and induce the audience to hold Keynes in contempt as “effete” even sadder.
Recall that reporter’s notes I have been citing about McCulley’s question and Ferguson’s non-answer are those of the reporter who expressed no criticism of Ferguson’s attacks on Keynes.  If that reporter’s notes are accurate, then Ferguson’s apology is untruthful.  Recall the key language I quoted above:
“In his apology Ferguson explained: ‘I had been asked to comment on Keynes’s famous observation ‘In the long run we are all dead.’ The point I had made in my presentation was that in the long run our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are alive and will have to deal with the consequences of our economic actions.’”
If the notes are correct, then Ferguson’s apology is doubly dishonest.  He was not asked to comment on Keynes’ quotation about the long run.  He was asked to comment on a liquidity trap.  In fuller context, he was being asked whether we needed to adopt fiscal stimulus because we were in a liquidity trap that made monetary stimulus ineffective.  The second dishonesty is the one I have explained, Keynes’ observation about the long run is in fact “famous” and a British-educated Scot historian of economics who has written repeatedly about Keynes knows full well that Keynes did not support any “ideal” of indifference to the welfare of future generations and that Keynes’ quotation has nothing to do with Ferguson’s invented “ideal.”  If anything, Keynes’ quotation shows his concern that we not screw up the future.  Ferguson, however, used his nominal apology as a springboard to re-launch his primary falsehood – the claim that Keynes or Keynesian economics did not care about future generations.
Had Ferguson not ducked McCulley’s question he also would have been forced to discuss the harm his austerity principles did by leading to severe unemployment.  McCulley’s question asked explicitly about the link between a liquidity trap and high, persistent unemployment.  Ferguson’s claim that he is the one worried about our children and that Keynes is the author of all our problems today reverses the situation.  It is those who have ignored Keynes and inflicted self-destructive austerity who have caused such devastating harm to the next generation in the Eurozone’s periphery.  In Greece and Spain, youth and young adult unemployment is well in excess of 50% and in Italy it exceeds 36%.  In much of the periphery university graduates feel they must emigrate.  The people who are fighting to protect the next generation from the austerians are economists who learned from Keynes and thousands of later scholars that it is in fact insane to respond to a Great Recession or Great Depression with policies that make it worse.
Ferguson’s Policies are the Problem
The rest of Ferguson’s speech was actually worse and more dangerous than his effort to smear Keynes.  In the rest of his speech he urged the resumption of the regulatory race to the bottom that produced the three “de’s” (deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization) that in conjunction with modern executive compensation produce the increasingly criminogenic environments that produce the recurrent, intensifying epidemics of accounting control fraud that drive our recurrent, intensifying financial crises.  Ferguson rightly warns that crony capitalism now characterizes the U.S. and much of Europe, but fails to see that it is his favored policies that have created that scourge.
Here are the key portions of the reporter’s notes on Ferguson’s discussion of regulation and supervision.  Again, the notes are from the reporter who expressed no criticism of Ferguson.
Regulatory Excess
“One of the major constraints to economic growth and the second pillar of the degeneration of our institutions is excessive regulation.
‘Unlike my arch enemy Paul Krugman’….who believes that the financial crisis was not caused by deregulation – the reality that there was plenty of regulation over the financial institutions. (Enforcement of those regulations is another issue entirely) that ultimately were at the epicenter of the crisis.”
Given Ferguson’s disdain for one Nobel Laureate I will cite the findings of another about a different crisis.  George Akerlof and Paul Romer chose this paragraph to end their article (“Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit”) in order to emphasize these points.
“Neither the public nor economists foresaw that [S&L deregulation was] bound to produce looting.  Nor, unaware of the concept, could they have known how serious it would be.  Thus the regulators in the field who understood what was happening from the beginning found lukewarm support, at best, for their cause. Now we know better.  If we learn from experience, history need not repeat itself” (George Akerlof & Paul Romer.1993: 60).
Note the strength of their conclusion – deregulation was “bound to produce looting.”  Thanks to those who shared Ferguson’s animus towards regulations and effective regulators we failed to “learn from experience.”  Instead, we made the three “de’s” (deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization far worse) by generating a global regulatory “competition in laxity” compounded by a “race to the bottom” among U.S. federal regulators and the creation of massive regulatory “black holes” (mortgage banking, the shadow financial sector, credit default swaps, etc.).  As a result, history did not merely “repeat itself” – we made the environment so much more criminogenic that we produced the recurrent, intensifying epidemics of accounting control fraud that drove our recurrent, intensifying financial crises.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) agreed with Akerlof & Romer’s unheeded warnings.
“We conclude widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision proved devastating to the stability of the nation’s financial markets. The sentries were not at their posts …due to the widely accepted faith in the self-correcting nature of the markets and the ability of financial institutions to effectively police themselves (FCIC 2011:
“This approach had opened up gaps in oversight of critical areas with trillions of dollars at risk….
In addition, the government permitted financial firms to pick their preferred regulators in what became a race to the weakest supervisor” (FCIC 2011:xviii).”
“This [regulatory] failure was caused by many factors, including beliefs that regulation was unduly burdensome, that financial institutions were capable of self-regulation, and that regulators should not interfere with activities reported as profitable” (FCIC 2011: 308).
Federal examiners were ordered not to take action on the basis of undue risk.
“The OCC Large Bank Supervision Handbook published in January 2010 explains, “Under this approach, examiners do not attempt to restrict risk-taking but rather determine whether banks identify, understand, and control the risks they assume” (FCIC 2011: 307).
This (anti) supervisory philosophy called itself “risk-focused” examination and supervision – an oxymoron developed by regular morons that “focused” on “risk” by ordering federal regulators “not [to] attempt to restrict risk-taking.”  Yes, I have been a member of a credit committee at a major bank.
Yes, I know that risk is an inherent component of life and lending.  But not all risks are acceptable.  Creating adverse selection as a home lender is never acceptable because it makes lending a negative expected value transaction.  Bank examiners knew that a bank inherently cannot “identify, understand, and control the risks” when it does not underwrite loans prudently because underwriting is the essential process that allows a lender to “identify, understand, and control the risks.”  Liar’s loans, therefore, were inherently imprudent and suicidal – to the lender.  Liar’s loans, however, were ideal for accounting control fraud (what Akerlof and Romer termed “looting”).  Their article explicitly discusses in detail why loans with a negative expected value optimize looting and describes the adverse selection that led to the negative expected value (Akerlof & Romer 1993: 2-3, 10-11, 16-18).
The FCIC dissent disagreed with these conclusions, but the logic of the dissent adds to the strength of the FCIC’s conclusion.
“The majority says the crisis was avoidable if only the [U.S.] had adopted … more restrictive regulations [and] more aggressive regulators…. This conclusion … ignores the global nature of the crisis. For example:
A credit bubble appeared in both the United States and Europe” (FCIC dissent 2011: 414).
But the crisis was not truly global, it was concentrated in the U.S. and Europe and the competition in regulatory laxity was most severe where the crisis was most severe initially.  (Subsequently, austerity, the inherently flawed euro that exposes nations to the “bond vigilantes,” and the reluctance of the ECB to transform the euro into a quasi-sovereign currency combined to become the primary driver of the gratuitous über-Depression in the Eurozone’s periphery.)
The Nation that “won” the global race to the bottom was the U.K., so it is no surprise that banks and bank operations based in the City of London have had the most shameful record for fraud for over a decade.  An investigation of the Irish financial crisis noted endemic weak regulation in Europe.
Ireland Report 2010:
“Four main failings of supervision: (i) Supervisory culture was insufficiently intrusive, and staff resources were seriously inadequate ….”
“On-site inspections were infrequent.  Supervisors … imposed no penalties on banks at all.”
“Ireland’s mounting financial vulnerabilities meant that strong action was called for to over-ride the prevalent light-touch and market-driven fashions of supervision: to call a spade a spade….”
“failure to identify, recognise the gravity of, and take tough remedial action to correct such serious governance breaches was a cardinal error of supervision….”
“Light touch” financial regulation became infamous in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Iceland.  The reports on the Irish crisis explicitly conclude that Ireland’s “light touch” regulation was characteristic of “generic weaknesses in [EU] regulation and supervision.” Spanish financial regulation initially got a far better press, but over time it has become clear that the initial media praise was based on the fiction that Spain was a tough financial regulator.
Every nation loses when there is a regulatory Gresham’s dynamic in which weak regulation drives good regulation from the marketplace.
Ferguson is one of the Drivers of the Regulatory Race to the Bottom
Ferguson’s speech decried U.S. deterioration in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) measures of global competitiveness and urged the U.S. to reverse its falling rankings.  Many of the WEF scales, however, give high ratings to nations who are inhumane and who weaken vital regulations.  I have explained this in Davos while awarding the annual “shame prize” last year to Goldman Sachs and in a paper, so I will not repeat the arguments here, beyond noting that WEF explicitly urges businesses to use their WEF ratings to lobby their governments to weaken regulation and job protections under the extortionate threat that if the businesses do not get what they want they can always move to a nation with weaker protections for workers.  This is another variant of a Gresham’s dynamic that puts every nation on the “Road to Bangladesh.”
In U.S. terms, WEF acts like a global ALEC to degrade the safety net and workers’ protections and rights.  The recent mass murder of Bangladeshi workers in the collapse of their factory should remind us that we are often talking about protections that save many thousands of lives.
Ferguson does not Understand the Interaction of the Three “De’s”
According to the reporter’s notes, Ferguson made two primary claims about financial regulation.  First, the crisis occurred where regulation was heaviest.  Second, if there was a problem involving regulation, it was that violations of rules did not lead to effective enforcement.  The crisis occurred where regulation was weakest – in the regulatory black holes that bankers’ political power (with the aid and comfort of ideologues like Ferguson) created.  Control frauds seek out weakness and they found it in the shadow financial system, in mortgage banking, in mortgage brokerage, in CDS and CDOs, in investment banks, in S&Ls regulated by OTS (the weakest federal regulators – of Countrywide, WaMu, IndyMac, and AIG.  They found it in the generic weakness of Europe and the overly friendly confines of the City of London.
Ferguson is on to something important when he speaks of the failure of enforcement (and should of spoken of “too big to prosecute”) the second (and third) of the “three de’s.”  Yes, one can have good rules and if the regulators leaders are chosen by cronies of the banks there will be no effective regulation.  Again, it is the Fergusons of the world who encourage the three “de’s.”  But Ferguson misses the more subtle, critical part.  Regulators self-select as well as bankers.  When you have a regulatory race to the bottom that creates massive black holes and makes effective regulation impossible the causality runs in both directions.  The political allies of the control frauds will not appoint or hire people like me who have records of regulatory effectiveness.
People like me and my colleagues who contained the S&L debacle and prevented the first wave of “liar’s loans” from causing a crisis in 1990-1991 also will not stay in an organization in which we are ordered to refer the banks as our “customers” or “clients” and to treat them as our “customers” or “clients.”  I happily led and participated in a great deal of intelligent deregulation (there are always some stupid rules).  The deregulation led by the like of Alan Greenspan, Al Gore (“reinventing government” was premised on the advice not to “waste one second … worrying about fraud”), Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Jacob Lew, Hank Paulson, “Chainsaw” Gilleran (OTS), D. Dochow (who reprised his disaster at Lincoln Savings with his disasters at Countrywide, WaMu, and IndyMac), is designed by the worst elements in banking to destroy effective regulation and supervision.  People who are effective regulators will leave the regulatory ranks in disgust when regulatory policy is set by anti-regulators with track records of failure and sleaze.  You cannot have a regulatory race to the bottom without also producing a race to the bottom in the quality of supervision, enforcement, and prosecution.
There is an academic literature on effective financial regulation written by public administration scholars that transcends the concept of “regulatory capture,” but I doubt that one economist in five thousand who writes about financial regulation has read it.  Because hope springs eternal I will provide these references.
See: Chapter 2 of Professor Riccucci’s book Unsung Heroes (Georgetown U. Press: 1995), Chapter 4 (“The Consummate Professional: Creating Leadership”) of Professor Bowman, et al’s book The Professional Edge (M.E. Sharpe 2004), and Joseph M. Tonon’s article:  “The Costs of Speaking Truth to Power: How Professionalism Facilitates Credible Communication” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 2008 18(2):275-295.  (And you could read my book, which is in part an analysis of the regulatory history of the S&L debacle.  I taught Public Administration at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs before joining UMKC.)