Another banking bailout


As depositors thronged branches of Afghanistan’s biggest bank, Mahmoud Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a major shareholder in beleaguered Kabul Bank called on Thursday for intervention by the United States to head off a financial meltdown.

“America should do something,” said Karzai in a telephone interview, suggesting that the U.S. Treasury Department guarantee the funds of Kabul Bank’s clients, who number about a million and have more than a billion dollars on deposits with the bank.

Kabul Bank handles salary payments for soldiers, police and teachers. It has scores of branches across Afghanistan and holds the accounts of key Afghan government agencies. The collapse of the bank would likely spread panic throughout the country’s fledgling financial sector and wipe out nine years of effort by the United States to establish a sound Afghan banking system, seen as essential to the establishment of a functioning economy.

Good luck selling that one to the American people. Even the most rabid neocons won’t want to touch it. It’s insanity squared.

VPFL draft

Your live online draft is set for Sat Sep 4 7:00pm CDT

We’re still missing Greenfield (White Buffalo), Alamo City (Clay) and Bane (Red). Get thee hence to Yahoo and register! Everyone else, make sure you’ve got your three keepers selected as your top three rankings. If you aren’t keeping three, then make sure that your third choice is NOT someone else’s keeper.

Hiding the decline

Karl Denninger is alerted to potential fraud in the housing price statistics:

I have a very disturbing email that came in this evening. It alleges out-and-out fraudulent reporting of home sales in one of the regional MLS systems. That is, prices paid that are in fact much lower than the “sold” prices reported in the MLS.

The person in question claims to have seen over 100 of these in his area. I have copies of two, and it appears, from the evidence that I have, that at least for those two the claim is accurate.

One in particular I was able to pull the auction data on. It “sold” under reserve, is listed as sold in the MLS at ~25% higher than the “sold” bid, and the premium is disclosed as 5%. This property also has a 90-day “anti-flip” provision on it, implying that the paper may be held by one of the GSEs. (It’s a nice-looking place, incidentally.)

Here’s the problem, obviously – Case-Schiller and other “home statistics” numbers related to price paid are all computed off these numbers provided by the local Realty boards (via NAR.) If the data in the MLS is bogus then so is the so-called “median sales price” and so are Case-Schiller’s numbers! These are not small discrepancies either – in both cases the “over-reporting” is by approximately 25%!

This would explain why housing prices have been mysteriously moving up while the number of home sales continues to plummet. It’s as if it’s not enough to cook the GDP, CPI-U, and U3 numbers, things are getting so bad that they have to create fictional statistics for practically everything in order to “hide the decline”.

Hey, it worked for the climate scientists. For a while.

Scientific hypocrisy

I always enjoy the way atheist science fetishists who believe firmly in the scientific method as the sole arbiter of Truth simultaneously insist that they don’t have to read a book in order to reach conclusions about it. So much for their supposed preference of observation to logic. Catkiller challenged an atheist named Maxpower to read The Irrational Atheist and this was the unsurprising ad hominem response:

I have not read the book (I prefer books like “The Science of Good and Evil” by Michael Shermer), but I did peruse the blog of the man who wrote The Irrational Atheist and read through some arguments he’s put forth. Since you’ve previously referred me to such nonsense as Jonah Goldberg, I should have expected some pretty poor arguments and old, tired fallacies that often turn up in theism-vs-atheism discussions, but I was particularly disappointed by the nutcase you’ve held up as your trump card this time. Here is what I have learned based on what I have read about and by Vox Day:

– He is a writer for World Net Daily, a fringe extremist website one step above Prison Planet or StormFront
– He appears to be a birther, an anti-feminist, and even opposes womens’ suffrage
– Oh, he also seems to be a white supremacist
– He has argued that Sam Harris is more immoral than Jeffrey Dahmer, which is a mind-boggling statement
– He appears to dispute the theory of evolution and the age of the earth
– He has stated that maybe “some” people don’t need God or the threat of punishment to be good, but he “certainly” does
– He has stated that, if commanded to do so by God, he would kill every 2-year-old on earth.

This last part makes Vox Day a particularly dangerous brand of psychopath, since people often commit horrific acts when they mistakenly believe to have been ordered to do so by God. Parents who withhold medicine from dying children or who violently kill “possessed” children are prime examples. No atheist would have a reason for doing such a breathtakingly cruel thing.

Well, this atheist certainly would have if given the opportunity. Consider his manifesto: “All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human
infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed…. Talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people’s brains until they get it!! The humans? The planet does not need humans. You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation.”

Atheists usually claim religion is behind all the problems in the world, but since they also believe religion is human-created, they are eventually forced to end up advocating mass murder of one form or another. It would appear that Maxpower has forgotten the extraordinarily lethal behavior of a number of powerful, well-known atheists in dozens of countries during the 20th century. The late James Lee may be unusual, but he is unfortunately no unique aberration. The seed for mass slaughter is sown when atheists who share Lee’s faith in Malthus rather than the Apostle Paul and Darwin rather than the Gospels take positions of power.

By the way, the correct response to Maxpower’s question is that he hasn’t sufficiently understood what morality is to formulate a coherent question about it. The threat of punishment from a supernatural deity is not a source of morality, let alone “the only ultimate” one. Maxpower has done the metaphorical equivalent of confusing the possibility of a penalty flag for the NFL Competition Committee and the 32 NFL owners. The ultimate source of morality is God, whose authority over Creation rests upon the fact of His being its Creator. His game, His rules. The threat of punishment is merely an incentive to abide by those rules and should never be confused with either the rules or the Rulegiver.