Another Backdoor Bailout

This one appears to have been the work of Ben Bernanke.

Federal Reserve Losses: If the Bear Stearns held only the senior debt, the Federal Reserve appears to have taken a 20% haircut. If the Fed owns any of the Junior debt – that is probably worthless.

via Calculated Risk: Federal Reserve Appears to be Big Loser in Extended Stay Bankruptcy.

The #1 Rule in Bernanke-Geithner economic policy is that politically influential speculators should never face losses. Of course, the US government itself is a tool to enrich speculators, and thus may face unlimited losses.

This is why we need No Child Left Behind

But Joel Castle, who is 12 and a zero, said that he did not work as hard now. “My grades are going up, and that’s not really surprising because the standards have been lowered,” he said.

via Connecticut School District That Clung to Tracking Is Letting Go –

Half Sigma works the human biodiversity angle, but the real story here is the coalition of incompetence (local politicians, teacher’s unions, leftist activists, and the rest) who are opposed to an educational system that teaches children.

No Child Left Behind is like an atom bomb on incompetence schools – it is the first step in giving us an educational system that we can be proud of. (Obviously, we do not have such a system now.)

Before the Deaths

Recently, I had three in-depth online conversations about the events in Tehran. Here is an edited transcript of one of them, a conversation with Jeffrey James. Now that there are confirmed reports of deaths and Iranian politicians are calling for the arrest of Iranian militia members, tt is posted with permission.

I need to write a post about Tiananmen.

So far it’s going the same pattern

The crowds have attacked police, set fire to small vehicles, set fire to large vehicles, purposely incite violence by the police. The crowd wants Outrages, the police to kill people if at all possible

There’s a video on this page described as polic beating women

If you look at it, you see the women start by kicking (!!) the police, but that’s exactly the plan. Same thing in the Boston Massacre. This is low-intensity urban war, with major regime elements supporting the crowd.

Jeffery noted: “Other words 4th generation warfare trying to degrade enemy to previous generation?”

That’s a great point.

And it’s working. There are reports of Lebanese on the streets, which means (1) the regime can’t trust their own police and (b) they are reducing themselves to some sort of 1GW mass-line formation. Iranians are famous for being bigoted against foreigners, so it’s a dangerous move for the government

It’s also important to realize that Mousavi organized the killing of 8000 communists in 1988. He’s not a wimp. Comfortable with killing opponents, which has to spook the Gov even more.

I have heard a rumor, but not confirmed, that the Army will not intervene. So it’s probably the Supreme Ayatollah, the Interior Ministry, perhaps the Guards, perhaps Ahmadinejad.

Official results show Ahmadinejad winning big in Mousavi’s hometown. Mousavi’s Azeri (really a kind of Turk), and the Azeris tend to support Azeri candidates, regardless of politics. A-N also won in the hometown of the other major candidate as well.

On twitter, it read “ErfanH Tehran University clashes: 15 students have been shot by gun #iranelection”

This is a sign of regime panick, as most politically active students aren’t all that smart, but really like drama. In other words, give a large number of 18-22 yo males a good excuse to riot, and they’ll take it. The kids think they are immortal, so hearing that others died increases outrage without providing a disincentive

Something to consider: during Tiananmen /dozens/ of soldiers were killed. In that situation, you had not just unarmed demonstrators, but a very strong will-to-violence and that was in a situation where the protesters started off as completely disarmed
you would have about a 100 surround maybe a platoon of soldiers, giving the soldiers two choices, both of which lead to very bad consequences for them:
1. fire, allowing you to take down 10-20 protesters before they get to you, burn/dismember you, and seize your AK-47s
2. don’t fire, allowing you to escape with only a beating lasting 1-2 hours

That is the next scenario out of Iran to watch. What really sucks about being down in a crowd that large/angry is people kick you as they are passing by, meaning that no one actually has to concentrate on you to do very serious damage.

There was a similar incident in China recently. The captain who is being attacked is a member of the Chengguan, which is like a Bobby: all they do is civil enforcement of peddling regulations, etc/

Things to look for are deaths, as the agitators among the crowd want them, and the gov. maybe be stupid enough to provide

The range of actual outcomes in the election range from an Ahmadinejad plurality (which would have forced a run-off Ahmadinejad would have probably lost), a Mousavi plurality (which also would have forced a run-off Ahmadinejad would have probably lost), or an outright Mousavi win. More analysis is available from Catholicgauze and Juan Cole.

Guess not

It seems the analysis, pushed by Tom Barnett and others, that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been building a powerbase separate from and hostile to the mullahs is incorrect. Indeed, Iran’s Supreme Leader appears to be Ahmadinejad’s only visible ally at this time.

This follows on the prediction that the dismissal of Admiral Fox Fallen signaled an inevitable Bush-Cheney airstrike on Iran.

However, I still think there is hope for the earlier prediction that the mullahs will not be ruling Iran in 2020 the way they were in 2001.

The common theme here? I think analysis done in the absence of corporate entanglements is sturdier than analysis done with them. While the military-industrial-complex may keep our posture overall on an even keel, the benefits on an individual level are more monetary than intellectual.