"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Youth are wise and right! You refused the call. Lady Mormont speaks harshly and truly.

The youth voted overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders. They voted for Remain. After a pause in the discussion at the meeting of the victors over Ramsey Bolton, young Lady Mormont speaks up for Jon Snow:

"Your son was butchered at the Red Wedding, Lord Manderly, but you refused the call.

You swore allegiance to House Stark, Lord Glover, but in their hour of greatest need you refused the call.

And you, Lord Cerwyn, your father was skinned alive by Ramsey Bolton. Still, you refused the call.

But House Mormont remembers. The North remembers! We know no king but the King in the North whose name is Stark! I don't care if he's a bastard. Ned Stark's blood runs through his veins. He's my King from this day until his last day!"

"Winter is here." Game of Thrones Season 6 finale

Game of Thrones is probably my favorite TV show ever. The Ringer has a good discussion of the Season 6 finale.



Tyrion becomes Hand of the Queen as the Targaryen forces sail towards Westeros including Yara Greyjoy's fleet, the Unsullied, the Dothraki, and three dragons. Daenerys's advisers include Missandei, Grey Worm, Varys the Spider and Theon Greyjoy. Jorah Mormont is off looking for a cure to Stonescale (I would like to see him reunited with Lyanna Mormont). Daario Naharis and the Second Sons have stayed behind in Meereen.

Varys has brokered an alliance with the Dornish and Lady Olenna Tyrell (and also the Reach with Randall Tarly?).

Cersei is Queen and holder of the Iron Throne, along with Jaime, Bronn, Qyburn, and Gregor Clegane. The Sparrows and Faith Militant are gone. So is Kevan Lannister.

But the Freys are gone also, following the traitorous and disloyal Boltons into oblivion. Will Edmure Tully - now freed - and Riverrun rejoin the Starks? What about Sandor Clegane and the Brotherhood without Banners? Where is Melisandre the Red Priestess heading?

Jon Snow holds the North. Advisers include Sansa, Ser Davos, Tormund, Brienne, Podrick Payne, Lyanna Mormont and the other leaders of the Houses of the North. The Knights of the Vale and a dissatisfied Petyr Baelish. Bran Stark and Meera Reed head south past the Wall. (They know the Night King is heading south as Winter has arrived.) Samwell Tarly is studying at the Citadel. Dolorous Edd is leading the Nights Watch at Castle Black. Uncle Benjen/Coldhands is beyond the Wall.

Both Jon Snow and Sansa Stark know and like Tyrion Lannister, Hand to the Queen.

What will Euron Greyjoy do? Where will Arya head to next?

Friday, June 24, 2016

no inflation prediction in UK

pgl said in reply to Barkley Rosser...
And the risk of high inflation in the UK is zero. People are in a panic over this vote sort of like those poor people that heard a firecracker in the NYC's subway this week. I'm not saying there will not be self inflicted wounds that follow this vote but the vote itself does not mean that much. Stupid trade protection would be a bad thing but it is odd that a lot of people who are off in this panic attack lauded protectionism here. Go figure.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mason and Foroohar

How Should We Count Debt Owed to the Fed? by JW Mason

Why the Creative Accounting in the Microsoft-LinkedIn Deal Is So Disturbing by Rana Foroohar
Finding examples of how companies use financial engineering—instead of the realengineer—to bolster their balance sheets is like shooting fish in a barrel. The latest involves the biggest deal of the moment: Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn
One of the reasons that LinkedIn many have wanted to be acquired, as Andrew Ross Sorkin explained in yesterday’s New York Times, is that it has been using a rather deceptive method of accounting that allows employee compensation paid in stock to be ignored as an expense. That makes for a bottom line that looks better than it really is. (This is especially true given that the amount of stock based-comp paid out by the company in the last two years was nearly equal to operating revenue, according to an analyst source.) 
LinkedIn isn’t alone in this sort of crafty accounting–most companies in the S&P now do it. (This piece is a great primer on how the funny math works.) But recently, Facebook started including stock comp in its reporting, and there’s a big push within corporate governance circles to get more companies to do that in order to get back to a more realistic version of earnings. After all, employee compensation, whether paid in cash or stock, is obviously an expense that should go on the balance sheet. 
It’s worth understanding just why, and how, stock-based compensation became such a huge deal to begin with. It marked a turning point toward short-term decision-making in corporate America. Key legislative changes that fueled the trend happened under Democratic president Bill Clinton, whose administration passed a 1993 provision on corporate pay. The measure limited corporate tax deductions for regular salaried income to $1 million but exempted “performance-related” pay above and beyond that—pay that was typically awarded in stock options. Joseph Stiglitz, a former head of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, remembers this move as “one of the worst things that the Clinton administration did.” 
That’s because it created a tremendous incentive for companies to pay more compensation in options. This further fed the cycle of short-termism since executives would from then on be focused primarily on boosting stock prices, by any means necessary. As Stiglitz puts it, “It just opened up this huge span of bonus pay which was not for performance. I had written a lot about this before, that it was largely phony. I argued very strongly during the nineties that the whole stock option pay trend caused a lot of incentives for non-transparency, and that it was directly responsible for what I call creative accounting.” It allowed firms not just to deceive the market but also to avoid paying the taxes that they should have paid. 
Why does this matter so much now? Because it contributes to growing inequality and a lackluster economic recovery, by putting more and more tax-free compensation into the hands of the wealthy (who tend not to spend it after a certain point, which is a problem in an economy based mostly on consumer spending). What’s more, says Stiglitz, the performance exception didn’t really reward “performance” as much as any number of other factors, such as monetary policy that boosted stock prices. “If you’re really talking about performance, you should not get higher pay when your stock price goes up because the interest rate goes down,” he explains. “I mean, maybe Janet Yellen should get higher pay for that, but CEOs certainly shouldn’t.” He wrote in his searing memoir of the time, The Roaring Nineties, that “as the Clinton years came to a close, I wondered: What message had we in the end sent through the changes that had been brought about in our taxes?”

The Microsoft-LinkedIn deal brings all this to the fore once again. It’s a topic the next president should tackle head on, no matter the party.

After the Thrones

Another good episode of HBO's After the Thrones, where they brought in expert Mallory Rubin early to discuss the epic penultimate episode of Season 6.

Rubin - who always sports a cool T-shirt - mentioned Daenerys's quote I have in my banner area about breaking the wheel. They had an interesting discussion of all aspects of the episode focusing on things that stood out for me as well: like the fact Rickon didn't follow a serpentine rout (like in the original In-Laws movie) when running from Ramsey's arrows; that Sansa didn't alert Jon Snow that the calvary might by coming; that Davos found Shireen's toy stag and he eyed Melisandre forbodingly. I wish they had done this show throughout the series. So good.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

After the Thrones

I enjoyed After the Thrones with Mallory Rubin, @chrisryan77, and @andygreenwald. Rubin mentioned Jorah Mormont's quote which I have on my bannner:

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

They discussed the different fanatics, the Sparrows and Faith Militant, the followers of the Lord of Light, even Jaime who is fanatical about Cersei if not his House. They forgot to mention mention Daenerys Targaryan: "I will take what is mine!"

Go girl!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Polanyi and Red Vienna

Karl Polanyi for President  by Patrick Iber and Mike Konczal

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trump and democracy

What Trump’s Rise Means for Democracy by Jedediah Purdy

Jeremy Corbyn

Enter Left by Sam Knight
Thee astonishing political emergence of Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing leader of the British Labour Party, is the sort of thing that passes for normal in Western democracies these days. Since the economic crash in 2008, anti-establishment types have cropped up everywhere. Corbyn, a sixty-six-year-old socialist, had never held a position of authority in his party or in government before being elected last summer on a platform of benign economic populism. He is Syriza in Greece; he is Podemos in Spain; he is Sanders in America. His politics rebel against a Britain that is eager to join foreign wars and pallid in the face of social inequality. “There has to be some kind of a reckoning,” Corbyn told me recently. “You actually have to run an economy for the benefit of people, not run for the benefit of hedge-fund managers.” 
McDonnell was Corbyn’s campaign manager last summer and is now the shadow Chancellor. (In British politics, the opposition creates a “shadow” cabinet to respond to the Government.) When I asked him if he could convey just how improbable it was that he and Corbyn were now in charge of Labour, McDonnell quoted Fredric Jameson, an American literary theorist and Marxist scholar. “It is easier for people to imagine the end of the earth than it is to imagine the end of capitalism,” he said. “And that is what we are about, aren’t we?”