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March 11, 2023 12:08 AM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“No matter what cause one defends, it will suffer permanent disgrace if one resorts to blind attacks on crowds of innocent people.”

–Albert Camus


42 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. Heather Cox-Richardson writes about the international campaign against democracy.

    In place of equality, Orbán advocates what he calls “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy.” “Christian democracy is, by definition, not liberal,” he said in July 2018; “it is, if you like, illiberal. And we can specifically say this in connection with a few important issues—say, three great issues. Liberal democracy is in favor of multiculturalism, while Christian democracy gives priority to Christian culture; this is an illiberal concept. Liberal democracy is pro-immigration, while Christian democracy is anti-immigration; this is again a genuinely illiberal concept. And liberal democracy sides with adaptable family models, while Christian democracy rests on the foundations of the Christian family model; once more, this is an illiberal concept.”

    Orbán has focused on LBGTQ rights as a danger to “Western civilization.” 


    Once you give up the principle of equality, you have given up the whole game. You have admitted the principle that people are unequal, and that some people are better than others. Once you have replaced the principle of equality with the idea that humans are unequal, you have stamped your approval on the idea of rulers and subjects. At that point, all you can do is to hope that no one in power decides that you belong in the lesser group.

    In 1858, Abraham Lincoln, then a candidate for the Senate, warned that arguments limiting American equality to white men and excluding black Americans were the same arguments “that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world…. Turn in whatever way you will—whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent.”

    1. Thanks for posting that, PH. 

      A very succinct explanation of the point our founding fathers were making when they set up the rules. Equality IS THE DIFFERENCE between the rule of kings and the rule of law.


      1. And the mistake so many make when they think a system of inequality would be just fine is that they assume they would be one of the rulers instead of one of the subjects. 

    2. They really are saying the quiet part out loud these days:

      Hell, yeah, we want to be the master race. Hell, yeah, we want to enforce a patriarchal family model as the “norm”, and call any family that deviates from that norm as unworthy of state protection. Forget equality of women, forget equal protection of LGBTQ people.

      You betcha, we want to close our borders to new citizens – except as populations to be quietly victimized and exploited for profit.

      Money makes might, and might makes right. Close that vicious circle, and right-wing politics makes more money for the richest and mightiest.

      But people all over the world are pushing back…the pro-democracy movement is at the heart of all social change.

      • “Democracy is an interesting, even laudable, notion and there is no question but that when compared to Communism, which is too dull, or Fascism, which is too exciting, it emerges as the most palatable form of government.”

      1. Gotta hand it to the Boebs…

        Her boys have started populating the nation with white babies. Her 17 year old son is expecting…Granny le Pew Pew is proud!

        1. I'm somewhat interested in the opinion of the 15(?)year-old girl's parents or guardians about this matter. My first thought was statutory rape, but I checked and what happened doesn't seem illegal under Colorado law.

          1. I have a friend with children in the Rifle High School. I’m told the girl just turned 16 so this happened when she was 15. 

            Meanwhile in the nation’s Bible Belt: 

  2. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 3 Elizabeth School Board members threaten to resign, say chaos over CRT and other issues is unproductive:

    Conservative board members are weary of public constantly bringing up issues of critical race theory, social emotional learning and restorative justice, which are not taught in the district.

    If all goes as planned on Monday, three members would be leaving the board, leaving only two to vote to accept the resignations, which does not constitute a quorum.

    The stupid, it burns.

    1. From Erik Maulbetsch's Twitter just a few minutes ago, it didn't get settled on first ballot and will go on to a second round.

      Former #coleg Rep. Dave Williams & former #CO07 candidate Erik Aadland each have about 30%. Peters, Lundberg & McCarney each have ~10%, Stockham has 6.5%. Wood, who only got 3%, drops out.

        1. You mean Tina is not demanding a recount, or a revote, or a rerun of 10,000 Mules?

          She is actually accepting defeat gracefully? 

          Maybe she got a wild hare up her ass and decided to try something new.

    2. Williams won, per Colorado Sun. Not trying to take any credit, but a few days ago I wrote that I thought he had a chance, followed by a "gaaahhh" or an "auugghh." Anyhow, here we go!

      1. Williams!  This is the guy who lost a primary to one of the most stupid, boring and inept members of the House of Representatives!

          1. Well, let's consider what Mr. Williams had to say:

            “Our party doesn’t have a brand problem,” he said. “Our party has a problem with feckless leaders who are ashamed of you and ashamed of our conservative values.”

            Williams, who often stoked controversy in the legislature and had a falling out with Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign officials in Colorado, said he’ll be reorganizing the state party staff.

            “Everyone’s going to have to go through a rehiring process, they’re going to resubmit their applications,” he said.

            I don't speak RWNJ as a native language, but I think what he says shows he

            • is opposed to Colorado Republicans in elected office and former Party officials.AND
            • did not like the Trump campaign's personnel or appeals. AND
            • does not trust the current staff, so they will have to have a loyalty check before becoming a part of a TBA "reorganization."
            1. There you have it then…

              The Republican party is no longer a viable, major party in Colorado. It has crossed over to the dark side.

              I am curious how our die-hard Republican party defenders will handle this.


              1. "defenders will handle this……"

                I think it's going to be fun. Williams is such an ass-hole that he'll have a chronic case of "hoof in mouth" disease.

  3. What a wonderful CHICOM work colony the US will be in 40 years as we double down on dumb and dumber and fight who gets the rice bowl before lights out. 

  4. Mahablog:

    “There’s been much snickering about all the Silicon Valley libertarians who hate government regulation but now want the feds to bail out Silicon Valley Bank. Just as there are no atheists in a foxhole, perhaps there are no libertarians in a bank failure.”

    The regulation that was put in place for the nation’s biggest banks after the financial crisis includes stringent capital requirements, which means they must have a certain amount of reserves for moments of crisis, as well as stipulations about how diversified their businesses must be.

    But Silicon Valley Bank and others its size do not have the same regulatory oversight. In 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed a bill that lessened scrutiny for many regional banks. Silicon Valley Bank’s chief executive, Greg Becker, was a strong supporter of the move. Among other things, it changed requirements for the amount of cash that these banks had to keep on their balance sheets to protect against shocks.

    1. The run on 16th largest bank in the US was pre-ordained. De-regulation works as intended, namely to de-regulate.

      From Brad DeLong:

      As the very sharp Dan Davies writes:

      "Borrowing short to lend long is what banks are for…. Rules… put reasonable limits on…. The “Net Stable Funding Ratio” [NSFR]… meant to be above 100 per cent… is basically a ratio of the two sides of your balance sheet, after each side is adjusted for liquidity risk…. Short-term Treasury bills get 100-per-cent weightings, while longer-dated corporate bonds get 50-per-cent weightings and loans get zero. Liabilities get weightings according to the likelihood that someone will want cash back immediately. So overnight repo is weighted at 100 per cent and retail deposits are 90 per cent. “Hot money” wealth management and corporate deposits only get a 50-per-cent weighting, and long-term bonds/deposits are zero. If the ratio of the first number to the second is above 100%, then broadly speaking, your long term and illiquid assets are matched by an equivalent amount of long-term and stable liabilities. All of this sounds pretty sensible. So why didn’t this regulation prevent SVB from . . . "

      And the answer is:

      “As a banking organization, our liquidity is subject to supervision by our banking regulators. Because we are a Category IV firm with less than $250 billion in average total consolidated assets, less than $50 billion in average weighted short-term wholesale funding and less than $75 billion in cross-jurisdictional activity, we currently are not subject to the Federal Reserve's LCR or NSFR requirements, either on a full or reduced basis…”

      What Dan does not mention is §401 of the 2018 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act:

      §165 of the Financial Stabiity Act of 2010… is amended… in the matter preceding paragragph (A), by striking “$50,000,000,000” and inserting “$250,000,000,000”…

      supported by 50 Republican and 17 Democratic Senators (and by 225 Republican and 33 Democratic House members), and signed into law by President Trump.

      If not for this action of “regulatory relief”, SVB would have been subject to the original Dodd-Frank NSFR, and would have been unable to have taken on the asset portfolio it took on, and so it would not have crashed—at least, not the way it did, and not now.

      1. On the SVB disaster, this may hurt a lot of people. I was CEO of a start-up (sold it a couple of years ago) and here's what's happening to all the start-ups with money there. In most cases, if that's their bank then it's all their money. Every day there's money coming in, money going out, the financial river of the company flows through the bank.

        When you're growing a start-up you're focused on your company. Employees, product, marketing & sales. Money is what you have to keep all that running. But you're not looking at where it's kept, you're not focused on investing the reserves, you're focused on your company.

        What's happening now? Companies are worried if they can cover payroll. 250K is not enough if you have say 100 employees. And along with payroll there's marketing expenses because if your marketing campaigns get paused, then your inbound leads dry up. And there's the million other things from rent to restocking the kitchen.

        If your credit cards are frozen, then when Google charges you for click ads, it fails. When it fails Google pauses your ad campaigns. There are likely numerous companies that are seeing their ad campaigns get paused right now at Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. And every day more.

        And payments come in via wire transfers. So customers are sending more money in to SVB where it will be frozen. So not only is there not enough money to cover expenses, but income is getting locked up too.

        And all the employees at those companies are now wondering if they'll get paid. And if so, when. For employees that live paycheck to paycheck, saying "don't worry, in a week or two it'll all be straightened out" doesn't help. They have rent due tomorrow and the credit card payment is already past due.

        Even if SVB is purchased and is open for business Monday morning with full coverage for all depositors, it'll have had a negative impact. For every additional day that goes on the damage increases. And the repercussions will spread out first through the start-up ecosphere and then with less impact to the economy at large.

        1. I appreciate these details. What is moral hazard for 10 points, Vanna?

          It isn't that SVB is "too big to fail", rather that the role it plays (specifically) in the startup environment is too "important to fail".

          If so, then this bank (and all banks… and all railroads) should have been subject to stringent regulations. Capitalism needs to be regulated. 

          Note in the link below that 17 Democrats including Colorado's own Michael Bennet voted to deregulate banks. 

          1. I don't think they should declare SVB too big to fail. The banks pushed for less regulation for midsized banks, they got it, and so they need to pay the piper.

            What I think the feds need to do is resolve this ASAP. Not just the first 250K but as much of it as they can fast. I'm hoping that by Wednesday they're confident enough of the SVB resources to release say 70% of everyone's funds. And figure out the final percentage and release it in 2 weeks.

            Also, they need to have another bank acquire and restart all the operations of SVB by Tuesday. And state that incoming money is covered 100% on top of the 250K. Companies need their credit cards turned back on. They need incoming & outgoing wire transfers settling. All of that is giant to the companies there.

            1. Oh, and the Democrats in both houses should introduce a bill this week rolling back the rollbacks signed by Trump. Place the blame for allowing this to happen on Trump and the Republicans. Yes some Democrats voted for it too, but the opportunity is here for the GOP to own this disaster.

              Don’t write some clever bill that improves even more, keep it very simple where it undoes the previous bill. Because that will be a good bill and it makes it so easy to place the blame.

          2. More on SVB from Josh Marshall at TPM.

            In modern bank failures/bank runs, the great or overwhelming majority of the deposits are recovered. There’s every reason to believe SVB has assets at least in the ballpark of its outstanding the deposits. The issue is liquidity. Depositors started to lose confidence in the bank’s solvency; everyone wanted their money at once; and the bank didn’t have access to enough cash to cover withdrawals so it failed. Over time though that money is probably mostly or even all there. You can actually see the most concrete evidence of this in the reports that SVB depositors are being inundated with offers from hedge funds to purchase their deposits for prices ranging from 60 – 80 cents on the dollar. Given the time it will take to unwind SVB’s holdings, the inherent risk of such offers and the big returns hedge funds look for those offers tell you pretty clearly those hedge funds expect SVB’s assets will cover the overwhelming majority of the deposits. The hedge fund has the luxury of time; the tech start-up does not.

            1. If you look at SVB’s practices it was involved in a lot of pretty high risk investing. One way it kept its hold over depositors was offering higher returns on deposits than the big banks. Making good on that required riskier investments. SVB wasn’t just the go-to bank of deposit for Silicon Valley start-ups. They were also deeply enmeshed in that ecosystem’s world of speculative equity investing. That’s risky business, literally and figuratively. But as others have noted, the whole tech start-up ecosystem was and is deeply tied to the regime of ultra-low interest rates of last 15 years and more broadly the last 25 years. A sharp rise in interest rates was always going to be a problem for that world.

              The issue of bank regulation is always going to come to a fundamental trade off. If the federal government is going to backstop a bank’s holdings, it’s going to need greater regulatory oversight of the bank’s business. If a bank gets so large that its potential collapse endangers the whole economy (i.e., too big to fail) the federal government is going to need even more scrutiny and oversight of its operations. The entire push and pull over financial services regulation essentially comes down to the finance sector wanting less regulation (and thus riskier and more profitable investments) while still wanting the federal backstop or the feds to pick up the pieces if things go wrong. As the Times noted on Friday, back in 2018, President Trump signed a partial repeal of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial services reform law, which reduced regulatory scrutiny for regional banks like SVB.

              One thing that has come out of my exchanges with readers is unclarity about just what counts as a “bailout”. In one sense it is in the eyes of the beholder: a bailout is when someone else gets it. The more important thing is that term has no real or precise meaning. In general it’s any radical departure from the existing legal/contractual set of rules and obligations in response to a financial crisis. Websters defines it as a “rescue from financial distress.” Clearly the shareholders, i.e., the owners, of Silicon Valley Bank should be wiped out entirely or at least be last in line for any proceeds if the bank goes through a liquidation. They had a business and it failed.

              The operative question is the bank’s depositors. What’s being discussed is whether the FDIC should step in and guarantee all the deposits rather than just the 2% or 3% which the FDIC guarantees up to $250,000. One thing that has come out of my exchanges with readers is unclarity about just what counts as a “bailout”. In one sense it is in the eyes of the beholder: a bailout is when someone else gets it. The more important thing is that term has no real or precise meaning. In general it’s any radical departure from the existing legal/contractual set of rules and obligations in response to a financial crisis. Websters defines it as a “rescue from financial distress.” Clearly the shareholders, i.e., the owners, of Silicon Valley Bank should be wiped out entirely or at least be last in line for any proceeds if the bank goes through a liquidation. They had a business and it failed.

              The operative question is the bank’s depositors. What’s being discussed is whether the FDIC should step in and guarantee all the deposits rather than just the 2% or 3% which the FDIC guarantees up to $250,000.

      2. Even so, SVB knew it had gotten itself into trouble—that it had put too large a share of its assets into long-term Treasuries that it intended to hold-to-maturity, and that while it was notionally hedged against interest-rate duration risk by this hold-to-maturity strategy, that strategy put those assets outside the circle of those available to meet unexpected withdrawals, and so caused liquidity problems. SVB was, I am told by sources who really should know, because they talked to people talking to people doing the deal, that SVB came within twenty minutes of getting enough additional cash to fix likely problems. 

        Then chaos monkey Peter Thiel showed up: advising companies to pull their money out of SVB.

        1. From David Frum – on my end, admittedly posted more for snark value than as comprehensive analysis:

          If you're worried about what happens when one midsized regional bank doesn't repay its depositors, wait till you find out what happens if House Republicans force the government of the United States to default on its massive worldwide multi-trillion dollar obligations

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