Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy America

What does the Occupy Wall Street movement really amount to? Is it simply a nationwide act of civil protest by mostly youthful, disaffected citizens against a predatory and criminal finance industry (as represented by such commercial melafactors as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and the quasi private, state chartered Federal Reserve) or is there more going on? Who are the organizers of Occupy Wall Street? Is it, in fact, a leaderless, non hierarchical, self organizing entity that is not, in any meaningful way, controlled by some shadowy someone or something with an entirely different, perhaps even, sinister agenda-One World Government, for example- that is different from the one that the OWS movement ostensibly espouses.

I'm afraid I don't get out enough to have a firm first hand opinion of the precise nature of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it is my sense that, in the main, OWS participants are a peaceful, if somewhat scruffy group, who, contrary to a host of MSM reports, are neither violent nor criminal. In any event, even were the movement peopled entirely by nothing but some aggregation of entitled, snot nosed layabouts and/or execrable street thugs, the group's collective shortcomings and transgressions would pale beside those of the banksters and their wayward political enablers occupying our nation's capital.

In that sense, we would do well to not traduce the messenger let alone slay him. And by way of answering my own question, we would also do well to recognize some of the salient characteristics of this movement and its brief history as we try to figure out what Occupy Wall Street amounts to?

Here are a few key observations that, to date, I believe to be true about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

1.) Whatever hierarchy may exist within OWS it is, in fact, a youth movement. Many of the protesters are approximately of college age, most are under thirty.

2.) Unlike the Vietnam and Civil Rights era protesters the OWS youth are undeniably economically less well situated than both their parents and grandparents. More importantly, they are keenly aware of their condition, if, perhaps, a bit confused about how events and trends have conspired to leave them on the wrong side of the tracks financially and economically.

3.) So far, nothing the protestors have experienced by way of a response from the so called Powers That Be could be thought of as encouraging them to hold onto whatever faith in the system they may still possess. And that's understating the matter.

The following points are conjecture:

1.) Demographically, their numbers are all but certain to grow in the years ahead.

2.) Increasingly, for purposes of self esteem and survival there will be very little to encourage Occupy Wall Street protesters to continue to practice a mode of protest that is peaceful since it has garnered so little for the movement. Put another way, as Gerald Celente would say, those who have nothing to lose, lose it. The authorities have shown their hand in this regard. And even as the government prepare for greater unrest they all but guarantee that there will be more strife.

3.) The other strain of protest, besides outright and open defiance, will emerge in a different form that will constitute a kind of middle ground between peaceful protest and the throwing of molotov cocktails. This form of protest might even become a kind of nation building movement though that may be a bit grandiose and ambitious for what will, at the outset, amount to nothing less than a campaign of dropping out. Communities, hard scrabble ones, will form out of necessity and the values and ways of being that define these communities will be at variance with the values that have defined U.S. society for generations.

4.) The government will attempt to disrupt this movement. They already are engaged in preempting it if one looks at the recent passage of laws pertaining to the growing of one's own food. The government will fail, though they will, as is their wont, create a lot of misery on their way to a well deserved defeat.

In conclusion, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, though it has achieved very little, if anything, towards reigning in or redressing the crimes of the banking and so called financial services industry-which, for all intents and purposes doesn't even exist anymore on Wall Street- has, perhaps, taken the first steps towards setting in motion something far more profound, a society (within our society) that operates along genuinely different principles than those that inform the functioning of institutions that are now under protest.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seeing is believing.

Some number of years ago I predicted that The Catholic Church was in a terminal state of decline. I think the trend has been pretty clear. Here's some more evidence of the well deserved fall of The Vatican.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Secret

Hello, is anybody out there? I wouldn't blame you one bit if you weren't. I know this post won't wow you, but obviously the following tidbit-another one in a very long list of pieces from Yahoo designed to manage the expectations and perceptions of those teeming masses who are seemingly inexorably downwardly mobile- is one I feel worth posting.

What's the secret of living well, well, mind you, on eleven grand a year? Well, let's just say that the secret is A.) no secret at all, and B.) once knowing the secret, not one man or woman in a million could successfully follow the prescription, because C.) no one can live well on eleven grand a year in the U.S.A.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ask Yourself...

Why do we have all the taxes listed at the link? Are they necessary or even advised? I realize the nation is far more populated then it was one hundred years ago, and substantially more complex, broadly speaking, than a century ago, but how much government-since that is what all these taxes go to support-do we need? I emphasize the word need because if we don't require them they should be eliminated. Perhaps another way to look at the problem is to ask ourselves how much tax payer supported government benefits those it is meant to support, namely the citizenry, (and in many cases non citizens) versus simply supporting the economic and financial maintenance of those who are employed by the government irrespective of the cost, broadly defined, to the rest of the nation's citizenry.

I posit that, at the very least, a national experiment be undertaken wherein the elimination of many of the tax levies on the aforesaid list occurs for some decent interval so we can come to an answer regarding the question of whether such taxes are justified.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This is a Joke, Right?

Apparently it isn't meant as a joke, but if you think this plan is anything but another hopeless dodge by legislatwhores eying next year's elections, think again. Lets start with the most glaring bit of evidence that what we are dealing with from the, so called, "Gang of Six" is just more crapulous kabuki theater. Hold on to your hat, folks, but this plan involves finding eighty billion dollars to cut from the most electrified third rail in U.S. politics, the military. Just to give you an idea of what eighty billion dollars amounts to in military spending these days, please note that the total cost of the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq had reached the 900 billion dollar mark in 2008, and that expenditure was considered supplemental to the 600 billion dollar plus official yearly budget. So, first they have to find what is a puny amount and then on finding it, they will cut it. Get the picture?

In addition to the far from courageous posture towards the nation's immense military spending, the Gang has decided to go after the tax code and reduce such things as the mortgage interest deduction. How savvy is that in the middle of a RE depression. Corporations will be taxed at a lower rate, and the alternative minimum tax will, it is said, be abolished. Then there's the once vaunted Social Security system, now a hapless, bleating, sacrificial lamb if ever there was one. You thought that Social Security was a third rail of U.S. politics did you? Well, not anymore. The Gang are going to see to it that, by certain accounting legerdemain no doubt, Social Security recipients will receive less.

In short, what this plan amounts to is merely 1.) a decrease in the rate of increase in U.S. government spending, and 2.) an exercise in engaging in the time honored canard of equating putative enhanced revenue projections (as a result of, in this case, diddling with the tax code and eliminating certain key deductions) with the actual act of really, truly putting the financial and fiscal condition of the nation on a new, healthy track. Setting aside the absolute certainty one should have that any projected revenue enhancements are going to be exaggerated, this pending agreement-as yet uncertain to pass, but out of the gate in impressive fashion- is absolutely more of the same smoke and mirrors rubbish from our political class that one has long since come to feel is de rigueur.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The horror, the horror distilled.

Forgive me, but here is a distilled version of today's same post. Things have crystalized even more for me regarding the debt ceiling farce.

There is no chance of a debt default. None, zero, nada. The government has the funds to pay its interest obligations on the principal they owe, and, if necessary, and it will be -by design- they will take what they need to pay debt obligations from government programs as per the dictates of the 14th Amendment. That is what will transpire assuming they don’t reach an agreement. However, an agreement will achieve the exact same thing as no agreement, except less messily, as it will involve decimating those very same government operations that will be plundered if there isn't an agreement. That’s what I call checkmate, mate. Heads I win, tails you lose.

My bet is that they will come to an agreement because Obama is just another neo-liberal shyster sellout. The third rails of U.S. politics were/are thought to be certain entitlements and military spending. In retrospect it will be clear that when the chips were down it was only the latter that was untouchable not the former.

The horror, the horror.

The title above is not meant to be a reference to Joseph Conrad's brilliant novella Heart of Darkness, but, rather, a reference to the Debt(berg) ceiling talks where the threat of unspeakable, almost indescribable disaster is being asserted anywhere and everywhere as a means to guarantee an outcome that squares with the governing elite's desired ends. Put more succinctly, a certain cohort of The Legislature and The Executive are engaging in what has now become a time honored strategy perhaps best described as a kinder gentler form of extortion. The only difference between government's brand of gangsterism and a true blue gangster style protection racket is that the government isn't posturing as if they will be the ones to use the blunt instrument should they not get their way. No, the pain, we are told, and lots and lots of it, will be administered from other realms.

The truth is that what scares some number of desperate actors in government is not a sovereign default but a sovereign debt credit downgrade. After all, there will be no default if an agreement isn't reached since the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment necessitates that all government debts, and interest on such debts, must be paid prior anyone to else in government getting paid. That means that, in the event the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2nd, a lot of government operations would be frozen as their funds were instead redirected to pay Uncle Sugar's creditors. Such an outcome would be unpleasant for many, but no one should confuse that with a sovereign debt default. However, a partial government shutdown, along with various other developments related to said government shut down, could trigger a credit downgrade which is what worries our legislators the most. Well, it should worry them the most since such a development would make all present and future sovereign debt obligations substantially more expensive for Uncle Sugar.

Just so you know, whatever next week holds legislatively, the death of the dollar is assured. It's demise will not be avoided. Belabored? Almost certainly. Postponed? Perhaps, though that too is looking increasingly unlikely as things are unraveling at an accelerating pace. You see, there is a timeline involved with respect to the life of our currency, our medium of exchange, and while it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to say precisely when that timeline concludes-picture if you will the sand running out of the top of an hourglass-conclude it will. In in the meantime, as more and more sand runs out of the top of the dollar's hourglass, the ability to say with some precision when that last grain of sand will fall to the bottom of the hourglass becomes easier and easier to predict.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pacification Thy Name is Internet.

The following is part of a (slightly edited) correspondence I had with a friend on-line. I should add that, apropos of the thrust of this post, my friend is someone I've never actually met with face to face. This is not entirely down to the limits of the
internet-where virtual is the name of the game- as my friend lives in a part of the country that is quite distant and is not an area that I have reason to visit, well, aside from our seemingly (internet bound) friendship.

"No doubt – I do not know when as I am beginning to lose hope in that most people seem too stupid to know what is happening to them – that and the fact that fully half are now takers rather than makers. So it may be that in the end – the takers win out – who knows.

I've long pondered the whys and wherefores of contemporary citizen inaction, and, while I'm sure entire books could be (and have been) written on such things, I have a few pet ideas. One of them squares on the role of the internet, namely it's incredibly capacity to dissipate all kinds of emotions and energy. Consider the following:

In days of yore, if people wanted to be heard by their fellow man, and I mean heard in numbers, what options did they have? They had few options except to take out ads in the local gazette, manage to get themselves heard on radio or T.V., or, perhaps, rent out a hall-a favorite of political activists going back many generations-and say whatever it was they felt they had to say.

Now they can....blog...and boy do they ever blog by the boatload. Quite a few blogs are downright vitriolic, even incendiary in their style and content, and some, not too many, but some, are compelling. And yet, at least in the U.S., it seems, what transpires from all the chatter? Very little. I am not by any means suggesting that the blogosphere has, all by itself, sucked the life out of any potential political activism, let alone revolutionary spirit, but, still, I fear that the presence of the internet, along with myriad other kinds of (peculiar to our age) diverting fare, and some other, not to be named in this missive, crucial factors, have reduced us collectively to not much more than inveterate talking typists-and here I raise my hand up as a member of this guilty cohort- at the expense of aligning ourselves with one another for the purpose of taking genuine action, not in cyberspace, but in the real world

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hello Again!

To my loyal reader(s), I'm sorry that I've had no scintillating entries for you over the last six weeks, but, well, I've been busy with other stuff. Now that I have a bit of time I thought I'd just drop a line to say that it appears to me as if the next round of the financial crisis is upon us.

Why now, you may ask? The termination of the so called Quantitative Easing programs conducted by U.S. monetary authorities is not the proximate reason that things are heading south again in my view. Having said that, QE2 has likely contributed to the onset of the next go round of economic contraction since QE2 has been instrumental in causing the price of raw materials to ratchet higher to an extent that has eaten into the profit margins of all manner of business activity. In the meantime, the higher cost of everything from toothpaste, to gasoline, to lawn furniture, to pork cutlets has made just about everyone but the very wealthy feel less wealthy. It's all a recipe for another round of job losses, stock market woes, and general wobbliness in the economy. And as bollixed up as things have become at the hands of the monetary authorities, there is little doubt that they would be worse without the soon to be defunct Quantitative Easing programs.

Don't misunderstand me. I've never been an advocate of the kind of monetary nostrums that have been applied in response to the calamities of '08 and early '09. It's simply that I'm aware that the pain we've experienced to date would have been vastly more intense, albeit relatively short lived-or so I conjecture- had no QE programs been enacted. And because politicians in our governmental system are in it as a career, more precisely for life, they will always, in the main, without fail, opt for the sort of approaches that attenuate pain. To do otherwise would reduce career politician's chances of remaining career politicians. In short, kicking the can down the road is how the political class responds to all crises. It's why, in time, there will be more Quantitative Easing whatever new euphemistic moniker they may apply to actions that will be nothing less than buying debt outright for cash. So, while Quantitative Easing demonstrably creates all manner of painful economic distortions, to not engage in more money printing presents the bigger risk to the political class.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tall Tales.

As the story of the once great bogeyman Osama Bin Laden's assassination traveled around the globe via main stream media outlets, and the blogosphere, my initial thoughts were that I would attempt to deconstruct the official version. It is clear now, given the multiplicity of accounts, with details of said accounts shifting about as rapidly as the Saharan sands, that attempting to do so is both impossible-which account to deconstruct, which details?- and, more importantly, unnecessary, since the aroma of grand falsehood surrounding this news reduces any such enterprise to an absurd tail chasing activity. Put another way, the authorities, and I use the word authorities advisedly, have done the job for us. Credibility vanished quicker than a flushed turd in a cruise ship commode as the "official" story seemed to change in key ways from hour to hour. Who to believe? What to believe? Answer: No one and nothing.

Many commentators have spoken on the curious timing of the release of this would be earth shaking assassination story, namely that the breaking news distracted the mainstream media from the fetid air of mendacity that was building in the wake of President Obama's release of his purported long form birth certificate. This isn't an entirely unreasonable hypothesis, but, equally, I am sure there is far more to the story regarding "why now." We won't have much of a clue about what more there might be behind what seems to be a considerable (yet botched) disinformation campaign until some time has passed.

But allow me to back up a tad. The likelihood, based on many accounts from a wide variety of individuals who could be expected to know, is that the great and none too lamented bogeyman, Osama Bin Laden, died years ago. Given my own predilections about what 9/11 was, and, more importantly, was not, I find the numerous testimonies that all coalesce around the idea that Osama Bin Laden died years ago far more compelling than the latest mad flurry of press releases purporting his assassination at the hands of a crack team of U.S. Navy Seals.

And, again, for the seemingly zillionth time, especially where officialdom is concerned, we have to decide if the recent overwhelming confusion, not to say incoherence, in the telling of the story of Osama Bin Laden is just a matter of tremendous incompetence on the part of the anointed story tellers, or if there is something more troubling at play. What comes through for me, above all else, is this: If someone wanted to create a scenario where their own credibility was called into play in a profoundly disturbing way, they could hardly have done a better job than with the release of the fabulous, and ever changing tale of Osama Bin Laden's demise.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Quick Word on the OBL "News."

I will report on this at length, later, but, so far, this story stinks. Put more succinctly, reports that Osama Bin Laden was killed recently by U.S. Navy Seals don't pass the sniff test.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Has anyone in the MSM bothered to ask, and, more importantly, answer, why it has taken President Obama so long to produce a long form birth certificate? Applying Occam's Razor to this seeming conundrum yields a rather stunning conclusion, which is, that, until very recently, President Barack Obama didn't possess a long form birth certificate. I know, how horribly conspiratorial of me to suggest that one has been invented on his behalf. Do you have a better explanation?

Let's see, perhaps you would like to suggest, in lieu of my straightforward explanation, that Barack Obama and his handlers have, perhaps, the worst political instincts ever, and, instead of, way back when, producing the necessary document to immediately quell the brouhaha surrounding the issue of his place of birth, decided, instead, to let the issue fester to the point that it would gestate, to name just one ghastly progeny, a Donald Trump Presidential bid. No, The Donald isn't going to become our next President, but I hope you catch my drift just the same. Do you really think Obama and his handlers decided the way forward was to stonewall, for well over a year, producing the document in question. It's possible that this explains matters, but, let's face it, the less tortured explanation is that Team Obama needed time (and a lot of money) to fabricate a convincingly authentic long form birth certificate. It must not have been easy. Counterfeiting such things is quite a job, but far from impossible. The technology is there, if you have the resources to bring to bear. Well, call me crazy, as I may well, be, but I propose the Office of The President has just such resources and that in the absence of a better explanation, used them.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Think Again.

It seems that on the back of a warning of a downgrade of U.S. government debt by, FWIW, the S&P ratings agency, there is renewed discussion of how this latest debt downgrade will spur officialdom to really, truly, you better believe it, tackle our-just outside the black hole event horizon-fiscal situation. For all those talking such piffle, whether you are just clueless or ghastly toadying shills, I have news for you:

The only weapon government has to extinguish the U.S.S. debtberg is talk of the kind designed to deceive the easily duped into thinking that constant can kicking is something other than, well, can kicking. Government can't do anything like the sort of budget/debt reduction needed because that would shatter to pulp the one wooden peg leg our economy remains standing on. After all, government, both federal and local government combined, employ more folks than anyone else by a long shot. If we want to really have unemployment skyrocket, and to see absolute social disintegration/mayhem ensue lickety split, then, by all means, cut all the social programs back big time, bring most of the troops home-troops who, in the full flush of their testosterone saturated youth will not be able to find gainful employment, but are, by the way, quite handy with firearms and explosives-and let the too big to fails, fail. Yeah, that's what I thought.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


That's how the imbeciles on Capitol Hill, in their usual self aggrandizing and grandiloquent style, have chosen to characterize puny budget cuts of 39 billion dollars when there is a deficit in the trillions. I know that I am, to an extent, comparing apples and oranges, but only just. What an absolute mockery of a sham of a travesty. Imagine paring your total household expenditures so you bought fewer tubes of toothpaste, cheaper light bulbs, and stopped paying the kid down the street to mow your lawn, and you declared such measly reductions in expenses historic.

I suppose they are from the standpoint that such a hopeless accommodation indicates how appallingly fouled up our legislative body's functioning is. After all, it is worthy of a place in the annals when this sort of paltry agreement can be deemed historic and reported as such by a brain dead media. I loathe both parties, but, typically, The Republicans, pandering to some cretinous segment of their rank and file voters, made this tentative accord-the tiny budget cuts still have to be voted on-a tense, touch and go affair as they desperately tried to do away with funding for things like planned parenthood and regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. No one will touch the various political third rails that are the real culprits-entitlements and military expenditures, in sending the U.S. down the path of financial and economic disintegration, so, plan-see the recent, and not so recent, action in precious metals-accordingly.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What is going on?

The Japanese catastrophe-that would be the ongoing nuclear reactor disaster, not the earthquake and tsunami that preceded it- has cast a very unpleasant specter over the planet. There seems to be a lot of confusion- if one is being charitable, and disinformation if one is not- about exactly what has happened, but, clearly, radiation of the sort that is dangerous to humans is now showing up in the U.S.

This all seems eerily reminiscent of The Gulf disaster from last year, except, I am afraid, worse. No one in their right mind should trust officialdom on these matters for the simple, yet ironclad, reason that-in their own eyes- government gains nothing by telling the truth when a lie will do just as well. After all, let's suppose that nuclear reactors in Japan are melting down and tens of millions of lives are at severe risk, but not necessarily in a way that will be readily apparent in the immediate future.

Put more crudely and directly, folks might not start getting demonstrably sick and dying in statistically eye raising numbers for a matter of months and possibly years. This gives government figures time to enact damage control, to engage in cover your ass maneuvers, and to just, plain, old, get out of town. Tell the truth now and you will absolutely have mayhem on your hands. That's how officialdom always justifies not telling it like it is, especially in the midst of disasters. After all, chaos means certain loss of control, and that is the one thing officialdom will do everything in its power to avoid. Cynical though it may sound, TPTB are far more interested in maintaining control than saving lives, but, because this stance is so monstrous, they tell themselves, and us, that their actions were taken on behalf of the greater good; that they concealed the truth and misinformed us for a, much hoped for, better outcome. As an alternative to the aforesaid dark explanation, there is always the incompetence argument, but, let's face it, that's really nothing less than a combination of an apology for power, and, an old fashioned cop out.

So, the plan is to try and attenuate the matter-no pun intended- and play for an outcome such that by the time the truth of the situation becomes impossible to deny, cover up, etc. etc. a lot of the folks who are, to some greater or lesser degree, responsible for allowing this catastrophe to intensify, will have quietly removed themselves from the scene. The other sinister aspect being relied on by the operators of the levers of power is that by the time things are obvious, most folks will be in no position to respond in a very forceful manner to what will, by then, be dire circumstances.

All that I have offered so far rests on the premise that it is simply impossible to make the case that the highest of the higher ups in Japan were not fully aware of the inevitability of a nuclear disaster of the sort that stood an excellent chance of acting as a monumental global game changer. None. Zero. Nada. Now consider the implications of that, and the reaction-again, no pun intended, merely noted-of our own government as the (so called) harmless fallout arrives on our shores.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Melting Down Writ Large.

It doesn't look good sports fans. In fact, it looks like a five alarm fire cubed is gearing up. I sense that in the next few weeks global civilization runs the risk of having a global Alice Through The Looking Glass experience that no one is ever likely to forget, try though we might. What is happening in Japan is the proximate catalyst that informs my very gloomy outlook, because, my dear readers, it isn't just a few of Japan's nuclear reactors that are melting down, but Japan itself that is in the hideous process of liquefying.

Should Japan, in possession of the planet's third largest economy, cease to meaningfully operate as a civilization for some extended period, well, we are all going to feel it hugely. Know this: Should all the radiation containment issues be solved in the next twenty four hours, we are still going to experience unpleasantness globally, but, whatever we experience will be as nothing compared to the hurt we'll feel should the latest hopeful news about the power going on at the most troubled nuclear plant fail to deliver on the promise of a very near term solution.

The world is entirely too interconnected for a Japanese flock of black swans to flap its wings, deliver a massive, steaming payload of glowing excrement from on high, and have the collective not subsequently feel the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. And all this epic awfulness, of course, leaves out all the presently overshadowed, but none too insignificant, upheaval occurring in the Middle East.

Now, as a sort of coda to this evening post, I offer the following quote as reported by the BBC.

"They are leaving us to die," says the mayor of Minamasoma inside the exclusion zone.

The very unfortunate Mayor and his fellow citizens in the aforesaid abandoned town put me in mind of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, who were, in effect, left to fend for themselves-where they weren't left to fend off the monstrous goons of Blackwater.

I feature the quote above primarily for the purpose of highlighting the ever growing condition whereby central governments across the world demonstrate their profound unworthiness. And I focus on that phenomenon, because, as the realization grows, as it must, amongst citizens all across the planet, that in their most desperate hours of need they simply can not depend on central governments to help (let alone save) them, these very same citizens will reject the very idea of obeisance to a central authority.

After all the enormous failures that have already occurred here and elsewhere are almost too numerous to mention; they involve the failure to rescue citizens in the aftermath of natural disasters, and the dereliction of government's solemn duty to uphold legal statutes and enforce laws regardless of who may be acting outside the law. However, as the Wicked Witch of the West was wont to say about certain, in her case, nasty endeavors, "These things take time." Indeed, they do, but a bit of time is about all that's standing in the way of governments around the planet, pardon the phrase, melting down.

Monday, March 14, 2011

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

For all the perfectly sensible opinions expressed about the seemingly pointless and wasted attention paid to the "melt down" of Charlie Sheen, it strikes me that, on some level, the metaphor of melt down, which was applied ubiquitously in conjunction with the personal collapse of someone who, until very recently, was the highest paid actor in Television, amounted to, in some bizarre way, an omen of the more literal meltdown that is now in process in Japan. One wonders, with more than a little trepidation, what aspect of our world will next become a feature player in the ongoing serial global "meltdowns" small and immense, ridiculous and sublime.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Yoke of Tyranny

There are some excellent comments following the article here, but this is the one that nails it.

"Boston now has to resort to illegal means to sustain its abusive employee benefits."

Our local government preys on us. Ponder the implications of that fact. I will only add the following: Government will continue to prey on us citizens until we destroy their ability to do so, and that will likely require, when it all shakes out, extra-legal measures by us citizens to rectify the situation to our satisfaction. I make this observation based on the simple fact that if the courts are riding herd with efforts to confiscate, steal, and otherwise abuse the citizenry, which they are, then achieving justice and reform from within the system, will be, by definition, impossible. Anything less than the SJC overturning the institution of fees to challenge tickets in court will be proof of that assertion.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Here is a Thought Experiment...

that will begin with a resolution, and a whole slew of questions where it is hoped that the simple act of asking not so simple questions reveals useful insights and answers.

Resolved: In part, due to the actions of U.S. monetary authorities, The Dollar is dramatically losing purchasing power against a variety of hard assets, i.e fuel products, agricultural products, and other natural resources such as base and precious metals. Official announcements have come recently, and, not so recently, from abroad, which herald the dollar's planned replacement in trade between foreign nations. Such developments will, by definition, have the effect of eroding The Dollar's already increasingly fragile reserve currency status.

1.) As the single most powerful monetary authority operating in the U.S., is it Chairman of The Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke's actual intention to destroy the dollar's purchasing power?

2.) If so, what is the motivation for such an action, i.e. to A.) reduce the effective debt load of Federal, i.e. public and (some) private entities, or, perhaps, to B.) impoverish, and, therefore, reduce the wherewithal- broadly defined- of a large segment of the U.S. population?

3.) If B, why?

4.) Is it possible that a substantial reduction in the purchasing power of the dollar can be orderly achieved so as not to create widespread social instability, or worse, outright civil tumult as is now occurring all across the Middle East?

5.) Where the actions of The Federal Reserve are concerned (and other major actors in the financial sphere, i.e. The Treasury) can we discern A.) egregious incompetence from B.) systemic rot, from C.) willful criminality?

6.) If B and/or C, can the system be expected to reform from within, or to only, at best, present a simulacrum of reform?

7.) If the answer to question #6 is only a simulacrum, what are our rights and obligations as citizens with regard to achieving necessary justice and reform?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spare Me.

My goodness, someone or other must be very concerned that A.) the economy is not only not going to recover but is set to further deteriorate, and that B.) some large number of Americans will start holding those responsible accountable, i.e. cue pictures of bloated banker's bodies swinging Mussolini style from lamp posts. I say this since we now have some seriously silly twaddle from The Pentagon as reported by the less than venerable, Washington Times, that damn commie furriners done it to us where the crash of '08 was concerned.

Okay, so it's actually the case that our very own homegrown monetary bandits were responsible for all the carnage, as the report admits, but folks in Venezuela, China, and elsewhere, took advantage of the situation and made it worse. And to add insult to injury, our enemies did it as part of a (not so) secret plot to destroy the U.S. How could they!!? I'm sure they piled on where possible, just as we have done the same to them when they've chosen to act as wantonly idiotic as we did in the years leading up to the great crash.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why Wait?

It seems that Christianity and Christian cults, excuse me, sects, that inhabit the U.S. are never at a loss to produce small but fanatical sub-groups who are desperate to impart to the rest of us that the end is nigh. The latest batch of (m)adherents have apparently deemed May 11 of this year as the "beginning of the end." No doubt, some loud and particularly lunatic voice among them has, by dint of some very arcane fundamentalist numerology, discerned that the aforementioned date is of special import. After all, chiliasts don't have much use for hard science, so whoever came up with May 11 must have resorted to a special brand of bible thumping bullshit to come up with their calendar date of doom.

What, particularly, is it about our society that, time and time again, over the centuries, it seems to breed what is, to me at least, a particularly annoying cadre of Good Book desperadoes desperate for the entire societal shebang to be summarily extinguished by the Sky God? My quick surmise of this phenomenon is that the U.S., peopled as it as by more than its fair share of enfeebled men and women, is simply too hostile and difficult a place to survive for some portion of its weaker and more vulnerable members. Tragically, for them, and the rest of us, slipping into group hysteria and/or psychosis becomes the most comfortable and viable option. Put another way, these disaffected and disturbed citizens are, in essence, mental and emotional drop outs waiting for a not so benevolent creator to rescue them-while punishing the rest of us- from what must certainly be a long travail of abject existential misery.

Most folks here in the U.S., and elsewhere, I imagine, just get on with our own personal misery without resorting to this sort of infantile religious lunacy, but, in The Land of The Free, perhaps as a result of Enlightenment thinking taken to its logically nutty extreme, and our very poor public educational system, one can construe any sort of self serving tripe one wants to towards whatever purpose one chooses. In the meantime, I would wish the rapturists best of luck, but I'm inclined to believe it best not to encourage them. Not that these sort require any added motivation.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Now that Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak has been forced out, presumably in a military style coup that was brought on by massive civil unrest, just what are we to make of what has transpired in Egypt?

There seem to be several explanations regarding what just occurred in the land of The Pyramids. Here are the key explanations that I have encountered to date.

1.) What has transpired in Egypt is being portrayed by the U.S. mainstream media-and by a very wide margin- as nothing less than a full scale (political)revolution.


For that reason alone one must be deeply suspect of the idea that any sort of lasting, profound change has occurred in how
Egyptian society functions. Yes, political power has been usurped, nominally new parties are seemingly, seemingly, mind you, in control of the political process. However, does this state of affairs equate to Egypt being in the midst of a process where entirely new socio-economic groups are about to redirect the energies of the nation? For the answer to that question, we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, we are left to wonder if the severe problems-high food prices and lower standards of living- that appeared to catalyze some critical number of the populace into forcefully demanding a drastic change in officialdom are going to be successfully addressed.

Hosni Mubarak, a kleptocratic and somewhat decrepit despot has been ousted as the result of civil discontent that has now led to what is most likely a power vacuum that the entire region is on tenterhooks waiting to see filled. In short, there has been no revolution, but there may be a revolution as a result of Mubarak's ouster and a variety of continuing exogenous and endogenous pressures.

This explanation has the advantage of not reading too much into recent events, while not necessarily glossing over the great if unrealized potential that the aforesaid events may possess.

3.) The toppling of
Hosni Mubarak was set in motion and pulled off at the behest of western elites for a variety of possible reasons listed here in no order of preference.

A.) The War on Terror is flagging and needs a boost. What better way to justify more military misadventures in the region that by destabilizing Egypt. The idea here is that long suppressed
Islamic Fundamentalist elements in that nation will emerge, and, as a matter of course, will need to be "dealt" with.

B.) Mubarak was allowed to be taken down by western elites because they need someone fresh to do their bidding. Mubarak's sell by date, as it were, was long past, and a younger better despotic puppet-one who doesn't appear so obviously villainous- is required to continue the good work that Mubarak did on behalf of the west.

There is absolutely more than a kernel of truth in the notion that Mubarak was a U.S. puppet. It's, in fact, more true than untrue. However, do the western elites and their various operatives/agencies have anything like the ability to set in motion the sort of events-let alone control them-that such an explanation suggests? Highly doubtful in my view. The west's pull and influence, across all spectra, is badly waning. One could even assert that the collective pull and influence the west once enjoyed, especially in that region of the world, is in a state of terminal decline. If anything, the fall of the decrepit despot was more likely a failure of the west's resolve than anything else. On the other hand, the fall of Mubarak may simply have been the result of a kind of benign neglect on the part of Mubarak's western facilitators. In any case, it's important to remember that while both those explanations are plausible, they are, equally, like so many other things, unknowable.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Bernank

Recently, Ben Bernanke, with what I imagine was nary a smirk on his face, asserted that his actions at The Fed have had nothing to do with the present instability in Egypt. Oh, no, The Bernank offered, it's all the growth in emerging markets that has caused agricultural commodities to double and triple in price in less than a year's time. In not so many words, The Bernank claimed that the astronomical rise in wheat prices, for example, couldn't be linked in any way to The Fed's (going on two years running) purchase of toxic bad bets, more euphemistically known as assets.

That response highlights perfectly the choice we are faced with regarding what The Bernank, as a quasi public official, must be, namely an epic scale liar or just the world's most powerful imbecile. I opt for the former, as I simply don't think it's possible that, whatever his ideological blinders may be, The Bernank actually believes what he spouts, but, instead, knows he can utter such perfidiousness with impunity as he has a free pass from those in the mainstream media who are allowed to ask questions of him. Egyptian food prices haven't gone up to levels inspiring political revolution due to, as he stated, the state of the Egyptian currency-which in the aftermath of the nation's recent instability is admittedly weaker-they've gone up because food prices everywhere have risen dramatically.

And that shitty reality has met head on with the fact that Macmoud Average, whose yearly income is some fraction of Joe Average's, must, as a result, now use a far greater portion of his meager income, just to put pita on the table.

In the meantime, the great lie, that The Bernank is at some mild pains to elide, is that the money that The Fed has exchanged for the aforementioned assets has not gone into proper bank lending, but rather into bond, equity, and commodity speculation to a degree that has had a material effect on food prices globally. The emerging markets piffle offered up by The Bernank is, just that, patent rubbish, and he must know that, but, being a Central Banker, a U.S. Central Banker in particular, he is, as his predecessor Arthur Burns observed, under no obligation to tell the truth. And so we are under no particular obligation not to see The Bernank and any number of his many fellow travelers, tarred and feathered and run out of town, as it were, on a rail.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rate Rises Cometh

With respect to technical analysis of markets, break outs above or below long standing (or even short term) trend lines are not to be trusted until a successful re-test of said trend line occurs, however, at present, the long bond chart has, at least by my runes, signaled a major trend change by breaking out above the upper trend line of a decades long bull market in bonds.

If one is inclined to follow the utterances of certain monetary authorities and their mainstream media minions, the action in long rates of late is the result of an expected incipient rebound in the economy. If, on the other hand, one subscribes to the well buttressed argument of persons like former Reagan budget honcho
David Stockman, the implications of the recent action in the long bond are decidedly less than pleasant to put it mildly. Long (bond) story short, the ability of the U.S. government to fund its epic profligacy is going to come under considerable constraint in the not too distant future. I hasten to add that the ominous rise in rates is also a function of the market sussing out that the debt ceiling is going to be raised, yet again. In any event, the action in bonds spells trouble of the not to be deferred for much longer sort.

As the time I have to devote to this humble blog is limited presently, a further discussion of this development will have to wait until next week.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of The Union

What a world we live in. No doubt, at other, if not all, times in human history, people have justifiably made similar claims delivered with (or, perhaps without) heavy doses of sarcasm. Perhaps another way of describing our present predicament here in the U.S. would be to observe that, as per the ancient and marvelously veiled Chinese curse, we live in interesting times. And speaking of interesting, China, as fate would have it, is now America's greatest economic rival. I'm not sure who, if anyone, constitutes the United States' greatest military rival. I suspect no one does, though, equally, I'm reasonably sure that in some regions of the world asymetric warfare, or, if you prefer, fourth generation warfare, is practiced with great skill against the U.S. military juggernaut. But that's another subject for another time.

What may be the most interesting thing about living in the U.S. presently, at least from this citizen's perspective, is the overwhelmingly Orwellian disconnect between the behavior of officialdom, their preferred organs of misinformation dissemination, and the state of the rest of the union. With that in mind, I think it's worth noting that during President Obama's State of The Union address last night, one of officialdom's highest ranking members, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fell fast asleep. I suppose Justice Ginsburg's deep dozing could be attributed to her advanced age, or, even, perhaps, the relative lateness of the hour, but I prefer to entertain the idea, however fanciful, that the Universe, through the unwitting medium of Justice Ginsburg was, instead, offering a meaningful, succinct, proper, and profound judgment on the content and quality of our President's oratory- if not his entire Presidency- as one best slept through. To bowdlerize the pop outfit, Green Day, "Wake me up when Obama ends."

I personally applaud Justice Ginsburg's response, however unintended it may have been, to the President's State of The Union address. After all, his was a communication with only slightly more merit than an awkwardly constructed, sophomoric love ditty scrawled on public restroom toilet paper. Had I watched the speech in real time it would have unquestionably left me in a state of agitation entirely incompatible with sleep, but one well aligned with nightmarish fantasies of the sort that would likely still be bothering me. Sometimes, when the times get too interesting, the best thing to do is to turn off the set. And while Poor Justice Ginsburg couldn't afford that luxury, being duty bound to actually attend the event, the results were, nevertheless, at least where her presence was concerned, entirely fitting.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sarah Palin: Whore of Babylon Update

Until now I've neglected to comment on what is perhaps the most momentous Whore of Babylon fiasco since John McCain, in his role as Pandora, and to his everlasting shame and disgrace, caved to the "religious right" lunatic fringe pressure from members of The Republican Party and released the scourge from Wasilla upon the lower forty eight. By now, everyone who is remotely tuned in to current events is familiar with The Whore of Babylon's hideous connection to the horrific shooting spree that took place approximately a week ago in Tuscon, Arizona.

One of the chief victims in the melee was Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who has spent the last week fighting for her life in hospital. Sarah Palin, who employed the language of firearms against her political opponents in the midterm elections, has come under intense criticism as a result. One devoutly hopes that the opprobrium she has so richly earned of late amounts to the beginning of the end for Palin as any kind of political force. In the meantime, TWOB, who is as shameless as she is egocentric, will not go easily.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Uncertainty Continued

I was prompted to write the prior piece on the inability to achieve certainty as a result of observing (and sometimes) engaging in an ongoing debate, on three other sites, regarding the nature of, and prospects for, gold. Quite frankly, I'm more than a little tired of debating the merits of gold to those who appear programmed against the very idea of gold acting as a store of value. I detect-over and over- a combination of obnoxious recalcitrance and immaturity in those who attempt to make arguments against gold's utility. This is especially the case given the superior performance of physical gold and silver to all other asset classes over a one year, five year, and ten year basis.

In the case of one particular commentator, who asserts-his assertion being, more precisely, a belief, based as it is on projections that have nothing like a guarantee (ah, there's uncertainty again) of coming to pass-that just about anything but gold will act as the future's value storage mechanism, he neglects to admit, except very occasionally, that gold could (continue to) do well for some number of years until his model takes hold. To quote the arch hater of the old gold standard, John Maynard
barbarous relic Keynes, "In the long run we're all dead." As such, in the meantime, while waiting for the the longest running tradition in human experience of one item acting as money over time, to end, you will lose your shirt, if you haven't already, should you choose to act on the formulations of those who mistake (and misrepresent) the way the world is, for the way they envision it at some unspecified point in the future.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Uncertainty Principle

As Tom Stoppard illustrated so well in his play, Arcadia, we humans have a desperate need for certainty in situations where, generally, there is none to be had. Psychologically, most of us feel rather uncomfortable maneuvering through life without rock solid narratives to explain the myriad things, both large and small, that matter to us. I know I have all sorts of explanations for all manner of human phenomena, but, I must say that, though I hew to a variety of views quite strongly, I always try to be aware that, to paraphrase Hamlet, there are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in one's philosophy.

All this by way of saying that no matter how well one thinks one has thought something through, there are always things one has simply not accounted for. Now, of course, sometimes the probability that one has left some crucial aspect or two out of their brilliant formulation is low, but, even that, outside of the limited purview of very hard science, is a state of affairs that is, to to a greater or lesser extent, simply unknowable. At this point you may be, just perhaps, wondering what shaky (according to me) positions I have in mind when I prattle on about unknowability? All in good time.