9.27.2014

This has always been the hard part for us


We need to be reminded sometimes that things don't always work out in the end.

Mature leaders know when to cut their losses.

I just hope that it won't be like last time, blaming the troops and shunning them.

9.23.2014

Epiphany

From a relative non-sophisticate, I am beginning to wonder when the smaller economies are going to start thinking about the idea of large-scale defaults?

Right now, everyone is tied into the basic concept that growth is required and the only way to achieve growth is the unfettered access to western capital flows.  Well, what happens in these smaller economies when the ruling class takes a hard look at the amount of money flowing out of their country to western banks and investors and decide to just say "screw it"?

We can talk about the banks having people by the short and curlies, but the truth of the matter is, once folks decide that paying a huge portion of their limited national income to western banks in order to preserve the right to borrow even more is a losers game.

Argentina has defaulted and will default again.  There are a lot of countries out there that will start realizing soon that the US and NATO militaries cannot enforce payment everywhere all the time. The truth of the matter is, multiple countries defaulting will probably end up in a system of economic flows not transiting New York for their skim of the vig.

It is going to end up there eventually.  One would hope that it begins soon.

9.20.2014

Many Attribution



This post came around in a most complicated manner.

The writing started by beginning a response over at "Squeezing the Hourglass".  The post in question was:
Ain't that a bitch 

The last guy at least vaguely understands the reality that he's better off personally by accepting that the world is a racket. I guess oil traders do possibly deserve to earn more money--this one clearly knows to jump off a sinking ship (though sadly, his time horizon excludes even one generation of progeny, which is prima facie evidence of evil to all active parents).
Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer who led the No campaign, admitted that the closeness of the result was a wake-up call. (DD note: I see no further exposition on this in any other sources. To the contrary, I see the on-schedule offensive against those who dared to vote for independence. Source. )“Today is a momentous today for Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole,” he said. “While confirming our place within the union, we have confirmed the bonds that tie us together — may they never be broken.” 
Pubs across the country were staying open throughout the night with customers both anxious and excited to see whether the historic union would be consigned to the history books. 
Greg Waddell, a doctor working in Glasgow, tells TIME that he voted Yes “because disempowerment breeds dependency; because the current extent of social inequality in Scotland demeans every one of its people.” 
Others among the 4.2 million registered voters were less optimistic about prospects for going it alone. 
Nick Allan, an oil executive from Aberdeen, said the Yes campaign promises were enticing, but he voted No as it would be impossible to pay for them — especially not with North Sea oil. 
“The problem comes down to money,” he says. “How on God’s earth are you going to be able to afford all of these improvements? The country will be bankrupt in a matter of years.”
If you really look at it, look at the people they to whom they asked the question and the responses. The responses probably say more about the individual motivations than the quality of the argument.

Doctor, probably working for the NHS, trots out the "social inequality card, greater Scottish government access to North Sea oil income means more money in his pocket.

Oil Executive, cheerfully being well-compensated for his spot at the table sees the losses of revenues and redistribution as anathema. Bankruptcy for the current systems are the order of the day.

At the end of the day, this is the sole font of any "Independence" movement. A struggle between the haves and the have-nots over the control and distribution of resources and wealth.

The next seed came from Ugo Bardi over at "Resource Crisis".

 Few people understand that depletion does NOT mean that we run out of anything. It means that producing a mineral commodity becomes so expensive that fewer and fewer people can afford it.

One of the next seeds came from the Archdruid.  These next couple of paragraphs got me to thinking:
The process that drives the collapse of civilizations has a surprisingly simple basis: the mismatch between the maintenance costs of capital and the resources that are available to meet those costs. Capital here is meant in the broadest sense of the word, and includes everything in which a civilization invests its wealth: buildings, roads, imperial expansion, urban infrastructure, information resources, trained personnel, or what have you. Capital of every kind has to be maintained, and as a civilization adds to its stock of capital, the costs of maintenance rise steadily, until the burden they place on the civilization’s available resources can’t be supported any longer.
The only way to resolve that conflict is to allow some of the capital to be converted to waste, so that its maintenance costs drop to zero and any useful resources locked up in the capital can be put to other uses. Human beings being what they are, the conversion of capital to waste generally isn’t carried out in a calm, rational manner; instead, kingdoms fall, cities get sacked, ruling elites are torn to pieces by howling mobs, and the like. If a civilization depends on renewable resources, each round of capital destruction is followed by a return to relative stability and the cycle begins all over again; the history of imperial China is a good example of how that works out in practice.

If a civilization depends on nonrenewable resources for essential functions, though, destroying some of its capital yields only a brief reprieve from the crisis of maintenance costs. Once the nonrenewable resource base tips over into depletion, there’s less and less available each year thereafter to meet the remaining maintenance costs, and the result is the stairstep pattern of decline and fall so familiar from history:  each crisis leads to a round of capital destruction, which leads to renewed stability, which gives way to crisis as the resource base drops further. Here again, human beings being what they are, this process isn’t carried out in a calm, rational manner; the difference here is simply that kingdoms keep falling, cities keep getting sacked, ruling elites are slaughtered one after another in ever more inventive and colorful ways, until finally contraction has proceeded far enough that the remaining capital can be supported on the available stock of renewable resources.
 So again, it comes down to resources.  And the Scottish, Catalunyan, Texan, and other such sundry "Independence" movements come down to is a movement away from increasingly unstable central systems that are too dependent on supplies of diminishing resources.

The idiot politicians such as Alex Salmond who promise their constituency more than what they are currently getting doing the right thing with all the wrong reasons trotted out to the media as their rationale.

Scotland would have been much poorer should they have split away from England.  But now they will be poorer still and have less a chance of splitting away when it becomes truly necessary.  London will continue to centralize power and will work tirelessly to infiltrate and immasculate any erstwhile independence movement that raises its precocious head.

More and more, we are moving toward a state of events where the center cannot hold.  Scotland might have well provided an example of a "calm, rational manner" for devolution and change.  But now things will get dicey.

Bit of bad luck there.

9.01.2014

It ain't the first of May

Labor day in the US is an odd thing.  Everywhere else in the world, May first is the sop thrown to the workers in the rest of the world.   Here in the US, we go with the first Monday in September so that folks won't remember the Haymarket Massacre.

More and more, I think that it important to read history, just to get an idea of the recurrent themes that we have papered over in the past and that keep coming back to haunt us.

The US has a long history of undemocratic abuse of the lower classes.  Of course, we don't refer to them in that manner.


8.27.2014

Insensate

I find it amazing sometimes that bloggers and other such oddballs can spend so much time writing and so little time thinking.

Dipshits out there have stumbled across the idea that the "crisis" in the Ukraine is largely our own damn fault.

Now, I won't argue this too strongly, if at all.  It is a pretty good explanation for the things that are happening.

What I can't believe are the clowns that are trying to paint Putin and Russia as the "Good Guys".  WTF?

Look, Russia is a major player with their own dog in the fight.  If you think they aren't in there stirring the pot, you are nothing but a fucking idiot.

Just because we were bastards in this play doesn't mean that the other players are saints.

Look to me like everyone involved is a bit of a bastard

8.24.2014

Living in the Past

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I think that the most annoying habit that anyone can develop is the simple of act of throwing a couple of number pairs down onto a Cartesian coordinate and then drawing a line using the two points to define the slope.  Lately, there has been little useful work done in the greater bulk of the world of man when this pernicious habit is trotted around.

Now, don’t get me wrong, line segments are fine thank you, what irritates me if the full on line, you know, the ones with arrows on the ends, pointing out toward infinity in either direction.  Those fuckers really bug me.  I am even offended by a ray. 

Now, don’t think that I am angered for a minute by the mathematical concepts.  No way.  What I am annoyed is that every thing that happens in the world is sampled for something that a pair of numbers can be attached to to place the now-polluted concept on the holy grid of Saint RenĂ© of  Neuburg an der Donau.

These linear heresies are everywhere.  In economics, that bit of masturbatory haruspicy that infects the blogosphere, the line is the mark of the shill.  The price of something (that something usually being a heavily manipulated stock or commodity) is located on the grid by date.  The fell line (or ray) is then drawn and whether the path leads to heaven or hell is defined by m.

Descartes and Newton, Leibnitz and Spinoza.  Gotta love those knuckleheads.  They came up with a system of the world that really stroked our cupidity.  We could control the world and understand it.  The trouble is that the unwashed got hold of the faith and twisted it.  Tried to apply it to arenas where it didn’t really fit.  But it was just too beautiful, and it allowed us a false feeling of control and understanding that we have cherished now for centuries.

I think that the day to day world that we live in is defined by a much different model, there a astonishingly non-linear systems.  Arbitrariness is a daily event and luck defines much.  There are some cases where linearity can be achieved in a range, but there is little in the worlds of politics, economics, and faith where Mssr. Decartes little party trick can be said to be useful.

8.22.2014

Just a bit stale

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To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy.

Robert Heinlein                        

In a way, Phil over at Onery Bastard has the right of it.  Maybe trying to comment on all the silliness and insincerity of the world is just too much.  Maybe one should just keep one’s head down, work hard, and admire the pretty boobies.  Good on you Phil for the anniversary.  Maybe as a reward you should attempt to drop back to six days a week.  Old men like you and I can’t and shouldn’t keep up that kind of pace.

I have every respect for people who can keep up the indignation day to day.  I sure can’t.  I go in fits and starts.  I was rolling there for a while but the situation just kept it’s steady an inexorable decline going.  Nothing to see here, move along.

Who knows what the hell is going on.  Right now the only thing that I find worthy of comment is the current uproar about the state of President Obama’s golf game.  Hell, I can’t blame the guy.  If I were him I would start dialing it in as well. 

The world that we live in is not in a single man’s control.  The world is in that inconvenient and unwelcome time where all the things that we knew would be happening are beginning to happen.  No amount of Presidential bluster and pro-active, hypercompetitive American can-do spirit will change much the trajectory of the not too distant future.

So, I wish the President the best in his ongoing efforts to lower his handicap.  He deserves the time to relax.  He will be the fall guy for a couple of generations worth of over-ambitious and intellectually challenged American politicians and behind the scenes puppetmasters.  He will be blamed for the sum total of the bad decisions made starting around AD 1960, all of which started coming home to roost in his ill fated and poorly timed sojourn in the White House.

Barack, we hardly knew you.  I think that your ambition led you to a place where your ability to control events was perceived by the world as being much larger than your actual power to effect change. 

8.16.2014

Tainted Love

Now, you may all wonder why, in light of all the "News" flying thick and fast, I haven't been out there commenting on the vagaries of foreign policy, police states, and economic meltdowns.

Well, it is because I think that the MSM, the blogosphere, and the ranting of ninnies on twitter have degenerated into a polluted and contradictory sphere of lies, maskirovka, Madison Avenue spin, and inchoate mumblings that do more to confuse than to enlighten.

The news is now beyond my control.  It always has been, but now the situation is so bad that an old news whore such as your truly will finally have to give up and walk away.

It is sad though.  At one time in my life, I had the warm feeling that being informed allowed me to make better choices in my role in democracy.  All things being equal, I am coming to the conclusion that I have no effective role in the formation of government policy.

However, I do have a role in planting a winter garden.  Time to get cracking.