Sunday, January 31, 2010

Delenda Cartago (Wake Up America!)

This story made the "front" web-page of New York Times: China Leading Global Race to Make Clean Energy. According to the article, China is now the world's leading manufacturer of wind turbines, ahead of Denmark, Germany, Spain and the U.S. It is also the largest maker of solar panels and is leaping ahead in the construction of nuclear and "clean" coal-fired plants.

Surprised? I'm not, because as a trained engineer I know very well that manufacturing is at the core of technological advancement: start with making cheap textiles in Lowell, Massachusetts and you end up sending people to the Moon - particularly if your competitors are fat and lazy and you are hungry and motivated.

Does it sound familiar? Of course it does, because history does repeat - but we must know enough of it to recognize the pattern of the tune, not just the notes on the scale. And that's another reason why this blog makes so many references to the past, frequently from the Graeco-Roman era. As Ecclesiastes put it: There's nothing new under the Sun.

Before I am painted a hopeless past-gazing curmudgeon, here is a very young singer that gets it: Miley Cyrus is just 17.

..Wake up America. Tomorrow becomes a new day. And everything you do matters. Yeah, everything you do matters, In some way. Stand up, I'll try if you will. Wake up, It's not a fire-drill. All she needs is a little attention, Can you give her just a little attention? Oh, it's easy to look away, But it's getting harder day by day...

Going back to the NY Times article, here are some particularly interesting excerpts:
  • These efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear manufactured in China.
  • Interest rates as low as 2 percent for bank loans — the result of a savings rate of 40 percent and a government policy of steering loans to renewable energy — have also made a big difference.
  • With prices tumbling, China’s wind and solar industries are increasingly looking to sell equipment abroad — and facing complaints by Western companies that they have unfair advantages. When a Chinese company reached a deal in November to supply turbines for a big wind farm in Texas, there were calls in Congress to halt federal spending on imported equipment.
Our biggest obstacles in recognizing today's yesterday, so to speak, are those sclerotic high priests of political economy who daily genuflect to the crumbling altars of neoclassical deities. "Praise Adam, Glory be to Milton, Hallowed is thy Invisible Hand..". Meanwhile, the Chinese summarily dethroned Marx, Lenin and Mao when their teachings became obsolete.

I am not saying that we should today follow the Chinese model as is, any more than we should have followed the Japanese model a quarter century ago. Imitation may be flattering, indeed, but it never leads to true advancement.

Instead, we should renounce what cannot be modified, modify what can be improved and invent anew what cannot be improved.


  1. I like this post, Hell.
    Our biggest obstacle to rolling our sleeves up and getting to work is NOT those economic high priests, for the simple reason that those priests are only lackeys who have figured out how to constantly spew out what we want to hear.
    Our biggest obstacle to moving ahead is our FEAR.
    Our fear of losing what we have (because the people making the decisions are fat, rich and lazy, for the most part...) is the BIGGEST factor in making us waste all of our energy in clinging desperately on to what is slipping through our fingers faster and faster.
    Fear is the biggest creator of intellectual inhibition that I know.
    When you are afraid, your neurons stop functioning. On an individual, and collective level.
    The baby boomer generation is coming up for retirement. WHAT is funding that retirement, Hell ?
    Portfolio "investment" in view of retirement is not really.... GOOD investment for the future.
    Too... conservative. Too concerned about holding on to what we "have".
    Not enough risk-taking momentum in the U.S. economy these days. (And I'm talking about the underlying structural momentum for investment, not the banksters.)

  2. Don't forget that if you want to build wind turbines or hybrid cars, you need magnets, special magnets. And to make these magnets, you need the rare earth elements (REEs). They're not that rare, but they are rare to find in significant concentrations and right now, China is exporting about 95% of the world's supply and is clamping down on exports. Strategic reserves? None. Check out the USGS. We don't have any and Goldman Sachs just bought the Mountain Pass mine which used to supply the world in the 60s and 70s.

  3. For those interested, I have written a post on "Fear of Declassement" over there in the Saloon, based on my current reading. Enjoy.

  4. Re: rare earths..

    Nice heads up, thanks. I bet Molycorp will be going public some time soon?


  5. Hell, they save 40%! As far as I am concerned that is about as much as you need to know.

    And Americans save how much?

    Well, you know.

    "“It is impossible to design a system so perfect that no one needs to be good.”

    -T.S. Elliot

    ... Though I must say it would be interesting if you were willing to run a few posts on the nature of savings in America (and elsewhere) and where it is and is not happening and why/why not.

    We have explored Debt. Would you be willing to treat us to an exploration of the opposite side of the coin. ;-)

  6. To hell with everything else, we need THORIUM POWER!

  7. Miley Cyrus? Look what we've sunk to. In the sixties at least there was Bob Dylan to counterbalance Miley Cyrus' pop ancestor, Anette Funicello

    Biafra27 beat me to the Rare Earth Elements issue.

    So, with respect to the present situation, the lyrics I would use-which are mine- to best describe the present position of the U.S. vis a vis China, are

    "Every time you throw dirt on me you lose a little ground."

  8. read you daily to see what's new. like your stuff. was quite amused by the last paragraph -

    a 12 step program for the debt-addicted. might be an idea for the next political party....

    always liked the one for folk who talk too much: anon andon
    don e.

  9. still cogitating on the program -

    we wouldn't all need an individual one, but each would need a higher power -

    maybe mine could be a chinese solar panel...

  10. So, Okie, on the basis of your article, I would say that we are going to have to save energy the hard way...
    Edwardo, love your wit.

  11. Debtors 12 step Political Platform for we of the andonandonandonandon crowd ;-)

    1. Admit we are spenders
    2. Ask a higher power to pay our bills- preferably Chinese solar?
    3. Ask a higher power to pay our bills yet again
    4. Admit we are spenders again
    5. Admit we are spenders yet again
    6. Imagine a life where others don't pick up our debts
    7. Imagine a life where others don't pick up our debts again
    8. Ask forgiveness from the people who do pay
    9. Ask forgiveness from the people who do pay yet again
    10. Ask forgiveness from the people who do pay yet one more time
    11. Say thanks to our higher power that the whole 12 step thing is working
    12. Spread the word the 12 step program can work for others.

    ... And remind everyone as much as you can that periodic relapse also requires acceptance and that this requires forgiveness as well.

    And whatever you do, don't let the word get out that 12 step programs are no more effective than placebo.

    We can push that detail onto someone else. ;-)

  12. Aw, Thai, baby, you are such a cynic sometimes...
    Cynicism is not rational...

  13. Edwardo, in the saloon I have written a post about Angela Merkel's decision to buy that list of tax evaders obtained by illegal means. Enjoy...

  14. China's savings rate is 40% for reasons that would not apply here. (1) for such a long time there was nothing to buy (2) currently there's almost nothing in the way of social safety net -- no Social Security or Medicare equivalents (3) the 1-child policy has ensured no big family to support a person in old age.

    Dutch Disease was the Netherlands’s loss of competitiveness in goods producing industries following a 1959 discovery of natural gas off its coast -- it led to inflows of investment, which pumped up the exchange rate and altered terms of trade in such a way that exports became uncompetitive. Perversely, a lucky strike in natural resources creates not employment and growth but unemployment and stagnation.

    America has something like Dutch Disease, only the resource is money. Unbelievable I know, but consider before you dismiss the idea. Even after the financial crisis, America’s most important industry is finance, broadly defined. The financial industry differs from the auto industry and the chemicals industry in one interesting respect. The auto industry inputs steel, glass, and plastic and outputs autos; the chemicals industry inputs primary and intermediate materials and outputs finished chemical products – in other words, they work on raw and intermediate goods and change them into something else. The finance industry has money both as input and output – it changes money’s form but not its nature, money is both the input and the output, the resource base and the finished product. Ours is a competitive industry, a success story in terms of services exports, even now.

    I believe too much money in an economy based on financial services has given us a condition like Dutch Disease. It could probably be shown that the maintenance of the U.S. as a financial center has made the American dollar stronger than it would otherwise have been, reducing our competitiveness in global markets for tradeable goods and services. Also, the high level of compensation in the financial industry and supporting services has probably driven up wages and benefits right across the U.S. labor economy, which affects competitiveness in manufacturing.

    If we had government drip-feed us 2% money I doubt we'd reconstitute and retrofit the mills of Lowell to become manufacturing power again. What we lost will be hard to find again.

  15. Dear David (Smith),

    I like your analysis, particularly the analogy of finance as an industry with money both as input and output. The immediate observation in such a case is, what is the value-added? I would argue it is very small in comparison to traditional industries such as aerospace, tech, etc.

    As I have often said before, we have let the tail (finance) wag the dog (the "real" economy).


  16. David (Smith), that was an awesome analysis, and I like it too.
    Add on two observations :
    We are empire, and the dollar is (still) reserve currency for the world.
    When the Catholic Church gave in over the interest issue (many many years ago), it set things up for the state of affairs you just described in this comment : making money from money is NOT transforming anything. And humans are animals who need to feel that they are transforming their world for a PRODUCTIVE sense of self to emerge.
    I am also reading you along the lines of... the more you have, the more you are afraid to lose it, right ?
    The social protections in France work the same way towards instilling this fear, AND stifling creativity.

  17. Isn't what David Smith is describing something like what Jerome a Paris called "Anglo Disease?

  18. Sorry to go a bit off topic... (but I think it relates to what David Smith just brought up)

    Anybody catch Nassim Taleb's comment about shorting T's??? (...and the comment about Larry Summer's role???? OUCH!!!)

    As far as David smith's comment goes... I liked what he had to say, but question his $ in $ out. Don't we put $ in and pump debt out? (while simultaniously extracting and consuming the value of the money that was just put in.) ...thus creating the viscious cycle of down the road financing. ...and with the world bought in on our Treasuries, everyone has a hand at this vortex of death table.

    Nouriel Roubini stands inbetween both (affiliations with Taleb, works for Summers) so I'll be interested in where he stands? (I wonder if there is there some sort of tension?)

    I'd love to hear some of your theories though?

    My personal advice... DO NOT LISTEN TO TALEB!!!

    I THINK HE IS INSANE? Short treasuries?

    In essence, that's what the repo market already does, but shorting treasuries is a potentially catastrophic recommendation! Sure, we all know rates will rise, so in theory it makes sense... but like I said last year when the TPMG placed new fines for treasury fails, there would be potential for market shortages. Going and shorting this market would in turn create real market shortages, and potentially freezing up the most liquid market in the world!!!

    ...while at the same time, incurring a fine (EVERY DAY) that is greater percentage-wise then the spread on the rate increase. To boot, in freezing that market, you wind up increasing the value of that T since its demand increases.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE someone find out more about what Taleb said, and see if there is something I am missing?

    From my article last year, I talked about this:

    All the best,
    Rich Hartmann - Miss America

  19. If that link doesn’t work, (or you don’t feel like reading throughn that long article to find what I wrote) in specific, this is what I said:

    “Naked Short Selling vs The US Government

    One has to wonder how the entire financial community was able to deny this practices existence. It is comical to see the captured regulatory agencies scurry to put in place safeguards to protect against something they swore up to 6 months ago didn’t exist.

    It has gone so far that the US Treasury is set to make a massive industry change on May 1st. On the 1st the TPMG (The Treasury Market Practices Group) will put into affect a sizeable charge on failed deliveries of US Treasuries. Although they may deny this as their main reason for the charge, I will be willing to stand out on a ledge and state that I believe this is a move by the treasury to essentially protect themselves against the naked Short Selling equivalent of US Treasuries. It is a move to protect the “quality” of the asset, because they can NOT afford to have these securities subject to potential manipulations. That would rock the foundation of its status as a “flight to quality” and bring about a potential collapse.

    Sure they may say this isn’t the case, and that they are just trying to free up liquidity, but the fact is that the broker dealers know that with rates so low, it is cheaper to fail on a delivery, rather then pay the cost of borrowing the collateral for the repos they finance themselves with. (This move by the TPMG could become dangerous as they may actually cause market shortages in the long run?)

    Don’t believe me??? Here are their words along with the website to check out the changes that go into effect this week:

    “Market participants with large short positions should make deliveries in good faith. Market participants with a particularly large short position in an issue should ensure that they are making a good faith attempt to borrow needed securities in order to make timely delivery of securities. Market participants should avoid the practice of “strategic fails”—that is, the practice of selling short a security in the repo market at or near zero percent with little expectation of being able to obtain the security to make timely delivery.”

    WOW!!! This is a pretty amazing about face for the practice of Naked Short Selling that didn’t exist just six months ago!!!”

    All the best,
    Rich Hartmann - Miss America

  20. "...the U.S. as a financial center has made the American dollar stronger than it would otherwise have been, reducing our competitiveness in global markets for tradeable goods and services."

    The high debt levels in the US economy are what make US labor uncompetitive; taxes (Fed, state & local) are higher than they should be because of debt service, housing costs are higher because of credit-inflated prices and correspondingly higher mortgages & rents and so wages must be higher so that the financier parasites can skim off their tribute without bleeding their hosts dry, at least for a little while longer before they move on to their next target.

  21. Thai, what was your link supposed to prove ?
    France has already been this rout.
    French productivity is stunning, with an equally stunning unemployment rate, particularly among the young, and the over 50's.
    Your link shows how disconnected the financial markets, and the statistics are, from what is going on in the shops, the factories themselves.
    And you're saying that the model is healthy, and doing just fine ??

  22. Deb, I am saying the same thing I am usually saying: that it depends on the point of view you look at things from.

  23. Re: Taleb's short T's

    Everyone talks his book. In Taleb's case he's doing so both figuratively and literally.

    He's a money manager who is obviously short US Treasuries AND he's supporting his position through his concept of Black Swan financial events, as elaborated in his books.

    I would be cautious of Greeks bearing gifts (he's Lebanese of Greek ancestry).


    PS The glorification of markets as exemplified by traders, hedge fund managers, et. al. also brings forth famous detractors - Ying begets Yang.

    To restore sanity to the real economy we should de-emphasize both.

  24. Hel,
    Are you sure he is of Greek ancestry, neither Naseem nor Taleb are Greek. I've known Lebanese of Greek ancestry and they all had Greek surnames.

    A lot of people used to assume that Rony Seikaly was Greek but it turned out he wasn't; he was a Maronite Arab.

  25. "The second reason that Obama will not create millions of new, living-wage jobs is more ominous. To the President, low wages do not present a problem, but an opportunity. Although low wages destroy domestic demand for consumer goods, they create the potential for a new kind of demand internationally.

    Since corporations can no longer sell their products to American workers, they are trying to switch gears, and sell more of their products abroad.
    This is the grand solution that Obama speaks of whenever he talks about “increasing exports,” which he mentions often now.

    Exports can only be increased if U.S. workers make even lower wages, since U.S. products must compete on the world market with the slave wages of China and India. Implied in this plan is a major restructuring of the American working class. Living standards must drop further and faster."

    "The Democrats are watching this dynamic take place and doing nothing about it. They are merely overseeing phase one of Obama’s plan to increase corporate exports. They strain to make sad faces when talking about joblessness, but shrug their shoulders and blame the federal deficit."

    Has He Got a Plan for You!

  26. Another explanation for China's 40% saving rate.

    ... I particularly loved the following passage:

    "You can only implement the right policy when you have the appropriate diagnosis, and fruitful policy dialogue has to include discussion on these issues."

    If only we could get flipper into that discussion.

    Do you think some of those yet to be made unemployed bankers might be willing to redeploy their new found free time and energies into this?.

    It would help the discussions ever so much if we could actually talk with one another.

    ... Of course it doesn't solve our universal health care/middle east Arab-Israeli conflict/military industrial complex/Greek debt/CDS misuse/income inequality/housing bubble/corrupt politician/war crimes torture/choose whatever other issues I left out in my attempt to stay brief... problems.

    But I guess we do need to stay on topic in order to get resolution on at least one thing before we can go on to another.

    ... I know, maybe if we ask everyone nicely, all the other problems will sort themselves out so we can get back to addressing flipper's concerns in relation to Chinese debt.

    Which one of you left the following link: complexity is our enemy?


  27. "Of course it doesn't solve...middle east Arab-Israeli conflict..."

    You asked for it Thai.

  28. I am sorry Yo, you simply lost me on this point.

    Unless you are also saying "it's complicated". ;-)

    ... AND that while you love flipper as well, you do not love him enough to surrender some of your own complexity for him? Or maybe you are willing but you have talked it over with your buddies and sadly they are not.

    Which has always been my point.

  29. Dubai is being coy. You have to admit that at least the exterior is pretty cool.

  30. Gotta be careful of that point of view stuff, Thai.
    What is boils down to is... you're espousing the.. OMNISCIENT point of view.
    You KNOW whose point of view THAT ONE is, don't you ??

  31. Geez, yoyo, the guy who wrote "Has he got" could have been French, it all sounds SO familiar.
    I had a discussion with my GOOD socialist friends last week about power.
    They told me... the government has NO power ; it's been bought by the banks, and the financial hucksters.
    And then I told them... you better not believe that one.
    Why is all this possible, yoyo ?
    It wouldn't BE possible without the.. nation state, you know. And that nation state is VERY MUSCULAR these days. It's got LOTS OF POWER.
    Living standards are going to come down in the Western world. They've been... obscene for quite some time now.
    That is going to get.. ADJUSTED, perhaps with the American people kicking and screaming all the way.
    I don't like those obvious, simplistic divisions in term of bad rich people and good poor people.
    This kind of thinking will get us nowhere.

  32. Debra,
    Of course the state is muscular but it is also incapable of flexing its muscles except in ways its true masters dictate to it. Only a scary amount of popular pressure (which is impossible to co-ordinate) can alter its course.

    The necessity for Western living standards to fall is because the policies TPTB pursued 100 years ago prevented the development of the Rest when there were fewer of them to compete against for resources. Everyone's standard of living would have been less than what the West enjoys now but the planet wouldn't be on the verge of collapse because, with better development, there wouldn't be close to seven billion people crowded onto a shrinking planet.

    If you still haven't figured out the link, here's a hint: look for the truly macabre sense of irony contained in that article. Let's see how keen your diagnostic skills really are.

  33. Yo, I think I missed your point to on the Yemen link, particularly as I am not closely following the current Yemen situation.
    But... I DO know that Judaïsm WAS an extremely virulent and proselytizing religion way back when.
    You can get a feel for it even when you're reading the look at all those ENEMIES ! Why does anyone have enemies in the first place ?...
    Check out the English edition of the Monde Diplomatique available through the Guardian, I think, for politically incorrect info on this subject, if you don't already know it.
    And Yo, I still maintain that you are thinking in US/THEM terms in the way you have constructed your perception of the state.
    The state is... what WE want it to be.
    Its current suffocating protection (suffocating our civil liberties, that's for sure), is there because WE, the citizenry WANT things this way.
    Assigning responsibility to the oligarchy is convenient, but simplistic.

  34. A fascinating wiki on external debt by GDP- unfortunately it is 5 years old. Hell, do you have a link for a more up to date table?

    (If you play with the box in the columns, you can rank countries by external debt/%GDP)

    What I find most fascinating is how it appears the rest of the world trusts the Scandinavians far more than they seem to trust each other.

    This was true for the Irish and Icelanders as well.

    Maybe its their socialism? ;-)

    Though this theory would suggest the world loves Zimbabwe just as much... ;-)

    It does show that Japan has little to worry about with its public debt problems. Whatever debt issues they do have are mostly of the ninjas vs. samurais variety.

    And for Yo: seems that someone trust the Lebanese more than someone (else?) trusts the Israelis. ;-)

    Maybe it the same someone who funded Dink's now defunct world's tallest building?

  35. Debra,
    The masses are responsible for their own ignorance and prejudices but public opinion can also be manipulated into believing and fearing what the oligarchs want them to believe and fear:

    In a letter to Dwight Eisenhower, Nixon wrote, “Ike, it’s just amazing how much you can get done through fear. All I talk about in New Hampshire is crime and drugs, and everyone wants to vote for me – and they don’t even have any black people up here.”

    Once that is done, the road is open for what "the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu observed in his late work, states do not disappear under neoliberalism: rather, their repressive right wings are strengthened while their progressive, redistributive rights-based wings are weakened or eliminated."

    The Culture of Cocaine

  36. "seems that someone trust the Lebanese more than someone (else?) trusts the Israelis."

    Sounds suspiciously like a diversionary tactic (like you've never tried that before) but I'll bite - don't you mean: trusts the Lebanese more than the Greeks? (Hel's Naseem Taleb reference) - otherwise I don't know what issue you're referring to. And for the record; no, I don't trust anyone whose official motto is: "By Way Of Deception"

    Let me know when you're ready to give up so I can fill Debra in on the puzzling paradox.

  37. Yo, there is one statement that clinches the rest in that article :
    "You train your police to go to war, and you gotta have an enemy."
    Yep, that's the way it works.
    Way back when I was giving human rights presentations I remember that towards the end of the 60's prison occupation was way down, and the federal govt was considering a moratorium on prison construction.
    What HAPPENED in the 70's ??
    My recent reading of Eric Maurin's French book, "La Peur du Déclassement" (the fear of declassement, see my post in the saloon for more info), reminds me that the first oil crisis was in 1973, right ?
    I think that it had an enormous psychological impact on us...

  38. That's all very well, but a state and society facing bankruptcy - should they not first get their act together before they depart on more uneconomic spending sprees?

  39. LOL, since when was a STATE facing bankruptcy the same thing as a SOCIETY facing it ?
    Unless everything in the "society" has little price tags attached to it... and even then.

  40. The enemy will be the revolting masses once people realize that things will not be getting better so a large prison infrastructure had to be developed and maintained for the day when the Drug War morphs into the Food War.

    I know most people think it's kooky but I'm with Alex Jones on this; there's got to be some sort of population reduction plan on the shelf somewhere. When resources begin to run out, there is no way the affluent will share them with the excess effluent of humanity (the rest of us). They'll keep just enough to serve them and work the land for them. If nobody stops them, total control is what I see them striving for.

    If you're not guessing what the link's point is Thai, call quits.

  41. I surrendered years ago on this issue

  42. @ChrisMaven

    I was just reading the blog of another regular reader who is been predicting the next wave of governmental bankruptcies after Greece and the PIIGS will be

    A. Bankruptcy of several smaller US states
    B. Bankruptcy of California
    C. Bankruptcy of the UK

    I was wondering whether you agreed?

  43. Oh goody, maybe with all them thar bankruptcies, we'll be able to axe money, finally.
    Just dreaming, just dreaming...
    But wouldn't it be nice ??

  44. You are witnessing a fundamental breakdown of the American dream, a systemic breakdown of our democracy and our capitalism, a breakdown driven by the blind insatiable greed of Wall Street: Dysfunctional government, insane markets, economy on the brink. Multiply that many times over and see a world in total disarray. Ignore it now, tomorrow will be too late.

    Not a war about ideology, but an economic game-changer

    This is a war to control 299 million American taxpayers. A war waged by the "Happy Conspiracy" Jack Bogle profiled in his 2004 "Battle for the Soul of Capitalism," a war machine of Fat Cat Bankers, CEOs, 42,000 mercenary lobbyists and a Congress held hostage to unlimited campaign donations. Their conspiracy has been waging this war against Americans for decades, long before the Supreme Court exposed their dirty secret.

    Need an Insider refresher:
    The Red Pill -

  45. So here is my question:

    How is a banker loaning to people who fundamentally never had the ability to repay (on projects of questionable social return) using other people money to make a personal profit and setting off a credit cycle


    The Federal or State Governments doing exactly the same thing when they borrow money from other people and then hand that money to people who do things of questionable value with the money we gave them?

    All the same factors are in still in play

  46. Answer, Thai :
    The State is invested with a (consensual, thus arbitrary) legitimacy that the banker is NOT invested with.
    The State is public, and the banker is PRIVATE.
    Yophat, your analysis is short sighted.
    This crisis is NOT a crisis of the American taxpayer.
    It is a crisis of... the nation state in its control/not control over the money process. All over the world.
    We have been living in a globalized world for a long long time now.
    Even during Antiquity, trade ensured that the world was globalized.
    Take a look at the Venetian spice trade and see just how familiar all of this is.

  47. Ah, the old "intent matters more than results" point of view- e.g. it is fine if we all go over a cliff as long as we mean well doing it. Endless variants of this exist in medicine: "it is fine if you kill the patient, as long as you followed the appropriate protocols, etc...".

    I see why you like the smell of Monarchy.

    It may work for the way you like to look at the world, but for at least some of the rest of us, it smells really foul.

  48. Where the hell did you find any personal judgment in my comment, Thai ? Or any preference ?
    There was none intended.
    I'm saying what is in people's minds about the govt.
    That is what they THINK. That the government is collective, and not an individual. (At least with respect to certain problems, not all.)
    Do the same rules apply to the collectivity as apply to the individual ? Is the government a private entity ? When it is supposed to REPRESENT the people ??? Explain, please.
    The answer to this question determines your viewpoint on the mission of govt. , and the power that you are willing, or not, to invest in it.
    Is one better than the other ?
    Every... advantage has its advantage...
    Personally... I think that YOUR bias appears in your reaction to this point.
    Hell, the mice are playing all over the place...

  49. As for the notion that "we" are the government, I have always had this view until I witness first hand what happened to CIPRO rationing in the wake of the Anthrax scare. Further, since that time, reading the data has successfully convinced me that there are a few "problems" with the notion that "they" are also "we":

    Let me share a brief list of examples...

    1. Why do they need a union to protect themselves from me if this is the case?

    2. They sure are paying themselves well when a lot of other people are unemployed and looking for work

    3. It seems health care rationing decisions (which we all must make) should not apply when you work for the government.

    4. I could keep going but I hope I am making my point...

    Are they "we" or are they not "we"?

    I am not seeing a lot of "we" in their behavior of late.

  50. "They" are "we" to the extent that WE want somebody to take care of us.
    To... reassure us.
    Because "we" (or at least a lot of "us") want to be protected we delegate our responsibility to "them".

  51. Govt has a big job to do and so requires the requisite number of employees and so a small amount of greed on an individual level adds up to a very large amount on an aggregate basis whereas on Wall St a small circle of vultures manages to dwarf what the public unions manage to extract for their members in excess compensation (I realize there are a few egregious exceptions but such excess is encouraged by the climate on Wall St). Didn't we have this argument two years ago?

    You never told me who trusts who more than who and what it had to do with the financiers of Dink's defunct tower. Spill the beans, I'm curious.

    Anyone have any idea as to the reasonableness of the conclusion of this Zero Hedge article. If true, it could turn out to be apocalyptical.

  52. Indeed we did, though I thought it was with Marcus. Hat tip that you pointed it back out to me. Though I still think you may be applying a double standard to the bankers that you are not applying to the government worker.

    For as you "lead" more people- "lead" may be the wrong word but I have lack of a better one- even small % errors in judgment can have a very large impact on actual people.

    Yet all leaders are still people and therefore prone to all the same errors and fallacies as everyone else- including the government worker.

    So the people who follow such a leader in effect want their leader to be something they themselves cannot be and to be that, the leader must in effect become a robot-slave.

    This philosophy of blaming the leader for all our woes seems a philosophy that is doomed before it ever starts.

    But that is obviously just my viewpoint.

    As for trust...

  53. The corollary to debt is someone has to trust you enough to lend.

    Apparently those who do lend money trust your buddies more than they trust your enemies. I thought you might like to see it from that viewpoint. ;-)

  54. WRT our little tete-a-tete two years ago, I distinctly remember extracting a "I can only say 'I honestly don't know'" out of you so if you don't mind I'll just hold on to my hard earned trophy.

    Dubai's sheik is no buddy of mine, you ever see him on TV? He's a self-deluded boot-licking toadie and trust had nothing to do with anything. It's simply a case of lenders lending money only to those who don't need it, they assumed Abu Dhabi (they of the $800B sovereign wealth fund) was back-stopping the bonds; besides, what do the Lebanese have to do with the Dubai tower? You're not improvising, are you?

    As for my enemies, if you read their texts you would know how they (those that subscribe to the texts in question) view non-adherents (including you); doesn't exactly engender warm and fuzzy feelings regardless of what you're more comfortable believing.

  55. But Thai, does somebody REALLY need to trust you to lend ?
    What if that somebody KNOWS from previous experience that even if YOU do not pay back, he will recuperate his initial investment from SOMEBODY else, for exemple ? How is that trust ?
    And your recent points are an illustration in my book, that democracy tends to bottom out authority, and thus throws a serious loop in society's modes of transmission.

  56. Bloomberg:
    EU Leaders Deploy ‘Bazooka’ to Repel Attack on Greece (Update2) 

    "The pledge [EC backing of GR debt] lacked specifics and officials are now working on measures such as establishing a lending facility for Greece, with each country making a contribution according to its size, an EU official said yesterday on condition of anonymity." 

    You thought lending facility. I couldn't see how that could be made to work.  Looks like you were right. But it still looks more & more like Argentina every day.   i. e. tell IMF/EC to buzz off and default.  IMF has been irrelevant ever since. Hope the EC has better sense.

  57. Yo- I don't know and am having fun in 3' of snow- does that make you happy?

    By the term Lending Facility does that mean the ECB prints money, hands it to member states who in turn individually hand their share to Greece? Greece then promises to pay this back with interest?

    The individual states eventually give everything but their interest back to the ECB?

  58. Don't think the EMU (what EU, I keep saying, HOW CAN THERE REALLY BE AN EU WITHOUT LANGUAGE UNIFICATION, YOY GUYS ???) will show the same sense as Argentina.
    This is all about handing over the whip to let yourself be beaten with it.
    Slavish copying of the American model. Even when that model ISN'T WORKING.

  59. Actually I'm happier when you do know, especially when you would prefer not to (ignoring certain realities doesn't make them go away) so here is the disturbing dissonance in the previous link you couldn't/wouldn't/rather not see (actually quite hard to miss if one bothered to look):

    Professor Dan Shapira, of Bar-Ilan University, said: “It seems to me there is nothing to complain about. There is a street in Jerusalem named after Joseph Dhu Nuwas."

    Israel, the country supposedly born from the ashes of the Nazi crematoria, names a street in Jerusalem (city of peace) in honor of the Jewish king who incinerated 20,000 of his subjects for embracing Christianity (I'd be curious to know - and mightily impressed if you would admit - what you think the reaction would be if a street was named in honor of a Nazi camp commander somewhere, oh, maybe in Vatican City).

    Seems the old double standard at work, don't you?

  60. Debra - just posting an interesting article. I am well aware of the world wide ramification for financing the nation states.

    I suggest the Red Pill linked to in my prior post. The last video is with a KGB defector who provides some interesting insights into the picture. Other videos are also informative!

  61. Hey, yoyo, you are one of the most politically incorrect people I know.
    That makes two of us. Check out my most recent post in the saloon about "retour du refoulé", otherwise known as blowback. You will appreciate, I'm sure...

  62. I know what you mean but, logically speaking, political correctness applies (or at least should apply) to unpopular points of view but most of what I post are simple observations of occurrences on the ground. Not my fault that these things happened and continue to happen but it does amuse me to see my wonder child scurry under a rock every time I confront him with a reality he can conjure no words for.

    In other words, I won't be holding my breath to be mightily impressed any time soon.

    As for raiding the saloon, that's Dinky Wink's domain and I'll continue to honor his wish and spare him the emotional distress of my un-endearing POV.

  63. Several government departments have set up websites to gather ideas.

    So far, very few people are participating.

    It would be great if some of the ideas presented on blogs like this one were entered on the open government websites.

    Open Government Directive Websites

  64. Yoyo, one of the more troubling aspects of your articles about Zionism is the repetition of population displacement...
    When you think about the fact that Eichman was initially mandated to displace Jews into ANOTHER country, and eventually Palestine, this gets brain gears working.
    I agree that Judaism has some extremely agressive caracteristics which are traditionally glossed over in Western desire to see the Jews as victims since the Shoah. (Why say Holocaust ? That is NOT TRUE, Holocaust, and YOU should know that... Holocaust means SACRIFICE. And those 6,000,000 were NOT SACRIFICED, they were murdered. It is part of the... nationalistic myth to refer to the mass murder as a "holocaust".)
    Jewish nationalism has been particularly problematic for our times. When our brother's identity is federated around something... DIFFERENT than our own identity, it... destabilizes us, and makes us worry about OUR choices. WE always want to think that WE have got it right, you know.
    What is a NATION without a physical place ?
    This reminds me of my readings of two excellent Jewish rabbis in France, men who I consider to be WISE, and who state that one of the fundamental roles of Judaism is to challenge classical nationalism, which is intimately linked to PLACE.
    Logical. There is an aspect of Judaism which promotes the FEDERATION of the people around... THE BOOK, the text. Promoted, I should say...
    This is definitely NOT nationalism as the 19th century defined it.
    It is a... RELIGIOUS identity that works this way, right ? (And.. NOT an ethnic one, either. It seems to me that the idea of an ethnic identity is the inheritance of 19th century extrapolations of Darwinian thought.)
    It makes sense to contend that EVEN NOW, the competition is playing out between the three monotheisms. It was forced underground for a long time, due to Enlightenment ideas and forces, but it is STILL playing out, and gaining momentum as Enlightenment thought collapses. Against the backdrop of questioning about the nature of the nation state, and the forces federating it.
    It is tragically ironic that Adolf Hitler, who was a.... PROPHET totally out of control of his prophetical gift, instinctively felt the need to revive polytheism.
    I feel that Jesus himself manifested some reserves about the mother of all monotheisms, but the rupture that he introduced has been smoothed over now, and Christianity in the Western world seems to have taken the path of its predecessor.
    This is all very general, I know, and I'm sorry.
    I am not a great thinker. Not disciplined enough.

  65. There is no problem with the idea of people federating around a belief system or scripture but the problem comes from claiming exclusive rights based on those beliefs. The overwhelming majority of the ancient inhabitants of Canaan/Israel/Palestine never left the land but simply transitioned from one belief to the next (Baal-Yahweh-Jesus-Allah) and one language to the next (Canaanite-Hebrew-Syriac-Aramaic-Arabic).

    The ancient Israelites are represented among the Palestinian population of today as are the other ancient peoples who have lived there continuously (with considerable intermingling) for the past six thousand years (when Abraham came to Canaan from Sumeria 4K years ago it was already 2K years old). Now they are being told that they have lost their rights to their land because they changed their language and religion and total strangers to the area have inherited their rights because they adopted that lost language (only one of many spoken in the area through the ages) and religion (again, only one of many practiced in the area through the ages).

    As for the Nazi extermination, don't get me started on zionist complicity in rounding up elderly Jews in exchange for young fighters to go to Palestine, the lobbying against the evacuation of European Jews to any destination other than Palestine even if it meant death to stay under Nazi occupation and the fuzzy numbers game.

    No one has explained to me how the official death toll at Auschwitz could have been reduced from 4M down to 1.1-1.5M without having the slightest effect on the the magical 6M figure. To question the exact figure is not to deny that many people were killed and I don't accept the sacred aura around the 6M figure anymore than I accept the myth of the wandering Jewish people uprooted from their land and cast adrift for 2K years. It was a historical event and can and should be evaluated by the same criteria as other historical events. I don't buy the JUST TRUST US approach whether dealing with Bnai Brith or Goldman Sachs.

  66. Yoyo, I think that we have a lot of misconceptions about the Crusades.
    There has been a lot of propaganda spewed out about them, and about the role of the Catholic Church in them. The Church was not always responsible for them. Temporal political leaders played their role, too.
    You know... in France at least, the kids learn their history WITHOUT taking into account the history of the Church, its structure, or the incredible complexity of the interaction between temporal and spiritual power in their heritage.
    When you consider that modern science EMERGED from theology, an education which deliberately discards the fundamental role of the Church in the structure of a society is an education which is going to leave a lot of people without the necessary keys to understanding where THEY come from.
    I discovered not so long ago that it was during the classical French period that the...(political) Inquisition was its most vehement and toxic.
    The 17th century which also saw the culmination of an absolute despotic power in "father's" hands (per Roman law). (This is what Molière kept harping about in his plays.)
    Classical thought is just one step away from.. ENLIGHTENMENT, Yoyo.
    Once the Enlightenment ideas came upon the scene, our wars became much more vicious, you know. People set out to KILL KILL KILL instead of taking hostages, for example.
    Was the French terror ANOTHER DARK SIDE of the new born republic ?

  67. Sorry, I think your comment did not get through the filter before my last one, and that is why I did not respond to it.
    In the light of what you just said, it is evident that what is posing a problem is the question of WHAT underlies nationalism, around WHAT will a people federate ?
    Around physical PLACE ? A territory ?
    Or around.. A TEXT ? An idea ? Can you combine the two ? What happens when... an identity constructed around federating over a text (and rituals, I should add...) is suddenly confronted with the added problem of disposing of physical place ?
    I'm pretty sure that I don't need to tell you WHO got all fuddled asking himself the question "what is a Jew ?" And this question found its IMMEDIATE counterpart in.. "what is a German ?" And after that, "can you be a Jew AND a German ?"
    Tough questions, Yoyo.
    And the answers are NOT cut and dried.
    They are not... SET IN STONE, those answers, lol.
    Even now, the question of Jewish identity, of the nature of the State of Israël, are troubling questions for our time. These questions have NOT gone away.
    Talking about Jewish exceptionalism is anecdotal, TO THE EXTENT that... these questions in and of themselves are problematic, and it is perhaps incidental that they are attached to the JEWISH people which has cristallized them.
    I said in the thread above that these questions are related to the nature of language itself.
    There are some pretty stiff linguistic problems in questioning what "Jewish" means.
    Like... how do you define "Jewish" without referring to the flesh and blood people ? Or, is "Jewish" simply a disembodied idea ?
    Questions, questions...

  68. Final thought on who or what is a Jew from Shlomo Sands:

    Nor did the Six Day War help the Bible’s Zionism’s anchor. As Israeli archaeologists led by Yigael Yadin fanned out across the newly conquered West Bank and the heart of biblical Judea they searched for evidence of the historical homeland...

    As Sand relates, the post 1967 digs “failed to find any traces of an important tenth-century kingdom, the presumed time of David and Solomon…. The inescapable and troublesome conclusion was that if there was a political entity in tenth-century Judaea, it was a small tribal kingdom, and that Jerusalem was a fortified stronghold.”

    In 1969 Golda Meir famously declared, “There were no such thing as Palestinians…. They did not exist.” Four decades later the Israeli journalist Tom Segev is quoted on the dust jacket of Sand’s book as saying “”There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened – hence there was no return.” Degraded in its historical standing, the Old Testament meanwhile swelled in...(importance as) a mandate for later savage persecution by Israeli Jews of Palestinians.