The Pentagong Show

The Pentagong Show
United State of Terror: Is Drone War Fair?

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Wouldn't Have Called Anyhow.

Al Cheves' Installation at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery

I Wouldn't Have Called Anyhow

Although I Wouldn't Have Called Anyhow
(It brought me a kind of sadness to hear
Your number is blocked, your Channel's not Clear),
No wrinkle of concern mars my botoxed brow.

An upgrade, a new phone, or new IOS
(And bigger screen, as you fell for the myth
Of more throughput, from a bigger bandwidth?)
Answering the sales rep with Oh my, oh yes.

Life's edges all smoothed, it's contours sanded
It's entryways with luscious colors appointed
The way's made easy if you're among the anointed,
Your water's all bottled and your clothing is branded.

Taking Internet selfies, making Facebook friends
While ads promise glamor and a life full of fun.
All without risk, simply pay out this sum
'Cause it's only the fools that meet bad ends.

Climb in! jump on! Buy into zoomzoom,
Get out of your doldrums and join the race
Hold hands with the avatars of frantic pace
Just ignore those naggings of Doctor Doom.

“It's all good”, when life's rides are chauffeured
And all your conversations streak through the air
in electro-magnetic waves that frazzle your hair
So you forget your job's been down-sized and gophered.

Chutes and Ladders, in cahoots with razors;
Sliding, gliding one giddily rides,
Laughing and gasping 'til at the end rasping
You see ragged teeth and the Lawman's tasers.

Like a trip on Muni or a bike ride in traffic,
An internet conversation that bursts into Flame.
The everyday anyday that turns into doomsday,
at the blink of an eye or the click of your Bic.

Like auto exhaust or second-hand smoke
It's only so long before life's consequences
Seep over or under our shoddily-built fences
And start to impact the simplest of folk.

Economic Energetic and Environmental
Our leaders corral into separate spaces,
But everything entwines and interlaces
Stop treating our Home as though it's a rental.

As one more ice shelf calves off from Greenland
And a Cyclone or two blow over Hawaii,
All we can do is wonder more, How we
Changed from a nice one into a meanland.

Our throw-away lives leaving trash disregarded
And islands of plastic suddenly appear
Seen swirling from space in the Northwest Gyre,
As form follows function, and then is discarded.

But sentinels stand, prophetic in silence
Like on that remote island called Easter,
Rapa nui from unplumbed depths doth bestir
Nightmares of humanity gone mad with violence.

But as matters keep going from worse onto worser,
We watch “Breaking Bad” episodes that melt human bones
And hyper-kill videos like “Game of Thrones”
Where murder is fun: execution by cursor.

Color and darkness in juxtaposition,
Standing apart and refusing to mingle,
They shoot up ones spine an ominous tingle
As existence turns into mere huckster's perdition.

The bright colors now seem just blinding distraction
Dazzling our over-strained eyes with their glare,
'til we take all that's offered with nary a care.
Too enervated now to take any action.

Ripped, sawed, and rickshawed, we're trapped in this matrix,
Sanded, dis-banded and permanent pressed,
Jet-lagged and sand-bagged and constantly stressed,
With addictions and fictions and sexual gay tricks
Lurking and smirking 'cause “Life's just a beach”.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The West Kabuls together another Sanctionmonious Stance.

As NATO whines about the fact that there are still 1000 Russian troops on Ukrainian soil, it carps not a whimper about the 30,000 American troops that have been in Afghanistan for more than a decade, nor does the eviscerated American press, secure in their position as toadies to power, care to bring up the fact that there would be zero US troops in Afghanistan had not the West, in the guise of Shock Troops for Freedom, invaded that hapless land to 'protect' them from a Soviet invasion in the dying days of the Cold War. Not with our own troops, of course, since the USSR had thermonuclear weapons with which to retaliate, so we used stealth bombers in the form of Wahhabi-trained mujaheddin from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries as proxy warriors, stirring up rabid Islamic fundamentalism in much the same way the Republicans stirred up rabid Christian fundamentalism in the US to further their own agenda.

Now, whereas you might be one of the people who agreed with the US intentions in the closing years of the 1980's to isolate and trap the Soviets into engaging in a land war in Afghanistan, and think that the result was a salutary one, I would argue, that, given the state of the Soviet State at the time, which the over-funded and incompetent CIA, NSA, And DIA, just to name the triumvirate of US intelligence services -there are many more- in other words, intelligence agencies that were then and are now, swallowing up by the vault-load the productivity of both American industry and American Citizens in order to do absolutely nothing except create, and eventually arm, a constant stream of new recruits for any American -haters on the planet (while simultaneously supplying them with ever-grander excuses for "hating us for our freedoms": ie, our freedom to bomb sovereign States, our freedom to send drones into other nations' airspace on missions of assassination, freedom to listen in on other countries' leaders' personal telephone calls, freedom to go into other States, kidnap their citizens from their streets and send them to puppet regimes to be tortured and imprisoned, freedom to work with Israel to spread a computer virus to destroy nuclear centrifuges in Iran as well as murder scientists we believe are working on projects we've decided they shouldn't be working on, etc etc.).

And they can do this, always in secret, their actions never admitted to, nor known, nevermind condoned, by the citizens on behalf of whom they're supposedly performing them, yet who are 'asked' to bear the brunt of the repercussions from those actions. Demockracy in action.

One of those repercussions being the Sept 11 attack on the WTC, the anniversary of which was yesterday, yet not a word was murmured about the fact that it was the actions of the US government, actions taken with neither the consent nor the knowledge of the American people, that brought the wrath of Islam, enabled by citizens of our staunchest ally in the region to whom we have kowtowed for decades, and with whom our sitting president and Vice president at the time of the attacks, had a closer relationship with than anyone else in the world, an action that can be directly traced to the Reagan administration's brilliant idea of using fired-up religious zealots, the fire of their religious hatred bellowed into a roaring blaze in US-funded Wahhabi schools teaching religiously inspired intolerance, as proxies, in a supposedly "Cold" War with the USSR. A USSR, that, BTW, was teetering on the brink of collapse, as documented by several academics, such as Andrei Amalrik, who's prescient book, asking "Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984?" was a much better assessment of the state of the Soviet State, than the CIA's, and was therefore ballyhooed. Because the retention of their well-paid, and even better pensioned, plush positions in power depended on all of us believing that the Soviets were a threat, when in fact they were more of a threat to themselves than to anybody else, including the Afghans, to whom our meddling in their country's affairs has brought them decades of unparalleled strife, religious intolerance and physical destruction.

And all for what? If the US had never blundered into Afghanistan in the Eighties it is abundantly clear by now, yet never, ever, brought up, the Soviet Union would have followed the exact same trajectory that it did, and, being as it couldn't hold onto satellites in its own orbit, and given that the mightiest military power in the history of the world has been unable to  - without the Afghans receiving any help from any outside force -  bring Afghanistan under its control, and yet has bled its own citizens dry, unapologetically leaving millions and millions of them without healthcare insurance, jobs, pensions, or even a roof over their heads, while pouring billions, oh sorry, as horrible as that sounds, it's now trillions, of its treasure, emptying its vaults of bullion to fight ... exactly what? do you really know? ... to keep the powerful country of Afghanistan from what, attacking its neighbors? oh you mean to protect the dictatorship in Uzbekistan, or our favorite enemy, Iran, from Afghanistan aggression? Or to keep the Taliban from reforming, that same Taliban to whom the Bush Administration gave $43million to in May 2001, a mere four months before Sept 11, with which they were able to fund Al-Qaeda?

If the US had let the Russians wallow in their own stupidity, none of the horrible repercussions that we're still paying for, along with creating a cascading number of new ones, as we stumble from one self-inflicted calamity to the next, all while blaming everybody else but ourselves, the US and the entire world, would not be reeling from the consequences of our blundering as it is to this day.

So what do we propose to do? Oh yeah, we're gonna tighten up on more sanctions on the Russians while we bomb Syria, we're gonna save those poor Ukrainians like we saved the poor Afghans, and saved the Iraqis and the Egyptians, and the Libyans, and Somalians, so now we can have an entire other country filled with people who will organize to attack their neighbors while shouting "Down with America". What fun!

The US, instead of railing against the Russians, should be thanking them. They are corrupt, brutal, and vain, thinking themselves superior to everyone else (sound like any other country you know?), and these are traits that sow the seeds of their own destruction. The US need do nothing but let them do what Russians do so well: shoot themselves in the foot. It took no US sanctions, no US armies, no US propaganda, to blow up the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, the built-in obtuseness of the Soviets' design did that for us, and the folly of Russian designs will have the same outcome in Ukraine today if we just let if follow its destined path: it will likewise blow up in their face.

But because we insist on believing our might gives us the right to act like moronic idiots stumbling around destroying one country after the other with our "Aid", we will continue to impose a burden of incalculable suffering and destruction on the world on a scale that no AxIs of evil could ever hope to match, while impoverishing our own citizens and imposing the additional burden of a rigid militaristic surveillance State on them, which they then are forced to pay for in the bargain .

 Judging by the outcome, more than a decade later, it now appears that that was the "Mission Accomplished" the Bush Neo-cons were so proud to have achieved and that the current administration is so anxious to maintain. Such is the high price of self-righteous crusades. Just ask the Christian Fundamentalists who so sanctimoniously railed against a non-existent "Gay Agenda", with orange-juice-queen Anita Bryant at their head, in the eighties, before there ever was one. It was only after the smear attacks and the mean-spirited abuse by the Moral Majority that an otherwise hedonistic, disunited minority were forged into a political  force that called for and achieved the milestone of Gay Marriage in the US. It wasn't even an issue any but a few homosexuals even considered, most of them scoffing at the very idea of it; but thanks to the mendacity of the Christian right, it is now a reality across much of the country. We might want to think about that as we climb onto our high horse yet again to impose our will upon a situation about which we know nothing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Economy Will Never Reach Escape Petrolocity.

As the confluence of events churn up into a maelstrom of madness that points to the inevitability of perfect storm developing, Zerohedege warns that "Icahn, Soros, Druckenmiller, and now Zell, billionaires all, are quietly preparing for a market plunge". Well, not that quietly, or I, and now you, certainty wouldn't know about it.

Meanwhile, on the oil front, per Bloomburg News, the God of Crude Oil Trading, Andrew John Hall, is betting that Shale Oil, the Darling of the "Fuck you, there's no such thing as peak-oil-production crowd", is a dud. Yet when Robert Scribbler derides peak oil and documents production data that he believes leaves its theorists in the dust, because he feels that the pursuit of such belief will keep us stumbling down the same path to a world-destroying fossil-fueled future,  it proved too much to tacitly sit by and let it go by unchallenged.

In a well-written and extensively documented essay, where Hall argues that the Bakken, the Athabasca tar sands and the Eagle Ford formation, as well as other enormous finds in Russia, are all proof that peak oil is decades, if not centuries, away, he fails to note that these new fields are barely replacing lost production from declining output from existing oilfields, including those in Mexico, Indonesia, Kuwait, the North Sea, and even the US. He also never mentions that, as exemplified by what happened to the US exports in the seventies (they were banned), it is only excess oil production, that is above the needs of the country in which the oil is produced, that matters in terms of supply, and as the rest of the world adopts the extravagant, energy-wasting habits of the OECD countries, it should come as no surprise that the more that excess is viewed as normal, the less likely that there will be any excess oil left to export.

Believing that believing there is any such thing as Peak oil enables the continued search for more and more esoteric sources of supply, he insists that we admit peak oil is fading away so far into the realm of a future that's too distant over the horizon to envision its impacting us any time soon, he suggests that all we need do instead is produce another billions or so cars, this time making them all electric, and then run them all off a 'green' grid comprised of wind-and-solar-generated energy and that will solve our climate-change problem.

Now I admit that simplifies his position a bit much, however it does seem to be what the main thrust of his argument boils, kerogen- like, down to. But I'm not sure I understand where such statements like, "unfortunately, as we will see below, there is more than enough oil, gas, coal, brown coal, fracked oil and gas, gas hydrates, tar sands, kerogen and other fossil fuel stores to continue burning for years", have in an argument about peak oil production. Peak extraction of fossil-fuel and exploitation of all other forms of stored carbon-based energy, is not the same thing as peak-oil production, now is it? In fact, it seems to me, he gives validation to those who claim there's no such thing as Peak oil by claiming that liquid condensates and other forms of natural gas liquids, or equivalents, is the same thing as oil.  But they quite clearly are not, if for no other reason, as pointed out in a very well-documented piece by the ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas), than that oil extraction, such as conducted in conventional oil fields, and oil production, which is more typical of the unconventional oil-"plays" as they're referred to now, since without the Fed playing fast-and-loose with monetary policy and flooding such plays with credit, despite their being uncreditworthy enterprises, have quite different economic ramifications and sustainability.

Switching to electric power as the main solution to our energy-intensive transportation needs, is not going to solve the problem of global warming, because they can't support the number of miles necessary for modern suburban drivers to cover. According to Michael Klare in a post just published on Resilience, more than a third of new vehicles being purchased in the US are SUV's. So, what Mr. Scribbler's thesis suggests, is that that's perfectly alright, since we can just electrify the grid and juice all them multi-ton conveyances manufactured to carry 150 pound humans around with solar and wind power. This I simply don't believe. And Scribbler provides no technical data, unlike his well-documented production data, to back up this enormous leap in faith, one that flies in the face of everything any other sober-minded analyst has been able to predict so far. (Really? $80,000 Tesla's are the wave of the future? Even Nissan Leafs are heavily subsidized both in their production in Japan, and in their procurement in the US, where they would  otherwise be $20,000 more expensive than what their sticker price is currently).

For the one, replacing an entire transit system comprised of a billion units with new vehicles requires a scale of manufacturing that is extremely energy intensive and CO2-production-intensive. For another thing, for every ton of aluminum there is 1.2 tons of carbon produced. And that 's just the vehicles themselves, but the extra power plants and extra-gauge wiring needed to produce the power necessary and transmit it over loss-induced miles to the point where said vehicles will be charged is mind-boggling. That doesn't even take into account the rare earth elements that are needed to build both the wind-generated electricity, the batteries needed to store the charge, nor the amount of oil needed to be used to manufacture not just the autos, but the enormous number of solar panels that'd be needed to generate the staggering volume of electric current necessary to power a fleet of over a billion personal transportation units, all being done to reduce the amount of CO2 and its equivalence of other gases, is just as, if not more so, fantasy-oriented as the mindset that believes there is an infinite amount of oil and all of it can be burned up with no deleterious side-effects in a finite world.

Now perhaps I'm just being a nay-sayer, because I look at scenes in the Middle East, such as the one from Alfred Hitchcock's, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and present day photos of Morocco  and other Mid-Eastern locales, and get a feeling of how different it must be to live in a culture where every public space hasn't been  given up to the domination of the automobile, where there are actually people sitting and conversing outside, where they aren't surrounded by motorcars zooming by, so have a vision of the electric car future that is more of a nightmare than a dream-come-true, to it than well, really anybody I know, making me more likely to look askance at the future Scribbler scribbles than others would be likely to do, but that doesn't mean that I think he's right, either. Nor that I believe he's either made his point convincingly nor that his strategy of abandoning the concept of peak oil a wise one.

In an episode of "Charmed", after much angst and deliberation and procrastination, they choose to accept an offer that is made to them by a group called the "Avatars" (of what, I have no idea), to create Utopia on earth. What they haven't been advised of, is that anyone who creates conflict in this Brave New World, is simply , unceremoniously, removed, their existence terminated by a wave of the hand, everyone reconciling themselves to their disappearance with the platitude that they're "In a better place now". But upon discovering the true nature of the bargain they have made, the husbands of one of the witches creates conflict in order to demonstrate, via his demise, the horrible mistake they've made. His removal is first met with the same shrug, "He's moved on to a better place", until the children, not aware that they're supposed to just accept their father's sanitized death, keep crying for his return, and his wife is then asked, "But, don't you remember? The whole reason we wanted this Utopia in the first place was so that you and Leo could be together ... and Now they've Taken him?"

In some ways that is the Faustian bargain that we've all made with modernity. All the wonders it's brought us, all the ease it promised, all the plenty it parades before us. But, as the economy of one after the other of its avatars of the Space-age succumbs to the inevitability of decline, we're left with none of its promised boons, as the wastelands we've made of pristine forests and productive grasslands encroaches further and further into our own lives until there's nothing we care to look at in our environment except the TV, computer screen or our I-phones. What's happened?

Before he gets zapped, Leo tells one of the sisters, "Don't forget all the losses", but sometimes, I think that's exactly what we've done. We've forgotten that we had modes of existence that didn't require us to be at War all the time, or to be spied on constantly, or that made people who we've never known and who have never met us, Hate us with a passion so strong they cheer in the streets when thousands of us are killed. The whole reason we embrace modernity is to make our lives happier, and Now we're miserable? Or as we're told ad nauseum, "For Freedom", and yet we live under constant surveillance in cities that are prisons subject to lockdown at any moment, and subject to search and seizure without any warning, placed on 'watchlists' without our knowledge, the government legally able to disappear us, the Police nicknamed "Bigfoot" for their warrant-less intrusion into our living rooms via kicked-in front doors, and subjected to pepper spray and tear gas and tanks in the streets, and This is Liberty?

No one loves the modern world more than I do, I love reading and making art and having a beer or two (OK, maybe three) with friends, but the true costs of it, of everything, especially this newest one, computers and the internet, have all been purposely hidden, so that we're never apprised of what its real costs are us now, but what further costs are to be extracted in the future. And if we don't know the costs, how can we ever answer the question, "Is the price we're being asked to pay worth it?"

When it's firing on all cylinders, it certainly seems it, huh? But as it starts to sputter, as we look to the future and wonder what it holds, it doesn't' help to have one of the people that are the most adamant about climate change being human induced, to say that, "if people are wrongly led to believe that peak oil is a worse event than climate change, then it is unlikely people will make the changes necessary to transition away from fossil fuels" as a reason to simply pretend the concept of peak oil is unfounded, when Jim Hansen, the believer of both, states otherwise, then the same question I raised concerning modernity, and the fictional utopia, becomes relevant. Because, unlike weather events, that no one can ever say this or that weather event is directly related to climate change, changes in economies and energy equations can be directly related to peak oil, so that although peak oil may not be, as Scribbler states, a worse event than climate change, the fact is that in their lives, and how it impacts their lives, peak oil is a much more immediate and dire event than climate change. So now that we've moved electric generation away from oil, unearthed and burned vast quantities of coal, doubling its output since the turn of the century, spent the last generation building coal-burning power plants in India and China, not to mention in the US of A, NOW you say there's no such thing as Peak Oil?

And lastly, it seems to me, that since, in the Arctic, the loss of the albedo effect means that the earth now absorbs ever more solar radiation instead of reflecting it back into space, the fact that solar collectors are specifically designed to do that exact same thing, I would argue, does not bode well. For the earth, which is the basis of many of Scribbler's arguments, is a closed system, so if you're absorbing solar radiation instead of reflecting it back into space via a solar panel, you're still absorbing it and not reflecting it back in to space, that is, in fact, the whole reason to install a solar panel, the net result of which will be to make the temperature of said earth increase, whether it's by loss of albedo effect or a solar panel effect, the only difference being that then, at least, we'll be getting to use that energy to our own advantage, instead of  having it melt polar icecaps. My argument being, however, that if you look at said use now, and the enormous, ENORMOUS, amount of it that is simply wasted, by doing things we otherwise would never do in places we would otherwise never do them, then although the resultant warming will, admittedly, not be as concentrated so much in such a fragile place as the Arctic, it will nevertheless still occur, only now it will be not only more widespread, but worse, because the addition of all the CO2, that was created in the production of that vast array of solar arrays, will have been added to the atmosphere beforehand. In other words, like every other so-called attempt to mitigate the problem, such as ethanol and biodiesel, it will accelerate climate change, not ameliorate it.

Therefore, because it supports the same never-ending growth paradigm, in both population and energy production that's gotten us into the conundrum we are now faced with, joining up with the climate change deniers in also denying peak oil will only exacerbate an already intractable problem.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Third World, Emerging Economies or Developing Economies?

Wall St. Tweak.

Now that I've once again caught somebody referring to some part of the world as third, I had to ask myself what is it that people mean when they use that word? Is it the developing world or an emerging economy, if so from what is it emerging and into what are they developing? And how is an economy ever considered "Developed"? And how exactly does that differ from Calcified? Which is the opposite of a vibrant, resilient economy, which is what a developing economy is.

As Wolf Richter points out, regarding the Chinese economy:

"What’s left behind is a still growing and partially hidden mountain of debt – and the threat that this contrived economic activity, this malinvestment, funded by unsustainable credit growth can’t be, well, sustained forever. That moment when it can’t be sustained any longer, when the house of cards comes tumbling down, has become a threat so serious that the government is fretting about it out loud in the Chinese media."

Now, how is this malinvestment, unsustainable credit growth, and contrived economic activity, which, as Mr. Richter points out, is not only unsustainable, but, I would say, unwise, different from the US version? Well, other than it makes everything for the entire globe, while the US makes, well, Treasuries and fraudulent financial 'products', more cars than anyone needs, or wants, or can afford, unless they're given free loans and deprived of any other means of locomotion to get to that job, that, like those in China, are 'make work' positions. Although Paul Krugman insists we should engage in even more conjured up jobs and even more malinvestment, because as he states, making things nobody wants is better than doing nothing, a pale echo of the USSR's well-known dynamic whereby, "They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work".

Yet that wasn't enough,whether or not he was being deliberately ironic or not, Wolf 's post continue's to state things about the Totalitarian, Communist government of China that exactly echos the policies and actions of the Kamikaze Kapitalism Kultur of the US:

"With credit growth at around 17% per year, and GDP growing at less than half that rate, the mountain of debt in relationship to the economy continues to pile up. Hence “unsustainable.” What happens when “unsustainable” turns into actual consequences? That’s the very moment Chinese officials fret about."

Not that I'm suggesting that the figures are the same, but the sentiment is exactly the same. The relationship between credit growth and the growth of the economy, or corporate profits, or the stock market, or government debt, all of which should have some kind of effect on one another, have all come loose from their moorings and, because, as we know from LIBOR manipulations by the BOE, or Fed-intervention in the rate of return on bank loans, as reflected by ZIRP, the state of the State leads one to ask, unless one is numb, the same question Wolf poses, "What happens when “unsustainable” turns into actual consequences?"
And has an equivalent answer: That’s the very moment Fed officials fret about.

But it gets better:

"The property sector – China’s epicenter of malinvestment and bad debt – had “too great an influence” on China’s economic health, Zhu Baoliang, head of the economic forecast department at the State Information Center, was quoted as saying. Approximately 60% of financing and manufacturing activities are related to it, he said. Which is enormous. “If any big problem occurred in the real-estate industry, it would have a great impact on the economy.”

Sound familiar? Just as in the good Ol', once industry stops producing the wealth needed to pay its own unsustainable burden of indebtedness, it turns on and vulturizes the rest of the economy, making it look as thought manufacturing is still robust and thriving long after it has become a net drain on the economy, such that the Ponzi scheme of property price, or rather asset, inflation becomes the real driver of the economy, everything else being in a subservient position to the ever escalating destabilizing influence of asset-appreciation. The automobile industry is, methinks, a perfect example. Whereas when only one country had a transit system of indigent-provided gas-powered vehicles competeing against a backdrop of animal and wind-provided transportation in other countries, the profits to be made therefrom were of an order of magnitude greater than could be achieved by its trading partners, giving it a huge advantage (Translation: stellar profits). But when all those competitors achieve the same status, then all those fuel-driven transport units, now necessary, are no longer luxuries, but are an increasing cost of doing business just to get your workforce to and from the workplace, and once the source of power to fuel those vehicles now becomes exogenous, and must be paid for out of company profits, the equation is stood on its head, and government supports business, not the other way around, as the business community has been quite adept at convincing us it is.

And, as if to just help drive the deja-vu aspect of it all, Wolf throws in as fuel:

"But the real-estate industry is precisely where the problems are now occurring, though governments at every level are furiously engaged in keeping that bubble going while limiting its growth for as long as possible. When a single sector that is riding on top of the largest construction bubble in history has such an enormous impact on the rest of the economy and drives 60% of manufacturing and finance activities, it doesn’t take an outright implosion to take down China’s specialized economy. All it takes is a moderate slowdown. And POOF."

This could've been written around 2005/6, as property prices in the US peaked (Oh yeah, that's right, it was, but not by the 'right' people) except, it would've had to mention CDO's as adding an extra layer of risk, and there'd be mention of "mopping up" operations, as though any amount of mopping up helps something that's completely underwater, such as your home's value.

But the last paragraph in Wolf's piece is the real stunner, as it (can it really be unintentional?) starkly demonstrates the contrast between what our so-called Market-based economy of supposedly unmanipulated data points and Free press assumptions are, and what the reality is:

"The fact that the government is making its concerns public so bluntly appears to be a sign that it is preparing the population and the business community for whatever is to come. Diversifying an economy away from the dominating mega-property sector that kept manufacturing and financing flush with activity and money, and doing so quickly before the bubble inevitably implodes, will be another miracle for China’s central planners to figure out how to perform, and do so pronto."

 It's the first sentence that is the tell. In the US, after 2006 when those who were actually watching the economy, as opposed to those who were paid by the government to watch the economy, but who instead merely became paid cheerleaders for a financial fraud the likes of which had rarely, no, I think never really is the right adjective, been perpetrated on such a scale before, were, far from making its concerns public and preparing the population for what was to come, was instead lying to their face in order to stab them in the back, exhorting them to continue, via ever-rising property appraisals and liar loans bundled and sold to investors as AAA-rated securities, financing their War Crimes and other Imperial ambitions, included in which was the total impoverishment, via unprecedented connivance and subterfuge, of a vast swath of the population. But in the country that boasts ad nauseum of its freedoms, and the most loudly about the freedom of its press, the press had nary a word to say about the increasingly obvious collapse that was staring us in the face.

In other words, to do to the USA what it had done to the USSR. This succeeded so spectacularly that it has continued as the underlying dynamic in the Kamikaze Kapitalism Kultur's engine of destruction, and, if Mr. Richter is correct, has now been exported, like everything else, to the developing world. China should be careful. When you copy everything from someone else, when you think you can 'develop' your economy so as to 'emerge' into what is considered a developed economy, the ghost in the machine comes with it, whether Mao's Communism, or Get-Rich-Quick Kamikaze Kapitalism, and it'll haunt you in ways neither foreseen nor apparent in the original version. But the Asian tendency to quash anything creative in their cultures, forcing everyone into the same State-approved molded personality and mindset, obviates the possibility of them creating any homegrown solution to their problems. They'll have to be solved elsewhere, and then they can try to copy those, too.