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United State of Terror: Is Drone War Fair?

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Post Car Institute: A non-Starter.

Psycho Killers: Qu'est ce c'est?

I just finished reading an article by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute on entitled "Our Renewable Future", a rather nonsensical title, seeing's how something that is entirely unpredictable, despite the New Year's annual rostrum of those who try to do otherwise, having any possibility of renewability. But of course, he's referring to renewable energy, but then again, Energy is never, by its very nature, renewable, so even taken for its implied meaning, it, ie, the title, is still nonsensical. So, although it leaves me apt to be accused of being overly pedantic, I think that letting the illusion that energy is renewable stand is what invites idiotic linguistic gymnastics like this title for Heinberg's essay.

Whether it is generated via burning fossil fuels or by manufacturing photo-voltaic cells that utilize the rain of photons from the sun to generate electricity which then must be stored or consumed immediately, it is manifestly apparent that none of this energy is in fact renewable in any sense of the word. It is generated, used, with a concomitant cost in the form of heat loss, as in every energy conversion anywhere in the universe, never to be available again. Then, when it is stored for future use, twhich in and of itself requires further energy to be used, such that when solar radiation that is transformed into usable energy must use some of that energy to first of all transport it to the batteries in which it's to be stored, then use the embedded energy that went into the manufacture, transportation, and deployment of that storage medium to place it there, and then repeat the same process (minus the embedded part) to retrieve it at such time when it's subsequently needed.

It is only when once again the wind blows, the water flows, or the sun shines that a new flow of electrons is available for use. That is not, in any sense of the word, renewable energy, it is always the case that a new supply of energy needs to be generated if future needs are to be met.

What the term "Renewable" does, is the same thing that the finance industry did for unplayable mortgages after the financial crisis: extend and pretend.

As I have insisted in the past, whenever you see anyone anywhere anytime refer to anything as "free" you know they're are not being truthful, and yet that is exactly what Heinberg says: that wind solar and hydro power are "free". As though there was someone who went up to any source of fossil fuels and paid one of Nature's cashiers for the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole, or the gas in the pass. But, of course, they didn't, they were provided to humanity free, in fact, considering the amount of energy embedded in them and the amount of work by plants, gravity and chemical reactions that went into their production and sequestration, so-called fossil fuels are far more free than any of the cited sources of renewables, because the work's been done for us upfront, whereas, for wind and solar, we have to do all the work of concentrating their diffuse potential in order for them to be able to be used as energy inputs to our industrial or domestic use.

What this reminds me of is a conversation between the Sales reps and the Network Consultants on a project we were discussing for implementation of a VOIP system, in which one of the Sales Reps argued that the consultant was being nit-picking in his objections, to which he replied, "If a tech uses a comma instead of a period in a configuration file, it won't work. Nor will it tell me why it won't work. I have to debug that config file and figure out the problem, so, as you can see, nit-picking is what I get paid to do."

 It is in the spirit of that remark that I object to the term renewables. Not to be obstructionist or semantically pure, but because the term was chosen for specific reasons, the same as the term "War On Terror" was. It wasn't referred to as the "War on Terrorists", or the "War on Terrorism", but the "War on Terror" for reasons that the  public wasn't made privy to, and the public, being of an incurious nature that makes it easily led, just swallowed it without asking too many, well, any really, questions. But each of those terms, as close as they are to one another in absurdity, all imply different things, and all were discussed before settling on the one in use today. Consultants were paid, arguments were put forward, objections were countered. That is the nature of propaganda, and all Corporate-speak, (and the US government is basically a Corporation of Corporations, that is why it's so closely aligned with Wall St., because its structure is so similar, just as Wall St. is an exchange for buying and selling pieces of Corporations by special interest groups referred to as stockholders, Washington is an exchange for buying and selling of politicians by special interests groups called Corporations), by its very definition, propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of a population toward some cause or position.

So you can see why the Corporations that peddle solar panels and windmills prefer to have their publicists, which is basically all the news media is anymore, use the preferred, and absurd, term, "Renewable Energy". The main reason I can see for it would be to use, in a disguised form, the rubric against which I warned about previously in this post: "Free". That is the implication of the term renewable, and of course, like free, it is impossible, but no matter. The two ideas are inextricably linked, because, the very reason nothing is free, is that, in energy terms, everything has a cost, and if it can't be delineated in any other form, it can always be expressed in how much energy a certain procedure or activity, consumes.

Thanks to that implied assumption, the homeowner who installs those solar panels rarely considers that the costs of his little energy scheme are manifold. They include not only installation and upkeep, but payment for the loan it invariably entails, including interest, and the added insurance that is now necessary to guarantee against destruction, albeit only by vandals, as "Force of Nature" is explicitly excluded from most homeowners' policies. In California, for example, you can only buy earthquake insurance from a state agency, no private insurance company will insure you against earthquakes, such that in one of the sunniest states in the country, the risk of losing your source of electricity as a result of one of the most likely events to cause that loss, is borne by you, as is the cost of having it repaired, should the damage prove to be less than catastrophic.

Now all of this may be what you want, it may be inevitable, it may be preferable, but one thing it isn't is discussed. Like any ad in any Capitalist economy, all the propaganda to entice you to buy is based on distortions and half-truths, if not outright lies. I mean, Subarus are built with Love. Really!? What does that even mean? We pay for advertising in the price we pay for the vehicle, so scads of money is thrown out the window to tell us a lie we all know is a lie. The same with cell phones for example. You may prefer to carry around what's really a mini-computer with  you, but, as it turns out, that is no longer a choice, although it started out as one. There are no public phones anywhere anymore. And should you lose the one you have, or forget it at home, you are now wandering in a no man's land with no way to call the person you were going to meet but now can't. Also, in the olden days, the one metric AT&T was good at was network reliability, as measured by dropped calls, which they were getting close as you can get to 100%, which is now a useless measure, because it's your carrier, not AT&T, that drops the call, or the reception is so static-laden that even though you're connected, you can't understand a word the other party is saying.

Just as conversion from fuel to usable energy comes at a cost, so does conversion from a legacy system to a new one, and those costs, instead of being confronted and dealt with, are instead purposely obscured and minimized, and there's no sign that the paradigm of using deceptive language and carrot-on-a-stick sales techniques are going to be changing even as our needs to use considerably less energy to do what we need to to get through life becomes more acute. Instead we show every sign of doing the same: wasting incredible amounts of energy, in the form of our own limited money, which is a form of stored energy, being convinced of something that is patently untrue (Subarus are made with love) for completely arbitrary reasons.

They called Jimmy Carter a pussy because of his MEOW (moral equivalent of War) heard around the world, but, looking at his proposals, and what we did instead, ie, engage in actual Wars year after year, decade after decade, with no end in sight, nor even wished for, the wisdom of his ideas has become self-evident. From Wikipedia:

Carter noted that the energy crisis was likely to progressively worsen and could result in a national catastrophe, so he called the effort the "moral equivalent of war". (A term first used by William James in a 1906 address, although what he was referring to was trade)

He cited historical energy changes from wood to coal then oil. He foresaw the renewed use of coal and solar power. Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would continue to carry only one person -- the driver -- while our public transportation system continues to decline. Looking at California roads, that amount is far closer to 90% now.

10 principles were introduced:

1) the country can have an effective and comprehensive energy policy only if the government takes responsibility for it and if the people understand the seriousness of the challenge and are willing to make sacrifices. (They didn't and they aren't).

2)healthy economic growth must continue. Only by saving energy can we maintain our standard of living and keep our people at work. An effective conservation program will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. (How this was to be done, I'm unclear, but what I do know is that while using more and more energy, far from maintaining our standard of living, it has declined practically in inverse proportion).

3) must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems -- wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both at once.

4) must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and developing a strategic petroleum reserve. (Until very recently, we, again, did exactly the opposite, we increased our dependency on foreign oil until 2/3's of it was imported, even as our production of coal increased more than 50%).

5) must ask equal sacrifices from every region, every class of people, every interest group. Industry will have to do its part to conserve, just as the consumers will. The energy producers deserve fair treatment, but we will not let the oil companies profiteer. (No comment necessary).

6) the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce the demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts. Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy. Conservation is the only way we can buy a barrel of oil for a few dollars.  (Bingo. This is the crux of my argument here, that what "renewable", ethanol, diesel, and all the greenies' 'solutions' are all just another way of telling us what we want to hear, that we can go on wasting energy in such a profligate way because, as stated above, we demand we not be asked to change in the slightest bit our slothful, ridiculous lifestyle, such as traveling in circles powered by a vehicle that requires no effort on our part, but hours of our time to pilot, to get to a job we need mostly to pay for that same means of getting there and back).

7) prices should generally reflect the true replacement costs of energy. We are only cheating ourselves if we make energy artificially cheap and use more than we can really afford. (By allowing power plants and other burners of fuel to not pay for the effluence that sickens populations, destroys property, and kills other animals, we subsidize these industries. Whenever there's an oil spill, we expect the company responsible to clean it up, yet we blithely allow burners of that same oil to pour the waste thereform into the atmosphere ... by design. When they created jobs, the government could at least tax the populace, but now they employ more robots than humans, so any tax preferences and waste allowances should be terminated).

8) government policies must be predictable and certain. Both consumers and producers need policies they can count on so they can plan ahead. This is one reason I am working with the Congress to create a new Department of Energy, to replace more than 50 different agencies that now have some control over energy. (yeah, that worked well; now they only need to have one Agency in their pocket).

 9) must conserve the fuels that are scarcest and make the most of those that are more plentiful. We can't continue to use oil and gas for 75 percent of our consumption when they make up seven percent of our domestic reserves. We need to shift to plentiful coal while taking care to protect the environment, and to apply stricter safety standards to nuclear energy. (Well, at least he got it half right).

 10) must start now to develop the new, unconventional sources of energy we will rely on in the next century. (Complete failure to do this, and it shouldn't go unnoticed that that's the case despite the fact that it was called for by the President of the country that was by far the largest user of energy on the planet).

 He also set some specific goals, none of which were met, and now we have to fool ourselves by calling energy renewable. Because, yes, there is another reason that it 's called renewable, so that the little fact that a photon that is reflected back into space  unused is not the same thing as one whose energy is captured and used, generating waste heat in the process. Whereas in the world during which Carter made that speech, there was far less CO2 in the air, that heat could have escaped out into the universe, in today's world's CO2-enshrouded atmosphere, the waste heat from all the solar arrays that we are planning on installing, is still trapped in the atmosphere, just as in the car that's left in the sun with the windows closed.

So it isn't free, and it isn't renewable, it is just more and less so than what we are doing now, but if we insist on having a growth model for our economies, it will still lead us to a dead end or destroyed planet, because the one thing that would reduce it, conservation, isn't even discussed, and for good reason: it's completely incompatible with Capitalism, and it is Capitalism, not our well being, that is of the utmost importance in preserving. We should know this. We are told every day that the only reason anyone does anything for anybody is self interest, yet all of a sudden on this particular topic, we think that the corporations that are bringing us solar arrays and manufacturing windmills are doing so to make our lives better. What nonsense; of course they aren't! They care about the same things other corporations care about: The bottom line, increasing their sales, ensuring your dependence on them for your future needs, and placing people from their industries in positions of power in the media and government to push their agenda. If you agree with their agenda, well okay, but first at least realize that they have one, and its purported one is most likely out of sync with their real one. And you're paying for them to advertise the lie that you will buy via your purchase. Gee, no wonder they don't want it to end.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Doug Noland: A Voice Falls Silent When we Need It Most.

A San Francisco Bay, the Cry from the Wilderness.

As the New Year started I read some bad news regarding my favorite writer on the internet (all my favorite writers are on the internet), as journalism has left the building, there is no other source of analysis that is anything but propaganda, almost as though Soviet-era TASS has become the standard to which every hack aspires.

The writer I'm referring to is Doug Noland, a commentator on that stopped posting his chronicle of the Bubble economy at the end of 2014. Why this is especially bad news for  yours truly is that I had been rather faithfully copying his weekly column for some years now, but had lately decided that, since they were all archived on the site, why was I bothering to retain them on my own drive? The question was answered when I went to make sure it was true that he was gone and saw that not only is he gone, but the site has been renamed to "Federated" and is now a mere advertisement for their investment and Dollar portfolios that "offers investors a broader diversification approach managed to limit losses or pursue opportunity when markets, stocks and (in the case of Federated Prudent DollarBear Fund) the U.S. dollar are in decline".

This is a devastating loss to the hope of having any objective analysis of events on the internet by a professional not interested in pushing his own agenda, but who had been for years posting his view of where the markets were going and, more especially, where the world economy was heading, as it was lead by the Fed and other CB's down the path to another "Goldilocks" economy, an appellation used during the mania of the Bush years to somehow make us feel happy that the entire economic system was being likened to a Fairy Tale: a story told when the economy was on its

... way to a dusty death, lighted by fools.
Out, out, brief candle!
Capitalism's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets its hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: a dusty tale
Told by multiple maniacs, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

But there were several writers on the internet who not only didn't believe the maniacs, but gave good, sound reasoning as to why they considered them idiots. Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley, before he went over to the dark side in 2006, was one of them. But then he threw in the towel of being on the wrong side of the debate for so long that he was being accused of being a perma-bear, and decided in January of 2006 that he indeed was wrong and that despite the evidence of his own mind that indicated otherwise, the Global economy would indeed, spurred on by investment in, of all things, CApex, continue its Fairy Tale existence that was based on building out-sized housing comprised of McMansions for a population whose means to buy such outlandish spreads was getting further and further out of their grasp as their wages continued a two-generation-long decline, necessitating a credit binge supported by Wall St. fraud perpetrated on a global scale to economies whose Capital controls had been destroyed by fiat and were thus left subservient to the almighty US Dollar that lost no time in foisting on their ignorant Ministers paper that would have been put to better use had they used it instead to wipe their derriers.

This dynamic never changed, and in fact its denouement is occurring right in front of our eyes, and yet, the one person who could give us a cogent analysis of it with neither blinders on nor hidden agendas to obfuscated his view, has disappeared. From his October 3, 2014 post, comes a clear warning when all other voices were silent:

"Never before has global finance operated without restraints on either the quantity or quality of Credit – no gold/precious metals regimes, no Bretton Woods, nor even a functioning dollar reserve system to place restraints on Credit expansion. Moreover, Credit expansion has come to be dominated by non-bank finance, removing important traditional constraints to financial excess (i.e. bank capital and reserve requirements). Over time, the inherent instability of unfettered global finance has evoked progressively more “activist” central bank control over “money,” Credit, the financial markets and economies. And this market intervention and manipulation has fostered the greatest ever speculation in global securities markets – which has motivated only greater central control."

Being a bit more of a polemicist than he was, I can't help but speculate as to where such a state of affairs will lead us, what such a configuration might suggest. Because when an institution that supposedly prides itself on its independence has tied itself to the mast, its freedom to navigate dangerous uncharted shoals is based then on happenstance, having given the reins to fools who can claim with a straight face that, "Nobody could have seen this coming", when in fact everybody saw it coming, but were too frozen in panic to be able to contemplate doing anything that would rock the boat, or more accurately, would leave their fingerprints on the rudder at the moment the ship smashed against the rocks of reality.

He goes on however, to explain his position  and how he arrived at it:

"Back in the late-nineties, I was convinced there was a momentous evolution in finance that was going unrecognized both in the marketplace and at the Federal Reserve. I believed the Fed would move to responsibly check the explosion of non-bank “Wall Street finance” once they recognized how it was fomenting destabilizing impacts on asset markets (price inflation and precarious Bubbles) and distorting resource allocation to the detriment of the real economy. How dead wrong I was. They instead embraced asset-based lending and became a proponent of leveraged securities speculation. Indeed, manipulating the returns from financial speculation became history’s most powerful monetary transmission mechanism. Borrowing from a Chinese proverb, central bankers jumped on the tiger’s back and can’t get off."

What that real economy he mentions consists of, or should look like, we have no way of knowing, because the cancerous financial economy has distorted it out of all recognition. But what it apparently ISN'T, as we have witnessed in the pat six months, is $100/bbl oil fueled by scraping the bottom of the oil barrel by fleecing the public as it once again puts every dollar they earn into producing more and more of a fuel that is burned by more and more internal combustion engines in a world burning up from so much carbon in the air it is changing the very air we breathe, the very climate we exist in, the very oceans whose waters we are immersed in. What Mr. Noland never mentions, because rabble-rousing is not his schtick, is that Central Bankers may have been the ones that jumped onto that tiger's back, but it is the populace and the economy on which that populace depends for its sustenance that will get mauled when they get thrown off of it. That is the result of the change he witnessed in the 90's in the financial sphere, not just that money creation was taken out of control of the Central Bankers, but that money/credit creation was now built on risk dynamics that rewarded reckless speculation and punished prudent investment.

As a current example of this, witness the interest rate on your savings account: low, and as the recent actions of the SNB are highlighting, diminishing, not increasing, whereas, whenever you use your credit card to delay payment of  your liabilities, the amount that the banks rewards you as you hopelessly Chase Freedom, is INcreasing, such that savers must pay banks to retain their funds while those who charge items on their credit cards, which, by the way raises the costs of doing business for the merchants by 2-3%, yet can net you a 5% "reward" bonus. All the risk, that financial professionals are supposedly paid to manage, is now instead pushed onto the public.

A comment from Rick Santelli explains: "And there’s lots of talk and even comments by Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen and many commentators – that the central bankers need to dabble in that direction, for an obvious reason: because of the politics, whether it’s the politics of Europe, the unsure nature of how Germany wants to stand up and stand its balance sheet along with the ECB’s, or in this country because there’s a logjam. Things can’t get done at least to the liking of the masses, to the citizens - to the voters. But what that really has done is it’s taken the voters out of the game. If central bankers didn't have such a large foray into politics, well, politicians would have had to sink or swim on the merit - or lack therein - of their policies that weren't creating the growth. But central bankers early recognized that they needed to buy time to create stability and the growth would surely come. But the problem is, in the parlance of trading, is that the spread between these two [growth and stability] continues to get wider and wider and wider.”

There's a reason for this, and this is where I part ways with such reasonable people as Doug Noland maybe Yves Smith, and other commentators on the web: What the public wants and demands, from my experience here in the US, and what the economic system, as structured, can deliver, are at odds, and it is the spread between THAT that is getting wider and wider.

The reasons for this are manifold:

1) The intractable nature of the middle class, that recognizes global warming, and even the cause of it, but maintains in the face of all reality that they can simply green up a few items and the entire edifice of our fossil-fueled expansionist suburban dystopia we consider essential for our future can thus be maintained.

2) Strongly related to #1 above is the ridiculous and self-serving notion reiterated yet again in the NYT's front page article this Saturday calling out 2014 as the hottest year on record, that it is the "Climate -Deniers" who are to blame for inaction in the Global warming arena. This is patent nonsense. As though it could ever be a surprise that those least willing to do anything about a phenomena are those people who refuse to acknowledge its existence,

3) It is precisely this middle class that is insisting that all the systems put in place during the heyday of Industrialism in their economies, most of which have striven over the last generations to rid themselves of Industrialism's more toxic trappings, should function as planned despite the fact that they have actively worked at removing the very industries that were underpinning their dreams of a comfortable future.

4) Because of the above, trying to maintain the status quo becomes increasingly desperate. Because by blaming a minority for what the majority is responsible for, one need take no serious look at one's own carbon footprint and need never therefore take any steps to decrease it, and in fact, judging from energy  use world wide, take steps as the economy forces one to, that are contraindicated given what you know about the role of carbon in the debacle we are creating.

5) Democracy that we have so proudly, one might even say arrogantly, foisted on the rest of the world is therefore proving its complete dysfunctionality when  confronted with anything that even a minority, and despite all the ink spilled to suggest the contrary, a rather small minority, disagrees with, despite the fact that it's something as momentous and ominous as complete destruction of our world as we know it.

And that's what leads to the Central Banks of the world trying to do monetarily what the politicians can't do fiscally: tamp down growth while pretending that they are trying to do the opposite. Because the only growth industrial societies, even ones that have off-shored that industrialization (I would argue more so, because now the cancer has been intentionally metastasized to another point in the world body where it can grow even faster, as it isn't being monitored there), in their paucity of imagination, can come up with is growth in automobile manufacture. Automobile manufacture not even of the green manchines on which our future energy independence supposedly teeters, but in the good-old-fashioned 100% internal combustion engine variety. No worries about hydrogen machines, or all-electric or natgas, or even hybrids. The vast majority of the ever-increasing wheeled vehicles being rolled off assembly lines worldwide in order to pump up demand for gasoline and spur growth, even growth that locks us into fossil-fools future, are gas-burning petroleum-dependent vehicles:

Consumers bought more pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles than cars in every month of 2014. The full-year vehicle sales will likely total 16.5 million and cap a 58 percent increase since 2009. Trucks like the Ram 1500 and luxury SUVs such as the Cadillac Escalade command higher prices and fatter profits than most passenger cars. And would be completely unaffordable to most knuckle-dragging climate-deniers. The people buying these vehicles in the face of the evidence as to what is the cause of Global Warming are exactly what they claim their Republican lame-brain counterparts are: they are Climate deniers. Every person getting on another jet for yet another trip to yet another tropical destination are doing exactly the same thing as the Climate-hoax crowd: denying climate change.  They act exactly as though nothing is wrong: Hello!? That's why it's called denial!

In this atmosphere of middle-class intransigence and Congressional and other legislative bodies' compliance with striving to maintain a dream even as it morphs into nightmare, the outbreak of political turmoil around the globe is as predictable as it was in 1914, as is the penchant for blaming everybody else and declaring them "inhumane" as we work assiduously to destroy everything on the globe for the luxury of tooling round in a Mad Max world while sneering at those who "Don't get the Science", to use one of the pedantic phrases of one of the leading exponents for Life in the fast Lane, because, well, you deserve it,  Paul Krugman. That is the real inhumanity, When people who can make a difference, when people who know better, act exactly as though they didn't, pretending the link between cause and effect is nonexistent as long as they spout the right platitudes and profess the correct position.

 And while Doug Noland never really addressed this causal link, the fact that he gave such spot-on analysis of just what the dangers of pretending everything is all right in another, closely-related sphere of arcane activity were, and how they could carry on unimpeded and undetected by the vast majority of lives that they affected, was like a tonic washing away the layers of bullshit spewed continuously from the print and broadcast media. But now that voice is silent, and an anchor of intellectual honestly and stability has been lost. He will be sorely missed, if only be the few who were aware that he even existed.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Credent's Leer at Survival.

Blood Moon Rising

There's A Blood Moon on the Rise.

I see a blood moon rising
I see trouble on the way
Kalashnikovs and terrorists are frightenin'
Bad times it seems are here to stay.

Don't go to France tonight
Someone's bound to take your life
There's a Blood Moon on the rise.

Charlie Hebedo's office is glowing
I know the end is coming soon.
Rivers of blood are overflowing
I fear the voice of rage and ruin.

Don't go to France tonight
Someone's bound to take your life
There's a Blood Moon on the rise.

Hope you've got your things together
Hope you're quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye.

Don't go to France tonight
Someone's bound to take your life
There's a Blood Moon on the rise.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Islamophobia is Anti-Semitism.

Netanyahu to French Muslims: ‘Come home to Israel from terrible European anti-Semitism’

Jesus, Charlie, take a breath:
Remember, it isn't just the Koran that's used to justify and exhort its practitioners to murder:

* Major American political and religious figures make regular trips to Uganda to encourage opposition to and call for the death penalty for homosexuality. But there's few protesters saying, "Black Lives Matter" in response.

* During the Reagan Administration US taxpayer dollars were funneled into Saudi Arabia to fund the Wahhabi school of Islamic Fundamentalism in order to exhort Muslims to murder the "Godless Soviets" in Afghanistan, despite warnings from more sober-minded State Department officials of the blowback such a policy would engender. Those same schools and the same King rule to this day.
* During the Bush administration Pat Robertson, a former candidate for President of the United States, and Christian televangelist called for the assassination of Hugo Chaves during broadcasts on his 700 club TV show.
* And then there's this, just one of several:…
He cares nothing about people dying from AIDS, he just wants to murder people who made no cruel, baiting cartoons about his church. It's only because of our secular institutions in this country that fanatics like him are kept from executing people they deem unworthy to live, that's why they go to Africa to exhort the governments there to do their killing for them. Like the ridiculously monikored "War on Terror", ridiculous because there is no War without Terror, Bibi the Yahoo appeared in Paris to exhort Europeans to flee to Israel, because the Anti-semitism in Israel, that murders Semites on a regular basis, is preferable to the Anti-Semitism of Europe, that murders no Semites, but is in the throes of apoplexy brought on by the Semites who opened fire on cartoonists with Kalashnikovs.

For those confused by this, one should look up the definition of Semites, but since I already have, I'll share it with you:

Semites | Define Semites at
a member of the group of Caucasoid peoples who speak a Semitic language, including the Jews and Arabs as well as the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, and Phoenicians.

To see how language is twisted to serve the needs of those that wish to control the dialog, Bibi's exhortation for Jews to return to their "Promised" land, was prompted by the fact that 4 Jews were among the cartoonists gunned down. So now, Europeans, are Semites, and Semites are, well, just fodder unless you're the right kind of Semite, a Chosen Semite. As The Yahoo stands in front of the world and calls for them to come "Home" to a place where they have never stepped foot in their lives. The Bibi the Bozo pretends that Muslims are not themselves Semitic, else when he calls the Europeans anti-Semitic, he would be calling for all of the Muslims in Europe to return to their "Homeland":

 If one looks at the meaning of anything that's"anti", one can't be more "anti" someone than killing them, and despite all Net any yahoo's grandstanding over the weekend, nobody has killed more Semites during the course of this century than the State of Israel, and none more than while under the rule of Netanyahoo. This makes Israel the world's Capital of Anti-Semitism, so yeah, guys, come on home to where it's the State itself that's the perpetrator of anti-Semitic pogroms, you know how well that's worked for us the past.  

But let's look now at the US implications of Bibi's pronouncement. What it means is that the state of Israel actually admits that the Jews in the US have a loyalty to the country of their birth only secondarily. It is to the State of Israel, their real "homeland", whose security is more important than that of the US. If any US citizen or publication were to suggest such a state of affairs they would not get published, they would lose their jobs, and quite possibly their livelihood, such is the power of AIPAC, but now that it is the Leader of Israel that barefacedly proclaims it, what are the  implications of, say, Blankenfein, doing "God's work" of useing Milton Freidman-style wreckonomics in the US? What are the implications of his fellow, now we know, Israelis, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, leading the country and the world to the edge of the financial abyss in order to enrich all their fellow Israels-by-default by holding the US government hostage to their demand that it rake the US citizens over the coals, to make good on the bad bets they made by transferring trillions of dollars into the pockets of their cronies, pillaging from the US economy all that they can in the name of Yahweh, just as they were accused similarly of doing in the 1930's in Germany as they used the Paris Peace accord's reparations demands on Germany to rape the country and transfer every item of value that wasn't nailed down and sneak it out of the country. All of a sudden such rabid charges don't sound as far-fetched as we've always truly believed they were. You don't think for a minute Bibi's suggesting that the diaspora he's addressing show up in Israel empty-handed, do you?

Such thievery, if you're actually a citizen of Israel first, is a perfectly legitimate action on the part of American Jews, because they, as Netanyahu has declared, are US citizens only by proxy and convenience. They are sons and Daughters of Israel, to whom they owe their true allegiance, and it is in their provenance to use the liberal laws of their country of origin to get what they can, because, as all people of Faith know and boast, the laws of this world don't apply to them the faithful, it is the law of the Supernatural that is put above all secular ones. By calling Israel the true home of all Jews, he's declared the US the Jewnited States Of America, because no other country on the globe has a higher percentage of, what we now are informed are really, Israelis, in high office, working tirelessly to attain positions of influence in the media, law, medicine, government, finance, to persuade the 300 million people of the US to destroy their own credibility in the world in order to be foot soldiers for one of the smallest minorities in the country, comprising less than a scant 3% of the population, yet who are actively involved in determining the foreign policy and defense posture for the entire nation, not with the well-being of the US in mind, but that of the State of Israel. What was BN thinking?

But I can't but believe that they did not want  this to be broadcast to the four corners of the globe (although a globe has no corners), as Netanyahu has now done. Because, with these words, he has re-enforced the worst accusations of Hitler against the Jewish people. He has made it possible for such anti-Jewish sites as to pour their vitriol all over the net with renewed enthusiasm, because they can now point at the Israeli Prime Minister's statement and proclaim, "See?!, we were right all along, your Jewish citizens are mere pawns of the State of Israel." It is hard to see how the blowback from this blowhard's grandstanding is to be contained.

Now, in Ukraine, as the city of Donetsk gets shelled by its own government, the fact that they are Russian in both language and culture, makes it clear that, to follow the logic of Bibi, their real home is Russia. And it is up to Russia to protect them. Both ideas that are rejected by Israel. But that's always the advantage of being Chosen People, whether by US ideas of their own exceptionalism, Aryan nightmare fantasies of racial superiority, or Jewish beliefs that they are, no matter where they decide to settle, firstly citizens of Israel, the rules apply to everyone else, but you, being special, merely make the rules, you need not abide by them, as you have special dispensation granted by the diaphanous realm of the Supernatural that it is blasphemous for anyone, not of your Special Status, to question. The Muslims may indeed be Medieval, but the Israeli's have now shown themselves to be downright prehistoric.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ghosts of New Year's Passed.

The long list of long lists of predictions for the New Year are coming out, as they do every year. The Collapseniks, and the bulls and bears and the splitting hares, the see-sawing currency Wars and the homelessness of Santa Claus as he vies with polar bears for the shrinking geography of the Icy North Pole. Seeing however, as the centennial of the Great War made no great splash (Although some seem to have taken notice, as Ambose Evans-Pritchard started his column today with the sentence: "There is a whiff of 1914 to the latest Balkan showdown"), despite the promise of the Russia Ukraine Syria ISIS/ISIL/Daesh  Libya, Yemen Somalia debacle of setting off a tinderbox of overly-armed nations all asking themselves the Madeleine Albright question, "What's the use of all this military might you're always talking about (and we're always taxed to pay for) if we can never use it"?, it's not completely impossible that it has indeed already started, just quietly enough that no one took notice.

I've sometimes conjectured as to whether that was the plan all along to, limit climate-changing burning of fossil fuel by eliminating those most responsible for it: the Middle classes of the  OECD nations who complain about it the most while actually doing nothing in their own personal behavior to mitigate it (on the contrary, all this euphemistically-referred to process of "money-printing being indulged in by all of the above-mentioned nations is akin to stoking the furnace of CO2-production to ever-accelerating new highs ... by design, if not intention).

That leads me to ponder what I had forgotten about the burgeoning human population of the 20'th century. To wit, the so-called Great War that mowed down an unprecedented number of humans and buried them in the muck, which was quickly followed by a flu epidemic that killed off what amounted to an even greater number, totaling between them 35 million souls, a number to be more or less doubled in the next conflagration otherwise referred to as WW2, leaves a century during which a billion lives were extinguished for no discernible reason. Which century, that same century, saw the human population blossom like algae on a polluted lake, choking off more and more of the planet's life-affirming natural places and their inhabitants, and leaving a planet overburdened with the energy-intensive, oxygen-depleting and CO2-creating creature we call Man, to the tune of 7 billion current inhabitants.

So that kind of gives a whole new sobering perspective to the capitalists mantra of creative destruction. And it sorely tests my theory that said capitalists, in the guise of Neo-liberal and Neo-Conservative economists, having displaced the Keynesianism of their predecessors, argue ad nauseum about how dumb Keynesians are or how stupid Austrian economics is, or, like 19'th century philosophers dreaming of  return to the times of the noble savage, insist that if only we went back on the gold standard, everything would be fixed and classical economics could be honest again, engineered the Financial crisis in order to slowdown global warming, since the only thing that would stop the accelerating growth in the burning of fossil fuels would be a global depression.

This latter is akin to the manner in which the Bernie Sanders of the world keep insisting if only we would re-instate the wall between investment banking and commercial banking, built by the Glass-Steagal Act, that Neo-Liberal Bill Clinton, together with his congressional Neo-Con ally Phil Gramm swept out of Wall Street's way, that things would be fixed. But it can not now be magically re-created, neither can the chimera of a gold standard be re-instituted by some monetary wave of a wand. The fact that these barricades to the use of funny money have been atomized, providing living proof of Gresham's Law,  doesn't seem to have sunk in yet, yet another symptom of the refusal to acknowledge the way in which the entire landscape of the financial world has been irrevocably changed by the computerization of the currency and the entire monetary system in which money is created, dispensed, and spent.

The wall was dispensed of because there were already so many holes in it it had become embarrassing, and the rehypothecation of everything under the sun makes a gold standard just as much of a farce, as the story of China's iron ore supplies, on which massive amounts of debt were leveraged, should make clear. Whether it's gold or iron ore, it is a store of value, but when the keepers of the underlying security are thieves, con artists, embezzlers and State-bureaucracy stooges, it doesn't matter what metal, shiny or dull, you have based the monetary system on, it is always ultimately based on confidence and trust, or, as now, unassailable military might that its possessors have no compunction about using to sustain their privilege while abasing your life to pay for it.

And the tool that's been the most effective in waging this War Against the Dollar is, as I pointed out in my last post, the Computer, in its conspiratorial configuration as the internet. In which, "Yea, Sun (as in Microsystems), moon (as in satellites), and stars (hierarchical topology of most intranets on the internet) were all in the conspiracy to lie to us of the loveliness of the world and the good intentions of life." And we, for the most part, have swallowed whole the stated lie that the information superhighway was built with just that, good intentions. Yet, even were that so, that is what purportedly also what can be used to build the road to hell. But no worries, one of the things most conspicuously missing when Darpanet engineers were constructing the internet were good intentions, and the loveliness of the world was not something in which they had either belief  or interest.

So it is little wonder that the only prediction in which I'm interested in is how the continuation of WW3 will express itself. That, as per Ambrose's article, the Balkans are again at the center of things, this time financial, when the financial is just a computerized entry such that the Troika can refuse to grant debt relief to a country that's been sucker-punched even while it contemplates another QE extravaganza of funny money that will end up funneling even more money out of the EuroZone have not bank accounts and into asset appreciation of the have-mores is not symptomatic of a mindset ready to move on to the next stage of economic evolution but is instead determined to hold on to one that's going nowhere because it has nowhere to go but to it's own destruction.

What is the economic system, therefore, supposed to do? What are a nations' responsibility, not to its most prosperous citizens, who are practically not citizens at all, but over-stuffed pariahs, ready to flee the country at a moments' notice, carting with them as much of the country's wealth, which they always consider their own, with them, but to its least prosperous? Are they, as conservatives believe, the pariahs instead? As I walk one mere block away from San Francisco's glittering Union Square in the midst of what Ambrose claimed is a US booming economy, and see block after block of desperate dirty people in filthy rags lying about and begging or just curled up in rank sleeping bundles, it's hard to swallow that these homeless helpless people are pariahs.

There's something in the air
And I think it's despair,
Without a whimper or a sound
 they lie scattered on the ground.
The Flotsam and jetsam of civilization
Human debris of our  uncivil nation.

Is this really the way it's destined to be?
'Cause the "exceptionalism" here isn't clear to me,
And that's why I can't shake this feeling of doom.
In the USA, there was supposed to be room
For the poor, the wretched, the huddled masses,
But to give them hope, not to grind them like glass is.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Computerus: Technology to Defetus.

Oh, ... and good luck with that "Happy New Year" crap!

The start of another Year, the beginning of another War, on what or whom we don't really care, as long as there's another one. We in the peace-loving West will surely start, expand, fund, or cause via clandestine, plausibly deniable circumstances, that no one will really believe, another series of catastrophic events and blame them, like the hacking of Sony's criminally-insecure network, on another country, preferably communistic. Although nobody I mentioned it to had noticed, every time the name of North Korea was invoked as the perpetrator of the Sony hacking conspiracy, it was always prefaced with the word "Communist".

What that particular episode of Western criminality highlights, but that I have as yet heard nary a comment on, is the ease with which the private sector can manipulate the Federal authorities, all the way up to the Presidency, to put the safety of the American public at risk in order for them to reap huge rewards, while the risk to their own bloated selves remains minuscule.

That's one.

Another is the fact that conspiracy, no matter how obvious, and this one was, I'm sorry folks, pretty obvious, no matter what proofs are lacking, and in fact, not, for the most part, even asked for, even though we now know that the NSA can pretty much just make up whatever they want to, prove or disprove whatever they need to, it's still scoffed at when  you point out the obvious idiocy of the accusation, and object that not a shred of evidence has been put forward to document it, people for the most part will still believe what the MSM tells them, swallowing their view of reality as though it were Holy Scripture. Yet even when this is pointed out to them, they insist it must be the case, else why would the News say otherwise?

Yet no matter how long the list of reasons you give to explain why they might say so otherwise, nor how salient those reasons, you aren't Anderson Cooper, or Sony's CEO, so your opinion's not worth much. CNN and Fox News have been the worst corrupting influence on the nature of the news, turning it into momentary entertainment with no need to provide evidence for their views, as that's all they are anymore, views. There is no longer a news industry in anything but name, it is merely an offshoot of the entertainment industry and a tool for government/corporate propagandists and therefore utterly corrupt.

What I'm pretty much convinced of is that the reason for this is the computer and its evil stepchild, the Internet, a collection of networks funded with the earnings of the US public to connect the Universities and the Pentagon, atomic research facilities and the Libraries, into a single network to facilitate the exchange of information between the public and private sector. It was then extended to eventually result in what we have today, enabling someone like me to write what I want and allow you to read it if you so desire. But there was already a mechanism for that called the newspaper, so it was this business model that was attacked and destroyed first. Then industry after industry has been eroded, downsized, taken over or destroyed  until we have the conglomerate of super Corporations that bestride the globe like a colossus against which the largest government in the world, the United States of America's, president is used as a simple pawn in a tawdry scheme to get a sophomoric, addle-brained, mean-spirited little one-joke flick a chance at clawing back at least some of the money wasted on its production. This would not have been possible in the days before the computerization of everything. But, like the automobile before it, the computer is such a pervasive, invasive, by design, by the way, technology, that no one questions, (what's the point, right?), its ascendancy anymore.

That was not always the case. When I first started working at a small computer company called Comten, but which was actually a wholly-owned subsidiary of the largest retail business machine manufacturer in the world, NCR, (cash registers were then the most ubiquitous business machines, not computers; the bank I was a teller at before starting in the computer field had not a single computer in the entire branch ... that was 1977) to tell people I was in the computer field was akin to saying I was working for the CIA (I lived in California, San Francisco, no less, so there's that, but still ... considering that this is where the industry eventually found the perfect combination of smarts, inventiveness, love of innovation, and seed capital, it's pretty telling).

As it turns out, they were more right than I gave them credit for. The NSA, for example, was a mere shadow of its current self in those days. It's the complete cellurization of communications, all of which, unbeknownst to most of its users, uses the internet as the backbone of its national and international infrastructure: ie computers. All those cell towers you see all over the place, or don't see, as they're pretty good at disguising them, transfer calls only to the next tower or two, any further and they hop onto the local switch, usually an AT&T facility, to transmit over longer distances, as that particular company, which btw, bought the above-mentioned NCR, so yes, I was an employee of theirs while they were buying up all the RBOC's (Regional Bell Operating Companies that were split off in 1984 by the Justice Department when it created what they eventually called "the Baby Bells, all of which would be swallowed up by AT&T, such that all the Telcoms in addition to the longlines in the country made their way back into their hands, only now, instead of a regulated monopoly, we got blessed with an unregulated monopoly, but who cares about monopolies anymore? They're just an accepted, unspoken of, fact of life now, for good or ill, and yes, there are some advantages consumers derive from monopolization).

Meanwhile, IBM was struggling with its own anti-Trust lawsuit from the Justice Department. They won their suit. So here we have another of life's ironies, in that the two main manufacturers and users of computerization (a computer is, at its heart, a switch, as is Telephony) were known even as far back as then, to be monopolies, and the one that lost its anti-trust suit is the won that won, because AT&T was more ubiquitous and utilized than IBM, the company that won because it was at its zenith and too unassailable because of its place at the heart of the oil, banking and insurance industries. To not buy "Big Blue" was to put your job in jeopardy if you managed a data center and there was even the slightest problem  with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products.

But the technical reason, the expansive, all-connected network that the US Pentagon had in mind, required, not the breakup of IBM, but the smash-up pf AT&T and the tight grip it had on devises that could be connected to its network. Just as you know, if you ever bought a PC, the advantages to be derived in -house from computerization are quite constrained without the ability to communicate those results to others.  In other words, it was the network that needed an upgrade to accommodate the needs of mainframe computers and it was the telephone company that was standing in the way.

It was this decade that saw the beginings of what we are stuck with today. We have built an economy that is designed, like the re-vamped telephone network itself, for the convenience and use of the computer, not the consumer, because the computer is by far the most voracious of consumers, so its needs, naturally come first, even to the destruction of the rest of the economy, and it is the result of that evolution, that our world is in the stagnating state it is today. Computers are used and distributed not to enhance customer service, speed of delivery, or any of the other advantages that actually are derived sometimes from their installation and implementation, but always and everywhere to decrease the number of employees needed by any going concern  to deliver those goods and services, even if the consumers of them now needs to take much of the responsibility of said delivery onto themselves.

That is why the rich are so voracious theses days, they may not know why themselves, but it's because they too, share the same attributes as computers, they take all the advantages offered by the economic system, even to the detriment of it, because, like computers, they have no National interests, only their own. The fact that wrecking the economy will wreck their own ascendancy in that economy occurs to them no more than it does to the machines that give them instant access, and can take it away just as quickly. No matter how rich a billionaire you are, to see the system snatch away access to resources from an entire powerful country such as Russia, should drive home the point to you that you're not in command of any of your resources in the banks without the network.

Capitalism killed communism, it is said, but computerization killed Capitalism, and that is not said. But the more I ponder it, the more convinced I am that that is exactly the case. Capitalism, by any definition, is not what we see operating the economies of the world today. As a case in point, I would like to point out that many very well-read and respected economists refer to the Banking system separately from what they call the "Real Economy" (again, that is their rhetoric, not mine), and it is this banking system, this "other" economy, that holds sway now. That is a fact ... it is not an exaggeration. It is the reason that the egregious criminality that brought the world's economic system to its knees so as to cater to the fanciful whims of a small, useless, unproductive, narcissistic cadre of crooks, was never prosecuted. And that "other" economy straddles the Real one like a beast in rut, and the tool it uses to do so is the Cloud (there's always been a cloud, they simply didn't call it that ... think of your e-mail, for example. If the network goes down, or if you fail to pay your bill, that data all belongs to the phone company, (or ISP, they're practically synonymous now), not  to you. They have no use of the data, in fact it takes up some of their storage space, so it's a cost. Welcome to another aspect of the New Economy: doing business by holding your customers' data hostage).

So, one of the things I'd add to Ha-Joon Chang's really good compendium, "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism"'s  list of, now 24, things you didn't know about Capitalism, is that it's dead. The system that will replace it is still forming in the Computerus, but the way things look now, defetus may be still-born.