Has Dr. Strangelove Entered Ukraine On A White Horse?

Dr. StrangeloveWhile American media was distracted by ISIS and Ferguson, Russia appears to have invaded eastern Ukraine. Several thousand Russian troops and 100 tanks are reported fighting their way along the Ukrainian coast, relieving the pressure the Urrainian military had been putting on the ‘rebels,’ most of whom are said to be Russian.

Russia denies any connection with the magically appearing troops, armor and artillery and the U.S. is noncommittal. However, numbers of captured and killed Russian soldiers are provoking protests from their parents in Russia and from Russian anti-government activists. This new development has reinvigorated the previously collapsing rebels.

Per reports, Mr. Putin has informed the United States and concerned Europeans that if they interfere, he will use nuclear weapons to defend Russian interests. With this, assuming that it is accurate, the world has entered a new era of insecurity. It is one thing to see Moslem ayatollahs in Iran demanding nukes while promising to wipe Israel from the earth; it is another when Russians with an inventory of hydrogen bombs and missiles to deliver them threaten their use to further empire building at the expense of neighbors. Putin is channeling Adolf Hitler and 1939. It only remains to be seen whether President Obama, NATO and the E.U. will channel Chamberlain or Churchill.

The Great Depression of last century dissolved into WWII that reportedly killed some 80 million people worldwide before the killing stopped. Now, it seems that Russia is ready and willing to pursue that from which the Communists of the Soviet Union refrained. It seems likely a bluff but bluffing on that level is unspeakably foolish. And we know that what can happen, will happen. Sales of sleeping medications seem slated to rise.

And of course, anyone who has studied human history, knew this was coming sooner or later. But later would have been nice …

Posted in Nuclear Politics, Ukraine, Russia | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Politicians Have Created The Illusion Of Wealth … (And We Expect It To Finance Our Retirement)

Illusion of WealthWe’re examining two charts, one is a  Graph     of world  GDP versus equity prices while the other presents imports to rich and to developing countries of the World Economy. Unconvincingly, world GDP has been declining while share prices have gone through the roof. That parses out to say that the worse business gets, the more investors want to own it. If you believe that, you likely expect to fall upward. Nevertheless, stock prices have set new records as world business has declined.

The second chart, the first in a group, shows that imports into rich countries have been declining while those into ‘developing’ (i.e. poor) countries have been rising, an equally unexpected reality. Perhaps everything we’ve been taught all of our lives is false and we can indeed obtain something for nothing  through the magic of “Progressive” politicians?

Hardly. While those politicians want us to believe, the facts are that GDP around the world has been falling in our present “recovery’ because we are in a continued decline, the ‘recovery’ is fiction. And stock prices have shot up because the U.S. Federal Reserve and the central banks in Europe, Japan, China and elsewhere have flooded the world economy with fiat money that has inflated stock, real estate and other prices with ersatz ‘value.’

The real world producers have been laying off people as production has declined; the ‘third world’ client aid recipients have sold into the resulting vacuum and inflated their own currencies; Argentina has just hit the fan, defaulting bonds. What the ‘developing’ folks have actually been importing, is unrepayable debt, something that the rich countries haven’t had to import since they were able to make it at home. The world economy resembles just now, a race to the bottom, which is one reason that President Obama isn’t sending the cavalry to rescue every settler threatened by the savages. He simply can’t afford it anymore.

He also can’t afford his social welfare largesse, nor can Europe but the run-up to an election is no time to admit such things. The Russian economy can’t afford to grab Ukraine, either but Putin is apparently betting that restoration of the Russian Empire will camouflage its costs to the citizens. Russians’ grasp of economics seems little better than that of Americans.

Billionaire investor George Soros recently bet some $2 billion on an imminent stock market collapse, an event that could restore reality overnight. He can afford to bet a couple of billion. If he loses, he won’t really notice. If he wins, many millions around the world are going to awaken some morning wondering where their savings went. (We mentioned this once before.)

Do examine the linked graphs … the money you stand to save, is yours. For now …

Posted in Business, Economics, Federal Reserve | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gleanings From The Passing Scene … (Politically Uncorrected)

Alfred_E__NeumannA Saturday selection of ridiculous reports representing a ridiculous species cavorting before a mirror:

A Beauty Pageant  contestant was arrested during the pageant, for Workman’s Compensation fraud. We will leave you to decide what this says bout our society. (If anything)

The present decline in Military Spending  is generating a fuss from the usual suspects – those Congressfolk with large donors in the arms industry. Their concern for American “weakness” seems to overlook the fact that the  US Sppends  more on its military than the next 10 largest spenders together.

People’s I.Q.’s are declining in western countries, per a science report. This, considering the politicians that are regularly elected these days, seems unarguable.

The Service Employees International Union received obeisance from the Obama National Labor Relations Board. Per the new SEIU/NLRB  ruling, union organization of a franchisor will unionize employees of any franchise owners as well. You’ll likely see this first in fast food prices.

A new Cell Phone  app can track your phone around the world. Somebody’s trying to keep up with government?

The Obamafolk are pushing ahead on the U.N. Global Warming  treaty without the required Senate approval. The GOP is of course, strongly against this. Wonder where Obama finds the money to fund such things, since the Republicans must agree to the spending before it can occur?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA ) has announced that travelers must show their prescription medications to TSA officers before being allowed to board planes. In a further burst of convenience, the Department of Transportation (DOT) wants new cars to broadcast location, direction and speed.

The top ethics lawyer at the IRS faces disbarment for lying?

A Panda living in a Chinese panda breeding zoo, faked a pregnancy to obtain the treats and improved living quarters  provided those expecting. Bears aren’t stupid … a zoo official said: “They do that.”Just like people seeking welfare?

The struggle for control of the Internet continues: The states vs. the feds and the Dems vs. the GOP. No government on planet earth will allow a free Internet any longer than it must. Betcha!

A Black cop  killed a young white man and a  White Vet was severely beaten and brain damaged for attempting to eat in a restaurant that catered to blacks. Heard about those yet?

An Actress at the Emmys showed off her new weed pipe while on the red carpet, then went in and won an Emmy. She had a potful of confidence …

A NYC conductor has sued over the bedbugs on his train …

The Feds  who regulate banks are telling them they must not finance pawn shops, payday lenders or check cashing services. Making it easier for you to decide what business you want to enter and the U.S. has too many businesses anyway, right?

Polygamy Is now legal, per a Utah judge who ruled in favor of a man and his four wives.

A new Fed Database  is reported to track hate speech on Twitter. Better tweet nice!

Uber   ride sharing service is under attack in Hoboken, NJ; a cop actually pulled passengers out of a Uber driver’s car. Yellow cab doesn’t seem to appreciate faster, cheaper competition? The economy doesn’t need jobs?

Butter   hit an all-time high price. Inflation is spreading …

Everyone who committed a crime, made a political statement or indulged in exhibitionist sex games seems for this week, to have kept their clothing on, leaving us without a closing report. Sorry!

So endeth yet another week on planet Earth. Oh, and the silly U.N. requested that killer Robots   that several countries are developing (including the Pentagon) be outlawed before they are available. Right. As if …

Posted in Culture, Government, Politics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Choices We Ignore That Our Leaders Cannot (And We Pay Their Prices)

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Europe is quietly (so far as U.S. news reports are concerned) declining to improve economically. It remains Stuck   in its Greatest Depression and can no more find its way out than can the U.S. But there is one very significant difference that is now coming from the rear to the fore and will prove troublesome in our changing world.

Post WWII as ultimately the lone “Superpower,” the U.S. has served via NATO as  the guarantor of European peace. The last real threat vanished with the Soviets in 1991. NATO members guarantee to defend each other, with the U.S. seen as everybody’s big brother. And this has emboldened the European politicians to skimp on military spending in favor of social welfare that garners more votes. Why not? There has always been the big brother U.S. standing behind Europe as its bodyguard.  But nothing i forever, right? And politicians are famously short-sighted. That equation doesn’t balance anymore.

We have three new world geopolitical realities or perhaps better, resurgent old ones. One: China is destabilizing Asia, Two: Russia is destabilizing Europe and Three: The U.S. has expended its wealth and reduced its ability to continue producing more of it. It can no longer serve as the ultimate peacemaker, leaving Europe and to an extent, Asia,  inadequately defended.

 

This is obvious to China, that is now throwing its weight around past accepted international boundaries in the China Sea. It is clear to Russia, that is gnawing at Ukraine, drooling over Moldova and eyeing the Baltics, Finland and even scaring Kazakhstan and Poland. And if the Arabs have the oil, Russian gas heats much of western Europe in the winter.

China and Russia have been rebuilding and modernizing their military power. Europe has been strengthening its social welfare. And the U.S. is backing away from world policing for lack of money to perform it.

So the governors in Europe have decisions to make. They, as does the U.S, now must choose to spend more on military and less on social welfare, or continue with the opposite in the face of Russian and Chinese belligerence. Southern Europe is already suffering economically and has little to contribute to either military or decent living for mow. And the few mostly small northern countries in better shape are too small to matter in this.

So, will Europe lie down on the tracks in front of the oncoming trains, trying to keep their welfare societies going or will it divert resources from welfare into military defenses to replace the receding U.S? These seem to resemble the famous “rock and a hard place” between which are situated folks with only two choices, both unpleasant in consequence. Bibi Netanyahu in Israel, stuck between aggressive Arabs on one side and increasingly pro-Arab ‘supporters’ on the other, is not the only world leader facing unattractive choices.

In the U.S, the Obamafolk see a slightly different but no less troublesome reflection in their magic policy mirror. They are reducing both American military capability and the spending previously supporting its worldwide use because there is no money to continue. They are receiving increasing flak as this encourages regional bad boys to come out to play. The U.S. has spent more on its military than the next twelve largest spenders put together; it can well feel safe with substantial reductions in spending. But not so those who have been depending upon U.S. protection. They face choices.

European and smaller Asian countries that have been in the U.S. orbit, now must decide whether to build up their own military at the expense of disgruntling their welfare societies via reduced welfare budgets to pay for the military, or to cuddle up to the new local bully boys and flip off the U.S. as the price of keeping up the welfare. America seems likely to see fewer “friends” in the world as these changes progress. The geopolitical world is shifting. And the international financial system is a major part of this, but that’s another story. Author Francis Fukuyama wrote of “The End of History” in 1992 but it seems to us, that history will only end with the end of humankind.

Posted in Competition, Depression, E.U., Foriegn Policy | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

“Bibi” Netanyahu And Israel: Between The Frying Pan And The Fire

Beniamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

Beniamin Netanyahu,
Prime Minister of Israel

Israel and Hamas are each claiming victory in the latest ceasefire. Prime Minister Netanyahu is in hot water with both his cabinet and his party. That’s the politics; what’s the reality?

The miserable reality is that both sides lost much but one side can afford its losses and the other, can’t. Le’s consider Hamas: It has fired thousands of expensive rockets into Israel with only a few dead Israelis to show for it. It has seen many residents of Gaza, much property and many of its own fighters trashed in Israeli incursions. Israel in turn, has warded off the rockets and lost few people and little property. It seems very one-sided in favor of Israel.

But reality points out that Hamas doesn’t pay for either its munitions or Gazan people and property. Gulf oil money and Iranians fund the munitions and support the fighters; U.N. and Western aid subsidizes the people and property. Little Israel has to fund its own defense, with whatever aid the U.S. adds. (New Iron Dome rocket defenses were paid for by the U.S. recently, apparently against the wishes of the White House.) And Iranian supplied rockets are steadily becoming more effective and longer ranged. The Israeli Iron Dome defense has been effective against older designs of rockets but it is very expensive to operate and newer munitions will penetrate it increasingly.

So at the current ceasefire, we see Israel intact and Hamas, wounded. But Hamas is still there in Gaza, still runs the place and is still funded by oil money and free to rain more rockets on Israel in the future. Nothing on the ground has changed, and that is why Netanyahu is in trouble politically and why Hamas is claiming victory.

The Western world is returning to its normal, pre WWII antisemitism. Large anti-Israel demonstrations occurred in London and Paris; a partly Israeli-owned cargo ship could not land at Oakland in the U.S. as a result of demonstrators. The U.N. is leaning away from Israel and toward oil. The White House blocked a recent shipment of defensive rockets to Israel.  And over time, that tiny country cannot hold off the entire Middle East alone; it simply lacks the resources.

Netanyahu well knows all this; he must balance the present against the future. His U.S. support is furious with him for the bad press full of dead babies from his Gaza venture and it will not tolerate finishing the job now. Not doing so leaves Israel increasingly vulnerable to an implacable enemy. Yet Israel needs its outside supporters. The Israeli Prime Minister is on a swaying tightrope over a fiery chasm in a high wind. Hamas is just doing business as usual, spending money and lives of others.

There is one joker in this deck of marked cards: The people of Gaza could tire of regular wars in their streets, toss Hamas out and settle with Israel. But that seems a long bet here. Prognosis: Israel will continue to win battles … until it loses the war.

Posted in Arabs, Israel, Jews, War | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

The Dead Are The New Weapons Of War …

Gazan Dead: 2914

Gazan Dead: 2914

Gaza is splitting the Israeli coalition government, per reports. Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to have accepted the Egyptian brokered cease fire with Hamas over the objections of his cabinet and without consulting them first. This spotlights a growing problem that seems to be changing modern warfare and especially, changing its results.

From Gaza, Hamas feels free to lob missiles into Israel. Some, but not many Israelis have been wounded and killed thereby, so far. Israel can grit its teeth and take it, lob missiles right back into Gaza tit for tat, or invade Gaza to shut off the sources of the bombardment. Ignoring these acts of war is obviously suicidal at some point. Europe and the U.S. upon whom Israel depends, will not allow Israel to return indiscriminate missile fire; the TV and Internet images of dead Palestinians and their children generate unacceptable public relations in those countries. So Israel invades from time to time in search of the rocket launchers and ammo. But these invasions are inevitably cut short by rising public revulsion as the dead bodies pile up, leving Gaza to fester until the next eruption repeats the scene. This keeps Hamas alive.

Hamas tries to assure that as many dead women and babies as possible result from this; it stores rockets in schools, locates military installations at hospitals ad fires rockets from residential neighborhoods. And it makes certain that the news media see every dead body and on occasion, fake ones too. This is broadcast all over the Internet. As result, Israel is winning every battle but it is losing the war. The world is shifting to support the Arabs against the Jews amidst rising antisemitism in many places.

The same pattern was seen in the latter part of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The Americans and other coalition forces were subject to increasingly restrictive rules of engagement, the rules laid down by commanders governing when and how soldiers could shoot back or attack the enemy. The Taliban enemy had adopted the same tactics of hiding among civilians now seen in Gaza and every civilian death was featured on the news while soldiers’ casualties were often simply statistics. This has altered war; having a powerful military is not helpful if the politicians handcuff it for public relations reasons.

This is a handicap for countries that have an elected government; elections are in essence, public relations campaigns and leaders subject to them cannot, as Prime Minister Netanyahu obviously recognizes, afford a baby-killer image. Dictatorships and terrorists have fewer of such worries. Independent entities such as ISIS and in practice Hamas are effectively free of such concerns and may even revel in the torn bodies of Jewish babies.

This is reversing the old power equation; it used to be whoever had the most and the biggest guns that could pile up the highest heap of dead bodies was the winner, as demonstrated at the end of WWII. Now, the Internet and cell phones are turning those bodies into weapons for the other side.

War is hell, they say; that is because the machinery of war is intended to kill people and destroy property; it has no other application. And today, that offends people when they look at it. That may change when one of the dead kids is their own, but likely not until that occurs. And even then, the way the media handles it will affect the political impact of the event.

In summing up; a country had better avoid war these days unless it will occur out of sight as did Iraq and at first, Afghanistan or if visible, the public is prepared to witness and accept mayhem. With today’s conditions, winners are tending to be less those with the strongest military and more, those with the strongest stomachs.

Posted in Culture, Death, Foriegn Policy, Israel, War | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Teens With Genes From More Than Two Parents Seem Healthy …

Dr. MoreauThe health of some special Teens  is under study amidst controversy because the kids have more than two parents. Conception in vitro at a fertility lab apparently included genes from at least three parents. This appears to disturb some folks. The kids are now 15 and the fertility mavens are interested in comparing them to standard,-two parent progeny for obvious reasons. We are interested too and thought you might be also.

Our interest isn’t scientific, though or at least, not biologically so. We’ll leave that to the eggheads. Our curiosity is directed at the societal, legal, economic and governmental effects of this new sort of procreation. We haven’t heard anything along those lines from the fertility folk; they’re just assembling their human babies without worrying over any of that, so we’re worrying a little for them. Waving test tubes around without thinking too much about what’s in them seems a neat way to acquire those ‘unintended consequences’ we hear of, usually after it’s too late.

We’be already had all sorts of discussion over whether designer babies are a good idea when we obviously cant manage the design we already have. So we won’t dwell on that. We’ll consider a few other things.

Do we want anyone who wishes to play Dr. Frankenstein? Or do we prefer that the government require say, licensing and supervision? We’re informed that a camel is a horse designed by a committee; do we want humans produced under bureaucratic regulation?

Should this form of parenting be available to those who can pay or is it owed to everyone at public expense?

Should all the less successful results be offed or allowed to persist through Obamacare? What should be done with one of these when a latent defect appears at say, age 8?

Will all three parents be liable for child support? How will custody be decided when that is needed? The teens reported here mostly have 3 or so parents; should there be a limit on that number?

Proceeding onward, what if some fertility lab wants to establish a business of assembling, surrogate-mothering and selling these industrially built kids? If that’s allowed, what will the lab do when it has too much inventory? What will happen if China uses the idea to produce millions of warriors?

There are lots more lovely possibilities here and note: None of this is sci-fi; we’re already looking at the health of existing 15 year olds. It’s happening.

Another question: If government steps in, you get two things for sure: babies designed to satisfy politicians … and a black market in babies that don’t meet the government standards. That last will give rise to enforcement machinery, right? What will happen to unauthorized kids gathered up by government agents in enforcement raids? Or found in the homes of unregistered parents?

The list could go on and on as the fertility folk blithely implant and play with genes. We think that this field will be both unstoppable and a lot of fun, particularly for those sensitive to black humor. It might not be so much fun though, to be a kid.

See you on the “Island of Dr. Moreau  !

Posted in Ethics, Eugenics, Government, Politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment