May 2012 Archives

» This entry is Part 3, continued from Part 2, which is posted here » Geeks vs the Government | Game On - Part 2. It was split into three parts in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

Guy Fawkes Anonymous MaskAnd now, without further commercial interruption, we present the conclusion of » Geeks vs the Government | Game On.

» Because they are not forgiving, like me. Like an angry African wasp, they will sting and KEEP stinging .. until their asses are good-n-sore. (That's why you dont want to provoke them.)

You see, Geeks tend to stick together (.. like worker-bees in a HIVE) .. cuz [like you] they feel a connection to one another .. due to similar interests, values, and mind-sets.

Obviously this is something you understand quite well. (Too well, some might argue.) Tho unlike you, geeks are also comfortable operating as a lone wolf. Also unlike you, Geekdom recognizes no international boundaries.

The Rich-and-the-Powerful vs the Geeks-and-the-Rebellious. "More popcorn, please."

Now you might find this difficult to comprehend .. perhaps even impossible .. but, while you can certainly rent-a-Geek, you can't buy them. Because Geeks are NOT ABOUT THE MONEY.

In other words, they do not place the same value on money that you do. Tho they may pretend that they do .. in order to make you feel more comfortble with/about them.

Because they know that you do not trust anyone who won't sell their soul for pieces of silver (.. like you already have). Have you sold grandma yet? (I heard that somebody saw her listed recently on eBay.)

The only people who want to be part of your corrupt SY$TEM are corrupt themselves. So you should not hold it against the Geeks if their sense of justice (or their sense of right and wrong) differs from your own.

lightning bolt strikes empire state bldg nycGo look in a mirror and you'll see what I mean. From what I can see, they possess superior morals & better ethics than many of you.

You think there are just a handful of hackers, or hacktivists, as they are called. But there are more behind them ..

.. far as the eye can see. And some of them are much badder, and more clever (.. which is why you dont know about them).

Do the math. Analyze the statistics. "A wasp by any other name," said the Bard, "stings just as exquisitely."

We now have a whole generation who have been raised on coding .. who cut their teeth on powerful programming languages. They speak the language cuz it runs thru their veins. (With more on the way.)

So you should not be surprised to hear that it was a Software Engineer (named Waed Khalil) who made the first list-of-demands by the Egyptian people and posted them on his web site.

[ Not sure if he has any fingernails left. Typing suks with no fingernails. Blood everywhere. ]

If you boil down the difference between you and them, you come up with the following philosophical contrast » they feel/believe access to information should be freely available (OPEN) .. whereras you feel it should be controlled & restricted.

That's why the Geek approach is » "Long as you guys aint fucking up or doing stupid shit, you got nothing to worry about."

[ In other words » dont fuck up, and dont do stupid shit.

Because it's difficult to question your foolish decisions if nobody knows about them. Hence your designations of "SECRET" and "TOP-SECRET" and "TRIPLE TOP-SECRET". ]

Open vs Controlled & Restricted. Now WHO do you propose should be the one doing the controlling & restricting?

But once you start talking about INFORMATION and information technology [ IT ], and the communication or transfer of that information .. now you're talking about THEIR world (.. the shark's world). Cuz that's where they live.

Right now you have people working for you who hold top-secret clearances. And if you are paying them to do unethical shit, there's a chance that their conscience will start to bother them. (That's why you should only hire people who have no conscience.)

And if they work in IT, they no-doubt have IT friends .. who likely know other IT people. You see my point. It only takes one. The odds are against you. Sure they work for you (because you pay them well), but they are Geeks at heart.

Chicago NATO Protest | May 20, 2012» The DUTY of Honorable Citizens

Knowing what I know about you, I dont think you will "get it" ..

.. that civil disobedience is a DUTY for honorable citizens .. when their leaders are fucking up in grand fashion.

But hey, there's always hope.

Yet I must express my reservations. Because I would be surprised .. if you *did* get it. So here's a bit of official speculation » you will never see it coming. Like a ghost. =)

None of this would be necessary if you guys werent so blatantly corrupt .. so motivated by greed for the almighty dollar. How many yachts can you water ski behind?

You are obviously not strong enough to resist the corrupting influence of power.

[ But I've been praying for you .. that you smarten up .. before you piss off the hive.

They are just playing now, tuning their wings. But if they get really pissed, they will come after your ass .. with a vengeance. And then you're fucked. (Give me points for clarity. Ozy sends his best.)

I shouldnt need to remind you that Geeks gave you the atomic bomb .. the power of the sun itself .. by no means their last trick.

But you are smart people, too .. or you wouldnt be where you are. So start making smart decisions .. because it appears you are playing with fire. (And the Hammer cometh.)

Despite an abnormally low tolerance for incompetence, corruption (viruses & other malware) & bullshit in general .. that tends to send them into that nasty stinging frenzy you've heard about .. geeks are actually very nice.

You neednt worry about them taking over, cuz Geeks dont care much for Politics (.. which they consider inherently evil). They only get upset when your bullshit starts to affect them.

But you guys really fucked things up in the Credibility department, and that will be difficult to repair. ]

Dont say I didnt try to warn you.

I'm not saying it IS .. but you can call this the Rad prophecy .. for purposes of labeling and identification.

Because .. it can be downright difficult to recall names ..  when your dumb ass is trying to dodge lightning bolts. =)

» This entry is Part 2, continued from Part 1, which is posted here » Geeks vs the Government | Game On - Part 1. It was split into three parts in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

And now, here is the continuation of » Geeks vs the Government | Game On.

Spiral Twilight ZoneReality Check

Okay, my ego realizes that Ben's "massive fiscal cliff" comment is more of a stretch than the ones made by James Grant & Richard Fisher, but there have been other such examples I could cite ..

.. where it sounds like prominent economic people have begun touting concepts that sound remarkably similar to the ones I put forth in that New Year's eve entry. But, like I said » it's NBD.

If you happened to read my holiday entry, you know it contains MANY such unique concepts and ideas .. cuz I never heard of them myself .. until they started popping into my head.

I mean, it wasnt like I was trying to think about this stuff in great detail (.. depressing shit that it is). Because the closer you look, the more worrying it becomes. Ignorance is bliss .. reality is not.

These ideas seemed to come to me ON THEIR OWN .. while I was minding my own business .. or taking a shower .. or preoccupied with other things .. as tho my quest for some semblance of Economic understanding had somehow morphed (.. on its own) into an Indiana Jones hunt for solutions.

Maybe it's a geek thing (.. problem solving). Either way, me » "Wow!"

[ Think I'll buy a few extra bags of rice & beans come December. On second thought, this might be a good year to plant / grow a garden. ]

And even my ego feels uncomfortable sharing the #1 coolest, uncannily similar comment I've noticed coming from prominent economic people (.. two of them). I mean the evidence is there. Strikingly so.

But .. perhaps it's just another coincidence. Later in today's entry, I will include a link to a clue. Here's a hint for now » Magic Mountain.

And if you start hearing talk about how we should be running our economy LESS like a Free Money Tree (FMT) for a small group of politically connected cronies ..

.. and MORE like a military reactor [ .. something powerful-n-dangerous, with the ability to ruin the lives of many, and thus regulated as such .. ]  you'll know THAT idea also came from me.

Society, Values & Ethics

What would happen to the economy, and to the stock market, if tomorrow we balanced our budget and the Fed zero'ed its balance sheet?

I'm not talking about actually paying down our debt. Rather merely not going further into debt and removing the artificial stimulus.

Does not the essence of the US$64T question seem to be » "Is keeping the markets artificially inflated today ..

.. 6 months before a presidential election and nearly 4 years after the financial crisis of 2008 ..

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948).. MORE IMPORTANT THAN our children's future?"

Because we do this at our children's expense. At what point does enough become enough?

Anybody sat down to calculate that number? (Why do I doubt it?)

At what point does economic "stimulus" (.. for which our children receive the tab) become immoral?

Does it EVER become immoral? Do we keep running Trillion dollar deficits 'til kingdom come?

Perhaps an easier question » when is it NOT immoral?

Are low interest rates really a valid reason for loading our children's future with debt? Come on, Laura. You must've skipped Ethics in school.

I mean, sure .. if we wanna borrow at historically low rates .. and stick the money in a reserved fund somewhere .. where nobody (i.e. no crackhead-like spend-crazy politicians) can touch it .. then, sure, "Let's do it."

But that isnt what's happening. No, ma'am. Rather we are spending every penny fast as we can. And it seems like a disproportionate share of this debt is going into the pockets of those who need it least. Does it not?

Okay, I'm going to reread this one, but the first time thru, I thought, "That must be some good Koolaide you're drinking." Black is white and white is black.

Oh, and you might wanna stop quoting Larry .. cuz he has a track record and it has failed the smell test. Badly.

Hey, look! There's Gandhi. Let's ask him .. and see what he has to say.

"Mr. Gandhi! Excuse me, sir. Can we have a moment of your time? We'd like your opinion on a matter."

Notice how today's BAD economic news is considered GOOD news .. by Investor$ & Trader$ & Folk$ who own stocks .. cuz that means that our political and economic leaders (.. not the most scrupulous people you've ever met) are more likely to throw EVEN MORE MONEY at the problem.

Not THEIR money. No, sir. That shit would most certainly come to a screeching halt if it were THEIR money.

However you happen to parse this effect / response (.. black is white and white is black), it means our leaders are more likely to transfer the NEGATIVE EFFECTS of today's poor political and economic decisions onto future generations.

Think about it .. in terms of morality, ethics, and future generations.

Those, my friend, are VALUES questions. They involves many factors. But, at least ONE of these aspects under consideration should include » ethics (.. seeing that children can't vote).

Because, if you eliminate ethics from the decisions that affect both society and future generations .. and simply SELL THEM [ .. the decisions that affect society and future generations ] to the highest bidder ..

.. as Capitalists have been known to do .. obviously, the highest bidder will prosper, and thus prospering, be therefore able to afford / purchase even more decisions.

The result » a self-perpetuating, self-reinforcing, ever-strengthening recursive cycle that benefits both the BUYER & the SELLER .. at the expen$e of everybody else.

Sound familiar? It should .. cuz it describes the relationship between Washington & Wall Street. It's called the "Revolving Door Syndrome".

Todd Harrison | CEO MinyanvillePolitical Capture

This is something that people everywhere are conscious of. Wonky types use the term "political capture" to describe and refer to the End Result of this phenomena.

Near the end of this video (at t=2:40), Todd Harrison, the CEO of Minyanville, and a guy who sounds very level-headed and well spoken, says:

"I would argue -- and this is a delicate conversation -- that if we're not careful in terms of how we move forward on a regulatory basis and thru a social-mood lens ..

.. then the free market capitalist system -- which, uh, we HAVENT HAD *true* free market capitalism in a few YEARS now -- that's in danger of surviving for the next 10-20 years."

Key phrases » "delicate conversation" and "danger-of-surviving".

Watch the video yourself. It's only 3 minutes long. And you'll see that he could not be more sober, rational and level-headed. He is wearing a suit and tie, and his arms are not waving in the air.

[ I mean, I would be more than happy to translate that into less delicate terms .. if you'd like.]

I am surprised Todd uttered these words in a public forum .. seeing that he WORKS FOR wealthy people with lots of money to invest .. people who, if they ever heard such a statement, might FIRE HIM (.. withdraw all their money from his accounts, from which he takes a cut).

Let's parse the 'delicacies' of his comment. By using the somewhat vague term "social-mood," he seems to be referring to social INEQUALTY .. which is okay for somebody like Stiglitz to talk about .. cuz Stiglitz doesnt work as a Money Manager for exceedingly Wealthy clients.

If I had, for example, lots of money invested with Todd and his company, and I heard him making such comments .. I might believe that he was advocating the "reallocaton" of my assets (socially) to those "others" .. who have less. Much less.

While this is certainly a noble gesture, it also, given his profession, comes with RISK, which investors tend to shun, unless it comes with appropriate compensation.

My sense here is that Todd's statement is an indication of just how bad the system has become. For if it werent that bad, he never would have been so bold to utter it in public.

The only thing worse than all investors pulling their money out of Todd's company .. would be .. the disintegration of that SY$TEM altogether. In which case it wouldnt matter.

Debt-Deflation Death Spiral & the End of Civilization as We Know it

Speaking of the "danger-of-survival," there's an 8-minute video posted at CNBC » HERE, where an ordinary-looking guy named Richard Duncan argues that out current economic crisis is all about » CREDIT ..

.. .. and he says that, when we broke the gold-money link 40 years ago (under Nixon), we removed all constraints on the creation of credit, which subsequently increased 50-fold (.. from $1 Trillion to $50 Trillion) in 43 years ..

.. .. but that credit can expand no further, because the private sector can no longer repay the DEBT it already has.

Duncan says (at t=7:00), "If this credit bubble pops, the depression could be so severe that I honestly don't think our civilization could survive it."

At t=3:00 he uses a term I've never heard before » debt-deflation death spiral. This guy, like Todd Harrison, seems very sober. No arm-waving. No ranting and raving. Dont miss his "worst case scenario" at t=7:35.

The most interesting point however, comes from Roger at t=4:30, who concludes his commentary at t=6:40 when he says, "We can defer, but we can't prevent. And I agree with you, there is gonna be a depression."

This has been my intuition .. that it is just a matter of time .. and the longer we defer the day of reckoning, the worse it will be. In other words .. stay tuned for your Rad chronicle of the End of Civilization as we know it. =)

I'm not going to discuss it right now, cuz it could easily turn into an entry of its own .. but .. regarding the point that Roger made beginning at t=4:30 .. something about that idea has lingered .. a factor that needs consideration. Something I never thought about but can see why the question needs to be asked. Wish I woulda thot to ask that question myself.

Jamie the Fox Guarding the Henhouse

Regarding to the Revolving Door Syndrome, how can you have Jamie Dimon, himself a private banker, who heads JP Morgan, the nation's largest bank, at the same time sitting on the Board of Directors of the New York Federal Reserve?

» As mentioned in my New Year's eve entry, which represents an attempt by a concerned citizen-parent to wrap his head around the incomprehensible and portray the problems plaguing the future of our nation's economy » I am no Economist. But ..

.. I'm starting to see articles (posted by professionals) that appear to echo points I made ..

James Grant.. about our economy being "heavily-medicated" for an increasingly troubling length of time ..

.. such as » THIS ONE, posted by Bloomberg, which references an interview conducted with the erudite James Grant, who uses the term » over-medicated ..

.. while he was discussing the government's response to the recession of 1920 that helped shorten its duration.

Probably just a coincidence. New Years eve, you might recall, is when I wrote »

"A little medicine can be a good thing. A great thing, even. But when the medication NEEDS TO CONTINUE .. over an extended period .. that's a bad sign. Because, IF IT CONTINUES .. the road (in my experience) always leads to » death."

IF you followed my line of reasoning in that entry ~ ..

.. posted 4½ months ago, and which was intended to be a fresh look at our nation's storied economic problems .. with eyes that have not been academically indoctrinated ..

.. by the acceptance of predefined concepts .. which can lead to predefined (within-the-academic-box) thinking .. and result in predictable, but inaccurate conclusions. (See t=8:20 here for an example of what I mean.)

So I come from a very different background, which gives me a decidedly different perspective .. than the regular commentators you normally hear discussing the economy ..

.. and especially since readers claim I have a knack for discussing sophisticated concepts in ways that ordinary folk can easily understand .. breaking it down into easy-to-chew bite-sized morsels (.. cuz that's how I like to chew them myself) ..

.. ~ THEN you know that the "long-term heavily-medicated patient" was my own concocted analogy .. for the State-of-our-Economy, based on my own Life Experiences.

It was an intuitive analogy .. one that I wasnt even sure was valid, which is why I included copious hyperlinks .. to identify & support the basis for my concepts. [ Regulars know how I strive for the authenticity that comes only from original thought. ]

Not that I would ever complain about a professional taking up where I left off. Especially not one who wears a bow tie and might become our next Chairman of the Federal Reserve. =)

Richard Fisher | President Dallas Federal Reserve BankSpeaking of the Federal Reserve .. here's another article you should see .. which helps make my point.

It contains a comment from the President of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, Richard Fisher, who says (paragraph 6):

"Adding to the accommodative doses we have [already] applied, rather than beginning to wean the patient, might be the equivalent of medical malpractice."

Here's one more .. again, from my good buddy Rich over at the Dallas Fed:

"We don't need any more monetary morphine."

I added bold-type. If nothing else, this confirms the validity of my analogy .. according to people who would certainly know. And you must admit, his comments are very clear. No need to guess or hire a double-speak interpreter.

Rad Ego

It's no big deal (NBD) .. but, uh, I have not been able to find any articles that reference the use of an analogy that is anything similar to one that compares our economy to that of a "long-term heavily-medicated patient" .. posted PRIOR TO the New Year.

The first was that Bloomberg article, quoting James Grant, which surprised me. It is dated February 14, 2012 (Valentines day). The articles quoting Richard Fisher are dated March 5 and March 22, both 2012.

So if you happen to find one dated earlier than December 30, 2011, or even before February 14, 2012 .. please kindly forward me a link. Gracias. Cuz my ego is convinced » "Dude! They are totally reading your shit!" =)

No mere mortal can guarantee that they're always accurate, but I *do* try to think for myself and retain an element of healthy skepticism when it comes to widely-held beliefs ..

.. which is something we ALL need to do a little more often .. cuz the current thinking obviously isnt working very well .. especially not for our kids .. as many seem to agree.

Ben Bernanke | Chairman of the Federal Reserve warns Congress about Massive Fiscal Cliff coming January, 2013The Oracle & the Iceberg

But, wait! There's more! Cuz New Years eve is when I also said:

"So .. when I look out over the valley that is 2012, what do I see? You should hope I have no prophetic gift ..

.. because I see it getting ugly, or I see it getting worse .. just below the layer of FOG sitting there."

And smack dab between Grant's Valentines day comment and Richard's the very next month came one on Feb 29 [ leap year day ] from Bernanke himself ..

.. who happens to be the closest thing we have to an Economic oracle .. who warned Congress about a "massive fiscal cliff" coming on January 1st, 2013 (.. now 7½ months away).

The phrase "fiscal cliff" is a term that some people interpret to mean "disaster" .. cuz, uh, that's what usually happens when you walk off a cliff. (And you know what they say about 13 being an unlucky number.)

Instant recession. Just add water. Political water. As the politically independent CBO confirms. So our leaders can't claim that they didnt see it coming .. like they did last time.

And some economists think things might start getting squirrely well BEFORE January 1st .. amid "uncertainties" surrounding the rapidly approaching precipice. Fear of the unknown. (See t=2:45 here.)

The Fiscal Cliff | A thriller from Washington, coming to theaters near you, January 1st, 2013The Fiscal Cliff

Some economists think it would be best if we just jump off the fiscal cliff ..

.. while others think that the effects of the Fiscal Cliff could be WORSE than many anticipate.

This article, for example, by an economist at BoA is titled » "Fiscal Cliff May Make Europe Look Like a Dip."

I said VALLEY. Ben said CLIFF. Coincidence? (You can easily see the date on the Bernanke article.)

Either way, you must admit » Ben does look a little scared, and his choice of words there is surprising .. uncharacteristically alarmist for one of our economy's biggest cheerleaders.

Like me, Ben is also using geographical terrain as a METAPHOR for the future of our nation's economy .. tho my view also includes the SOCIAL ramifications. Because, while many Economists ignore them, the two can't be separated.

Now I will concede that a VALLEY may or may not be bordered by a steep CLIFF (.. perhaps a gentle slope).

But clearly, Ben is talking about a particular type of cliff .. one that proceeds from » high ground to low .. just like the view taken in of my valley .. that I "look out over" (.. and not up from below).

In other words, neither one of us is talking about the kind of geography that you climb .. but rather the kind that involves a drop .. whether it be it gradual or abrupt.

[ As if the Fiscal Cliff werent bad enough, Goldman Chief Economist Jan Hatzius is now predicting a "Monetary Cliff" to accompany our Fiscal Cliff. (You can't make up this stuff, folks.) ]

The Unsinkable Economy Headed Straight for Massive Congressional Iceberg

It wasnt long before everybody standing on the Fiscal Deck of the USS Economy in the thick forecasting fog that frigid leapyear night said, "Cliff? Yikes! Iceberg! Dead ahead! Sound the alarm! Admiral Ben said it's massive!"

[ Cant you almost hear the music playing in the background? .. where the rich survived and the poor died .. in the freezing-cold waters of the North Atlantic on the night of April 15, 1912, exactly 100 years & 1 month ago ..

.. cuz there were not enough lifeboat$ to save everybody .. as the unsinkable sank. ]

United States CapitolWe have already seen what our leaders are capable of (.. or should I say incapable of) .. during the last raising of the debt-ceiling.

And guess when the next round of debt-ceiling dialogue will be? [ Pause for effect. ]

That's right .. I shit you not. It could NOT come at a worse time. Like a perfect storm, it will coincide perfectly with Admiral Ben's fiscal precipice .. uh, I mean cliff.

Some claim we might even reach the debt limit (ceiling) BEFORE election day. Talk about an October surprise.

I must admit, you guys are certainly very good at keeping things interesting for John Q. My toes tingle nearly all the time. "Lively!" as Long John Silver would say.

Does it not seem that our nation's economic problems are starting to become more POLITICAL than economic?

Because the point at which our economic problems become Political .. is the point at which we find ourselves enmeshed in a bona fide CRISIS. A crisis of confidence, if nothing else.

At the ugly end of our political Bell Curve, there's no telling how nasty things could get.

Here's how you'll know when our Economic problems have morphed into a Political problem » when the economy starts to suffer as a result of political dysfunction. For example, one economist says here (10th paragraph):

"The cliff is likely to hurt growth this year as much as next year. By risking a recession-sized fiscal contraction and then offering no guidance to how it will be resolved, politicians are creating a major uncertainty shock."

Regarding a solution to our current situation (.. which he terms a "Depression") Krugman says at t=1:20 here » "The economics is actually quite easy. It's only politics that stands in the way." [ And no, he doesnt stutter. ]

I would contend that day has arrived. Because our dysfunctional political system looks UNFIXABLE. Or are you seeing something I'm not?

United States CapitolAm I the only one who feels a little uneasy about our government's ability to deal with unconventional challenges? I think not.

Our economic leaders have already proven their incompetence. They have already demonstrated their ineptitude.

And the way that they "FIX" these problems (.. that they themselves create) .. is uh, by asking Congress to forkover mind-blowing amounts of taxpayer money (.. borrowed from China and put on our kids' credit card).

That's like your neighbor saying, "Sorry about my bar-b-q catching your house on fire. But at least I called the fire department and had them put it out. Here's the bill, by the way."

I do not know what would become of global financial markets, but I suspect the mere specter of a United States default would be most unsettling.

This might be a good place to mention that .. it has become clear .. that Wall Street's financial wizards are much smarter, craftier & dedicated than Washington's regulators ..

.. who, time & again (& again & again & again & again & again & again & again & again & again & again & again) have proven themselves either INEPT or willingly ignorant .. just like the government they represent.

Incompetent or bought off? Does it matter? Which would be worse? Meanwhile, Wall Street has figured out how to flourish regardless which administration takes office. Because they own both parties.

Your buddies at Wall Street damn near flush the whole economy down the pooper .. and you cant find a single thing wrong? "Looks kosher to me." Actions speak louder.

Yet let somebody tell a few of your secrets and you're suddenly all up in arms. So you can see why we feel your priorities are outta whack .. like you're looking for love in all the wrong places.

Regarding your secrets .. we're living in the Information Age, the Digital Age. Remember? Don't worry, you'll get used to it. It takes everybody a while.

As Steven Aftergood says: "Secrecy cloaks not only the operations, but their justification and rationale, which are legitimate subjects of public interest" .. for affairs that you guys are doing in the name of the American people.

I know it seems hard to believe .. but even after we drop off Ben's "massive fiscal cliff," the nation will STILL be running massive fiscal deficits.

See this video (at end of article) at t=9:15 to hear the Chairman discuss the Fiscal Cliff with members of Congress. Watch his lips at t=10:40.

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