Pushed to the edge and really pissed off …

Hunger March – flickr/wikimedia commons

My old education institution in Florida – The Univ. Of Central Florida that was originally called Florida Technological Univ. – has had it’s own brush with a plot for mass violence. The person who was plotting this however committed suicide before carrying it out. Thought he did have the required implements of destruction.

UCF police said they received a fire alarm call around 12:20 a.m. As they responded to that call, police then received a 911 call reporting a man with a gun.

When police arrived, they found a student with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They also found a bag of improvised explosive devices, along with a handgun and an assault weapon. – Central Florida News 13

We may never really know the motivations behind this individual or his actions and proposed actions but it’s safe bet is was some personal problem or agenda that drove him to it.

There a those who like to see such situations as some idealistic political and/or religious or some other kind of plot. In most cases those who are involved are just people who feel they have been pushed too far and are generally just really pissed off and desperate. Desperation can drive people to do things and behave in a manner they would not under other circumstances.

If one looks at the history to most political and/or economic upheavals, they were generally started by people who had “Had enough” and were desperate. Even the Russian revolution caught Lenin by surprise when it began even though he and others had plotted the over throw of the Tzar, it was a spontaneous event by desperate people that initiated it. The same for the French revolution and nearly all other such situations.

And now with the current situation in Europe and the EU ministers decision on the Cyprus bank bail outs, they are sowing and fertilizing the seeds of another upheaval.

There’s been a great deal of discussion of how the deal came about, with a particularly detailed account at the Wall Street Journal. The new stance at the creditor nations and the ECB is that there will be “private sector participation” which is bureaucrat-speak for haircuts to the people who funded the banks. And in the fracas over renegotiating the pact so as to make it less unpalatable to the locals, the Eurozone officials have made clear they don’t care how Anastasiades skins this particular cat as long as he comes up with €5.8 billion from local deposits. Banks were due to be closed Monday on Cyprus for a holiday; officials are now considering imposing a bank holiday on Tuesday. Funds have been frozen in the meantime, producing what is likely to be the emblematic photo of this crisis, of a man trying to break into his bank branch:

. . . . .

Now the EU officials could easily calm nervous depositors by announcing an ECB-backstopped deposit guarantee, instead of the current national system which depends on not-exactly-credible central banks. Germany and its fellow surplus countries have hesitated about proceeding with the necessary steps to further economic integration (notice how the plan to implement eurozone wide bank supervision, which Germany insisted was a precondition to Eurozone-level deposit guarantees, has languished?). Germany is trying to maintain policies that are contradictory: it wants to continue to have large trade surpluses, yet not fund its trade partners; its wants debtors to meet their obligations, yet refuses to allow either enough in the way of fiscal deficits or monetary easing to keep debtor countries from falling into deflationary spirals, which assure default. Germany’s failure to relent on any of these conditions means that what breaks will be the financial system. – Naked Capitalism

It took FDR meeting with the heads of the unions and communists and socialist parties to convince him that this country was very close to another revolution in the 1930s. It was this sort of situation that brought Hitler to power and also brought down a number of leaders in other countries. People are not stupid and when they see that they are being sacrificed for the good of those in the upper crust..when they feel they have no say or recourse…when they feel desperate, they will eventually take matters into their own hands.

The PTB need to realize and be aware that it’s groups of highly desperate and pissed of people that will force a change in the current situation for good or bad. Not some high minded organized plot by some subversive element. Though these elements will often take credit for it, they generally are not the instigators.

The Earth vs The American Dream. At least one of them must go.

The End of The American Dream

My current vehicle has hit the end of the line. The clutch and throw out bearing expired in a puff of foul smoke. This is the 5th time I have had this happen. It’s a 1998 Subaru and needs other work as well. It served me will taking me up and down I95 and around central Fl. but it’s time to let it go. The replacement will be of a similar sort. Newer but not new. I do not require a brand new car as I do not drive that much, but do need to on occasion.

As the saying goes we are living in interesting times. What Morris Berman calls the Waning of the Modern Ages. Like The Waning of the Middle Ages described by Dutch historian Johan Huizinga and the collapse of the Roman Empire as explained by Joseph Tainter in his “The Collapse of Complex Societies” our modern capitalistic society is coming apart. And as Morris Berman says

….like our own age, not much fun to live through. One reason for this is that the world is literally perched over an abyss. What lies ahead is largely unknown, and to have to hover over an abyss for a long time is, to put it colloquially, a bit of a drag. The same thing was true at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire as well, on the ruins of which the feudal system slowly arose.

The right knows this. The right knows that by admitting that our current free market capitalistic system is the direct cause of climate change and global warming is the death kneel of this system.

But the Right is not fooled: it sees Green as a Trojan horse for Red, the attempt “to abolish capitalism and replace it with some kind of eco-socialism.” It believes—correctly—that the politics of global warming is inevitably an attack on the American Dream, on the whole capitalist structure. Thus Larry Bell, in Climate of Corruption, argues that environmental politics is essentially about “transforming the American way of life in the interests of global wealth distribution”; and British writer James Delinpole notes that “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, [and] regulation.” Continue reading “The Earth vs The American Dream. At least one of them must go.”

Detoxing from the Market based Economy and why it’s Advisable

Money syringe – flickr

OK here we are. The FED is once again trying to get people to indulge themselves in more needless spending so as to keep the severely damaged heart of the economy from going into cardiac arrest. This time the stimulant is call QE3. And as Ives Smith says, forgetabtoutit.

But the elephant in the room is what, if anything, these measures will achieve in terms of real economy impact. “Let them eat stocks and housing” has not been terribly successful. Even with super low rates, it has also taken massive sequestering of inventories for the housing market to have the appearance of stabilizing. We have low household formation due to young adults facing high unemployment, low paying jobs with generally short job tenures, and heavy student debt burdens. On top of that, we have generational headwinds as boomers hit retirement age and want or need to downsize. Keeping money on sale is not going to induce banks to lend more if they can’t find enough qualified borrowers. And the consumer deleveraging story is not as positive as the statistics would lead you to believe. A lot of it is involuntary, meaning driven by foreclosures. In addition, retirees also curtail their spending thanks to the fall in interest income they’ve suffered under ZIRP.

. . . . .

And where does the Fed go if a financial crisis or other shock occurs?

The Fed failed to see the crisis coming, failed to push for restructuring of consumer, particularly mortgage, debt, and is now in full bore “if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” mode. And in the crisis, the Fed was slow to act and then overdid when it finally roused itself (remember “75 is the new 25″?) it looks as if the Bernanke Fed is incapable of looking at its own history. Continue reading “Detoxing from the Market based Economy and why it’s Advisable”

Cold War – Hot Profits

“I’ve found the job where I fit best!” – Artist: George Ropper

Anyone who was here state side during WWII can tell you of the rationing that went on. Everything was rationed. From bread to tires. They can also tell you that no matter what industry you were in, you were doing defense work. WWII took this country from nearly 30% unemployment to 0 unemployment over night. New businesses formed overnight to meet the demands. Struggling businesses like Willys Motors became major contractors.

There were factories and corporations making each other’s products to meet the demand of the military. RCA, Stromberg Carlson, and Bendix all making the same radios. Willys and Ford made the Jeeps. Whole towns grew up from nothing to support new ship and arms factories. One could say that nearly every corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of USA Inc. The technology of the time expanded at a breakneck pace and the war paid for nearly all of it.

When WWII came to an end in 1945 the so called Cold War against what was called Communism began as well as a new war to fight it. Korea and the cold war kept many of these plants humming right along. And new defense systems needed new advances which meant lots of dollars for research and development and nearly all of it paid for by Uncle Sam. Working for a defense contractor – and at that time nearly all the major corporations were defense contractors – meant you could get whatever new and necessary equipment you needed to advance your project. And a lot of this made its way to the products that were sold to the general public as well.

Pretty sweet deal wouldn’t you say? Putting a good part of your research staff’s overhead on the government’s bill. And if the US military stopped being interested, you could also sell it to France or Egypt or Iran or Iraq or Israel or some South American country. And nearly every technical advance we saw had its origin or was advanced in some way through military material need – and I include NASA here . From television – improved for WWII, to computers – ENIAC for WWII became IBM. Continue reading “Cold War – Hot Profits”

Why the Military Is an Anachronism

WWII reenactment, Rockford, Illinois – Lyle Flickr Creative Commons

The other day I though I would surf over to Dpreview and check out the latest Digital SLR cameras from Nikon. I will admit it, I’m a Nikon bigot. The site reviews digital cameras and sometimes lenses. It’s pretty good with good comparisons, sample images and quality tests.

Yes I am lusting after the the Nikon D800, their latest offering in the pro-sumer or semi professional line. Excellent imaging even at ISO6400 and above. I have a D200 which is not that old but compared to the latest, it’s a 1957 Chevy.

And the newest Hasselblad medium format digital is even better. But then it’s 13 grand. We have the ability to find planets circulating other stars. Nearly every cell phone has a built in camera and the ability to upload images to the internet. We can eavesdrop on radio waves from other galaxies.

And here is the point of this diary – you can bet your sweet bippy the government, ours and others, have capabilities a few orders of magnitude better than what us lowly peons get to play with.

It’s a pretty good bet that no one country is going to invade another without someone knowing about it. Probably ahead of time. Continue reading “Why the Military Is an Anachronism”

It’s the Attitude….Dummy..

Amsterdam Apartment - Flickr

I have been looking for new digs. My current one was to be temporary when I moved here, until I got my “feel” for the area a little bit better. I looked at some new apartments/duplexes here but want to be able to “see” what other layout possibilities one could have. Kind of a “what if” I could find something that really was what my ideal would be. So I decided to see what was being done outside this country. I began with various cities/areas in Europe since I could easily convert the currency and find equivalent ones in my price range. I was rather surprised at what I found, though I shouldn’t been since I was very much experienced with other European products – electronics, cars, furniture etc. Continue reading “It’s the Attitude….Dummy..”

The End of Capitalism? – David Harvey

This is a fairly long presentation by Dr. David Harvey given at the Penn Humanities Forum in Nov. of last year. He gives a very good history of the situation in Europe as well as here. What lead up to it, why it was inevitable and the obvious outcome. And as the title suggests, why the end of capitalism is not only likely but also necessary. [h/t to SouthernDragon for turning me on to this as well]

If you watched the whole thing through you will see how Dr. Harvey says that a centrally managed zero growth economy is necessary. Before you ask how this could be done remember that during WWII that is exactly what we had. We also had some of the most technological innovation and advancement during those three years. And the remnants of this during the cold war years of the 1950s through the 1970s was nearly as great. Dr. Harvey’s website.

One of the biggest problems we have is that there are still a lot of people who either consciously or subconsciously still believe in the Fantasy of capitalism. Who still insist on playing the game the way TPTB have set it up. That things will “Get back to normal” if only _______________.

They fail to realize that THIS is the normal condition and that the previous decades or time up until the 1970s were the aberration and anomaly. And that they have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever “making it big”. Mostly the upper 20% and until they themselves are sleeping under some underpass, this is not likely to change except getting worse.

Everything that Bush and Obama has done and is doing,  is simply to hide this economic reality from the top 20% so they go on with their little fantasy. The financial equivalent of soma.

The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….

Future Shop B/W at the new Uptown mega mall in Victoria
Future Shop Uptown mega mall in Victoria BC – Flicker

While watching the tube as I ate breakfast the other day there was a commercial on from one of the large consumer electronics companies. Japanese, if I remember correctly – though I do not remember which one. It showed a large factory turning out various new gadgets using all these robotic arms and what not. The message being that their product was not touched by human hands or some such.

Continue reading “The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….”