Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold

Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold
click pic to reminisce

Ebola  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_10_03
13:35

Well, three cases now.  The New York Times had assured us as recently as Tuesday that experts state the chances of ebola reaching the US were extremely small.  (That statement has been removed from the NYT website.)

I am anticipating tons of misinformation, for the most part unintentional, on both the overly 'no big deal' and the 'time to freak the fuck out' ends of the spectrum.  I have no idea which end is the correct choice at this time.

The dynamics of such an infectious pandemic are beyond my experience and understanding.  For the AIDS, I had a front row seat and I know that one, but that was a very different ballgame (much more difficult to transmit, incubation period of years.)  But I'm learning as fast as I can.

I have no idea if the approach of isolation, symptomatic and supportive treatment, and allowing the spread to burn itself out is worthy of confidence or of panic.  I am not clear on the ease or difficulty of transmissibility (considering some workers in full hazmat gear have been infected.) I do not understand the dynamics of spread in a large, dense city like Dallas or DC as opposed to the villages and modest urban areas of West Africa.  I have no idea if the CDC is doing a fantastic job, or are a bunch of bumbling happytalk fools dooming us to a mass death episode (or if their efforts are largely irrelevant.)

The fact that while China and Cuba sent hundreds of doctors to West Africa to work to stop this pandemic, while our government sent thousands of soldiers doesn't fill me with hope.  Seems representative of our general mindset.

Regardless of the actual threat level, I anticipate a rapid swing from too-calm complacency to full-on freak out, complete with militarized trampling of laws and freedoms in the interest of public health.  (Again, I have no idea if such a freak-out is right or wrong, warranted or not.)  Already in Dallas the finger-pointing wrt discharging the patient from the hospital, and authorities not allowing a cleanup crew to properly dispose of contaminated materials are signs of freak out.

I bet we in the developed world will have our own behavioral answers to the irrational violence directed against aid workers and hospitals in Senegal and Liberia seen in the past weeks.  Same level of irrationality, different flavor of expression is my guess.

That we as a society, and our governing authorities, are going to act stupid is a pretty easy and safe guess.  Now the tough guess--how bad is this gonna get?  With minimal information, knowledge about such things nor experience, I'll wild-ass it that it will be scary but not too bad, a few hundred deaths before burning out.  And the resultant panic will have significant economic and other societal bad effects, but will be blamed for much much more should this pandemic coincide with the next phase of financial panic and collapse.

October 2014 Final Jeopardy! Challenge  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_10_01
18:35

It's back.  Popular demand (one guy on the sportsfrog asked for it.)

Monday 10/20
Category:  Literature
Clue:  A chapter heading in this 19th century work calls the title character "One-eyed, Lame" another calls him "deaf"

Answer:  What is The Hunchback of Notre Dame    ?


Tuesday 10/21
Category:  18th Century
Clue:  Losses in this event included 12 chests of souchong

Answer:  What was the Boston Tea Party    ?


Wednesday 10/22
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?

Thursday 10/23
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?


Friday 10/24
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?


 ____________________

Wednesday 10/1
Category:  U.S. CITY FIRSTS
Clue: Among its firsts are underwater auto tunnel to a foreign country & corporation to net more than $1 billion in a single year

Answer:  Where is Detroit    ?



Thursday 10/2
Category:  2014 Newsmakers
Clue: Both making news in June, these 2 Davids with similar last names are LeBron's new coach & Eric Cantor's conqueror

Answer:  Who are David Blatt and David Brat   ?


Friday 10/3
Category:  TV in the 2000s
Clue:  A key scene of this sitcom's 2014 finale after 9 seasons was actually filmed in season 2

Answer:  What is How I Met Your Mother    ?

Monday 10/6
Category:  Music
Clue:  John Williams said his music for this event, not a film, tried to capture "the spirit of cooperation, of heroic achievement"

Answer:  What were the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, in Los Angeles, California? (I usually get the right answer for things in history which I was there)

What was the Olympics? is sufficient.


Tuesday 10/7
Category:   Fauxbituaries
Clue:   He received a real obituary in The Albuquerque Journal in 2013 noting his "long battle with lung cancer"

Answer:  Who was Walter White    ?  Breaking Bad character.  Guess he got what he deserved.


Wednesday 10/8
Category:  Novel Title Characters
Clue:  "His madness being stronger than any other faculty",  he "resolved to have himself dubbed a knight by the first person he met"

Answer:  Who is Don Quixote    ?


Thursday 10/9
Category:   Historical Figures
Clue:   A 2012 poll by Britain's National Army Museum voted this man, born in 1732, as the nation's greatest military enemy

Answer:  Who was George Washington    ?


Friday 10/10
Category:   Countries of the world
Clue:  It became a colony of the U.S. in 1898, a commonwealth in 1935 & an independent country in 1946

Answer:  Where are The Philippines    ?


Monday 10/13
Category:  Sports Figures
Clue:  He was featured on the September 22, 1947 cover of TIME, with the caption "He and the boss took a chance"


Answer:  Who was Jack Roosevelt Robinson    ?


Tuesday 10/14
Category:  Business
Clue: Today this company markets more than 100 times the number of products found in a slogan it used in 1896

Answer:  What is Heinz    ?  ("57 Varieties")


Wednesday 10/15
Category:  Wordplay
Clue:  Subtract a letter from the name of a keystroke found in computer commands & you get this violent reaction to social change

Answer:  What is 'backlash'    ?

Thursday 10/16
Category:  Literature
Clue:   This title 1864 adventure is embarked upon by a descent into Iceland's Mount Sneffels

Answer:  What is "Journey to the Center of the Earth"    ?


Friday 10/17
Category:   Coats of Arms
Clue:   This country's coat of arms features a palm tree & a 19th century American sailing ship
  
Answer:  Where is Liberia    ?


















Monday 10/27
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?


Tuesday 10/28
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?


Wednesday 10/29
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?




Thursday 10/30
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?


Friday 10/31
Category:
Clue:

Answer:  Wh    ?



Transparent Bullshit  

Posted by howard in nyc in ,

2014_09_15
17:35

Obama renews overt military attacks in Iraq, extending them to Syria, to counter the newest threat to our security, ISIL.  Bullshit.

This will be used to relaunch regime change in Damascus.  US bombs will fall on Assad's forces, and the US will now, finally, overtly try to destroy his rule.  I think this is Obama's idea of being clever--under the cover of the latest escalation against Terrorism, fool us all by actually waging war on Damascus.  What Russia does in response (if anything) will be quite interesting.  How this blows back, on Israel or otherwise, will also be interesting.

The  ceasefire in Ukraine has lasted longer than I expected, but it was never widespread or comprehensive.  While most of the fighting did stop, and the lack of killing over the past week is welcome, battles continued and shelling of civilian residential districts in Donesk killed dozens.  The ceasefire, to a significant degree, is bullshit.

During this respite, the Kiev forces are concentrating, reorganizing and rearming.  I expect they will launch significant attacks very soon, trying to secure some military victories before winter comes.  This is a guess--there are so many factors in play.  I also assume such a possibility is in the forefront of planning by the Novorussia military.  As well as in the plans of Putin and Russia, in their defense against the continued advances of NATO/EU/USA in Ukraine and the rest of Europe.

Amid all the propaganda and lies, attempting to discern the internal politics of Kiev and of Russia is particularly challenging.  The role of wealthy oligarchs in both capitals is particularly opaque.  While the Kiev regime was installed by the US and the EU, the degree to which the Western powers are pulling the strings day to day may have significantly decreased, given the military failure and the US 'pivot' to Syria.  Or not, and the next round of military violence visited upon the Donbass in the East may be specifically directed by Washington.

When the fighting renews, I anticipate Russia will respond in kind, as they did this spring and summer.  The latest round of mindless sanctions against Russia will again damage European economies much more than the target, both directly and with the inevitable Russian retaliatory sanctions.

There are big forces in the American power structure that promote these moves toward more and more war.  The fact that the economy is dead and not getting better cries out for major war to distract us from the harsh reality.  The dogma of so many of those in power (including in Jerusalem) that any chaos in the Arab world is a positive factor drives many of these policy 'failures'.  The factions in the Arab world allied with Washington (Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular) who have interests not aligned with American security much less with peace.

Yeah, attempting to discern the internal politics of Washington, New York, London and Jerusalem ain't exactly simple either.  Not all bullshit is transparent.


World War III Ain't Gonna Start Itself  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,

2014_08_29
21:05

The madness of the West's (USA, EU, NATO, Germany) attempt to tiptoe into Ukrainia is turning out not so much as the Obama State Department (and affiliated secret services) planned.  Such big brains and wise knowledgeable souls, too.  Shame they didn't foresee that Putin and the actual 'folks' who live in Eastern Ukraine didn't just say 'OK' when a democratically elected government was brutally overthrown, admittedly with intense involvement of the US, led by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland, and all the atrocities of the subsequent civil war, fueled and funded by US dollars, weaponry and policies.

This historic episode, unfolding since the start of this year, has been fantastic and surreal.  I am especially struck by third aspects--the increased level of raw lies and misinformation being relentlessly spewed by our government; secondly the astounding success of the Eastern Ukrainian people in winning this civil war (it ain't over yet, but the fat lady is warming up); finally, Putin's actions which have seriously reduced the risk of WW3, while at the same time securing the best interests of his nation using minimal military force and maximal diplomatic efforts.

I have not written much on this topic, but it is far more important than other current events.  ISIS in Syria/Iraq, Israel-Hamas, Ferguson, Mo are all repetition of well-established behaviors.  The clash of Russia and The West, this round at least, is novel, and has not been this hot and dangerous for decades.  One reason I have not written much is that the narrative of the USG and the media is so 180˚ from reality, and that false narrative is so widely accepted.  I can climb that steep hill in my own mind easily (a lifetime of practice) and in face to face discussions with friends, but not so much on a humble, little-read blog.

I tried to write a summary of events of the past eight months, but I just don't have the heart.  Instead, an extremely brief synopsis.

The US/NATO/EU actively overthrew the democratically elected, Russian leaning leader and government of the Ukraine in February. The US supported and financed, to the tune of ~$5 billion the junta that overthrew a democratically elected, Russian-leaning government.  This government was corrupt, but not particularly compared to prior Russian-leaning or West-leaning governments.  The rebellion followed the unacceptable rejection of a free-trade agreement with the EU.  (Funny, people don't generally turn out on the streets to demand regime change over trade agreements--not exactly the emotional hot button that fuels revolution.)  Without overt US prodding and support, there is no regime change--this is not a matter of opinion.

Nuland video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y0y-JUsPTU#t=447

They installed a hand-picked junta, which immediately passed laws restricting ethnic/cultural Russian Ukraine citizens in the eastern part of the country from basic rights of citizenship.  Not long afterward, people in two eastern provinces voted to secede, and Kiev launched a civil war to prevent their secession.

In response to the US coup d'etat in Kiev, Putin snatched the Crimean Peninsula, an essential piece of territory if you have a big navy.  It was far less of a snatch than portrayed by the US, as Russia had a long-term lease on naval bases there, the population is overwhelmingly Russian-speaking and otherwise ethnically/culturally, the new government in Kiev quickly passed laws outlawing the speaking of the Russian language and other stupid discriminatory laws, and the people of the Crimea overwhelmingly voted to secede, and to join the Russian Federation.

Obama and the West did not like this.  The leveled economic sanctions against Russia, and sent money and arms to Kiev to push the civil war.

The US loves elections, except when they don't.  Twice this spring in Ukrainia, the USG declared elections they did not like as invalid.  The second time, in Crimea, they couldn't do shit about it.  So they declared sanctions, the next best thing to doing nothing (but running their mouth.)

The civil war quickly became an exercise in ethnic cleansing, by the Kiev junta, with full matériel support and probable operational support of the USA, NATO and the EU.  But instead of a quick victory (as promised by Kiev,) the war bogged down.

The Kiev junta (and their west backers) have screamed and screeched repeatedly blatant large lies that Russia was 1) invading; 2) massing troops on the border getting ready to invade; 3) was directly responsible for the civil war (conveniently ignoring the direct responsibility of the USA for the civil war and the whole mess; 4) frequent outrageous specific lies regarding destroyed invading Russian armored columns, but providing zero evidence, just replacing the lie of the day with a new lie.

Then, someone shot down a civilian airplane, murdering 300 people.  Russia was immediately blamed, Putin anointed the next Hitler, and more sanctions leveled.

Funny thing, since that airliner was destroyed nearly two months ago.  There has been no large scale Russian invasion--only support on the same covert level as that of the West.  The actual culprit in the airline murder is likely the Kiev government.  Yet, no info from the black boxes, from satellite surveillance, from examination of the wreckage has been produced.  You can be sure were there proof of Russian or rebel blame, it would be all over the tv.  But, crickets.

Another funny thing.  The rag-tag rebels have been winning the civil war.  Despite weekly pronouncements (ie lies) that the rebels are being crushed, on the verge of defeat by the junta forces, the rebels are kicking ass and establishing their freedom from Kiev.  And while Putin is certainly providing some level of materiel support, just as is NATO and the USA, this is a rebel thing.  Putin's overt actions are sending food, water and generators into the war zone.  And advocating peace and negotiation.

I could go on and on.  I am distressed because the Kiev junta has murderously bombed the urban centers of the rebel territory relentlessly for weeks now.  As their defeat materializes, they increase the bombing.  Murdering their own citizens, with the full support of the US/NATO.  As they scream 'it's all Putin's fault--the Russians are coming'.

The lies and propaganda are distressing enough.  The mass bombing and murder of civilians, women and children, which dwarfs that happening simultaneously in Gaza, to the silence of the western media saddens me deeply.  Particularly because Obama and the west could stop the madness at any time.

But, there are fish to be fried.  The motives of the US were 1) NATO expansion, including military presence in Ukrainia, on Russia's doorstep, in violation of prior US promises across several administrations; 2) economic rape of the Ukrainian natural resources and assets, primarily fossil fuel, pipelines for fossil fuels, and vast agricultural lands; 3) retribution against Putin for his involvement in Syria, for Edward Snowden, and for his repeated making Obama look like the fool he is.

 As usual, oil/gas/pipelines underlie the whole murderous mess.  Mass civilian bombings, war fever, slav killing slav while the west prompts their proxies to kill some more.  And, ignominious defeat looms, with likely dismemberment of Ukrainia.

That is if we are lucky.  World wars start amid such instability and active stupidity/propaganda/casual mass murder/bullshit rhetoric from political leaders.  False accusations of invasion and shooting down airliners (passenger ships/the USS Maine) are lifted straight from our history books.

If only the USA would mind it's own fucking business, there would be a hell of a lot less killing and war.  But, not much profit nor political power in that.

August-September Tickets  

Posted by howard in nyc in

2014_08_21
22:15

Last six weeks of the season, they have a shot.  They aren't playing like contenders, but they are showing signs of life.

I thought I would be using the end of August tickets, but stupid work.  So, up for grabs.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value varies between $37 and $87. Price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Here are the open dates for the end of the season.  shoot me an email anytime, or comment here on the blog.


Mon 8/25 SOLD stubhub
Rockies 7:15
$37

Tue 8/26  SOLD
Rockies 7:15 
$54

Wed 8/27 SOLD Todd
Rockies 7:15

Thurs 8/28 SOLD
Rockies  12:45
$64

Fri 8/29
Brewers 7:15pm
$54

Sat 8/30 SOLD Marv
Brewers 1:05pm

Sun 8/31 SOLD Dayna
Brewers 1:05pm 
$64


Tue  9/9
 DBacks 7:15
 $37

Wed  9/10
 DBacks 7:15
 $37

 Thu  9/11SOLD eddie
 DBacks 12:45
 $54

Fri  9/12 SOLD Todd
Dodgers 7:15

Sat  9/13 SOLD Steve M.
 Dodgers 6:05

Sun  9/14 SOLD Dayna
 Dodgers 1:05


Thu  9/25
Padres 7:15
 $37

Fri  9/26
Pads 7:15
 $54

Sat  9/27 SOLD Todd
Pads 1:05

Sun  9/28 SOLD eddie
Pads1:05
$64 

The Latest Madman Who Must Be Stopped  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_07_28
23:45

The screech of US Government propaganda against Russia and Putin rings ever more loudly in my ears and in the lapdog mass media.  The degree of blatant lies, garbage and just made up bullshit is astonishing even compared to recent history (Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, much less Sadaam's fake-ass WMD.)

I've tried my best to hold my tongue during this Ukrania coup (clearly engineered and financed by the USG) and subsequent civil war.  Particularly after the shooting down of the Malasian Air jet, killing nearly 300 people.  But the nature, quantity and loudness of the lies from Obama, Kerry and the rest of the Ministry of Truth machinery is an incredible sight, even after a long life of suffering government lies.

The coordinated magazine covers of the newest Hitler, demonized in images on Time, Newsweek and The Economist, quaint in light of the fact that people don't actually read magazines anymore, set me over the edge.  Ten days after the apparent shootdown, not an iota of evidence has been offered to support the accusation that Putin, Russia or the Russsian-oriented rebels in East Ukraine/Novorussyia are guilty of the act.  Nothing, from the leader of spying and surveillance, with all those spy satellites, signals intelligence listening posts, internet monitoring, much less the actual flight data recorders and control tower communication tapes.

Nothing.  Not a goddamned crumb of evidence.  And you can be damn sure if such evidence existed, Joe Biden would be waving it in his hand at a press conference.

Instead, a constant rain of accusation.  Russia is firing missiles into the war zone (while it has been factually confirmed that Ukraine Army missiles have landed in Russia and killed people.)  Russia is providing heavy armor and weaponry (while the USA has advisers on the ground and the billions of US aid and IMF loans are being used to pay the Uke Army).  Now, that Russia has violated a treaty by testing cruise missiles, or some such.  Practically every day, a new charge, before any actual evidence to substantiate the prior screeches.

I can't and won't itemize here.  Plenty of folks more qualified and more devoted than me do so daily (start with http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/ ) But as a general rule, whatever is being said on CNN or by Kerry and Obama has turned out to be the 180˚opposite of reality.  That makes it easy to follow from a distance.

The media insists the Uke army is winning--in actuality they are getting destroyed by the undermanned, under equipped rebel force (who get most of their armor and heavy artillery the old fashioned way, captured from their enemy.)  The Russians are accused of wanton indiscriminate missile lanches--the Uke army is actually doing this, inflicting mass civilian casualties and terror.  The Ruskies shot down the airplane--yet the unpalatable likelihood that the Ukes intentionally murdered those 300 people, with an air-to-air missile from a fighter jet if not from their own SAM battery, or at the very least steered the civilian jet into a war zone for who knows what purpose.

If you hear it on the news, the opposite is the most likely true. 

These fucking people, overthowing yet another government they don't like, for the goal of containing Putin/fucking with Putin/getting revenge for how Putin clowned them in Syria.  And of course, massive natural gas and oil considerations--reserves, pipelines, etc.  No major war or war mongering does not have a huge energy component.  They have no idea, apparently because they never cracked a history book, how a small miscalculation, a small overreaction on either side, a unforeseen event in the context that they have created, can lead to a massive, cataclysmic, world war of annihilation.  Much less that their intentional war, meant to be brief and limited, can spiral out of their hands.

Then again, maybe they do know, and they just don't give a fuck.

I have a feeling this round of lies and propaganda is very different, than the recent and the more distant past.  I'm no fan of the psychopathic murderer Putin.  But he is the restrained party thus far, in both action and words.  Incredibly restrained considering how NATO and the USA are sowing death on his doorstep, overthrowing an elected government and installing a puppet (imagine the Soviets doing something like this in Mexico how the USG would've responded.)

And the propaganda is thus far highly effective.  I think a huge factor is fatigue--people who are generally informed and thinking (ie my circle of friends) are just exhausted by Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, on top of the domestic and economic circus that is life in 2014.  And, of course Israel/Gaza dominating the media.  So they are easy fodder to passively accept the message--'I'm really worried about the madman Putin trying to expand'.  I've heard this over and over. 

The populace of the USA are already halfway ready to accept the 'necessity' of a major war with Russia.  I'm just beyond boggled and flummoxed.  Weird, dangerous, ominous times.

Giants Tix and Nostalgia  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_07_21
11:45

As often occurs, I've been remiss in keeping the ticket list current.  With a few more followers, I'll be more motivated.

I'm in Cali today, had a high school reunion, and I'll get to see the Dodgers series.  I plan to be back sometime in late August, but I'll list some games I know I will not attend.

Great to see you guys at our reunion.  For some irrational reason I feel the weight of all these decades pressing upon me, in a melancholic way.  I think my denial regarding youth and the march of time finally broke.

shoot me an email anytime, or comment here on the blog. Sorry I don't have the face value prices at hand; we can work something out just give a call.






Fri 7/25 I'm using them
Dodgers 7:15pm

Sat 7/26 I'm using them
Dodgers 6:05pm 

Sun 7/27 I'm using them
Dodgers 1:05pm 



Mon 7/28 SOLD
Pirates 7:15
$37

Tue 7/29 SOLD
Pirates 7:15 

Wed 7/30 SOLD
Pirates 12:45 
$37


Tue 8/12
White Sox 7:15pm
$54

Wed 8/13
White Sox 12:45pm 


Fri 8/15
Phillies 7:15pm

Sat 8/16 SOLD
Phillies 1:05pm

Sun 8/17 SOLD
Phillies 1:05pm 
$64

Mon 8/25
Rockies 7:15
$37

Tue 8/26
Rockies 7:15 
$54


_______________
I think I am going to be able to use these last five dates of August, but I don't know yet (as of 7 August).  I'll keep it updated.

Wed 8/27 SOLD Todd
Rockies 7:15

Thurs 8/28
Rockies  12:45
$64

Fri 8/29
Brewers 7:15pm
$54

Sat 8/30 SOLD Marv
Brewers 1:05pm

Sun 8/31 SOLD Dayna
Brewers 1:05pm 
$64