Bits and Pieces – 20170502, Tuesday

Commentary: I’ve been struggling for a while with the problem of how to organize information. To capture one idea, that of “memes“, I include this short post: The ‘Taxation Is Theft’ Meme Has Officially Gone Mainstream.

The scientific method is simple: a) form a hypothesis; b) survey the literature on the topic, and; c) construct experiments to prove or disprove the hypothesis. At the masters level of graduate work, the object is to complete step “b” – master a subject or topic. At the doctoral level, the object is to complete step “c” after “a” and “b”. This is a very focused and narrow task.
Several times I have believed something to be true, formulated it as a hypothesis and begun to research the topic only to find that the hypothesis is false. But having hypotheses is valuable because they focus inquiry, reading and effort. As we read, we either find supporting evidence to strengthen and deepen our hypotheses or we find dissenting evidence that leads us to the conclusion our hypotheses are wrong.

I would extend the idea of a hypothesis into a larger concept I will call a theme. A theme  is more of a topic of interest than a fixed and limited proposition. As long as it remains open or active, there is a constant evaluation of information relevant to the theme with an assessment of how it affects the current body of knowledge comprising the theme. There is an immense amount of information available to us with a few keystrokes. It becomes important to have themes or other structures to act as filters in two ways.

The first filter applied to information is, “is this … relevant to any of the themes that I am exploring?” If not cease reading or use it to create a new theme to be pursued (be mindful of your time).

The second filter for material that is relevant is “what new piece of information is added by this item being read?” As our themes become developed, the amount of additional information provide becomes an increasingly smaller part of the material reviewed.

I am starting to formalize the idea of themes , but memes may be part of the classification. My idea of narratives likewise fits in. So if you have a favorite meme, please let me know of it. Fake news would be an example of a meme; the Russian – and even older Jewish – bogeyman would be examples of narratives and “climate change” would be a theme.

Civil Unrest: Soros at work in Poland – something to watch: Soros At it Again – Trying to Overthrow Polish Government?.

The War on Cash: India is at the forefront of the cashless drive. Digital wallets are an important instrument: An End to Credit and Debit Cards Starting in India?.

WWIII: I would not say that I support a Korean war but recognize that it must happen unless Kim Jong-Un can be removed in a less destructive way. The argument for war that I have recognized, however, is a different calculus than one based on Fake News: NYT’s ‘Impossible To Verify’ North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked By Media. I was wrong on timing (as always) of Apr. 25 as the start of kinetic warfare. The US assets are still in place. They have added an Ohio class sub to the mix. The Japanese are sending assets: Japan Deploys Warship To Support US ‘Armada’, Authorizes “Necessary Use Of Weapons” For First Time Since World War II  and the US has added surveillance assets: US Deploys High Altitude Drone To Spy On North Korea along with bombers, while risking “final doom”: Furious North Korea Threatens “Final Doom” After US Deploys Strategic Bombers. None of this temporary or limited doom stuff.

The American Empire (AE): I like this observation from Martin Armstrong (): “The US model moved from conquest to puppet vassal states – national building rather than occupying”. Hence, Harper and Trudeau with no significant divergent foreign policy. His short article also gives the basis for war: civil and economic unrest at home.

Meanwhile, more trouble on the periphery, this time in Afghanistan, even after MOAB: Regime Collapse and a US Withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Climate: This paper examines temperature changes in the Holocene period and points out the inadequacy of current climate models in relation to solar input due to the oblique nature of the earth’s orbit: Nature Unbound III: Holocene climate variability (Part A).

Bits and Pieces: Canada Corner: As reported in my last post: Furious Bank Run Leaves Canada’s Largest Alternative Mortgage Lender On Verge Of Collapse. I rate this as a critical issue for Canada because I do not know the ramifications of a collapse here, but feel it has the potential to spread to the chartered banks whose economic health I have previously reported as the most precarious in the world (Bits and Pieces – 20170310, Friday). Update: Contagion Fears Rise In Aftermath Of Home Capital Group Collapse and This Is What A Bank Run Looks Like: Home Capital Loses 70% Of Deposits In One Week.

Today (Monday) we read: Contagion: Home Capital Bank Run Spreads To Another Canadian Mortgage Lender.Now: Attention Turns To Toronto’s Subprime Debt Time Bomb. Let’s see how this plays out to gain perspective for the scenario where interest rates rise and defaults increase significantly in the Toronto and Vancouver markets. My letter to the editor:

Canada’s  largest mortgage lender outside of the chartered banks is Home Capital Group (HCG) which also offers banking services such as deposit accounts and GICs through a Trust subsidiary. The company has had a bank run reducing their deposit base by over $1.5 billion which would have rendered them insolvent had it not been for an emergency line of credit extended by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The president and CEO of HOOPP is James E. Keohane who was also a director of HCG when the deal was negotiated but resigned the next day when the news was reported.

While in theory, the line of credit can cover the deposit base, it doesn’t begin to cover the $12.9 billion of GICs outstanding, especially short-term  30 and 60-day GICs. If HCG is wound up as seems likely, is the taxpayer likely to have to cover any of HOOPP’s loses if such occur? For a laugh, HOOPP’s code of conduct states: “Board members and staff must avoid conflicts of interest.”

A lesson in taxes through pop-ular math: Philly Beverage Tax Blowback: Coca Cola Sales Plunge 32%. I don’t think I reported on this tax when it was first implemented, but now the numbers are interesting. Coke and Pepsi have stated that they are laying off 120-140 people. The indirect job loses through retailers and the delivery chain is unknown but likely exists.

We can call the phenomenon of the election of Donald Trump as “trumpism”, the phenomenon minus the personage. The reason trumpism is here to stay lies in this article: Economic Reality: Bottom 50% Of Americans No Longer Matter. Trump is the first person that this constituency could clearly focus on and get behind. If anything happens to Trump the effectiveness of the model has been proven and a new Trump will arise and take his place.

Heath issues I do not address here but I’ll throw out this one on aging since I have a personal stake in the process: How to Literally Anti-Age and Become Whoever You Want to Be. While I’m at it, here’s one on DNA plasmids that I discuss in an unpublished source: Genetic Engineering Will Make Pills and Needles Obsolete (and Enable Radical Life-Extension), .

More on the topic of systemic job loss and structural unemployment due to RAAI: “Technology Has Changed The Game”: Why The Rise Of Robots Will Be A Permanent Deflationary Force.

If  staging a missile attack on a sovereign nation is simply “after dinner entertainment” what will Trump replace Saturday afternoon at the movies with: Wilbur Ross: Trump’s Syria Strike Was “After Dinner Entertainment”. Maybe a war in Korea? Think of the fun in starting WWIII.

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