What We’re Watching

In no particular order and with no ranking of importance as we see it: Global seismic and geothermal activity. Are the events linked and if so will activity increase? Japanese monetary policy. Will Abenomics finally implode and take the Japanese bond market with it? The US presidential race. What happens with and around Trump may Continue reading »

Bits and Pieces – 20170924, Sunday

Commentary: A favourite theme, the impermanence of democracy, is discussed in this article: The Sandcastle. We are near the end for this cycle.

Bits and Pieces – 20170909, Saturday

Commentary: A little unfocused this week. If you’re a goldbug, listen to Andrew Maguire: Whistleblower Andrew Maguire Exposed 14 Days Ago ‘Vampire Squid’ Goldman Sachs Was Moving In For The Kill. Maguire Now Says Admission By Goldman’s Currie Is A Big Deal.I think it was back in July when I  (I hope) drew attention to an earlier interview with him. Anyone who paid attention and purchased call options on GLD and SLV has done very well.

He is talking about a reset of the price of gold to significantly higher levels. Jim Rickards recently did a podcast selling his investment letter with a headline of $10,000 gold based on the premise of a global currency reset to a gold-backed scheme. A plausible argument but I’m not trading it.

Bits and Pieces – 20170901, Friday

Commentary: As food for thought, consider: Two New Totalitarian Movements: Radical Islam and Political Correctness. The former idea is not new new to readers of this blog but the latter may be. Rather it is a popular manifestation of totalitarian thought and practice in the West.

Civil Unrest: An Intimate History of Antifa. Also others are commenting on the rise of violence in division: The Rising Trend of Civil Unrest and Threats of political violence rise in polarized Trump era. Martin Armstron also comments: Extreme Left & Extreme Right Believe in the Same Thing – Oppress all Opposition. Finally, you won’t hear about this on the CBC: FBI, DHS Officially Classify Antifa Activities As “Domestic Terrorist Violence”.

Martin Armstrong identifies an aspect of the civil war in the US at the political level when he notes that Trump has been under continuous attack since he became president: Trying to Force Trump to Resign.

The Night When the Statues Disappeared

The Night When the Statues Disappeared

by Paul Merkley

Last week, answering the call from Black Lives Matter and other statesmen, mobs destroyed or removed statues of leaders of the Confederate cause all across the United States.

At a press conference on August 15, 207, President Donald Trump —  who has, after all, been at the forefront of more movement for change (good or ill) than any figure in recent History — stepped up at once to note the inspiration behind it all.

There were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee, I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists because they should be condemned totally… [But where is it all heading?] … George Washington was a slave owner …So [he asked the assembled reporters] will George Washington now lose his status, are we going to take down statues of George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson, what do you think of Thomas Jefferson? Are we going take down his statue, because he was a massive slave owner, now are we going to take down his statue? You’re changing history, you’re changing culture.

No great gift of prophecy was required to arrive at this, but only a talent for discerning mob mentality. Sure enough: “Bishop” James E. Dukes of Chicago’s Liberation Christian Centre has demanded that Mayor Rahm Emnanuel of Chicago rename the Washington Park.  He finds the First President undeserving of this and all his other honours because he was a slaveholder. So was President General Andrew Jackson – for whom another local park is  named.  Around the country, countless memorials standing on private ground are now in the crosshairs.

Bits and Pieces – 20170824, Thursday

Civil Unrest: I like the following article by Gregory R. Copley as it presents some thoughtful ideas on civil war that are thought-provoking: What Would A U.S. Civil War Look Like? We probably use the term “civil war” without any clear understanding of how we hold the idea. The following should provide some clarity.

In this article Copley sees “a gradual breakdown of law and order” that creates “a massive dislocation of the economy and currency” that in turn causes global economic and social disruption. He identifies the rise of  “urban super-oligarchies” and an”urban-based globalism” as one side in the war. He notes the formidable entrenched powers of this side that are destroying the nation-state:

urban globalists control most of the means of communications [is this new “means of production”; the 21st Century marxian dialectic?] and therefore control “information” and the perception of events. 

On the other side are  “nationalists … operating instinctively, and in darkness”.

From this viewpoint, the infighting that has been going on in the White House suddenly falls into perspective: Why Bannon Lost and the Globalists Won. The 2016 election might be considered to be one of the opening battles of this war. As Steve Bannon notes, the nationalists have lost this battle: Bannon: ‘The Trump Presidency That We Fought For, and Won, Is Over. But as he also notes, many more battles remain.

As a second characteristic dividing the sides in the war he sees the polarization of a fundamentally urban, abstract society against a fundamentally regional, traditional society.

a conflict between people with long memories (even if those memories are flawed and selective) and people to whom memories and history are irrelevant.

The former in turn is characterized by zzz. In other words, it is a conflict between identity and materialism, with the abstract social groups (the urban populations) the most preoccupied with short-term material gain.

At the level of the individual, the divide is between individuals with long memories – national identity – and people to whom memories and history are irrelevant. It is a conflict between identity and materialism, with the abstract social groups (the urban populations) the most preoccupied with short-term material gain.

Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a nationalist ideal that is pitted against the materialism of an urban society that is fed by the low economic costs of industry controlled by globalists. That the Washington Post owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is so virulently anti-Trump is no accident.

In short, urban globalism sees nations and nationalism as the enemy, and vice-versa.

As for the violence of Charlottesville: “Fear The Majoritarian Mob” – WSJ On The Left’s “Great Nazi Scare Of 2017”.

Bits and Pieces – 20170820, Sunday

Commentary: Trying to write a weekly blog to reduce publication overhead has not been helpful from the viewpoint of content because things are moving too fast. I’m going to try shorter daily posts.

A theme that I have posted links and comments about in the past is the idea of a new civil war in the US. Pat Buchanan writes from the perspective that the war is actually underway: America’s Second Civil War. I would agree.

The left has been working towards totalitarian government for a century and more. The cases where they have succeeded have resulted in some of the most brutal and repressive regimes in the world. The left, including our modern day progressives in academia and the arts are intolerant of any point of view differing from their own. This is why democracy is anathema to them. A totalitarian state where they have absolute control over the individual is their ideal form of government.

As I publish, this just out: Bannon: “No Administration In History Has Been So Divided”.

The US is very far along this divide and violence will be a common feature going forward. It is already a most uncivil war.

Bits and Pieces – 20170818, Friday

Commentary: I have commented briefly in the past about the evolution of retail in North America and the impact on urban development. Small town, even small city Ontario has seen its municipal core hollowed out and decay as small retailers vanished to be replaced by big box retailers and shopping malls on municipal outskirts where roads allowed access from a wider  dispersed population of suburban and rural dwellers. The collapse of shopping malls has been well documented in the US over the last year in particular. This corresponds with the collapse of the bricks and mortar retailers who are approaching or who have entered chapter 11. As an example, read: State of Retail: JCPenny Plunges, Now a “Penny” Stock; Amazon to Blame?

This week a new a new phase has been recognized as the end point of this process: Battle of the Behemoths, and Amazon and Walmart Battle for Retail’s Future. We have seen reports of towns in fly-over America where the Walmart has closed leaving citizens with no local source of products, especially food.

Bits and Pieces – 20170810, Thursday

Commentary: Martin Armstrong’s computer model has picked Aug. 12-13 and Sept. 11-12 as two key dates when a Korean conflict may begin: North Korea – Beware August 2017. That makes this weekend critical. There is more below that shows the growing tensions. George Friedman thinks there will be war but offers his thinking on NK behaviour: North Korea, Nukes and Negotiations. Finally … US “Confirms” N.Korea Has ICBM-Ready Nuclear Warheads, North Korea Responds To Trump Threat, Says It Is “Seriously Considering” Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike On Guam, and Trump Threatens North Korea With “Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen Before”. Which side makes the first move?

Some folks are beginning to look at the cost of a war with NK. Since the extent of the destruction cannot be known in advance, one can identify impacts while not being able to estimate them accurately. Read: How A Renewed Korean Conflict Is Going To Be Felt Around The Globe and “Under Any Analysis, It’s Insanity”: What War With North Korea Could Look Like.

Late comentary provides insight into one of the preferreed options: Pentagon Unveils Plan For “Pre-Emptive Strike” On North Korea. Most parties agree the a negotiated settlement would be the preferred option of them all.

I thought summer was supposed to be the quiet time when everyone went to the beach. The fall should be a doozy.

Bits and Pieces – 20170806, Sunday

Commentary: Things get interesting in the Democratic camp: Sorry Joe Biden And Eric Holder, Obama Just Picked His 2020 Candidate And It’s Not You. I can’t imagine that Hillary has thrown in the towel in her quest for righteous affirmation and glory. Biden has made it clear in the past that the world would have been saved if he were president. Saunders is getting old but with the revelations of the backstabbing job the DNC did on him, this cranky old man may not go quietly into that good night of that boneyard of American political ambition. And maybe Americans are not ready for another black president – Obama II.

Stay tuned for the next episode and in the meantime stock up on popcorn. You may need it to survive on if that crazy and mercurial leader with his ICBMs and nuclear bombs tries to launch a preemptive first strike on someone or everyone (Shall We Fight Them All?). Oh – I wasn’t referring to Kim Jong-un.

Bits and Pieces – 20170731, Monday

Commentary: I want to explain why Bitcoin can never be a viable currency. My understanding of Bitcoin is that there is an upper limit on the number of coins that can ever exist, somewhere around 21 million. The block-chain, as I understand it is simply a security paradigm for the system.

If bitcoin were only to be used to buy potatoes, the question of their relative values might be settled by adding the weights of all the potatoes in the world and saying that this is equivalent to the total number of bitcoins since bitcoins are assumed to be worth nothing for any other purchase. Let’s say that one ton of potatoes is equivalent (worth) 2.4 bitcoins (which hides the problem of fractional bitcoins – what are they and how do you manage them?).

Suppose next year there is a bumper crop of potatoes. There are twice as many potatoes but the same number of bitcoins. The value of a potato relative to a bitcoin has been cut in half.

Suppose farmers can agree that a bushel of wheat is equivalent to 10 pounds of potatoes. Further, they find that the amount of wheat grown is twice the amount of potatoes in value. Also, they decide to accept bitcoins for wheat. The total amount of merchantable produce in bitcoins is 3 times our initial example. That means a ton of potatoes is worth 0.8 bitcoins now.

Expand this to all products and services produced in the global economy and the value of a single potato becomes extremely small.

In a practical monetary system, the currency must be expansible to price the economy in practical terms and also be able to grow as the economy grows. Bitcoin can’t do either.

A useful model for understanding Bitcoin is the tulip mania in Holland in the 17th century – it’s a speculative bubble.

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