This page has several hours of YouTube videos of peaceful and serene music distributed over several playlists. Click on “continue reading” to show all playlists. Single click on a playlist to start playing. After that, double click on the playlist to make it full screen. Double click again to change it back. Several of the Continue reading »

O Canada … Uh Oh!

Our friend JR alerted us to this video commentary on the Canadian economy. The video was published May 19, 2013 and we assume that it was produced at a point close to that. At almost 48 minutes it is on the long side and somewhat tedious. However, it is comprehensive in its view of the economy and broad social and economic analysis.

It should be noted that not all of the data is current. Some is taken from studies in prior years and from data sets that lag in reporting. Some economic principles may not be without controversy. Still, the overall picture is one of social and economic decline in an inverse relationship to the growth of the welfare state. Since this growth is continuing the economic picture painted will only get worse.

The commentator spends a long part of the end of the video describing the plight of natives. The problem with his position is that it is entirely one-sided – blame the government. Any obligation on the part of natives to adjust their position and take responsibility for their actions is ignored. If you’re running short of time or have become bored, you might end it at this point.

Without further comment, here’s the video:

The Real Job Situation in Ontario: Ugly

Since the governing Liberals have proven to be inveterate liars as we have documented many times, we thought we would review the latest job statistics for Ontario. As background, particularly for understanding what seasonal adjustment means, read The Lies My Mommy Told Me, Part II.

The June Statistics Canada Numbers

First we look at the last year’s worth of data in CANSIM Table 282-0087, Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by sex and age group, seasonally adjusted and unadjusted monthly. From June 2013 to June 2014, the number of people employed increased by 22,000. This is composed of an increase of 31,200 full-time jobs and a loss of 9,200 part-time jobs. This reflects a modest improvement, year over year, in the job situation with a net increase and a likely conversion of part-time into full-time jobs.

Now let’s look at the job numbers in various sectors of the economy for the same period in CANSIM Table 282-0088, Labour force survey estimates (LFS), employment by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), seasonally adjusted and unadjusted. Table 1 shows the two sectors, goods producing and service producing, along with a few sub-sectors that had the greatest effect on month-to-month changes.

A Brief History of Relations between Israel and Russia During the Years of the Cold War


With this essay, Paul has begun a new series on Jerusalem and Moscow. The first essay in the series follows: A Brief History of Relations between Israel and Russia During the Years of the Cold War. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work. The essay follows.

In a previous essay (“Israel Finds Opportunity in the Ukraine Crisis,”, June 5, 2014), I reviewed Israel’s efforts over recent weeks to triangulate between Russia and the United States on what the Americans (but not the Israelis) regard as the geopolitical issue of the day – Russia’s intrusions into Ukraine and its implications for NATO. Many commentators in America and perhaps even more in Israel have suggested that Israel’s behaviour in this matter amounts to violation of sacred commitments undertaken by Israel on behalf of the Free World during the Cold War. Others allow that, while there may be cynicism in Israel’s phoning in sick when its longtime ally needed its vote at the UN, account must be taken of recent provocations coming from the American side.

The Inevitability of Foreign Entanglements

By George Friedman

The Fourth of July weekend gave me time to consider events in Iraq and Ukraine, U.S.-German relations and the Mexican borderland and immigration. I did so in the context of the founding of the United States, asking myself if America has strayed from the founders’ intent with regard to foreign policy. Many people note Thomas Jefferson’s warning that the United States should pursue “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none,” taking that as the defining strategy of the founders. I think it is better to say that was the defining wish of the founders but not one that they practiced to extremes.

As we know, U.S. President Barack Obama has said he wants to decrease U.S. entanglements in the world. Ironically, many on the right want to do the same. There is a common longing for an America that takes advantage of its distance from the rest of the world to avoid excessive involvement in the outside world. Whether Jefferson’s wish can constitute a strategy for the United States today is a worthy question for a July 4, but there is a profounder issue: Did his wish ever constitute American strategy?

Oil: Primary Energy Source for the Human Social CAS

On the “About” page of her blog site, Our Finite World, Gail Tverberg writes:

In early 2007, Gail decided to devote full-time to issues related to oil shortages, and other shortages, and their impact on the economy.

She explains in one sentence what she is about – a researcher and writer on the relationship between material shortages, particularly oil, and the economy. A sharp focus like this is usually the sign of a sharp mind. At the same time, she confirms our intuition that the issues around oil are a full time job, validating our decision to largely avoid the topic. Now that we share her interest in the context of networks or CASs, we will pick up the topic by distilling her latest essay, Why Standard Economic Models Don’t Work–Our Economy is a Network.

This essay becomes the first on the energy aspect of our new series on complex adaptive systems (CAS: The Operative Principle Behind Everything). In extracts that we quote from her essay any emphasis will be ours unless otherwise noted.

Why You Need Bees

A recent phenomenon of rising concern is the die-off of honey bee colonies. The problem is placed in perspective by this delightful TED talk (15:57 minutes) by biologist Marla Spivak.

Our particular interest apart from the nature of the bee colony itself is the connectedness of a range of factors that converge in this problem. We explain why you should care.

Sam Collins – July 2014

  • Short-term:
    • defensive waiting on how market handles DOW 17,000
  • Midterm:
    • bullish
  • Long-term:
    • the long-term trend is bullish

Jeopardy Question: This Body of Water Determines the Fate of the Modern Day Anasazi

The answer is Lake Mead and the civilization that is about to disappear like the Anasazi is Las Vegas and its profligate life style.  We were motivated to write this essay, partly because it is a piece in the puzzle of a larger theme that we have begun on complex adaptive systems (CAS: The Operative Principle Behind Everything) and partly by this article from Zero Hedge: Las Vegas Is “Screwed”; The Water Situation “Is As Bad As You Can Imagine”. We first look at a few facts about Las Vegas. Then we look at Lake Mead and its importance to the region. Finally we look at the present state of affairs and Las Vegas’ future.

The Sunni Ramadan Offensive and the Lessons of Tet

By George Friedman

In February 1968, the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong launched a general offensive in Vietnam during Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. From mid-1966 onward, the North Vietnamese had found themselves under increasing pressure from American and South Vietnamese forces. They were far from defeated, but they were weakening and the likelihood of their military victory was receding. The North Vietnamese decided to reverse the course of the war militarily and politically by marshaling available forces, retaining only limited reserves and going on the offensive throughout South Vietnam.

The attack had three strategic purposes. First, the North Vietnamese wanted to trigger a general uprising against the Americans and the South Vietnamese government. Second, they wanted to move the insurgency to the next stage by seizing and holding significant territory and resisting counterattack. And third, they wanted to destabilize their enemy psychologically by demonstrating that intelligence reports indicating their increasing weakness were wrong. They also wanted to impose casualties on the Americans at an unprecedented rate. The American metric in the war was the body count; increasing the body count dramatically would therefore create a crisis of confidence in the U.S. public and within the military and intelligence community.

CAS: The Operative Principle Behind Everything

under construction

We first encountered complex adaptive systems (CASs) when doing graduate work in computer science. When our interests moved to economies and markets, the fact that these were CASs was always in the back of our mind. Recently it occurred to us that a/the fundamental property of a CAS is its internal energy in both quantity and structure, how this energy is acquired and how it is used. The acquisition of energy in an appropriate form is a necessary condition for the survival and growth of a CAS. Consequently we began to rethink CASs from the viewpoint of their inputs.

Very recently, several articles have come to our attention that seem related from our new perspective. It’s quite wonderful how a new line of thinking turns everything we encounter into a “nail” for it hammer out. We see a path forward that applies CASs to a diverse range of topics that have engaged our interest – some we have written about and many not even touched.

This inaugural essay will act as a table of contents to the series much like the one on socialism that we have been developing (Socialism: One of the Two Great Destructive Forces of the Twenty-first Century). The first step is to develop a definition of a CAS that we can begin from. A very cursory look at the literature suggest possibly several essays or chapters leading to a concise and sufficiently abstract representation of what a CAS is that it will have the widespread generality required to encompass our physical world. The notion of energy will have to be abstracted as part of this initial research or a close follow-on. We may then begin to analyze the classes of global problems that are gaining global prominence.

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