Tag Archives: Russia

Bits and Pieces – 20171108, Wednesday

Commentary: I see little chance that the power struggle in the Saudi royal family will spill over into something larger. The parallel might be Turkey where Erdogan consolidated power to become a virtual dictator. Here is an article that has a different point of view although it is unsupported: Making Sense Of Saudi’s ‘Game Of Thobes’. And here are a couple of articles on the struggle, Saudi Arabia Is About To Confiscate $33 Billion From Four Of Its Richest People. Perhaps the last word is: Real Motive Behind Saudi Purge Emerges: $800 Billion In Confiscated Assets.

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.

APRES MOI, LE ROI: Is There Monarchy in Russia’s future?

We present the latest essay from Paul Merkley. Paul discusses the idea that Russia might move towards a monarchy. This new essay is 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 that we have published.

Not the least of the many dramatic ways in which President Vladimir Putin has transformed Russia is his restitution of the eminent  place in public life of the Russian Orthodox Church. This is by no means an unmixed blessing—either for them or for us. But it is a fact that we would be foolish to ignore.

Anyone with a modicum of acquaintance with Russian history will see at once the logic that restoration of the church has automatically led to consideration of the logic of restoration of the monarchy.

Bits and Pieces – 20170224, Friday

Commentary: I had come to the point of thinking that writing and presenting factual material had little value other than to myself – which is why I continue to do so. In conversations with people I had noticed that when presented with facts contrary to their position they seemed to back off but fail to change their position. Here’s support for that observation: Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds. To note: “Once formed, impressions are remarkably perseverant.” This points to our early life as the formative stage for many of our narratives about the world. It also shows the danger the school system poses when it strays beyond the 3 Rs.

The writer notes “People believe that they know way more than they actually do. What allows us to persist in this belief is other people.” This is due to the sociability nature of our species. The application of this principle to current events (Trump) is enlightening since”as a rule, strong feelings about issues do not emerge from deep understanding,” but from what we hear from friends and read in the MSM, particularly if it reinforces what we already believe we know (confirmation bias).

Bits and Pieces – 20170219, Sunday

The Deep State: I came across this article on Jim Quinn’s The Burning Platform blog: DHS INSIDER SAYS IT’S SPY VS SPY. The article discusses the split in the intelligence community – a major component of the Deep State – between those who support the president and those who want to overthrow him. A news item that I had barely taken note of and dismissed called “PizzaGate”, is discussed as “PedoGate”, a pedophilia resort run by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad to capture videos of high-ranking politicians having sex with minors to  use as leverage over them. The article also sheds light on the background for US Mideast policy and war, the reasons for the antagonistic approach to Russia, and relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

By the way, WJC are the initials of Bill Clinton. I had previously read an article or two referencing Bill’s taking a 13-year old girl to a resort Island, an event where the Secret Service was told to stay away from.

Bits and Pieces – 20160115, Wednesday

Commentary: It’s always been a matter of timing. We have a fairly good ability to predict where the next “big one” will hit but few ever get the timing right. The collapse of the housing bubble in the US in 2007 was forecast by many. A habdul of people actually got the timing right and were paid handsomely for their effort. Many say that we are in a stock market bubble in the US, in a bond market bubble, that we have a credit market bubble. The EU is fraught with financial fault lines.

Today I came across a short essay by Howard Kunstler: Made For Each Other. In it, he argues that our financial system is the least well-grounded to survive the coming debt ceiling debate in the US and the geopolitical turmoil from elections in the EU this year. Victor Sperandeo forecast 10 days ago in a KWN interview: ALERT: Former Soros Associate Just Warned We Are About To Witness ‘Absolute F*cking Chaos’ Across The Globe, that the EU elections would cause a major crisis in late March or April.

Bits and Pieces – 20170202, Thursday

Commentary: I am looking for key themes that will have a major impact on our lives. I’m adding one this morning: central banks. Central banks have been controlling our economy since their conception only now they are losing control as all their tools are broken and they are in the process of blowing up the (economic) world.

I have discussed how we are linear thinkers, so to go non-linear, central bank policy and action has to be considered with interest rates, the bond market, currencies, the international flow of funds and trade. They are all part of the same elephant. How I’m going to structure my coverage I’m not sure but here’s a good short article to start with: The Coming Crisis in Central Banking.

To give an idea of the interconnection, read Mike Shedlock’s Is Germany a Currency Manipulator? China? Arguably Yes, Under Bill Obama Signed: Full Blown Currency War on Deck. He outlines a basis for how a currency war and trade war might start with Germany and China.

Bits and Pieces – 20170117, Tuesday

Commentary: From one of my favourite writers, an interesting piece on what the reactionary forces might do leading up to and into the inauguration: The Cheeto Cometh. The really interesting thought I found is that the next civil war has already begun.

We tend to think of major events as having clear start and stop points such as Pearl Harbor marking the start of WWII for the US. In actual fact, the US at that time had already enacted an oil embargo on Japan which might be said to have required Pearl Harbor as a defensive measure by Japan to the embargo which in turn may be understood as an act of war by the US.

Having said this, I just read a piece by George Friedman and Jacob Shapiro in which they state that their horizon for geopolitical analysis is independent of calendars and as such, specific events: Europe: The Process of Change Continues.

We are linear deterministic thinkers in a world where all action is individually determined and collectively emergent. So there is a continuum in any conflict among the protagonists in which specific points are purely arbitrary. We create such points to enable our (linear) thinking and discourse but in so choosing them, we lose the perspective of the true nature of the conflict. It also ensures our responses will not be optimal and may be very bad.

The conflict among the various political constituencies (I’m not talking Republican/Democrat) has become so polarized that an argument may be made that a civil war is in progress, has been for several generations, but has not yet entered a hot or kinetic phase. This is something to be feared.

I have been including links to speculation on a Trump assassination. It could, however be larger as: Putin Warns Of “Maidan-Style” Attempt To Delegitimize Trump; Doesn’t Believe Trump Used Hookers In Moscow. For those of you not recognizing the reference, “Maidan” refers to the events in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution during which it is alleged that right-wing extremist groups, supported by the State Department and the CIA, violently overthrew the elected government in a coup – classic CIA playbook activity.

Bits and Pieces – 20170116, Monday

Commentary: I’ve always said that two statements determine if a speaker is a Canadian. These are: “It’s my right …” and “It’s not fair …”. Scott Adams today adds his genius:
Dilbert Comic Strip for 2017-01-14

Bits and Pieces – 20170106, Friday

Commentary: I’ll be taking a break for a week after today while I travel.

Trump: A short read: Threats to Assassinate Trump. The left in all countries, has been traditionally violent. We have been witnessing the violence for months now, in the US. The threat to the presidency and to the Republic is greater from the left than from terrorist activity.

Cyber Warfare: If this doesn’t fly, what will they modify next in their unsupported claim: The “Russian Hacking” Story Changes Again?

WWIII: Escalation: The US Has Begun Amassing Troops On Russian Border.

Russia: When the West criticizes Russia for its imputed actions, what is never observed are the cases where the West has acted in a similar and often more egregious fashion. Pat Buchanan levels the playing field: Can Trump and Putin Avert Cold War II?

Climate: Something to be watched: Global Warming – Opps – Ice Age – Hits Europe. The problem is with the extreme political bias in climate science, we may be well into a mini-ice age before politicians will remove carbon taxes.

Cycle theory: As you know, I am a fan of the theories of cycles. I started posting Bits and Pieces to facilitate capturing the references in a searchable format for later discovery.  One of the prominent cycle theorists or modelers is Martin Armstrong. With that, here’s a later article: Bonds & Climate Change.

Bits and Pieces: Online retailing in perspective:

That gives the scale. This one gives the sense of early automation:

Trump will be successful in re-shoring companies. There will be few jobs to return, however. The old factories are leveled or converted to other uses. The new factories will be highly automated with the latest generation of robots and artificial intelligence systems. A primary driver of re-shoring is the ability of companies to maintain a higher standard of quality control over product inputs.

In contrast are the traditional ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retailers: Macy’s, Kohl’s Crash After Reporting Abysmal Holiday Sales; Cut Guidance; Announce Mass Layoffs, Store Closures and Sears Holdings Posts Another Ugly Loss: Bankruptcy Looms Ahead.

Looking at the global economy, what can possibly go wrong: Global Debt Hits 325% Of World GDP, Rises To Record $217 Trillion?

A warning for Canadians: The Canada Experiment: Is This the World’s First ‘Postnational’ Country? Garbage from The Guardian.

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