Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Do Not Wear Bladder-Leak Pants

And Additional Random Barking


Mongo With Outdated Technology
Things Are Going On, out there. Many of those things have no effect (or, none so immediate) on a medium-sized white Dog with an interest in current events. 

At The Bottom Of The Bag, It's All Greecy

Alex Tsipras' Syriza Party obtained a majority in Greece's Parliamentary elections, which allowed them to form a government, order take-out food, and name ministers. Greece had been scheduled for sale to Donald Trump (who has wanted his own country for so long) and a few unnamed members of the Chinese clique of Oligarchs government. They were elected because the majority of the Greek people no longer wanted to live under Austerity™.

It seemed for a time that Socialism and Democracy might win against the Forces Of Capital™, and the ECB/IMF/Eisen Kanzellerin would be forced to accept new terms in restructuring $276 billion Euros of Greek debt (owed mostly to German and French banks).  The suffering of the vast majority of Greece's people (a direct result of Austerity measures which accompanied EU bailout loans) might end.

There was an exciting game of chicken between Tsipras and the Troika, with a referendum and press hoopla -- and überall, the possibility that Greece would 'exit' the EU and the use of the common European currency which gives the Union legitimacy. There was "concern and volatility in the major markets."

Then Alex caved and Angela won and Greece will only have to sell a part of itself to Trump and the Chinese Oligarchs.  Greece will receive additional loans from the EU, but with more Austerity™! And, there's every possibility that within a year, the new loan / refinancing arrangements will collapse! So all this has actually been a Game Of Chicken, followed by a game of Kick The Can Down The Road, and the Greek people appear to have lost both times. But, Angela's happy. So.

President Visits Africa Because China

Herr Obama suddenly showed up in Africa to dine, dance, see members of his father's family, and do a little flag-waving. It's hot, and there are trees. The African governments he has visited have been polite. He has been well-received, in a Chamber-Of-Commerce Luncheon kind of way.

We should hope he has been. Given that the Chinese government has spent over $100 billion US on foreign aid in Africa since 2000, and investments by private Chinese firms (some of which have members of the Chinese Commie government as majority shareholders) total tens of billions more.

African governments, many teetering on unstable tribal politics, are happy to receive money and public works, education or infrastructure projects from anybody to stave off the next coup attempt. Of course, some of the money may end up in numbered, offshore accounts of unnamed African or Chinese persons. Well, that's business.  And, America can't afford to spend any money, anyway.

We have the impression that Mr. Obama is popular in Africa. Perhaps he could be elected there after he is done with us here? But, hey; nobody really cares, because  Hillary!  Jebby!

China Buys Itself


There has recently been criticism of the Chinese Red Commie government as it artificially propped up it's stock market and selectively limited equities trading to a list of specific companies. The intent was to prevent a collapse of and panic in their internal market; the criticism centered around well now we can't accurately value Chinese equities can we?

Here in The Land Of The Brave and Home Of The Kiddie -- after allowing Phil Gramm, Larry Summers, and a whole crew of Financial BSD's to dump America over the hood of a 1956 Chevy, we were treated to "Irrational Exuberance" without the benefit of Vaseline. Then the Housing Bubble© popped, and the Little People had a sad.
Lil' Phil and Larry got theirs; so did Angelo Mozilo and the other BSD's (Their mindset? In 2010, it was reported that Jamie Dimon's daughter had asked him why the Crash had happened; he replied, It's a business cycle, honey; happens every few years." The girl thought about it, then asked, 'So why is everyone so upset?'). And, who really cares what happens to the "little people", anyway?  They're so disposable. They're only allowed to live so they can buy things -- like multiple homes with toxic mortgage terms, or H&M clothing, or iPads and SmartPhones, and everything they've ever seen in the movies or on the teevee.


But Phil and Larry, and their friends, did cause a big problem. And without intervention from the government (to prop up the BSD's and their banks and trading houses and insurers), the 2007-2008 crash would have dragged the global economy down even further. So, Lil' Boots signed off on TARP because people told him to, and Herr Obama signed the Economic Relief Act because Larry told him to.  The Banksters got plenty of free money, and so much more. Because Democracy and Freedom! Yay!   Hillary!  Jebby!

It's true that China's investment markets and economy are managed more tightly by its Red Commie Island-Creating Cybercriminal Oligarch government than any other major international player.  It's also true that China has two economies -- the one that interacts with the global financial structure, and its 'grey market' - "a loosely regulated network of state-owned commercial banks, trust companies, fund managers, and grassroots finance firms" (as noted by Reuters), which more closely mirrors traditional Asian financial networks to provide lending and investing. 

America  and the West has its analogs in a shadow economy, the derivatives markets, and a lack of regulation -- all of which made the 2007-2008 Crash a certainty, and are present in China now. The difference is their government is attempting to intervene far earlier than the U.S. government did in an attempt to forestall a larger crisis.  No matter how thin you slice it, it's all government / central bank intervention.

Have A Little Stalin With Your Turkey

Last week, Recep Tayyip "KiKi" Erdogan, President of Turkey, announced his country would work with the United States and others to rein in ISIS, which has escalated its violence in neighboring Syria to an extent that it's begun spilling north (A recent suicide bombing in a Turkish border town killed 30-plus people; two Turkish policemen were killed when ISIS attacked an outpost on the border with Syria).

Turkey opened a major base to the U.S. military as a launch point for air strikes, promised to use its own air force against ISIS and promptly launched a large number of fighter-bomber attacks against targets in northern Syria.

Here's where it gets murky:  Turkey -- even before KiKi (himself an Iranian-style 'State Islamist') came to power -- has engaged in a thirty-year guerrilla war with Kurdish separatists, in particular the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. A cease-fire was declared in 2013 -- but recently the group has made an alliance of sorts with ISIS in hopes of advancing their own cause (a bit like the Frog allowing the Scorpion to ride its back in crossing the river).

So as it turns out, the vast majority of airstrikes Turkey has made weren't aimed at ISIS at all. They've hit the PKK (the end of the truce with them was announced after the first strikes were carried out). Erdogan's claims of support for an anti-ISIS campaign are, uh, smoked Turkey and mirrors. 

KiKi and his 'Justice and Development' party came to power in Turkey over a decade ago; Erdogan became the country's Prime Minister until (per Turkey's constitution) he could no longer serve -- then, he ran for President, to extend his rule (as had Sad Vlad, The Putin, in Russia).

Erdogan accused Turkey's military (which was the ultimate power in the country since the days of Kemel Ataturk) of plotting to overthrow his Islamist government, dismissing key general officers and replacing them with those loyal to him.

Nothing new here: Erdogan has turned out to be more like an Islamic Stalin in his country than an Iranian Mullah. But not all Turks want KiKi or his politics: In a recent election, his Justice and Development party lost its large majority in Turkey's parliament. There have been (generally unsubstantiated) claims that KiKi has allowed Turkey's government to provide aid to ISIS or allow their fighters to cross its borders into Syria unopposed.


70th Anniversary Of The Big Bang

Only Color Photo Of First Atomic Bomb, 1945 (Click To Enlarge. Easy! Fun! Scary!)
 Boom. It's the gift that keeps on giving: Made In U.S.A.

Ask the Japanese. Ask the residents of a large area around the original Trinity test site, where rates of cancer are stratospherically higher than among the general population, and in particular among people who lived there as children in 1945 and were exposed to fallout from the explosion of the first Plutonium atomic bomb.

Mullah Omar, He Dead 

 For over a decade, people went on and on about this guy: 'Mullah' Omar, head of the Afghan Taliban; on the wanted list of all manner of organizations. Terrorist, maniac, half-blind. And -- nobody knew where he was. Sorry to harsh everyone's buzz in the intelligence industry (and isn't that a pseudo-oxymoron), but he was right here.

Yeah, no kidding -- Omar. Short, a little skinny; beard? Horn-rimmed glasses with one frosted lens? Worked in the cubicle right next to mine.  Did some project management on the IT side; had a decent sense of humor, condo in Walnut Creek; drove a Volvo. Played a little pickup basketball at lunch. Rabid Warriors fan. Had kids but no wife, I think. He also loved the film "Office Space" -- just raved about it. He would go around quoting Milton Waddums lines... and one of his prized possessions was a red, Swingline stapler.

You didn't mess with Omar around the stapler. Once, someone made a half-assed joke about Omar and Office Space -- "What's with the stapler, man? Should we call you 'Milton'? You gonna, I dunno -- burn down the building, go 'Taliban' on us?" And Omar got really quiet and went completely immobile and just looked at them with his one, good eye. Swear to god, I don't even think the guy was breathing as he stood there. Creeped everyone out.

The next day, he was fine -- but for about thirty seconds we thought we was going to, you know, go Taliban. But from then on, no one, and I mean no one, ever said anything about Milton (an definitely not the Taliban) ever again. Before going home, Omar would lock the red Swingline in the overhead bin of his cubicle and take it out again when he came back in the morning.

Once, I screwed up my courage and asked him about the Taliban thing: I mean, Dude; is that really you? And instead of trying to behead me, he smiled and laughed, as if he were a little embarrassed ("Well, we all are doing the goofy stuff when we are young, you know").

And then, one day, he just disappeared. Poof; as if he had never been there. I ended up being assigned some of his project stuff -- oh, and I got his stapler. So, s'all good.
_________________________________________________