Monthly Archives: May 2011

Bubbles, Bubbles Toils And Troubles

Back in 1998 I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to the economy,

I’ve been getting some comments along the lines that I failed to see the Internet bubble, with the implication that I only see bad things when Republicans are in office.

Ahem. I was quite clear about that bubble, too. Here’s a piece I wrote back in 1998 that I’m still fairly proud of. Also, I was a big fan of Shiller’s work on irrational exuberance, and promoted it in the Times.

Maybe Bob Metcalf was, because he was writing about it in Infoworld back then, and was looking at P/Es, which was about the first time I ever heard of phantom stocks too. The point being I suppose is that there were a lot of people calling that bubble a bubble and advising readers to bail.

So this last graph sticks out,

Actually, the political battle lines on the late-90s bubble were much the same as those on the housing bubble that followed. The WSJ insisted that it all made sense; it promoted “Dow 36,000″; it even, if memory serves, published editorials to the effect that if you don’t believe in current stock prices you must hate capitalism.

That WSJ hue and cry was repeated time after time, not only in economics, but in the lead up to various wars that have since proven to be the greatest strategic errors in American history, which one would not assume to be the case if the surges were working and Iraq wasn’t an Iranian satellite.

The very people that have proven to be wrong, and egregiously so, continue to hold positions of influence and power, both in the sphere of public opinion, and consequently in the world of real politic.

Just so no one thinks that I’m tooting my own horn here, I made decisions, and public statements on all of these matters not from any great insights on my part, or ideological bent to oppose the establishment just because it was there. That’s very romantic, but not very accurate.

There are some people that convince themselves of certain ideas that no matter what sort of evidence is presented to the contrary, will adhere to those ideas as though their lives depended on it, and no argument or persuasion can be presented to change their minds and positions on any given issue.

Those of us that hold to the Christian faith encounter this sort of thinking and reasoning in fundamentalists all of the time. The creation is six thousand years old in a universe that is over twelve billion years old. It is this mind set that burns heretics at the stake, since it is easier to that and rationalize that behavior as doing the Lord’s work than it is in actually doing the Lord’s work. If one may burn one or two for the glory of God, one might burn an entire tribe, caste, people or religion without a tinge of guilt.

History doesn’t repeat itself so much as head strong self assureds continue doing the same stupid things over and over again. Those who would never think to murder, slaughter by the thousands, as the old saw about a man who manufactured a product for a dollar and sold it for ninety nine cents on the premise he would make it up in volume.

In some sense it must be necessary to the greater bulk of men to know that they are standing on firm ground, that all they have been taught, and discerned from those teachings are firm and solid truths. It is an anchorage in the storm between the infinities. That we will be one hour after death where we were one hour before birth is a disconcerting concept. It is to ponder the greatest of non-existences, ones own.

On an intellectual level it isn’t any more profound than contemplating one hand clapping, or an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. Anything deeper than that however is to heavy a burden to carry, so the load is deposited on the shoulders of God to carry. It allows the carrying on of life and death unexamined. It also robs them of the weight and permanence they deserve. If one cannot contemplate the weight of their own life, they are in no position to contemplate and weigh the life of anyone else. The mass of mankind is a water spider on its own existence, no more aware of their own existence than the water spider is of its’ own.

Wholly unaware of Einsteins physics until a little over a century ago, the universe mankind inhabits still operated by those physical laws. The world was spherical before mankind discovered it was so. The Earth orbited the sun, the sun the galactic center, all without a single thought of a single man being necessary. No matter how much we eventually learn about our universe, we will not alter one tick of time of what is.

Some will go to great lengths to discover what that ticking is, what is occurring between those ticks, how space is unfolding matter and matter time, and yet no discovery will alter that progression. It is no big thing for the universe to unfold as it is unfolding, and it is no big thing to understand how and why it is unfolding as it does. It is not important to understand how life came to be on Earth, or how it can come to be extinct. It does not matter how man came to be, how the first tribes survived and grew and expanded to fill the Earth with human beings and it doesn’t matter where they were before they came to be and where they go when they cease to be. Nothing you can ever do, or say, or write will ever matter to anyone living, dead, or yet to come to be living and to die. Hold on to your flat earth, for it is all that you have.

In A Mechanical World All One Needs Is Sand

First apologies to long time readers for the lack of posting, I am still under the weather, but do admit it’s getting better, a little better all the time, for those of you with a romantic streak, now where was I, oh yes, under the weather, which has left little tolerance for the usual bullshit that passes for serious discussion of serious issues by very serious people indeed. Death or near death has a way of clarifying events, and however much I may have wished for it, alas none of them have passed on and so the bullshit seems likely to continue into the next millennium.

I am in no mood to relate the historical record of macro economic policy prescriptions that actually pulled countless nations, kingdoms and tribes out of economic tailspins, when so many highly educated and powerful people have discovered new and more fascinating theories of economics that might just work if all the mechanical variables that they have identified as necessary to long term growth would only line up and do so, as they wished. More wishing, harder wishing will undoubtedly return the republic to the nascent state that the Congress first found it in all those many years ago, and from whence, with proper planning to prevent piss poor performance now properly laid out, one must only endure the destruction of the spleen while the nation is bled out.

This policy of course dovetails with those masters of the retro, whose sole function in life is to return America to the bucolic and idyllic past of small government, which worked so well for five million people in thirteen states, and in fact worked so well that the same forms and functions should work equally as well with three hundred million people in fifty states, numerous territories and a military established in over one hundred foreign lands with standing armies to defend an empire that doesn’t exist except in everyone else on the planets mind, living rooms and capitals.

It is to this purpose that newspapers are filled with fluff about public servants penises and much other important information to titillate the public with, so that they do not notice that other than that there really isn’t any news, or any news that they need to trouble their very busy minds about, what with the serious contemplation of small governments filling nearly every nook and cranny of their orbs as it is, a few penises should suffice to keep the engines of government and the glory of Western civilization humming along until the new economic theories finally kick in and wealth and prosperity fill the land again.

I could of course spend the days regaling you with the wonders of phlegm hacked up like so many news reports on so many televised dry coughs, and the various scientific probabilities that could be implied from the various colors that have emerged from the lungs to inform me that there is still no medicine that will treat a viral infection, long term smoking, and exposures to various chemicals that everyone is to polite and politic to mention, and rather than spend four hours in an emergency room whining about the lack of care for this emergent sniffle, regale you instead with the wonder of modern dentistry which at least still treats bad habits and attendant bacteria with anti-biotics leaving me with some hope that the entire world in general and Americans in particular, haven’t in fact, all lost their fucking minds.

But I shan’t do that either, content to have informed you dear readers of my current health, which is no small thing when considered next to the various people being shot in various countries of the empire for having the temerity of demanding liberty, or the money that they have earned and the bankers wish to steal because the know game theory, and the calculus of bribing public officials to steal whatever public funds they haven’t already stolen, for the banksters, who know game theory, but apparently can’t figure ought how to rob banks without being caught. This of course is because they are the duly elected, and therefore the only legitimate voices of the democratic societies that elected them, and which makes their silence on this sort of theft golden, I’m sure you will agree.

I will content myself therefore, with having used shan’t twice in one post YA, and beg your leave for not having squeezed in an also, too, also, too.

Positive Blowback From Bengazi

Not that anyone in America would read about it here,

Americans and, for that matter, all Westerners are treated hereabouts with a warmth and gratitude rarely seen in any Muslim country — even those with 100,000 American troops — in probably half a century or more. People smile and go out of their way to say hello to them, and are almost shockingly courteous. It is that oddest of oddities, an Arab war zone where foreign joggers are regarded, not with hostility or even that sympathetic puzzlement reserved for the insane, but with a friendly wave or a toot on the horn.

Of course they asked us to help.

Update:Fortunately George Will remains obtuse. No need to think things through George, keep it meretricious.

For Less, George Patton Lost His Army

Pull the wings off of flies?

“I escorted Manning a couple of times to his ‘psych’ evaluations after his outbursts. They never should have trapped him in and recycled him in [to Iraq]. Never. Not that mess of a child I saw with my own two eyes. No one has mentioned the army’s failure here – and the discharge unit who agreed to send him out there,” said the officer, who asked not to be identified because of the hostility towards Manning in the military.

One is compelled to ask the people that serve as our government, have you no shame whatsoever, no sense of propriety?

What happened to you people?

Will The Next Usama bin McVie Please Check Out The Anarchist Cook Book?

We are ruled by idiots.

The only lone wolf terrorist the Patriot Act will catch is one as stupid as the authors of the Patriot act,

Contrary to your hopes sirs, I shall not become inured to your infringements on my civil rights and liberties.

The Thing About Jobs

Is we wouldn’t have to have so many conversations about the economy faltering if the boneheads in charge of policy weren’t boneheads, or in charge of policy. You can’t tout Chrysler, or GM recoveries without me pointing out that saving them was a jobs program from the git-go. All of those employees, including the employees of the supply chain, or busy spending money on basic necessities of life along with an occasional flat screen TV or discretionary item, because they still have a job.

The truth of that matter remains. Saving the two auto giants worked for investors and employees alike, and that is the only rubber meeting the road that is concrete and durable. Discussions about socialism, and unionization are all peripheral, a billion words of abstractions from the intellectually profound and mentally bankrupt nabobs of small government, which cannot negate the billions of dollars of wealth that remains, and continues to grow, within an otherwise faltering economy.

While some may find great pleasure in debating James II and the creation of the BoE and the impact of that policy on modern economies to be of great personal satisfaction, we must not overlook the fact that those who are doing so have a job which allows them the luxury of doing so. But the historical reality remains, no matter how productive people may be, they must be in a position to produce, or they are a waste of resources, and human capital.

One can only conclude that, like those managers of human resources that will not hire the unemployed because they are so are representative of companies that aren’t worth working for anyway. People that will not advocate putting people to work merely because of the expense entailed are not worth listening to, since the topic of their discussion, their own eloquence, is not the subject of the conversation. That they should have a job at all in these times of distress is testament to the endurance of puffery long past the demise of the royal courts.

Best I Got

Barely feel like reading, writing not at all.


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan Thomas

Undergrad Finds Missing Mass


— A Monash student has made a breakthrough in the field of astrophysics, discovering what has until now been described as the Universe’s ‘missing mass’. Amelia Fraser-McKelvie, working within a team at the Monash School of Physics, conducted a targeted X-ray search for the matter and within just three months found it – or at least some of it.

Blood Letting

This modern world is ruled by idiots.

The UK saw its worst April public sector net borrowing on record last month as tax receipts fell, the Office for National Statistics said.

Sometimes, you’ve gotta listen to your doctors.Until then, you’re going to have to take your haircuts.

I Can’t Remember When

There were so many things I didn’t feel like writing about. You could go give some money to Antiwar, or join Firedoglake, and while you’re doing that I could log off and go get my book.

I wonder if that is a function of age, but I have no problem reading pages in a book, but the monitor is burning holes in my head.