Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hello, all.  I can really believe spring is here in spite of the snow that dusted our patio last night and the cold temperatures.  More sun is reflecting off the fence to warm the planters and we saw our first robin perched on the suet feeder and pecking away at it.  The small birds are happily visiting the other feeder and throwing as much on the ground as they eat.  Then they swoop down and start eating what they dropped.


Good day on this first Friday of spring.  I didn't have much to say yesterday--as you can see from the above.  Let's see what I find today.


It is now Saturday and we have blue skies.  Not warmer temperatures but sun, at least.  The news this morning said that Cypriot politicians and EU leaders are negotiating again.  But it sounds like the same old same old.  The crux of the plan to 'save' the banks involves looting depositors on a significant portion of their money over the 'insured' amount.  I love Golem XIV's title for his post on this: Plunder ball--The New EU Banking Game.  He has a number of points that should give us all pause--such as the joint FDIC/Bank of England paper on how to deal with a collapse of their so-called Globally Active Systemically Important Financial Institutions (a.k.a., Too Big To Fail Banks).  That paper was formulated two years ago--very quietly.  I had wondered how long it would take for the notion of plundering depositors to 'save' a bank would catch on.  And how long before the powers that be dropped the notion that they were morally justified because those large depositors were Russian Oligarchs (who got their money in shady ways and were only wanting to make a killing of the higher interest rates in a 'tax haven'), Russian and other mobsters (looking to wash their dirty money), wealthy Greeks (evading high taxes in their homeland) and other unspecified undesirables.  Evidently, they have already done that and, as one of the commentators noted this morning (on BBC, I think), that depositors should gladly pony up for the privilege of having them keep the rest for us.  Until the next time (and there will be a next time) they threaten to collapse.

I find it both satisfying and sometimes a bit frightening when my thoughts on issues seem to be reflected comments.  A title from an opinion piece (in the Financial Times which I don't get because I refuse to pay and so can't link or read) tickled my memory: Banko de Mattress looms for Cypriots.  I talked about the option of putting money in the Bank of Sealy last week.  I saw another story in which some financial pundit was quoted to the effect that 'mattresses have a 10% premium over banks.'

I was wondering when someone else might think about this possibility.  Like everything else in our world cars are increasingly connected to computer networks and controllable remotely, to an extent.

A couple of stories this week have reinforced my skepticism concerning what we know (or can) about the world and what is happening to us and around us.  I won't give you any links because you can easily find the stories with a quick Google search.  First, the confusion over who perpetrated the cyberattack that crippled two banks and four (I think it was) news services in South Korea.  Just this morning I was competing headlines accusing the North Koreans, the North Koreans by way of a Chinese ISP, Chinese criminals, and a 'mistake' at one of the North Korean Banks.  To date, from what I see, no one knows the source of the attack.  What scares me is the talk I have also seen about when a cyberattack would constitute an 'act of war.'  Second, the alleged chemical attack in Syria.  The first accounts said it was the Syrian rebels who used the chemical agents against a neighborhood loyal to the Regime.  Then the rebels said it wasn't them but the Syrian Government hoping to put the onus on the rebels and neutralize their foreign support.  Last, the U.S. and the U.N. said they are each investigating and didn't know if there was a chemical attack at all.  Some speculate that the agent may have been chlorine released during a conventional attack.

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