Thursday, January 9, 2014

Warming, a bit. Too big to fail. Animal Farm 2014. Modern illusions.

Didn't see much worth commenting on yesterday.  Still cold but the daytime temps are getting close to normal which, for this place and this time of the year, is in the mid 30s.  We will be in the mid 20s today so I will get the patio and the car cleared.  Hope you all are staying warm and safe.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism posted this Wolf Richter article on the state of the labor market which pretty much labels the happy face the mainstream media puts on the unemployment numbers a lie.

So the financial powers that be are arguing that investment funds that manage very large amounts of money are "too big to fail."  So, basically, if those guys (and gals) do something stupid, the governments of the world (a.k.a., taxpayers) have to back stop them in the name of stability.  Investments, by their nature, risky and those who make investments should know that they are taking risks with their money.  They should be applying the old rule which says that, if you can't afford to lose it, don't gamble with it--and investing is gambling.  Unfortunately, putting your money in a bank savings account is just about on par with investing now-a-days.  You might be forced to "bail-in" the bank if something goes wrong with it.

Some animals are more equal than others.  (Some) world leaders are more entitled to privacy than anyone else.

But who says anyone has any privacy in the internet age.  Privacy, like security or stability, are modern illusions of which we had best disabuse ourselves.

While we recover (slowly) from a week of deep freeze Australia is still setting records in the opposite direction.  We expect temps above freezing and now the worry is flooding as the mountains of snow start to melt under the expected rain.  I just read a piece (sorry, didn't safe the ink) that Australia set records for the hottest day, hottest week, hottest month and hottest year in 2013.

This is just another example of the current fashion of apologies that aren't really apologies.  Dennis Rodman shoots off his mouth and stamps off in a giant snit but then says "what the hey!  I'm sorry.  I had a few drinks and was stressed out."  I don't buy it.

There has been another train crash involving oil tankers.  I saw a piece on a news channel last night where the pundit/apologist for the oil industry said that we had two choices: accept the high probability of accidents on the rails because of the badly maintained and out dated infrastructure or build more pipelines.  Sorry.  I call bullshit.  Not too far from where I live two pipelines have leaked  causing considerable damage and costing quite a bit to "clean" up.  Such messes are never really cleaned up.  That is a fact the so-called expert failed to mention.  Neither option is all that palatable.  We should be looking for a third or fourth option.  But as long as we are locked into the notion that we don't have any other alternatives we will be stuck with the failings of the options the industry finds acceptable to them.

Oh, yes!! Technology is wonderful--until it isn't.

And again, technology is wonderful--until it isn't.  The companies developing GMO seeds promised higher yields with less fuel, fertilizer, and pesticides.  In other words, larger profits because farmers could grow more while spending less.  More and more studies and anecdotal evidence have challenged that promise over the last couple of years.

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