The king is dead! Long live the king.

Posted in Uncategorized on 20 January, 2009 by salutiferous

An era has ended with Obama’s inauguration but as much as his campaign played on the theme of change, most of the change will be cosmetic. Obama will certainly put an end to the Bush Doctrine, colloquially known as “fuck you” diplomacy. He will restore America’s image abroad to that of its pre-Bush years which means that he will restore the vail over the most flagrant abuses of power like Guantanamo and domestic wiretapping. Because Bush didn’t invent these abuses, Obama will not end them. Where Bush put them on display, Obama will put them back in the closet. Obama will restore the gravitas and professionalism Americans typically associate with the Office of the President of the United States of America. These changes will have the greatest impact on like minded western nations like the G8 and Australia.

There are many areas where Obama and his cabinet will affect little change however. These issues were not even in contention during his election. Some of these include:

  • the United States’ unconditional support for Israel
  • the military industrial congressional complex
  • the war on drugs
  • universal healthcare
  • China’s most favored nation trading status
  • participation in the WTO, IMF and World Bank

The future is never certain and there is always hope that circumstances could provide catalists where none currently exist today. Obama, unlike Bush and even those before back to and including Reagan, has the potential much like FDR did to enact significant, progressive and lasting change for the benefit of most Americans.

Let us celebrate the ability to hope again.

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In memory…

Posted in Uncategorized on 19 January, 2009 by salutiferous

kingjr

Citicorp and Travelers Merger

Posted in Uncategorized on 14 January, 2009 by salutiferous

George Bush likes to say that long term history will be the judge of his actions. In fact, he just said it again at his final press conference. If we take that to heart, as his arrogant ultra-rich turd of a brain thinks we do, then the Citigroup merger with Travellers is looking less like the visionary idea of new economy executives and more like a pile of stinking dogma intended to distract you from the looting fest about to follow. Well, it only looked like the former in press releases by Travellers and Citi.

Did I mention that Travellers and Citigroup merged back in 1998 in direct violation of the Glass-Steagall Act? Back in the Great Depression, people thought it was a shame that they couldn’t withdraw money from their bank account to spend at their favorite Hooverville just because some investment muckety muck lost their money on the stock market. So the Glass-Steagall Act was born depriving many a trust fund juvenile from gaining greater riches with the working man’s money.

Rather than enforce the law on Citi and Travellers, Mr. Business himself, Bill Clinton repealed it. Think how juicy the repeal of the Glass-Steagall was. It was so juicy in fact that these spoiled brats at Citi and Travellers couldn’t even wait for it. They went ahead, rummaged through their parents closet and opened their Christmas present the day after Thanksgiving.

As if we needed another data point on whether the Glass-Steagall Act was a good idea, there is a side story to this. Remember that whole Savings and Loan Scandal? Funny thing. It turns out that this followed a bout of financial “deregulation” shortly after The Gipper entered the Whitehouse. Ha ha ha… I bet you’ll laugh all the way to the unemployment office.

From one era to another

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 21 December, 2008 by salutiferous

The world is on the brink of transitioning from one era to another. Many eras have characterized human evolution and later social evolution but the defining characteristics of the two eras discussed here are those of unbounded growth and sustainability.

The first era is characterized by growth. This can be growth in population, the number of people in a community, geography and even the entire world. This growth can be economic activity encompassing the number of material things you own (houses, cars, computers), the number of calories you consume (steak, fish or fried potatoes) and the kind and frequency of activities you undertake (cruise ship travel, skydiving, geocaching). This growth compounds when you combine the number of people with the number of things they consume or the kind and frequency of activities they undertake. The important aspect of the first era is that growth is an integral part of progress to the extent that our money is based on growth, our economy is based on growth and even the very idea of a good life is based on growth.

This is all well and good if we lived in an infinite world. If presently inhabited parts of the world were faced with collapse due to the human overburden, then uninhabited parts of the world would relieve the pressure through mass migration. New resources would become available to continue the immigrants’ expectations of growth while the old world would be relieved of the excess population which started to make life there uncomfortable.

The second era of social evolution is defined by our infrastructures, institutions, values and beliefs changing to account for the finite world we live in. It will be defined by dismantling the idea that growth is good. The beginning of the second era will wrench growth away from our population, our economy and even our values and expectations. This will not be easy but it will be accomplished. The only question is whether man kind will have control over this transition. Will we be able to plan and execute towards the change or will nature force this change upon us?

This blog will explore these changes wherever they may take place and discuss where change is lacking or obstacles to change exist with emphasis on pragmatic solutions to implementing changes to a sustainable human civilization.

How to refrigerate a beach in the desert

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 20 December, 2008 by salutiferous

What happens when a real estate market based on gimmicks starts to falter? You promote the next gimmick. Does it really matter what the price of oil is if your country is swimming on top of the world’s richest oil region? Carbon credits anyone?