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04 January 2018


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Babak Makkinejad

"cultural, social, and religious issues will trump economic concerns...", which is the reason that Fortress West's Cold War against Iran, suffused with anti-religion sentiment, will never succeed.


Robt Willman @ 49. Reminder: our debt serfdom has been entirely voluntary.

Account Deleted

Lemmings are the famous cliff jumpers. Lemurs are cute monkey-like creatures from Madagascar & not, to my knowledge, renowned for their suicidal tendencies.

blue peacock


The Democrats and Republicans combined to pass NAFTA and GATT and repeal the Glass-Steagall law, all signed by president Bill Clinton with Hillary in the White House.

This is important to note. At the heart of matter both parties have in a bi-partisan manner voluntarily shipped the US industrial base overseas and Democrat president's, Clinton & Obama have been instrumental in the financialization of the economy. Obama had a huge opportunity to right the ship when he came into office on the back of the GFC but he did everything to backstop Wall St including Holder's "Too Important to Prosecute" policy. But the vast majority of Americans still see politics in a purely partisan lens. They continue to vote massively for the duopoly. It would seem the real problem is the American electorate.

Your point on pension under-funding is important. Most pension funds assume a 6-8% annual return. With rates pinned to the floor these funds have to move out on the risk curve. Additionally these high rates of return assumption mean the pensions don't have to be funded fully compared to if their return assumption was lowered. This is part and parcel of the open deceit that we see across all elements of our society. Those reliant on future pension claims can't act surprised when the pension crisis hits with full force. They can force changes but they choose to live in lala-land.

The growth of non-financial debt in the US continues on with huge increases in auto and student loans with rising delinquency rates. Then there is the huge growth in corporate and government debt. The reality is that massive debt growth is global. China has more than quadrupled it's banking assets since the GFC and there's no knowing how big the shadow banking sector has become. The leverage in the Chinese economy is unprecedented. Consumer debt in Denmark & Holland is larger than the US on a per capita basis. Japan is on another scale altogether with the BoJ holding over 40% of all JGBs.

Low global rates and loose financial conditions for a decade with rising asset prices have now built in a bias of many leveraged speculative vehicles. This means that central banks cannot exit from asset price support. In fact the central banks have taken on a new mandate to insure financial assets. We are in unchartered waters as there is no prior experience with such a policy. In the mean time since there is so much momentum, investors have to follow Chuck Prince's maxim of dancing until the music stops.


As I've said here before, those ads do not seem to have been intended to influence the election. And it would be nearly impossible to attribute any changes in voting or voting patterns to them. At best you'd get some modest correlation but never causation. So the absence of evidence really means nothing, since there would never be evidence of such a thing anyway.

The person writing the article is at the very least woefully ignorant of how influence campaigns work (or deliberately deceptive). He starts from the wrong premise and makes all kinds of incorrect assumptions, like that in order to influence an election in Wisconsin, you need to locally target ads in Wisconsin. And that every ad you send to Maryland is only seen by people in Maryland. It's really about getting the ear of influencers, who amplify your message. One retweet by Trump from DC is a lot more important in Wisconsin than a similar RT from the mayor of Madison. A lot of the people doing the important political sharing in the US happen to live in Maryland, so it's a good idea to target there, regardless of where you'd like to change votes or influence thinking.


Sir, It sure as hell looks like one.



Of course you are right. Lemurs are very cute. I even took my grandsons to a lemurs rescue at Duke last year.



We have gone from $150 trillion (in global debt) in 2007 to $220 trillion and counting today.

Leverage doesn't matter until the margin call arrives. Loose financial conditions allow debt to be refinanced at better terms. Chinese banks are in perpetual debt rollover with some of their industrial and real estate loans. If you look at some of the recent leveraged CLO deals and the cov lite financings it is like 2008 never happened.

There is no doubt some of these leveraged structures will blow up when asset markets take it on the chin.



I see ... The markets have gone way up so ... because Trump is an ass it must be a bubble, right? pl

blue peacock

Col. Lang,

The chart shows that from the moment that Trump was declared the winner in the election, the US stock markets have risen significantly. Clearly the financial markets were not spooked by Trump as POTUS. In fact they have celebrated since his electoral victory. Contrary to all the NeverTrumpers who believe he is at best semi-literate and unfit to hold office.

The word "bubble" is used a lot without anyone stating what their definition is. The one thing Tulipmania, the 2000 dotcom and 2008 mortgage credit environments had in common was frenzied public participation in the speculation. Economic historian Charles Kindleberger's book, Manias, Panics & Crashes is still the gold standard in getting a sense of past manias. Kindleberger was a leading architect of the Marshall Plan.



blue peacock

I don't see frenzied public participation in this as yet. BTW if you really want to piss me off just talk down to me. pl


blue peacock,

"Clearly the financial markets were not spooked by Trump as POTUS. In fact they have celebrated since his electoral victory. Contrary to all the NeverTrumpers who believe he is at best semi-literate and unfit to hold office."

IMO you are a Trumper who is trying too hard. The financial market celebrated because they have a ruthless caplitalist conman in the office, not because they think he is fit to be POTUS. They knew Trump will enact policies that make benefit them, not the middle class or the poor. As simple as that.


james suffers from USDS and you from TDS. You desciption of him as a "con-man" is revealing. You are not thinking rationally about him. All presidents are to some extent "con-men." They have to persuade the cats to move in a particular direction. You may not like the tax law, the de-regulation and the rest but that does not make him a con-man any more than the rest. pl


Yes I know, I sound like I have TDS :) All presidents are con-men to certain degree (Bill Clinton and Obama are the best of that con game). However, somebody got to remind people from time to time that DJT is not playing 3-D chess! what we see is what we get.



The man's style is an abomination, but that is not enough reason to persecute him in the media four four years. pl

Babak Makkinejad

DJT is delivering on his promises to those who elected him. I think one may wish to consider why tens of millions of people in US have such funny notions about USA, the world, and themselves.



Which funny ideas are you speaking of? pl

Babak Makkinejad

Building a wall against Mexicans, for example. Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem, is another one.



Effective barrier systems retard movement. pl



I recognize a pattern here: Houston, Dallas what party are the mayors and what power do public employee unions have? How about Illinois and Connecticut?

"The City of Hartford, Connecticut has been on the way to bankruptcy and had to be helped by the legislature..."

No, they did not have to be bailed out any more than the bankrupt city of Detroit. That city decided immediatily after emeging from bankruptcy protection that they had to give the Ilitch family $186 million in tax credits to build a hockey arena. Same party, same conduct.

blue peacock


IMO you are a Trumper who is trying too hard.

No, I don't need to try hard at all, since those with TDS are already apoplectic. As a fundamental policy I never vote for the duopoly. I do like to rib those with TDS however, who abound in my mostly "coastal liberal" work & social circle. Where we disagree is their haughty & condescending attitude towards the Deplorables who can't see the "wisdom" that their PC thought represents. It is precisely Trump's non-PC style that many of those that voted for him like. And it is that style that drives those with TDS bananas.

They knew Trump will enact policies that make benefit them...

You must know that a POTUS cannot enact legislation. Please inform us which Congress & POTUS enacted legislation that benefited the "middle class or the poor"?

It is conventional wisdom that financial markets discount the future. Their discounting of the future under a Trump presidency is rather rosy in light of how the stock market has performed since his electoral win was announced. In retrospect, it would have been wise to have disregarded the media hysteria of a collapse under a Trump presidency and backed up the truck to buy. Something that those with TDS have a hard time reconciling.

BTW, which POTUS signed legislation that a) allowed the US industrial base to be shipped overseas; b) backstopped Wall St after the GFC & chose to not to prosecute any fraudulent activity? Two important economic policies in the recent past that have impacted the middle class & the poor rather negatively.


I am concerned about debt and banks and government.
One of the best writers on this subject is Ellen Brown.
She combines the practical with the theoretical.
She has written about government debt, about student debt, and she advocates for public banks on the model of North Dakota's success.
Her website is here:
And here is a recent piece on student debt:


While surfing the net I came across this fascinating mini-lecture on game theory over at Big Think.

How to Outfox Someone Who's Smarter Than You http://bigthink.com/videos/kevin-zollman-how-to-outfox-someone-whos-smarter-than-you (<4 min.)
If you want to win, it's best to think crazy like a fox. Nobody knows this better than Kevin Zollman — a nationally recognized expert in game theory and associate professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University — who suggests that perhaps the best way to get ahead of your opponent is to think completely counterintuitively. This works especially well in poker, where breaking the flow (say, bluffing when you have nothing) can keep your foes from guessing your next move. A little dose of crazy goes a long way.

I think Trumps "mini max strategy" is at least partly based on keeping as many promises to his base as he can.

Please note this game theory discussion has nothing to do with politics. It's rather abstract and is assuming a zero sum game scenario, which politics is generally not. And the concept of "opponent" here is also simplistic when applied to politics and bureaucracy. Nonetheless, in context of trying to discern and interpret Trump's behavior and strategies the key points made in this video are worth considering.

Babak Makkinejad

Curbing the apetite for drugs in USA would help Mexico, lowering the numbers of migrants.

different clue


(Reply to comment 36)

I find farming/agronomy/applied botany interesting to read about and think about. The distant-closest I come to any of it is my little 250 square feet of garden space.

In a way, gardening and agronomy books etc. is my science fiction . . . my literature of escape. I know more about the literature of gardening and agronomy than I know about the actual practice.

All that is a cautionary disclaimer to what I am about to write about some possibly very interesting books. Right now ( month of January) Acres USA is running a worthwhile sale of some good books through its Acres USA bookstore. They are selling all the collected papers of William Albrecht they have published ( plus a William Albrecht lecture on DVD) for $190 whereas they would amount to $270 if bought separately. https://www.acresusa.com/albrecht-papers-vol-1-8-video-798

Another good one is Mycorrhizal Planet by Michael Phillips, a professional orchardist. https://www.acresusa.com/mycorrhizal-planet The website makes it look like it is selling at full price, which is not a special bargain. But the "book store section" in my January issue of the Acres USA magazine makes it look like it is still available at a substantial discount. I plan to try understanding and then applying some of the information in Mycorrhizal Planet in my own small gardening.

Here is a little description of William Albrecht's legacy and work, with some links to papers, in case you feel like reading it and/or them in order to decide whether you think Albrecht might be worth your time, money and attention.

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