March 23, 2008
Good back-ground article on Barack Obama.
March 20, 2008
Video produced by NY Times bloggingheads with Juan Cole. For more Juan Cole check out his blog on our list below.
March 17, 2008It started with the gross tax cuts. Giving several billion back to the echelon of the very rich provided opportunities for insanity. And out it came – another fictional revolution in valuation. The property market revalued and revalued but the US sharemarket has been relatively flat over the past eight years. Strange how a disinterested at first President caught at the ranch not just in the weekends until a strange blessing from his rival in the disguise of extreme disaster blessed this President with outrageous power. Tax cuts. They would go ahead. And they did. And then new vehicles to absorb the extra cash were invented, possibly the very very rich stopped buying futures when they started to bite back or maybe the extra liquidity violates the primary law of monetary policy – hunger provides need that makes logic paramount. In the US economy risk became paramount to keep the stock brokers from ennui when nothing but profit rocked the 90s. Since they started to pillory Hillary and her husband some years back, the US seemed to lose the plot. Maybe that is because they are under the control of a politician who’s only definition of management is after-the-fact over-reaction and waste caused by a lack of real consideration beyond making Dick Cheney fat – like he was winning a bet with his Dad – the real President Bush. This President Bush tarnished the memory of his father by violating the principal upon which his father gained the world’s support going to war against Saddam. Bush Jr was always going to have something to resolve and putting the US military at the whim of this man has proven to be horribly expensive. So the tax cuts generated pointless liquidity, no need to worry, clever dick’s at investment banks invented ways to dress bad debt up so it looked like people could pay them, but no real capital gain was realised. Too much building changes the nature of the economy. Ownership gets centralised. The frivalous investment in bad debt – which when you think about it is simply snake oil – had to collapse as nobody is going to want it. Who wants over expansion when we know we are already damaging nature to the degree that our children’s lives are threatened? What kind of people are we? Sub-primates? And now – the US Government with its most Right wing of right winged leaders finds his treasury bailing out the fifth largest financial institution. Is this a meltdown? Is that an earthquake on the horizon? If so, watch out for the Tsunami.
March 16, 2008
The effect of one small nuclear bomb
Nuclear TerrorismWhat is a Nuclear Bomb?
March 14, 2008
The idea that climate change is “far off” is indeed unfortunate. It excuses the United States from its claim to indulge itself. Utterly. With wealth and ridiculously so. They measure their progress by how much a presidential candidate may spend. By how close to suicide its celebrities can be driven. But for most it is the daily drudge of meeting the obligations life lays on you. Not understanding that what used to be a score card in a game you could lose was now your bank account.
For most however falling back on credit is not really going to do a whole lot, as there is no possibility that payment will proceed. It is as though the Bush Administration looked at what they had inherited and decided unanimously that it was not taking enough risk. Bushnomics is to reduce taxes and spend up huge on military wastage. It will take a generation to recover from, we keep hearing, but the idea that it has hastened certain economic doom and risk human extinction seems more like where its headed.
Climate change is immediate in economic terms. Damage from increasing unpredictability is just the wave building up. We have to face the fact that are are doing nothing about climate change; and if the USA elects McCain it is likely that the incredibly useless Iraq war will escalate, thus forcing more carbon into the atmosphere. The eventual result of that is non-recovery from the changed condition it may inflict – real global warming – that may take thousands of years to recover from – but that is only if McCain were to escalate the war.
We as a race, a human race, work best when we have hope.
It is necessary to have a thinker who understands how to improve the situation at the top. A tough US president who seeks to fool his opponents into surrender was tried already; with disasterous consequences, by Nixon threatening the Soviets with Nuclear attack and flying laden B52s up their way for twelve hours. Kiss the ground.
It is also necessary to have a person who understands the mutual effects of progress. It is perhaps a pity that Hillary Clinton went a little negative attack in this race, as it makes here look bad. Obama is at least an extraordinary opponent for anyone.
And that is his strength. He holds the key to unlock the deadly way of the American mindset that so devalues their currency and price to the rest of us. But that is not the crisis that the incoming president will face.
It will be the starvation and disease causing population decreases in some parts of the world, spreading like deserts into their own community. Unless they sit up and change their war making polluting ways, we are all bound to be annihilated by arrogance.
March 13, 2008
In this article a disturbing trend is revealed that fear in the US election gives McCain a formidable weapon. It seems people who think that the war is a mistake to fight think McCain is the most likely person to get America out of this mess. Yeah, right. It seems obvious and we have tried to make this point obvious. But what I find suprising is that they have more faith in Barak Obama than Hillary Clinton in this matter. One has to ask why, when she voted for the war, so did McCain. She does not say pull the troops out, yet Obama does.
A sign of mass delusion? Dangerous?
Yes. It is.
The US Military intelligence has finally caught up with common sense and revealed that the exaggerated threat of Saddam Hussein never had much to do with the underestimated threat of Al Qaeda. And although the military operation in Afghanistan was widely supported, the one in Iraq was not. And that is due to the perceived threat of the Taleban. An organisation that took over a nation in political turmoil after it was created mostly by the cold war if not the CIA to oppose the Russian invasion. Al Qaeda claims to be inresponse to the American occupation of Islamic Holy Lands, and the attacks the alliance of the Saudi elite and the US Government unreflected democratically in that country. Pakistan moved away from military rule when given the democratic option. At least that means it can evolve albeit fairly slowly from the status of the oppressed to that of the free. “Free” meaning that part of the world that pays its taxes, supports a huge military and is agressive to everyone else except one or two “allies”.
Another way of looking at the twentieth century is seeing American dominance as a beneign hegemony over its own fragmented empire. A Federal State with 50 client states many with national sized economies has augmented the most in terms of debt and militarised economy in human history. But now the rest of the world sees it as a hungry beast. One that must be fed ahead of everyone else. This is not hatred of Americans or anything like that. The poor will always look at the rich with some antipathy, but wealth is a choice, or in fact a series of choices. How can you be the wealthiest and yet the most in debt? If “communism” is such a failure as Regan promised, why is China just as successful as India?
That is what makes democracy so smart. It is like evolution, if it improves things, those in power get more power. If things get worse, they are on thin ice. In theory.
Probably exactly the opposite has become true due to the distortions in the social order imposed by the weight of American debt, how the lack of investment in basic needs for progress rather than paranoia has become an American trait – why America is very likely to actually go for John McCain. The dream ticket is evident for the Democrats, democracy will win through. In the end though it seems that the choice of VP will make all the difference no matter who runs for the White House.
March 7, 2008
Disturbing Trends is now being served from Atlanta based servers to improve international availability for all. We noticed a slowdown when we hosted locally.
The problem is apparently a lot of contention for international bandwidth – our local infrastructure is good for local sites, but Disturbing Trends is hardly about New Zealand, although this year we had to sadly report that it suddenly became troubled by a huge police operation against multiple “terror cells” – some of them were probably some local boys out shooting ducks but the public needs an explanation for the Napalm rehearsals.
Tama Iti, one man famous not just for his remarkable face full moko – and it’s a superb example of the power of the reality of this powerful Maori art form has become the symbol of the forces that want to set up a Maori sovereign nation that the New Zealand Government is strictly opposed to; a separitist state run by Maori for Maori has a point, but only up to a point. There is more to gain by sharing strengh than arguing. But debate is between the living, on both sides of any thing worth debating.
Weapons of war have no place in this magical land. The meeting place is a place where minds work best but the battle field may bring about the flash of heroics, fear and dread: progress is about enabling people to get what they want as individuals, not selfish demagogs who are dictating to others that violations may unlock magical political clout. Nobody is going to want to listen to anyone who commits atrocities. We want to listen to what Mr Iti has to say. What he thinks as well as his more media savvy grand gestures.
It seems to be that Hillary Clinton has a better chance against John McCain than Barak Obama as she is presents a less liberal target for him to hurl shame at, she voted for the same war he would fund, she would at least want to lower taxes, whereas Barak Obama may have to raise them. That is at least what Mr McCain will claim. So lets assume that Hillary is in the running. Who will she pick as a VP? Someone who inspires us of inherent value.
March 3, 2008One of the most obvious things to other would be leaders is there are risks in the game. These are the calculated actions that help, not repeatable, but significant. Corner turning moments captured by the media and represented as somehow world changing or significant. Sometimes they are significant. Like the day that Dr Martin Luther King stood up and spoke of his dream. Oprah’s favourite moment. So it is signficant as heck. How about Hillary’s tears. Although it is repeatable, it is not a moment that should or should not be repeated, for goodness sake. Hillary is best when she, like Obama is both well rehearsed, relaxed and spontaneous. Relaxing before the world’s every moment recorded as reality by the snapping news hungry digital dissection services that are providing the adverting haul of the century. Nature – that is what will win the election. Our sense of being ourselves, or in the case of folk from the U.S of A – their-selves. The noble possess power and allow others to exhibit full dignity. Not sharing power – for example those who “own” the mineral rights of the land wreaked sluicing out the coal, diamonds or ore – the ignoble disinheritance of the land is gradually being reversed in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Spiritual ownership does not represent much if there are no rights associated with it. Perhaps mineral rights? Conflict with indigenous rights present deep trouble to post colonial government. And empowering rather than asset stripping the indigenous folk of New Zealand has resurrected one of the greater cultures mankind has devised with a rich system of roots over a thousand years inhabiting this land, an evolved system of justice, government and a sense of enterprise. The culture never went away, but “mainstream” perception of it was entirely lacking. White culture perhaps is so as it used bleach on its perceptions. How else can you cover the crime of slavery or enforced possession via convenient acts of war? The right wing governments say “move on – move on” from all this regression into yesteryear and the multitude of injustices that can be harvested from history. There does come a point where moving on is more practical, but what point is there allowing the ideals of slavery to rule our existence? There comes a point when risking the game is necessary, when your principles take front seat and you stake your claim in your corner. Candidates that have achieved that seem to get ahead. Unless their view is too different from the norm. Sounds like I am saying that Hillary can win? I doubt it. I think the winds of change have blown the electorate off its conventions and balance.
March 2, 2008
The real cost of the Iraqi misadventure to the people of the USA has been calculated by a Nobel winning economist at over three trillion dollars.
The language dictating insticts of voters is distinct. At least those who admit they would be guided by sounds of his name are aware of the insidious effect of a cultural apathy towards obvious things that “could be better”.
Intelligent deconstruction, recognition of what content versus delivery consists of, or reveals of each American candidate.
Looking past skin colour, religious history, gender, marital trust issues, the sounds of names or dollars invested in advertising – there still has to be a “politic” to win the final battle.
Mr Obama wins as he has richer friends behind his message?
Or will the money be made truly irrelevent as McCain sails past soul searching Democrats. Damning themselves for “not going with the woman”.