Friday, July 31, 2015

140 billion to fight climate change?

Robert Goddard invented the liquid-fueled rocket.  The Saturn 5 booster that launched the Apollo moon capsules was just a very large version of his concept.  And yet, because Goddard was forced to raise the money for his experiments, his life was essentially wasted on demonstration projects.

Werner von Braun, on the other hand, was given full government, industrial, and academic backing for his rocket projects.  Not only did his rockets become usable weapons, his institutional arrangements were so powerful that when he replicated them in USA after WW II, the result was Saturn 5.  Goes to prove that while great ideas are important, nothing is quite as effective as a very large checkbook.

So while it is admirable that some wealthy corporations are intending to spend $140 billion on climate change, it isn't NEARLY enough to make a difference. It's Robert Goddard's arrangement when what we clearly need is von Braun's.  Again, it is another example of how folks think that climate change can be solved on the cheap.  And all the while, time is running out.  I wonder if folks will get it when Wall Street and Pennsylvania Ave. are actually under water.  Somehow, I doubt if even that will be enough.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Merkel 'gambling away' Germany's reputation

The Germans I know have a way of dismissing the incidents they encounter in their travels as "history."  Not surprisingly, this covers a multitude of sins but it usually means the current remembrances and repercussions of something ghastly the Nazis did.  Well-traveled Germans have encountered so much of this sort of behavior they tend to dismiss it as unfortunate background noise.  In all fairness, the vast majority of Germans are completely innocent of the incidents being recalled.  And after the 2006 World Cup which the Germans hosted quite magnificently, their reputation was well on its way back to Beethoven, beer, and Gemütlichkeit.

Now the Germans are discovering that providing the muscle for a bunch of international loan sharks is a damn good way of reminding the rest of Europe just how savagely brutal they can be.  The only way they will escape the "history" this time is to hold a EU-wide debt restructuring conference where neoliberalism is tossed, once more, on the garbage heap of utterly stupid ideas.  The idea that someone has the right (and duty) to destroy a society in the name of electronic money will not stand.  They important question is, "What will topple neoliberalism and how long will it take?"  Which leads to an interesting corollary, "Will the banking community reform itself in time to save their jobs (if not their necks?)"

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Christian" capitalism

The separation of church and state is arguably the best idea in the USA constitution.  It is also the most violated.  Political movements of all stripes ignore the principle—including some I have passionately agreed with.  The abolitionists that finally led to the elimination of human slavery in USA were profoundly religious.  The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s were largely organized by black churches and led by the preacher's kids like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Unfortunately, the religious movements that have actually advanced human progress are the exceptions rather than the norm.  Religious tampering with the USA government has been responsible in the last decades for an organized assault on public education, the politicization of women's health issues, and the severe distortion of middle east politics (amongst other horrors).

But by far, the biggest distortion of public life by religious teaching comes in the field of economics.  The reactionary conservatism of primitive Calvinism has led to some truly appalling public policy including for-profit medicine, widespread mistreatment of the poor, and the acceptance of untrammeled usury.  How this came to be is a subject that could fill dozens of books.  Kevin Kruse proves below that he has made a good start on telling a significant portion of the use that capitalism has made of right-wing ideas about Christianity.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Worse than most?—Russian central banking

Whenever I read some especially egregious Russia / Putin bashing, my first inclination is to wonder what sort of especially wonderful / dangerous thing has happened.  Did Putin order the mass arrest of all the neoliberals in the government and ship them off to Siberia?  What?

When I saw that the Russian Central Bank raised interest rates to something in the range of 15% in response to the sanctions / crash of oil prices / fall of the Ruble, I was mostly astonished that Putin did absolutely nothing.  After all, he is supposed to be this wild-eyed (shirtless) radical yet the rate spike was straight out of the central banking playbook.

So it is with considerable pleasure that I read these comments by Sergey Glazyev—apparently one of Russia's top public intellectuals these days.  His descriptions of the insane actions of Russia's Central bank are so enlightened he could be one of the National Farmer's Alliance's trained speakers trying to describe the advantages of the sub-treasury plan in the late 19th century USA.

Unfortunately, I have not read that Putin has done any housecleaning at his Central Bank.  Apparently, being a top public intellectual in Russia does not mean you will be listened to any more than the monetary decision makers listened to the NFA.  Too bad.  With an enlightened monetary policy, Russia would be a towering force in the world.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Will the Euro left recover from Greece?

There was this guy I know whose car's air conditioner stopped producing cold air.  He comes over with a can of refrigerant and the tools to install it and convinces me to help him put it in.  I said, "this will probably get you some cold air for a few days, but unless we can figure out how the refrigeration escaped in the first place, it is very unlikely the fix will last."  And so it was.  The air conditioner only made cold air for about five days before he had to spend the money on professionals with tools and expertise to locate and fix refrigerant leaks.

I thought of this when I saw the Troika stomp on the Greeks.  Yes, they were able to force Tsipras to accept humiliating terms so I suppose they won.  But since they did not come close to addressing the economic woes that brought Syriza to power in the first place, one can safely assume the the bankster victory will be very short-lived.  Because while it is certainly possible to defeat a politician or a political party, it's a lot harder to defeat an idea whose time has come.

And that, folks, is the crux of the matter.  Syriza certainly lost because they were grossly over-matched.  But that is hardly the whole story.  Actually, their tactics weren't SO bad, but essentially they lost on day one because they were not willing to abandon the Euro.  Doesn't matter how good your tactics may be if your basic game plan is flawed.  The Greeks were dealing with essential questions over the nature of money.  My experience is that lefties are routinely terrible on monetary policy.  So Syriza was flying blind because they were coping with a difficult problem without necessary theoretical underpinnings or an historical track record.

So maybe Europe's left cannot fix the problems caused by the worst economic depression since the 1930s.  But the problems simply must be addressed and there are ample records for how this has been done before.  Someone's going to figure it out.  Europe's bankster classes seem worried.  They should be.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Will we ever get rid of big coal-fired plants like those at Becker?

Ok!  So we are not so green here in Minnesota as we would like to think we are.  We have a couple of 70s-era nukes and a bunch of wind turbines, but the majority of the electricity in the state still comes from burning coal.  Yes, the coal burned is a low-sulfur western variety but the CO2 output is as much as if the coal was "dirty".  In the article below, we see the sort of conflict caused by the mere suggestion that a couple of those big old coal-fired boilers should be decommissioned.

Therein lies probably the biggest problem faced by anyone who wants the CO2 levels of energy generation lowered—the existing investment in dirty old infrastructure.  What I DO find encouraging is that some public-minded citizens have taken it upon themselves to force this issue.  But this issue shouldn't have to be "forced."  The folks at Xcel should stop burning coal because it is so obviously the right thing to do.  I know some Xcel people—they're good solid citizens.  But for the life of me, I cannot understand how in the face of so much evidence, they can even consider burning more coal.  I mean, this isn't even good for the stockholders anymore.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

French agriculture in crises

One of the more angry responses that agriculture mounted in the USA to the Great Depression was Milo Reno's Farmers Holiday Association.  It had been especially active in the county where I spent much of my childhood and so I met people who had participated in the protests—which ended just 12 years before I was born.  One of their tactics was withholding product from the market.  If the product is milk, for example, withholding means regular destruction of perfectly good food.  Considering how many people were going hungry, this tactic was especially controversial during the Depression.  But even more troubling is that people who have chosen to produce food as a profession are not psychologically equipped to deliberately destroy what they had worked so hard to create.

When I watched the French farmers seriously disrupt French society with their protests, I am reminded just how desperate they must be to do any of the things covered in the following article from French TV.  (Follow the link and you can watch this all on video.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The banksters are worried—a little

In probably the least shocking news imaginable, the British cops have decided that anyone who protests the actions of the City banksters are 'extremists', if not actual terrorists.  Of course, after watching what the creditor classes were willing to do to the Greeks, making sure they are protected from those who would object seems like routine prudence.  The creditors haven't maintained their massive hold on power by being careless, after all.

Being so over the top, however, really demonstrates how weak the bankster case really is.  Only a tiny amount of truth will discredit them and they know it.  Therefore, anyone close to becoming a truth-teller probably IS a "terrorist" in their minds.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Re-upping my producer credentials

The one activity in my life that has been stimulating while bringing inner peace, that embodies the best of enlightenment thinking—especially the joys of intellectual freedom, that is both a teacher of great obstacles and great accomplishment, is building—the more difficult and complex, the better.  When I start a project with no plans but dozens of variables, I actually enter a "zone."

Unfortunately, building is also a serious physical activity so it's a young man's game for the most part.  Moreover, I am reasonably certain that I have already learned the important lessons building has to teach—after all, I have been making something or other since I was a little boy.  But our last move put us in a 1958 house so it has it's share of problems owing to its age and the level of skills that went into the original construction.

The most pressing problem concerned an aging bathroom with a shower that leaked through the floor every time it was used no matter how carefully the shower curtain was arranged.  Worse, the leak had eluded several serious attempts at a fix so whatever was wrong, finding and repairing it would not be easy.  On the other hand, this was a simple replace-fixtures-and-surfaces fix.  We would not be moving walls or pipes for an assortment of reasons including cost.  A tricky fix combined with very modest decoration goals sounded right up my alley because it required more brains than brawn.

So for perhaps my last time, I decided to rebuild a bathroom.  I have done at least 15 before so I did know what I was getting into.  But I am 65 and the floor seems a long ways away these days.  I would soon discover why I stopped doing this sort of thing in my 40s.  Yet, I figured that if I paced myself, there were still some lessons to be gleaned by this sort of problem-solving.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Debt Jubilee or destruction

Perhaps the most depressing element of the financial crises in Greece is how the moneychangers can make a society essentially uninhabitable for generations.  Because of decisions made by some greedy and corrupt "leaders" back when Greece entered the EU, current Greeks are just barely hanging on with mass unemployment, spikes in otherwise treatable diseases, an epidemic of suicides, the exodus of the best and brightest necessary to operate a successful society, among other measures of complete social breakdown.

Of course, anyone who has followed the grotesque evils of the organs of the creditor classes like the IMF and World bank will find absolutely nothing new about any of this.  Back in the 1980s I met a young woman who was taking a break from her career as a legal assistant.  While she was good at what she did, she had come to the conclusion that the law firm she was working for was populated by thoroughly evil people and had reached the stage where she couldn't even watch them work.  The event that had triggered her crises of conscience was some meetings where her firm was conducting workout arrangements for some Latin American debt.  Watching a bunch of comfortable Edina attorneys cynically destroying the lives of millions of Mexicans and Columbians had made her quite literally very sick.

I understand how she felt.  There were times during the Asian crises of 1997 where I couldn't watch either.  And I am reaching the same stage with the current catastrophe in Greece.  Yes, I know I should care but I already know that the only thing the Predator classes can do is wreck things.  And I also know that even though Germany has a superb Producer class, it has allowed its Predators to drag its international reputation to its lowest point since 1945 over their bullying of tiny Greece—all just to save the profits of Deutsche Bank and her equally evil sister institutions.

Time for global debt restructuring.  It is the most necessary thing to avoid a complete calamity.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Greek lesson for Russia (everyone)

The fallout from the EU / Troika's crushing of the Greek government will reverberate for a very long time.  If nothing else, the optics of the inventors of democracy being punished for actually exercising a little were just terrible.  The optics of arguably the world's ugliest politicians (Merkel and Schäuble) beating up on a handsome duo like Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis wasn't a whole lot better.

But by far the biggest long-term damage is going to be to the folks who have been running the global economy with the most corrupt arrogance imaginable.  Here the banksters are tinkering with fire.  Their power is totally built on myth so if their BS is called into question, their power could quickly evaporate.

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Alexis Tsipras: Latest so-called ‘Leftist’ to sell-out to the bankers

Perhaps the biggest difference between my political upbringing and that of most of my colleagues is that my version of progressivism was informed by a critique on banking and the arcane subjects of money and what makes it valuable.  As a result, I tend to view people who leave those subjects out of their worldview as, at least, missing some very large points.  Hard to be a real progressive and condone usury, for example.

Money is given magical qualities by far too many people—especially since it is not an especially arcane topic.  Therefore, even someone who claims to be concerned of incomes at the bottom end of society or the working conditions of those who must do our most unpleasant work may refuse to question the wisdom or morality of the moneychangers even in face overwhelming evidence that as a group, they are society's most Predatory creatures.  Lefties probably don't sell out their followers to the creditor classes more than anyone else, it's just when they do, the betrayal is so much more acute.

So now Alexis Tsiparas has joined such notorious lefty sellouts to the banksters as Michael Manley, Nelson Mandela, and Bob Rae.  The unfortunate reality is that a golden opportunity to stand up to the criminal bankster classes was missed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Denmark and windpower

As someone who lives in a little town that has three Danish wind turbines turning against the horizon, I am not a bit surprised that the Danes have now built enough of these graceful giants to actually meet their total electricity demands on days with ideal conditions.  Denmark is a tiny country with a small population.  Not surprisingly their economy doesn't overwhelm very many categories.  But because of an interesting combination of historical forces, wind power is one of them.  They are still a ways from becoming a fully "decarbonized" society but they seem to be far enough along to actually see such a goal on their horizon.

I personally find it very encouraging that someone is actually forging ahead with real solutions.  Yes there are scaling problems between Denmark and a USA or even England.  But someone has to iron out the kinks in powering a society by renewables and so when a small country assigns itself the task, it is good for the rest of us.  And as someone who lives in an area with so much wind that it actually drove some of the early settlers insane, I am especially glad to see someone working on the problems of powering a society with something as fickle as the wind.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Piketty on Germany and debt

Not only does Greece need debt restructuring, the whole world needs it.  However, this week we are talking about the problems of Greece and whether any reasonable person would believe that they should pay any part of the massive debts that the banksters claim they owe.  What is especially galling about all this is that Germany, yes THAT Germany, is acting as the creditor bully in all this.  This is especially ironic since the whole German post-war recovery was enabled by massive debt forgiveness.  If ANYONE should understand the necessity for debt restructuring, it should be Germany.

What is so amazing about this insanely evil behavior on the part of the Germans is that a sin of this exact nature was covered in the Bible—in detail.  It's from Matthew 18:23-25.  I covered this essential story of Christian teaching in an earlier post from February 3, 2015.  So I won't preach that sermon again because recently Thomas Piketty covered much of the same ground in an interview published in Die Zeit.  I sort of envy him because gets to explain what the rest of us wish to tell the Germans to their face.  It's an excellent history lesson.  He had a chance to tell the truth to folks who need to hear it and he took significant advantage of his opportunity.

I don't often make predictions but I will predict that the EU will never recover from this sorry episode with Greece.  I mean, the whole idea of economics (I used to think anyway) is that smart, caring, interested people were to come together to provide good ideas that will enable the greatest number of people to prosper.  It has degenerated to the point where the main thrust of neoliberalism is now the organized plunder of necessary production.  We now have a perfect litmus test—anyone who thinks the Germans /Troika has acted wisely towards Greece should be treated with GREAT suspicion.

Happy Bastille Day Thomas.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hudson on odious debt

What is truly grotesque about the crises in Greece is how many people's lives are being ruined over debts they had no part in incurring.  An outside observer has to watch much of this in a state of shocked disbelief as in "Can the moneychangers really do this?"

The EU is being exposed as just a bunch of criminal loan sharks and whatever idealism drove the formation of the EU in the first place has been been completely eclipsed by the sight of a bunch of neoliberal thugs trashing democracy in one of its more important birthplaces.

Lest anyone thinks that the trashing of little Greece is a trivial matter, keep in mind that the ability of the Predator Classes to alter current economic arrangements based on past maneuvers is also the same thinking that will keep the world from meaningfully addressing the climate problems.  We're supposed to let the planet die because some banksters got some corrupt politicians to sign off on a loan for whatever reason and the glories of compound interest will take care of the rest.

No wonder usury was considered a FAR greater sin than murder for much of human history.  Here Michael Hudson explains how crooked banksters put Greece in a position where their survival is at serious risk.  The obvious solution, of course, is debt restructuring—not just for Greece but for the whole planet.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

PTSD among climate scientists

Awareness is often a mixed blessing.  As someone born with an insatiable curiosity, heightened awareness has been my primary objective for as long as I remember.  But I also know why there is that time-honored saying, "Ignorance is bliss."  By now, there are many things I wished I did not know—what happens in surgery is perhaps my best example.  Two years as a surgical orderly means I have seen WAY over my quota of blood.

But then there is the awareness that usually comes in pretty handy but occasionally leads to frustration and an angry impatience with the less aware.  Regular readers understand that I am especially impatient with neoliberalism or the gold standard.  If there have ever been ideas that have been more thoroughly discredited than those two, I want to hear the nominations.  But if there is one, it must certainly be attached to the climate change deniers.

The science of climate change is not especially difficult.  I remember being taught scientific concepts as difficult in the eighth grade.  Moreover, the evidence is just everywhere.  Good theory combined with excellent experimental results—what's not to like?  I make it a point not to debate the climate change deniers—mostly because if I get going I could ramble on for days without notes or taking a deep breath.  It actually takes quite a bit of self-control to not lash out at such people and there have been occasions where I did not have enough.

But the big issue for me these days is all the people I know who have been terrified by the real oncoming problem of climate gone crazy but have no realistic idea of what to do about it.  You can see the naked desperation when folks get excited about the pronouncements of the Pope.  I'm glad he's worried too but he's pretty thin on solutions—as would be expected.  I mean, there is only one approach that has ANY chance at saving our sorry butts and that is to rebuild our societies so they can operate without fire.  Such a solution is possible only through creative genius, a ton of money spent extremely wisely, and decades of hard, smart work.  These are the kind of solutions our ruling Leisure Classes are positively allergic to.

So when I see proposals for marches, and conferences, tinkering with tax policy, and "market-based" solutions, I get as frustrated as watching someone muddle through Photoshop.  But not surprisingly, few people enjoy having "You're doing it all wrong" shouted at them when they are feeling especially noble so that doesn't advance the ball down the field.  But even when I attempt to patiently explain how we could build a better future, folks panic at that too.  Telling someone the only solution is building the insanely difficult isn't much more helpful than telling someone that only triathletes can participate in the debate. It is damn difficult to explain how to convert a society from burning our carbon reserves to one that harvests our solar income to someone who literally cannot assemble something they brought home from IKEA.

And then I saw this article in Esquire.  It concerns the emotional turmoil faced by climate scientists.  On one hand, they are confronted daily with evidence that confirms the climate change consensus.  On the other, they are vilified for being good at what they do.  It is small comfort to know that they have it better than Galileo.  To someone who has worked on their awareness, the ugly face of ignorance is frightening and painful to confront.  I read this and decided I didn't have an overabundance of reasons to be so personally frustrated.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Neoliberalism is getting pretty wobbly

Early last fall, I was having lunch with my favorite Inside-the-Beltway bureaucrat who has an attachment to neoliberalism that is mostly a function of peer pressure, groupthink, and the obvious reality that such thinking leads to successful career paths.  It was a splendid fall day and I was feeling particularly buoyant.  When we met up, he asked the standard, "How are you?" question.  My response even startled me, "I am doing pretty good these days.  I am taking considerable pleasure in watching neoliberalism crash and burn."

Brave talk.  The way the crackpot concepts of neoliberalism have entrenched themselves will go down in history as a pluperfect example of mass delusional thinking.  Like the gold standard, it's a zombie manifestation of utterly discredited economic ideas.  Hell, when I was in college, we were taught that those ideas were buried to the extant that only a soul with a grave-robber mentality would even bother to discuss them.  Yet here we are in the 35th year of neoliberal hegemony with no realistic end in sight except to optimistic folks out for a drive in the fall colors.

Having said this, it is fun to read the following accounting of recent neoliberal setbacks.

Ellen Brown on the Pope and banking

In spite of the fact that much of Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change is pretty lame, it is far from a useless gesture.  That is because while an action plan for combatting the worst manifestations of atmospheric carbon buildup is beyond the scope of the Vatican's expertise, there are other subjects addressed quite well indeed.  In fairness, climate change is beyond the expertise of almost everyone in the global warming community itself so we probably should not pick on a bunch of well-meaning priests.  But when it comes to a subject like social justice, it turns out that Francis is not only on the mark, he borders on profound.  This is especially true when he turns his attention to the subject of banking.

Given that the practices of banking have fallen into the hands of some wicked sociopaths, it would be tempting to hope that the rest of us could just ignore them.  Unfortunately, getting serious about climate change demands that we spend serious money to address the problem.  And since those sociopaths hold the levers to serious money, we have to find out a way to work with them—if only to throw the lot in jail and replace them with someone more enlightened.  Absent something so revolutionary, having the leader of an institution with over a billion members condemn those obstructionist sociopaths is a pretty good start.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

G7's pathetic energy plan

Perhaps the greatest source of frustration when it comes to the climate change debate is that even those with good intentions seem utterly incapable of comprehending the sheer size of the problem.

I know this guy who has retired from the management of the biggest petroleum refinery in the state.  One time, I got him talking about some of the day-to-day problems he encountered keeping the refinery running.  He talked about the details of getting any team to successfully organize difficult technical tasks but then he got very serious when he described the continuous scramble to keep all those pipelines filled and the tanker trucks running.  He spent at least a half hour trying to impress on me the sheer volume of product his facility had to refine every shift.  Finally, he shook his head because he believed, probably correctly, that even someone like me who loves big numbers was really not understanding the rivers of fuels it requires to keep our version of civilization running.

If I just barely understand the scale of the problem (and I hang out with the sort of people who supervise oil refineries) imagine the lack of awareness of someone who writes political speeches for a living.  Actually, it isn't so very hard to imagine.  When the G7 met in Bavaria this spring, they managed to insert some boilerplate about transitioning to a low-carbon economy.  Now this is an idea I follow pretty carefully and I applaud the activists who managed to get this goal included in the final G7 communiqué.  But I am willing to bet that while the activists have some idea of what they are asking for, no one in the room where the final communiqué was signed had any idea just what would be involved with achieving even those modest goals.

In the article below, Pete Dolack takes aim at the pathetic inadequacies of the G7 efforts.  Right now, we need thousands of Dolacks because job #1, it seems to me, is to simply get the folks who have been selected to run things to understand just how BIG this problem of climate change really is.  Of course, some folks will never understand on any meaningful level.  I have liberal friends who usually refer to skyscrapers and jumbo jets as somehow bad because they weren't designed to a "human scale."  I never understood what they could possibly be talking about because, after all, those skyscrapers and jumbo jets were designed and built by regular human beings.  In fact, humans are changing the climate of the planet through small and quite ordinary actions like cooking a meal.  Turns out, "human scale" can be very large indeed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

STILL building coal-fired plants?

Actually, outside of the little matter of the environmental devastation it leaves behind, burning coal to generate electricity is a pretty good idea.  It's reliable using machinery that has been highly developed over many decades.  The investor classes know how to read the documentation that justifies spending the money.

Only that environmental matter has turned critical.  There in simply no way to pump more CO2 into the air in the process of making electricity than to burn coal.  It's simple chemistry—coal has a higher percentage of carbon than any other material so when we oxidize it, it makes more CO2.  Ironically, the ugly pollutants that come from coal burning like mercury and sulphur oxides (acid rain) are the things that can be "cleaned up."  With CO2, this is already the cleanest possible outcome so long as we burn carbon.  

What this means is that no matter how easy or convenient is may be to build coal-fired electrical power plants, we simply cannot do it any more.  Never.  For any reason.  And because a shiny new coal burner will last at least 50 years, the threat one poses is utterly unacceptable.  This fact is so obvious even the head of OECD understands.

In the second article, we see a story of the teething problems of replacing the fire-based power systems.  I am not absolutely convinced that wind and solar demand new organizational arrangements, but since this sort of experimentation came with the first electrical systems, we should not be surprised that the new green systems would trigger the same sort of social innovation.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Greece votes NO to austerity

It wasn't even close.  Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis told everyone that if the NO vote lost, he would resign.  By Saturday night he was explaining that this was essentially an empty threat because he felt assured that that his side was going to win.  But I'll bet that even he was surprised by the margin of victory. (Update: Varoufakis quits anyway.  Considering what he has gone through in the last five months, I don't blame him one little bit.)

However as big—and significant—as this vote was, this fight is FAR from over.  The creditor classes are justifiably famous for their untrammeled greed and if little Greece escapes their clutches, what's to stop Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc. from pulling the same stunts.  The answer is—not a damn thing.  Which is precisely why this vote was so important.  The Predator/creditor classes have to be stopped before they destroy everything of value on the planet.

As for Greece, I would only offer one tiny piece of advice.  As you progress through the minefields of default and possibly the re-introduction of the Drachma, remember that all the answers you need can found in the history books.  You are certainly not the first debtor or debtor nation to file for bankruptcy.  You are not the first nation to issue new currency.

Greece, these are big stakes you are playing for.  You have already exposed the evils and cruelties of neoliberalism.  You have already demonstrated that when the situation become desperate enough, people find a fountain of courage somewhere even when being deliberately terrorized by Predators who are experts at destruction and spreading fear.  You have demonstrated that whatever idealism went into the creation of the EU, it is now being run by sociopaths.  And Paul Craig Roberts seems to think you are necessary to avoid WW III.

That's quite a list for a tiny country.  Damn, maybe the modern Greeks ARE related to the ones we read about in high school (my favorite was Euclid.)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Milne on Greece

One of the more interesting things about John Perkins 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is that it was made into a documentary in 2009 by a Greek – U.S. production house and directed by Stelios Kouloglou.  So at least a few Greeks had an idea of just how thoroughly evil the banksters really were.

And yet, Syriza was elected believing these folks could be reasoned with.  And with next Sunday's referendum, they seem to believe that all the debate needs is some more democracy.  Well Seumas Milne over at the Guardian wants to remind everyone that the banksters are not about to let something as trivial as democracy stand in their way of grabbing everything of value in Greece.  Milne is probably right—it's just that some day someone WILL stand up to the moneychangers and their lies.  And when that day happens, the whole financial edifice will be in serious trouble because it is nothing more than an illusion anyway.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Producer Class keeps moving forward

Recently, the Pope demonstrated that even with the best intentions, the Leisure Classes have precious little to offer the climate change debate (and it is damn difficult to be more classically Leisure Class than a Pope).  One reader wrote me an email demanding that I admit the Pope Francis is correct when he says that making a commitment to address climate change is a "moral" issue.  I am not willing to admit to any such thing.
  • Every living human on earth produces CO2 every minute of their lives,  It's damn difficult to make a moral issue out of something we all do by merely living.
  • The really big contributor to climate change is the lavish human use of fire.  But even though I don't know all the religious traditions, I don't see fire condemned in any I know of.  In Christian teachings, fire is sometimes used to describe the presence of God from Moses's burning bush to the fire of Pentecost in Acts.  Difficult to describe a synonym for God as evil but absent fire, there is barely a climate change problem.
If fire is the main issue, then climate change is by definition a Producer Class matter.  So it is encouraging to see that the Producers have been pressing forward with solutions even though the Predators are doing everything possible to screw things up these days.  In our first story, we see the Japanese unveiling a 7 MW floating wind turbine.  Because Japan is a volcanic island group, they don't have a large offshore shallow area like we have off the east coast of USA or in the North Sea.  This means that all their really good offshore wind sites are already in very deep water.  Floating wind turbines solve this problem but they will be crazy-difficult to build.  Good thing Producers LIKE complex and difficult projects, huh?

In the second article, we read that because of the plunging costs of solar cells, countries like China and India may be able to power themselves indefinitely with a $12 trillion investment.

I mean, it's nice the Pope is spiritually on board but I am MUCH happier that the Producers are out there actually solving problems.