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Thread: Generational Dynamics World View - Page 11







Post#251 at 12-18-2012 12:03 AM by Odin [at Moorhead, MN, USA joined Sep 2006 #posts 14,442]
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Poor Italy. Can they never rid themselves of Berlusconi?
To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

-Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism







Post#252 at 12-18-2012 10:02 AM by Earl and Mooch [at Delaware - we pave paradise and put up parking lots joined Sep 2002 #posts 2,106]
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Quote Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Poor Italy. Can they never rid themselves of Berlusconi?
When he first entered Italian politics in 1993, he was considered a hero. But his owning almost all the private media (and a good chunk of the private sector) had a lot to do with that.
"My generation, we were the generation that was going to change the world: somehow we were going to make it a little less lonely, a little less hungry, a little more just place. But it seems that when that promise slipped through our hands we didn´t replace it with nothing but lost faith."

Bruce Springsteen, 1987
http://brucebase.wikispaces.com/1987...+YORK+CITY,+NY







Post#253 at 12-19-2012 12:30 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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19-Dec-12 World View -- 'Chained CPI' enters the farcical Fiscal Cliff negotiations

*** 19-Dec-12 World View -- 'Chained CPI' proposal enters the farcical Fiscal Cliff negotiations

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Domestic violence revealed in ancient Egypt
  • 'Chained CPI' proposal enters the farcical Fiscal Cliff negotiations
  • Russia sends warships to Mediterranean for evacuations from Syria
  • Hugo Chavez battles respiratory infection, following cancer surgery
  • Taliban terrorists kill six female polio vaccination workers in Pakistan


****
**** Domestic violence revealed in ancient Egypt
****



The lid of the sarcophagus of Ramses III

After two years of scientific and archaeological research,
Egyptologists have the mystery of the death of Ramses III, the Pharoah
who ruled from 1187 to 1156 BC. Based on papyrus transcripts,
combined with an examination of the body itself, scientists have
determined that Ramses III was killed by his second wife Queen Tiya,
who wished to put her son, Prince Pentawere, on the throne.
However, at the trial following the murder, Queen Tiya and other
officials were sentenced to death, and Prince Pentawere was ordered to
kill himself. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Fitzwilliam Museum (PDF)

****
**** 'Chained CPI' proposal enters the farcical Fiscal Cliff negotiations
****


Long-time readers are fully aware of what a farce have been the past
two years of negotiations among European leaders on bailing out
Greece. Every few months, they get together and announce a "nuclear
option" solution that solves the problem of Greece once and for all.
Investors, who I've truly come to believe are mostly total morons (at
least when they're investing their own money, and not someone else's),
push the markets up for a couple of days, thinking that the mid-2000s
real estate and credit bubbles are going to return. Within a couple
of weeks later, it becomes clear to everyone, even the morons, that
the solution actually did nothing but postpone the crisis without
resolving the underlying problems, thus making the next crisis round
even worse.

The same pattern is appearing in the negotiations to avoid the "fiscal
cliff" on December 31. If there's a deal, it looks like President
Obama will get his way and there will be tax cuts for "the rich,"
which will accomplish nothing, but there will be no cuts in the
entitlements that cause the actual problem. So the crisis would be
avoided for a while, and would come back again later, worse than ever
-- just like Greece.

The latest sign of farce is the discussions over the Chained Consumer Price
Index (CPI). The Chained CPI grows the computed inflation rate slightly
slower than the ordinary CPI. Since things like Social Security increases
and tax brackets are indexed to the CPI, they would rise more slowly as
well.

The CPI is computed by measuring how much the cost of each item in a basket
of goods increases each year, and averaging the results. So if the price of an
apple goes from $1.00 to $1.20, that's a 20% increase in the price of apples.
But the Chained CPI computation would say that if the price of apples goes up 20%,
then people will switch to oranges instead, if those are going up only 5%, and the
lower 5% figure will be used in the Chained CPI computation.

Thus:

  • Social Security cost of living increases would decrease. Payments
    would still increase each year, but by 2020 they'll be 5% less than the would
    have been.
  • Tax brackets will increase more slowly, meaning that people will be pushed
    into higher tax brackets more quickly, and have to pay more taxes.


So government payouts would increase less quickly, and tax collections would
increase more quickly.

Now, no one really wants to see Social Security cut. I don't, because I'll
probably be on it before too much longer. But I also know that there's no
choice, and that Social Security and Medicare are probably going to be thrown
out completely when the real financial crisis arrives. I'm all for reviving
those "death panels" we used to hear about a couple of years ago -- just put
us out of our misery when the time comes. You'll be doing us a favor.

The Chained CPI concept is favored by the White House and some Republicans and
Democrats in Congress, because it has these advantages:

  • It will raise taxes and cut entitlements.
  • Nobody's heard of it.
  • Even fewer people understand it.
  • The name "Chained API" is weird.
  • Therefore, no one will complain about it.


Well, it turns out that the last item is untrue. Democratic Senators
Dick Durban and Harry Reid are strongly against it because it cuts
social security increases.

Or let's see how radical feminist chick Bryce Covert puts it:

"As Brad DeLong put it yesterday, “’Chained-CPI’ is
code for ‘let's really impoverish some women in their 90s!’” This
change would end up reducing benefits by about .3 percent each
year and will hammer elderly women. ...

This hurts women more than men because they are more likely to
live longer and to be poor while they do so. The NWLC reports that
a woman is twice as likely as a man to get to age 95, scrounging
for ways to pay for two weeks of food."
So, we're talking about a debt of $16 trillion dollars and growing
rapidly, and we have to listen to this feminist chick get hysterical
about a 0.3% cut, when in fact we're going to be forced into a 50-100%
cut before too much longer.

So this brings us back to the fiscal cliff negotiations. Taxes are
going up on "the rich" because President Obama wants that, even though
it accomplishes nothing. But cut Social Security benefits by 0.3%?
That's hammering elderly women, so we can't do it. We can't do
anything else, either. It's a farce and a disaster. Washington Post and Bryce Covert (The Nation) and Moment of Truth Project

****
**** Russia sends warships to Mediterranean for evacuations from Syria
****


Russia's navy has sent five ships -- three warships and two support
ships -- from Russia's Baltic Fleet to join Russian naval forces in
the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria. There are some 20,000
Russian citizens in Syria, and according to the Russian military, the
warships are being deployed as a contingency for the possible
evacuation of Russian citizens from Syria, in case of the collapse of
the government of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. However, Debka
reports that the warships are ill-suited for evacuation purposes, and
that they're being positioned to send troops into Syria in case
chemical or biological weapons are used by either side. In that case,
there will be forces from Russia, the U.S., Israel, Jordan and Turkey,
and possibly other countries as well, in Syria. Russia Today and Debka

****
**** Hugo Chavez battles respiratory infection, following cancer surgery
****


Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who underwent lengthy, complex
cancer surgery in Cuba on September 11, has now been found to be
suffering a respiratory infection. According to Cuba's Information
Minister, "The general condition of the commander-president is stable
after he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and the medical
team treated him immediately. It has been controlled." Reuters

****
**** Taliban terrorists kill six female polio vaccination workers in Pakistan
****


Five female polio vaccination workers in Karachi, Pakistan, and one
more in Peshawar have been shot to death in coordinated attacks. The
perpetrators are assumed to be Taliban terrorists. Taliban leaders
have been for years describing the polio vaccination programs as
Western espionage, or as attempts to sterilize Pakistani children to
prevent the births of more Muslims. These claims turned into demands
after the American administration, in the process of bragging about
having killed Osama bin Laden, revealed that a phony vaccination
program was used to help establish the identity of bin Laden. The
polio vaccination program has now been put on hold, but it's
considered critically important for Pakistan, which appears to be on
the verge of a large polio epidemic. BBC (Check out the
BBC link for an interesting pictorial history of polio.)


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Egypt, Ramses III, Queen Tiya,
Chained CPI, Fiscal Cliff, Greece, Harry Reid,
Dick Durban, Bryce Covert, Russia, Syria, Bashar al-Assad,
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela, Pakistan, Taliban,
Osama bin Laden, polio

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Last edited by John J. Xenakis; 12-19-2012 at 08:57 AM.







Post#254 at 12-20-2012 12:23 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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20-Dec-12 World View -- Russia's Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans

*** 20-Dec-12 World View -- Russia's Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russia's Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans
  • Dept. of Justice brings criminal charges against Swiss bank UBS
  • Deutsche Bank faces severe tax evasion charges in Germany


****
**** Russia's Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans
****



The painting 'Orphanage - Nap Time' by Russian artist Vitaly Drozdov

Modern Russia as more orphans than any other country, 678,000 , even
more than the Soviet Union had during World War II. Over the past 20
years, U.S. citizens have adopted more than 60,000 of them. Some of
the rest, especially those with mental or physical disabilities, are
locked into cribs with iron bars, forced to lie in their own feces and
urine. Now the Duma has given preliminary approval to legislation
banning Americans from adopting Russian children. The ban is part of
a larger bill forbidding NGOs (non-government agencies) from operating
in Russia if they received U.S. funding and conduct political
activities. President Vladimir Putin has accused American-funded NGOs
of interfering in Russia's political process, as it became apparent
that Putin's return to the Presidency occurred because of massive
voter fraud. The ban on adoptions is retaliation for American
legislation called the "Magnitsky bill," passed in response to an
alleged fraudulent scheme uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian
lawyer, who named names of numerous corrupt Russian tax and law
enforcement officials, but who was then thrown into a Russian jail and
left to die. Moscow Times and Bloomberg

****
**** Dept. of Justice brings criminal charges against Swiss bank UBS
****


U.S. prosecutors charged two former UBS AG traders on Wednesday with
taking part in a multi-year scheme to manipulate Libor interest for
their own personal gain. UBS was fined $1.5 billion, and its Japanese
subsidiary pleaded guilty to criminal fraud. According to Attorney
General Eric Holder:

"Today, the Justice Department is filing a criminal
information charging UBS Securities Japan – a subsidiary of the
multinational financial institution UBS AG – with felony wire
fraud for engaging in a scheme to manipulate the London Interbank
Offered Rate, or LIBOR – a key benchmark for financial products
and transactions around the world. The company has agreed to
plead guilty to this charge, to admit to its criminal conduct, and
to pay a $100 million fine.

Additionally, in a separate complaint, two former UBS traders have
been charged with conspiracy for their alleged roles in this
scheme – which allowed UBS to boost its trading profits by placing
bets on the movement of benchmark interest rates, and then
manipulating those rates. One of these individuals has also been
charged with wire fraud and an antitrust violation in connection
with these activities.

By causing UBS and other financial institutions to spread false
and misleading information about LIBOR, these alleged conspirators
– and others at UBS – manipulated the benchmark interest rate upon
which many consumer financial products – including credit cards,
student loans, and mortgages – are frequently based. They
defrauded the company’s counterparties of millions of dollars.
And they did so primarily to reap increased profits, and secure
bigger bonuses, for themselves."
One trader, Tom Hayes, a 33-year-old Gen-Xer, colluded with about 100
traders at other banks and 12000 interdealer brokers in the massive
scheme.

Long-time readers are aware that we're seeing something of a miracle
here. Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department have adamantly
refused to investigate and prosecute anyone for the financial crisis,
even when the fraud was complete obvious and provable. "Financial Crisis Inquiry hearings provide 'smoking gun' evidence of widespread criminal fraud"

Thus, Tom Hayes is actually the first bankster crook to actually be
charged. What made Holder change his mind?

We presume that Holder has stubbornly refused to prosecute bankster
criminals because of all the money they contributed to Obama's
presidential campaign. Maybe the fact that Obama won't be running
again is one of Holder's reasons.

But the more obvious reason is that UBS is not an American bank, so it
doesn't contribute to Obama's campaign anyway. UBS is a Swiss bank,
and the criminal charges were brought against its Japanese subsidiary.
Recently, British bank HSBC was fined ( "15-Dec-12 World View -- Outrage grows that U.S. did not jail anyone at HSBC bank for money laundering"
), and before that
Barclays bank was fined in the Libor scandal.

So it's STILL true that no American bank has been held accountable for
the financial crisis, despite massive evidence of criminal activity,
and no American bankster has been sent to jail. Going after the
Japanese subsidiary of a Swiss bank almost seems like a joke.
Dept. of Justice and Bloomberg

****
**** Deutsche Bank faces severe tax evasion charges in Germany
****


I became very aware of Deutsche Bank in 2007 and 2008 when I was
writing about subprime mortgage fraud. What had happened during the
bubble was that a bank would grant a subprime mortgage loan, and then
sell the note and the deed to another bank. Readers may recall that
many homeowners going through a foreclosure process were surprised to
learn that the bank that had given them the mortgage loan was no
longer involved, and often they could figure out which bank actually
owned their home. As I discovered at the time, in most cases, the
bank that had taken the mortgage loans over was Deutsche Bank.
Needless to say, Deutsche Bank lost a great deal of money when the
subprime mortgage market collapse.

Deutsche Bank was once Germany's proudest financial institution, but
is now facing numerous legal charges and scandals, New management was
brought in to recover from the subprime mortgage disaster, but it now
appears that they did so by committing tax fraud. The fraud involved
those greenhouse gas emissions certificates that European companies
can trade with one another to be allowed to emit carbon dioxide.
Deutsche Bank cooperated in a shell game to evade taxes by passing
these certificates bank and forth through shell companies, across
national borders. The scheme sounds remarkably similar to the way
that subprime mortgages were passed from bank to bank to commit fraud.

A frequent theme that I've written about numerous times is that the
financial crisis is far from over for many reasons, a major one being
that the same people who committed fraud in the first place are still
in the same jobs, finding new ways to commit fraud, and with the Obama
administration refusing to investigate these crooks, the crooks know
that then can go on committing crime after crime with no fear of
prosecution.

In this case, however, it's German prosecutors going after Deutsche
Bank, while American prosecutors are going after UBS. Maybe these are
just the first signs of a coming flood of criminal prosecutions that
will send lots of banksters to jail. Let's hope. Spiegel


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Duma, Vitaly Drozdov,
Vladimir Putin, Sergei Magnitsky,
UBS AG, Eric Holder, Libor, Tom Hayes, HSBC, Barclays,
Germany, Deutsche Bank

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Post#255 at 12-21-2012 12:31 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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21-Dec-12 World View -- United Nations approves military intervention in Mali

*** 21-Dec-12 World View -- United Nations approves military intervention in Mali

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • The Chinese prepare for the end of the world on Friday (today)
  • United Nations approves military intervention in Mali
  • Interest rate fixing probe expands into Asia


****
**** The Chinese prepare for the end of the world on Friday (today)
****



Liu Qiyuan and his 'tsunami survival pod' in China's Hebei province

Many people around the world believe that the world is coming to an
end on Friday, thanks to an ancient Mayan calendar and to thousands of
doomsday web sites. According to polls, 20% of the population believe
this in China, whereas 22% believing it in the United States. The
Chinese have been panic-buying candles and other supplies, because of
rumors that the doomsday will begin with total darkness. (It's not
clear to me why you need candles if the world is going to end.) China
has arrested over 450 people for spreading rumors about the imminent
apocalypse. One Chinese entrepreneur, Liu Qiyuan, a former
furniture-maker, now builds "survival pods" with a capacity of 14
people each, to survive 100-foot high tsunamis. However, Master
Yancan, a Buddhist abbot in Cangzhou, says, "I suggest we nominate
December 21 as World Humor Day to commemorate the humor of the Mayans.
Why bother to believe rumors such as this? Just enjoy your life."
Al-Jazeera

****
**** United Nations approves military intervention in Mali
****


The United Nations Security Council has authorized military
intervention in Mali, to recapture the northern 2/3rds of the country,
which has fallen into the hands of several terrorist groups linked to
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). UNSC members voted
unanimously on Thursday to approve the resolution to restore peace and
protect human rights in Mali. The resolution passed on pressure from
France, which fears that if AQIM establishes a firm stronghold in
northern Mali, then it will be used as a base to launch terrorist
attacks on Algeria and Europe, especially France. However, most UNSC
members really aren't too anxious to endorse military action in Mali,
and so the resolution sets no time frame and no implementation plan,
except a vague expectation that the troops will be provided by ECOWAS,
the Economic Community of West African States. VOA

****
**** Interest rate fixing probe expands into Asia
****


As we reported
yesterday, the
Department of Justice has brought charges against the Japanese
subsidiary of the Swiss bank UBS AG, for falsely influencing
international interest rates (Libor) in order to defraud investors.
The UBS charges have served as a wake-up call to investigative
agencies in several Asian companies, including the Hong Kong Monetary
Authority and Japan’s Financial Services Agency. These agencies are
opening a probe into Asian subsidiaries of other European banks,
including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays, UBS, Deutsche Bank
AG and Rabobank Groep. According to one analyst, Asian prosecuters
are more willing to send crooked banksters to jail. This would be
unlike Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department, which refused to
investigate and send banksters to jail, even in the face of massive
evidence of criminal fraud, presumably because these banksters
contribute a lot of campaign money to President Obama. After all
these years, not a single American bank employee has been jailed for
the financial crisis, despite absolute proof that fraud was committed.
In today's America, respectable people are gangsters, and gangsters
are treated as respectable people. Bloomberg


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Liu Qiyuan, U.N. Security Council,
Mali, ECOWAS, Hong Kong Monetary Authority,
Japan's Financial Services Agency, Eric Holder

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Post#256 at 12-22-2012 12:10 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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22-Dec-12 World View -- Ethnic revenge massacre in Kenya kills 41

*** 22-Dec-12 World View -- Ethnic revenge massacre in Kenya kills 41

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Ethnic revenge massacre in Kenya kills 41
  • Syria's civil war versus Kenya's civil war
  • President Obama nominates John Kerry as Secretary of State


****
**** Ethnic revenge massacre in Kenya kills 41
****



Massacre victims in Kenya

At least 41 people, including many women and children, from the
Christian Pokomo tribe in southwest Kenya were massacred while they
slept in a 3am by the Muslim Orma tribe. The attack was in revenge
for a attack by the Pokomo against the Orma in August, where 52 people
were hacked to death with some being burnt alive, and hundreds of
cattle were mutilated.

Although the two tribes have adopted different religious faiths, this
is actually the same issue that began the Darfur conflict.
(See "13-Dec-12 World View -- Darfur war may explode again soon into full-scale genocide" )

The Darfur war began with violence between two ethnic groups, one of
farmers and the other of herders. There were similar conflicts in the
United States in the 1800s, although those conflicts didn't lead to
war. What happens is that the farmers are infuriated when herds of
animals trample their crops. They respond by building fences, and
that infuriates the herders.

Exactly the same dynamic is occurring between the nomadic Orma
herders, who have frequently had violent conflicts with the Pokomo
farmers. However, Friday's violence is the worst incident in a while,
and it raises fears of a repeat of the massive ethnic violence that
followed the 2007 presidential, in which more than 1,200 people were
killed, and many thousands were driven from their homes. I wrote about
this in January, 2008, in "Post-election massacre in Kenya raises concerns of tribal war"
.

In that article, I described the recent generational history
of Kenya. The country's last crisis war was the Mau-Mau Rebellion,
which climaxed in 1956. In my 2008 article, I pointed out that it
was just 51 years since the climax of the Mau-Mau rebellion, making
it unlikely that a new crisis war would begin at that time. So I
indicated that the violence at that time was likely to fizzle (which
it did), but that violence would return, and the probability of new
violence triggering a major crisis war increases with each year.

Today, another five years have passed, and it's now 56 years past the
end of Kenya's last crisis war, so the probability of triggering
a major new genocidal crisis war is much higher. In examining hundreds
of wars throughout history, it has turned out that the peak year
for a new generational crisis war is 58 years past the climax of
the previous crisis war. Apparently, this is exactly the point where
the generation of survivors of the previous war, who have devoted
their lives to making sure it doesn't happen again, become too old
to be effective in preventing a new crisis war.

The conflict between the Pokomo and the Orma seems to be highly
localized, so the current skirmish seems likely to fizzle. But Kenya
is headed for a major new genocidal ethnic war, almost certainly
within the next five years. Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya)

****
**** Syria's civil war versus Kenya's civil war
****


This is a good opportunity to contrast the civil wars in
Syria and Kenya. People constantly ask me whether the war
in Syria is a generational crisis war, and I've written dozens
of times in the last two years that it is not -- it's
a civil war in a generational Awakening era, and it's going to
fizzle.

A crisis war comes from the people, while a non-crisis war comes from
the politicians, and nothing illustrates this better than the contrast
between Kenya and Syria. The war in Syria is driven entirely by
president Bashar al-Assad, and it would fizzle quickly if al-Assad
stepped down. Syria is still several decades away from a full-scale
generational crisis war. But in Kenya, there are no politicians
driving the war. It's a war between two ethnic groups, farmers and
herders, and it could spread and envelope the entire country at any
time.

****
**** President Obama nominates John Kerry as Secretary of State
****


When Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was running for president in 2004,
I was wondering how it would be possible for someone who thought
that the U.S. Army was worse than the Nazis could be president
and lead the country in the war against terror.

In 1971, Kerry said that American soldiers were committing war crimes
"on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all
levels of command." These atrocities included rape, torture, and
cutting off ears, heads and limbs. He compared the actions of our
armed forces to those of Genghis Khan. I wondered if Kerry still
believed this in 2004. I didn't get answer then, but I did get an
answer in 2006, when Kerry appeared on Imus and reaffirmed that he had
"told the truth" in 1971. ( "John Kerry and Seymour Hersh trash the armed forces."
)

In 2006, Kerry also made his famous statement indicating that he
thought that people in the American armed forces were stupid:

"You know, education -- if you make the most of it,
you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to
be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in
Iraq."
With his contemptuous view of America's armed forces, by nominating
Kerry to be Secretary of State, President Obama has insulted every
American soldier and, indeed, every American.

And I honestly have no idea how this guy is going to represent
the United States. If he condemns a terrorist act in some other
country, how will he answer the question: "But according to what
you said in 1971, American soldiers are worse rapists, torturers
and terrorists than al-Qaeda. Why does America have the right
to criticize anyone else?"

On the other hand, maybe Kerry isn't such a bad choice after all.
When all the raping, torturing and ear-cutting was going on
with Kerry's fellow soldiers in Vietnam, presumably Kerry didn't
just sit there twiddling his thumbs. He probably participated
himself. He probably raped a few Vietnamese girls himself,
and cut off a few Vietnamese men's ears himself as well.

So, which would be the better candidate for Secretary of State: A
wishy-washy girl like Susan Rice, or a white male likely rapist and
torturer? Well, if we're headed for the Clash of Civilizations World
War, I'll go for the likely rapist and torturer for Secretary of
State. Washington Post


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Kenya, Pokomo, Orma, Mau-Maul rebellion,
Darfur, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, John Kerry

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Post#257 at 12-23-2012 12:11 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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23-Dec-12 World View -- Russia says that Syria's chemical weapons are under control

*** 23-Dec-12 World View -- Russia says that Syria's chemical weapons are under control

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Egyptians approve the controversial Islamist constitution
  • Russia says that Syria's chemical weapons are under control


****
**** Egyptians approve the controversial Islamist constitution
****



An elderly Egyptian man shows his inked finger, indicating that he voted (AP)

The official results won't be available until Monday, but the Muslim
Brotherhood and others are saying that Egyptians voted "YES" in the
referendum to approve the new draft constitution, by a landslide vote
of over 64%. The vote was conducted on two consecutive Saturdays,
last Saturday in the urban areas, and yesterday in the rural areas.
The draft constitution is considered controversial because it was
drafted by the Muslim Brotherhood itself, and contains many clauses
that reflect strict Islamic Sharia law. Al-Ahram (Cairo)

****
**** Russia says that Syria's chemical weapons are under control
****


Two weeks ago, intelligence reports were indicating that the
regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad was moving its stockpile
of chemical and biological weapons, giving rise to fear in the
West that al-Assad was repositioning them in order to use them
against Syrian rebel forces. However, Russia's Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov says that they were moved in order to bring them
under stricter control:

"So far according to our information, which correlates
with Western data, the weapons are under control. The Syrian
authorities have concentrated these stockpiles in one or two
centers. Previously they were scattered around the country.

Our American colleagues acknowledge that the main threat is if
(the chemical weapons) are seized by the insurgents. For us this
is very serious. We check every rumor that concerns chemical
weapons."
Lavrov also referred to "Russian military advisers training Syria's
military." Debka connects the dots in these statements to conclude
that the Russians themselves have taken control of the chemical
weapons in Syria.

Lavrov also said that the Americans and Europeans are secretly
pleased that Russia and China have been blocking resolutions in
the United Nations Security Council.

"No one has any appetite for intervention. Behind the
scenes, I have a feeling they are praying that Russia and China go
on blocking intervention, as sanctioning it would mean they must
act – and they are not ready."
Lavrov is also denying that al-Assad is welcome to take refuge
in Russia, if he decides to step down.

AFP and Debka and Russia Today


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood,
Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Sergei Lavrov

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Post#258 at 12-24-2012 12:00 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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24-Dec-12 World View -- Russian military advisers enter the fray in Syria

*** 24-Dec-12 World View -- Russian military advisers enter the fray in Syria

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Morsi's landslide referendum victory divides Egypt
  • Russian military advisers enter the fray in Syria
  • Assad's air strikes target bakeries to deprive Syrians of bread


****
**** Morsi's landslide referendum victory divides Egypt
****



Mohamed Morsi

The overwhelming 64% "YES" vote on the referendum to approve the draft
constitution has divided Egypt has thrilled the supporters of Egypt's
president Mohamed Morsi, and frightened his opponents. The new
constitution, which was drafted by the Muslim Brotherhood and
conservative Salafists, incorporates Islamic Sharia law, which
opponents claim deprives most citizens, especially women, of the
hard-won rights that they fought for in last year's Egyptian
revolution, violating many promises by Morsi. It now turns out that
the Muslim Brotherhood was training over 7,000 activists to get out
the vote on the referendum, whiles opposition leaders squabbled among
themselves. Opposition leaders are hoping to overturn referendum
results, pointing out that only 33% of eligible voters even bothered
to vote, but it's hard to see how they can overcome the 64% majority
of those who did vote. One of the opposition's examples of alleged
lies by Morsi was his claim, prior to the vote, that Article 198 of
the new constitution prohibits military trials of civilians. However,
they point out that the actual article states:

"Civilians shall not stand trial before military
courts except for crimes that harm the Armed Forces. The law shall
define such crimes and determine the other competencies of
Military Judiciary."
The opposition points out that this article allows the army to try any
civilian in military court, since the army decides which crimes are to
be tried. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Jerusalem Post

****
**** Russian military advisers enter the fray in Syria
****


The statements by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that we
reported yesterday that Syria's
chemical weapons were "under control," with the aid of "Russian
military advisers training Syria's military," is causing rapid
strategic changes in the West's plans. Up until three days ago,
it was feared that the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad
would use his chemical and biological weapons against the opposition,
and this would trigger a forced response by the West to take
control of these weapons, using ground forces and air power.
However, new reports indicate that Russia has upgraded Syria's
defensive forces with advanced surface to air missiles, manned
by Russian forces, making any U.S.-led intervention extremely
dangerous, protracted and costly.

However, Debka puts an entirely different spin on this story, saying
that Israel, the U.S. and Russia are actually cooperating to make sure
that the opposition, especially al-Qaeda linked jihadists, do not gain
control of the weapons. Guardian (London) and Debka

****
**** Assad's air strikes target bakeries to deprive Syrians of bread
****


At least 90 people were killed an hundreds injured on Sunday by an air
strike by the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad on a baker
where over 1,000 people were queuing for bread. The attack occurred
in the town of Halfaya, where the rebels had driven out regime forces.
The regime has particularly targeted bakeries in order to kill
civilians and to deprive civilians of bread. Al-Jazeera


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood,
Russia, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Halfaya

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Post#259 at 12-24-2012 01:51 PM by JDG 66 [at joined Aug 2010 #posts 2,116]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis View Post
...On the other hand, maybe Kerry isn't such a bad choice after all.
When all the raping, torturing and ear-cutting was going on
with Kerry's fellow soldiers in Vietnam, presumably Kerry didn't
just sit there twiddling his thumbs. He probably participated
himself. He probably raped a few Vietnamese girls himself,
and cut off a few Vietnamese men's ears himself as well...l
-Actually, when pressed (during the Dick Cavett debate, IIRC), he admitted that he never say any American war atrocities. He got all that from his buddies in VVAW, nost of whom turned out to be liars and frauds (e.g., they made it up, or they didn't serve in VietNam, or were never even in the military). I don't think he ever bothered to apolgize for accepting the BS so readily though.







Post#260 at 12-24-2012 06:48 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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Quote Originally Posted by JDG 66 View Post
> Actually, when pressed (during the Dick Cavett debate, IIRC), he
> admitted that he never say any American war atrocities. He got all
> that from his buddies in VVAW, nost of whom turned out to be liars
> and frauds (e.g., they made it up, or they didn't serve in
> VietNam, or were never even in the military). I don't think he
> ever bothered to apologize for accepting the BS so readily
> though.
Actually, not only did he not apologize, he reaffirmed his opinion on
Imus in 2006, as I mentioned. It might come up at the confirmation
hearings.

I received about a dozen comments on the Kerry item. One of them was
pro-Kerry, and the others were all firmly anti-Kerry.

I think the guy's a total cockroach. I cannot imagine how he could be
Secretary of State.







Post#261 at 12-24-2012 11:48 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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25-Dec-12 World View -- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

*** 25-Dec-12 World View -- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Americans should thank 'Made in China' for a Merry Christmas
  • Vatican displays a low-cost Nativity scene
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


****
**** Americans should thank 'Made in China' for a Merry Christmas
****





According to People's Daily, if Americans have a Merry Christmas,
then it's all thanks to China, particularly low-cost "Made in China"
manufactured goods:

<QUOTE>"However, facing a declining economic growth,
ballooning deficit and looming "fiscal cliff", the Christmas
season in the United States this year seems particularly chilly.
Amid the current economic chill, some major American media outlets
recently called on the American people to boycott the "Made in
China Christmas gift" and revive the "Made in America Christmas".
They spoke negatively about the quality of Chinese-made products
and said "Made in China" has been controlling the American people
and big businesses. ...

It is time to let the truth do the talking. Our American fellows
deserve to know the truth, the stinging truth about how the
ubiquitous "Made in China" has helped the US economy. ..
"Made in China", with its fine quality and low price, has greatly
improved the purchasing power of the American people. This was
especially evident after the global financial crisis.
During the financial winter, the number of one dollar stores
sprang up. Among those in these shops, "Made in China" products
accounted for a large percent.
Based on Morgan Stanley's research report, in 2009 alone,
approximately $100 billion in US consumer spending was saved by
the "Chinese imports". ...

This Christmas morning, when you wake up and smell this couple of
coffee, accept your gifts with gratitude."<END QUOTE>

People's Daily (Beijing)

****
**** Vatican displays a low-cost Nativity scene
****



Vatican Nativity scene, by Francesco Artese

In previous Christmas seasons, the Vatican displayed a Nativity scene
that looked like an elaborate film set, decorated with
larger-than-life-size models of Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child
sculpted in wood and plaster more than a hundred years ago. In 2009,
the cost of the Nativity scene was more than $700,000. However, with
the financial crisis hitting Italy very hard this year, the Vatican
had to cut costs, and almost had no Nativity scene at all. However,
the remote southern town of Basilicata came to the rescue, and is
supplying a Nativity scene as a gift to the Vatican, with the Christ
Child lying in a manager in a miniature village made of polysterene.
The scene was the work of 55-year-old Basilicata-born artist Francesco
Artese. Total cost: Just $25,000. BBC

****
**** Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
****


The song, "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas," has been changed
in the last few decades into a cheerful little ditty. But in the
1944 movie, Meet me in St. Louis, it was a bitter, sad, angry
song, sung beautifully by Judy Garland.

The daughter, played by Judy Garland, had just learned that this was
her last Christmas with her lifelong friends in St. Louis. After the
New Year, she and her family would be moving to New York. Although
the plot of the movie takes place in 1904, this song was definitely in
the spirit of 1944, when despair over torn families was at its
deepest.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

YouTube - Judy Garland - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas






KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Made in China, Vatican, Italy,
Francesco Artese, Basilicata,
Judy Garland, Meet me in St. Louis

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Post#262 at 12-25-2012 10:14 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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26-Dec-12 World View -- Andrew Sullivan and the Gun Control Fantasy

*** 26-Dec-12 World View -- Andrew Sullivan and the Gun Control Fantasy

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • The Gun Control Fantasy
  • Andrew Sullivan's proposed solution to gun violence
  • The Metastasis of Corruption and Violence


****
**** The Gun Control Fantasy
****


Gun control is one of those issues that politicians use to bash each
other or to make money from. Like it or not, there are already 310
million non-military firearms in the United States, and you'd have to
have an IQ of 50 to think that some gun control law, even if it
passed, would have any effect on that number.

Let's take a quick look at some similar issues:

  • Do you remember Prohibition? How did that work out?
    (By the way, we recently celebrated the 79'th anniversary
    of the repeal of Prohibition. Cheers!)
  • There are plenty of illegal drugs, but (I'm told) anyone who wants
    illegal drugs will have no trouble obtaining them. Some people say
    that keeping drugs illegal is a good policy anyway, to prevent sending
    a message that they're OK. Others point out that keeping drugs
    illegal creates a huge industry of drug trafficking, giving rise to
    drug cartels in Mexico and elsewhere. Prohibition created a huge
    industry in bootlegging, which mostly went out of business when
    Prohibition was repealed.
  • Abortion. I did a little research on this in the 1990s. There
    are countries, especially Catholic countries, where abortion is
    illegal, and other countries where it isn't, but the figures I saw
    indicate that illegality made no discernable difference in the
    rate of abortions.
  • Prostitution is illegal almost everywhere in the United
    States, but prostitutes are easily available. Anti-prostitution
    laws promote prostitution rings as big business, joining
    with drug cartels.
  • Porn and child porn became explosively available on the internet
    in the 1990s, and during that period, incidence of child sexual abuse
    plummeted by 35%. Making porn and child porn unavailable increases
    child sexual abuse and makes children more vulnerable, while today's
    computer software can produce products without exploiting women and
    children.


The point is that people of all political stripes have this erotic
fantasy that they can pass a law to make anything happen. The truth
is that anyone who wants get drunk, get stoned, get an abortion, get
porn, use a prostitute, or be a prostitute, can do so, and there's no
evidence that prohibitions do anything but promote drug cartels,
prostitution rings, and other forms of organized crime.

So, with 310 million non-military guns already available in the United
States, you'd have to be a fool to think that any gun control law will
accomplish anything.

"But," you say, "we have to do SOMETHING. There are kids being
killed in our schools."

Well, I'm as scared of guns as anyone. I've never held a gun
(except water pistols) and I don't belong to the NRA. I don't
really care whether gun control laws are passed or not, except
that they have very negative consequences, as do prohibitions
against other things -- alcohol, drugs, abortion, etc.

There's only one SOMETHING that I've heard that will protect kids from
being killed in our schools -- the NRA proposal to use retired
policemen, marines and soldiers to protect schools, on an optional
basis for those cities and towns that opt to use them.

I can only marvel at the sheer stupidity of the people on the loony
left making vitriolic attacks on this proposal, but it shows the state
of politics in the U.S. today. The proposal is certainly worth
considering, as it's the only proposal I'm aware of that might
actually do some good.

****
**** Andrew Sullivan's proposed solution to gun violence
****


When Colorado Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in January,
2011, left-wing commentator Andrew Sullivan described where the blame
should lie. According to Sullivan, the shooting was caused by Sarah
Palin, who put a map on her web with with a little cartoon target on
the state of Colorado:

<BEGIN QUOTE>"An Assassination?



Map appearing on Andrew Sullivan's site

When a congresswoman is shot in the head in the very act of
democracy, we should all pause. This is fundamentally not a
partisan issue and should not be. Acts of violence against
political figures destroy democracy itself, for both parties. We
don't know who tried to kill congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (she
appears to be still alive) and we should be very cautious in
drawing any conclusions yet about why. But we can know that,
whoever tried to kill her and for whatever reason, political
rhetoric involving words like "target" and "gun-sights" is
inherently irresponsible.

For a public figure [Sarah Palin] who has appeared on a national
ticket and who commands a cult-like following, the
irresponsibility is even more profound. ...

Giffords was one of twenty members of Congress placed within
metaphorical "gun-sights" in SarahPac's graphic. That is not the
same thing as placing a gun-sight over someone's face or
person. No one can possibly believe - or should - that Sarah Palin
is anything but horrified by what has taken place. But it remains
the kind of rhetorical excess which was warned about at the time,
and which loners can use to dreadful purposes."<END QUOTE>

Andrew Sullivan's implication that Sarah Palin was responsible for
Giffords' shooting was repeated by the mainstream media constantly
for weeks, even though it's unlikely that the shooter ever even saw
the Sarah Palin web page.

Now, fast forward to the week of the Newtown massacre of 26 children.
Earlier in that week, we had Teamsters Union leader James Hoffa
declaring "civil war" on the country, and we had and we have union
thugs running around beating people and destroying property, all
because of a proposed labor law.

The mainstream media repeatedly justified this violence by saying that
the union thugs had a right to be angry. A number of left-wing
loonies said that Fox commentator Steven Crowder "deserved what he
got" when he was beaten by union thugs.

The union thugs were assaulting people on behalf of President Obama,
and Obama said nothing, condoning and supporting the violence with his
silence, implying that violence is OK as long as the victim
"deserved what he got."

These expressions were all over the mainstream media, and it's likely
Adam Lanza heard them. So in his troubled, twisted mind, he may well
have thought that his mother and the 26 Sandy Hook elementary school
children "deserved what they got" when he slaughtered them, and
that President Obama would approve.

Union thugs, supported by the NY Times, NBC news, and other mainstream
media, and supported by President Obama himself, have created a
cultural environment that violence is OK as long as the victim
"deserved what he got." There are numerous examples:

  • James Hoffa has been declaring war on Obama's opponents for
    two or three years. In 2010, he introduced President Obama by saying:
    "We are ready to march.
    Let’s take these sons of bitches [Tea Partiers] out and give America
    back to an America where we belong." President Obama has had
    many opportunities to condemn this violence and call to war,
    but he's refused to do so.
  • Obama and the mainstream media glorified the "Occupy
    Wall Street" (OWS) mobs, while they were commiting violence
    and rape against anyone who disagreed or interfered with them.
  • Charges of rape against sleazebag Julian Assange are ignored by
    the mainstream media and feminist groups.


President Obama's supporters, and Obama himself, are creating a
cultural acceptance of violence towards anyone who "deserved
what they got."

Now let's go back to Andrew Sullivan, who blamed the shooting of
Gabrielle Giffords on Sarah Palin's "rhetorical excess," which "loners
can use to dreadful purposes." Well, James Hoffa certainly used
"rhetoric excess" when he declared war on President Obama's opponents,
and Adam Lanza was certainly a loner who may have used Hoffa's call
"to dreadful purposes." Has Andrew Sullivan written anything to
condemn the violence of union thugs who support President Obama the
way he criticized a little cartoon target used by Sarah Palin?

Piers Morgan on CNN recently called an anti-gun control advocate an
"unbelievably stupid man":

<BEGIN QUOTE>"You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you? You
have absolutely no coherent argument. You don't actually give a
damn about the gun murder rate in America."<END QUOTE>

Actually, the stupidest man in America would have to be Andrew
Sullivan:

  • He advocates gun control which could have no effect on the
    murder of school children.
  • He blames a small cartoon target for gun violence on Gabrielle
    Giffords.
  • He ignores calls to war and actual violence by union thugs
    supporting President Obama, and doesn't blame them for
    the gun violence at Sandy Hook school.
  • He vitriolicly opposes the NRA proposal, which is the only thing
    I've heard that might actually protect school children.


As Piers Morgan might say, Andrew Sullivan is an unbelievably
stupid man who doesn't give a damn about how many children are
killed in American schools.

****
**** The Metastasis of Corruption and Violence
****


I've previously described how corruption and violence have
metastasized in America in the last ten years. At first, it was just
Generation-Xers defrauding Boomers and creating the financial crisis.
Since then:

  • Obama's union supporters have declared war on America, and
    Obama, along with the mainstream media, refuses to criticize violence
    perpetrated on his behalf.
  • Obama and his supporters have glorified violence and rape
    by OWS and anyone else who perpetrates a crime against a
    victim who "deserves what they get."
  • There is massive corruption in Washington and on Wall Street and
    in the mainstream media. Respectable people are actually gangsters,
    and gangsters are treated as respectable people.
  • The Obama administration adamantly refuses to prosecute any crook
    (bankers) who make a campaign contribution.
  • Anyone who objects is called a "racist."
  • Obama supporters, led by billionaire George Soros and Obama
    himself, have been calling for warfare and violence against Fox
    News.


These left-wing calls for war and violence may eventually trigger a
right-wing response at some point.

In the past week, Facebook has suspended an account of someone who
questioned the official story of the Sandy Hook shooting. Lt. J. Paul
Vance of the Connecticut state police warned people posting
"misinformation" on social media web sites would be "investigated and
prosecuted." Vance said he confirmed with with "federal authorities,"
presumably President Obama's Dept. of Justice.

As I've written in the past,

what's happening today parallels what happened in 1930s Germany.
Germany's Lost Generation began with discrimination and isolated
violence against the previous Missionary Generation. Corruption and
violence metastasized into discrimination against Jews, and eventually
the Holocaust. Anyone who objected was called a "Jew" or "Jew lover"
by the mainstream media and politicians.

The fact that America today is on the same trend line as 1930s Germany
does not mean that America will go as far as Germany did on that trend
line.

However, there may well be what might be called a "Kristallnacht
moment," an incident where violence by Obama supporters against
Americans is so heinous that it forces the mainstream media and the
left in general to make a "yes" or "no" decision whether to allow the
violence and corruption to continue to grow.

I believe in America's institutions, and I believe that when the
"Kristallnacht moment" comes, even the loons will come to their senses
and reverse direction.

We actually have a modern day example of this. In Pakistan on October
9, the Taliban shot an innocent young girl, Malala Yousufzai, for
advocating education for girls. This appears to be Pakistan's
"Kristallnacht moment," and it caused revulsion throughout the
country, at least temporarily. Sometimes the thugs go too far in
their violence, and it backfires against the thugs. But we have to
remember that the thugs never went too far for the ordinary people in
1930s Germany.

In the meantime, the amount of violence and corruption in America
continues to grow. Let's close with Martin Niemöller's famous
statement:

<BEGIN QUOTE>"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me."<END QUOTE>

At least I, Dear Reader, am willing to speak out.

Andrew Sullivan, January 8, 2011 and AFP and CNN and NY Daily News

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Gun control, Prohibition,
NRA, Andrew Sullivan, Gabrielle Giffords, Sarah Palin,
Teamsters, James Hoffa, Steven Crowder, Adam Lanza,
Occupy Wall Street, OWS, Julian Assange, CNN,
Piers Morgan, Metastasis of Corruption, George Soros,
Fox News, Facebook, Sandy Hook, Lt. J. Paul Vance,
Lost Generation, Missionary Generation,
Holocaust, "Jew Lover", Kristallnacht moment,
Pakistan, Taliban, Malala Yousufzai,
Germany, Martin Niemöller

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Post#263 at 12-25-2012 11:53 PM by Odin [at Moorhead, MN, USA joined Sep 2006 #posts 14,442]
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Why am I not surprised that Xenakis thinks the answer to gun violence is more guns?
To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

-Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism







Post#264 at 12-26-2012 07:31 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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Quote Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Why am I not surprised that Xenakis thinks the answer to gun violence is more guns?
Oh really? Is that what I said?

Please tell us your solution to gun violence, especially against children at school.
Last edited by John J. Xenakis; 12-26-2012 at 07:58 AM.







Post#265 at 12-27-2012 12:02 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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27-Dec-12 World View -- Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan

*** 27-Dec-12 World View -- Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Gun Control versus 3D printing
  • Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan


****
**** Gun Control versus 3D printing
****



Supposedly the world's first 3D-printed gun

In my article yesterday, "26-Dec-12 World View -- Andrew Sullivan and the Gun Control Fantasy"
, I pointed out that there's no evidence that
prohibitions in the past -- of alcohol, drugs, abortion and
prostitution -- had any actual effect, but they had a large negative
effect of creating bootleggers, organized crime, drug cartels and
prostitution rings.

A web site reader complained of a flaw in the argument because, guns
are different from alcohol and the others, because "gun manufacturers
and importers can be legally controlled and illegal weapons can be
destroyed."

In other words, he's claiming that although you can distill your own
alcohol in your basement or garage, you need a gun manufacturer if you
want a gun.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Just google the words "how to make a gun," and you'll find plenty of
information on how to make a home-made gun from ordinary construction
materials, such as metal tubes, bars, nuts and bolts. It's no more
difficult to make a home-made gun than to make home-made moonshine.

And that doesn't take into account 3D printers. These devices have been
around for decades, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and capable
of "printing" or manufacturing 3D plastic models of anything designed by
CAD (computer-aided design) software.

Basically, you can design anything you want -- a house, a car, a
bridge -- on you CAD software, click the "3D PRINT" button, and your
design is sent to the 3D printer. Within a couple of hours, you have
a precise plastic model of your design.

The thing that's changed recently is that the prices of 3D printers
have fallen dramatically. You can now get very nice desktop models
for a few thousand dollars, and that should be below $1000 by the end
of 2013. If you'd like to learn more, go into YouTube and do a
search on 3D printers, for demonstration videos.

The gun pictured above is claimed to be the world's first 3D printed
gun. A couple of standard metal parts were combined with parts from
the 3D printer, and a new gun could be in your hands within a few
hours. Once you've figured out how to do it, you can clunk out
several new guns every day -- for your own use, or to sell.

There are already 310 million non-military firearms in America, and
5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers. Given those numbers, any
attempt to get rid of all guns is simply a fantasy. Gun control,
except for some trivial prohibitions, will never become law.

But suppose the fantasy of gun control DID come to pass. It wouldn't
be more than a few months before tens of thousands of basements and
garages turned into homemade gun manufacturers. Organized crime and
drug cartels would quickly move into gun manufacturing. Some would do
it the "old fashioned" way, with metal tubes and bars. But within 2-3
years, the technology for 3D printing would have advanced to the point
where thousands of them would be done with 3D printers.

Actually, even without gun control, it will soon be possible to
manufacture guns and a lot of other stuff in your home spare room.
Most people today would be lost if they didn't have a computer. Well,
within a few years you'll be lost if you don't have your own 3D
printer. Extreme Tech and CNN

****
**** Asians increasingly talk about war between China and Japan
****


Normally, the mainstream media never talks about possible war, for
fear of getting people angry or, in the worst case, for fear of
triggering a war themselves. So it's surprising to suddenly see so
many year-end editorials talk about a possible war between China and
Japan in 2013.

Here's an editorial from Wednesday's Sydney Morning Herald:

<QUOTE>"THIS is how wars usually start: with a steadily
escalating stand-off over something intrinsically worthless. So
don't be too surprised if the US and Japan go to war with China
next year over the uninhabited rocks that Japan calls the Senkakus
and China calls the Diaoyu islands. And don't assume the war would
be contained and short.

Of course we should all hope that common sense prevails.

It seems almost laughably unthinkable that the world's three
richest countries - two of them nuclear-armed - would go to war
over something so trivial. ...

Where will it end? The risk is that, without a clear
circuit-breaker, the escalation will continue until at some point
shots are exchanged, and a spiral to war begins that no one can
stop. Neither side could win such a war, and it would be
devastating not just for them but for the rest of
us."<END QUOTE>

The article contains a lengthy historical analysis comparing the
relationship between Japan and China to the relationship between
Sparta and Athens that led to the Peloponnesian War. That's not a
good omen.

However, the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are far from worthless. Along
with ownership of these islands comes a huge exclusive economic zone
(EEZ) that provides the right to take advantage of rich fishing
grounds, as well as huge oil and gas fields.

The Wall Street Journal Asia edition says the following:

<QUOTE>"The past year was a turning point in Sino-Japanese
relations: Japan suffered a total defeat. Beijing realized
practically all its diplomatic objectives, whereas Tokyo could not
achieve any of them. But this victory may prove self-defeating for
China.

Since the Japanese government's purchase of the Senkaku Islands
from their private owners on Sept. 11, Chinese forces have
regularly violated the territorial waters around the islands. As
of Dec. 18, some 62 Chinese vessels entered the area on at least
18 occasions.

Beijing has also firmly established a national narrative that
these islands were grabbed by Japan from the falling Qing Dynasty
at the end of the 19th century. China and Taiwan have found common
ground on this issue despite some obvious policy differences over
the islands. Lastly, Beijing's economic retaliation has harmed
Japanese companies. ...

If Beijing considers that the Senkakus belong to China and Japan's
ownership of the islands is unfounded, it has every right to say
so in the bilateral talks and elsewhere. It might mobilize the
Chinese diaspora to buy full-page advertisements in major
U.S. newspapers. It might even take diplomatic measures to
pressure third countries to curtail ties with Japan.

But there is one measure from which China must absolutely refrain:
changing the status quo by force. And entering the territorial
waters or airspace where another country has implemented effective
control already for 117 years with an objective of establishing
its own jurisdiction is precisely that.

This is one of the most serious challenges to the post-World War
II order of peace and security under the United Nations
Charter. Achieving territorial claims by force is a crude state
behavior usually defined as hegemonism, which China itself firmly
denounced in the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship of
1978. ...

Beijing's present behavior is a reversion to the crude imperialism
of the late 19th century. It seems China's leaders have not
learned from the mistakes of Imperial Japan and all the peaceful
diplomacy that Japan painstakingly undertook since its defeat in
1945."<END QUOTE>

This article fails to mention the source of China's "reversion to
crude imperialism": Increased widespread nationalism, and a thirsty
desire for revenge against Japan for wrongs committed prior to 1945.

The Strategy Page, which reports on military matters worldwide, says
that both China and Japan are rapidly preparing for war:

<QUOTE>"Newly selected Chinese Communist Party chief (and
ruler of China) Xi Jinping has come out strongly in favor of
stronger and more aggressive armed forces. ...

The new Chinese leadership openly called for the military to get
ready for regional (with the neighbors) war. Newly elected leaders
in Japan and South Korea made similar pronouncements, in response
to growing Chinese aggression. In particular the Chinese are
claiming all the islets and reefs in the South China sea,
including some that are clearly in the waters (as recognized by
international law) of other nations. Outside the South China Sea
China and Japan are contesting ownership of the Diaoyu (in
Chinese) Islands (Senkaku in Japanese and Tiaoyutai in
Taiwan). ...

Currently, the Japanese have the most powerful naval forces in the
region, and are backed up by a mutual defense treaty with the
United States. China was long dissuaded by that, but no
more. China is no longer backing off on its claims, and neither is
Japan. So these confrontations are becoming more serious. ...

[On a related subject:] Indian officials repeated their belief
that China was now India’s major military threat, not
Pakistan."<END QUOTE>

China's Global Times looks upon the new government in Japan, led by
Shinzo Abe, with apprehension:

<QUOTE>"The Abe cabinet was officially installed
yesterday. ... It is already impossible for China and Japan to
resume the friendly ties they had before the Junichiro
Koizumi-era. In the short term, it's impossible for the
relationship to be what it was before the outbreak of the
[Senkaku/Diaoyu] Islands conflicts. ...

Officials from both China and Japan will continue to stress
mutually beneficial relations. However, we cannot realistically
expect this. Tension has existed in the Sino-Japanese relationship
for more than a decade. Given that the situation in the
Asia-Pacific hasn't improved, the relationship of the two
countries cannot really become warmer.

China does not intend to confront Japan. However, at this stage,
we can only adjust our policies based on reality.

The "cold politics but hot economics" relationship between the two
countries is transforming to "cold politics and cold economics."
China's economy has also suffered from this.

Sino-Japanese relations have been filled with suspicion and
misunderstandings. Both sides expect the other to be overawed by
hard-line attitudes, while they also worry about escalation
leading to war. We should have the proper strategic vigilance to
avoid war. However, we should not transform this vigilance into
excessive anxiety. ...

There's a possibility that Japan may decide to tie its future to
the US and become an anti-China country even more radical than the
US. However, whether this comes true depends on the overall
situation in the region. China does not have the capability to
take the initiative to prevent this from happening. China's
increasing strength may be more effective in defusing Japanese
hostility."<END QUOTE>

As I've said many times in the past, China is preparing for preemptive
war on multiple fronts. It's beginning to look like 2013 will be the
year. This will be the worst war in history, killing billions of
people. The survivors, including the Chinese, will regret that it
ever occurred, even if they "win."

Sydney Morning Herald and Wall Street Journal and Strategy Page and Global Times


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, gun control, 3D printing,
China, Japan, Senkaku, Diaoyu

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Post#266 at 12-27-2012 11:54 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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28-Dec-12 World View-Pakistan commemorates 5th anniversary of Benazir Bhutto's murder

*** 28-Dec-12 World View -- Pakistan commemorates 5th anniversary of Benazir Bhutto's murder

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Benazir Bhutto's son launches political career in midst of Pakistan's political chaos
  • Pakistan has a new 'hope and change' candidate, Maulana Tahirul Qadri


****
**** Benazir Bhutto's son launches political career in midst of Pakistan's political chaos
****



Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (R) with his father, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan (BBC)

It's been exactly five years since Pakistan's popular former prime
minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated (From 2007:
"Benazir Bhutto killed by suicide bomber after election rally in Rawalpindi" .) She had been
favored to win the office of Prime Minister again in elections two
weeks later. Bhutto was well-known internationally, and the scenario
that Western countries have been hoping for was that Bhutto as Prime
Minister would work closely with President Pervez Musharraf, and that
between them they would restore stability to the country. Bhutto's
assassination only destabilized Pakistan further, and a large part of
the population blamed the Bhutto's death on the government and the
army for not protecting her from terrorists. Moreover, her death
propelled her widowed husband, Asif Ali Zardari, into the presidency.

On Thursday, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the 24 year old son of Benazir
Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, commemorated the anniversary of his
mother's murder by launching his own political career. In his
30-minute televised speech, delivered alongside his mother's tomb, he
recalled not only the death of his mother, but also the death of his
grandfather, who was hanged by a former military ruler. He said:

<QUOTE>"I am the heir to the martyr. If you kill one Bhutto,
there will be a Bhutto in every house.

Bhutto is not a name, it is an obsession, a passion, a love. You
can chain our feet to the ground but we will still keep
moving."<END QUOTE>

There will be new elections, probably in May, but Bilawal will not be
old enough to run for office until September, so there is talk of
postponing the elections until them. Daily Times (Lahore) and Reuters

****
**** Pakistan has a new 'hope and change' candidate, Maulana Tahirul Qadri
****


I've frequently written about former Pakistani cricket superstar Imran
Khan, once voted as the "Sexiest Man of The Year" by Australia
Magazine Oz, who has become an anti-American "hope and change"
Pakistani politician who hopes to win the 2013 elections.
(See "Hope and change Pakistan candidate Imran Khan draws huge crowd in Karachi"
from November 2011.)
He drew crowds of hundreds of thousands in campaign appearances in
which he blamed the Taliban and al-Qaeda linked terrorist attacks in
Pakistan on the United States war on terror, and promised to end all
such relations with the U.S.

Now there's a new "hope and change" candidate, Dr. Maulana Tahirul
Qadri. He's not nearly as sexy as Khan, but he's a highly respected
Sufi scholar, and he has a different solution to the problem of
Taliban terrorist in Pakistan: Instead of ending relations with the
U.S., he's declaring a jihad against terrorism -- though he has yet to
lay out a road map for how he plans to accomplish his jihad.

While Khan drew crowds of hundreds of thousands, Qadri drew crowds of
millions in a rally last weekend in Lahore. Even so, Qadri does not
yet have the stature to achieve his stated goals. The News (Pakistan) and Kuna (Kuwait)


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto,
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Asif Ali Zardari, Pervez Musharraf,
Maulana Tahirul Qadri, Imran Khan

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Post#267 at 12-28-2012 12:03 AM by TimWalker [at joined May 2007 #posts 6,371]
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There was a news report about surge in gun sales-apparently in response to the school shooting/new talk about gun control. (A similar surge occurred back in 2008 when Obama was elected, apparently because of his affiliation with the Democratic Party).







Post#268 at 12-28-2012 02:55 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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Quote Originally Posted by TimWalker View Post
> There was a news report about surge in gun sales-apparently in
> response to the school shooting/new talk about gun control. (A
> similar surge occurred back in 2008 when Obama was elected,
> apparently because of his affiliation with the Democratic
> Party).
One thing that's become very clearly apparent as I've written about
gun control issues is that freedom to own guns is a very deeply held
part of the culture of large groups in the United States. The left is
extremely contemptuous of this culture, and they show it in all sorts
of ways, as when they refer to Tea Partiers as "teabaggers," or as
soon as President Bush took office in 2000 when they incessantly
called him illegitimate and mocked his Texas accent and cowboy hat.
This contempt has generated a countervailing contempt of the left by
people on the right, many of whom would be willing to fight to the
death a government that tried to take their guns away. This is
potentially a very dangerous situation if the Obama administration
tries to use some executive order to ban firearms.







Post#269 at 12-28-2012 11:34 PM by TimWalker [at joined May 2007 #posts 6,371]
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There was a TFT discussion some years back about Prohibition-advocates endorsed it as social engineering, expecting society to aquire a new found sobriety.







Post#270 at 12-28-2012 11:38 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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29-Dec-12 World View -- Gang-raped victim sparks nationwide protests in India

*** 29-Dec-12 World View -- Gang-raped victim sparks nationwide protests in India

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Iran begins annual war games in Strait of Hormuz
  • Sunnis hold mass protests in Iraq against Shia-majority government
  • Gang-raped victim sparks nationwide protests in India


****
**** Iran begins annual war games in Strait of Hormuz
****



Iran's Navy Chief Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari orders the commencement of the exercises (Payvand)

Iran launched the Velayat-91, six days of major naval exercises around
the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. The exercises will involve warships,
submarines, jet fighters and hovercraft while testing the navy's
missile systems and electronic warfare capabilities. Iran has
frequently threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint
through which about a third of the world's tanker-borne oil passes,
linking the Gulf's petroleum-exporting states of the UAE, Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar. The exercises come just after the
Gulf Cooperation Council (BCC) of Arab states said that it "rejects
and denounces" Iran's "continued interference" in their internal
affairs. The National (UAE) and Payvand (Tehran)

****
**** Sunnis hold mass protests in Iraq against Shia-majority government
****


Tens of thousands of protesting Sunnis have shut down highways
providing vital trade routes carrying government supplies between
Baghdad to and from Jordan and Syria. The protests were on their
fifth day on Friday. Iraq's army forces are preventing protesters
from other provinces from arriving to join in the protests. The army
is also preventing journalists from covering the event, and is
confiscating journalists' transmission equipment. The latest protests
were triggered by the arrest, last week, of nine bodyguards of Iraq's
finance minister, who is one of the governments most senior Sunni
officials in the Shia-majority government of Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki. This is also the one-year anniversary of the complete
withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, and the immediately
subsequent arrest of Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who
is currently hiding in exile. Sunni protesters are complaining of
massive discrimination against Sunnis by the Shia-led government, and
some activists are demanding that Sunnis should have autonomy in their
own region, along the model of the Kurdish region in the north.
Al-Jazeera and Aswat Al-Iraq

****
**** Gang-raped victim sparks nationwide protests in India
****


An unnamed 23-year-old girl who was gang-raped last weekend died on
Saturday in a Singapore hospital from her injuries. The girl had been
coerced onto an off-duty bus, where the bus driver and six other males
gang-raped her for half an hour, beat her and her male companion with
an iron bar, and then threw them off the bus while it was in motion.
The attack has triggered widespread protests all week in Delhi and
across the country, with feminists complaining about everything from
men who merely say "Hey, let's do it babe!" to men who actually commit
rape.

There's something fundamentally wrong with the way the mainstream
media is spinning this story. Men and women both have erotic rape
fantasies, but those fantasies are really seduction scenes where the
male becomes a bit aggressive and the female succumbs to his charms
and can't resist him. These scenes are common in women's romance
novels. No one, to my knowledge, has ever had a rape fantasy where
six men gang-rape a girl, then smash her with a steel bar and throw
her off a moving bus. There's nothing erotic about that.

So there's a lot more going on here than the mainstream media are
talking about, and in India, that would be caste. Apparently the girl
who was raped was from an upper caste, while the six men were from a
lower class, such as the "untouchable" Dalit caste. Dalit activists
say that they're forced to take the worst jobs, if they can get
employment at all, that they're subject to repeated discrimination and
harassment, and that Dalit girls are frequently raped and then ignored
by the police. If a Dalit girl brings charges, then the alleged
perpetrator is almost always acquitted.

So this is only tangentially a story about rape. The real story here
is that India's caste system is far from dead, and that there will
almost certainly be another war among India's castes and many ethnic
groups. AFP and Guardian and Eurasia Review


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Iran, Velayat-91, Strait of Hormuz,
Gulf Cooperation Council, Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki,
Tareq al-Hashemi, India, Delhi, Dalits

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Post#271 at 12-28-2012 11:57 PM by TimWalker [at joined May 2007 #posts 6,371]
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An attempt at social engineering will surely make this cold civil war even more polarized.







Post#272 at 12-29-2012 11:38 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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30-Dec-12 World View -- The 'Kick the Can Theory' and the Fiscal Cliff

*** 30-Dec-12 World View -- The 'Kick the Can Theory' and the Fiscal Cliff

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Nasa's Mars Rover, Curiosity, takes a photo of itself
  • H1N1 Swine Flu kills nine people in the West Bank
  • The 'Kick the Can Theory' and the Fiscal Cliff
  • Fiscal cliff negotiations


****
**** Nasa's Mars Rover, Curiosity, takes a photo of itself
****



Curiosity Self-Portrait (NASA)

The spacecraft carrying the Mars Rover, Curiosity, was launched from
Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011. Curiosity landed on Mars on
August 6, 2012, and it's been conducting science experiments since
then, though rumors that life had been discovered on Mars turned out
to be false. This is an actual picture of Curiosity on the Martian
landscape on November 1. Curiosity's cameras are not able to take
this shot, of course, so this picture is a composite of dozens of
images that the cameras took, combined into a self self-portrait
image. Nasa and Jet Propulsion Lab (PDF)

****
**** H1N1 Swine Flu kills nine people in the West Bank
****


There have been 187 recent recorded cases of H1N1 swine flu in the
northern West Bank, and nine Palestinians have died. In 2009, an H1N1
epidemic erupted in Mexico and spread into a worldwide pandemic.
"WHO declares a worldwide H1N1 'mild' swine flu pandemic"
The pandemic died out by Spring
2010, after killing over 17,000 people world wide, and the World
Health Organization has warned that there could be a resurgence at any
time. AFP and Jerusalem Post

****
**** The 'Kick the Can Theory' and the Fiscal Cliff
****


Some time ago, I formulated the "Kick the Can Theory" which said that
if you want to predict what the Europeans are going to do, especially
with Greece, then just figure out what the minimum amount is that they
can do to get past the current day's crisis without solving the
underlying problems, which then continue to worsen. The crisis then
returns in much worse form, a few weeks or months later.

The "Kick the Can Theory" has never failed. It has always correctly
predicted what the Europeans were going to do. It's worthwhile
looking at it a little more closely, so that we can apply it to the
fiscal cliff negotiations currently going on in Washington.

The Kick the Can Theory turns out to be more complicated than you
might think, because it runs in major cycles, with several steps
within each cycle. Let's remember how the cycle worked with Greece:

  • Greece would be facing a crisis (e.g., bankruptcy by a date
    certain)
  • European leaders would have a "summit meeting" to do discuss
    options, and to settle on a bailout plan.
  • There would be bitter confrontations but the participants would
    lie to the press about them. Retiring Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude
    Jüncker had the philosophy that "When it becomes serious, you have to
    lie."
  • There would be no agreement, and more summit meetings would be
    scheduled. The participants would lie to the press.
  • Finally there would be a summit meeting where a "nuclear option"
    would be revealed, and it would be announced that Greece's problems
    were solved once and for all, with only a few "details" still to be
    worked out. A new deadline would be announced to settle all the
    details.
  • This deadline would be missed, as would several subsequent
    deadlines, to decide on "details." The participants would lie to the
    press.
  • Summit meeting after summit meeting would fail to reach a
    decision, until two weeks before Greece had to make its next major
    bond payment.
  • At that point, there would be agreement to loan Greece just enough
    money to make the next bond payment. The underlying problems would
    not be solved. Everyone would lie to the press, saying that all
    problems had been solved.


We've had three or four cycles of the above steps. The cycle as a
whole is can-kicking, but what's important to understand is that each
step within the cycle is also a mini-can-kicking.

It's worth repeating that there was never a "final solution" for
Greece because no solution exists. It's not that there were three or
four really good solutions, and the participants simply could not
agree on which wonderful solution to implement. It's that no solution
exists, and all the participants can do is blame each other.

****
**** Fiscal cliff negotiations
****


The United States is barely at the beginning of this can-kicking
process. There have only been a couple of "summit meetings" so far,
barely enough to get anywhere at all. Everybody is lying to the press
and blaming each other except that, as usual, the mainstream media is
totally in the tank for President Obama, irrespective of anything else
going on, and will always agree with whatever he says, even when it's
totally incoherent.

As of this writing on Saturday evening, there appears to be a good
chance of a "deal" that will raise tax on the "rich," which is what
President Obama wants, and there will also probably be some spending
increases, and an increase in the debt ceiling. Thus, any deal will
actually make things worse, but President Obama and the mainstream
media will declare it to be a major victory and stocks will rise.

Or, perhaps there won't be a mini-deal. Yesterday I heard analysts
say that we may go over the "fiscal cliff," which will result in huge
tax increases on everyone, but then agreement will be reached next
week (because then the Republicans will be voting for a tax decrease
rather than for a tax increase) ... or by January 14 ... or by January
21 ... or by March.

If a "final solution" cannot be reached now, then how stupid do you
have to be to think that one will be found in March?

The Kick the Can Theory predicts that there will be multiple "summit
meetings" and confrontations, that all parties will continue to lie to
the press and blame each other, and that no agreement will be reached
until just a few days before some real crisis. At that point, there
will be some agreement on some part of the issue, just enough to delay
the current crisis a few more weeks. The cycle will repeat over and
over until we're at war. As in the case of Greece, no actual solution
exists.

By the way, I haven't read anything about this, but I'm going to guess
that a lot of Europeans are looking forward with glee to the
Schadenfreude they're expecting to feel when America has to go through
the same farcical process that they went through.

America is truly Greece now.

Bloomberg


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Nasa, Mars, Curiosity Rover,
H1N1 swine flu, West Bank, World Health Organization,
Kick the Can Theory, Greece, Fiscal cliff

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Post#273 at 12-30-2012 11:10 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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31-Dec-12 World View -- Iran and Turkey trade accusations, as relations deteriorate

*** 31-Dec-12 World View -- Iran and Turkey trade accusations, as relations deteriorate

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Turkey's Erdogan says that Assad's regime in Syria is ending
  • Iran and Turkey trade accusations, as relations deteriorate
  • Greece makes plans for Syrian refugee camp on Corfu
  • Venezuelans wonder if Chavez's cancer surgery has failed
  • Fiscal Cliff negotiations collapse


****
**** Turkey's Erdogan says that Assad's regime in Syria is ending
****



Erdogan (R) introduces Syrian opposition leader on Sunday (DHA)

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that
he's started to receive what he called "strong signals" that the
Syrian civil war is coming to an end:

<QUOTE>"We are receiving strong signals that the end is
approaching in Syria. This bloody, this despotic process that
continues nearly two years is already nearing to end. A government
that meets the demands of people in Syria – God willing – will
come to power soon."<END QUOTE>

The tide turned in favor of the opposition fighters in mid-November,
when they captured military bases near Aleppo, carting off tanks,
armored vehicles and truck-loads of munitions.

On Sunday, Erdogan introduced Moaz al-Khatib, the head of the National
Coalition for Opposition Forces, and added the following:

<QUOTE>"My brothers, more than 100 countries have recognized
the leadership of this friend [Moaz al-Khatib] and his team. What
does this mean? It means that ‘al-Assad, we don’t recognize you
any more, get out’ because leaders who do not get approval from
their people cannot remain in power. Unwanted leaders will quit
and the ones who are demanded will come to power. ...

"Tyrants will be remembered with al-Assad’s cruelty. His father
[Hafez] is not remembered with good deeds, he won’t be remembered
in the same way, too. [Assad once said that] his elders made some
mistakes but that we won’t make the same mistakes.

[Cruelty] is cultivated in his genes. He even surpassed his
father. Some 50,000 Syrian brothers have been killed by his
bombs."<END QUOTE>

According to Erdogan, once the ruling powers change in Syria, the
"people of [Turkey and Syria] will walk together into the future,
joining forces."

Erdogan has made similar predictions in the past. Zaman (Istanbul) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

****
**** Iran and Turkey trade accusations, as relations deteriorate
****


After centuries of wars, Iran and (Ottoman) Turkey signed the Qasr-i
Shirin Accord in 1639, which drew today’s Iran-Iraq and Iran-Turkey
borders. For over 400 years, Iran and Turkey have respected one
another and, no matter what kind of regimes governed them, recognized
each other as experienced and established states and adhered to a code
of conduct that restrained their competition for influence and power
and prevented the use of force, and even restrained their language
about each other. However, the two-year-old Syrian conflict has
caused this mutual respect to erode, and this erosion has become
more pronounced in the last couple of months. When Turkey
decided recently to deploy Nato Patriot missiles, a furious
Iran said that the Patriots could cause a third world war.

Last week, Turkey's Interior Minister accused Iran of supporting PKK
terrorists in Turkey, allowing them to use Iran as a base for
sanctuary and as a site for transit, training and indoctrination,
recruitment, fund-raising and the supply of arms and munitions:

<QUOTE>"Intelligence was received indicating that the [PKK
training camp], where Iran had denied access to the terrorist
organization in the past, has again become operational and that
terrorist members who were injured during operations [conducted by
Turkish security forces] were being treated in Iranian state
hospitals near the border area."<END QUOTE>

He added that members of the terrorist organization are
using vacated Iranian military posts for logistical support.

Iran fears a Turkey/Sunni alliance against Iran and Shias, but this
may be a good time to remind readers that the Generational Dynamics
analysis indicates that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world
war, Iran will be allied with Russia, India and the West, including
Israel, versus Turkey, the Sunni Arab states, Pakistan, and China.
Al-Monitor (Washington) and Zaman (Istanbul)

****
**** Greece makes plans for Syrian refugee camp on Corfu
****


Greece is the most popular entry point for refugees trying to get into
the European Union, and there have been waves of them from the entire
Mideast, and as far away as Afghanistan. In 2012, some 8,000 Syrian
refugees came to Greece, many of them arriving on the island of
Lesbos. The Greek government is tentatively planning to accommodate
as many as 20,000 Syrian refugees on the island of Corfu. Greek Reporter

****
**** Venezuelans wonder if Chavez's cancer surgery has failed
****


Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro made a sudden, unexpected
trip to Cuba on Saturday, increasing speculation that the December 11
cancer operation on president Hugo Chávez, his fourth, was
unsuccessful. Chávez has not been seen in public since the surgery,
and the location and type of cancer have been kept a closely guarded
secret. The Venezuelan opposition are becoming more vocal in
demanding the latest medical reports on Chávez, and the people are
openly wondering why Chávez has to go to Cuba to be treated, rather
than take advantage of treatment facilities in Venezuela. They note
that Paraguay's president Fernando Lugo was successfully treated for
cancer in the prestigious Hospital Sírio-Libanęs (Syrian-Lebanese
hospital) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Al-Jazeera and Latin-American Herald Tribune

****
**** Fiscal Cliff negotiations collapse
****


I watched the discussions about the fiscal cliff negotiations on the
Sunday morning talk shows, as much as I could stand, and it's hard to
overemphasize how pathetic and sickening all of these people are --
President Obama, the Republicans in Congress, the Democrats in
Congress. All they want to do is cover their asses. None of these
corrupt politicians gives a shit about what they're doing to everyone
else. They're a disgrace to the country.

The clown negotiations in Washington have collapsed for now,
apparently because the Republican proposal includes the "Chained CPI"
proposal that I wrote about two weeks ago, since it cuts Social
Security benefits by 0.3%, and which one Democrat I quoted said
"hammers" 95 year old women, and throws grandma under the bus. (See
"19-Dec-12 World View -- 'Chained CPI' proposal enters the farcical Fiscal Cliff negotiations"
)

It would be kinda funny if these people weren't so pathetic.

It's worth remembering that in the 1980s, when the Silent generation
was in charge, Republicans and Democrats could reach agreements on
many things, including saving Social Security and controlling the
budget deficit. Even as late as 1996, they could agree to end the
welfare entitlement. Today's Generation-Xers and Boomers couldn't
agree on the color of mud. CNN


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran,
Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Moaz al-Khatib,
Qasr-i Shirin Accord, Nato, Patriot Missiles, Iraq,
PKK terrorists, Greece, Island of Corfu,
Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, Cuba, Nicolas Maduro,
Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, Brazil,
Fiscal cliff, Chained CPI

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Post#274 at 12-31-2012 10:25 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
---
12-31-2012, 10:25 PM #274
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1-Jan-13 World View -- 2013 Forecast: Financial Crisis and China Threat

*** 1-Jan-13 World View -- 2013 Forecast: Financial Crisis and China Threat

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Updating Global Conflict Risk Assessment for China threat
  • The Most Dangerous Regions of the World
  • Forecast for 2013: Financial crisis and China Threat


****
**** Updating Global Conflict Risk Assessment for China threat
****


Starting in 2004, I began posting a "Global Conflict Risk" graphic on
the Home Page of my web
site. It's purpose was to encapsulate the current state of the world,
and the likelihood of world conflict. The intention was that the
graphic would be updated only rarely, as world events require. The
last update was in February, 2011, as follows:


Conflict Risk Graphic - February 12, 2011

My thinking in 2004 was that there were six regions of the world that
had the potential for triggering a world war. Thus, there were
important regional wars going on in Sri Lanka, Darfur, Congo, and
other places, but these wars were unlikely to spiral into major wars.

On the other hand, I believed that a war in any of the six regions
shown in the graphic was likely to spiral into a larger regional
conflict, and then possibly to world war. In addition, I felt that a
major financial crisis or world flu outbreak would trigger a broad
war. Thus, the graphic was indicating my personal assessment of the
probability (green=low, yellow=medium, high=red) of a crisis in each
of these eight categories during the next 6-12 months, since such a
crisis was thought likely to trigger a wider war.

My thinking in 2005 has turned out to be wrong. There have been
multiple wars in the six regions, and they have not spiraled into
wider wars. (However, we have not yet had a major financial crisis
nor a major flu outbreak.)

One of the reasons that my reasoning turned out to be wrong was that I
assumed that one of these regional wars would cause other countries to
be pulled into the war, causing an uncontrolled spiral. As it turns
out, the opposite happened: Other countries rushed in to force a
resolution to the war as quickly as possible, so that it wouldn't
spiral out of control. In most cases, this "resolution" did nothing
to solve the underlying problems, but only "kicked the can down the
road" in the familiar way that does the minimum possible to fix the
current crisis, leaving the crisis to recur a few weeks or months
later.

I'm now updating the Global Conflict Risk graphic to reflect this new
thinking. The new graphic is as follows:


Conflict Risk Graphic - January 1, 2013

I'm keeping the categories the same, but now when I assign a
probability of conflict in a region, I'm taking into account my
assessment of whether a war in that region is likely to pull in other
countries as combatants or as pacifiers.

****
**** The Most Dangerous Regions of the World
****


Let's go through each of the eight categories, and the probability of
a regional war that will spiral into a world war:

  • Europe - Green, low probability. Europe is showing
    signs of increased xenophobia towards Muslims and Roma Gypsies, and
    the financial crisis is splitting the frugal north from the southern
    "Club Med" countries. Some web site readers have asked why I haven't
    raised the assessment to yellow (medium), but I would hold that off
    until I see signs of actual battle conflict, as opposed to political
    conflict. Greece continues to be the epicenter, with major financial
    problems and growing neo-Nazi xenophobia, but European leaders have so
    far exhibited an apparently unlimited willingness to continue kicking
    the can down the road.
  • Arab-Israeli - Red, high probability. There have been five
    wars since 2005 -- the war between Israelis and Hizbollah, fought
    largely on Lebanon's soil in 2006; the war between Palestinian
    factions Hamas and Fatah in Gaza in 2008, that led to Hamas control of
    Gaza; Operation Cast Lead, the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza
    early in 2009; the ongoing Syria conflict; and the recent brief Gaza
    war. But these wars didn't spiral out of control. Instead, they were
    all brought under control by combined efforts of Egypt, America,
    Qatar, and the United Nations. In February, 2011, the Arab Spring was
    just beginning, and it seemed possible that it would destabilize the
    whole region and spiral into a regional war, but the Arab Spring
    appears to be settling down now. However, this region remains at the
    "red" level because the Syria conflict is threatening to pull in other
    combatants -- al-Qaeda, Hizbollah, Turkey, U.S., and Russia --
    especially if chemical or biological weapons are used.
  • Russia Caucasus - Yellow, medium probability. In October
    2004, I considered this to be the most dangerous region of the world,
    since it was deepest into a generational Crisis era. It was the only
    "red" level on my initial graphic. In fact, war DID break out in 2008
    between Georgia and its province South Ossetia. That war might have
    spread, but Russia brought it under control by invading Georgia and
    defeating the Georgian army before it could advance too far into South
    Ossetia. Mutual xenophobia between North Caucasian Muslims and ethnic
    Orthodox Christian Russians continues to grow and become more serious,
    and tensions continue to be very high in the entire region, which is a
    historic fault line battlefield for numerous extremely bloody
    genocidal wars between the Orthodox Christian civilization and the
    Muslim civilization. However, Russia is clearly determined to bring
    any incipient conflict under control, and so the probability of a
    regional war in this region spinning out of control is assessed as
    "medium." One more note: When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, there
    was never any talk whatsoever of the U.S. or the Europeans intervening
    in that war, even though the West was nominally on the side of
    Georgia. This is in very sharp contrast to what would happen if China
    invaded Taiwan.
  • Kashmir - Yellow, medium probability. Kashmir was the
    epicenter of the extremely bloody 1947 war between Hindus and Muslims
    that followed Partition, the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent
    into India and Pakistan. It is likely to be the epicenter of a new
    war between India and Pakistan. In fact, the countries were almost at
    war after the horrendous terrorist attack on Mumbai on November 26,
    2008. India accused Pakistan of sponsoring the attack, and was
    preparing to invade Pakistan to go after the perpetrators, the Taliban
    militant group, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). War was prevented only by hard
    intervention by Condoleezza Rice. Tensions are still increasing
    between India and Pakistan, but hostilities are being controlled by
    their respective allies, the United States and China.
  • North Korea - Yellow, medium probability. In 2010, North
    Korea launched two major acts of war against South Korea: On March 26,
    a North Korean torpedo attack sank the South Korean warship Cheonan,
    killing 46. On November 23, a North Korean artillery attack on
    Yeonpyeong Island killed four South Koreans. South Korea prepared for
    war, but an outbreak of war was prevented by the U.S. and China
    putting pressure on their respective allies.
  • China - Red, high probability. In all but one of the six
    critical regions, any regional war will be controlled by outside
    forces. The one exception is China, which has been rapidly
    militarizing in preparation for an all-out attack on the U.S. and the
    West, and there are no outside forces to prevent it. As we've been
    reporting,
    the new Xi Jinping
    administration is openly telling the military to prepare for regional
    war, after years of substantial military buildups on the border with
    India, on the Taiwan Strait, in the South China Sea, and in the East
    China Sea, along with development of new missile systems to attack
    American aircraft carriers and American cities. China has signaled
    that the attack date is near by announcing that its navy will board
    and seize ships in the South China Sea, even in waters that
    historically belong to other nations, starting in 2013. So the signs
    are that a worldwide attack by China is getting close.
  • Financial Crisis - Red, high probability. The S&P 500
    price/earnings ratio ("stock valuations") is currently at 16.80, and has been far above the historical average
    of 14 continuously since 1995. It was at 6.79 in 1980, and the time
    is ripe for it to return to that level, which would push the Dow down
    below 3000. (See further discussion below.)
  • Swine/Bird flu - Yellow, medium probability. In 2009, an
    H1N1 epidemic erupted in Mexico and spread into a worldwide pandemic.
    The pandemic died out by Spring 2010, after killing over 17,000 people
    world wide, and the World Health Organization has warned that there
    could be a resurgence at any time.


****
**** Forecast for 2013: Financial crisis and China Threat
****


In 2004, I identified the "Six most dangerous regions in world", and I did a little
computation to estimate the probability of a regional war that might
spiral into world war, and I came up with a probability of 22% each
year. I don't think that computation was particularly valid, but it
illustrates the point that in 2004 I expected the worst to be at least
a few years in the future.

This year, there are strong signals that the financial crisis and the
China threat are imminent. China has almost said as much, as
described above.

To pull things together for the 2013 outlook, let's take a look at the
following updated graph for the historic S&P 500 Price/Earnings Ratio
(also called "stock valuations"):


S&P 500 Price/Earnings Ratio (P/E1) Index, 1871-present

It's worth pointing out that you see all kinds of historical graphs on
CNBC and the other financial media, but you never see a historical
graph of the P/E ratio, because anyone who looks at it can see just
how dysfunctional the financial system really is. In fact, as we've
repeatedly documented, naming names, so-called "experts" lie openly
about stock valuations. (See, for example, "14-Apr-12 World View -- Wharton School's Jeremy Siegel is lying about stock valuations"
from earlier this year.) In
today's world, respectable people are gangsters, and gangsters are
treated as respectable people.

As you can see from the above graph, the P/E ratio has returned to the
5-7 level every 31-32 years or so, most recently in 1980. Since
reaching a peak value of 123.8 in mid-2009, the ratio has been falling
fairly steadily. If you look at the historical flow of the above
graph, you can see that the P/E ratio is about to fall sharply, again
to the 5-7 level, which would put the Dow at about 3,000.

The stock market has just barely been holding on, thanks to huge
amounts of quantitative easing and fiscal stimulus. The Fed and the
European Central Bank (ECB) have each injected over a trillion dollars
into the banking system in the last year. That liquidity has done
nothing for the economy in general, but it's kept the stock market
afloat.

Here's how analyst John P. Hussman describes the situation:

<QUOTE>"Since 2009, both the stock market and the broad
U.S. economy have been dependent on perpetual support from massive
federal deficits and unprecedented money creation. Meanwhile, Wall
Street is content to ignore the extent of this support, and looks
on every movement of the economy as a sign of intrinsic health –
which is a lot like admiring the graceful flight of a dead parrot
swinging by a string from the ceiling fan."<END QUOTE>

With China threatening war, and with the global financial system
completely dysfunctional, it's possible that the "fiscal cliff" will
be the least of America's problems in 2013.

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Global Conflict Risk,
Europe, Arab-Israeli, Russia Caucasus, Kashmir,
North Korea, China, Financial Crisis, Swine/Bird flu

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Post#275 at 01-02-2013 12:04 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
---
01-02-2013, 12:04 AM #275
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2-Jan-13 World View -- Al-Qaeda prepares for war in northern Mali

*** 2-Jan-13 World View -- Al-Qaeda prepares for war in northern Mali

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Al-Qaeda prepares for war in northern Mali
  • Egypt's currency collapses to seven-year low
  • Fiscal cliff negotiations lead to farcical conclusion


****
**** Al-Qaeda prepares for war in northern Mali
****



Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, built around 1300. Islamists say they'll tear down and destroy all Timbuktu mosques

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and affiliate Ansar Dine are
now in almost complete control of northern Mali, a region as large as
France, and is entrenching itself to prepare for a war by external
forces attempting to eject it. The U.N. Security Council has
authorized military intervention in Mali, under a proposal by 15
nations in West Africa, but there is little energy to mount the
intervention. For years, al-Qaeda has been trying to gain control of
an entire country, in order to use it as a base to launch attacks
against other countries. Now, for the first time, they may be close
to success. AP

****
**** Egypt's currency collapses to seven-year low
****


Egypt's pound currency, which has been falling steadily since the
January, 2011, Egyptian revolution, has fallen to its lowest value
against the dollar in seven years. The collapse has been caused by a
number of factors: bank runs by Egyptians, converting pounds to
dollars; political turmoil; slowing tourism revenue and foreign
investment; and a sharp fall in foreign currency reserves in the
central bank. The collapse will increase the prices of imported
staples, such as tea and sugar, and underlines the crisis facing
Egypt's economy. President Mohamed Morsi said that the situation
"does not worry or scare us, and within days it will balance out."
Reuters and Al-Arabiya

****
**** Fiscal cliff negotiations lead to farcical conclusion
****


A couple of days ago, I wrote, "America is truly Greece now," and the
past 48 hours have shown that in the worst sense. President Obama has
been gloating constantly, bragging that he's been able to screw the
Republicans by forcing them to raise taxes without having to agree to
any spending cuts. The whole point of the sequestration agreement in
mid-2011 is that long before 1/1/2013 arrived, Congress would be
forced to implement tax reform and reduce spending.

Just the opposite has occurred. The "compromise" fiscal cliff bill
makes taxes more complicated, and increases the deficit. (As I write
this, early Tuesday evening, it appears that this bill will pass
within a couple of hours.)

The "Kick the Can Theory" predicted that Washington would do the
minimum possible to get through the current crisis, and would do
nothing to fix the underlying problems, so that there would be a worse
crisis later. That's exactly what's happening. America today is much
worse off than it was a month ago.

As usual, expect President Obama, the Congressional Democrats, and the
Congressional Republicans to lie to the press, and to declare some
sort of great victory for the American people. And, as usual, expect
the mainstream press to be completely in the tank for Obama, and to
agree with everything he says, even when it's totally incoherent.
Meanwhile, get ready for one crisis after another in 2013. Reuters


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM,
Ansar Dine, Mali, Timbuktu, Djenna Mosque,
Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, Kick the Can Theory

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