Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Beavers - They're Back! What'd you call me?

Beavers are back from their winter hiatus. They don't seem too happy since it was such a warm winter and the world didn't get any better since.

Think of all the derogatory names there are. You could fill a volume with them all. And it's not just in the last 50 years or so that they have been used. Take paddy wagon for example. It got it's name by police when the Irish left Ireland and flooded New York. Paddy referring to Patrick an Irish name. And let's face facts just about every country has their digs into somebody else. Muzzie and Vic are two slang and hateful terms in the UK. One referring to Muslims and the other to Australians as in conVICts. Australia was a penal colony at one time. Could go on about this aspect of the subject but I think you get the idea.

How did all this come about? In the past it was due to an influx, a mass migration of one group or another. "They" not being like "Us" were the target of ridicule and mistrust. That might be ingrained in human nature as a survival mechanism. Call it the power of a mob or in this case the fear of the mob. Imagine if you will a large group of (fill in the blank) came marching down your street. You'd be suspicious too and wonder if they weren't there to do you harm.

But there's another aspect of all this to consider. That would be the gradual isolation of the masses. The first incarnation came about with the introduction of the motor car. All well and good at the beginning as most horseless carriages were open. The driver could at least wave as he passed by. Speed and enclosures soon changed all that. The personal wave turned into a honk. Soon pedestrians became little more than obstacles in the rush to get to work.

About this time another wondrous invention came into play, the telephone. It separated us yet again. No need for face to face confrontations when you can do it in the comfort of your own home and make all the nasty faces you like. It's a safe bet Bell would never have imagined the ends to which his invention have been taken. With the "smart" phone and internet connected we're about as far from a human experience as one can get. Safely hidden behind the bits and bytes and anonymous screen names people have become free to expose their greatest fears but also their greatest hates. That random evil thought that we'd get punched in the mouth for saying in open company now gets screen captured in all it's glorious 144 characters. But with repetition it becomes rote learned and spills over into daily conversations face to face.

That's my two cents
Bank fails later 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Pussy - I didn't do it so...

Hands up don't shoot? Forget it they'll shoot you anyway armed or not. Alcohol agents carrying guns. Since when does a government agent need that to check for false ID? Tanks and UAVs yep that'll keep the peons in line. And don't forget enough fire power to take out a platoon of "enemy combatants". Seems to me we have slowly turned into an entity that we fought against in WWII.  complete with secret courts and secret laws. Forget the SS we have the NSA and GPS and cameras everywhere. The Gestapo would be jealous.

Careful what you say comrade er... my fellow Americans. You could be looking at expulsion. What teen boys used to talk about in the locker room is now posted online for all to see. As if anybody didn't already know. But now there must be photo evidence just to prove your manhood to the boys. Sheesh even senators did it. Thank you but my privates are my privates and let's keep it that way. But as we all know or should nothing is sacred anymore. All manner or pervy perversion is out there so careful where you tread. You might just end up at 50 shades of disgusted least you have a strong stomach. Are we slowly becoming virtual blobs in this cyber universe? No worries you can look it up on Youtube later somebody must have captured it.

But back to the subject at hand. Have we always been this violent or did I just not see it? Most cops I knew never so much a drew their service revolver in the course of their duties. It was once a badge of honor to say that you never once pulled the trigger in all the years of being a cop. Guess that was "the old days".  But we now have a military police force complete with military vets trained in military tactics.  Add to that picture several billion dollars worth of second hand military hardware. What could possibly go wrong?

Then there is the issue of mental health. It started when Reagan opened up the mental hospitals and let most of the inmates out. Didn't want to pay for a bunch of crazies with his tax dollars. But I think a whole bunch of them ended up running for office and won. That sure would explain a lot. But with these people the police have taken a shoot first think up a good excuse later mentality. If the individual is lucky enough to survive the confrontation he lands up in jail and still doesn't get treatment.

That's my two cents
Bank fails later... UPDATE: No fails this week

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday the 13th Pussy - TGIC thank god it's caturday

It was Friday the 13th and the world was not looking good. Stupid was reigning supreme. Smashes and crashes and just general ignorance ruled the land or was it the world? A brief summary to make a short story long:

If you didn't know better you'd think the lunatics had taken over the asylum. Congress writes a scathing letter to Iran warning not to make a deal with the president. Hey guys that's not your job. Stick to paying the bills. That's right you can't even do that.
Military chopper goes down during a training exercise. Shouldn't try and fly in the fog it never works out well.
White powder found in DC and BC. Okay who took my baby powder? And while you're at it don't blow up my backpack it's not dangerous.
Bonuses rise on Wall Street by 2%. For doing what exactly? Selling more worthless paper around the world won't make things better. Your day is coming.
More Iraq and Syria air strikes makes for more mayhem. Although we don't know the exact extent because nobody's there to report it. It's the easiest way to make the arms dealers wallets fatter.
No global warming you say? Icebergs were seen hitting the beach in Cape Cod. And while the east coast saw record snow and cold the west saw record breaking high temps.
Fergeson,Mo saw resignations, protests and police get shot. It's going to be a while before that town returns to R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Any bets the mayor is the next to go? Not a good time to be a black man in America.
The Emails nobody really cares about. Think you know who I'm talking about Mrs. C.
Why buy a new car these days it'll only be recalled. Did we lose the basic concept of how to build a car? Keep designing them cheaper and that's what you get.
Jeb Bush divests his business relationships. Isn't that like telling the NAACP you just quit the KKK?
Hookers, fence jumpers and drunken agents (higher ups at that) The secret service has enough egg on its' face we can all have an omelet. 
The N word made quite a stir this week prompting one frat to be kicked off campus. While we look in shock at the slurs being bandied about if you've ever hung with "the brothers" for any amount of time they rip each other far worse.
Ukraine expects to get the first $5 billion of its' bail out shortly from the IMF. The IMF that wonderful fund spreading debt traps all over the world. The money never seems to go where it's really needed but ends up as bonuses to bankers and the 1%. What do you bet even Putin will get a cut of that?

I could go on and on but I have some real things to do.
Bank fails later should I think to check...
Update: No fails this week

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Pussy - Boomer Cat

Headline reads "Blame boomers for congestion in job market". As if we had a choice. They raised the retirement age to 66 1/2 and higher a few years back meaning you can't get full social security until you hit that magic number. They've outsourced 62,000 manufacturers in the last 15 years meaning layoffs for millions. If you're over fifty and have a full time job you're one of the lucky ones, most are working part time or not at all. Then there's been the increases in taxes and fees and other living costs. All putting the squeeze on people who should be enjoying their golden years.

So blame a boomer? I think not. It was the underlying greed at the top that caused all this. Why pay a worker here a decent wage when you can get some foreigner to do it at a fraction of the cost? And what do we the consumer get in return? A lack of jobs for one and cheap shoddy products that fall apart. And forget "name brands" they care more about their bottom line than what their name stands for. And companies like Sears and Target wonder why they're going down the tubes. Sears was once noted for its' Craftsman tools made in the USA are now made in China. Said to be the best in the world. Guys would go into Sears just for those tools. Now they're made from cheaper steel and heavier.

Automation hasn't helped either. What once took dozens of workers hours to do can now be done in minutes with a robot. All well and good for the bean counters not so much for the laid off workers. The down side for the corporation is that if the robot happens to be programed incorrectly the entire production run is lost. (Did I hear a screaming goat?) But corporations being the greedy sots they are will just sell the product anyway and wait for a recall demand later. Can't interrupt the cash flow now could they? Good luck calling customer no service. Never seems to be covered under warranty and if it is they'll fight you anyway. Easier to pay Abu in India a couple of rupees to give you the run around than to pay hundreds to actually fix the problem.

Then there's computers. While they've made repetitive tasks easier and automated they've permeated nearly every aspect of modern life but to an extreme in my opinion. I see no need to put a computer on a water pitcher no matter what it's purpose. And is it really necessary to know what the temperature of your water heater is when you're traveling abroad? And yet you can do so with a smart phone and many of the newer water heaters. And what happens when the water heater gets into an argument with the refrigerator? Who's going to settle that? No, give me a dumb phone and mostly manual tools and I'll be happy. Just because it's new doesn't necessarily mean it's good. For the most part it will probably eliminate somebody's job.

With online banking most branches are down to one or two tellers. That said.
Bank fails later...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday Pussy - Party like it's 1929

The more I study our current situation the more it's looking like the 1920s just before the market crashed. See if this doesn't sound familiar. Bucket shops which are equivalent of our modern day derivatives sold side bets to the stock market. Trade deficits nearly equal to what we have now. Foreign debt - Germany was made to try and pay for WWI which they couldn't. Inflation for Germany was so bad that it took bundles of marks to buy a loaf of bread. In today's example that would be Greece but they don't have the power to print their own money so they're stuck with the euro that can only be manipulated by big European banks.

Japan is facing an energy crisis as they can't restart their nuclear plant at Fukushima. That "clean up" is surely sucking monies out of the economy. Not to mention the loss of farmland from the contamination zone. No way to stop ground water from becoming contaminated and seeping into the ocean.

Back to Greece which is looking a lot like Germany did back in the 20s. Germany wrestled with the war debt problem until Hitler took power and invoked the Liberty Plan which criminalized anyone in government who tried to make reparations for WWI debt as agreed to in the Young Plan. It was probably the reason he made it to power in the first place. To it's credit the Young Plan canceled much of the debt and stretched payments out to 59 years. Greece as was mentioned before can not restructure its' currency or seem to come up with a viable plan for ending its' economic woes. The European Central bank seems to be unwilling to let Greece sell bonds to help pay its' debt which was the plan for Germany back in the day. Germany by the way finally paid off the last of its' war debt in 2010.

And this week we have one bank fail in Puerto Rico. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Pussy - Jobless edition

We're getting too efficient for our own good. The old method was to cut a worker or two, divide their work load amongst the remaining staff and pocket the difference. And if you were lucky enough to survive the budget cut you might get a penny or two with your newly defined role. And let's not forget a flashy title like foreman, vice president, supervisor, or associate. Which basically meant you were one step above the janitor.

Then there's the "shaving of the hours". Starts out at X hours for a particular job calculated by an estimator. He submits the bid to the home office knowing that he's padded time in case some unforeseen circumstance should arise. Home office knows this and shaves 10% from the hours before turning the paperwork over to the superintendent. The superintendent shaves another 5% just to make him look good before passing it on to the supervisor. The supervisor cuts the hours further figuring it will make him look good. The foreman looks at the paperwork and laughs knowing that it's humanly impossible to complete the job in such a short time. When the job runs over everybody gets scolded for not bringing the job in on time and told the company is losing money. Meanwhile the owners and higher ups are off fishing in Bermuda together.

We are at the beginning of becoming obsolete as humans. We have robot cars and aircraft, robots in factories. Computers do in a few seconds what once took minutes or hours by staffs of typists. And once a robot can repair another robot then we may find ourselves on the extinct list. I have seen an acceleration of this process in just the last 20 years. So this is just the beginning. Economically speaking this doesn't put the masses in a very good position. And what happens when China catches the robotics trend? Will they replace all those low wage workers with machines? That might be cause for political upheaval. Very little is left when it comes to manufacturing jobs that haven't been shipped over seas. Do a little research into your favorite "American" company and I think you'll find it's now owned by a foreign partnership.

They say jobs are coming back to America, they're not. We've lost 62,000 manufacturers in the last 15 years. That's manufacturers not jobs. The jobs that remain are high tech or service related. The problem there is that by the time you've received high tech training the technology has changed. And most service jobs don't pay enough to support one person let alone a family. What's left? Basically it boils down to selling debt or information. Information is cheap and the world is swimming in debt.

Haven't checked bank fails lately...
One fail in Ga. on Friday Feb 13, lucky them.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Friday Pussy - Oily cat

 Oil, Texas tea, bubblin crude. We're swimming in it. It's all around us even if you don't drive. Think not? Your keyboard mouse and monitor frame are made from oil. Bet there isn't much in the room around you that did come from oil and even if it didn't a trucker had to ship it to a store using oil. You bought it and drove it home using oil. Heck even the roads we drive on are made from oil (asphalt).

So what's all the fuss about? It's an oil war on top of a couple of real wars. Russian and U.S. oil companies were all set to do a 1/2 trillion dollar deal to drill in the Black sea. That's when the tug of war over the Ukraine started. Actually it started when the U.S. backed a pro west Orange party in the Ukraine. Ukraine being $15 billion in debt had the choice of accepting help from the EU or Russia. It was all set to take the EU deal when the president backed out against the wishes of parliament. That's when he was ousted from power and fled to Russia. Ukrainians have a love hate relationship with Russia. They have no love for the old soviet system (true there are still some communists in parliament) but the bulk of the Ukrainian economy relies on trade with Russia.

The Saudis are satisfied with market share. They know that it will hurt their enemies to keep prices low. It will also drive out the smaller competition in the west. All of which seems unusual as they're also funding extremists. So it's a safe bet that the country is a bit polarized, at least amongst the royal family who runs things. Deny all they want but they held fund raisers to bolster Al Qaeda which was proven in the days after 911. Whether they actually funded 911 we may never know unless the redacted pages of the CIA report are revealed. Don't hold your breath for that one.

What's happening to oil right now? The short term price is around $50 a barrel while the future 2016 price is just over $60. So while the short term price is low companies are racing to store oil then sell it later at a higher price. That in itself raised prices a bit. High cost low producing production rigs are being shut down. So the real price will depend on storage costs estimated at around .45 cents a barrel at present. So we may see an uptick in prices in the spring. Whether we see $100 a barrel again is open to debate. The Saudis have said no to that. We use 20 million barrels a day but that figure is going down due to better fuel milages. The tug of war of supply and demand goes on and at the moment it looks like supply is winning.

No bank fails this week