Monday, August 4, 2014

Any way...

Something is just not right with these numbers that I'm getting.  so I will plug away for month longer,  and then I will say goodbye.  I know I said so three weeks earlier,  but I thought I had found an audience.  but  there are things wrong with the audience,  which can only be accounted for by assuming that it is a fake audience.  so I will leave you to do whatever is your doing.

That what the owl is for.

Mr. Disraeli


Sir, it is little more than six months since Parliament was prorogued, under circumstances of great anxiety, and we are re-assembled to-day to encounter a state of affairs that all must admit to be greatly complicated, and which I myself think to be not devoid of danger. When we returned to our constituencies Europe was on the eve of a war which, looking to its consequences, may, perhaps, be described as the most important war of this century. Her Majesty's Government then took the opportunity of indicating to the House the general policy which they felt it their duty, under the circumstances, to advise Her Majesty to follow. That policy was a policy of neutrality, and was a wise and a just policy. I cannot recall at this moment whether war had been declared at that period; but whether it had or not, there was a considerable and mysterious pause before the actual commencement of hostilities which 71 was very favourable to negotiation; and I then took the liberty of suggesting to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government that the policy of the Government should not only be a policy of neutrality, but of an armed neutrality. The right hon. Gentleman then said that a policy of armed neutrality was a very serious thing. That was why I recommended it. We had to deal with a very serious state of affairs, and it appeared to me that if we were to have a chance of coping with them and controlling them we should use an instrument of equal temper. The operation of an armed neutrality is three-fold. Its first tendency, of course, is to prevent; its second, to shorten war; and, in the third place—and not the least important—when pacification is contemplated, to insure the acceptance of just and temperate terms of peace, so that the seeds of future disquiet and inevitable struggle should not occur at the very moment when general tranquillity appears to be about to be accomplished.

The last instance of an armed neutrality was the occupation of the Danubian Provinces by Austria; and I believe that no one will deny that that act on the part of Austria tended greatly to shorten the Crimean War. I do not presume for a moment to speak on this question of high general policy as one more competent to deliver an opinion upon it than any Gentleman who is sitting in this House; but hon. Members may, perhaps, recollect that four years ago myself and my then Colleagues had under responsibility the duty of considering a state of affairs almost identical with that state of affairs which obtained in the middle of last July. There was then a war imminent, occasioned by the rivalry between France and Prussia. Indeed, for 48 hours it appeared inevitable, and yet that war was prevented—was prevented by that Treaty which guaranteed the neutrality of Luxemburg, upon which I will not at this moment dwell, though I may have to advert to it.

Now, that was an opportunity, certainly, all will admit, to those who had then the management of affairs, to form some opinion as to the motives of the principal actors in those transactions, the influences which regulated their conduct, and the objects which they contemplated; and we arrived then at three results for the future regulation of our 72 conduct in these matters. First of all, which was of course obvious, that the danger to the peace of Europe was the rivalry between France and Prussia; secondly, that Prussia would never commence hostilities herself; and thirdly—and that was the most important and practical point—that it was consequently necessary that the English Government should concentrate all its resources, all its diplomatic influence, and exercise its unceasing vigilance at Paris, to prevent the ruler of France from commencing hostilities, which were so dreaded and deprecated. Now, it does not appear to me that Her Majesty's Ministers, when these unfortunate transactions commenced in July, did use that requisite energy, and were not sufficiently prepared for the circumstances which they had to encounter. I must remind the House that Her Majesty's Ministers were placed in a peculiarly favourable opportunity to press their opinions and their policy upon the Emperor of the French.

I give Her Majesty's Government full credit for the energy and promptitude with which they obtained the withdrawal of the candidature of the Prussian pretender to the Throne of Spain. But their success in that proceeding gave them an additional claim and hold upon the French Government:—because the House will understand that for a mediator to come forward between two such Powers as France and Prussia, and accomplish so difficult a task as the withdrawal of the Prussian Prince who was a candidate for the Spanish throne, required a great exertion and expenditure of influence on the part of the Crown of this country. Influence, however considerable, is at the same time a limited quality.

 It cannot be expended for a certain object, or in a certain degree, without being diminished for other purposes in an equal degree. If Her Majesty, for instance, made an appeal to the King of Prussia that ultimately led to the withdrawal of the pretender to the throne of Spain, on other occasions and in reference to other matters, no doubt such a course would give Prussia a moral claim on England. Her Majesty had done the Emperor of the French a great service: and if at that moment—in July—the business had stopped as it was, the Emperor of the French would have had a considerable diplomatic triumph. It would 73 have added to the credit of his dynasty and position, and would have been owing to the mediatorial influence of the Crown of England. When the Ambassador of the Queen therefore went to the Emperor of the French and announced that he had succeeded in his difficult and important office, and the Emperor—notwithstanding his appeal to the Queen to use her influence, and notwithstanding that Her Majesty had used her influence successfully—the Emperor said, "I will, nevertheless, proceed on my own course," Lord Lyons should have declared—"This is an outrage to the Crown of England, and I am instructed to tell you that if you thus discard the result of the Queen's intervention, and if this is the mode in which you express your gratitude for the successful exertions of the solicited influence of our Sovereign, you must take the consequences. I do not say we are going to throw ourselves into the fray, but the neutrality that we shall observe will be an armed neutrality." If that had been the case, I do not believe there would have been war.

BMW i8

The Roots of the Problem

The fundamental problem with the United States is not in the corridors of power, though it manifests there, nor is it with our technocratic institutions, though they carry it out. Nor is it even in the corporate offices of CEOs, because they would not be allowed to do what they do, without the implied consent of most of the governed. Instead the essential problem with America is a moral contradiction. One one hand the core political class.

It is important to remember that the stock market is not the economy, but it is, instead, the by-product of the economy. Financiers joke that the market has predicted 6 of the last 3 recessions. However, the stock market is an expression of the views of a narrow range of individuals on the economy, and in our case, because of the concentration of wealth and the rise of fund managers as a leading edge of the wealthy class, the sell off and weak rebound express their lack of confidence in the present.

America's problem, is that it does not want to believe what its problem is. American discourse, from left to right, begins with the postulate that Americans are goodeople. That what is good for Americans, as we see it, is also good for the world in an objective sense. However, when examined by the same standards we would impose upon others, this postulate is not tenable, but when shown this Americans react with rage and social violence.

The elephant in the room, is that there is an elephant in the room.

The arc of the argument is relatively simple: the living generation of Americans are the beneficiaries of an era of stability, termed "The Great Moderation" by Stock and Watson, and picked up in 2004 by soon to be Federal Reserve chief Bernanke and with it a broader global equivalent: "The Great Complacency". This period, from the full recovery from the 1980's recession and the collapse of high oil prices, circa 1985, until the coming of the so-called "Great Recession" in 2007, was characterized by the belief that the fundamental drivers of instability had been defeated, and that the most important threat to the world order, was discontent. This in turn lead to a moral horror of this discontent, whether domestic or international, and the conclusion that dissent at home, and terrorism abroad, were threats of such an existential magnitude, that other moral considerations, such as, for example "torture is wrong," were of no consequence.

The objective data shows, and has shown for over a decade, that the very thesis of there being a "Great Moderation" was incorrect, and that there are overwhelming global problems created by the policies of the moderation itself: the very mechanism of globalization and stabilization, was leading to a series of over-riding global dangers. More over, one of these global problems requires a moral heedlessness to consequences which is signature of the basis of totalitarian movements and totalitarian governance. Totalitarianism requires for its formation the participation of a large number of people, not only in the evils of the regime, but in a defense of its social infrastructure with violence. It isn't enough to have evil people to create state evil, it must be that others are willing to engage in small evils, to protect the system which creates the larger evil.

Or if some one does notice that there is an elephant in the room, then they have dehumanized themselves.

The last arc of the argument is the most pointed: that the American political and social spectrum, far from addressing the very global problems we create, is, instead, embracing their acceleration. It is not merely the establishment, or those tied to it, nor even the establishment and the opposition, but far out into the network of critique. Not only are we doing the wrong things, not only are we going to have a choice of two different ways to do the wrong things on the ballot election next, but our moral opposition, the conscience of the country, is dead set on doing the wrong things to.

So to compress this: we believed ourselves in a time that was so intrinsically stable and moral, that opposition to it could be met with crushing real and social violence, that in fact we live in a period of acceleration towards an avoidable series of catastrophes, and that we are so morally corrupt, that there is basis for renewal. We are not only doing harm, we not only insist on doing harm, but across the society, there is an ideology that harm is good, and continuing to do harm justifies the most vicious and debased of human folly.

The moral ideology of the Great Complacency

The Great Complacency was able summed up by its great apologist:

One of the most striking features of the economic landscape over the past twenty years or so has been a substantial decline in macroeconomic volatility. In a recent article, Olivier Blanchard and John Simon (2001) documented that the variability of quarterly growth in real output (as measured by its standard deviation) has declined by half since the mid-1980s, while the variability of quarterly inflation has declined by about two thirds.1 Several writers on the topic have dubbed this remarkable decline in the variability of both output and inflation "the Great Moderation." Similar declines in the volatility of output and inflation occurred at about the same time in other major industrial countries, with the recent exception of Japan, a country that has faced a distinctive set of economic problems in the past decade.

Reduced macroeconomic volatility has numerous benefits. Lower volatility of inflation improves market functioning, makes economic planning easier, and reduces the resources devoted to hedging inflation risks. Lower volatility of output tends to imply more stable employment and a reduction in the extent of economic uncertainty confronting households and firms. The reduction in the volatility of output is also closely associated with the fact that recessions have become less frequent and less severe.2

"The Great Moderation" Governor Ben S. Bernanke, February 20th, 2004.

First, it is important to say the obvious: this was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Not wrong by some hopped up Wall Street analyst, not wrong by some off beat blogger, but just plain old wrong. However the acceptable contra-thesis, there would be a period of rapid macro-inflation, was also utterly incorrect. The Great Recession had many roots, but high macro-inflation was not any of them, not in any major developed nation. The dire warnings from Wall Street bond analysts have not come true, instead, deflationary pressures were far more visible in the Great Recession. Everyone in the 1990's and 2000's worried about a general increase in prices, and that is not what happened.

Why this obsession. A good look at the thinking of central bankers and policy elites can be found in this paper from the bank of England. First, just ignore the text, and skim through the graphs.

Let's take Sentance's inflation graph:

This graph, in a nutshell, shows why anti-inflation obsession is a very real and powerful motivating factor, and when combined with the change of government, shows why everyone who is handling money now is thoroughly pointed at "price stability:" there was a period of very high inflation in the late 1970's and 1980's. People complained, governments fell, and were replaced by a new class of people in power. Not merely a change in politicians, but a change in how people looked at everything. Inflation, having killed the previous political order, was the bullet point for the new one: as long as macro-inflation was under control, there would be the political support for it.

This is made more important because the political order born of Thatcher and Reagan survived the "Great Recession."

What turns all of this into a problem is described by Patrick Haydn in his Aredtian crique of what he labels "neo-liberalism"

While capitalism is an ideology predicated on the ‘law’ of incessant expansion, justifying ‘the limitless pursuit of power after power that could roam and lay waste the whole globe’,87 bureaucracy is the ‘rule of Nobody’,88 where anonymity reigns, standardised roles are performed by interchangeable ‘consumers’, and responsibility becomes increasingly difficult to assume much less to attribute to others. Such conditions provide fertile ground for banal motivations to grow. As with Eichmann, whose ‘memory functioned only in respect to things that had a direct bearing upon his career’,89 the principles of neoliberalism have become for many the ascendant ‘matter-of-course conclusion’90 of a doctrine that excuses the excesses of the wealthy states and validates the careerism of their citizens. Like Eichmann, most of the better-off do not have a fanatical attachment to neoliberalism or a pathological desire to ‘do evil’, they simply have no other motives than the relentless pursuit of career success. The operation of the global economic order follows its own supposedly ‘inexorable laws, compelling us’ in turn along a path for which no one takes responsibility.91 This is the reason why the affluent cannot project themselves into the lives of the severely poor; inasmuch as they shield themselves from the reality that how they ‘do business’ foreseeably shortens and worsens the lives of affected populations, they thereby thoughtlessly reproduce radical inequality. Although their motivations are ‘normal’, they nevertheless contribute to sustaining a system that asymmetrically values the lives of millions.

Patrick Hayden "Superflous Humanity"

However it isn't neo-liberalism that is the problem, instead the critique of neo-liberalism comes from neo-localism, which is at least as content, if not more so, to have superflous humanity. Where as the neo-liberal is happy to inflict exploitation on others, but must elevate those others to exploit them, the neo-localist decries the effect of neo-liberalism, but on advanced economy elites. The entire anti-neo-liberal movement is guilty of the same sins that neo-liberalism is, and the additional sin of hypcrisy

The Marne, 1914

If you don't know  Holger Hewig,  who wrote the  Marne,  1914.  now's the time to amend  that absence in your reading.

A Hierarchy of Whores: Why we are not winning the GWOT

CNN has a story on how Bush's undermanned attack on Afghanistan let Osama/Usama/Esama/Isama slip through the net at Tora Bora. Body count, except the body that counted.
Conservative News Network video - and text sidebar on how the US is short on spies.[Hat tip to Roy Temple] No we aren't, short of spies or soldiers they are just all busy spying on Americans, occupying Iraqies, and using torture.
Where the GWOT really is below the fold.
A Hierarchy of Whores

pop Is capitalism

"Wir erwarten nichts anderes als Retro"  retro,  he says,  is what it should be called.

the anti-Semitic travails of the Tory party

fishermen by Erica Kogisa

Fisherman by EricaKogiso 

independent Sen. calls CIA torture "unjustifiable"

 Sen. King  calls the CIA torture  in no nonsense way.


A personal act, amidst war. 'Ablutions' by Stanley Spencer.

Animal Farm

 Animal Farm,  despite much looking I don't know who the author is

two reviews of Sawyer's second Symphony

Philip SAWYERS (b.1951)
Cello Concerto (2010) [26:20]
Symphony No.2 (2008) [21:30]
Concertante for Violin, Piano and Strings (2006) [11:12]
Maja Bogdanovic (cello)
Steinberg Duo (Louisa Stonehill (violin); Nicholas Burns (piano))
Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods
rec. Civic Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, 14-15 May 2013

there are 361 and counting in Southwest China ( update 400 now dead)

Premier Li Keqiang arrives in southwestern China's Yunnan Province to instruct relief work after a quake killed at least 381 people"

Update: over 400 now reported dead by BBC America.

The fight over Zephyr Teachout is not over  says at least one person associated it.  read what she has to  say about it...

... and space as well...  if you can see it,  there are more dimensions than three....

beautiful "June Rain"

the past past... The future exist in time


Fort National by abertrande