Thursday, April 30, 2009
"If you get out of your car in this centrifugal metropolis, you immediately become a delinquent; as soon as you start walking, you are a threat to public order, like a dog wandering in the road." - French philosopher Jean Baurdillard


Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Today's stock market rally leaves me asking:

A few months ago everybody was worried if the world is headed for Depression. Now the answer is clear from the GDP data released today: America's economy has contracted more than 12% over the last two quarters. That beats even the initial devastation of the Great Depression.

How does Wall Street greet the news? With "buy, buy, buy!"

Good. Let the market climb. Let the baseless euphoria reinforce itself.

I'll be looking forward to making my first ever investment soon. Come 9,000 on the Dow I'm gonna put some disposable money into short-selling. If I take care, I think I can expect fabulous returns.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Around the world...


REUTERS: "Our economy is falling into deep hole, and I see no positive signs in the nearest future," said Gitanas Nauseda, an analyst at SEB Bank in Lithuania.

I love that frank assessment of Lithuania's economy, which today registered an earthquake-like 12% contraction in GDP. And I love this guy's impeccably fragmented Eastern-European English.


I begin to believe that America is a giant hologram or a Soviet-like superstructure.


Lithuania in Depression


America in the 1930s:


Pakistan attacks Taliban in Buner


Monday, April 27, 2009
Many Pakistanis <3 the Taliban and hate the United States. That's what I gather from a very recent poll in Islamabad - the capital city under imminent threat from the Taliban. More than half the city's population see the Taliban as "heroes." Three percent remotely like the U.S.

If you think the Pakistani people are going to violently reject the Taliban and defend democracy, you might be expecting much too much.

Keep in mind, Pakistan is the worst off in this global depression. Just as Germany was in the early 30s.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

WIKIPEDIA: News media reports portray Gary Lauck in different ways, ranging from laughable buffoon to dangerous "evil genius". Some claim he speaks English with a "fake German accent" while others - no less hostile - claim his unusual accent is the remnant of a childhood speech defect. Some claim his mustache is modeled after Hitler's, although he himself denies that. But they generally agree about his fanaticism. Lauck has stated that Adolf Hitler was the greatest man who ever lived, but that his only mistake was to be "too humane".



[This story came out almost three months ago.]

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Panasonic Corp. has instructed Japanese workers assigned to parts of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America to send family members back to Japan because of the risk of outbreaks of new influenza strains, Nikkei English News said, without citing anyone.



I derive my paranoid vision of modernity from Weimar Germany.


The Taliban conquered a major province in Pakistan last week called Buner. The reign didn't seem to last long and reports said they almost immediately withdrew.

Now it turns out the Taliban haven't really checked out. They planted some local recruits in Buner and those have assumed control.

So far as I'm concerned the Taliban remain 60 miles from Islamabad.



The new Prime Minister of Iceland:

Lovin' the balloons.


Hillary Clinton says Pakistan's nuclear weapons are currently safe - but boy is she 'concerned'.

The Israelis will act fast once the Taliban have taken over Pakistan's capital, gaining access to the nuclear warheads and long-range missiles.


It's not swine flu. It's a combo of swine, bird, and human flu. A uniquely mutated strain. I think most of the danger from this thing is media-manufactured. But I'm nervous.

It's not everyday that you see Mexican police, heavily armed, lined up in surgical masks.


Saturday, April 25, 2009
I grasp at straws everyday... with my mouth!

Can't stand watered-down soda after the ice has melted.

The Trans-Atlantic Divide

I post this picture only to emphasize how there is a "chasm of modernity" (Jean Baudrillard) between Europe and America.

Modernity is original in America: everything from electricity to the car to the computer came about here. The great deal of European history was taken up by aristocracy and war. America was a break from that history and an acceleration of science and technology.

In America, Europe's utopian dreams, even some of the Marxist ones, have been solidly realized. In Europe, utopia is a never-realizable, eternally frustrated, fantasy - the pursuit of brutal, unsuccessful revolutions.

Now for the cool picture - I hope I don't elicit the hatred of European visitors, but I probably will.

Bernanke and Friedman: BFFs

Friday, April 24, 2009
Here's a little-known fact.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has based his entire economic recovery plan on the writings of a libertarian luminary, Milton Friedman - pictured below with sheets of Ones.

Friedman is maybe the most influential economist since Karl Marx. He helped engineer capitalism in the United States, Britain, Russia, and even Iceland.

In 1963, he published "The Monetary History of the United States," a revisionist tome that forever changed America's apperception of the Great Depression.

Up to that point, the 1929 market crash had been viewed as a problem of speculation and overproduction. Of course that implied flaws in capitalism.

"Monetary History" absolved capitalism and shifted blame onto the Federal Reserve. Friedman argued that the Fed had turned an ordinary recession into a depression by raising interest rates and tightening the money supply.

Current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is a scholar of the Depression and a zealous promulgator of Friedman's theories.

In 2002, he spoke at Friedman's 90th birthday bash and issued this apology on behalf of the Federal Reserve:

"I would like to say to Milton Friedman... regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."

In "Monetary History," Friedman spelled out a government plan for averting future depressions. Here it is: drop interest rates, buy corporate bonds, lend to the banks, and print money to keep inflation going.

Like a perfect disciple, Bernanke has implemented each of these prescriptions to the tee - and to the tune of over $12 trillion. Interest rates are at zero and the Federal Reserve is now the chief buyer of corporate bonds. The banks are being shoveled up to $100 billion a week and the printing press is running at full steam.

In the face of this incredible profligacy, some have accused Bernanke of liberal, Keynesian tendencies. A libertarian would never wildly expand government, waste tax money, and intervene in the market. Only a Keynesian would!

In fact, Bernanke's infamous moniker - "Helicopter Ben" - came about when he quoted Milton Friedman on the need to rain down cash on Wall Street in the event of deflation.

Testifying before Congress this year, Bernanke told Ron Paul that Friedman is the guiding light for the Federal Reserve. The matter was sealed at a dinner in Orlando this week (which I attended), where former Federal Reserve Governor Randy Kroszner informed an audience of libertarians that the recovery plan 'is entirely consistent' with Friedman's wishes.

As dictator of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke has faithfully transcribed Milton Friedman's depression-prevention model into reality. Trillions of dollars are allocated in line with his academic theses.

So stop calling Bernanke a Keynesian. He's a Friedmanite.

The Taliban have apparently withdrawn from Buner, after having annexed it this week.

Taliban Takeover

Thursday, April 23, 2009
Look at this epic picture of Taliban riding in a Toyota pick-up truck. They're parading through a newly conquered Pakistani province, Buner, population: 1,000,000. The Taliban takeover took place without resistance. The province was signed away by a turncoat politician.

The Taliban - with al-Qaeda in tow - is now 60 miles from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

Islamabad is heavily fortified; there's a Green Zone around the parliament. But the highway into the city is apparently undefended: the Pakistanis have so far mounted only a tiny force, which was driven back by the Taliban.

If fighting breaks out within the capital, you can bet the government is toast. Now what do you think these men would do with Pakistan's 40-100 nuclear weapons and missiles that can hit Israel?

Nobody knows, and that's why Hillary Clinton just called this unfolding catastrophe a "mortal threat to the world."

The stars themselves are blinking in disbelief.

Keeping with the Apocalypse Theme

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He Told This to a Meeting of P.R. Men



The Soviets had their own style of architecture in the 1920s. It was called Constructivist and it was a worthy answer to Art Deco.

I love the horse-buggy trotting by this modern monolith.

Constructivism lives on weirdly in the United States. There's a bank branch near my house that's built in the same style.

9/11 was the Iceberg

The apocalypse rears its head, honey
it's gonna be bad
the horns of the beast
poking up through the sea

it's gonna be bad, but to what extent?
Violins wailing, operators telegraph SOS
the lifeboats deploy
Have hope, boy

Hang on to my coat.


Monday, April 13, 2009
The sun is setting
the sky is red thru
orange, yellow and blue
a yellow tree burns gold
under an early-rising


This is a communist architect's imagining of the City of the Future, sketched in 1927.

I'd love to have an apartment in that building. Unfortunately, like almost all communist plans, this one was never realized.

Kim's Computers

The North Koreans are on the cutting edge of computer research. Just look at their IT center - as sleek as any of the corporate buildings in the West.

Behind that reflective glass, the North Koreans are churning out innovative new widgets - like "Taegwondo Education Software," a "Gene information search system," and a "Diagnostic System Upon Coldness Responsiveness."

Of all people, the communists are even developing a "Bank Management System."

LINK: Korea Computer Center