Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--November 25, 2015

Henryk Siemiradzki, Begging castaway (1878)

One by one, the giant investment funds are quietly switching out of government bonds, the most overpriced assets on the planet.
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This shift in reserve flows amounts to fiscal stimulus for the world. Less money is being hoarded as capital: more is going back into the real economy as spending - or it soon will do - exactly what the doctor ordered for a 1930s world, starved of demand.
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All the stars are aligned for an end to the deflationary supercycle, and therefore for an end to the 35-year bull market in government bonds.
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Mr O'Neill said the "trillion dollar question" is whether the Fed and fellow central banks will wake up one day to find that the inflationary horse has already bolted. 
My fear is that this is exactly what will happen. There will then be an almighty reckoning as global finance braces for a rush of staccato rate rises by the Fed, and a belated pirouette by the ECB. 
We will then find out whether the world can cope with public and private debt ratios hovering at all-time highs of 265pc of GDP in the OECD club and 185pc in emerging markets, up 35 percentage points since the top of the pre-Lehman credit bubble. Equities will not fare very well either when that moment comes.
  • Examples of the failure of gun control:
  • "Mon Dieu! A Review of French Gun Laws"--The Truth About Guns. As you might expect, civilians are prohibited from owning fully automatic weapons. That obviously did not stop the terrorists. Moreover, there is evidence that even possession of handguns by civilians would have made a big difference:
As the attackers mowed people down, a police commissioner and his driver, learning from the police radio that they were near the site, sped to the concert hall before more elite teams could get there. They charged inside, shooting one of the gunmen before the attacker had a chance to use his high-powered rifle. Then they retreated so that special-operations teams could assemble.

It was a key action that slowed the pace of carnage. "In hindsight, I know that we saved dozens, maybe hundreds of lives," the commissioner, who hasn't been named, told private television channel M6. While the Bataclan death toll of at least 89 was horrific, most of the partygoers survived.

"It's their action that made it possible to stop the killing," Christophe Molmy, who heads the elite BRI police intervention squad, said of the police commissioner and his driver.
  • Immigration/Refugee crises:
The Islamic State has likely radicalized thousands of people in the United States, according to a new report, raising concerns that supporters of the terrorist group could be plotting domestic attacks similar to the recent shootings and bombings in Paris. 
The Threat Knowledge Group, an organization led by the counterterrorism experts Sebastian and Katharine Gorka, has compiled a list of 82 individuals in the United States who were affiliated with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and apprehended by law enforcement officials, including those who traveled or attempted to travel to Iraq and Syria, launched domestic attacks, or participated in recruiting or fundraising. 
The Gorkas note in a new report that almost one third of these individuals had plotted attacks against Americans on U.S. soil in the last 18 months. Sebastian is also an adviser to the Department of Defense, while Katharine has authored several publications about the terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland.
        • "The New Invasion of Europe"--Chronicles. "Europe lost its will to survive and is being invaded by immigrants: It discarded its Christian faith, which plunged its birth rate to half the replacement level, meaning rapid extinction no matter what. The vacuum is being filled by foreigners arriving by the millions, encouraged by a religion, Islam, that retains strong belief and encourages children."
        • "Why We Should Resettle Refugees In Their Own Lands"--The Federalist. The money quote:
          We can begin the road to healing—which encompasses a better understanding of immigration and immigrants—by changing how we view nationality. Nationality is a good. Iraqis want a country of their own where they can have their own language, traditions, and way of life. So do the Syrians I know. Americans should want the same for themselves.
            America is a nation, too. It has a culture, and it had at one point a national identity. You should want to care for your own country, you should desire to know and uphold your identity. You should love your country, your traditions, your holidays, your shared common life. You should want to uphold your laws and protect your borders.
              One of the maxims of 4GW is: Don’t break up states. Because then you create anarchic hotbeds of seething hatred that can’t be controlled, and can spread anywhere. But that’s just what President George W. Bush did in attacking Afghanistan and Iraq (instead of just going after Osama bin Laden in Northeastern Afghanistan), destroying their governments and creating anarchy, followed by the rise of ISIS in Iraq. It’s what President Obama and SecState Hillary Clinton did in Libya in 2011, with the help of Italy, Britain and France, when they toppled Qaddafi. The Libyan dictator even warned, just before he was toppled, that getting rid of him would put the jihadis in charge of Northern Africa, before they headed to Europe.
              • Global warming update:
              • "German Professor: NASA Has Fiddled Climate Data On ‘Unbelievable’ Scale"--Breitbart. "Professor Dr. Friedrich Karl Ewert is a retired geologist and data computation expert. He has painstakingly examined and tabulated all NASA GISS’s temperature data series, taken from 1153 stations and going back to 1881. His conclusion: that if you look at the raw data, as opposed to NASA’s revisions, you’ll find that since 1940 the planet has been cooling, not warming."
              1. Resources: "Cities have abundant offerings if you know where to find them. There are places to get a free meal and opportunities to acquire resources for manufacturing gear and tools."
              2. Lock Picks: "One of the most essential skills/tools for urban survival is a good lock pick set and the skills to use it. This gives you access to many places that may not otherwise be available," such as dumpsters (for food) or abandoned buildings (for shelter). But don't keep them on you; cache them somewhere accessible.
              3. Police Interaction: Basic tip--avoid police interaction. Pick good areas to sleep where police are not going to "rouse" you.
              4. Food Is Tricky: "Any homeless person going hungry is not taking advantage of the available resources." But be careful of eating rotting food.
              5. Hygiene Is Essential: "Poor hygiene leads to complications later, like fungal infections, rashes and sores." Good hygiene, including clean clothes, allows you to move around without being hassled by police or arousing suspicion.
              6. Water: Like food, water is available, but be careful of drinking from non-potable sources.
              7. Safety In Numbers: "Anywhere in the world, the appearance of vulnerability invites aggression. Consider forming a small team to increase the odds of personal safety."
              8. Cache Locations: "Losing your gear because you were too lazy to secure it is a royal pain. Take the time."
              9. Shelter: "Finding a secluded place to rest is not only essential to your security, it’s important for your health."
              10. Panhandling Sucks: "The bottom line is, if you’re at the point where you have to panhandle, you’ve failed as a survivalist." 
              • "Baby elephant in China can’t stop crying after being stomped by mom"--New York Daily News. This is from a couple months back, but a very sad story. Poor parenting is not limited to humans.
              • "Thousands in Washington to spend Thanksgiving in dark, cold"--Washington Post. "A windstorm Nov. 17 packed hurricane-force winds that toppled power poles and cracked trees, sending them crashing onto cars and killing three people in the state. More than 180,000 Avista customers lost power at the storm’s peak." According to the article, 11,900 customers are still without power, and they estimate that 5,000 will still be without power Thursday. This is not the first time for such problems for the area. Spokane was hit with a similar wide-scale outage in 1996 or 97 that left tens of thousands out of power for days and weeks following an "ice storm." Although we were not in the zone of the outage at the time, my wife and I lived close by. It was one of the reasons we began to take prepping seriously.
              • "'Turn the other cheek' Doesn't Mean What You Think"--Adventures In Keeping House. The author notes that Christ's teaching about turning the other cheek did not refer to responding to an assault or battery, but responding to an insult (to slap someone in the face was considered an insult); and an "eye for an eye" was not meant literally, but was the legal principle that a punishment had to be proportional to the crime committed. 

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