Bukko Canukko

   Posted by at  No Responses »

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • Author
  • in reply to: James Howard Kunstler is a big fan of The Automatic Earth #4981

    It IS a slow freight train that Kunstler’s calling for. I like him — not only have I read “The Long Emergency” but also the book-length compilation of the better bits of his podcasts with Duncan Creary — but he’s a bit of a one-note singer. The doom that’s always just over the horizon. I’m always amazed at the buffering capacity The System has in keeping the can kickable. I’d like to hear his thoughts on the mechanisms of how that plays out.

    The most memorable of Kunstler’s recent columns was the one where he revealed that his poor health was caused by a metal-leaching artificial hip. It showed how techno-complexity has unanticipated side effects. It also personalized him more. I could see the body behind the brilliant but bilious brain.

    in reply to: Reading TAE #2281

    Bot Blogger post=1878 wrote:
    Oh yeah and do whatever you can to get El G back!! He may have been a curmudgeon but man he was funny and smart! Ask forgiveness. Tell him you’ll wash his socks…whatever it takes. 😛

    El G?? Come in….G Spot? Are you there? Miss you.

    Judging from his last postings, I think El G discovered the secret to Tesla Free Energy that would revolutionize the world, so “they” had to silence him. As “they” have done to so many millions of others through the years. Curse “them”!

    in reply to: Reading TAE #2256

    Thanks for the three-line tip, Nassim! That will help my speed-reading considerably. And lessen my disgust for humanity, too. It’s depressing to read so much bilious blather by the sub-three set.

    in reply to: Reading TAE #2234

    Hah — ZeroHedge comments! I sometimes read the first 10 or 20 on posts that I find particularly interesting. Not because I expect to learn anything from those comments. 99% of the time they are not up to the thoughtful standards of TAE commenters. I’ve actually expanded my mind thanks to TAE Classic, and a mention of “Political Ponerology” on a long-ago TAE thread got my wife started on her latest avocation of reading about sociopaths. I work with psychopaths and mentally ill people at a hospital psych ward, and that’s the only reason I drop in for ZH comments — to see what people with antisocial personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenia are yabbering about. I would not want to be their gall bladders — they’re overflowing with bile in ZeroHedge comments…

    in reply to: el G, your brethren suck. #2205

    What are people going to feed their dogs with after a collapse, anyway? There’s going to be a need for working dogs for those who own livestock, for protection against predators if nothing else. If you just have five or six goats to milk, you won’t be slaughtering enough goats for makin’ Jamaican curry to generate an adequate year-round supply of dogfood scraps. I can’t see curing or canning the bits that humans won’t eat just so I’d have dog food next month. So how do people in subsistence cultures keep their dogs operating? Buzzards and rats?

    in reply to: Reading TAE #2204

    I’ve been a reader of several blogs that have changed their appearance and/or function over the years. It’s always difficult to get accustomed to a different look and feel.

    New TAE is not as straight-ahead as Classic TAE, but I at least don’t have to wade through screens-full of comments about diets to find out what the kewl kidz are saying about herd mentality. (OK, Ilargi mostly put paid to the food-chatter; just stretching to come up with an example.) I didn’t read every comment every day — too many! — so there were times I’d want to add my 2¥ worth on a topic, or ask someone a question. Too late — the comment thread waited for no one. Except when it was troll-slowed.

    It will take some getting used to, this new way of doing things. Every change has a learning curve. It seems that the pace of comments has slacked off — for lots of topics that are still high up on the “Latest” list, the most recent comment was days ago. So maybe other people are struggling too.

    But like any new thing, people will adapt. Some old eyes might fall away, other new ones might jump in. For the new ones, this look will be natural. If they’re getting helpful info from the essay posts — which was all I usually read, because the reprinted articles and blogposts were a content fire hydrant — they’ll stick around.

    And if more fall away than the number who stick, then our hosts have just shot themselves somewhere north of the foot. That’s life — which sometimes includes death. If the changes are so difficult that TAE withers, then Stoneleigh and Ilargi can go back to having real lives, instead of living the bloggous-driven life.

    P.S. If adapting to a different blog style seems difficult, just thin how hard it’s going to be for hundreds of millions of people in advanced societies to adapt to different lifestyles when the money and energy run out!

    in reply to: Teju Cole: The White Savior Industrial Complex #2126

    White people! Bringing salvation and civilization to benighted people from the Romans in Gaul to the WMDeliverers in Iraq! Hooray for the saviours, from Holy Crusaders in Jerusalem to the Raj on the Subcontinent!

    Sure, Attila, Genghis, Tamerlane and the Ottomans made it flow the other way, but they didn’t have the staying power of the WMIC (Whiteman Military Industrial Complex if you didn’t get my drift.) The video about Kony is just another small slice of phoney baloney in the pile of smoking meat that whitefellas have left behind in their millennial mission to humaniterrify the unfortunate, uncivilized heathens.

    We’re only here to help! We might have to apply some creative destruction to the village in order to save it, but that’s progress! I’m hearing Kurt Vonnegut’s voice saying “And so it goes…”

    in reply to: The Shock Doctrine has come to New Zealand #2125

    Maybe I didn’t read this post closely enough to detect the words “New Orleans,” but this sounds like a New Zedland version of the post-Katrina phenomenon. So many similarities, right down to the forced removal of groups considered undesirable by the power structure. And look how well that’s worked out for the Crescent City, eh? From Crescent to Christchurch…

    in reply to: $270 Billion In US Student Loans Are Delinquent #2057

    Reverse, you say that 27 million loan-owing students cannot be put in debtors prison, which is true. But they can be hounded for years, have wages garnished and otherwise be controlled. Debt serfdom has been a feature of human civilizations since Biblical times, and it’s a fact of daily life in places like Pakistan today.

    Debt collectors are persistent like bedbugs. Let me tell you a funny story from my life.

    In 2004, when I was still living in San Francisco, I got a couple of calls from someone asking for me by name. They wouldn’t say who they were at first, just asked in a slightly hostile way if my name was “_____ ______.” That tactic rang a bell with me, because years before I had worked at a psychiatric halfway house and one of the patients with money problems used to get similar calls.

    On the second or third occasion, I got the caller to tell me where they were from — a debt collection agency. That was odd, because I didn’t owe anybody anything except for our house mortgage, which was always up to date. I persuaded the ominous male voice on the other end of the phone to tell me what it was about. Turns out it related to student loan debt for a guy with my same first and last names, but a different middle name and birth date. He had gone to college in Minnesota and welshed on his student loan (among other debts.)

    It seemed REAL important to the debt collector that he should establish what my name was. I was hacked off about being bothered, so I decided to game HIM. I would not outright deny that I was this Minnesota guy, but I wouldn’t admit it, either. That would be lying. It would also spoil the fun. So I played the role of a surly scofflaw deadbeat, challenging the debt collector to do his worst.

    “How are you going to get this money from me? You say you’ll garnish my wages? Do you know where I work, smart guy? You say you have my Social Security number? What is it?” (I eventually conned them into telling me this similarly-named fellow’s SSN, his date of birth, names of all sorts of relatives — just a ton of personal information.) “How do you know that I haven’t found a job using a fake SSN? Go ahead and try to garnish me! You say you’re going to come to my house? Just try it!”

    I did some research online about what the federal regulations are that pertained to debt collecting. For instance, they can’t threaten to tell a debtor’s relatives about what they owe, but debt collectors can insinuate that they will. That’s how I learned the names of this debtor’s parents and grandparents. The collector would say things like “If your Grandpa So-and-So found out how much you owe, wouldn’t you be ashamed?” I would throw it back at them: “The law says you can’t do that, so don’t pretend you will.”

    This went on for months! I had a great time with it. Instead of hanging up, like most of the deadbeats probably did, I’d try to keep the debt collectors on the line as long as possible. I figured the more of their time I wasted, the less time they’d spend harassing real debtors. I wouldn’t curse, just act all recalcitrant. I got to know the voices of several debt collectors — one would get assigned to bug me and after a few weeks give up and hand me off to someone else. Several were shrill and nasty — I liked hoaxing them best.

    I finally stopped when I got a sympathetic debt collector. (He sounded like a black dude — maybe they have more empathy.) Because he was nice, I told him the truth, what my real middle name and birthdate was. No more calls!

    From that agency, that is. About six months later, a different mob started phoning. I guess this Minnesota guy’s file was sold to a new debt collection agency, and they retraced the same steps the first one did. (Apparently I was found by a check on the name of my nursing licence.) I was still playing the “Maybe I am that guy, and maybe I’m not” game with them when I left the country.

    Anyway, these blood-sucking ticks don’t drop away easily. They don’t need to lock people up, they just need to keep leeching them off. It’s employment for some people, and if companies are buying bad debt for 5¢ on the dollar and collecting 10¢ of it overall, they’ve got a 100% return. I reckon the $270 billion prize package is enough of an incentive to keep the Inspector Javerts busy pour longtemps.

    in reply to: Sophie Scholl's Interrogation #2009

    Jesse of the Café Americain has had a number of White Rose Society posts up during the past month, including one with this YouTube. I like Jesse. He brings a moral perspective to explaining the crooked ways of finance. If there were more Christians like him, I wouldn’t sneer so much at Christianity.

    P.S. Who woulda think that the “Never Again” sentiment had an expiration date? I’d say it’s only good for 75 years, or one full Kondratieff Cycle, whichever comes first.

    in reply to: The Official Thread for Open Comments #2003

    I don’t think the Western governments who sent people to Syria to be tortured (which other ones besides the U.S. did that?) will care if the Syrian rebels take over their former torture chambers. In the first place, the existence of that horror has long been known. Maher Arar has been talking publicly for years. The average sheeperson doesn’t give a rat’s ass. It’s just one more “yackety-yak” in the newsnoise babble of hideous events. Abuses by governments are seen as normal now by the masses who barely pay attention anyway. Unless it happens to them or to a celebrity, it’s meaningless.

    Another thing is that the news media aren’t going to pump this story if it ever comes out. How much have you heard about the torture chambers and summary executions of Gadhafi supporters after NATO’s insurgents took over? It was a one- or two-day middle-of-the-page story, then nothing.

    Finally, the Syrian rebels are most likely puppets of the West and Israel. Not likely they will highlight the U.S.’s outsourced torture. There will be plenty of nasty facts to show about the Assad government’s (father and son) savagery. The latter will generate enough revulsion to go around.

    in reply to: LEAVING DODGE CITY #1938

    My wife and I got out of Dodge to dodge that draft-dodger realPresident Dick Cheney and his little dog Two. (Bush II, that is.) Then we dog-legged back across the ocean to yet another English-speaking country that’s not the United States. Thank doG I have a licence to wipe people’s butts, so we can swan around like that.

    Along the way, we’ve made friends. Being friendly, entertaining people is one way my wife and I fertilize our adopted homegrounds. In the end, you are your own ambassador. Remember, in the now-forgotten (except for the title) 1958 book, “The Ugly American” was the good one, the talented engineer who won the respect of the Sarkhanese by getting down and dirty with them and devising a bicycle-powered rice-paddy irrigation pump. My goal is to be “the interesting American.” If you can spin a good yarn about the things that you’ve done and the places you’ve seen, that’s a survival skill.

    We haven’t sunk roots, but we planted seeds. We learned the ways of several lands, and gained the legal right to repollenate if the wind blows us that way. The way I see it, sticking with one country is like mooring your lifeboat on dry land. I like the advice of that seasteading escapollapse artist Dmitry Orlov, who advises having a foot in more than one nation, just in case one of your choices gets mauled by pit bulls. It’s not easy to do, and your new doghouse might have fleas, but it’s a feeling of security to me to have places to flee to.

    in reply to: Credit Default Swaps – Outcome #1936

    Would someone please explain to me whether my basic perception about credit default swaps is wrong? One of the things I like about TAE is that the smart people here can cut to the nut of the truth, stripping away the chaffaganda of illusion.

    I thought CDS’s were a cheap way of pretending you had a pile of money. You pay a pittance for “insurance” on that pile of money, so you can say “I own the pile in case someone craps out on paying it.” Then you get to pretend you DO have that much money, and you can borrow against it to speculate. Leverage based on make-believe.

    I realize the nuts and bolts of the deals are more complicated, but that’s long been my conception of why the CDS game was played. We haven’t reached the point where banks and speculators can just hold up a paper grocery bag and say “You know what’s in here?!? A BILLION DOLLARS! Trust me on this one. Now let me buy your Greek island and I’ll give you the bag. Just don’t open it.” So we have credit default swaps instead.

    That’s why I was not surprised there was no massive collapse when Greece defaulted. That should have triggered CDS’s, and people should have been clamouring for their payoffs. But that only works if people in the financial system are expecting that rules of law apply, that words in contracts mean anything when the rubber cheque hits the road. Since the grifters know it’s all bullshit, they don’t care about the CDS’s not being worth the paper they’re printed on.

    (They probably don’t even print those things on paper anyway, do they? More pixel dust, just like everything in the imaginary moneyworld.)

    Somebody might be a bit steamed they paid $1,000 of “real” money to get an insurance contract on $1 million of a bond that they never owned in the first place, and they’re out for that $1K. (I know, CDS rates are much higher, like 6 grand on an imaginary million. Big schmeel.) Do the CDS “owners” have to stop pretending they “own” that million that they “insured” when the underlying asset and the CDS craps out? Or can they extend and pretend, do a FASB Rule 157 job on them?

    One of you finantellectual geniuses please tell me, is my cynical read of CDS’s barking up the wrong paranoia? There’s so much fakery out there, sometimes my mind leaps ahead of the real fakes when I’m trying to untangle the slippery knots.

    in reply to: Prediction is Very Hard, Especially About the Future #1898

    El Gallo wrote: “Actually, the problem is not so much one of disinformation as it is information overload.”

    There’s a word for that: “crapflooding.” Brilliant word. One which I think you’ve had some literal experience with on the other end of the infamous Sawzall, eh?

    in reply to: You wouldn't know it to look at it #1895

    Ooh — I’ve made my first TAE forum antagonist! Thanks for the shitkick ufik. I think it’s more fun to have some aggro than agreement with everyone else on here. I look forward to irritating you in the future.

    in reply to: You wouldn't know it to look at it #1879

    My mother — bless her heart — is another who’s typical of the people who keep doing business with the TBTFs. She’s in her late 70s, has hundreds of K’s invested with a conventional stockbroker (who’s steered her into investments in bonds of a Texas sports authority that built a basketball arena in Houston — this for a woman living outside Washington D.C. with NO interest in sports) and she has over $21,000 in her chequeing account with BofA. (To say nothing of the 10s of K’s in BofA CDs.) “Dumb money.” (Again, bless her heart, but…)

    My wife and I have tried to educate her. She has a dim conception of what’s going on, just knows that things are lousy, but she’s too old and unwilling to change to learn more. Although my wife and I are splendidly well-informed, she writes us off as ranting, unpatriotic country-abandoners. The more we talk to her, the harder she jams her fingers into her ears, singing “La-la-la, I can’t HEEEEEEAR you!” So her money just sits, waiting to be MF vapourized out of existence when the thief-time is right.

    There’s something about human psychology that resists change. Must be a survival trait at some level, the tendency to consistency. The older a person gets, the more invested they are in the system (literally and figuratively) the more barnacle-like they become.

    Of course, I’m not one to talk. My wife and I still have an account with Wells Fargo. Although we live overseas, we still need an account for the things we do using U.S. dollars. We’ve tried to open a new account with different U.S. banks, but when your address is outside the country, they won’t touch you. (We only get to keep our Wells account because we started it before we emigrated.)

    Anyone have tips on what honest U.S. banks would be amenable to our situations, USAcos living outside the line?

    in reply to: Vancouver, Canada Real Estate #1856

    El G, I’m not sure which country you’re talking about with the 40-year mortgages, but Canada has had the sense to clamp down on those. Most of the mortgages I’ve seen advertised here are for terms of 5 years or less before you have to re-fi at whatever the existing interest rates are. I wonder how the interest vs. principal ratio works on loans that amortize in 30 vs. 40 years? In a standard American 30-year home loan, people spend the first half paying almost nothing but vigorish, and not knocking anything off the cost of the home. When someone has a 5-year loan with even a 30-year amortization, does the percentage for principal paydown change over the course of the loan?

    in reply to: Vancouver, Canada Real Estate #1832

    I don’t see any signs of it levelling (but it’s hard to tell that a bubble is bursting until it happens.) On my block, just a single average street on the desirable west side of town, but not the swanky part out by UBC, there were FOUR houses demolished in ONE MONTH to make way for new homes. Three of the houses were occupied (the fourth was a crappy old wooden structure) but their fatal crime was that they were too small. That’s a death sentence in Vanbubbleouver. Two homes are almost built, the third is going up rapidly, and a steam shovel is now sitting next to the pit where the fourth one stood.

    Plus, two homes have also sold in the same period. I expect they will be razed. And two places within eyesight of our house have put in “laneway houses.” (Little places fronting the alley, behind existing houses.) All this on one block!

    The early indicator for whether the bubble is bursting will be a decrease in the volume of houses sold. I’m not in the industry, so I can’t attest to that. I skim the real estate propaganda that I see in the Courier (a free paper) and it looks like sales volume was down last year, but it’s picking up again. So the mania remains strong.

    in reply to: Calling Sydney! #1774

    Is someone getting their big britchy feelings hurt?

    My wife and I have had the good fortune to see how I&S roll while on the road in a couple of countries. Internet connections are not always easy to come by in nations where they don’t have a local carrier. Stoneleigh has to pay bundles of money for data transmission on her mobile device. I&S are also on the move a lot — planes, trains and automobiles, literally — and my guess is that they can’t reply to every e-mail.

    I’ve seen how I&S treat people at lectures, in cafes and at house parties. No big britches there, just humility and humanity. Please check your bruised ego at the door, Ufik. Just because you didn’t get a personal reply is no reason to get snippy.

    Good luck with finding a harbour somewhere around the Harbour, I&S. FWIW, your britches are in the Canada Post, Nicole. Carol laundered them, boxed ’em up and mailed them off to Ontario.

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)