“Propaganda serves more to justify ourselves than to convince others; and the more reason we have to feel guilty, the more fervent our propaganda.”
“It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense, than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.”
John Kenneth Galbraith
08 March 2014
Posted by Jesse at 4:03 PM
07 March 2014
Some of Johnson's remarks are extraordinarily insightful.
I enjoyed his comments on the modern preoccupation with modeling. But I do think his looking back to the Thirty Years War for the trend towards abstract theory over the empirical method in general is a bit of a stretch. But it was kind of cool to think about it.
Quite the opposite, much of the rest of science is very much more empirically oriented, and based on experimentation, replication, and testing. Perhaps he intended that economics be considered more as a social philosophy, and that this trend is particular to that area of knowledge, and I did not understand this.
I think that economics had draped itself with the math and rigor of science, but bent over backwards to say those things that were politically expedient, depending on one's particular biases and opinions. The intricacy and jargon were there to provide the accoutrements, the flames and smoke and loud pronouncements, that make ordinarily people tremble before those modern Wizards of Oz.
He is otherwise rather kind towards those in his profession who, when the predators appeared on the horizon, swam out to meet the boats and came ashore with them in their plundering. Not all of course, but far too many, and for far too long. Where was the peer review and the discipline of the profession? While the coins were flowing, it seemed as though it was 'go along to get along' with the proper professional courtesy. Perhaps the tone was set for the trade by the Fed under Alan Greenspan.
I believe that his comments are primarily directed towards the economics profession in the US and England, who have taken point on the modeling bandwagon and have given themselves over to viewing reality through the prism of abstractions, shaped top down by ideology.
Everywhere and always demonic powers lurk in the dark, waiting for the moment when man is weak; when of his own volition he leaves his place in Creation, as founded for him by God in freedom; and when he yields to the forces of evil, he separates himself from the powers of a higher order; after voluntarily taking the first step, he is driven on and on to the next and to the next, at a furiously accelerating rate."
Die Weiße Rose, Fourth Leaflet, Munich, 1942
Gold and silver were both hit rather hard this morning on the release of the better than expected Non-Farm Payrolls report. What a surprise!
What was perhaps most interesting is that the rally in stocks did not stick, with equities falling off after a quick 'three step' move in the futures, and with the SP 500 and Dow coming back to unchanged in the afternoon. The NDX never did recover and put a second day in the red.
And while gold fell down to the support of its tightening symmetrical triangle, it would not stay down, even in the non-active month of March which is seasonally poor for the precious metal.
I kind of enjoyed how the markets behaved so well, or at least as I had expected they would do. It gives me a little hope that this is not all randomness perhaps.
Note: I had linked to a story earlier this evening about a large gold purchase by Northwestern Life that turns out to be dated, even though the link shows today's date. Someone sent it to me after the close and it took a little while for me to see the error. It has been removed.
Let's see how events go over the weekend, to find if the tensions increase or subside. I have been looking for articles that seem to illuminate the situation a bit, and will continue to post what I find useful for my own inquiries. The fog of conflict descended very quickly.
I remember you, as I hope that you will sometimes remember me.
Have a pleasant weekend.
Posted by Jesse at 4:41 PM
"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals."
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Sc 2
The Non-Farm Payrolls Report came in to the high side this morning with a headline number of 175,000 jobs added.
Stocks did a three step zig zag and then tended to sell off, with a recovery to unchanged in the afternoon, except for the real world heavy NASDAQ 100, which put a second day into the red.
How come? I think it was because once you dug into the details of the report things were a bit disjointed, with unemployment rising, and the average work week declining, in spite of the 'better than expected' jobs increase. The seasonality and birth-death model seemed a bit dodgy from my spreadsheet, but who am I to judge?
Have a pleasant weekend.
Posted by Jesse at 3:52 PM
Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they create a desolate wasteland, they call it peace."
Tacitus, Calgacus' Speech from Agricola
Remembering this may help one to understand some of the things that happen that otherwise may seem to make no sense. In the pursuit of profit, their hypocrisy and disregard for justice and human life knows no bounds.
I will let you in on a little secret. Not always, but the worst of them have a 'tell.' You have to look at the long record of a person's action and mode of acting to assess this. Are they plain and straightforward, or highly political and evasive in their motives. Do they often say one thing, and yet do another. If so, then this is their 'tell.'
The most cynical player will accuse and denounce their adversaries of the exact things that they have in mind, their precise motives, but first, and aggressively so with high indignation. But their own actions will appear to be without principled cohesion, that is, principles but selectively applied. Look for the inconsistencies, and if they are there, you know the type of hypocrite with whom you are dealing.
I think they do this because it defeats the ability of their opponent to accuse them of the very things that they themselves are doing. I have seen this in company politics to geo-political squabbles, over and over. Bald faced misdirection is almost standard fare these days of spin and propaganda in domestic politics.
Telling the truth is considered to be naive, embarrassingly clumsy, an automatic disqualification from power. It is almost as bad as bending your knee to the power of God rather than the will to power, when we would all be gods. Or caring for the poor and the disadvantaged, those disgusting, useless creatures. Contemptible weakness! Such are the times.
There is nothing quite so tempting as a poorly managed country with exploitable resources and assets like food, energy, and people. And if it is well located for other geopolitical purposes, then so much the better. Winning.
“The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments of the dominant political mythology.”
06 March 2014
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
United Press International.
It seems that if this legislation is real, and is enacted, and that is a big IF, then all a government bureaucrat will have to do is to refuse to permit disclosure on topics that it considers to be too important for even the media to know. And they will be able to exercise a rather effective censorship over a compliant press.
But I think we can be confident that the government of any political party, or any future President, can be trusted to never abuse this power to gag the Press to cover up their mistakes, scandals, or extra-constitutional activities.
We will have to trust them. Because we won't know if they are abusing that power because the information that they are will be .. classified.
Perhaps a secret independent court can be set up to review their decisions. All of its decisions will be, of course, classified.
I wonder if the students at Georgetown understood the implications of what their privileged ears were hearing, or if they even cared.
I wonder how many other bloggers, who are so often preoccupied with freedom, will understand this and pick it up, or if they are just afraid, or even care.
No wonder. Audacious oligarchy, indeed.
NSA chief hints at 'media-leak' legislation
By Aileen Graef
March. 5, 2014
Journalists and press freedom have taken a hit from the government since Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents to the Guardian, Washington Post, and New York Times.
WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander was speaking at Georgetown University when he hinted that government officials were working on "media-leak legislation" that would presumably restrict the press from publishing any documents regarding national security that the government doesn't approve for disclosure.
The NSA director said that the U.K. was right in detaining David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald who first published the Snowden files at the Guardian, on terrorism charges and seizing all of his files. Alexander said the actions were justified in the interests of national security.
"Journalists have no standing with national security issues," said Alexander. "They don't know how to weigh the fact of what they're giving out and saying, is it in the nation's interest to divulge this. My personal opinion: These leaks have caused grave, significant, and irreversible damage to our nation and to our allies. It will take us years to recover."
He went on to say that they are making headway on "media-leak legislation." No one knows exactly what this legislation is, but it will more than likely face resistance from journalists who would like to see full freedom of the press maintained under the First Amendment.
Gold rallied back up into the very stiff resistance between 1350 and 1360. It is apparent on the chart.
Silver is still meh. It will get some jets on a breakout, being the high beta monster that it is, but it seems incapable of taking the spotlight from gold. It is not so much a safe haven play, which is what seems to be driving gold in the short term.
Typically we see shenanigans on the Non-Farm Payrolls Report. Stocks have finished positive on the last 10 occasions. Is there a message in this for gold?
I am preferring to watch the charts here. Predicting the short term movements in markets dominated by a few large players who are operating in secrecy with high leverage is not particularly rewarding, except in the fevered imaginations of the punters and their latest toys for predicting market moves.
It is a little funny to see they grab some system or prognosticator as their new messiah, and then discard them once again as they prove to have feet of clay. Such is life as a school of probability.
March is typically not a seasonally good month for the precious metals, and as an inactive month on Comex unlikely to provoke any supply concerns. There was no bullion movement in or out of the warehouses yesterday.
The masters of the universe are flying high. How high, and how close to the sun, is the question.
Have a pleasant evening.
Posted by Jesse at 4:29 PM