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HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - MOVED TO 2149 AD

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The DOOMSDAY CLOCK is updated from Nuclear Plant Failure Moves DOOMSDAY to 2149; see post.

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Moral Economics [http://www.mkeever.com/moral.html]

Balanced Trade [http://www.mkeever.com/essay.html]

There Are Alternatives to Free Market Capitalism [http://www.mkeever.com/taa.html]

Specific Country Economic Policy Analyses - More Than 50 Countries from Argentina to Yemen [http://www.mkeever.com]





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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

El Nino Odds Decline, But DOOMSDAY Clock Stays at 2149

Barry, My Liege :

The odds of an El Nino event this rainy season which would relieve the California drought have just declined.

See this : http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/30/1317666/-Megadrought-Huge-Surge-of-Pacific-Heat-Fails-to-Start-El-Nino-Heats-Planet-to-3-Warmest-Months

While this news has the potential of bad news for California and the Western United States, it does not justify moving the DOOMSDAY CLOCK at this time.

But, it bears watching should the drought possibility expand geographically to the Central Plains Bread Basket of the United States and other countries as well.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nuclear Plant Failure Moves DOOMSDAY to 2149


Barry, My Liege :

As an attempt to compensate for continuing failures in nuclear power plants around the world and the resulting danger to humanity from radiation, United States nuclear power plant manufacturers proposed a modular approach.

The idea was to build new nuclear plants in stages so that costs could be reduced and so that safety could be increased.

It did not work.

It was more expensive and less safe than existing, faulty technologies.

Here is a discussion of the failure: http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/Promises-of-easier-nuclear-construction-fall-short-5648628.php

Here's what the failure means.

First, we cannot rely on nuclear power as a safe power source for the future.

Since we as humanity will have less power available, the social stresses will increase. As those stresses increase, the path to our species die-off event comes closer.

Secondly, even if the new technology is improved so that the safety and cost considerations coincide with current technologies, the risks to humanity from radiation will increase as a result of additional nuclear plants.

Lastly, it is an additional demonstration that, as a species, we do not have the ability to manage nuclear power.

One of the continuing themes of DOOMSDAY is that the machines we design today are beyond the skills of the people who are tasked with their operation. For example, the 2013 airliner crash in San Francisco was a result of the pilots' inability to land the plane.

The new approach to nuclear plant construction validates that theme.

Your faithful servant,

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Superbugs Kill 3 Billion


Barry, My Liege :

What? You think the headline is overstated and hyperbolic?

I hope so, My Liege.

We both hope so.

But, but...........

There are several bacteria which have evolved and are now resistant to most antibiotics.

This means that hospitals keep them under control with extensive measures. Today, 2014, those extra-ordinary measures keep us safe from past scourges like TB and sepsis caused by staphylococcus aureus.

A longer list of the superbugs is below.

But, consider this My Liege : Hospitals try to operate with occupancy rates between 60% and 90%. These ratios ensure the best use of scarce resources like nurses, physicians and beds.

What will happen to the extraordinary measures taken today to control the superbugs when all the hospitals are faced with occupany of 200%, or 900%?

That's what will happen as we approach the Doomsday Event.

As populations outstrip food and water, sanitary conditions will deteriorate and violence will escalate.

Simply put, hospital staff will be overwhelmed and will be unable to prevent the superbugs from escaping to the general population. That will bring us face to face with massive epidemics of bacterial diseases for which we have no cure.

And, My Liege, this scenario does not acount for the super viruses like Ebola which are already killing many people.

Here is a list of some bacteria which have evolved and are resistant to most antibiotics [Source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotic_resistance#Resistant_pathogens]:

1. Penicillin, methicillin, tetracycline and erythromycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) has now emerged as an epidemic that is responsible for rapidly progressive, fatal diseases, including necrotizing pneumonia, severe sepsis, and necrotizing fasciitis.

2. Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Streptococcus: GAS) infections like necrotizing fascitis require supportive care in an intensive-care unit.

3. Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for pneumonia, bacteremia, otitis media, meningitis, sinusitis, peritonitis and arthritis; it shows increasing resistance to to penicillin and other beta-lactams

4. Multidrug-resistant Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium are associated with nosocomial infections.

5. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a highly prevalent opportunistic pathogen.

6. Clostridium difficile is a nosocomial pathogen that causes diarrheal disease in hospitals world wide. Clindamycin-resistant C. difficile was reported as the causative agent of large outbreaks of diarrheal disease in hospitals in New York, Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts between 1989 and 1992. Geographically dispersed outbreaks of C. difficile strains resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, were also reported in North America in 2005.[

7. Salmonella and E. coli hospitalize and kill many people. Some strains of E. coli have become resistant to multiple types of fluoroquinolone

8. Acinetobacter baumannii - On November 5, 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increasing number of Acinetobacter baumannii bloodstream infections in patients at military medical facilities in which service members injured in the Iraq/Kuwait region during Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom were treated. Most of these showed multidrug resistance (MRAB), with a few isolates resistant to all drugs tested.

9. Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing bacteria are a group of emerging highly drug-resistant Gram-negative bacilli causing infections associated with significant morbidity and mortality whose incidence is rapidly increasing in a variety of clinical settings around the world.

10. Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is increasing across the globe, especially in developing countries, over the past few years. TB resistant to antibiotics is called MDR TB (Multidrug Resistant TB).

11. Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a sexually transmitted pathogen where antibiotic resistant strains predominate.

Your faithful servant,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

World No-Fly Zones Hasten DOOMSDAY


Barry, My Liege :

There are many places today where armed groups possess Surface to Air Missiles [SAM's] capable of shooting down any plane; some of the missiles can down aircraft flying at more than 50,000 feet. As a reference, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was hit at 33,000 feet.

Humanity loses some of our capacity to adjust when our mobility is resticted by hostile groups with SAM's.

Here's a list of countries where many airplanes are at risk today :

1. Libya
2. Syria
3. Iraq
4. Israel
5. Gaza
6. Northern Ethiopia
7. North Korea
8. Somalia
9. Eastern Ukraine
10. Mali
11. Chad
12. Congo
13. Kenya
14. Yemen
15. Egypt's Sinai Peninsula
16. Iran
17. Afghanistan.
18. Central African Republic
19. Islamic State - parts of Syria and Iraq

Read this for details : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11297899

Any expansion of these no-fly zones hastens our species Doomsday Event.

Your faithful servant,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DOOMSDAY CLOCK - 2150 AD, It's Ticking

Barry, My Liege :

It may be comforting to think that our species Doomsday Event is more than 100 years in the future. If that's true, then we can just enjoy our time until then, right?

Rest assured, My Liege, that is not the case.

We will experience a constantly rising level of tragedy and violence until then.

Experts disagree on whether the Doomsday Event will be total or will leave a residue of 500 million people alive.

Consider that there are about 7 billion people alive today.

That means at least 6.5 billion people will die by the Event.

We will die from many causes.

Starvation and disease will take a toll as will violent conflicts.

All these exist today but will increase in severity over time.

Here are the active armed conflicts which took more than 1,000 lives in 2013 :

1. Israeli–Palestinian conflict, 1203 deaths so far in 2014

2. Afghanistan, 138 deaths so far in 2014

3. Somalia, 854 deaths this year

4. Nigeria, 5026 deaths this year

5. Pakistan, 2316 dead this year

6. Drug War, Mexico - 66 dead so far this year

7. Egypt, 79 dead so far this year

8. Syria, 28680 dead so far this year

9. Iraq, 7422 dead this year

10. Central African Republic, 1211 dead so far

11. South Sudan, 415 dead so far

12. Ukraine, 356 dead so far not including Malaysian Airline Flight 17

The list of additional conflicts which did not meet the 1,00 death threshold in 2013 is even longer, my Liege. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts

It is likely that armed conflicts arise from groups of people who perceive that they are marginalized in their quest for food, water and shelter.

It is likely also that the number of people so marginalized will increase as the planetary boundaries are crossed more severely.

Your faithful servant,

Monday, July 21, 2014

HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - 2150 AD


Barry, My Liege :

The DOOMSDAY CLOCK will note human actions where humanity fails to act collectively by reducing the time we have left. It will note instances of where we act collectively by extending the DOOMSDAY date.

As a species, our collective actions create the conditions for our demise in the forseeable future.

Science has recorded previous species die-offs on the Earth.

Humanity is susceptible to a similar species die-off or civilization collapse.

There are 9 planetary boundaries which, if crossed, will destroy the Earth's ability to support human life. [http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1063&context=iss_pub]

We have already crossed several boundaries according to journalist Alice Friedemann.

CLIMATE CHANGE - The boundary is 350 ppm of CO2, currently we are at 387 ppm.

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION - Aragonite saturation state in surface water boundary is 2.75 Omega units, currently we are at 2.90.

STRATOSHPERIC OZONE DEPLETION - Ozone concentration (Dobson Units) boundary is 276, we are at 283 today.

GLOBAL NITROGEN CYCLE - Rate of Nitrogen removal from atmosphere (million tons per year) - Boundary is 9, we are at 133 now.

RATE OF BIODIVERSITY LOSS - Extinction rate (species per million per year) - Boundary 10, currently we see more than 100 species go extinct per year.

We are close to crossing the boundary for other planetary boundaries.

GLOBAL PHOSPHORUS CYCLE - Phosphorus rate of flow into oceans (million tons per year) - boundary is 12, we are now at 10.

DEPLETION OF FRESH WATER (cubic km per year) - Rate of human consumption boundary 4000, currently we are at 2400.

LAND SYSTEM CHANGE - No quantifiable boundary, but we currently use 35% of the land surface for crops and animals. Little or no more arable land is available.

AEROSOL LOADING - Boundary unknown but damage is evident.

CHEMICAL POLLUTION - Boundary unknown, but damage to human health is well documented. Between 80,000 and 100,000 different chemicals are traded globally.

Your faithful servant,

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saving Our Species


Barry, My Liege:

The climate is changing. Future changes will be hard on mankind. People will die.

Here is a link to the EPA climate projections: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/future.html

Sadly, My Liege, our current systems of economics and politics are based on short term profits instead of our collective welfare.

As an example, read about the imposition and subsequent repeal of a carbon tax in Australia here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/carbon-tax-refunds-to-hit-100m/story-e6frg6xf-1226978430115?nk=7d7a6ffb07e5cc736deeaaccfef45650

Without fundamental changes in our profit driven systems, it is possible that the Earth will cease supporting human life in the forseeable future, perhaps in the lifetimes of our great grandchildren.

Geologic history shows many worldwide species die-offs due to extreme droughts and other natural disasters.

We can hope that your grandchildren and great grandchildren will realize collectively that saving the human species requires changing our systems fundamentally in order to act collectively instead of selfishly.

If not, then your grandchildren and great grandchildren will need to cooperate with all humanity to colonize other planets.

There will be hard choices as we move to species preservation and away from indivdual wealth concentration.

Gratitude to Neil deGrasse Tyson for raising the question in Cosmos, Episode 11.

Now is the time to find and support the best and brightest minds in a quest to design system changes and also to design a colonization effort as a fail safe if our systems resist change.

My Liege, I do not suggest a government agency to hire people, but rather a dialog from your office about the possibilities looming in our collective futures. Such a dialog may encourage some brilliant minds to address our species-wide issues.

Today, we do not know the shape or direction of the changes we will make in 50 to 100 years, but we can and should encourage discussions about the challenges we face.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ukraine, ISIS



Barry, My Liege:

The National Security of the United States is challenged by two issues: Ukraine and ISIS.

Ukraine is a basket case in the best of circumstances. It will need $20 billion financial aid in the next two years to avoid a humanitarian crisis. IMF proposals, if enacted, will make the situation worse by requiring severe austerity on a population already at risk.

It is likely that Eastern Ukraine will secede with Russia's armed support in the near future as the civil war already there escalates with covert Russian support. That will leave Western Ukraine as Europe's problem.

Our options are few, My Liege. We can continue arming the Kiev regime and contributing to a wider war or we can stand down and let Europe and NATO take the lead. We CANNOT send troops because that will lead to war with Russia.

It may be better to have a physically divided Ukraine than a single entity with the extreme tensions of holding an emotionally divided country together.

However, should Russia invade and subsume Eastern Ukraine, then all the former Soviet countries rightfully will be concerned about their future.

In that event, we will be back to the 1950's with a Cold War.

It appears that we are reduced to reacting to Putin's plans. And, Putin's end game is a mystery beyond my understanding.

ISIS represents the future of the Middle East. Climate severity will increase and the populations will be more restive.

NOTE - It appears that the ISIS folks have changed their designation to ISIL. Presumably they are touchy like many Muslims about real or imagined insults, so I will change to the ISIL designation if they merit further mention.

It may be a mistake to hold Iraq together. Perhaps it is better as three separate entities: Kurdistan, Shia Iraq and Sunni ISIS.

Our interests will be helped by an independent Kurdistan and attacked by ISIS.

ISIS seems to be a criminally funded [protection rackets, et.c.] and otherwise supported terrorist organization about to become a Sharia code state. We should work all angles short of armed force to weaken and destroy ISIS. Perhaps we can cut off or reduce its support by pursuading its supporters to withdraw their support.

It is an unpleasant situation, but as climate change and population growth work through the area, we can expect more such situations, My Liege.

Your faithful servant,

Sunday, June 15, 2014

UPDATE: PROJECT MINERVA and 2016 Elections

Barry, My Liege :

Even though it is too late for you to make a stronger mark on history, maybe you can guide your successor into some real changes.

Let's talk straight.

We need real change, My Liege.

We don't need pandering and BS and military studies of civil unrest like MINERVA [ see link below].

Specifically, we want our leaders to take back our government from moneyed interests and do what is right for the rest of us.

We voted for change and we got more of the same.

You won because you tapped into a yearning for real change - we wanted you to be Teddy Roosevelt.

You had a chance to be that when the Dems controlled both houses and the Presidency, but you blew it.

Yes, you did some good and necessary things, but now is the time for hard things, My Liege.

Now, we want our country back.

There's a good chance that we will elect a Dem President and both houses of Congress again because we are just fed up.

We are getting desperate, My Liege.

You can see a list of the things that need change here:
http://www.mkeever.com/owsplaneleven.doc

And, My Liege, I am concerned that the reaction of the DOD in today's world is to fund studies about tracking civil unrest as preparation for military action; see it here http://www.alternet.org/environment/pentagon-preparing-mass-civil-unrest?akid=11920.1151017.ibIDFF&rd=1&src=newsletter1003144&t=9


Your faithful servant,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring 2014 Country Studies Published


The Mike P. McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis (MIEPA) is pleased to announce the publication of its Spring 2014 country studies.

Two new countries, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, have been added.

Bangladesh is analyzed by Specialist Syed Hassan; his analysis can be read at http://www.mkeever.com/bangladesh.html

Uzbekistan is analyzed by Specialist Genrietta Lerner; her analysis can be read at http://www.mkeever.com/uzbekistan.html

Additionally, four previously analyzed countries have been updated.

Burma/Myanmar is analyzed by Specialist Chai Jian; her analysis can be read at http://www.mkeever.com/burma.html

Italy is analyzed by Specialist Ashish Neupane; his analysis can be read at http://www.mkeever.com/italy.html

Japan is analyzed by Specialist Satomi Tomida; her analysis can be read at http://www.mkeever.com/japan.html

Tne United States of America has been analyzed by three Specialists, Specialist George Bustos, Specialist Hobie Smith and Specialist Mario Delgado; their analyses can be read at http://www.mkeever.com/usa.html

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Conservative Reactions To Picketty

Barry, My Liege :

Some earnest commentators have wondered why it is that few if any conservative writers have reacted to and tried to refute Thomas Picketty's masterful book CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY.

The lack of concern from the political right is easy to understand.

In the book, Picketty presents a convincing case that capital tends to accumulate into ever larger masses unless it is prevented from doing so, thus reducing equality world wide. Such a world naturally tends toward extreme inequality and reduced social justice.

Conservative writers' reactions, if there are any, will be first of all to ignore the thesis since many conservative writers have demonstrated a disregard of facts over many years and in many forums. Many conservative writers are more concerned with the 'correct' opinion and tend to ignore 'facts' or any 'reality' which disagrees with correct opinions.

Secondly, conservative opinion, if I understand it correctly, will be unconcerned with any inequality resulting from capital accumulations. Any such accumulations will likely be perceived as the 'natural order of things' which does not require any action or comment. It is the way things are 'supposed' to be.

Inequality is, after all, the source of wealth creation and all things good. A misplaced concern with 'equality' is a sure sign of liberal, nay socialist, tendencies and goes against the American grain.

Thus, we can expect few, if any, conservative arguments against Picketty's thesis and factual presentation.

Your faithful servant,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Piketty's Prognosis

Barry, My Liege :

As you know already, a new book by Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics titled CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY was published in 2013 by Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

In the book he documents the accumulation of capital into fewer and fewer hands along with an increase in wealth and income inequality from the middle of the 19th Century until 2010 in the United States, France, Britain and Germany.

One of his overarching themes is that there is nothing inherent in economics which will slow or reverse this movement toward extreme inequality in the foreseeable future.

In fact, our earlier expectation that rising economic growth would lift all boats and reduce inequality between classes was based on a study of the United States economy between 1914 and 1944. That study was fine as far as it went, but it turns out that the period in which inequality fell was a historical anomaly.

From this, I conclude that, unless we, My Liege, take decisive and drastic action, inequality will continue to rise until we have an economy ripe for revolution or depression.

Some of the actions we might take include a progressive tax on capital, confiscatory estate taxes and extremely high marginal tax rates.

Unless we voluntarily redistribute incomes and wealth, there is a high probability of a violent revolution to accomplish the same ends.

This space has made similar declarations previously ; I take no pleasure from this confirmation of earlier gloomy thoughts.

We are warned, My Liege.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Needed: US National Trade Policy

Barry, My Liege :

It appears that a Chinese company, Lenovo, is trying to buy IBM's server unit. That is the company which makes and services computer servers used by the FBI, Pentagon and US Telecommunications firms.

You can read it here : http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/4/5582446/lenovo-ibm-server-deal-reported-national-security-concerns

While some are raising concerns about this transaction, it appears from other news about Flight 370 that it is past time to create a COORDINATED national trade policy which protects our National Security and our JOBS, My Liege.

And, don't worry about what our trading partners may say about any such move, because they all have such policies already. We are just late to the party.

Your faithful servant,

Monday, March 31, 2014

Flight 370


Barry, My Liege :

Barry, Barry, Barry.

Holy cow!

I know you're proud of your ability to kill people; as you said to aides 'I am really good at killing people'.

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/11/03/book-alleges-obama-told-aides-about-drone-strikes-im-really-good-at-killing-people/

But this is too much, My Liege.

I could not come up with a logical explanation of the Flight 370 disappearance until I remembered that quote, My Liege.

The story just did not add up until then.

Here was a large commercial aircraft that suddenly became invisible to all radar, took a totally different course from the flight plan to Beijing and seemingly flew straight to one of the deepest parts of the ocean where it apparently crashed. There is little possibility of recovering the black box in that part of the sea.

Seemingly there is no mention of terrorists or depressed pilots for a motive - just a big mystery.

After about ten minutes on the interweb, I came up with a theory that seems to make sense.

It is written just below, but Barry, My Liege, you won't like it at all, not one little bit. In fact I was so sure that you will really, really not like this theory that I was afraid to publish it.

But I decided to go ahead and completely divulge my CONJECTURE and sources so you won't get your knickers in a knot. After all, I am just one under-employed PATRIOTIC AMERICAN whose ancestors go back to the Mayflower and John Adams, acting entirely on my own in the national interest.

Here's the introduction: It seems that Glenn Beck had noted on air soon after the initial reports that 20 of the passengers were employees of Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL). The company's website confirmed that and in addition provided some clues about a motive for crashing the plane and killing all those on board.

The company has developed a number of specialized miniature microchips for the defense market in order to generate additional revenue. The company either built or participated in building a plant in China to make some of these chips, but it seems that the plant was not performing very well. The Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) employees on Flight 370 included some engineers who were flying to China to bring the plant up to speed.

And, My Liege, it seems that the new chips are very cutting edge. They are deeply involved in stealth technology and ingestible tracking devices.

In other words, with possession of both the secrets and a plant to make them, China would be in a much stronger military position than it is now.

So then it is logical to imagine a scenario where a hot-headed Washington military guy goes apoplectic and demands that we stop those engineers from giving away one of our advantages to the Chinese.

And then, with or without your approval - and considering the state of our lack of political control over the security forces, it was probably without your approval - he goes ahead and orders the hit on 227 passengers, plus crew.

Here's the scenario - a US guy goes to Malaysia Air and asks for permission to run a test on some stealth technology on Flight 370. 'It'll just be a test,' he says, 'no harm to anyone.' With approval, the guy installs the stealth devices and REPROGRAMS THE FLIGHT COMPUTER and communication devices. Whether he also installs some soporific or poison gas is open to question.

So, My Liege, here's the difficulty so far. Even if we grant that allowing the Chinese such a technology steal is a bad idea, the horse was already out of the barn.

We had already allowed Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) to build the plant in China! Who dropped the ball on that one?

It looks like we chose to murder 227 innocent men, women and children because some idiot in the US trade office dropped the ball.

We both know, My Liege, that our national Trade Policy is completely off-track. But the solution is to fix the policy. It is NOT to murder anyone in the area when it goes off-track.

My Liege, I hope you are as ashamed and embarrassed as I am.

Your faithful servant.

Friday, March 28, 2014

John Brennan Must Resign


Barry, My Liege :

While it is easy to understand that you do not wish to intervene in the discussion of whether or not the CIA behaved criminally, it is clear that John Brennan has to resign now.

The situation is beyond a criminal matter and affects the integrity of the Constitution itself. It is simply not aceptable. It is time for you to act, now.

Here is how Harry Reid puts it in the first two paragraphs of his letter to the Attorney General :

'As you know, in January 2014, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan personally informed Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss that the CIA apparently had - without prior authorization or consultation - accessed a computer network designated for the Intelligence Committee's exclusive use in conducting its official oversight duties.

As Majority Leader of the Senate, I have a responsibility to protect the independence and effectiveness of our institution. The ClA's decision to access the resources and work product of the legislative branch without permission is absolutely indefensible, regardless of the context.
This action has serious separation of powers implications. It is immaterial whether this action was taken in response to concems about the Committee's possession of a disputed document; this stands as a categorically different and more serious breach.'

Read it here : https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1094200-letter-holder-on-ssci-computer-breach.html#document/p1

It is, My Liege, time for you to act by demanding the resignation of John Brennan. It is the sensible way to send a signal to the intelligence community that they MUST obey the Constitution.

Failure to act here will have intolerable consequences, My Liege.

We wait your action.

Your faithful servant,

Friday, March 14, 2014

Terminal Economic Cancer


Barry, My Liege :

The Economic National Security of the United States of America is dangerously weakened by three distinct cancer-like developments. These developments are like cancer in that they are growing while diverting resources to their maintenance and away from healthy economic growth.

First, there exists a trend toward extreme income and wealth disparities which you have referred to previously as the weakening of the Middle Class. We are now a third world nation with regard to the inequalities of income and wealth. As a result of the decline in Middle Class purchasing power, our economy can grow only slowly, if at all, since our most numerous class of people finds it difficult to buy anything beyond the bare necessities of food, clothing, shelter and transportation. The result of this development is that our economy is now more brittle and than it has been for many years. By brittle, I mean that a small shock today may be enough to tip the economy into recession whereas it would not have happened before.

Second, our financial system managers, derisively called 'Banksters' practising 'Bankery', have escaped meaningful punishment for the chaos they created in 2007 and 2008. Many accused felons walk the street and continue to manage large sums of money. Since the same people are managing the same system, we will have another financial crisis in the United States, soon. Banksters are motivated by simple greed- they can make money in chaotic conditions, so they will engineer more chaotic conditions in the near future. But, the result of the next chaos will be a massive recession that will destroy a large share of our total wealth, put many families on the street and eviscerate our social safety net of Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicare, AFDC, etc., etc.

Third, our National Security System - CIA, NSA, etc., etc. - has gone rogue. It is now officially beyond the control of elected representatives. Once employees realize that they answer to no one, they will be tempted to accept offers of money to act in favor of special interests. There have been convictions of CIA officials for corruption already. Then we will see disappearances, unexplained plane crashes, mysterious deaths and a climate of fear unlike anything we have seen before, but exactly like many other countries. In Chile or Argentina, the Security folks dumped the bodies of political critics out of airplanes over the Atlantic Ocean while their mothers picketed the government HQ.

When we combine a rogue security apparatus with the wealth concentrations and criminalized financial system we have today, the result is a weak economy with no ability to adapt to change. To see this in action, simply read about Egypt, Syria, Iran, Russia in the 1990's and so forth ad infinitum.

However, the real difficulty lies in the brittleness and not the criminality, My Liege. The criminality is bad enough, but the brittleness can be fatal when our country is faced with the choice to change or die.

Sadly our probable reaction to any crisis will be a reaction of force - the Oligarchs and Banksters will call out the security apparatus and the police, mobilize the national Guard and place protestors in the numerous 'secret' prisons we have erected already around the country. This reaction will make things worse. Force will be used to protect the current situation instead of making changes the situation demands.

In order to comprehend what may occur, it is instructive to read about the 1998 Russian financial crisis here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Russian_financial_crisis

In that event, we may follow the Russian example and install a dictator with a mandate to calm the crisis and form a new government with a new Constitution.

And, My Liege, we will be faced with this choice in this century. It will come from one or more of at least three sources.

A newly published study by NASA confirms this : http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists

END OF GROWTH

In her short paper 'Limits to Growth–At our doorstep, but not recognized,' February 6, 2014 by Gail Tverberg, Ms Tverberg suggests that the capital needed to fund further economic growth in our oil based economy will disappear soon. It will disappear since the price of oil today is not enough to finance the creation of new oil supplies.

The United States depends on economic growth to manage our debt and the federal deficits we create by paying more for entitlements, interest and federal government purchases than we collect in tax revenue.

If we have no growth, then we will find it difficult and expensive to borrow funds by selling T-bills. When that happens, then we will be forced to raise taxes and cut entitlements. However, our political system appears to be incapable of managing those changes.

In that event, we will see massive unemployment, deflation and hunger. In Russia in 1998, one could buy food - if one had any cash - ONLY in Moscow.

Our Federal Reserve Bank has created several Trillions of new dollars while attempting to counter the recent Recession, but that action has so far failed to stimulate economic growth of sufficient magnitude. And, that overhang of dollars has the possibility of creating, or contributing to, a massive hyper-inflation similar to the Russian experience of the 1990's. Our saving grace here MAY be that our FED has more skills than did the Russian central bank. We pray.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change will continue. While we could reduce its effects by making changes in our habits, as a species we do not have the collective will to overcome the Oligarchs and force change into our system.

Many writers have addressed this issue; suffice it to say that our population will look to our government for relief when the effects become more severe. We pray that you My Liege can answer the call.

POPULATION GROWTH

Population growth seems to be outstripping the planet's ability to provide. Some of the revolutions, riots and terrorism we see today are a result of that.

It will get worse.

While there are specific actions we can take now to moderate these scenarios, IMHO we do not have the ability to take those actions; the specific actions are listed here : http://www.mkeever.com/owsplaneleven.doc

In conclusion, My Liege, please join me in offering my sincere apologies to yours and to my four grandchildren. Please know that we wish with all our hearts that we could have done better.

Godspeed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ukraine, Stop the Madness


Barry, My Liege :

Let us pray that there is no more shooting and death in Ukraine.

My Liege - let Russia have Crimea and also insist on free and fair elections in Ukraine with which the EU and the USA will abide.

Putin - take Crimea, but in return you must guarantee the well being of all Ukrainians.

Current Kiev government - let Crimea go, tell the West that all you want is free elections and then make good on that promise with a peaceful transition to a new government.

Crimean government - time to back off your demand to join Russia - any future Ukraine deaths will be on you, so let events play out.

Neither the USA nor the media nor the EU has a dog in this fight.

It is time to work for peace. The better diplomatic and media role in the peace process is to present only verifiable facts.

Your faithful servant,

Monday, February 10, 2014

Doomsday and The End of Growth ?

Barry, My Liege :

As you know well, your administration together with just about all the economists on the planet have pinned our hope for the future on economic growth.

The mantra is simple : Economic growth will bring jobs and allow a more fair distribution of wealth and incomes.

Indeed, as noted in this space, our current economic policies require that our economy grows.

If we have no growth, then we will be unable to manage our debt or provide for the poor among us.

In that event, one's mind reels at the various scenarios which might obtain.

Now economist Gail Tverberg has proposed that we are facing an imminent end to growth.

Her reasoning is elegantly simple. To wit : We are running out of raw materials like oil which are available cheaply and easily.

As raw materials become more costly, we will be less able to invest in the new ventures from whence growth comes. It will take more and more of our current income just to sustain our current standard of living.

Her short paper is here : http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/02/06/limits-to-growth-at-our-doorstep-but-not-recognized/#more-38795

At some future time, we may well face a depression with deflation and falling real incomes. When this happened in Russia under Yeltsin, it was preceded by a hyper inflation with a concomitant 'need' to revalue the currency; that revaluation consisted of confiscating the savings of most Russian citizens.

And, My Liege, that time is measured in a few years - not in the centuries we might hope for.

Further, My Liege, fear of possible government reactions to that situation exists in some quarters.

According to the Turner Radio Network, Edward Snowden has taken the following information [http://www.turnerradionetwork.com/news/266-pat] :

* a complete roster of absolutely every employee and official of the entire US Government.

* The names, home addresses, unlisted personal home telephone and personal cellular phone numbers, dates of birth and social security numbers of every person involved in any way, with any department of the US Government.

* The files include elected officials, Cabinet appointees, Judges, and **ALL** law enforcement agency employees including sworn officers.

* Similar files with the personal information of EVERY government contractor and all employees of that contractor!

* Similar files with all the personal information of EVERY Bank Corporation, their operating officers and their Boards of Directors, including all current and former members of the Federal Reserve

Mr. Snowden has indicated that he will publish all this information
if he 'vanishes' for any reason or if potentially harmful government actions are undertaken :

"Making the situation all the more dire for the government is that Snowden has made clear he will release some of the information under certain "other" circumstances. For instance, if Martial Law is declared in the US or if any elections are canceled for any reason, all the government employee info goes out. If the US Dollar collapses as a currency, or there is any type of "bail-in" for banks, where depositors money is seized to prop-up banks as happened in the country of Cypress, all the Federal Reserve and Banker info goes out. If an economic collapse takes place, all the Banker/Stock Broker/Commodities Trader information goes out. If Corporations start hyper-inflating prices, all the information about them, their officers and Boards of Directors will go out."

While predicting future events and subsequent reaction to them is always a risky business, there does appear to be several underlying realities which bear close inspection, My Liege.

Your faithful servant,



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Time to De-Felonize Drug Possession


Barry, My Liege :

First, a confession - I have supported the War on Drugs.

But, now is a good time to recognize that the War has failed.

The War on Drugs was going to prevent lives from being ruined, reduce crime and violence and lead to both a safer society and safer streets.

It didn't do any of that.

Instead, now we have jails and prisons full of people with non-violent criminal convictions.

When they come out, they have little hope, few prospects and a post graduate degree in criminal behavior.

Crime is up, social disintegration continues and violence is endemic.

Maybe by reducing the penalties for simple possession, we can reclaim our streets from the violence we see today. It couldn't be worse than the current situation - and a lot of knowledgeable folks think it will be better.

Turns out voters, police, political conservatives and judges all think it is time to reduce sentences for drug possession.

[See C. W. Nevius here : http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Softening-law-on-hard-drugs-creates-unlikely-5187071.php]

How about you, My Liege : Can we support giving some hope to prisoners convicted of non-violent offenses?

Maybe it would turn the ship of society a few degrees in a better direction.

Your faithful servant,

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 State of the United States of America


Barry, My Liege :

It appears a good time to examine the state of our country from an unbiased perspective. That is the goal of this exercise.

I have the distinct advantage of freedom from external pressure in any direction from any source in choosing what topics to discuss and which attitude to assume. I imagine that is an advantage you might wish for yourself, My Liege.

Of course, with that particular advantage comes the disadvantage of possessing absolutely zero ability to implement any action, however small.

There is some positive news, My Liege. Below is a personal list of a small fraction of the positive changes you have brought or have occurred under your watch.

** The American people remain generous, helpful, fair-minded and optimistic. Sadly, our political system has failed our people and has been captured by selfish and short sighted moneyed interests.

** There is a political move to the left among Americans. It is apparent to this observer that the American people have understood exactly what has happened to the political process and want to fix it. Americans want to change the political process so that the results of that process will be more fair.

Mostly we do not have a laundry list of specific items to change, we just know that it is not OK now. But, My Liege, we do know that the road ahead is hard and long. We hope that the coming elections will give you some added political influence so that you can address some of the major issues.

For full disclosure, the writer has proposed just such a list which can be read here : http://www.mkeever.com/owsplaneleven.doc

** Many states are legalizing same sex marriage and gifting happiness to millions of people in love.

** ACA has brought medical insurance and with it actual healthcare to millions of Americans. That is good news. It is a good first step, but is it only a first step.

In our country people with no insurance have little or no access to medical care. I think we are the only industrialized country where that is true. In the long run, a better solution is to remove the profit motive from healthcare and adopt a single payer system similar to other countries.

It is an amazement that some people actually work diligently to take health care away from people. I was taught not to hit a man when he's down.

** Job Creation has increased under your watch and that has benefitted many Americans. We are all grateful for that, even the Republicans. Additionally, our economy is becoming more stable as a result of the additional jobs.

Much remains to be done for the unemployed, My Liege.

** Lastly, it is possible that the United States of America has not passed the point of no return down the path of oligarchy and injustice. We hope that is correct, My Liege. And, we know we will need hard work to make that so.

Here is a somewhat longer list of the serious issues we face.

**** Wealth concentrations have increased to the point that moneyed interests have assumed control of the political process.

**** Most of the people in charge of our political process have no interest in the state of their fellow Americans or in the future effects of their actions. They appear to focus on short term selfish material gain at the expense of our country and their own grandchildren.

This level of barbarism has not been seen for a very long time, My Liege. It is unacceptable.

**** Continuing attacks on women’s rights and voting rights demonstrates additional barbarism toward American citizens. Both are unacceptable.

**** The people in charge choose to gridlock our government when they cannot get their way. This government gridlock has caused and will continue to cause injustice, injury and death to American citizens.

**** As a species we choose to ignore global warming. Our failure to address it adequately will cause serious and unpleasant life-style changes by mid century.

Owners of the carbon based fortunes in our country reinforce our government gridlock to thwart meaningful energy reform in order to secure additional short term profits.

**** Long term unemployed people can expect to remain jobless and without unemployment insurance. Many of them will fall through the cracks and will become homeless.

**** In addition to the income losses for long term unemployed workers, average real wages for most Americans with jobs have remained unchanged since the 1970's. During that time incomes to the fortunate have skyrocketed.

**** Cumulatively, these trends remove purchasing power from most Americans. That means they cannot afford to buy anything besides the basics of food, clothing and shelter. This diminishing of middle class purchasing power assures that our economy will stall and show little or no growth in spite of all the fiscal and monetary policy actions we may take.

**** Any economic growth we can manage is now at the point that it will cause more degradation of the environment through pollution and using up of natural resources. Continuing to use the oceans as our collective dump will damage the oceans' abilities to generate half our oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

We pray you address these real problems, My Liege, but, in the event that you are unable or unwilling to do so, then we will consider other places to live. Countries which appear to merit investigation include Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and New Zealand

Your faithful servant,

Sunday, January 12, 2014

TEPCO = RAT [Real American Terrorist]


Barry, My Liege :

TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Company] is the Japanese power company which owns and operates the Fukushima nuclear reactors.

It earns its RAT designation from its consistent refusal to acknowledge the existence or severity of the fallout from the Fukushima disaster.

That witholding of information is the direct cause of scores of cancers which have develped among American Naval Personnel from exposure to the fallout while on humanitarian missions to Japan.

See details here - http://www.nationofchange.org/toll-mounts-among-us-sailors-devastated-fukushima-radiation-1389540068

Additionally, TEPCO's refusal to disclose radiation levels or to reduce or stop the radiation leakage places the citizens of the Pacific Coast of the United States in imminent danger from radioactive fallout.

Further, TEPCO's failures to disclose prevents the citizens of the Pacific Coast of the United States from planning for their own physical safety.

And, My Liege, interweb hyperbole suggests that your governmenmt is cooperating with TEPCO to withold information.

There is no honor - only well-deserved shame to all actors in this tragedy.

Your faithful servant,

Thursday, January 2, 2014

UPDATE JAN 10 - Radioactive New Year - No Honor Found


Barry, My Liege :

There is much confusion in the world about the radiation from Fukushima.

**************************
UPDATE -

Although two recent articles claim that there is no PRESENT danger from Fuksuhima radiation in California:

1. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Coast-getting-little-radiation-from-Fukushima-5125645.php;

2. http://deepseanews.com/2013/11/true-facts-about-ocean-radiation-and-the-fukushima-disaster/],

the fact remains that no government agency is considering future developments. At the least, it is the responsibility of the Government of the United States of America to create and publicize a radiation tracking and threat assessment program for radiation. Without a reliable source, we must rely on interweb hyperbole.

***************************
After an intense albeit limited search, my conclusion is that there are very few facts available to potential victims.

Since I live directly in the path of the moving radiation from Japan, I am led to use unverified statements and logic to plan future actions for my family.

In Chernobyl, the authorities did not alert the local population for several days. Those who went outside during the intense radiation mostly died within two years or developed severe cancers. Those who did not go outside mostly lived with no ill effects.

Sometime later, the military enforced an evacuation at gunpoint in selected areas. After the evacuation, there was looting, rioting and murder.

Ukrainian authorities acted without honor toward their population.

Tracking the movement of radiation is a confusing enterprise. First, there is not a standard method of measuring the amount of radiation or the level of harmful radiation.

Some instruments use CPM measurements which count the raw number of events of radiation per minute. A higher CPM indicates more radiation. A CPM of below 100 seems to indicate a background level of radiation - that is to say, 'just normal and no ill effects'.

Other instruments measure the amount of milli sieverts per hour of radiation. A level of 0.10 to 1.00 is considered normal as above.

The Fukushima event has released radiation both into the sea water and the air. Sea water radiation is the probable cause of highly unusual fish and sea mammal behavior in recent days. A United States Naval Vessel, the Ronald Reagan, has seen highly unusual events of cancers in its crew; the probable cause is the use of radioactive filtered seawater for cooking and bathing on the ship during its cruise to the Sea of Japan.

The radiation plume has moved from Japan to the Coast of California. Additional radiation is being released into the ocean daily.

Recently, clouds of steam were seen over the Fukushima site; the probable cause is additional meltdowns of nuclear material as the cooling systems continue failing.

These events have released additional radiation into the atmosphere. This additional radiation is moving toward California. Japanese authorities are incapable of controlling the site and are acting without honor toward their population.

Reports on this were obtained from a website wherein the former owner is serving a prison term for threatening federal judges about an unrelated ruling on handgun possession.

It is difficult to track the progress of this radioactive cloud since the Government of the United States of America has chosen to ignore the question.

An honorable government would track such an event similar to the method in which they track hurricanes.

This government is acting without honor toward the citizens of the West Coast of the United states of America.

Now, in order to survive in a confusing situation, I have taken a few steps.

Our household owns a geiger counter which measures in milli sieverts per hour. We measure at least once per day. So far, the levels have not approached 1.00.

We also own two rolls of plastic sheeting and several rolls of duct tape which can be used to seal windows, doors and electrical outlets when the radiation passes 1.00 milli sieverts.

I will order two face masks with the ability to protect against radiation inhalation. I have ordered a bottle of potassium iodide pills; they are supposed to prevent the absorption of radioactivity into the thyroid gland. That should reduce the likelihood of thyroid cancer. Unofficial reports are that the United States Government has recently ordered millions of these tablets.

Our house has iron bars on the windows and doors. My shotgun is loaded and in easy reach. In my city, celebratory gunfire for New Year’s Eve was mostly from automatic weapons.

We track radiation movements daily using two websites. One website [http://radiationnetwork.com/DetailMaps.htm] records unadjusted geiger counter readings from several locations every five minutes on a map. It records raw CPM readings.

A second website [http://www.netc.com/] tracks radiation in some manner which I have not yet deciphered. But, it does have a news stream with relevant articles.

We are actively considering some unannounced visits to relatives in areas far from the ocean if the readings exceed the danger levels.

Happy New year, My Liege.

Your faithful servant,

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

UPDATE - LINK KILLED - Fukushima Radiation Lethal, Will Hit California Jan 1 or 2


Barry, My Liege :


Between the time of posting this comment [approximately 5.00 pm PST 12.31.13] and now [approx 8.00 pm PST 12.31 13] the story linked below has been deleted from the web site. This posting comment generated higher than average traffic.

You may conclude what you wish.

I conclude that the government of the United States of America is more concerned about the profits of the nuclear power industry than the safety of the citizens of California, of which I and my family are members. We are abandoned to fend for our selves with no assistance from our elected representatives.

I am ashamed.

Are you ashamed?

It is the responsibility of the Government to protect its citizens from harm. If the government cannot protect its citizens, then it has the absolute obligation to notify its citizens of the scale and scope of any impending danger and what actions the citizens may take to protect themselves.

You, My Liege, are failing both responsibilities.

Since you have not addressed the question, it is time for Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Nancy Pelosi and Governor Jerry Brown to step up and take actions.

If none of the government can protect us, then it is time to take what steps we can to protect ourselves, remove the current government and create a new government which will fulfill its basic obligations.

Credible forecasts predict that California will see lethal radiation in two days.

Here is the link : http://www.turnerradionetwork.com/news/156-mjt [THIS IS THE LINK THAT NO LONGER WORKS]

Here's what the story said - "BREAKING NEWS ***** URGENT ***** -- (TRN http://www.TurnerRadioNetwork.com/ ) -- Residents of Iwaki City, Fukushima, Japan should EVACUATE THE CITY IMMEDIATELY due to lethal radiation levels occurring there right now. According to the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center (NETC), radiation levels in that city, which have averaged a level of 225 per hour over the last three months, have skyrocketed to 21,000 per hour. This level of radiation is extremely dangerous and potentially lethal. It is likely to reach the U.S. west coast in two days."


Here are the necessary measures :

Step # 1 : Nationalize the nuclear power industry. It is clear that for-profit companies WILL NOT take necessary safety precautions. It is equally clear that regulation of these companies to enforce safety is a failure.

Step # 2 : After ensuring that all safety measures are taken, all nuclear power plants should be closed.

Step # 3 : Publicly monitor and track the radioactive cloud as it crosses the Pacific.

Step # 4 : Notify citizens of the likely impact's severity, location and times.

Step # 5 : Provide evacuation plans and facilities.

Step # 6 : Declare a State of Emergency and Martial Law if necessary.

Step # 7 : Resign your office and participate in the creation of a new government structure that will take its responsibilities to citizens above the policy of maximizing private profits.

FYI - My wife lived through Chernobyl. I am not making this up.

Your frightened servant,

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fall 2013 Country Studies Published

Barry, My Liege :

The Mike P. McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis [MIEPA] is pleased to announce the publication on its website [www.mkeever.com] of detailed studies of the economic policies of Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, India, Iran, New Zealand, and the United States of America.

Two countries which have not been previously analyzed by Specialists are submitted.

First the Dominican Republic is analyzed by Specialist Johanel Alcantara and may be read at http://www.mkeever.com/dominican.html

Second, New Zealand is analyzed by Specialist Henry Agyeman and may be read at http://www.mkeever.com/newzealand.html

Further new studies are :

Ethiopia is analyzed by Specialist Serkalem Tekletsadik and may be read at : http://www.mkeever.com/ethiopia.html

India is analyzed by Specialist Gladwin Tirkey and may be read at : http://www.mkeever.com/india.html

Iran is analyzed by Specialist Persiancat and may be read at : http://www.mkeever.com/iran.html

The United States is analyzed by Specialist Nelson Gee and may be read at : http://www.mkeever.com/usa.html




Saturday, December 21, 2013

Noblesse Oblige


Barry, My Liege :

Back in the 1980's I was in Manila on two business visits.

During the first trip, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were very much in charge. The country was a lopsided oligarchy with a dictatorship. There were several military armed guards and a triple security door in the downtown hotel where I stayed.

During that trip, I met with an architect in his downtown office. While waiting in his reception area I had a chance conversation with another occupant. When I asked him what brought him to the office that day, he said he was an unemployed architect with nothing to do. The man who ran the office allowed him to hang out in the lobby for 40 hours per week in case he might run an errand and pick up a tip.

On another occasion, a group sat in a hotel lobby for a meeting. I rose to move a chair to make a more presentable seating arrangement, but another man suggested that I allow the waitress to do that task. When I protested that it was a small thing, he said that I did not understand the situation. The girls who work in the lobby are responsible for all guest needs. If one should fail to meet a need and allow a guest to move a chair, the girl will be fired. And, her family would suffer since she is the only employed person in a large family. All the girls were in that situation.

That's what it's like to live in an oligarchy: cheap labor, fear and misery.

My Liege, that is where we are heading in the United States of America.

To my readers - Noblesse oblige is a French phrase literally meaning "nobility obliges". It is the concept that nobility extends beyond mere entitlements and requires the person with such status to fulfil social responsibilities, particularly in leadership roles. [Wikipedia]

And, my readers, you are the nobles today because you have a computer and a comfortable life. You are probably not homeless and afraid of the night.

That means that you have an obligation to provide some form of meaningful work to the under employed, highly educated and eager Americans who can find only menial jobs if they can find any work at all.

Hire someone to do something for you. It is your obligation and it will help keep the country together until the situation changes. It does not matter what is the job or how long it takes. It is not charity, but it will give meaning to someone else less fortunate.

Here is a newspaper column titled 'Cheap Labor is part of American life' by Caille Milner which will explain it in down to earth language just in case you think that I am making this up :
http://www.sfgate.com/living/article/Cheap-labor-is-part-of-American-life-5063133.php

Merry Christmas, My Liege.

Your faithful servant,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Obama on Inequality, Government, Business and Growth


Barry, My Liege :

We thank you for your frank acknowledgment in last week's address of the crippling income and wealth inequalities in the United States of America today. We especially thank you for the recognition that those inequalities undermine our efforts to promote the economic growth you recognize as necessary for our prosperous future.

Here is a link to a transcript of your remarks before the Center for American Progress :

http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2013/12/04/president-obama-speaks-economic-mobility

But, My Liege, this space takes issue with some of the proscriptions inherent in your assessment of the correct policies for ensuring growth.

You say we can assure growth by " ... simplifying our corporate tax code in a way that closes wasteful loopholes and ends incentives to ship jobs overseas. And by broadening the base, we can actually lower rates to encourage more companies to hire here and use some of the money we save to create good jobs rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports, and all the infrastructure our businesses need... “

Your remarks contain an assumption that lower costs to businesses through lower tax rates will incentivize businesses to make investments and to hire more people. My Liege, this canard is taken directly from Ronald Reagan's discredited Supply Side economics.

That is not correct.

Businesses invest in job creating activities when - and only when - they believe that their investments will make a profit in the future. Lowering tax rates today in the hopes of creating investment in the future is simply stupid.

The single best way to incentivize business is to raise the wages of average American workers so we can afford to buy things.

Henry Ford knew that. Business leaders today know it. They won't publicly admit to it because such an admission might jeopardize some future short term profits; but, be clear My Liege: they are not stupid.

You continue with discredited Supply Side economics with this statement about growth: " It means a trade agenda that grows exports and works for the middle class. It means streamlining regulations that are outdated or unnecessary or too costly. And it means coming together around a responsible budget -- one that grows our economy faster right now and shrinks our long-term deficits, one that unwinds the harmful sequester cuts that haven't made a lot of sense -- (applause) -- and then frees up resources to invest in things like the scientific research that's always unleashed new innovation and new industries."

Our trade policies must protect American jobs at middle class wages. This will mean imposing higher tariffs on some imports when those imports destroy American jobs. This is especially true when the imports come from factories owned by American corporations who outsource jobs to low wage countries.

Regarding the debt we accumulate, John Keynes had it correct that borrowing can and should be used to stimulate the economy when the economy is in recession. Borrowing becomes a problem when the annual debt service as a percentage of GDP or the Federal Budget increases beyond today's range. And, my Liege, the biggest danger of that occurring comes from Republican refusal to conduct the basic fiscal policies of our country with minimal professionalism - it is not good to frighten Treasury Bill investors with the specter of a dysfunctional government. T-Bill purchasers are not frightened by the size of the debt.

We pray you will look more closely at your policy proscriptions in the cold light of day and not the dark light of a cocktail mixer.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Morality and Economics

Barry, My Liege :

Some time ago I wrote an essay on the relationahip of morality to economic theory and practice. It is available online at : http://www.mkeever.com/moral.html

The essay was stimulated by a series of commentaries on the relationship of economic theory with the moral concerns about development and poverty as expressed by POVERTY AND DEVELOPMENT: AN INTER-FAITH PERSPECTIVE, written by Roger Riddel with the help of many and published by the World Faiths Development Council in 1999 [now at Georgetown University, Washington DC,http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/wfdd; previously at 33-37 Stockmore Street, Oxford, OX4 1Jt, United Kingdom; email: wfdd@btinternet.com; URL: www.wfdd.org.uk]

Pope Francis' recent essay on economics has stimulated interest in the topic. While it is an ongoing discussion, perhaps the Pope's essay will focus light on the relationship between poverty and violence.

Your faithful servant,

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pope Francis Gets It

Barry, My Liege :

Pope Francis in a new apostolic exhortation, has attacked the 'Tyranny of Markets' and lays blame at the feet of the rich who fail to address poverty and inequality.

Economic inequality features as one of the issues Francis is most concerned about, and the 76-year-old pontiff calls for an overhaul of the financial system and warns that unequal distribution of wealth inevitably leads to violence.

Here is a link : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/pope-attacks-tyranny-of-markets-urges-renewal-in-key-document/article15600441/

We pray you demonstrate your agreement, My Liege.

Your faithful servant,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Really Are Screwed

Barry, My Liege :

It is official.

Climate change will destroy our way of life.

The final report will be out next year, but the draft summary is available.

You can read it here : http://nofrakkingconsensus.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/wgiiar5-spm_fgdall.pdf

Yes, it is a draft only and states : "Do Not Cite, Quote, or Distribute"

But, My Liege, it is too important to ignore.

We pray you act to reduce the impending disaster.

Your faithful servant,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

More Nuclear Power = Dumb Idea


Barry, My Liege :

Recently four environmental scientists suggested that we expand nuclear power as a means to reduce global warming while maintaining cheap power.

You can read CNN about it here : http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists/

Here's why it is an incredibly dumb idea : the economic concept of external costs.

In economics, external costs refer to costs of a product or action which are not paid by the user of the product or action. So, if there are externalized costs, the rest of us pay.

And, my Liege, the externalized costs of nuclear power are the WHOLE PLANET!

We know that we cannot manage nuclear power without harming our environment irreparably.

Fukushima. Chernobyl. Three Mile Island.

Expanding nuclear power will multiply these events.

And, we have not yet managed to dispose of the waste products from other nuclear plants.

The total cost to our species of nuclear power is beyond calculation. It is a global killer.

When we add to that explosive mix the idea that the people running the plants are trying to make a PROFIT by selling the electricity and paying NONE of the environmental costs, it becomes nightmarish.

We simply have to recognize that cheap power is gone until and unless we ramp up renewable power sources.

It is time to bite the bullet.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fixing The Planet


Barry, My Liege :

We know that carbon emissions will make the Earth uninhabitable in the predictable future.

And, we know that free market capitalism will oppose most solutions which promise carbon emission reductions to safe levels since real solutions require adjustments to the market system or eliminating private property and free markets entirely.

The EPA estimates that electricity production creates 33% of total US carbon emissions of 6,702 million metric tons in 2011, Transportation 28%, Industry 20%, Buildings 11% and agriculture 8%.

So, Barry, what can we do? How can we fix the carbon emission levels and retain our capitalist, market structure?

Here is a two fold process that CAN reduce carbon emissions to acceptable levels while preserving markets.

The steps are drastic and painful, but the alternative of doing nothing will be even more drastic and painful

STEP 1 : Tax all carbon emissions. Then, let the markets decide how to allocate the extra costs. The result will be less carbon emissions and more efficient use of those carbons which remain.

And, some people will be hurt more than others, so economists have proposed an income tax credit to offset the carbon tax; that may lessen the impact on some vulnerable sectors.

STEP 2 : Make the largest carbon emitters into Public Utilities; that will lessen their profits to manageable levels and reduce their lobbying power. That happens because the Utility regulators allow a normal profit or enough to stay in business but do not allow any economic or monopoly profits.

Industries affected by public utility designations will be oil and gas producers, electricity producers and public transportation providers, some of which are already publicly owned or regulated.

Private industry which creates emits large amounts of carbon emissions will be taxed but not necessarily placed under public utility designation.

Private motorists will be taxed at the fuel pump.

These actions will preserve the private property and market structure of the economy except for those businesses required to become public utilities.

Your faithful servant,


Sunday, October 27, 2013

21st Century Revolution


Barry, My Liege :

The people of the United States of America as well as the people of many other countries today recognize that power in our respective countries is held by an oligarchic few who use their power to prevent the people from creating a good life for themselves so that the few may accumulate even greater fortunes.

And, people recognize that the few are actively destroying the very physical resources that sustain life itself in their fortune building process.

My Liege, that is not sustainable.

It will change.

And, that change may take one of two possible paths.

In one path, we can wish for an enlightened political system to change its direction in favor of creating a better life for all people and away from the oligarchic swamp toward which we are headed today.

After all, many popular movements in the United States have resulted in social changes mandated by the Government : Anti-slavery, Women's suffrage, Right to vote, Temperance, safety in the workplace and other popular movements have resulted in legislation which enacted the will of the people.

We pray, My Liege, that our future change will be a legislative change instead of a violent change.

In another path and to imagine the arc of a violent revolution in the United States, we simply have to look at Syria, Iraq, Tunisia and other countries which have endured revolutions in modern times.

We are not prepared for drone strikes, midnight assassinations, internment camps, torture, airstrikes on suburbs with cluster bombs and the like in the United States.

Yet, it is likely that a violent revolution in this country will look like that. The oligarchs are already fearful and paranoid; the first reaction of our government to any political disagreement is to alert the armed security forces.

Perhaps even more damaging than the physical violence is the rending of social fabric that will occur in any revolution. The Communist Revolution in Russia is a prime example.

Thucydides is the best writer I have seen on the social effects of Revolution. Here in an excerpt from his Book III, [82] he describes how citizens deserted rational behavior and followed the more extreme leaders in the Peloponnesian Wars:

"...struggles being everywhere made by the popular chiefs to bring in the Athenians, and by the oligarchs to introduce the Lacedaemonians. In peace there would have been neither the pretext nor the wish to make such an invitation; but in war with an alliance always at the command of either faction for the hurt of their adversaries and their own corresponding advantage, opportunities for bringing in the foreigner were never wanting to the revolutionary parties. The sufferings which revolution entailed upon the cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and will always occur, as long as the nature of mankind remains the same; though in a severe or milder form, and varying in their symptoms, according to the variety of the particular case.

In peace and prosperity, states and individuals have better sentiments, because they do not find themselves suddenly confronted with imperious necessities; but war takes away the easy supply of daily wants, and so proves a rough master, that brings most men's characters to a level with their fortunes. Revolution thus ran its course from city to city, and the places which it arrived at last, from having heard what had been done before, carried to a still greater excess the reinforcement of their inventions, as manifested in the cunning of their enterprises and the atrocity of their reprisals. Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. [Ed note. - See '1984', George Orwell]

Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries.

In time, to forestall an intending criminal, or to suggest the idea of a crime where it was wanting, was equally commended, until even blood became a weaker tie than party, from the superior readiness of those united by the latter to dare everything without reserve; for such associations had not in view the blessings derivable from established institutions but were formed by ambition for their overthrow; and the confidence of their members in each other rested less on any religious sanction than upon complicity in crime. The fair proposals of an adversary were met with jealous precautions by the stronger of the two, and not with a generous confidence.

Revenge also was held of more account than self-preservation. Oaths of reconciliation, being only preferred on either side to meet an immediate difficulty, only held good so long as no other weapon was at hand; but when opportunity offered, he who ventured to seize it and take his enemy off his guard, thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open one, since, consideration of safety apart, success by treachery won him the palm of superior intelligence. Indeed it is generally the case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest, and are as ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being the first.

The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising from greed and ambition; and from these passions proceded all the violence of parties once engaged in contention. The leaders of the cities, each provided with the fairest professions, on one side with the cry of political equality of the people, on the other of a moderate aristocracy, sought prizes for themselves in those public interests which they pretended to cherish, and, recoiling from no means in their struggles for ascendancy, engaged in the direst excesses; in their acts of vengeance they went to even greater lengths, not stopping at what justice or the good of the state demanded, but making the party caprice of the moment their only standard, and invoking with equal readiness the condemnation of an unjust verdict or the authority of the strong arm to glut the animosities of the hour.

Thus religion was in honour with neither party; but the use of fair phrases to arrive at guilty ends was in high reputation. Meanwhile the moderate part of the citizens perished between the two, either for not joining in the quarrel, or because envy would not suffer them to escape."

My Liege, we pray you avoid this for our future.

And, we recognize you must work miracles for our better future.

Your faithful servant.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Koch To Manservant Boehner - 'Lighten up.'


Barry, My Liege :

Even the Billionaire Koch Brothers are saying they don't want to mess up the country.

Holy Cow!

Pigs are flying!

See it here : http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/10/09/heritage-action-obamacare-koch-brothers/2951525/

.........Table scraps from the Big House.

Let's count our blessings while we may.

Your faithful servantt.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tea Party Taliban Traitors Shutting Down USA

Barry, My Liege :

They have officially gone off the reservation.

Tea Party Traitors.

They are simply traitors and must be punished.

You chastise national security leakers severely.

So also must you punish the Tea Party Traitors.

There is no excuse, no reason which justifies their behavior.

We pray you find retribution equal to the offense.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ted Cruz - RAT (Real American Terrorist)


Barry, My Liege :

At the risk of jumping on a speeding bandwagon, it is clear that Senator Ted Cruz is damaging the National Economic Security of the United States. His actions appear to derive solely from his pursuit of his personal interests since apparently he is considering a Presidential candidacy.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt between stupidity and evil, we will suggest that he is simply too dumb and self-interested to consider the effects of his actions on his party and our country.

You can access a list of the specific damages he has created so far here : http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/09/ted_cruz_is_despised_by_senate_republicans_a_list_of_the_reasons_gop_senators.html

We pray the Republican Party can man up and send Senator Cruz to the Taliban where he belongs.

Your faithful servant,

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who in Hell is Shaun McCutcheon?


Barry, My Liege :

This is plain disgusting.

Ain't no nice words for this.

Mitch McConnell and the Supremes are gonna sell out the United States of America to an Alabama money-grubber.

[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/mccutcheon-supreme-court_n_3678555.html]

483 years of blood, tears, toil and sweat down the crapper.

I'm gonna go puke.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

OWS Birthday Celebration

Barry, My Liege :

The Occupy Wall Street [OWS] movement celebrated its second birthday last week.

It is worth noting because they are the only folks in the country who express what we all know; namely, that our beloved United States of America has changed into an economically stratified society where there is little hope of entering the middle class from lower or working classes.

Now we endure the additional indignity of a political faction which actively seeks to remove all governmental help from people in need.

Not only are they mean spirited, this faction actively seeks to destroy the economy of the United States unless their penurious demands are met.

The combination of an extremely selfish wealthy class with a political faction supporting that selfishness threatens to destroy our country.

But, all is not yet lost.

If we can muster the political courage to change 13 specific national policies we can restore some of our prosperous past.

It is a tall order and I am not optimistic that we can do it.

Nevertheless, hereinbelow is the list of changes we must make.

We pray you find some courageous compatriots to help in this effort, My Liege.



1. STRENGTHEN UNIONS - Union organizing and negotiating rights are created by Federal labor laws. When unions can organize and press for higher wages, the country benefits from higher incomes going to the middle class. It is true that unions can be messy organizations, but overall they succeed in raising middle class incomes when they can function freely. This will increase middle class purchasing power and help restore Aggregate Demand.

An inevitable result of raising wages through union activity will be that businesses have to raise prices to survive - that will require some adjustments to our trade policies as discussed below.

2. ENHANCE LABOR LAW ENFORCEMENT - Some business owners think they have an economic incentive to interfere with union actions ; they will have to pay higher wages if unions are successful. In our history, blood has been shed in labor disputes.

Henry Ford knew that true national prosperity lies with workers receiving wages high enough to buy the cars he made, but many business owners are not so enlightened.

When there is little labor law enforcement or penalties for labor law violations, then labor law has little effect.

The United States should enforce labor laws vigorously.

3. ESTABLISH ANTI-MONOPOLY LAWS - Monopolies are bad for the country, per se. Such firms have economic incentives to charge higher prices and sell fewer products than firms in competition. Their actions create a deadweight loss from economic activity not undertaken and further transfer some consumer surplus to monopoly profit. This results in less economic welfare for the country and thereby damages our National Security.

The United States should strengthen existing anti-monopoly laws, increase enforcement activity and write additional anti-monopoly laws.

The concept that monopoly is a reward for efficient firms is a false concept which serves to undermine National Security.

4. CANCEL FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS - United States trade policy does not work. We adhere to a low tariff concept that undermines our National Security. It does so by transferring jobs to foreign countries and by facilitating huge trade imbalances which serve to transfer wealth created in the United States to our trade partners.

It is time to change trade policies so that we import only as much as we export.

Our trade partners do not reciprocate our trade encouraging practices and in fact use their trade laws and national customs to protect their domestic industries. It is time to recognize reality in trade.

5. TAX AWAY GREAT FORTUNES AND GREAT INCOMES - Huge concentrations of wealth and annual income harm our economy by diverting money away from risky investments in economic growth and into safety seeking investments.

It is well known that the primary criterion of investing is safety of principal. People with large amounts of money are risk averse and do NOT wish to risk that money in new ventures, preferring to find safer investments.

Our economy will grow faster and we will be more secure when we do not have extraordinarily large income and wealth concentrations. Then will capital have greater incentives to take risks and create growth.

6. CREATE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL POLICY - The United States should create a blueprint for our future economic growth. We should establish industries in which we wish to participate and then establish policies which encourage and protect companies in those industries.

Industries should be chosen on the basis of the likelihood that they will create good jobs in the future.

Critics argue that the government is unable to make sound predictions in this area since even private companies have difficulty doing so.

While that may be, there are countries which use this practice with great success and many more countries which are beginning to establish this process. The government of South Korea established this practice in the 1950's and was able to convert a nation of rice farmers and fishermen into an industrial powerhouse.

7. EXPAND PUBLIC UTILITY INDUSTRY DESIGNATIONS AND REGULATE EACH DESIGNATED INDUSTRY WITH AN ELECTED COMMISSION - There are some businesses which require a government protected monopoly for some reason ; for example, some industries like electricity generation and distribution require such huge capital investments that investors will not make that investment unless assured of freedom from future competition.

In these cases it makes economic and national security sense to regulate the prices charged to the public so that the company earns a normal profit, which allows a return to investors sufficient to ensure survival and uninterrupted service provision, but does not allow for monopoly profits.

Any industry whose products or services are regularly used by more than one third of the population and in which there are few suppliers is a candidate for public utility designation.

8. ENSURE FINANCIAL SYSTEM STABILITY BY RESTORING GLASS-STEAGALL - Stability in our financial system is required for our national security.

We know absolutely that the financial system cannot regulate itself without great harm to our economy.

Under Glass-Steagall we had stability for 50 years.

Restore it.

It is the only choice.

9. KEEP SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE - Not only do these programs provide dignity to people who have worked all their lives, they provide significant income to help support Aggregate Demand.

There are pressures to reduce or destroy these programs. The stated reason is the budget deficit, but the real reason is simple greed from the financial system.

Countries which have chosen to reduce pensions and healthcare because of a fiscal deficit problem are now experiencing recessions and high unemployment.

No country in history has been able to cut its way to prosperity. Many countries have found prosperity by borrowing in bad times to sustain employment.

10. INSTALL SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE - Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court's decision, there is no place for profit in the healthcare system. If we can eliminate insurance company profits, we can pay for our healthcare with current expenditures.

11. MANAGE DEBT TO BORROW IN BAD TIMES, PAY BACK IN GOOD TIMES - With a properly functioning national government, we can use fiscal policy wisely to keep full employment and growth achievable.

The Federal Budget is the flywheel of the economy - it prevents stalls when the engine's speed declines.

12. REDUCE MONEY REQUIRED FOR NATIONAL ELECTIONS BY REQUIRING BROADCASTERS TO PROVIDE FREE POLITICAL ADS - One of the reasons for our corrupt political system is that elections are very expensive.

But, most of the money goes to running political ads on broadcast media. Since broadcast media receives a license from the FCC to use their frequencies, we can require them to run free ads as a condition of their licenses.

This would reduce the cost of running for office and, consequently reduce the opportunities for political corruption.

Other election financing reforms should be pursued as well.

13. RESPECT BUT DO NOT FEAR OCCUPY PROTESTORS - Occupy protestors are about 20% of our people who have been harmed by market failures in our system. They are exercising their Constitutional rights to seek redress of their grievances.

Creating a rigid, militaristic response to a peaceful protest is the opposite of our founding principles.

If they follow our past history of peaceful protest, they may well be the force that helps correct our imbalances.

In conclusion Barry, My Liege, we pray that you will remember these issues in your policy considerations.


Your faithful servant,

Friday, September 6, 2013

We're F**ked! UPDATE NAOMI KLEIN


Barry, My Liege :

Read Naomi Klein on this by following this URL : http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/10/science-says-revolt

Due to a confluence of trends, our home planet is rapidly approaching the final tipping point.

When trends become overwhelming, the planet will change so that it no longer supports life.

My Liege, we may have passed that point already.

In a copyrighted San Francisco Chronicle article from September 3, 2013, Carolyn Lochead connects the trends in order to assess our status. You can read the article here - http://www.mkeever.com/popgrowth.doc

The headline comment above is a reaction from a student after reading the article.

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Save Syrians


Barry, My Liege :

It is time for the United States of America to do some real good.

It is time to provide humanitarian assistance to nearly two million Syrian refugees, of which about half are children under age 13.

If we bomb Syria we will kill a few people, but the stream of refugees will continue fleeing the country at the rate of 10,000 per day.

We should be ashamed for considering bombs instead of real help.

The only way we can help Syrians with bombs is to kill Assad, but even if we succeed in doing that, there will be two million desperate people who need real help.

When we help Syrian refugees, we will be thumbing our nose at Assad by countering his evil with good.

We should provide assistance at the ground level - not the government to government help which can degenerate into bribery and corruption.

But, we should offer assistance without asking for credit.

Just do it.

Now.

Send our food, water, medical supplies, sanitation workers, tents and HOPE to the victims.

Here's where they are per UNHCR in July:

Total Syrian refugee population:

1,750,075 estimated

1,559,864 registered by UNHCR


Regions with significant populations
(Numbers don't include foreign citizens, who fled Syria)

Lebanon

587,795 estimated

503,724 registered

Jordan

498,947 estimated

431,828 registered

Turkey

402,176 estimated

381,475 registered

Egypt

88,460 estimated

70,140 registered

Iraq

206,365 estimated

205,503 registered

Algeria

25,000 estimated

10,000 "asylum seekers"

Armenia

3,248 applied for visas (July 2012)

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

70 families (April 2013)

Language: Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Syriac, Armenian

Religion: Sunni Islam, Christianity, Shia Islam

Your faithful servant,

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bombing Syria


Barry, My Liege :

Controlling Syria is not like arresting a street gang.

Bombing Assad does not create respect.

NOBODY doubts that POTUS has power and uses it.

It is time to show some maturity and consider the reality of bombing Syria.

Will it control chemical weapons?

Don't be stupid.

Will Assad feel 'punished'?

No one cares about that.

The only possible good that can come is to kill Assad AND ALSO install a coalition of international troops with the power to control the Al Queda and Muslim Brotherhood troops there already and restore stability.

Can we do that?

No.

We have zero good options here.

Stay out.

Your faithful servant,