Author Archives: E. F. Vidocq

     

 

 

The Wild 1990s

Not so long ago, during 1990’s, the connecting world of the connected world we now know was literally and comprehensively in the development stage during those wild crazy go go years before the crash in technology stocks in 2000.

 

Nasdaq BubbleThe infamous tech bubble of the 1990s – to this day the greatest stock market bubble ever seen in the US (in terms of multiple expansion, intensity, public participation, speed and extent of the blow-off phase) – click to enlarge.

 

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A Case for Divestment

 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

 

The Second Coming, 1st Stanza

1919 William Butler Yeats

 

homeland-security

 

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On the Trail of Long Lost Relatives

After the fall of the Soviet Union, slowly centuries old archives have opened in nearly all of the eastern lands, composed of personal data, which for a time ceased to exist to anyone interested in them within or outside of the Iron Curtain’s secrecy. Once upon a time there might have been little reason to seek out these long dormant birth records, census surveys, property listings, tax payer rolls and the like, were it not for the great void of death and disappearance left behind after the Second World War.

In the last decade, millions of these records (with millions more to come) have been indexed, translated, collated, and photographed; most of it digitized, much of it making its way online, accessible by most anyone from anywhere in the world. I have taken many journeys through these records back in time and carried forward to the present day by the information found.

In one instance, there was a brother of a grand relative, who shortly after the Stalin–Hitler pact of 1939 found his country transferred to the domains of the Soviet Union. By 1940 the Sovietization of the country was underway. One night, in July 1941, he and his wife were summoned to a central meeting point where they were then separated, he placed on a train to the Ussolag work camps in the Perm region of the Ural mountains near Siberia, and she to exile in Siberia proper.

 

perm-36,admin

Administrative building of the Siberian Gulag camp Perm-36, reportedly the only one that has been preserved.

Photo credit: stephenadutton.blogspot.com

 

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Homeland InSecurities, A Case for Divestment, Part 2

The Homeland however, the last post warman standing, the leader island of the Pax Americana, defender of individual liberty and democracy, though clearly not a defender of transparency, had itself started the journey taken by those failed states. Its journey began with the creation of the Federal Reserve (1913) on the one hand, and on the other with the Federally mandated promise to provide a guaranteed quality of life for every citizen via a perpetual tax on the wages earned by each new member of the nation's work force: Social Security in 1933 (and the many thousands of programs since) to the unaffordable everything that is the national business of Homeland Inc. today. The planners of these programs did not account for mismanagement, inflexibility or the simple possibility there may one day not be enough funds to pay for claims against long ago promises made. They are annuities clearly gone bad, and as bad as any private sector Ponzi scheme.

The top 200 corporations (of thousands) who do business with the Homeland, as of this writing, receive over 560 billion dollars for the work they do for it. (Source: http://www.govexec.com/) This does not include the expense of the mass army of salaried spendingminders (with handsome and liberal social benefits unique to them) who inhabit every pocket of the nation as the overseers of Federal programs and those programs directly funded to the states, who then have their own cohorts of minder reporters (indeed legions) in descending order fromthe state capitol buildings to the neighborhood precinct captains, minding down and reporting back to the very top, while the funds flow and all take their delegated and or, in government speak, appropriated cut.

 

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"If I were asked to name the most needed of all reforms in the spirit of education I should say: 'Cease conceiving of education as mere preparation for later life, and make of it the full meaning of the present life.'"

– John Dewey

 

My Number One Son's Journey Begins in the Post 2008 World

Once upon a time, in the pre globalized world, one prepared for the future in very predictable ways. This math, that science, this job skill, that business, but never in a way what we today might call cross border thinking. Today, for example, as the powers that be dream of containment, of holding on to a debt diseased system, while the world's deficit spending continues to grow along with ever broader malinvestment of what's left of good capital; a truly sophisticated money manager or investor cannot perform well without the ability to think in a borderless way. The entire status of individual freedom, freedom of movement, freedom of privacy, freedom from over burdensome taxes and the obligations to mountains of sovereign debt, freedom in the movement of wealth, really all freedoms, are no longer static; they are in flux. No one can simply assume our allotment of these freedoms shall remain as they once were; one cannot prepare one's children for a status quo which no longer exists. Even more so in the case of the average person, which is really everyone from the bottom to whoever it is that may for now be at the top.

When I met two of my Chinese pen pals, Fang (Wind) and Huo (Fire), both were in their final marathon leading to Gaokao, the nationwide test for admission to Chinese universities. The score is, for most students, the most important determination by which they will be accepted at a top university, or to no university at all. Like the children of my friends in Japan, pre university students cram facts, figures and equations, depending upon their target fields of interest, six and sometimes seven days each week, early mornings before the high school day
begins, and late in the evening well after the school day has ended. Steven (Fang), and Jackie (Huo), were given their western style names by their group teacher when they began their English studies. I met them, and other students wanting to practice their English skills on several chat web sites, such as QQ Messenger (Chinese), Omegle (American) and others.

 

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On Being and Nothingness …

To protect one's online  privacy, the Government of the United States advises the following:

If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.

If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account.

Report your situation to local police, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.

 

They further advise, among other things:

Minimize Access to Your Information

Lock or log-off your computer when you are away from it.

To be really secure, disconnect your computer from the Internet when you aren't using it.

Evaluate your security settings.

Look for a privacy policy statement or seal that indicates the site abides by privacy standards.

Look for signals that you are using a secure web page.

and a reminder:

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act requires commercial websites to obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. For more information, contact the FTC about Children's Privacy.

 


 

Well, I've taken their advice, finally to heart, only to learn officially, the governments of the world are, in respect to the above, the absolutely most capable and active invaders of one's privacy in the known universe, in particular the security organs of the United Stazi of America (coined by an artist in Berlin, of all places, so I'm told).   If I had a nickel for every sentence I could write for every item of information each person has given to the great data banks of the world, surely I would make the top rung of the Forbe's list, and put you to sleep.   

 

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Who's the Stranger that knows you so well?

For those of us in the world who continued to hope, pray, and keep the faith all will be well and promises made are promises kept in the world of assets on account, do take a  moment to remove any such notions from your comfort zone; they no longer exist.  

On December 10, 2012, the FDIC and the Bank of England jointly published

 

Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions

or

Liquidating the assets of Cross Border Banking and Financial Houses in the Event of Total Failure and Collapse

(We like our version of the title far better for its transparency.)

 

Who might such institutions be? 

As of November 1, 2012 they were:

 

  • Citigroup
  • Deutsche Bank
  • HSBC
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Barclays
  • BNP Paribas
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of New York Mellon
  • Credit Suisse
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Mitsubishi UFJ FG
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • UBS
  • Bank of China
  • BBVA
  • Group BPSE
  • Group Credit Agricole
  • ING Bank
  • Mizuho FG
  • Nordea
  • Santander
  • Societe Generale
  • Standard Chartered
  • State Street
  • Sumitomo Mitsui FG
  • Unicredit Group
  • Wells Fargo

 

Taking the joint policy paper by the United States' and UK's banking authorities in hand, 10 of these TBTF banks would fall under the policy of these particular guidelines, most of them located in the United States.

What you need to know:

 

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Wealth of Nations and the Wizards of Oz

This article was originally published in the August 2012 edition of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report and is reprinted with the kind permission of Dr. Marc Faber.

 

I recently learned that The Wizard of Oz was written as a satiric commentary on the financial crisis of 1893. I am not sure if Frank L. Baum did mean to write his book for that reason. However, the idea that there are people who believe they can lever the machinery of markets has not disappeared. Today, the curtain behind which these wizards used to stand is very transparent.

 

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