Grab Bag – Tax Day 2017

Well, technically Tax Day for US Income Tax is next Tuesday the 18th in most States due to the weekend and holiday, but formally it is April 15th. Today has also been adopted by some folks for various of their “movements”, so I’m just going to call it today and be done.

This is going to be a somewhat eclectic mix of miscellaneous things I’ve stumbled on, but where none of them rise to the level of a posting all on their own. Don’t expect much order, pattern, or meaning…

First up, an interesting “speculative” film about Antarctica and the history of it. From secret military operations to the potential for all sorts of nefarious stuff. What makes it interesting is the use of period print media and film. How much of it is accurate portrayal of that media? Who knows… For example, the ice free area inland can easily be due to all the moisture being wrung from the air by dramatic low temperatures, and the 70 F ground temperature just a brief moment at high noon on a windless day mid-summer. Yet there it is. 44 minutes of history mixed with God Only Knows What.

Then we get to “Educated People Behaving Strangely” next…

Spiral Dynamics

Don’t remember the context in which I ran into this. It’s a “somewhat bent” economic/social/psychological/historical theory called “Spiral Dynamics”. Another one of those folks over infatuated with their brain fart thinking they have solved the world. I mostly mention it just as something to be aware of (in a ‘know to spot and avoid’ kind of way…) There will be a lot of folks who believe this and may be pushing it without being Captain Obvious about it.

First off, a web search turns up all sorts of stuff. It has that flavor of a cult in the making with lots of seminars and folks pushing it, for a small fee… At the core is a fairly simplistic model of the world, but with lots of flash (substance and proofs not so much…) First up, the Dear Leader:

Don Edward Beck is a teacher, geopolitical advisor, and theorist focusing on applications of large scale psychology, including social psychology, evolutionary psychology, organizational psychology and their effect on human sociocultural systems. He is the co-author of the “Spiral Dynamics” theory, an evolutionary human development model. He spent many years adapting the work of his mentor and colleague, developmental psychologist Clare W. Graves, Professor Emeritus in Psychology at Union College in New York.

Yeah, Applied Psychology, but not to actual brains or people, to organizations and societies and all that touchy feely stuff with evolutionary and revolutionary and spirals and global stuff and “Hey, don’t Bogart it, man!…” context… Oh, and don’t forget “Futurist”… can’t be a “seer and shaper” without Futuristismic stuff… and death bed recording of the Great Wisdom…

Don Beck and Christopher Cowan in particular have ensured that Graves’ work will not go forgotten. They diligently documented his work, thus recording his knowledge. In 1974, Beck read “Futurist” and was impressed. He was a professor at Northern Texas University and flew to New York to meet Graves. After two days of dialogues, it was clear to Beck that he wanted to spend at least 10 years recording Graves’ knowledge, as the latter’s health was deteriorating. Beck first met Graves in 1975 and worked with him closely until his death in 1986. Graves had published his theory of human development in 1974, a “bio-psycho-social systems” framework of value systems as applied to human sociocultural evolution which posits that the psychology of the mature human being transitions from a current level of cultural existence based on current life conditions to a more complex level in response to (or to cope with) changes in existential reality. Graves’s model demonstrates the dual nature of human social emergence with state changes between communal/collective value systems (sacrifice self) and individualistic (express self) value systems.

So got that? Yeah, psychobabble mixed with progressivebabble mixed with sociobabble… They break the world up into 8 levels (with no credit to Dante for the fundamental structure…) and label them with color names you get crap talk like “moving from orange to red into {insert babble words} distant from green {more babble}”. When anyone talks in code, it needs to raise giant flags… If you can’t make it standard English (or French or German or…) then either it, or the speaker, are a crock of very limited skill. Languages are fungible. ALL languages. Length of text may change, but that’s about it.

According to the 1974 Futurist biography of Graves, he began decades of experimentation and research in 1952. In the The Futurist article, Graves classified a total of eight levels of increasingly complex human value systems consisting of a hierarchically ordered, always-open-to-change set of identifiable world views, preferences, and purposes. Through these value systems, groups and cultures structure their societies and individuals integrate within them. Each distinct set of values is developed as a response to solving the problems of the previous system. Changes between states may occur incrementally (first order change) or in a sudden breakthrough (second order change).

The original 1974 publication, “Human Nature Prepares for a Momentous Leap” (The Futurist, pp. 72–87) defined the overall theory and the value systems within it. Each system may express a healthy or unhealthy manifestation of its values, as defined by Graves:

The First Tier systems were grouped by nature of their narrow perspective as “subsistence levels” (para. 4), each aligns with a specific world view that rejects the prior systems and seeks to preserve its own status quo. The differences between communal/collective and individualistic value systems, and the inability of First Tier systems to recognize the strengths or pathologies of other world views, helps to explain social conflict in the world today (para. 7).

According to Graves, the move to Second Tier thinking requires a “leap” in perspective. At Second Tier – the first ‘being level’, society recognizes a responsibility for facilitating the health of each value system on First Tier. The goal is not expediting emergence but the result is, when healthy, each First Tier system will naturally progress toward Second Tier.

From Graves’ work, Beck and his colleague, Cristopher Cowan, developed the theory further and presented a structured evolutionary model of adaptive intelligence called Spiral Dynamics. Beck and Cowan first published their construct in Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change (Exploring the New Science of Memetics) (1996). Spiral Dynamics theory spawned much discussion and (sometimes tangential) integration of concepts by other theorists, such as Ken Wilber.

So as to avoid a hoard of defenders rushing in, I’m leaving the next link broken, but you can reassemble it if desired:

At fee(dot)org /articles/spiral-dynamics-an-overview/ it also has a large obnoxious pop up…

Our civilizations change over time. But what about our psychologies? According to one theory of human development, despite our individual natures, we are malleable enough to become more complex people within more complex societies. And libertarians can lead the way.

F. A. Hayek understood societies to be self-organizing network processes, or “spontaneous orders.” Spontaneous orders are complex, adaptive, non-linear systems that demonstrate emergent properties. They evolve, transform, and become more complex—all without anyone purposefully organizing them.

Jean Piaget developed a similar theory of child development. That is, because human brains are also complex networks, children develop psychologically through identifiable stages that form increasingly complex psychological levels. Piaget stopped at childhood, however.

In the 1950s, Clare Graves extended Piaget’s psychology through adulthood. Don Beck and Christopher Cowan developed Graves’s model further in Spiral Dynamics. Graves argued that humans evolve new psychological stages in response to changing life conditions. When a society contains a critical number of people at a given stage, the society itself transforms, creating the social conditions for yet another stage of psychological development.

Because the brain is a constantly active, constantly changing self-organizing network, we should expect to see such a transformation process happening over time. And because society is a network of communicating brains, we can also expect to see social transformation as an emergent phenomenon—reflecting these psychological stages.

Two tiers comprise the stages of social-psychological orientation, or expression of self. Each stage is represented by a color. Let’s walk through these to see what we can find.

Tier One: Subsistence and Order

Beige – Archaic-instinctive (Origin: c. 100,000 BC)

We share our earliest expression of self with our Paleolithic ancestors. This stage is a self-centered, survivalist mode we can all experience if our survival is threatened.

Purple – Animistic-tribal (Origin: c. 50,000 BC)

At this stage, the social-psychological orientation is sacrificed to the ways of elders and customs to become subsumed under the group. This is the level traditional cultures tend to express. At this more collectivist stage, life centers on friends and family bonds. Animism—the idea of animating spirits—can crop up in this stage, too, as tribes project the presence of friends, family, and ancestors beyond the grave.

Red – Egocentric-dominionist (Origin: c. 7,000 BC)

Following the tribe, an egocentric stage emerged. Expression of self is impulsive, based on what the self desires—free of guilt and without shame. This is more or less the mentality of street gangs, Vikings, and so on. If you have read The Iliad or The Odyssey (or have a teenager), this stage may be familiar. Humans in this stage celebrate heroic acts by certain individuals. Projections of power are revered. Heroic figures tend to lead empires.

Blue – Authoritarian-mythic (Origin: c. 3,000 BC)

The authoritarian-mythic expression of the self comes from personal sacrifice and obedience to rightful authority for the sake of some purpose. Embodied by fundamentalist religions, out of empire arises a larger-scale communitarian life held together somewhat by an authoritarian superstructure. Medieval Catholicism and the modern Islamic world are exemplars of this form. What matters at this stage is to believe in the “right things”—that is, an organizing purpose often guarded by brutal authorities, but rooted in myth.

Orange – Multiplistic-scientific/strategic (Origin: c. 1,000 AD)

At this stage one sets out strategically to reach one’s objectives without rousing the ire of others. Expressed in the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, from this expression of self emerges a more socially minded, but decidedly individualistic, psychology. The Age of Reason and modern capitalism are orange-stage phenomena. Indeed, this social-psychological stage is what most people associate with classical liberalism. (When overlapping with the more religious authorities of the previous level, we get American-style conservatism.)

Green – Relativistic-egalitarian (Origin: 1850 on, surging early 20th century)

At the green level, one is expected to sacrifice self-interest in order to gain acceptance, group inclusion, and social harmony. 1960s relativism and egalitarianism emerge at this stage. Socialism is typical of this stage, but so too are existentialism and postmodernism. The attempt to reconcile socialism with markets created the modern welfare state. (Note: While most libertarians would like to think classical liberalism is the highest or most sophisticated psychological stage, what emerges next is a kind of balancing—one beyond atomistic individualism or authoritarian collectivism.)

Tier Two – Being and Order

Spiral Dynamics involves a second tier of social-psychological expression. In this tier, the stages gradually move away from a focus on the subsistence-level concerns of tier one (how do I live and organize?), and toward being-level concerns (who am I and how do I relate?). There is no research to support two tiers, but such can serve as a guide.

Indeed, though there is not unanimous agreement on this point, most see the following stages—yellow and turquoise—as more complex versions of orange and green. The open-ended theory suggests that any new levels are currently underdeveloped and will solidify as a greater portion of society evolves toward those new stages and begins to express them.

Yellow – Systemic-integrative (Origin: 1950s)

At the yellow stage, expression of self is not so much about what the self desires, but about avoiding harm to others so that all life benefits. Something interesting happens here: A more individualistic self understands its place within a complex, dynamic, evolutionary world. People should be understood as responsible and free, but that freedom must be reconciled and integrated within wider systems of selves. (Hayek was probably an integrationist of this stage.)

Turquoise – Holistic (Origin: 1970s)

The final stage we can identify is an integrative stage that combines an organism’s necessary self-interest with the interests of the communities and subsystems in which it participates. The theory is still forming, but the turquoise tend to understand the world as fully integrated, with the individual contributing to the social as the social contributes to the individual in a kind of seamless whole.

More Libertarian, Not Less

Spiral Dynamics suggests continued social evolution can involve more and more libertarian thinking. While the more authoritarian levels seem to violate this general trend, libertarian-style thinking tends to scale—that is, it integrates more and more people.

With each stage of development, our sense of solidarity with others grows outward: from “fellow believers” to “trading partners” to “everyone on earth.” Now, with the kind of complex-systems thinking involved in tier two, we start to understand part–whole relationships, that is, how and why everyone fits together (or can fit together). Our connection and integration occur through highly individual interactions that are likely to be accelerated and deepened by commerce and connective technology.

Interestingly, while the first six levels reject other psychological stages as competitors, the yellow and turquoise are inclusive of all levels. Moreover, since tier two selves see society as a self-organizing process, they are much more likely to embrace a pro-market, anti-coercive, pluralistic worldview. In short, libertarians are more likely than ever to evoke tier two thinking and use tier two messages.

So, freedom evolves in nature—both psychologically and socially. With Spiral Dynamics, we can see why.

To say “Um, no.” doesn’t quite cover my objections. But I’m just not willing to sink hours into listing them all. Just start with the idea that history evolved linearly from 100,000 B.C. to present, then season with the All Knowing pronouncements about the nature of things prior to any actual history or records… then encoding it all into a bizarre rainbow of odd colors; shake and pour… (Tickets sold nightly…)

European Nuclear Power Issue… UK too?

Since the UK gets make-up power from France, and the rest of the EU depends on them for stability of their crazy quilt of unreliables (solar, wind, …) this ought to matter to all:

Yes, aging in my ’round 2 it’ pile for about 4 months now…

Global nuclear market affected by France’s safety problems: many French reactors offline

France’s Nuclear Storm: Many Power Plants Down Due to Quality Concerns, Power, 11/01/2016 | Lee Buchsbaum The discovery of widespread carbon segregation problems in critical nuclear plant components has crippled the French power industry—20 of the country’s 58 reactors are currently offline and under heavy scrutiny. France’s nuclear safety chairman said more anomalies “will likely be found,” as the extent of the contagion is still being uncovered.With over half of France’s 58 reactors possibly affected by “carbon segregation,” the nation’s nuclear watchdog, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) has ordered that preventative measures be taken immediately to ensure public safety. As this story goes into production in late October, ASN has confirmed that 20 reactors are currently offline and potentially more will shut down in coming weeks.

The massive outages are draining power from all over Europe. Worse, new questions continue to swirl about both the safety and integrity of Électricité de France SA’s (EDF’s) nuclear fleet, as well as the quality of some French- and Japanese-made components that EDF is using in various high-profile nuclear projects around the world……….

Questionable Materials and Documentation

At the heart of France’s nuclear crisis are two problems. One concerns the carbon content of critical steel parts, steam heat exchangers, and other components manufactured or supplied by AREVA SA, the French state-owned nuclear engineering firm and global producer of nuclear reactors. The second problem concerns forged, falsified, or incomplete quality control reports about the critical components themselves.

Excessive levels of carbon in the steel parts could make them more brittle and subject to sudden fracture or tearing under sustained high pressure, which is obviously unacceptable. Initially discovered at the troubled 1.65-GW Flamanville 3 project (Figure 1) in 2014—one of the first in the vaunted European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) nuclear plant series that EDF also plans to use at the newly approved Hinkley Point C plant in England—more flaws have since been discovered throughout the existing nuclear fleet.
Though there have been questions raised since anomalies were discovered at Flamanville in 2014, during the past six months—and accelerating this fall—almost weekly revelations have resulted in plant shutdowns, extended outages, reduced generation, and lots of questions. Following parliamentary hearings on October 25, resulting in a wider probe and likely more plant shutdowns, on October 27, ASN confirmed with POWER that the scope of the problem appears to be expanding.

According to an ASN press relation’s officer, who requested anonymity in line with ASN rules, there are now a significant number of reactors offline, with more to be inspected in the next few weeks. “We are now finding carbon segregation problems from components coming from both Le Creusot and [the Kitakyushu-based Japan Casting & Forging Corp.] JCFC plant. As for now, there [are] 20 EDF reactors offline,” the official said, noting that the number will fluctuate as inspections take place………

On October 25, Reuters reported that EDF and ASN had delayed the restart of Civaux 2, Dampiere 3, and Gravelines 2 NPPs. In addition, it said there had been more irregularities detected at Gravelines 5.

Though the problem has worsened in recent weeks, upon receiving EDF’s early preliminary safety assessments in June, ASN immediately deemed that 12 NPPs were at risk and ordered that those plants be operated under strict precautionary conditions. Unsatisfied, in October ASN ordered EDF to shut down all of the 12 affected NPPs until tests could be completed and, potentially, components fixed or replaced. According to ASN, because these components are essential for safety, “the quality of their design, manufacture, and in-service monitoring is therefore extremely important.”

The analyses performed by EDF thus far have found that since 2015 certain channel heads of the steam generators manufactured by Le Creusot and JCFC “contain a significant carbon concentration zone which could lead to lower than expected mechanical properties,”
according to an ASN report. These steam generators equip 18 reactors in the 900-MW and 1,450-MW plant designs. Of these reactors, 12 are equipped with high-carbon channel heads. According to The Japan Times, the JCFC is now also under scrutiny by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority as each of the JCFC supplied plants have become part of the probe and may eventually prove to be the most affected.

Effects Felt Worldwide……. state-owned EDF has built and maintained reactors throughout the world. Today, it is involved in major projects in China, Finland, Belgium, and the UK. Though no evidence has yet surfaced publicly, its not illogical to think that because the common sources of these components, and thus the common sources for their problems—Le Creusot and JCFC—have supplied or are supplying parts to facilities worldwide, the carbon segregation problems could well spread beyond France.

For NPPs now under construction by EDF, either Le Creusot or JCFC forged some of the casings almost a decade ago; it would be very costly and time-consuming to replace them. Pierre-Franck Chevet (Figure 3), head of the ASN, said that a similar AREVA forging technique had been used for five other EPRs planned or being built. Two of these are in Taishan, China, and two are set for Hinkley Point C. Components have also been manufactured for one planned EPR at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.

Going further, ASN has also indicated that in the nuclear components supply chain, three examples of Counterfeit, Fraudulent and Substandard Items (CFSIs) surfaced in 2015. No word yet if more CFSIs have been found since, or who was responsible. But with inspectors now fanning out across the French nuclear fleet, it’s likely that there will be more revelations to come…

Sure hope that whole solar and wind thing works out for y’all in Europe and Japan, ’cause the “one size fits all” nuclear design and build seems to be showing the “one problem for all” downside… But hey, the guys who approved it all reached a “consensus” so it must be OK…

Yeah, I ought to get a current status, but all things big, iron, and nuclear are slow, so I don’t expect it to have changed much in a couple of months…

VPN and Security – from The Beeb no less!

How to set up your own Raspberry Pi powered VPN
By Kate Russell BBC Click presenter

16 July 2015
From the section Technology

Eyes are everywhere online.

The websites you visit often track where you came from and watch where you head off to next.

A VPN – or virtual private network – helps you browse the internet more anonymously by routing your traffic through a server that is not your point of origin.

It is a bit like switching cars to shake off someone who is tailing you.

There are plenty of companies offering services with varying degrees of security and varying degrees of cost, but if you are willing to roll your sleeves up and get technical with some basic coding and a £30 Raspberry Pi computer, you can build your own VPN server at home.

It won’t give you the option of appearing to be from somewhere else but you can use it to connect external devices like a smartphone to browse the internet more securely through your home network, and access shared files and media on your home computer.

Make no mistake, this is not a quick and easy process.

They then go through how to turn a Raspberry Pi into your own personal VPN server at your home. This lets you avoid the prying eyes of those around you in the Starbucks, at their ISP, and lets you avoid DNS hijacking if you use your own at home DNS (also lets you use your DNS based ad blocking…)

The downside is it ‘fingers’ all your traffic as coming from your home, so pegs it to you.

OTOH, if you put it in a portable box and use it as your connection point from your laptop (and / or your spouse on the road somewhere else) while having IT make the link out through the free WiFi at your Joe Joint, well then, now you have more security and more privacy… Just sayin’…

What’s 1/5 $Quadrillion among friends?

Has an annoying email phish popup-signup so I’m quoting more heavily than usual. There’s a lot of inline quotes and I’m just not going to do all the blockquoting to set them out. Hit the original to sort it if needed:

$205 Trillion in Unfunded Liabilities

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is acting in a bipartisan way to cover up the biggest single threat to the bipartisan political alliance that is stripping America of its wealth: the United States Congress.

There is no question that the following policy is bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are completely agreed that the following information should not get out to the American people, namely, that the present value of the United States government’s off-budget liabilities is over $200 trillion.

…the government needs $205 trillion… to invest in the private sector, in order to fund its legal liabilities.

The man who has followed this for the longest time is Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University. He has created a great deal of embarrassment for the government by his relentless pursuit of the statistical implications of the statistics released by the Congressional Budget Office.

The Congressional Budget Office has a way to avoid this, namely, to cease publishing the statistics that Kotlikoff has used to expose the real condition of the United States government.

Kotlikoff referred to this suppression of information in an article that appeared in Forbes.

The CBO has two sets of books. This is what any Ponzi scheme requires. It releases one set of books to the rubes in the financial media, who are perfectly content to quote from it, when they are even aware of it. This is called the Extended Baseline Forecast or EBF.

The second set of books is called the Alternative Fiscal Scenario or AFS. Here’s how Kotlikoff describes the difference.

In past years, the CBO simultaneously released what it calls its Alternative Fiscal Scenario. This forecast is what CBO actually projects future taxes and spending to be given not just the laws in place, but also how Congress and the Administration have been bending and changing the laws through time. In short, the Alternative Fiscal Scenario (AFS) is what the CBO thinks we’re facing absent a truly dramatic and sustained shift in fiscal policy.

Because of Kotlikoff’s ability to get news coverage for the AFS, the CBO decided this year not to publish it.

Those of us who track U.S. fiscal policy eagerly await each year’s release of the AFS. But this year, the CBO’s long-term forecast included only the EBF. The AFS was nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t mentioned in the CBO’s lengthy report. Nor was it included in the downloadable data CBO provided on its website.

The national media, which generally “covers” fiscal affairs by repeating what it’s told, missed this omission entirely. Indeed, it spent an entire news cycle discussing the EBF figures as if they had real meaning.

The CBO did not get away with this, at least not to the extent that it had hoped. There were complaints. Kotlikoff says that enough people did complain to persuade the CBO to release a summary of the projections in an obscure spot in the CBO’s spreadsheet. The CBO posted this information, but it did not alert the financial media to the update.

He predicted that the link would soon be removed. This was in early October.

The EBF and AFS projections differ dramatically, yet the AFS is hidden away in one tab of one spreadsheet called Supplementary Data, the small link to which will shortly disappear from the CBO’s homepage, making it even harder for we taxpayers to find.

He was correct. It’s gone. It’s “page not found.”

[Ed. Note: We tried accessing the link, but nothing came up.]

He points out that the CBO’s projections on the deficit which it has posted in full public view, namely, the ESB, has the fiscal gap at $47 trillion. Now, just between you and me, $47 trillion is a large chunk of change. But it is such a low-ball estimate that the public has no real conception of how big the liability really is. Of course, the public doesn’t care one way or the other, because the public has never heard of the CBO, let alone the ESB. When I say “public,” I mean the financial media.

Using the AFS figures, the unfunded liability is $205 trillion. This is the figure that the CBO does not want the general public, meaning the financial media, to be aware of.

Understand, this is not the unfunded liabilities added up in all future years. This is the present value of the unfunded liabilities, discounted to today. This means that the government needs $205 trillion, cash on hand, to invest in the private sector, in order to fund its legal liabilities. This is not the deficit long after we are dead. This is the present value of the deficit long after we are dead.

The only fiscal measure that’s free of this classification problem, known as economics labeling problem, is what economists call the infinite horizon fiscal gap. This measure puts everything on the books — all future spending obligations, whether they are called official or not as well as all future tax and other receipts. The difference valued in the present (the present value) of future spending less future receipts is the infinite horizon fiscal gap.

Kotlikoff explains this in layman’s terms. He explains it in terms of the taxing and spending consequences of the present value of the unfunded liabilities. He tells us what must be done today.

The $205 trillion fiscal gap is enormous. It’s 10% of the present value of all future GDP. Equivalently, it corresponds to 10% of GDP year in and year out for as far as the eye can see. To raise 10% of GDP each year we could (a) raise all federal taxes, immediately and permanently, by 57%, (b) cut all federal spending, apart from interest on the debt, by 37%, immediately and permanently, or (c) do some combination of (a) and (b).

The odds of Congress agreeing on a bill to this effect, and then having President Obama sign this bill into law, are a good deal lower than the odds of your winning the state lottery. Three times in a row. One ticket per year.

This is the softcore version that he wrote for Forbes. He released a hard-core version in an interview on the Financial Sense website. He called this a conspiracy. But he made it clear that it is a bipartisan conspiracy.

I sent him [head of the CBO] an email and asked whether he was under some sort of political pressure to withhold this information and he said that was a big insult, and he was very upset with me for suggesting that. But then he said that the reason he hadn’t released it was because they didn’t think anyone was interested. I said, well obviously we’re interested — it’s the only thing worth looking at.

I love it when bureaucrats cover up the obvious. They do not even try to be clever. They give some obviously screwball explanation, and leave it at that. They cannot be fired. We cannot do anything about it.

This has gone on for a long time.

This is a pattern, you know. The Clinton administration — we put out the fiscal gap studies for a couple of years on the President’s budget. The Clinton administration then censored it. The guy who’s now head of the National Economic Council, the Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama, was the one who did the censorship back in 1994. President Bush’s Treasury Secretary O’Neil wanted us to do a fiscal gap accounting for the President’s budget in 2003 and he was fired in December 7, 2002, and that study was censored two days after he was fired.

So, this is not accidental. This is more or less a conspiracy to hide the truth to keep ourselves and our kids in the dark about what the politicians are really doing, which is trying to garner the votes of older people and then get reelected and leave a bigger mess for our kids to handle.

Our kids will handle this effectively. They will elect people to Congress who will vote to stop paying the oldsters and their physicians, the vast majority of whom will be dependent on Medicare payments. I call this “stiff the geezers.” I also call it the Great Default. The surviving generations that ran up the liabilities will bear the brunt of the pain, as well they should.

There is no way out, other than default. This will have profound consequences politically, economically, and socially. It will be the end of the Keynesian welfare state. The Keynesians will be left holding the empty bag.

This is how all Ponzi schemes end. But those deluded souls who buy into them refuse to face statistical reality until the scheme blows up, leaving them empty-handed.

Will they be wiser after the Great Default? It is our job to explain to them what happened. We must begin with this: “We told you so. We also told you why.”


Gary North
for The Daily Reckoning

I’m sure the younger generation will be far less willing to “stiff the geezers” if they are of an alien culture, and different race, and owe no allegiance to the “geezers” or the government, so importing a load of Mexicans, Central American Hispanics, and Muslim Middle Easterners will no doubt fix it all just dandy… /sarc;

In Conclusion

Well, it doesn’t have my usual level of comment an observation, but at least it is out of my browser and queue on on a page for folks to ponder.

Not exactly a pretty picture. European / French and Japanese Nuclear on the skids. Crazy Talk from those who are supposed to be educated. Financial games to stratospheric heights on the USA side. Folks needing to ‘roll their own’ security appliances since Governments have run wild. Kinda makes that “crazy stuff” about Antarctica look tame in comparison…

Well, welcome to Tax Day…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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14 Responses to Grab Bag – Tax Day 2017

  1. omanuel says:

    Sixteen years ago, on 17 April 2001, Paul Kazuo Kuroda died before this conclusion has been told:

    CONCLUSION: “This paper is meant to be suggestive only.”

    “We are at the beginning of a new awakening to reality and know only a little.”

    “More will be revealed if we selflessly practice the basic principles of science for the benefit of humanity,”

    “as exemplified by the life and career of Paul Kazuo Kuroda.”

    Real science will be our path back, from darkness into sunlight 🌞.

  2. Zeke says:

    Very humorous remarks through out. Hugely funny ending.

    You know, reading this academic psychological Spiral model, I wonder if the young people on the internet don’t have a shorthand name for the many cultural and economic top-down manipulations of society: isn’t all of this what they mean by the ‘Luminatti?

    Maybe that is a helpful connection, but maybe it isn’t (:

  3. jim2 says:

    I bet we could make a fortune selling those people spiral antennas.

  4. Zeke says:

    Turquoise – Holistic (Origin: 1970s)

    The final stage we can identify is an integrative stage that combines an organism’s necessary self-interest with the interests of the communities and subsystems in which it participates. The theory is still forming, but the turquoise tend to understand the world as fully integrated, with the individual contributing to the social as the social contributes to the individual in a kind of seamless whole.

    Be sure to pronounce it tur-QUAHZ

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    Are you sure that people/society are going UP that spiral?
    Could we instead be sliding down into the brown stuff?

  6. E.M.Smith says:


    Oooh! Yeah! Two per hat, one on each side… ;-)


    Glad you liked it. BTW, I added a line at the top of the end… about the notion of (having told us not to have any children to “save the planet”) the likely success of importing a load of foreigners to pay tax debts in our old age…

    @Graeme No3:

    Oh Dear! “Brown” is such an ordinary color… I think you meant Taupe:

    Taupe, otherwise known as beige-brown, is a dark tan color in-between brown and gray. The word derives from the French noun taupe meaning “mole”.

    or maybe Camel? Perhaps Mocha or Coco?…

    I note that their “system” completely ignores the very deep history of the rise of Empires and Civilizations, and their inevitable decay and collapse. That we only managed to reinvent Roman Cement in the 1800s and even now it lasts 2000 years while our concrete is usually up for replacement in 100 years or less. ( They rammed a damp mix so the product does not suffer water intrusion and erosion, we pour a wet mix that, when dry, slowly erodes…) Similarly Roman Law and Culture has been the foundation for millennia of other law and a continent or two of cultures. I doubt the products of the USA Congress or EU will have such a lasting legacy, and I’m pretty sure that the likes of Wheel Of Fortune and Kiss will not leave a 1000 year cultural legacy … not to mention 50 cent and rap…

    So, OK, I can see that we need a 9th Level… the Taupe / Camel (dung?) level for the epitome of modern evolution…

  7. jim2 says:

    We can tell them the spiral antenna captures colors in the complex plane, invisible to humans. This has two advantages: 1) It lends a mystical aire to the antenna and 2) it’s the truth.

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    Oh, and that it captures all of horizontal, vertical, and elliptical polarization. That sounds cool too! (Stress that linear thinking antennas don’t capture spiral elliptical polarization…)

  9. j martin says:

    “The $205 trillion fiscal gap is enormous. It’s 10% of the present value of all future GDP. Equivalently, it corresponds to 10% of GDP year in and year out for as far as the eye can see. To raise 10% of GDP each year we could (a) raise all federal taxes, immediately and permanently, by 57%, (b) cut all federal spending, apart from interest on the debt, by 37%, immediately and permanently, or (c) do some combination of (a) and (b).”

    Those are impressive numbers. Just need some estimate of when the default will take place, but I guess that’s the $64,000 question.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @J Martin:

    There are two other traditional options:

    1) Have a war and wipe out your banker.

    2) Inflate like crazy, print some $ Trillion bills, and pay the debt with them.

    My expectation is #2. Keep borrowing as long as rates are cheap. When they stop being cheap, pay off the loans by printing… The only real loser is the lender, as the people and country were broke anyway…

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well with the exception of all the people who have not prepared for that and think they have financial worth, and end up sitting on a street corner trying to sell their kids toys to buy food like happened in Russia in the early 1990’s.

    But yes that is the most likely solution, keep kicking the can down the road until it gets run over by a truck then start over.

  12. philjourdan says:

    The problem with the “hodge-podge” posts, is that inevitably, most comments are about the last item. But at least some are about the earlier items.

    I was going to comment on the rainbow psychobabble, but then my mind spiraled down to the brown taupe level. Of course the $205t has been thrown around a lot (not that number, but one equally mind numbing). I agree that option 2 is the most likely. Maybe we should save all those Zimbabwe notes. That way, we would not have to reprint them when it does happen.

  13. Bob Smith says:

    The “spiral dynamics” idea reminded me of “the 100th monkey” misdirection some years (decades) back with a similar concept of enough belief creating change through undefined psychic methods.

  14. Jason Calley says:

    RE default and “There are two other traditional options:
    1) Have a war and wipe out your banker.
    2) Inflate like crazy, print some $ Trillion bills, and pay the debt with them.”

    There is also, of course, just the simple “Yeah we promised to pay you but we can’t. You just made a bad deal. If you want to fight us it will be a bad decision. Get over it.”

    Also, there is the sell off of governmental properties such as public lands, public timber, mining rights, fishing rights, port access, and intellectual properties.

    Include raising taxes until the people groan (even more).

    There is even the possibility of releasing (hypothetical) secret technology currently being held for military usage as a way to jump start increased national productivity. (OK, that’s a long shot!)

    My guess? Probably we will see some combination of all those possibilities (except maybe the “secret technology” part). It ain’t going to be pretty…

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