Monday, November 7, 2016

Q&A - 7/11

News

At the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting here last week, Chinese officials and experts delivered a clear and unequivocal message to the visiting Westerners: China will not take any steps against Pyongyang that might increase the chance of a confrontation with the North Korean regime or encourage regime change on China’s border.

Who says anything about regime change?

It is enough to change the head of the regime. In summary, someone needs to calm these effers down, their current trajectory is no good for anyone. If China  wants to project power and influence, they can start with their next-door neighbor. That's all we are saying.

First step, invasion. Topple the Kim family. Then you install some lackey, some motherflocker like Tung (Hong-Kong), some square, I-ll-do-as-you-say, brass tax, gray suit, boring, thick-headed son of a bitch, but that's okay. Trough this guy China  gradually transforms N. Korea to be a functioning market based economy, at the very least a mini-China, close to China. Korean unification would be better, but China-controlled N. Korea is more preferable than today's N. Korea.

D. Chump

Everytime they [FED] lower the interest rates, the cartel [he means OPEC ..] raises the oil prices.

Err, no

Rate cut can cause dollar depreciation, oil is priced in dollars, cheaper dollar -> more expensive oil. Why does this jackass keeps seeing neferious plots everywhere? See economist Taylor's comment. Here are some other factors in play.

NYT

Someday the British court ruling on Brexit may be studied as a milestone in parliamentary democracy [..] On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the High Court unanimously ruled that since Parliament voted in 1972 to join the predecessor of the E.U., the government cannot withdraw from the union without Parliament’s approval, even though 51.9 percent of voters backed a departure in a June 23 referendum. [..] A mantra of the Leave campaigners was that Britain has ceded too much authority to Brussels, and that the British Parliament needed to “take back control” over British affairs. The court’s ruling follows this logic — that only Parliament has the power to alter British law and therefore only it can choose to leave the bloc [..]

Although there will be an appeal, the lower court’s decision already underscores what the Brexit process and other populist movements in Europe and the United States have demonstrated: that elected officials in representative democracies abrogate their responsibility for tough decisions at their own peril, and at peril to their country. Britain’s Supreme Court may come to a different interpretation of legal precedent, but the political lesson is not likely to change.

Yes

Even though referendums seem democratic at first sight, there are few problems with them. At its core, a referendum is a question posed to the public, they are asked, and they answer. However, the governing party defines what that question is, and they choose the time for the question to be asked, which usually means a time most suitable for their needs. They tend not to ask a question which they know will receive a negative answer. In this case referendum is a charade. Another scenario is governing party defines question, chooses time, but botches it up so badly which becomes a huge issue in governance (see Columbia FARC deal, or Brexit). Only in a third scenario an enlightened question is asked without tactical timing, and it is general and detailed enough the public can answer, and they answer good. But one out of three scenarios ain't too great.

Question

If public views are a mere reflection of the thought leaders, what use is there for the press, whistleblowers, etc?

Because all thought leaders should see all relevant information

The more of them know, the better they can inform the rest. Also all thought leaders should be able to have the chance to influence all of the public.

Surely the whole decision making process is not entirely one-way street - there is a complicated song-and-dance between consumers of ideas and the generators of it, but in the direction of  the public ->  thought leaders, it is mostly about hearing about the grievances, not fully-formed ideas. It's like a doctor and her patient - the patient might say "my ass hurts, I believe I have a problem in my asshole" the doctor can diagnose "you have an ear infection". It is important to hear the complaint, but not necessarily the self-diagnosis.

This is of course the situation in the context of today's representative setup - different schemes are possible, but they most likely will not require the ruling elite, or the thought leaders - at least not in the capacity they are being utilized today. I say let's use the current system properly for as long as possible.

Russian Businessman

“Unfortunately, westerners don’t understand that Putin is a reflection of the Russian person,” he says. “Westerners for some reason think there’s some kind of Russian society here that wants something else, and that Putin is preventing this and, if he’s not here any more, then something will change. But this is not the case.” [echoing the old argument that people get the ruler they deserve]

You don't get it honcho

The point of the elite based system is that you should get better than what you deserve. Americans deserve Dubya, or JFK, but they were blessed with Reagan, Clinton, or Abraham frickin Lincoln, not to mention all of the the founders. If the random jackass off the street gets the top job, what's the point of having that top job?

Health Apocalypse Now

Link Much of my time for the past year has been spent navigating the medical maze on behalf of my mother, who has dementia. I obser...