March 22, 2009

My take on what happened - I think easy to believe;)

Since I have not been posting very often, mostly because of new back problems and a cold virus which kept me off my feet for over a week, I want to catch up a little with thoughts that have been running through my head. I have been making some comments at other blogs, but haven't mustered the energy to post here. This post consist of comments I made on other blogs.

This comment I made at Gypsy Scholar in response to this post, Professor Jasper Kim on the Financial Crisis, is my take on the financial crisis.

I think it was the speculators that got over their heads, more so than the immigrants and poor people, but blaming those people is so gauche. That did not create the financial crisis, it was that funny paper that banks bought and sold, formerly known as MBS', CDO's, CDS' and other derivatives. People made money hand over fist on these sales and the banks and other financial institutions were stuck with the bad paper, most of it far removed from the original mortgages. Even if every mortgage had been paid, eventually the worthlessness of some paper would have caused failure. No one will say it but Bernard Madoff was not the only one running scams. This is my view of the financial crisis, which I think is as true as anyone else's. I came to this conclusion based on listening to what the economist, bankers and pundits have said, not on any knowledge of economics.
For those not familiar with the acronyms MBS = mortgage backed securities, CDO = collateralized debt obligations, and CDS = credit default swaps .

At another blog, ResurrectionSong, I commented yet again where most think they know what will work to solve the financial crisis. This is a response to another comment.

"I’ve yet to hear one piece of regulation that was axed that contributed to the mess, and I’ve yet to hear one plausible alternate history where this mess wouldn’t have happened. (Emphasis on plausible.) “

You see I have read another blogger who says the opposite, whom should I believe? My common sense tells me that I don’t have enough knowledge to discern that. It also tells me that anything said here as a solution, has a high probability of being as right as the President’s proposals. Its all ideology, because you have no proof as to what will work. We have never seen in our history the exact same problem with opposite solutions. Many say what FDR did prolonged the depression, but there isn’t any proof, just a best guess that fits into a particular ideology.

We live in an era of bullshit, because we do fear the unknown, that outlier.

I also would say this also is an era of financial ignorance. We all have our take on what happened, like me, but like most, I can't propose any solutions. There may be some who know enough to provide a real solution, but we would not recognize it if we saw it? For some that would be because of ignorance and others, because it went contrary to their ideological beliefs. I really wish we could have an unbiased scientific approach to this financial crisis.

Terrorist attack a transformational act?

I was reminded of Ron Silver's death last week and thought of a tribute of another blogger. This said by R. G. Combs.

But after the 9/11 attacks, Silver had the courage and wisdom to rethink his own long-held beliefs, and — despite the hostility of the Hollywood community to which he belonged — he clearly, articulately, and passionately defended his new view of the world time and time again. For that, I greatly admired him. And I'm very sorry that he's gone.
I am thinking why would the attacks of September 11, 2001 push someone to change their political beliefs. There was no label when Al Qaeda claimed the attacks. In all of their messages, I have clearly understood their purpose is to kill Americans. A message also more religious than political. I didn't think infidel meant Democrat or Republican. Osama bin Laden's views of America had been shaped by both Democratic and Republican administrations and policies. Since the Republicans were in charge of the government, who else was going to lead the response, but George W. Bush. His leadership in this could not be compared; for no other president had had the same circumstances. If one admired Bush's response, it could only be to his response as a man, not of his party.

There were a few liberal voices, blaming terrorism on America's policies, but the majority of Democrats gave Bush everything he asked for, until his re-election and much afterward. The world view of the Republican party could not have changed the event, because it was under their administration with their world view that escalated their assistance and armed Osama bin Laden in his fight against the Soviets. Their only concern was to fight the Evil Empire, not the democratization of Afghanistan. If one thought of the Republicans as the only ones with neo-con sensibilities, there were Democrats that were complicit in arming the rebels and osculating the Afghan war with the soviets.

I have given my reasons why I think that one would not have had reason to change their political beliefs, so I can only assume that emotions cause by the attacks on September 11, were so strong that fear became their guiding force. I am one that also believes that neither war in Afghanistan nor Iraq has made us any safer; considering how few people it took to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995 and those people did it for totally different reasons than Al Qaeda.

If beliefs have been held and molded most of ones life, terrorism becomes a transformational act when your intellect has been disturbed, such that your ideas change suddenly; I would say that the terrorist have achieved their purpose.

March 15, 2009

Optical Illusion

The Second Amendment

March 14, 2009

Grubs and Mushrooms

If you view the Astronomy Picture of the Day, everyday, on my sidebar, you eventually get to realize how vast the size of the universe. Man's ego cannot make us small, even though we are. In a religious sense some of us see an end, but that also includes the universe, not just the end of man. The rest of us do not see the end of man as a species. We think our technology, our humanness, that our ability to adapt will kept our species from becoming extinct or at least marginal.

Technology whether simple or complicated require resources. The simple tools of farming; plow, pitchfork, shovel, wagon, and a working animal, can not produce any crop if the soil is spent. When there is virtually little fuel left, it would more likely to use it to keep us warm and for cooking, than for reprocessing or reclamation. Machines will wear out and lie dormant, when parts can't be made to repair them. Innovation can also lie dormant for centuries. We have seen where in certain religious or political climates, innovation has been stifled on purpose.

We never think that this will happen. We think we can change the environment, slow global warning or we don't think of it at all. We hardly ever think of slowing ourselves down. As we grow in population we will pave over topsoil and move our food supply to each country until there is none left. Only in a crisis do we think grow locally. So far the crisis hasn't lasted long to influence all of us. We will shift out energy resources for oil, but when that happens, our use will be as great. Not to worry, there is plenty of wind; not thinking that the transmission of energy still takes its toll on resources, the copper, the fiber, the machines.

There will be creatures that will adapt without technology, that will live in the niches of the environment humans have left. We have to learn that innovation and technology can not always save us or we may fall into that niche, where we will be eating grubs and mushrooms.