Monday, December 24, 2018

A TRUMPIAN CHRISTMAS? LET'S HOPE NOT

Is Donald Trump laying the groundwork for the destruction of democracy, and the rise of fascism around the world? You be the judge. But one thing's clear. He definitely doesn't appeal to anyone's better angels, and surely doesn't work to create the Christmas spirit ...


- Mark

CLASSIC CHRISTMAS EVE FOR 2018

Below are a couple of Christmas classics, courtesy of Charles Schultz. A reminder of what Christmas is all about ...



This is the Peanuts' Christmas Dance (I dance like the guy in Orange) ...



Merry Christmas.

- Mark

MERRY CHRISTMAS / DANCE FOR YOUR KIDS

This is a year old, but I just found it, and it's worth sharing. Merry Christmas ...


- Mark

Saturday, December 22, 2018

THE FORCES SHAPING OUR FUTURE


Did you know that the world has amassed $247 trillion in debt, including $63 trillion borrowed by central governments? The U.S. leads the world with over $20 trillion in debt, which accounts for roughly 31% of the world's debt load. 
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A discussion of global debt loads, and "8 Major Forces Shaping the Future of the Global Economy" can be found by clicking here

For the click averse, the 8 major forces are ...

1. TECHNOLOGY: Data is now "far more valuable than physical, tangible objects."

2. THE EVOLUTION OF MONEY: The key here is regardless of what form money takes, "people are borrowing record amounts of it."

3. THE WEALTH LANDSCAPE: While it's expected that the United States will produce about 17.9% of global economic growth between 2017 and 2019, China will accumulate about 35.2% of global growth in the same period. One more thing: 86% of millennial investors are interested in sustainable investing, and put 2 times more money in such causes.

4. EASTERN PROMISES: Not only is Asia rising, but China has countless cities cities with higher economic productivity than entire countries. One more thing: By 2029 there will be more people in China's middle class than there are people in the U.S.
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5. ACCELERATING TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS: In real simple terms, "when it comes to technological progress, the rate of change ... is actually getting faster and faster." 

6. THE GREEN REVOLUTION: In two decades wind and solar energy will make up almost half of all installed electrical capacity. 

7. SHIFTING HUMAN GEOGRAPHY: By 2050, the world will have about 10 billion people. While population trends will stabilize in the west and in China, "on the African continent and across the rest of Asia, booming populations ... will translate into the growth of megacities, holding upwards of 50 million people."  
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8. THE TRADE PARADOX: While consensual trade makes sense, protectionism is always lurking in the background. When trade barriers have risen global tensions have increased, World War I, the Great Depression, and Word War II as the most recent examples. Put another way, the U.S. needs to rethink Trump's "America First" stupidities (this isn't me speaking, it's history whispering in our ear).

For a broader discussion on these topics, click here.

- Mark 

Friday, December 21, 2018

A HISTORY OF GLOBAL POWER, THROUGH 1931

Via Virtual Capitalist we get a 4,000 year history of the distribution of global power. The fact that the United States appears at the bottom, provides (or should provide) some perspective on historical trends. Put another way, nothing lasts forever.

Click here for a ginormous graphic that you can actually read. 



- Mark



REAGAN'S WORDS ARE GOLDEN, AND LOST ON TRUMP AND HIS SUPPORTERS

Congratulations Donald Trump. Your border and deportation policies are turning Ronald Reagan into man of vision and dreams ... and a person Trump supporters would would turn their backs on today.


- Mark

Thursday, December 20, 2018

THE WORLD CONTINUES TO MOCK TRUMP

Vladimir Putin all but congratulated Donald Trump for doing his bidding (again) in Syria. Not to be outdone, North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, effectively said, "Hey, I lied to his face about nukes, and I don't even have the pee pee video ...".



Seriously, the world is openly mocking Trump, in real time, and his supporters think he's some kind of geo-strategic genius.

The big winners today? You guessed it. Iran, Russia and Syria's Assad. 

Let's hope Trump's some kind of idiot savant on this one.

Sigh ...

- Mark

Monday, December 10, 2018

TRUMP'S PAINTING HIMSELF INTO A CORNER

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- Mark

MASTERING OBJECTS AND SPACE IS STEP ONE

If you can't master this ...


you're not going to be able to tackle this ...

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and suit

- Mark

LOS ANGELES COUNTY HAS A LARGER POPULATION THAN AT LEAST 40 STATES

In the FYI category ... below, in blue, are the states that have a smaller population than Los Angeles county (in red).
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For the record, Los Angeles county has a population of 10.16 million.

- Mark

Thursday, December 6, 2018

THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS


The jumps are just incredible ...


- Mark

EXXON KNEW ... THE INDUSTRY KNEW

We're often told that if we let industry and market players do what they do best - commerce and trade - that society will be better off because the profit motive corrects market players who do the wrong thing. In the long run inefficiencies are removed, and society is better off if we just let market players run the place. Legislation bad, regulations worse. Market players good, profits even better. The mentality is really that simple.

The reality is quite different, as this clip about Exxon's role in scrubbing the truth makes clear.


For those of you who are actually interested in the topic, and the broader societal issues that we must tackle if we're going to fix things, you might want to take a look at "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warning" (2011).


Every time I use this book in my Senior Seminar class (the last three years) the response is always encouraging and inspiring. The book might be somewhat of a technical read for some, but it's an excellent introduction to an important topic that goes beyond the current abuse and prostitution of the scientific method that we see going on for financial gain.

Simply put, big commercial interests will not do the right thing if it means losing markets or market share, and if they can create doubt around an issue that science has pretty much settled. This is what leads market players, like Exxon, to doing what they can to create doubt about the truth. 

Left alone, what's happening now is going to suffocate the planet in the process.

- Mark

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

ONE ROAD TRIP I WON'T BE TAKING

I don't know where these people are going, but I have to imagine it's really not that important ...


- Mark

OUR "SILENCE OF THE LAMBS" PRESIDENT

So Trump didn't want to meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Argentina because of "events in Ukraine" and, oddly enough, has nothing to say about Putin and Saudi Arabia's emerging, and high-profile, bromance. I wonder why  ...


- Mark

"THERE'S NOT A SMOKING GUN, THERE'S A SMOKING SAW" ... SEN. GRAHAM ON THE KHASHOGGI MURDER


- Mark