Friday, January 23, 2015

The Market:Volatility will run amok and wipe out the steady gains of late

...as the too good to be true maxim has been borne out...
mind numbingly, yet again. Our national (and world) vaycay
from high oil prices at the pump is over, at least for a while.

The King of Saudi Arabia has died this week at the age of
about 90. By the way, he had every right to; it's only a true
tragedy to those who loved and appreciated him, yet they
will count many millions. He served for decades, tried
to (and did) get along with the West, with very different
traditions and practices between our two major, diverse
geographical imperatives and our two nations in particular.
For the most part, he succeeded.

Even as the most influential member of OPEC, ( as Saudi
Arabia has possessed, still might, the world's largest
PROVEN petroleum reserves), their King would not blindly
agree with his fellow Arabs, as they and others often bitterly
complained. A powerful Arab cartel, yes, lockstep unity? --
all across the Arab Nations in the Middle East?--no.
Extremely unlikely I rashly predict. The Bathist dream
will not occur soon. There, tribal, ever-quarrelsome, violent and
destructive behavior is so entrenched, (try for centuries) there
(and here), it is simply accepted because it happens; i.e., it's
dressed up as a legitimate cultural imperative merely because
it is so frequent.  

How can a social, historical phenomenon be boring and
upsetting at the same time? That is my perspective today
...I might be more mellow and understanding tomorrow;
but bank on it at your peril.

Over the next ten days or so, there will be an accumulated
~500 point loss to the DJIA (DOW), and significant losses
all around the world's many other and different exchanges.
Please don't be shocked, it's happened pretty routinely since
911. The country was baptised into the rest of long-standing
Earth historical reality after that, and we are weaker now; most
everybody else but us realizes it.

Generally, people only remember two or three stats of
earth-shaking importance (paradigm shifts.) They often occur
in irregular intervals: "all at once", or once every 100 years,
roughly. I sincerely wish there were "regular shifts" in such
global affairs--alas, no.

Creeping chaos (anarchy, actually) marches on, as the Lemming
season of  Run Amok begins again. Hope I'm wrong.
 

Monday, January 19, 2015

I am Not Charlie--and Neither is Pope Francis

...because we can distinguish between normal free
speech matters and relentless ridicule of a world-wide
religious figure.

Charlie Hebdo simply wants to make its rep by
inflaming passions--even if it incites violence.
What, are they angling for that bad blast back to
the past, religious wars?

Let me explain this so anyone can get it:
some concepts are beyond law or legalities.
Most people will willingly obey ordinary legal
behavior, but many regard their religious
convictions above conventional law. Whether
this is right or wrong I won't debate here--but
this phenomenon is observed fact. Only
dangerous and irresponsible persons persist
in ignoring reality with such tactics.

Charlie Hebdo has no legitimate reason
to spoof  The Prophet, Jesus, Buddha, etc.
(other than cheap, degrading attempts at
humor).  They should confine themselves
to addressing problems of the day, or the
well-known human foibles...but being
unendowed with even my cat's sense of
self-preservation, they probably won't.

I am not Charlie Hebdo, and according to
a recent speech, Pope Francis isn't either.
Some internal media restraint would not
go amiss.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Paris Terror Avenges No One; No Lessons Learned from Earlier Missteps

Paris is on high alert this morning after 12 people were killed
at a magazine office. The terrorists were heard to cry out,
"The Prophet has been avenged." How do they know what
anyone is thinking, much less a long-dead religious figure?
Mind reading is a seldom-accurate endeavor at best. Killing
a few innocent people is a terrible tragedy, but not any
kind of major game-changer, so exactly what revenge do
these murderous idiots feel has been exacted?

The magazine, Charlie Hebdo, didn't particularly help
itself by spoofing the Prophet; the editors, artists and/or
writers apparently paid precious little heed to the similar
newspaper cartoon episode in Denmark a few years
back. Free speech and freedom of the press should
always include a healthy dollop of considered
circumspection--because one is able to do a thing,
is it wise in fact to do it? 

Somewhere, George Santayana is tsk-tsking.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 Will Be One to Watch

I haven't made up my mind what to resolve in 2015, with a few
exceptions. I hope to be clearer, calmer and kinder; on the
political front, I'll be watching the run up to the presidential
election, as well as the conduct of Congressional
Republicans in general.

So here are a few action items of interest in the coming year:

(1) Keep an eye on Russia. The more problematic her
economy, the more she may rattle her sabers.

(2) Support Mr. Obama on his next few intended
vetoes, particularly regarding attacks on the ACA
and the Keystone Pipeline, which will bring the USA
no new energy.

(3) Make sure the Republican Party understands
and supports the U.S. Constitution, especially
Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5, which denies
Sen. Ted Cruz legal standing to become President
of the United States.

(4)  Study the Middle East and push politicians
to advance sane, humane  policies there, which
does not include over-investing and occupations.

Let's keep our eyes open in 2015; it will be one
to watch.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Will Renewed Relations Benefit Cuba--Or the U.S.?

Congratulations to our president for issuing a legacy-
enhancing normalization of relations between our two
countries. But as a Cuban American I am wary,
reflecting on our troubled history there since 1898,
when Spain lost Cuba at the end of the Spanish
American War. Decades of U.S. multinational
corporation dominance in Cuba, Mafia involvement,
some Senators taking a prostitute-filled vaycay from
frumpy wives, etc., all speak to the big bully
browbeating the little guy, Cuba. History is filled with
such examples. Will we go that way again?

I'm trying to remain hopeful, holiday wishes and
dreams being what they are. Perhaps we have
learned the necessary lessons, will be a better
neighbor this time around...

" ' Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Bush Family's Hubris and Greed--A Third Bush President Not What We Need

--For pity's sake! It is time for new political blood in the national
arena, fresh thinking and fresh doing.  Judging by the drop in
excellence as we went from Bush I to Bush II, a Bush III might
well be the worst of all.  Bush I was a decent president, not
given to rash moves and unfortunate hyperbole, as his son
was. Why does this family not retire from the stage? (I feel
the same way about Hilary Clinton, who has had almost every
political job of note.)

Greed and hubris are back of this shameful clutching
at the limelight. We need decent, effortful, principled
and talented people to pilot our ship of state, NOT
stale retreads! Isn't there more imagination and
backbone available to us?

And what makes the  Bushes and the Clintons think
they are the best and the brightest? I rate them
merely mediocre; after all, they have records to
run from.

Ellen Warren and Ed Markey, Massachusetts'
cream of the crop, throw your hats into the ring--
PLEASE.

Monday, December 8, 2014

America's Police Must Respect Life by Obeying the Law

...Or why would the public obey and respect them?  The last two
weeks, with white cops killing unarmed black males, are proof of
the ongoing, shocking inequities between police and African
Americans. I read that rarely has a white cop EVER been charged
in the killing of blacks, nationwide. What kind of double standard
IS this? --Answer: an unjust one, and people are beginning to
rise up against such unethical, immoral and illegal treatment.

The next step is a massive voter registration drive, in places
where blacks are the resident majority but the authority is
mostly white. Nothing will change until the system is more
diverse, take that to the bank. Power, properly directed,
can heal much injustice. Marching in the streets merely
demonstrates unhappiness; we must change those at the top!

Meanwhile, President Obama, working for calm, publicly
reminds the U.S. that things are better than they were
regarding racism. I'm sorry, sir, that is weak, will not do.
Slavery was outlawed in 1865--how long, how many
generations must wait? It is time for the nation's 13%
black population to unite and begin, in a serious
way, to effect elections.

But before then, police must obey the law they are
SWORN to uphold--especially respecting human
life, including African American ones.