May 05, 2016

Warm and fuzzy feelings

Well, not in this post. Sorry. It's really depressing.

Obama's real goal in his presidency was to end the "American Century". The goal was to reduce the United States from being "the last remaining super power" to being just one nation among many, no more important or influential (or rich!) than any other. His foreign policy has been to damage our allies and build up our enemies, to try to level the playing field, and let the world know they cannot rely on us for anything from now on. His domestic policy has been to weaken our economy so that we are no longer the 600 pound canary in world trade.

And though he hasn't totally succeeded at this, he's left behind a huge time bomb that's going to finish the job in one year or ten or twenty: a $20 trillion national debt.

Debt service is no joke. Right now it's affordable but only because the Fed is keeping interest rates at 0%. If interest rates return to something like historical norms, say about 5%, the US Government will owe a trillion dollars a year just on debt service, before it does anything else.

That isn't economically possible on a balanced budget without ridiculous tax hikes beyond even the dreams of the most avaricious socialist, so it means that immense budget deficits will never end, which itself is a cascading failure since increasing the total debt in turn increases each year's debt service payments. And there will come a time when that is also no longer possible because no one will bid at the T-bill auctions. So the Fed will have to run the printing presses -- which in fact they're already doing, calling it "quantitative easing".

The Fed has actually been doing some of this for decades. When the board of governors think they need to increase the money supply, the way they do it is to create new money out of thin air, and use it to buy T-bills on the open market. But starting with the Great Recession, the rate at which they've been doing this has drastically increased. Part of the reason they did that was that they were trying to prevent Deflation, and they mostly succeeded. But now they can't stop or even crank back on doing this, and it's going to backfire eventually.

In the long run what this means is that the US dollar will collapse. The only question is how long it's going to take. And when it happens, it will complete the job Obama has begun, no matter who is president or which party is in power or what they think their foreign and domestic policy should be. America will suffer runaway inflation, and nothing can prevent it.

After which, the dollar will no longer be a "reserve currency" anywhere in the world, and international trade will no longer be done primarily in dollars, and there will be a lot of other consequences like capital flight, a total disruption of American foreign trade (both selling and buying), and, probably, political unrest. I'm not sure it leads to a revolution but stranger things have happened. It's not impossible it could lead to one or more wars.

The only thing I'm sure about is that it won't be pleasant, and for most of the population it will be more painful than the Great Depression was. The majority of Americans will go through a substantial decline in living standard.

By the way, the US government can't repudiate its debt. The 14th Amendment includes this:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

The US has to keep paying interest on the debt, and in the long run the only way that will be possible is with massively inflated dollars.

Anyway, this catastrophe pretty much can't be prevented. And sad to say, this is part of why I think this year's election isn't really as important as a lot of people do. We're already past the point of no return, no matter who gets elected.

UPDATE: So what should individuals do? Buying gold isn't any answer; that won't be liquid enough, for one thing. If we reach the "wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread" stage, there is one thing that will be liquid enough to be used as an alternative to cash.

Everyone should buy one or more guns, and in particular stock up on ammunition, and keep stocking up, faster than you are using it. When we reach the point where no one will accept $billion dollar notes for anything, they'll still accept a handful of 9 mm cartridges in barter. Because the utility and value of cartridges will be obvious to everyone in an environment where traditional law and order are breaking down.

I can see a time when that becomes the only useful currency in this country and the more boxes of it you have in your closet, the better off you'll be.

And if I'm wrong, you'll still be able to use that ammunition yourself or sell it to friends for whatever we will be using for money by that point.

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Cheesecake: I'm Sorry! I'm Sorry!

Today's search term is "yandere", because everyone needs a bit of excitement in their life.

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"You sent for me, sensei?"

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"You sent for me, admiral?"

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May 04, 2016

And so, it begins

I have to admit I'm having fun reading all the weeping and gnashing of teeth by conservatives about the fact that Cruz and Kasich just dropped out of the race, leaving Trump unopposed.

Me, I can't say I ever supported Trump. Actually, the candidate I wanted was Walker, but he dropped out last summer. But I don't think Trump is quite the full-scale disaster a lot of other people think. His bad aspects are legion and obvious and I won't bother talking about them because lots of other people will be doing so. But there are good things here, too. Let's take a look.

1. He can beat Hillary. Hillary is an astoundingly weak and vulnerable candidate and Trump hasn't let loose with the big cannons on her yet. He's saving his ammunition (and there is plenty of it) for the general election campaign. Her problems start with the FBI investigation but they don't stop there.

2. If Trump wins, he won't be in thrall to big contributors.

3. Trump is willing to fire people if he thinks they aren't performing well. Don't underestimate how important this is.

4. Trump doesn't care about bad press. He's been getting wall-to-wall negative press coverage since the campaign began and if anything it seems he loves it.

5. If Trump is elected, heads all over Europe will explode.

6. Trump is a capitalist. Yeah, he's said things about raising taxes on the rich and so on; that's the zeitgeist. But unlike someone like Sanders, Trump works for a living and has spent his whole life in the business world. Maybe he's not the best businessman on the planet (he's gone bankrupt twice, isn't it?) When it really comes down to it though, that's where his mind is.

7. Unlike Obama, Trump wants America to be strong. Obama's foreign and domestic policy during his presidency was to end the "American Century", to reduce America to being just another nation in the world. Obama wanted to strengthen enemies, weaken friends, and bring about a level playing field in the world. Trump won't do that; he likes winning and sees nothing wrong with that.

8. Trump is totally politically incorrect. He doesn't care about safe spaces or micro-aggressions; he thinks that political correctness is stupid. He says what he thinks even if it offends someone. He's willing to insult people. SJW heads will be exploding, too. I think 4 years of Trump will kill off that movement.

9. The Republican establishment is about to take it in the teeth. The voters are pissed at them and Trump is going to deliver the message to them. This was as much a vote against RINOs as it was a vote for Trump.

10. And finally: they say you can know a man by his enemies. Trump has the right enemies, as far as a lot of voters are concerned.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 12:22 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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HaiFuri -- ep 4

I stopped watching this after the second episode and I'm not even downloading it any more. But Random Curiousity is following it, and they have a writeup for ep 4.

And apparently we have an explanation for why everyone has gone nuts: mutant mind-control hamsters. The reason it hasn't affected Harekaze is because it's got a cat on board.

Which means this series is now officially Idiotic.

(Oh, and I finally figured out that haifuri is short for high school fleet.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 03:11 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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May 02, 2016

Bakuon!! -- ep 5

Last episode was an onsen, and even so I think this episode was even more ecchi. And Hane wins the episode. Prepare yourself!

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But first a bit of trivia. A couple of days ago I noticed that Rin's seiyuu also did the voice of Lelei in GATE. She sure is versatile; they're nothing at all alike! (Besides which, it gives me an excuse for putting Rin at the top of this post.)

(UPDATE: Apologies. I flipped the image so it would fit better in the site format. That's why the Suzuki logo is backward.)

Morning in Hokkaido. It's summer so sunrise must be about 5 AM. Hane is up for it and makes herself a cup of coffee, into which she puts four cubes of sugar. Blech. (I drink my coffee black.)

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And they spend a night at a cheap inn, and have... problems... with one of their teachers who happens to be there, too. I'm not going to say any more about it except to say that laws got broken.

So they finally reach the dock and take the ferry home. So now it's time to clean their bikes!

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And everything else is below the fold because a lot of it is pretty seriously NSFW.

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Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 07:49 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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Cheesecake: Victory!

Today's keyword is the shortest possible: "v". I remember reading a blog entry a few years ago by a young guy who wondered, "Why are all those girls making the peace sign?" and I sighed and shook my head.

The Japanese learned that from American GI's after the war, and to the Americans it meant "V for Victory!" In the 1960's the hippies decided that it should mean "peace" as a protest against the Viet Nam war, and apparently this guy (who was probably born after 1980) learned it that way.

But to Japanese school girls, it doesn't mean either of those things. For them it means "I'm hamming it up for a camera" and that's pretty much all.

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May 01, 2016

Cheesecake -- All rise!

Today's search term is "American flag bikini". Turns out that this mostly resulted in characters from Kancolle, Girls Und Panzer and, oddly enough, Touhou. There's a character in Touhou who is dressed like a jester except her costume is stars and stripes, so inevitably fan artists portrayed her in a stars-and-stripes bikini, not to mention other Touhou characters.

So, on with the show.

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I gather that this is BB-61 Iowa from Kancolle. Not too much of a surprise that an American capital ship would be portrayed as a big-breasted blonde.

(UPDATE: No, it's Kay from Girls und Panzer. That's a Sherman tank behind her, not the gun turret of a battleship. My mistake.)

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And apparently this is USS Archerfish and USS Albacore, American fleet submarines during the war. (I don't know which is which.)

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April 30, 2016

Just some random stuff

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I'd love to try this but I don't think I could maintain a straight face. (Shamelessly stolen from Ace of Spades.)

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And this is for Lewis Hamilton, who is having a world-record run of miserable luck this season in F1.

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it's enemy action." -- Auric Goldfinger

Watch your back, Lewis!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 04:44 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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April 29, 2016

Cheesecake: the power of Nature

Today's search term is "wind lift", the result of a fortuitous action of the elements on a cute girl wearing a skirt.

You know, as common as this is in anime, I've never seen it in real life, and I don't know anyone who claims to have seen it. There used to be a fun-house at the Oregon State Fairground but it burned down in the 1960's. But it had a place inside it where there were air-jets in the floor being run by an employee, and if a girl in a loose dress or skirt walked over it he'd blast air and lift it. Me, I was too young then (grade school) to really appreciate it. Discounting that, I've never seen this. I guess it's one of those things like accidental-compromising-position which are common in anime because of wish fulfilment even though they never happen IRL.

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April 28, 2016

Beware the frumious panda-snatch!

A bomb threat isn't really funny no matter when or where it happens, but some are more bizarre than others.

In Baltimore there is (as I type this) a man wearing a panda suit who is threatening to blow up the building which contains the studios of the local Fox-TV affiliate.

So obviously he's a fruitcake, and it's unlikely he really has a bomb, but still the cops have to play it straight. Here's hoping no one gets shot before it's all over.

UPDATE: Apparently the worst is over. He got shot and has been taken to a hospital. There was a "device" and it's being investigated by the bomb squad.

UPDATE: His "bomb" was candy bars with wiring and a random circuit board. The flash drive he was trying to proffer turned out to contain tinfoil-hat info about astronomy.

He was shot several times by the police but hasn't died and isn't expected to.

Latest info is on this Twitter account, for the moment. At this point I would say this guy goes into the "lone nutcase" folder.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 11:34 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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