Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Blue Bus Is Calling Us

     Zeez European politicians unt economists all zound like rocket scientists wiss all zeir charming euro-chatter. But zey must be quite dumb to machen zuch an unglaublich scheiße sturm of zee système financier. Che cazzo è?
     Surely all the pretending nears its dire conclusion. Everybody is broke and everybody is in hock up to his prefrontal lobes and everybody is whirling around the drain over in the grand continental theme park of lovely cities and great eats. I'm sorry, but I don't see how they can stop the hemorrhaging as we slide into the season of holiday enchantment. 
     Every bank (and its uncle) is dumping everybody's sovereign bonds as though they were discovered to be croissants imported from a leper colony. Feh...! Folks of all stripes and accents desperately seek to move their money to some safe harbor - but where is this cozy mooring? To the US for the moment perhaps; but what happens Monday morning when the markets react to the weekend news that the US Senate super-committee has been utterly unable to agree on decisive action that would forestall the scheduled massive automatic budget cuts built into this red-white-and-blue doomsday machine - not to mention the ratings agencies threats to knock UST-paper down another notch upon such failure. Oy yoy yoy!
     Just to be plain here: nothing is working. The global system of accounting control fraud has completely unraveled. Nobody will lend money to anybody anymore because everybody suspects everybody else is lying about their ability to meet any obligation. The whole world has become a daisy chain of schnorrers and schmiklers. All those hundreds of trillions of dollars in credit default swap insurance (ha!). Worthless and pointless, because now that a Greek default of at least 50 percent, officially, has failed to ignite a payout, then no default will. Instead, you'll just get cascades of un-hedged defaults. All the lawyers who ever lived could litigate until the sun turns into a red dwarf and they will never resolve these swindles, and the money represented in them will be so far gone that not even Ray Kurzweil in full Singularity mode will encounter a trace of it in his eternal travels through a zillion parallel universes.
     So much for the hedge fund industry. I hope the folks who ran those cute operations enjoyed their years in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Saddle River, New Jersey, because in a few weeks they'll be disguising themselves as OWSers in some makeshift urban encampment in order to line up for three-day-old bagels. Personally, I look forward to test-driving a few $5000 "must-sell" pre-owned Lamborghini Sesto Elementos, not that I'd actually buy one. The nimble might even score some bargain beachfront property in the Hamptons. 
     It's been about a fortnight now since John Corzine's MF Global fund went up in a vapor, including a reported $800 million or so (rumored to be actually more like $2+ billion) filched out of clients portfolios that cannot be accounted for - though there are additional rumors that it constituted a batch of collateral that was liquidated a micro-second after its arrival at JP Morgan, which had lent Corzine's firm enough money to buy the rope that it hung itself with. Notice, the story has completely disappeared from the mainstream news media (while the Kardashians soldier on).
    Even poor Gerald Celente, chief of the Trends Journal forecasting group, arch-nemesis of "the white-shoe boys" got snookered in the action when MF Global somehow ended up with custodial care of the Gold ETFs Gerald was collecting and his shit just vanished! I heard him fulminating over it on a podcast and he is not somebody I'd want to be on the bad side of. Up until now, Celente was only commenting on the prospects for revolution in the streets. Now, I daresay, he'll be out in front leading it (or perhaps rappelling down Jamie Dimon's security wall with a straight razor clenched in his teeth).
     The MF Global case has fast-tracked the evaporation of trust in all the places, large and small, where American One-percenters stash their cash. The redemption orders must be flying through their transoms like radioactive black swans. By lunchtime tomorrow this could include all the TBTF banks. That's what the pundits mean by "contagion." Where will that money go now (if they can get it out)?
     I don't see where else it can go now except to shiny yellow and white metal, and maybe some oil positions. But the mechanisms of the precious metals trade have also been monkeyed with, and you'd best be careful where you place your order. As for oil, if lending really does seize-up, then letters-of-credit will not be issued and tankers will not be moving any product. More to the point, the global revolving debt system has depended on colossal transfers of ultra-short-term borrowed money. If short-term borrowing is simply unavailable, things could go south very quickly - and by that I mean food stops arriving at the supermarkets, which hold just a three-day supply. Wouldn't that make for an interesting Thanksgiving?
     I have admittedly painted an extreme picture this week. But this week presents the most extreme convergence of events the world has seen since September of 2008, and perhaps a good bit worse.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dickens of a Christmas ongoing in downtown McKinney...
complete with fake snow!...LOL...
thru Sunday 10-6...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

McKinney's Equine unit a few years back...

Saturday, November 19, 2011


     The Penn State football sex scandal, and the depraved response of the university community at all levels, tells whatever you need to know about the spiritual condition of this floundering, rudderless, republic and its ignoble culture.
     For nine years, head coach Joe Paterno covered up a grad student's report of having witnessed former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the athletic department's shower room. The grad student, Mike McQueary, didn't bother to call the police. He was later hired as Paterno's defensive coordinator. Two other Penn State administrators were informed about the rape and let the incident slide, after which Sandusky went on to a lively career in serial child homosexual rape. For many years after the witnessed incident, he was permitted regular access to Penn State's gyms, fields, and locker rooms, while cherry-picking victims from his own foundation, Second Mile, for needy children.
     The intersection of America's fake warrior culture of football with the nation's fake moral and ethical culture is instructive. It has many levels, like a convoluted freeway intersection of on-ramps, off-ramps, and merge-ramps. 
     First is the pretense that college football is a character-building endeavor. Rather it's an odious money-grubbing racket that chews up and spits out quasi-professional players who, with rare exceptions, only pretend to be students. It corrupts everyone connected with it. College football is little more than a giant conduit for vacuuming money out of alumni, hawking brand merchandise, and generating TV revenues. At Penn State, the racket sucked in about $70 million a year net profit. All over America, the old land-grant diploma mills pay their coaches million-dollar salaries, while academic adjunct professors can't even get health insurance. At SUNY-Albany, the flagship campus of New York's system, they got rid of the department of foreign languages, but the football team plays on. Meanwhile ordinary students rack up tens of thousands of dollars in unpayable college debt via a related racket in which free-flowing government-backed Sallie Mae loan money prompts colleges to boost tuition rates way beyond inflation rates.
     Then there is the merge-ramp between religion and football. Was I the only person revolted by video of the phony "prayer" session held in the Penn State stadium just before Saturday's "big game" with the University of Nebraska? Players from both teams led by Jesus-shouting cheerleaders affected to "pray" for Jerry Sandusky's rape victims, an exercise that was joined and legitimized by the crowd with all the passion of a Nuremberg rally. When that easy little ritual was out of the way they could settle back and enjoy the game's ersatz heroics with a clear conscience, and the tailgate barbeques that followed. A genuine sense of collective shame would have produced a different course of events - for instance cancelling the game, maybe the rest of the season, or perhaps even the entire football program in plain recognition of how foul and corrupt it is. That decision would have been up to the university's board of trustees and tells you all you need to know about corporate leadership in America today. 
     Perhaps even more disgusting than the pre-game prayer show was the rash of demonstrations the night the story broke. These weren't about shame and repentance, just violent displays of sanctimonious "moral" support for an entire system in disgrace. Do you suppose these people could not have endured a night or two of uncomfortable silent reflection. And why didn't the new president, or any other campus executive, make a pubic statement that all the prideful carrying-on was indecent?  I wonder how many of the same students will be ground down to dust by the weight of their unpayable college loans.
     Equally disgusting was the cable news media's wall-to-wall coverage of the Penn State story, as if there weren't other important events going on in the world - for instance the resignation of two European prime ministers due to a political crisis that could sink the global economic system. CNN turned the Penn State story into an instant reality-TV show, with play-by-play action and spin-o-rama scenario-flogging aimed mainly, it seemed, at how Coach Joe Paterno might manage to wiggle out of culpability in the civil lawsuits that are sure to dog him now until the end of his days.
     What the public doesn't know is how soon the sun will be setting on these giant universities in their entirety - football, classrooms, alumni golden circles, and all - as we enter the age of intense energy and capital scarcities. Remember: institutions, just like living organisms, often reach their greatest scale just before they go extinct. Resource constraints would be enough to get the job done, but it's interesting to see how our programming failures and internal moral contradictions have reached the last limits of flamboyant grotesquerie in the same exact moment.
     This is a nation with psychological boundary problems in every realm - the family, the school, the government, the corporation, the diocese, the police station, you name it. Meanwhile the so-called fine arts branch of our culture valorizes "transgressive" behavior - as if there were any behavioral boundaries left to cross. Maybe Jerry Sandusky should be sentenced to a one-man show at the Whitney Museum. Then just wait a week or so: we'll get Jeffrey Dahmer, the Musical on Broadway.
     Every new day that dawns lately gives further proof that we are a wicked people who deserve to be punished.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last weekend was 2nd Saturday with a lot going on in the Square...a goodly number of people came in to see Brian Magnuson's "Cowboys of the Grand Canyon-the Winter Series" show at Laura Moore Fine Art Studio...if you missed it make time to go see it before it comes down in December...

This past weekend was also MAST weekend, and here a couple of students paint in Anne Royer's studio, below some folks checking out the sights and enjoying conversation at Guy Giersch and Pernie Fallon's place...

Another one of the highlights of the weekend was going to see Brian's "Camera Obscura"  presentation at Laura Moore's...all in all a petty good time...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Turkey, TX-the bus over on the right is Bob Wills old touring bus…

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Water is a finite resource...conserve when possible!

This image is of Lake Lavon back in 2006...thinking we don't want to go there again!