Monday, 9 October 2017

North Korea: Should we be worried?

Worried? Moi? Well, yes, a bit. But not for the obvious reasons.

Rocket Boy, Kim Jong-un, isn't going to nuke us all. So far, he can just about manage to get a firework, sorry, missile, over Japan, and he can detonate an H-bomb in a cave. Yay for him, but he still has to put the H-bomb on the end of the missile and make it fly further than the country almost next door; in fact three times as far just to reach Guam which is a meaningless speck in the Pacific, and ten times as far to reach the USA. To reach the UK.... forget it.

Being nuked is not the problem. The problem is that North Korea is nobody's fault.

Let me explain. The world financial system is ready to collapse again, a mere ten years after the last time it collapsed in 2007. The recession of 2007 was caused by a massive debt bubble, itself caused by governments 'fixing' the dot com crash of 2000 by reducing interest rates to make debt more affordable. When the credit crunched in 2007 they reduced interest rates further and printed money in the process know as quantitative easing.

With interest rates on the floor the problem went away for a while, but of course people are greedy and eventually exploited the situation to take on even more debt to buy things they thought would go up; which made asset prices (houses, stocks) soar, which vindicated their decision and made them do it more.

So we need another crash to reset the global economy. Everything needs to fall back to affordability and sensible prices. But no politician is going to let that happen on their watch. No, siree! All politicians just kick the can down the road and pray the next crash happens after they have retired because whoever is holding the ball at the time the fan gets hit gets the blame.

Of course, since high political office is never vacant for long, there will be some politician holding the ball when the debt pile topples over. And what that politician needs, is an excuse - an external factor they can blame for the wrongs of the world; something that absolutely, definitely, could not be their fault. 

Enter, Rocket Boy! Whose fault is he? No-one's. He is a an external factor no-one could have seen coming. (They all saw him coming.) No-one is to blame for Kim Jong-un and so he is going to get the blame for the coming recession. All he needs is a bit of prodding to make him start a war and all the Western leaders have a flat-packed excuse delivered to their front doors.

Stocks falling; house prices falling; currency falling? So, raise interest rates and taxes and cut spending, benefits and pensions - all while pointing the finger at the fat boy. It would be stupid not to.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Las Vegas shooting and the BBC

The bizarre and tragic shooting dead of 58 people by Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas three days ago has the BBC frothing at the mouth. (He also shot himself, making the total dead 59, but that’s not tragic.) Predictably the BBC went from merely reporting the news to making the case for gun control long before the bodies were cold.

Breathless reporters announced that in America “machine guns are freely available”, semi-automatics can easily be converted to fully automatic, and “you can buy as much ammunition as you can afford.”

Of these, only the last is true. Why the BBC is so keen to control guns in a foreign country is not clear. What they never said of course is that if Stephen Paddock had simply rented a truck and driven it through the 22,000-strong crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, he would undoubtedly have killed far more people. In July 2016, Mohammed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel did just that in the Prominade des Anglais park in Nice, France. He killed 86 people.

The inconvenient truth is that gun control would not prevent mass killings, but it would prevent people from defending themselves. Either nobody has guns, or everybody has guns. In the UK, the nobody option just about works. In the USA, if you took away the guns from law-abiding citizens then only the criminals would have guns. Strangely, that seems to be what the Left, including the BBC, wants.

Some will ask, even if you accept self-defence as reason to own a pistol, why should semi-automatic AR-15s be allowed? Surely, they are for crime only? Well, no, they are mainly used for hunting. The technology of a “black gun” the scary guns people want to ban, is no different from that of the “brown” guns – the guns considered respectable. In terms of muzzle velocity and rate of fire, they are the same. But because they look “military” the Left wants them banned.

Regarding true machine guns, they are largely banned in the USA anyway. During the 1980s Ronald Regan banned new machine guns from being registered, so unless you have one dating from back then (now worth $30K-$50K on the open market) you are not getting one. (There are exemptions for dealers authorized to sell to the police and armed forces.)

So, Stephen Paddock did not have any true machine guns. He seems to have had some devices to increase the rate of fire of semi-automatics but that is all.

We do not currently know why Paddock did what he did. He does not match the profile of a mass shooter. He was rich, mature in years, white, educated, no previous criminal record, and had no known religious or political convictions. He must have known he would die, but he had no expectation of 72 virgins. In fact, he is almost textbook to make the case for gun control. It is as though someone said, gun control is stalling – we need an atrocity to put it back on the agenda. The whole operation really seems too “organized” to be just an accountant gone loopy.

Paddock did make two mistakes though. He failed to use silencers on his weapons; which made him easier to locate, and he failed to block the smoke detectors in his hotel bedroom which allowed the police to find him when his gun smoke set them off.

This whole thing has the smell of “who shot JFK?” about it. Was Stephen Paddock the real shooter, or just a patsy? A real shooter will have left letters or videos explaining his actions. A real shooter would want recognition and posthumous fame. But if this is really a false-flag operation, Paddock’s motivation will remain obscure, mainly because he didn’t have one.

Monday, 25 September 2017

German elections

Congratulations are in order for the Alternative für Deutschland: they are a nationalist, Eurosceptic party founded in 2013 and in yesterday's federal election in Germany they took 13.5 percent of the vote, which will translate to 90 seats in the 631 seat Bundestag - the German parliament. 

The results overall look like this:

Angela Merkel's will almost certainly remain Federal Chancellor. Although she only directly controls 32.6 percent of the vote there is no plausible alliance that could be built against her since the SPD have already reconciled themselves to opposition.

The AfD did at least twice as well as expected. In the week before the election, observers were even dubious as to whether they would break the 5 percent threshold required to get any seats in the Bundestag. 

So Germany is by no means saved, either from immigration or Europe yet, but it is a good start.

There is another interesting election next weekend. Catalonia will be voting for independence from Spain. According to Madrid, the referendum is illegal, but it looks like it will be happening anyway. Indications are they will vote themselves out of Spain - what happens then is anyone's guess.