Skip to main content

How can a nation so well armed be so afraid?

Every day another nut-job professes his desire to "kill" Syrian refugee "in Paris" as if that's where they were... The most amazing thing, of course, is that America has seen these kind of commentaries before, many many times in the past -- at the turn of the century it was the Irish and before them the Jews.  Although historically America has welcomed the poor --that have served it so well, today the behavior of most Americans remains appalling.  Obama is proposing bringing 10,000 refugees to America, that compares to nearly 25,000 before Christmas in Canada, and tens of thousands in Europe.  Recent polls show that 72% of Republicans believe that the values of Islam are at odds with American values, for the Democrats the number is 48%.  There are many similarity between the Christian and Islamic faiths; neither are totally comfortable with secular governments, but Christians made (mostly) their peace with the separation of Church and State.  As for the place of women honestly both faiths position women in a subservient role; at odds with the feminist movement that achieve so much over the past 40 years.

The reality that is America -- gun crazed but also deadly afraid of anything and everything is an outcome that seems odd when it continually professes its machismo strength "We're #1".  Political polarization and the poor prospects of middle class are the root cause of these positions.  A blue collar worker looking at his wages for the past 20 years has seen no real incrase (median wages are still falling in America and have since the 1980s), and yet everything is more expensive, there is no feeling of security and the media's feeding frenzy on anything that could be remotely considered terrorism is simply fanning the flames of distrust.

If America was as generous as Canada it would have taken nearly 250,000 refugees -- instead it may well accept less than half of what Canada is taking in the last few days of 2015!  Moreover, the difficulties in arriving on American shores makes it the least interesting place to consider.  

Yet American remains deadly afraid -- mind you not of guns that kills!  They like those but those pesky terrorist well that's something else.  I don't really understand why a crazed gunman is better than some extremist.  The dead and maimed remain dead and maimed; is it any better to be told that your 13 year old son/daughter was killed by some crazy bottom dweller or some radical terrorist? In my book neither are attractive scenario.

But America is not alone in this; yesterday it was the "Premier tour" of the regional elections in France, and the far right National Front did very well across the country and in some place almost got 50% of the ballots -- are seeing a golden opportunity to finally take power an enact some rather aggressive anti-immigration legislation.  

So there we are; America and Europe are bombing the shit out of the Middle East, this causes refugees afraid of dying from "our bombs" and our reaction is -- stay home enjoy the free landscaping!




Popular posts from this blog

Trucker shortage? No a plan to allow driverless rigs

There are still articles on how America is running out of truckers -- and that its a huge problem, except its not a problem, if it was a problem salaries would rise to so that demand would clear. Trucking is one of those industry where the vast majority of participants are owner/operators and therefore free agents.

Salaries and cost are extremely well know, "industry" complains that there are not enough truckers, yet wages continue to fall... Therefore there are still too many truckers around, for if there was a shortage of supply prices would rise, and they don't.

What there is though is something different; there is a push to allow automatic rigs to "operate across the US", so to encourage the various authorities to allow self driving rigs you talk shortage and hope that politicians decided that "Well if people don't want to work, lets get robots to do the work" or words to that effect.

This has nothing to do with shortage of drivers, but every…

Every punter says oil prices are on the rise: Oil hits $48/bbl -- lowest since September 2016

What the hell?

How could this be, punters, advisors, investment bankers all agreed commodity prices  in general and oil prices in particular are on the rise...its a brave new era for producers and exporters -- finally the world is back and demand is going through the roof, except not so much!

What happened?  Well energy is complicated, the world operates in a balance -- 30 days of physical reserves is about all we've got (seriously) this is a just in time business.  So the long term trend always gets hit by short term variations.

Global production over the past 12 months has risen by somewhat less than 1.5% per annum.  As the world market changes production becomes less energy intensive (maybe), but the reality is that the world is growing more slowly -- America Q4 GDP growth was around 1.9% (annualized) Europe is going nowhere fast (the GDP growth in Germany is overshadowed by the lack of growth in France, Italy, Spain (lets say 27 Euro members generated a total GDP growth of 1.2…

Paying for research

This morning I was reading that CLSA -- since 2013 proudly owned by CITIC -- was shutting down its American equity research department -- 90 people will be affected!

Now the value of a lot of research is limited, that is not to say that all research is bad. In fact, I remember that GS's Asia Aerospace research was considered the bible for the sector.  Granted, there was little you could do with the research since the "buy" was for Chinese airlines...that were state owned.  Still it was a vey valuable tool in understanding the local dynamics.  It seems that the US has introduced new legislation that forces brokers to "sell" their research services!  Figures of $10,000 an hour have been mentioned...

Now, research can be sold many times; if GS has 5000/6000 clients they may sell the same research 300x or 400x (I exaggerate) but this is the key -- Those who buy the research are, I presume, prohibited from giving it away or selling it, at the same time the same rese…