“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Are We Approaching Peak Human?


  1. "Peak Human?"

    Way too late at night for that.

    See you in the morning. :)

  2. His basic argument seemed to be 'tax the rich'.

    This Teratoid wasn't even able to explain why Kodak employed thousands while Google employs hundreds.

    Solution: tax the rich.

    I think he's just deeply jealous of the leisure class in old England described by Jane Austin which he seemed to so long for....

    He seemed to me as I imagine Ash will be one day, an overweight bloviating arse.

    1. If you wish to read some meaningful speculation on the 'Peak Human' read Teilhard d' Chardin's
      book 'The Phenomenon of Man' and we might be getting somewhere.

      This high speculation was once lightly and humorous mocked in 'Miami Vice' where the street wise black guy, Noogie, was getting married and announced his imminent creation of the "NoogieSphere" - Teilhard had used the term 'noosphere' to designate that unimaginable human future when we are all one and all together and all totally spiritual.

      "The gentle finger of the Lord brings up the laggards"

      Walt Whitman

  3. Bernie, adjusting for the total number of delegates used between the two parties, is actually closer to Hillary (not counting her 'superdelegates') than Cruz is to Trump.

    In each case the number is about 225 or some delegates behind.

    A chance that Bernie might actually beat Hillary in New York ? He is less than 10% behind in current polls.

    1. Unless all those 'Superdelegates' turn traitor on Hillary, Bernie is screwed, and The Fix is in.

      That's why I always call that party the Democrat Party, aka Demorat Party, rather than the Democratic Party.

  4. The problem with economists trying to map out the "road to the future" is that, as a group, they can't even describe "where we are, Now."

  5. It's like you call someone to fix your computer, and a guy shows up wearing a carpenter's belt.

    1. :)

      There was one honest economist back in some administration about 20 years ago who said, I remember it clearly:

      "We really have no idea what all these numbers mean."

  6. As I posted, yesterday:

    galopn2Tue Apr 05, 02:13:00 PM EDT
    Here's the thing: how bad can "the economy," and "wages" be if

    Individual Income Tax Receipts are Up 7.6% YOY for the first 5 months of the fiscal year,


    Social Security Receipts are Up 4.4% YOY.


    1. When all you read about is stagnant wages, and a moribund economy, and yet Income Tax Receipts, and Soc. Sec. Receipts are surging, you just have to say, "WTF? Over."

    2. Are all those people paying taxes on raises they haven't received?

    3. Wages are increasing 7.6%, but the economy is only expanding 2.0%?

    4. Highlights

      The March job creation index climbed to plus 32, matching the highest level of its eight-year history.
      The increase from February's plus 29 reading is the first upward movement since May of last year, when the index first reached the plus 32 level.

      The March job creation index for government workers was plus 27, an increase of two points from February's plus 25 and seven points from plus 20 a year ago. The nongovernment workers' index for March increased three points to plus 33.

      Job creation indexes for all four major regions -- East, Midwest, South and West -- showed gains in March. The East, which has trailed the other three regions for most of the past three years, climbed closer to them with a four-point gain, from plus 26 to plus 30 in March. The other three regions each gained two points: the South, from plus 29 to plus 31; the Midwest, from plus 30 to plus 32; and the West, from plus 32 to plus 34.

      Gallup: U.S. Job Creation Index

    5. .

      galopn2Tue Apr 05, 02:13:00 PM EDT
      Here's the thing: how bad can "the economy," and "wages" be if

      Why ask why?

      It is what it is.

      If you compound 2% over the past 7 or 8 years, it probably covers all but about $300 billion in the difference between tax receipts then and now. There have also been tax increases, on the wealthy and associated with Obamacare for instance, which would cover some more of the difference. There may be other factors.

      However, GDP is made up of more things than just income. Even if people were making a lot more money, if they decide to save it or pay down debt rather than spend it, it will inhibit growth and effect GDP. Demand is down now and has been which effects not only GDP but also employment.

      As for employment, another opinion...

      The reality that tens of millions of American workers — black and white — are stuck in substandard jobs has finally broken through into mainstream political and economic discourse. The fact was obvious if you just went out and spoke to ordinary Americans, but it wasn’t showing up in the usual economic data.

      The so called gig economy — companies like Uber and Task Rabbit and Mechanical Turk — were the subject of lots of press accounts; but if you ran the numbers, people working in such jobs were well under a million, some of them working part time to supplement regular payroll jobs.

      So these trends seemed to be showing up everywhere but in the official statistics.

      The story was also confusing, because what economists call “non-standard employment” includes several imprecisely defined and overlapping categories: part-time work, temp work, contract work, and “on demand work” such as Uber and more traditional categories of day labor.

      Out-of-date statistics from the Labor Department, based on notoriously inaccurate self-reporting, suggested that the proportion of people in such jobs was stable. But that turns out to be wrong.

      A new research paper by two eminently mainstream economists, Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger, finally confirmed what has been clear to anyone who goes out to look for a job: Virtually all of the net jobs created in the past decade are “non-standard” — temp, part-time, contract work, or something other than a traditional job with a normal paycheck.

      To be precise, Katz and Krueger found that the number of Americans working in non-standard jobs increased by 9.4 million between 2005 and 2015 — or more than the total number of jobs created during that period...


    6. .

      And if you don't consider government numbers as just 'close enough for government work' rather than reality read this...

      BLS Changes Employment Numbers

      For a few months now I’ve been ranting about how there is no way that the Unemployment numbers are right because they don’t match up with the employment numbers. A while back, I got an angry email from a subscriber saying that he “worked for the Treasury Department for 35 years and there was no way the BLS fudged any numbers.” So I responded and said I’d be happy to post his rebuttal if he could explain how those numbers could possibly match up… I’m still waiting for his response.

      Fudging NumbersIn February, I got an answer, not directly mind you, but when I looked at the January Employment numbers they have magically changed all the way back to July of 1991. Yes, “unadjusted” employment numbers have been adjusted, changed, fudged, manipulated whatever you want to call it.

      In July 1991 and preceding, the numbers are the same. In August 1991, the difference is minuscule only 1000 mysterious jobs have been added. But the difference continues to grow. And by December of 2012 the old number was 134.822 million and the new number is 135.545 million so somehow magically the BLS has created 723,000 jobs out of thin air...


    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. My remarks have nothing to do with "the last 7 or 8 years."

    I'm looking at the last 5 months, on a year over year basis.

    And, I'm seeing Income Tax Receipts UP 7.6%.

    There have been no income tax increases over the last year, and the savings rate is staying fairly steady in the 5.2 to 5.4% range.

    This IRS data also tracks inline with this Sentier Research

    data that I put up, periodically.

    Indeed, the only data that doesn't match up to these figures are the "hourly earnings" numbers from the monthly employment report - which probably reinforces the perception that the further down on the totem pole, the less you are sharing in the upturn (also, it's heavily influenced, I think, by manufacturing, the segment of the economy most affected by foreign trade.)

  8. .

    Sorry, I thought you were making a more general point rather than just about the past few months.


    1. Nah, I'm just trying to point out that it's likely that we're all subject to a loud, and vociferous meme that just isn't accurate.

      For all but the very bottom of the ladder, wages are not (and, haven't been for awhile,) "stagnant."

      In fact, for the Median, wages have been rising quite nicely for going on two years, now.

    2. .

      Perhaps, I don't have time to check the numbers as I'm taking my wife to lunch.

      My only initial thought would be 'rising quite nicely' from what? And there, the longer term helps put things in perspective.


  9. Well, well, well.....who'd a thunk it -

    First American connection to Panama Papers involves associates of Hillary campaign - 4/6/16
    Tangled webs upon tangled webs. And the fine hand of Soros. More

    American Thinker headline

  10. Merle Haggard, R.I.P.

    Age 79

  11. Good Grief, look at these pictures -

    Florida Hunters Nab 15 Foot Alligator That Was Snacking On Their Cattle

    Now that's a gator. Needed a front loader to hold the sucker up....

    1. .

      Well, there you go.

      It could be gators eating Wayne's 'livestock', or coyotes, or foxes, or Bigfoot, or maybe they are dying of old age, or maybe they just got tired of you guy's stories and just up and left, or...come to think about it, ol Wayne hasn't been filing any insurance claims on these so-called 'losses' has he?


    2. O but yes he has.....he files with the US Government, Department of Fish and Lame.

      Next you'll be accusing poor ol' Wayne, who I saw briefly today, his moustache a little whiter than last time, you'll be accusing poor Wayne of killing his cattle, it being cheaper than taking them to market, and more profitable.

      But I can certify he is not that type of guy. He's not, after all, from Detroit, but was born right there in God's Country, where women are virtuous and men brave and honest. He loves his cattle and horses like you love your wife and mutt, though he doesn't take his horses to lunch, nor walk his cattle. And he loves his wife too, who recently got elected as County Financial Officer or some such. And, I voted for her, even though they are Democrats.

    3. And no, it's not gators eating Wayne's cattle, but Canadian Wolves.

      Wayne and I have been around here all our lives, and have never seen a gator, nor did our ancestors.

      Since you, presumably, pay US taxes, it's you paying for Wayne's horses and cattle.

      Now how do you feel about the 'reintroduction' of Canadian wolves into Idaho, Smart Guy ?

      eh ?

    4. .

      Faux farmers, faux livestock, faux claims for losses. It's the way of the world. If it's not the farmers, it's the MIC or the big banks, or corruption, fraud, and waste in government, and it's the little guy who takes it in the ass.

      The good thing is they can only take so much, which they do, the rest ends up as worthless chits to the Chinese. So what difference does it make which crook gets my share?


    5. .

      Face it if you didn't have the wolves to blame, you'd find some other excuse.

      And if we get the wolves back at least there is some good associated with all the bullshit.



    6. Those wolves are not Canadian. They are "Natural Born" Americans, just like Ted Cruz.

  12. Best President Ever, just ask Rufus!

    Obama Claims Power to Make Illegals Eligible for Social Security, Disability...

    Previously Deported Illegal Kills Firefighter, Two Children...

    1. Give the country away, turn it into a third World Shithole,
      no big thing.
      Traitorous Fuckers, all.
      (Him and you know who, here.)


    2. And you expect the GOP controlled House of Representatives to fund what Mr Obama wants?

      I certainly do.

    3. Ryan would take it in the ass if he had to.
      ...about the only thing I could bear to watch him do.

  13. Who is Turdhard d' Chardonnay?


  14. The "Good News" ...

    The advance so far is being hailed a success, but the gains are small and the troops' hold on the area is tenuous.

    The Iraqi army's resolve is regularly being put to the test: Will they stand and fight or flee once again? U.S. support is key to that question.

    "I want to see more support from the Americans and the coalition,"
    says Major General Najim al-Jobori, commander of Nineveh operations and a native of Mosul.

    "My troops are precious to me and the more support we have, the more of their blood we save."
    "The most important thing is to see ongoing U.S. backing with the airstrikes, advisers and logistical support,"
    he adds.

    "It is not an urgent thing for us right now, [to see] American combat boots on the ground. We can liberate our own lands."

    The "Bad News"

    The United States military could open up a second forward operating base near Mosul in Iraq if need be, a senior US military official told reporters on Wednesday.

    "As Iraqi security forces progress towards isolating Mosul, there may be a situation, in which there is another base that is opened or reopened from years passed that could be used in the same manner as a fire support base," the Joint Vice Director for Operations Rear Admiral Andrew Lewis said in a press briefing.

    The US already have a firebase manned by about 200 Marines on the Makhmour front against Islamic State (ISIS), its purpose is to give heavy artillery fire support to Iraqi soldiers, militiamen and Kurdish Peshmerga forces advancing against ISIS.

    One US Marine was killed in an ISIS rocket attack on the base last month, an incident which revealed its hitherto disclosed existence.

    The Coalition ought to supply the Iraqi Army with artillery pieces, and some training.
    The fact that the campaign is well into its second year, and the Iraqi cannot establish an artillery fire base, is an indictment of incompetence on the part of the Coalition.

  15. Strikes in Syria

    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted four strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Hawl, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar system.

    -- Near Idlib, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Manbij, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Mara, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL boats, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL medium machine gun and three ISIL vehicle bombs and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL command and control node, an ISIL bed-down location, three ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle bomb and an ISIL machine gun.

    -- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units, an ISIL financial storage center and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed two ISIL supply caches, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL command and control node and three ISIL assembly areas.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL supply cache and three ISIL assembly areas.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb, two ISIL fighting positions, six ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle, two ISIL mortar systems and an ISIL tunnel system.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

    1. Radicalizing the recruits to hate America....

      If you are going to kill the savages?

      Dont mess around.

  16. Coalition Airstrike Destroys ISIL Headquarters Compound in Mosul

    WASHINGTON, April 5, 2016 — A U.S.-led coalition airstrike took out an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant headquarters compound in Mosul, Iraq, yesterday morning, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

    Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that ISIL operatives took over the former Turkish consulate in Mosul in June 2014, claiming it as one of its headquarters.

    “ISIL repurposed the compound and used it as a headquarters for senior ISIL leaders, in addition to a beddown location and weapons storage facility,” he said. “That compound has now been destroyed by coalition aircraft.”

    The coalition airstrike was carried out “in full cooperation” with the Turkish and Iraqi governments, Davis said.

    (Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)


    1. ISIS military official of al-Karma killed in cleansing battles in eastern Fallujah

      ( Anbar – The leadership of al-Hashed al-Shaabi in Anbar Province announced on Tuesday, that the so-called ISIS military official in al-Karma District was killed during the cleansing battles in eastern Fallujah, along with nine of his companions.

      The commander of the 1st regiment in Karmat Fallujah brigade Col. Mahmoud Mardi Jumaili said in a press statement received by, “This morning the security forces carried out a large-scale military operation on ISIS gatherings in the areas of Subaihat, al-Roufa and Albu Jassim in al-Karma District, killing the so-called ISIS military official Rashad Mohammed Nayef, who was also known as Abu Wissam, along with nine of his companions.”

      Jumaili added, “The security forces are currently preparing to launch a massive attack against the ISIS strongholds and hideouts from all axes.”

      You're next, Fallujah

    2. Security forces control 70% of Heet, ISIS members besieged

      ( Anbar – Heet District Council revealed on Tuesday, that the security forces controlled more than 70% of Heet District west of Ramadi, while expected that the coming hours will witness the liberation of the remaining areas in the district.

      The Head of Heet District Council Mohammed Mohannad al-Hiti said in a brief statement followed by, “The security forces are continuing the liberation of Heet District backed by the international coalition aviation,” pointing out that, “ISIS is controlling less than 30% of the district, and those areas do not exceed five kilometers square.”

      Hiti added, “The remaining ISIS members in Heet District are besieged,” indicating that, “The next few hours will be crucial for the military troops, after advancing on all the axes of Heet and crossing the Euphrates River.”

      Heet Everywhere

  17. .

    Are We Approaching Peak Human?

    I doubt anyone here is (with the possible exception of maybe Doug). And I doubt anyone in that video is either.