Who Will Win This War?

ISIS wants to kill a lot of people and set up its vile version of a state. And it has the financial and military assets to do so — as long as these assets are not destroyed.

The United States doesn’t want to do anything that will hurt or kill any innocent people. The ones that ISIS has surrounded itself with and among whom it stores its assets.

Who will win this war?

Wall Street Meets George Orwell

Of course the stock market is flagrantly rigged and astonishingly inane reasons are given for why it keeps going up, irrespective of what’s happening in the real economy. My favorite inanity just now is what’s given as the reason it’s going up when pretty much everyone says the fed is going to raise rates starting next month.

Near zero rates is the reason the market has supposedly soared in recent years. Now, since rates are going up, expected higher rates is the reason given for why the market keeps soaring.

It has me thinking of George Orwell’s 1984. Here’s a quote from that book: “Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge, which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.”

Present stock market reasoning is Orwell 1984 reasoning. If expected higher rates are now the reason stocks soar, they must always have been expected to rise shortly.

If you don’t know that, it’s only because your memory has not yet been satisfactorily put under control. Best get with it. Believe and obey.

Market Idiocy Gets Even More Idiotic

A few years back I wrote (and think it got picked up somewhere) a satirical piece about a giant comet about to hit earth. The market initially plunged on the news, but bounced back when analysts saw it as a buying opportunity, and ended the day up by a heap.

Yesterday’s news: Horror in France that’s a killer for tourism and other industries. The Japanese economy officially entered recession.  All sorts of other bad economic news here and around the world..

And the markets response to this news? Nikkei goes up. Europe stocks go up. Our Dow rose more than 230 points.

Central banks key their policies off market behavior. Pols set their countries’ overall economic policies based on this behavior. And market behavior is moving rapidly from the idiotic to the utterly insane.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Soon-To-Be World Climate Conference

The UN Climate Conference Of World Leaders (A Poem)

Soon they’re gonna meet in Paris,
To dicker o’er the fate of earth,
Of course there will be great pronouncements,
Though ones before,
Had little worth.

Because twixt saying what’s expected,
The old statesman word façade,
Has always left a gaping chasm,
The talk is easy,
The doing hard.

Maybe this time will be different ,
The made promises will last,
Because this window’s closing quickly
And failure’s price
Is frightful vast.


Pay Tickets Or Die

The guy running for Mayor of Philadelphia as a Democrat will win the election, Philly is a Democratic town. And this guy has a great idea.

He wants meter maids to not only give out parking tickets, but since they’re out in the street anyway, other kinds of tickets as well. Like for littering and jaywalking.

Not to generate more fines for the city, of course. How could you think that? But because we want to keep the city clean, and walkers safe.

A couple of problems here, however.

Autos have license plates but individual litters and jaywalkers don’t. So to make sure the right people are ticketed, should we all be obliged to wear personal license plates on our backs and chests? In order to keep the city cleaner, and prevent traffic deaths from jaywalking?

Since some litterers and jaywalkers might object to being stopped on the street, and might even get violent, should meter maids be armed? And if a litterer, say, is shot trying to escape a littering incident, should the armed meter maid be punished or given a citation for bravery in the line of duty?

OK. You don’t like wearing personal license plates, and you don’t think arming meter maids is a great idea. How about a technology fix to make this great idea practical?

Facial recognition technology has made tremendous strides in recent years. Arm meter maids with these devices instead of guns, devices that record faces of litterers or jaywalkers, run it through computers that show their addresses, send them a fine bill by mail. And if they don’t pay off dun their wages or seize their property.

We don’t even need to depend on just meter maids to track these miscreants. Just install more street cameras than London has everywhere in Philly that are supposed to spot violent criminals and also use them on the littering and jaywalking front. And on the not waiting for a red light to change front. And the drinking beer that isn’t in a brown bag front.

Our soon to be new mayor of Philly has a great ticketing idea. Wonder what else he has waiting in the wings.

[My newest book is Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State — Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian.]

I’m Running For President Of The United States

This announcement that I am running for president appeared in the May 12, 2015 Washington Times. It nicely describes my credentials and prospects.

Silverstein throws his hat into the ring
(No one else has claimed the lefty libertarian mantle)

By Michael Silverstein – – Tuesday, May 12, 2015

While nobody has actually asked me to run for president of the United States, I have begun to sense a yearning for me to do so emanating from the ranks of the still-uncommitted silent majority.

So after prayers, fasting, discussions with my family, and careful consideration of opinions offered by Sunday morning talking heads, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring as a Republican.

Am I qualified?

While it’s true that I’ve never performed brain surgery, run a computer company, and wasn’t born in Hope, Arkansas — qualifications listed by other recently declared candidates — I bring to the contest things these others lack.

I’m the only wannabe, for example, who has tried to live on Social Security and succeeded, at least to date. It’s the kind of real-world experience that will resonate strongly with a very large and endlessly ticked off voting bloc — crotchety old white men.

And that’s not all.

I’ve never actually held public office, which is a real plus in today’s world as my record can’t be either found or attacked. Still, I am the only presently announced candidate of either party who has been on a past presidential ticket — though not at the top of this ticket.

In 1992, I was privileged to be selected by the American Art Party as its vice-presidential standard bearer by virtue of my work as an anti-parking ticket crusader. The top of the ticket that year was occupied by a house cat named Colette Silverwood. (Boy, could that tabby work a room!). I’m proud to report that while this party’s spending on the campaign was no greater than the cost of a can of Sheba, we still got as many electoral votes as Ross Perot, who spent millions on his own run.

People talk a lot these days about the need for inclusiveness with candidates bragging incessantly about their sensitivity to the needs and desires of different ethnicities, genders and folks of differing sexual orientations. That’s nice. But if the public really wants a candidate with a proven big-tent background, I am someone who can boast of being politically linked to a running mate of a different species, which has to give me an edge.

Where do I stand on the big issues? Let’s just say they are evolving.

I still have yet to meet with Sheldon Adelson to construct a foreign policy, and with Charles Koch to come up with one that covers energy and the environment. Reaching out still further, I plan to bring in policy professionals from past Republican administrations to advise me about how to make the country’s economy better by further enriching the rich so they trickle down more largesse, and get their suggestions concerning where to start our next big war. I’m certain these experts have a lot of ideas on these matters.

This is not to say I won’t seek advice from real people as well. I intend to meet with these real Americans in primary state diners at 11 in the morning, the time and place real Americans gather for eggs, coffee and an occasional doughnut.

Many candidates avoid such encounters because they find it impossible to listen attentively to their whines, snivels and moans. That won’t be a problem for this candidate. I’m well stocked with Xanax and Valium, and for especially tiresome crowds, I may even have a few Quaaludes left over from my days as a Deadhead.

Now you’re probably wondering about my attitude toward accepting campaign contributions from special interest PACs. Will I do that?

You think a guy willing to take second place on a ticket topped by a house cat would feel bad about selling his soul to very rich people? Who am I to deny the right of these folks to buy influence, anyway?

So I’m in — win or lose — and if I don’t make it this time around, I have a back-up plan.

I might accept a generous book deal, join a conservative think tank as a visiting scholar or combine both with a speaking tour. As a former presidential candidate, I would also be in line to join some Fortune 500 boards, become a Fox regular, and maybe spew wisdom to young people at an Ivy League college for an hour once a week.

Or I could join the private sector by managing a hedge fund. Compensation here fell dramatically from 2013 to 2014, but the top 25 hedge fund managers still eke out a combined income of $11.67 billion or an acceptable $211,538 an hour.

A person could live pretty comfortably on that. There might even be enough left over to self-fund a future political campaign. Or if that seems like too much trouble, hire a substitute to front my agenda once I develop one.

• Michael Silverstein is a former senior editor with Bloomberg’s Markets magazine. His latest book, now available on Amazon, is Gorilla Warfare Against the Bureaucratic State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).

Here’s the link to the story about Silverstein’s run that appeared in the Washington Times:


Hillary Leans To The Left — Somewhat

Hillary Leans To The Left — Somewhat

Hillary’s sharing her liberal side,
Giving the left a good lather,
There are winks, a few hints, a suggestion or two,
A finely wrought serving of blather.

You kind of agree, though you’re not always sure,
‘Cause what’s said here is oft’ rather subtle,
So nuanced, in fact, it makes one suspect,
Down the road she might shape a rebuttal.

Does she lean to the left, to the middle, the right?
What’s the future plans of this contender?
No she needn’t agree on all issues with me,
Just tell me her real agenda.

My new book: Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).

What’s Wrong With Obama’s Trade Deals

Huge trade deals are being negotiated by the Obama Administration. Most Republicans (and the President himself) support these deals. Most members of the Democratic Party oppose them.

That’s the big debate in Washington these days. But it’s the wrong debate. The debate here should focus (at least initially) on the “fast track” approval that President Obama wants.

The reason? Many elements of these deals are very beneficial to the country as a whole. Some aren’t. The sensible thing to do here is thus to keep what’s good and weed out what’s bad with amendments to the deals.

But fast track doesn’t allow amendments. You take it all or reject it all. And if in the end the good seems to outweigh the bad, you end up with badly flawed overall deals.

So don’t debate the trade deals now. Debate fast track. Put the deals on a slow track and end up with something really worthwhile for everyone,

Michael Silverstein’s new political memoir: Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).

Divestment At Swarthmore And ‘Hard Choice Foolishness

Divestment At Swarthmore And ‘Hard Choice’ Foolishness

The college and university student campaign to divest from fossil fuels as a protest against climate change began at Swarthmore College. It was therefore surprising when the board that overseas that institution’s investments recently voted against divestment.

Or maybe it wasn’t very surprising after all.

That’s because this sort of decision has been happening in so many places for so many years for the same ‘hard choice’ reason. We can therefore imagine that the discussion that led to this decision at Swarthmore must have gone something like this:

“We truly admire the students’ idealism in seeking divestment from fossil fuels,” one of the wise heads at the table would likely have said. “It’s the kind of idealism this school was built on, the kind of idealism that turns out students dedicated to building a better world.

“And for that reason alone,” this worthy might well have continued, “I would love to vote for divestment. Love to strike a blow, no matter how merely symbolic it would be in terms of actually bringing about policies toward fossil fuel.”

Here we can imagine the speaker’s expression turning deep and introspective before continuing: “I have grandchildren, too, you know, and the thought they may have to grow up in a world so badly tainted by our polluting, a world so brought to the brink of ruin by unbridled fossil fuel use, makes me sick at heart.”

Soul searching complete, the speaker gets down to the all-important adult issue of responsibility: “Alas, we have a responsibility, a fiduciary responsibility, when it comes protecting the assets of this institution. No matter how strong our personal feelings in this matter, or even the sincere and honorable wishes of our student body and faculty, we have to make the hard choice, the very hard choice, to retain our fossil fuel holdings.

“Moving on to the same next issue on today’s agenda….”

There it is again. The hard choice that pits environmental protection against economic well-being.

This so-called ‘hard choice’ has been made and is being made in so many places in so many ways by people who have so many kinds of responsibility, that one might suppose it has become hard wired into people’s brains — or at least the brains of people charged with making responsible choices that affect others.

The thing about this choice, however, is that it doesn’t exist. Never really did exist. In past years choosing to pollute for jobs and profits sake might have created short-term benefits with long terms negative consequences. These days there isn’t even that kind of time lag.

Put simply, fossil fuels are a lousy investment today. And renewables are not just the investments of the future.

Solar, wind, geothermal, et. al. have already taken over so much of the world’s energy markets and are so obviously poised to take a much greater share of these markets very soon, that buying and holding fossil fuel investments is like seeking to tap the future profit potential of horse drawn buggy makers in 1900.

So here’s my message to investment advisers at Swarthmore and other education institutions. Stop making those silly hard choices. Do your fiduciary duty and divest from fossil fuels. And do it quickly, before the failure of your economic analysis when it comes to energy investing becomes too apparent to your employers.

The author of this piece, Michael Silverstein, is a former senior editor with Bloomberg News. His latest book is Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).

Progressives At The Bat

Something is happening in the political world. Folks are beginning to catch on. They’re beginning to see the linkage between surging wealth for the few and austerity for the rest, and longing for a return to America’s post-War II fair wealth distribution and prosperity for the many economic model. Here’s a baseball season poetry knockoff describing what this might mean in the next election…

Progressives At The Bat

It looked extremely rocky for progressives in D.C.,
The folks they’d long depended on to others bent a knee,
The White House rarely answered calls, the Senate mostly cowed,
Tea party members ran the House, “We’ll make the rules,” they vowed.

But out there where the Beltway gang is rarely ever seen,
In countless places o’er the land where the living had gone mean,
The days of settling for a phrase, for promises unmet,
A spirit craving real change, these bad times did beget.

Yes in our nation’s capital they still ain’t yet caught on,
They still to Wall Street genuflect, buy the right’s self-serving yarn,
They don’t sense the awakening, ain’t twigged to where it’s at,
That progressives next election day will swing the big vote bat.

Michael Silverstein is a former Bloomberg News senior editor;
his latest book is Gorilla Warfare Against The Bureaucratic
State (Confessions of a Lefty Libertarian).