December 30, 2007

Binge Drinking and the Difficulty of Changing Course

Psychiatrist Paul Steinberg wrote an interesting op-ed article in the New York Times about the permanent effects of binge drinking on the human brain. He discusses the results of experiments with lab rats that indicate that a period of heavy drinking causes difficulties in not learning, but specifically relearning.
When put into a tub of water and forced to continue swimming until they find a platform on which to stand, the sober former binge-drinking rats and the normal control rats (who had never been exposed to alcohol) learned how to find the platform equally well. But when the experimenters abruptly moved the platform, the two groups of rats had remarkably different performances. The rats without previous exposure to alcohol, after some brief circling, were able to find the new location. The former binge-drinking rats, however, were unable to find the new platform; they became confused and kept circling the site of the old platform.
The article is written as a general warning for the forthcoming new year's eve celebrations, but it also contains a choice of words that really beg for an association with a certain individual case.
The binges activate an inflammatory response in rat brains rather than a pure regrowth of normal neuronal cells. Even after longstanding sobriety this inflammatory response translates into a tendency to stay the course, a diminished capacity for relearning and maladaptive decision-making.
Maybe it's not intentional, but I could not avoid making the association to GWB.

The article has some comforting tips for recovering. Exercise has been shown to help recovery in rats. Maybe I should adjust my attitudes to exercise. I could do with some additional relearning capacity.

December 22, 2007

Nobody Knows?

Here is a hilarious quote from The Economist:
Nobody yet knows whether the extreme borrowing in the credit boom was a sensible result of the powerful new machinery of debt, or the sort of excess still unwinding in Japan.
That certainly is a tough thing to decide, but I do think that a lot of people have at least a pretty strong hunch about it.

December 20, 2007

Oil Depetion in Mexico

The Economist wrote about the problems that the world is facing with the rapidly depleting Mexican oil fields, especially the giant field Cantarell:

This flawed behemoth is now in “a race against time” to compensate for Cantarell, says Fabio Barbosa, an energy specialist at Mexico's National Autonomous University. It is a race that Pemex seems likely to lose. In a document released in December setting out its strategy for the next five years, the energy ministry forecast that total oil production would decline to 2.5m b/d unless policies were reformed, and would remain roughly constant even if the industry were liberalised.

This is partly the result of two wasted decades in which governments have milked Pemex of cash which it might otherwise have invested. That has begun to change: investment in exploration and production doubled between 2000 and 2006 (though much of the increase came through federal debt guarantees to private contractors). Mexico's president, Felipe Calderón, has pushed through a reform of public finances that will cut the royalty Pemex pays from 79 centavos on every peso of oil it extracts to 71.5 centavos by 2012. The company expects its capital spending to rise in 2008 by 20% in real terms.

This is correct in a certain sense. Additional investments might have kept up the trend of production levels. But think about this: Does it really make much sense to spend enormous amounts of money to accelerate the already high rate of depletion? Does it make sense for Pemex to invest heavily so that it can drain its reserves dry even faster?

Crude oil is a non-renewable resource with a finite supply. At some point there comes a time when it doesn't make any sense to keep increasing up the output, as this would have a negative effect on the return to investment. A higher flow rate from a heavily depleted resource base means a lower flow rate later on, with an ever increasing cost for keeping up the rate up.

Many oil producers are entering a phase where additional investments to uphold rates of extraction just don't make any sense. It will actually make economic sense to leave as much oil as possible to the future, where prices will be significantly higher. The producers will ultimately try to maximize the total value that they can extract from the remaining reserves, and all investments will be directed at increasing the ultimate volume of recovery instead of maximizing the rate of production.

Many economists are feverishly trying to debunk the idea of a global peak of oil production in the near term. They claim that developments in engineering and economic incentives will keep the rates of extraction on an upward slope virtually forever. This is a fallacy of demand driving the supply, which was true in the earlier years of oil production. Nowadays, the roles of supply and demand are rapidly reversing, and there is a whole new situation of increasing competition for a stagnating supply.

The truth is that it makes perfect economic sense for individual producers to let the flow steadily wind down from a peak level, which is determined by economic and geological circumstances. From that point on, the rate of extraction can be increased through political decisions that have nothing to do with economics and everything to do with geopolitics.

December 7, 2007

Buying Power Disparities and Corporate Profits

The Economist wrote yesterday about the prospects for corporate profits in 2008:
The big question is not whether 2008 profit estimates will have to be revised down; they almost certainly will. It is whether this shift marks a short-term cyclical setback or something more structural as profits retreat from the 40-year-high share of economic output that they notched up in 2006.

The optimists argued that profits could stay high because the balance of power had moved in favour of capital and away from labour, thanks to the globalisation of the workforce. But perhaps profits had been boosted by accommodating monetary policy, a credit boom and the associated surge in asset prices. In other words, financial services may have dragged the rest of corporate America up. If the credit crunch has a long-lasting effect, the banks may end up dragging corporate America back down again.
This imbalance of earnings between capital and labor is going to be corrected eventually. Since the 1970's, the proportion of income that is earned by the labor force has been declining. Corporate profits are taking an ever higher chunk of the GDP in most developed countries.

The sound idea of Henry Ford, that workers should be able to afford the things they are producing has been completely neglected. The fundamental unsustainability of this disparity has been masked by ever growing levels of consumer debt.

Now we are seeing the results of this unsustainable development. The average American consumer is now at the end of his ability to go any further into debt. American levels of consumption have not been truly affordable in years, which has been reflected in the huge current account deficit. Now the American current account deficit is starting to morph into a significant capital account deficit. The capital account deficit for the third quarter (published Dec 17) is probably going to be huge, in the tens of billions of dollars, due to the loss of credit since August.

A reduction of western over-consumption is probably unavoidable. It might even be considered a welcome development for ecological sustainability, but the level of compensation for workers in the developing world has to pick up quickly so that they can absorb a significant part of the existing production without too much panicky destruction of productive capacity that would be caused by a rapid deflationary wipe-out of fictitious capital.

There are two possibilities. Either the proportion of global GDP that is earned by the workforce is increased through wage negotiations, or there will be a significant deflationary trend that will take care of it.

Buying power disparities will be corrected through either wage adjustments or price adjustments, or a combination of both. Protracted abuse of under-paid workforce will eventually result in a loss of wellbeing for all of us.

December 5, 2007

Hedge Funds and Low-Frequency Volatility

The Economist writes in an article titled "Crunch Time":
Perhaps this will be the pattern for markets for some time: a breathtaking switchback ride as risk-seeking investors try to take advantage of short-term trends (and by their actions, make those trends more vicious). But that does raise the question of why volatility was so low in the period 2004-2006. After all, plenty of hedge funds were in existence during that period.
Volatility was not low in 2004-2006. It was extreme. Prices were rising everywhere, especially in the housing sector. This is a form of volatility, also known as a crack up boom. Prices going up fast, later coming down just as fast or even quicker. What is that if not volatility?

This kind of volatility just happens to have a bit lower frequency. But it's the amplitude that really matters.

Hedge funds where going fast in 2004-2006. They were just all running in the same direction. Now they are acting like headless chickens until the herd finds a direction again, but they have to keep running even faster in order to make up their existing losses.

The usual hedge fund payment structures are a very strong incentive to using Martingale strategies, due to the "high water marks" in their payment structures. The managers' fees are stopped until all losses are recovered, even from unreasonably high speculative peaks.

This is of course completely reasonable. The managers have already been paid for the peak. Paying for it again would actually encourage volatility. Many hedge fund managers have instead decided to just call it quits instead of trying in vain to reach former highs, leaving the managers paid at the top and the investors paid at the bottom.

The economy reflects exactly the kind of behavior that these payment structures encourage. A long hard push to the top. What comes after that, doesn't matter. The managers have already been paid. If investors want fund managers to think about their interests, they should make the managers share the losses as well as the profits.

Providers of leverage should be extremely careful at this situation. Hedge funds will not stop after losing investor equity. They will eat right into margin debt if they are let to.

Pretty soon they will all settle into a direction opposite to that in 2004-2006. They will plow the market deep underground until they change direction again in a similarly disorderly way.

November 28, 2007

Extremist Hawks and Violent Radicalization

William Fischer writes in about the "The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" that is being put through the US legislative process. The act contains some definitions that enable really wide interpretations.

The act defines "violent radicalization" as "the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically-based violence to advance political, religious, or social change". Thought crimes, here we come. Who is capable of determining the "purpose" of believing in something? Who can say what is and is not "extremist"?

That definition is actually quite a fitting description of some of the most radically hawkish thinking in the US. If some of the activities of the people that were pushing for the war in Iraq were not cases of "promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically-based violence", then nothing is. The same goes for the insane calls to nuke Iran, for example.

Extremist hawks should be careful in pushing through legislation that could be used to judge their own actions as well. The whole US political process since the 9/11 terrorist strikes has been an exemplary case of "violent radicalization". Mental projection—seeing one's own traits in others instead of oneself—is a powerful force in the human psyche.

November 18, 2007

Central Bank Transparency and Speculation

Comparing the levels of transparency in the US and UK central banks, Michael Shedlock, of "Mish's global economic analysis", writes:

Now that's candor and true transparency. In the UK, rate cuts are "penciled in" while the Fed disingenuously calls the risks balanced. In the UK there is talk of falling commercial real estate prices. In the U.S. the Fed knows commercial real estate is staring over the abyss but no one talks about it. While King says financial turmoil is "far from over", the Fed's Poole says "the market is healing".

I beg to differ. Even if Mervyn King is now talking straight, it does not deserve the name of candor and transparency. King has started to talk about the problems now that the problems are already self evident. He would make an ass of himself, if he was still trying to talk up the situation.

Compared with the people at the Fed, he is, of course, a paragon of virtue. The general US belief in the power of jawboning is quite ridiculous, and a fitting symbol of the insubstantial nature of the conceptual US economy. In the typical American mental state, only marketing is important, whether it is related to economic or political products.

If there was real wisdom and responsibility in the central banks, they would start talking when the problems are building up, not when a catastrophe can no longer be avoided. Mish writes:

Does anyone ever recall Bernanke, Paulson, Bush, or for that matter any Fed governor actually giving a genuine warning about possible economic malaise? Compare and contrast all of the above with the following.

Alan Greenspan had a moment of candor, when he tried to take up the issue of "irrational exuberance" in the early rising side of the dot-com bubble in December 1996. Unfortunately he was too weak to resist the shouting down by people with vested interests in blowing up the bubble.

So now Mervyn King is talking, when the damage has already been done and a catastrophe is imminent. Words of caution would have been so much more useful, if they had been uttered in the height of the hubris. But it takes a lot of courage to speak against a prevailing trend.

Central banks should be proactive in working against trends that have no cause in the underlying fundamentals. They should be actively discouraging useless speculation. It's a hard and ungratifying job, but price stability is in the interest of everybody in the long term.

Mish quotes an article from Bloomberg:

Bernanke said yesterday that Fed officials will add a third year to their forecasts and double the frequency to once a quarter. The reports will give investors and companies more details on why interest rates were adjusted and offer a map for where they are likely to go.

In promoting price stability, central banks should use their statements as a means of spreading information about fundamental aspects that have an indisputable effect on the values of assets. In this sense, the move to even longer term forecasts in central bank statements is a negative.

Central banks should discourage investment that is too heavily based on forecasting. They should have their focus on intrinsic values, and speculative trends that go against it. They should be making it clear that whenever they see excessive speculation, they will move against it. And they should back up their words with action, withdrawing the means of continuing speculation.

To make it clear, I am not promoting a tighter monetary policy at this state of affairs. The time of tightening has long gone. The credit market has already been forced to tighten itself dramatically. It is exactly this situation, where excessive looseness has resulted in a forced tightening at the worst possible time, that could have been avoided by a tighter monetary policy a few years earlier.

But the Fed should be honest about the situation. Even if it means a more rapid crash. A rapid crash might actually be better, because normal economic activity would return sooner, and the losses would be incurred by the speculators that deserve them. In fact, it would be best, if the crash in paper values would be so quick, that the real economy would not have time to react.

If the decline in paper values is prolonged, there will be a sustained deadlock of actual economic activity, and that would not be in the interest of the general public. This deadlock is currently happening the US housing market, where the gap between the buyers and the sellers has brought the market to a virtual standstill. The quicker the sellers come to terms with the situation, and capitulate on their bubbly asking prices, the quicker the market comes back to life.

November 13, 2007

Ahmad Chalabi is Back

Christian Berthelsen of The Los Angeles Times writes about the new role that was given to Ahmad Chalabi, the infamous conduit of bogus intelligence that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Now the 63-year-old Chalabi, ever the political chameleon, has maneuvered back into prominence and power. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki appointed him to a pivotal position last month overseeing the restoration of vital services to Baghdad residents such as electricity, potable water, healthcare and education. The U.S. and Iraqi governments say the job is crucial to cement security gains of recent months - and that failure could cause the country to backslide into chaos.
Seems that Mr Maliki is not fazed by Chalabi being a fugitive from justice, having been convicted in absentia for bank fraud in Jordan in 1992. I wouldn't trust him with a penny of public funds.
Chalabi espouses free-market doctrine as the best way to cure the area's ills, a prescription that would buoy his neoconservative benefactors if they were here to hear it.

"Everyone is looking for employment with the government," he says. "This is a dead end. It's not possible. We need to get the economy going. Construction projects are needed."

With a billoin dollars in seed money from the Iraqi government for housing projects and a loan program to help residents buy a home, he says, "we would have no unemployment."
Exactly what does a billion dollars of "seed money" from the government have to do with free-market doctrine? I guess he is not getting that seed money anytime soon.

Are housing projects and a "loan program" really the best way to alleviate the huge problems of no electricity, no drinkable water and no health care? I can't imagine that the first thing on the minds of the Baghdad residents would be plunging themselves into debt.

Ahmad Chalabi is a former banker. The old saying fits his situation pretty well: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Seeing what the "free-market" doctrine--actually, a financial-political cartel--of his buddies in Washington and New York has brought about, the Iraqi government would be well advised to stay away from him. But maybe they could use him as a negative indicator and a decoy for trapping corrupt officials.

November 10, 2007

Banking Deregulation, Unlimited Creation of Credit and Asset Price Bubbles

In "Why We Are Not in a Recession, Yet, and What a Recession Will Look Like" at, Robert Wallach writes about business cycles being created by the Federal Reserve's erratic creation of money, and how this causes asset bubbles.

He is correct in that it is the Fed's policies that are the culprit, but it is not the Fed that is printing the money. In the current surge of money supply growth, it is not the Federal Reserve that is creating new money, but commercial banks and other privately held financial institutions. The Federal Reserve has actually been very stable in their creation of money.

Commercial banks are creating money when they issue new credit. When a bank "gives out" a loan to a private customer, the money is not taken from anywhere. The bank just creates a new deposit, which is covered by nothing except the debtor's promise of paying it back.

Robert Wallach cites the growth of the MZM (money of zero maturity) statistic as a sign of monetary inflation. This figure is now well above $6 trillion. But only a bit more than $800 billion of this figure is actually created by the Federal Reserve. This relatively small amount of high-powered money is the Monetary Base, which Gary North has been referring to. All the rest of this money is actually credit, which is forever in danger of default, though the risk is very small for most of the deposits.

Even though commercial banks have tightened their lending standards, the MZM is growing, probably because of people moving their deposits from long term investment contracts into shorter term accounts, which is shown as a spike in the MZM measure. That the MZM is growing so fast relative to the monetary base is a worrying sign in itself, because such a growth can not go on forever. When people start shifting their money from long term investments contracts into short term deposits, it is a sign of increasing intentions of withdrawal.

When the housing market was inflating, and new credit was created quickly, people put their profits into savings accounts and other long term investments. Now that people can not go any further into debt, they have started to dig into their savings, which puts a strain on the banking system. The MZM, as well as other monetary statistics figures, is actually a liability for the banks. It is a measure of deposits. Increasing short term liabilities at a time of decreasing asset values is not a good environment for the banks.

M3, the widest available money supply statistic, which was discontinued by the Fed in 2006, has also hastened its growth in the last couple of years, now going at well above 10% per year. This means that the creation of new credit has not come to a halt. There might be new bubbles brewing in other asset classes except just houses.

This might also be a sign of financial institutions frantically searching for new sources of profits to cover up their losses in the housing market. In doing so, they are probably taking ever higher risks, with ever higher levels of leverage, because they have less and less to lose.

The wider the gap between the amount of credit and the monetary base, the bigger the eventual crash is going to be. At some point, the game will be whistled to a stop, and a counting of losses will begin. This game has been going on for over 25 years.

The Federal Reserve is duly blamed for encouraging such excess credit creation by the commercial banks. The relative explosion of credit-based money supply was started in the early 1980's, when the reserve ratios were drastically cut in the name of "deregulation". Ever since, the answer to financial troubles has been more easing of restrictions.

Even researchers at the Fed itself have figured that the banks' reserve balances are not much affected by the reserve requirements, which are so small, that the logistics of cash handling itself is a more important restriction. The final detachment from reserve requirements came in 1995, when sweep accounts were taken into use.

When this game with continuously easing rules has been going on so long, what happens when there are no more rules to be eased anymore? We have already seen the Fed giving up on enforcement of section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act, which limits the exposure of depositor insured funds to the more risky broker-dealer units of financial corporations to 20% of the bank's capital. Every time that the banking system has been at risk since the early 1980's, there has been a relaxation of rules, and everything has been fine again for a while. What happens, when there are no more rules to relax, and the system is still in trouble?

These relaxed rules mean in practice that banks can create just as much new credit as they want. The only remaining regulatory restriction is the capital ratio, which is there to protect against actual insolvency. But the capital ratio is severely infected by the mostly symbolic "paper values" of banks' assets. This restriction has also been actively avoided by using off-balance-sheet structured investment vehicles.

Even though it has been mainly discussed as a "liquidity crisis", the
current crisis is in fact a solvency crisis created by simple overextension. In a deregulated competitive environment, occasional bankruptcies all but inevitable. But the whole system is built on the supposed infallibility of major financial institutions.

The Fed's slashing of the federal funds target rate to 1% for a prolonged time created a massive encouragement for banks to increase their lending, without the Fed actually having to print that much new money at all. By extending credit, banks can create not only brand new "assets", but also a lot of new money from nothing at all. This money has in turn the ability to affect the prices of other assets.

The prices of bank assets have been inflated by excess credit. In inflating asset prices,
the banks have also inflated their own capital. Because capital ratio is one of the few remaining constraints to lending, this has allowed the banks to create ever more credit, resulting in ever higher asset price inflation, and a self-reinforcing cycle. With no reserve requirements, the amount of credit has been totally unhinged from the actual amount of money that is created by the Federal Reserve.

The banks have been left holding a mass of assets whose value depends on their own willingness to pay for those assets, either by extending credit for purchases by a customer, or by direct purchases themselves. When that willingness is taken away, these asset prices collapse. Liquidity is naturally constrained in a situation like this, because the sellers of these assets (banks) and the potential buyers (banks) are in fact the same entities. It is a simple case of herd mentality, which is found in the background of every bubble and even a minor business cycle.

So banks have huge holdings of assets, whose values are completely dependent on perpetual growth of credit. But credit can not be extended beyond the debtor's ability pay back. This very hard wall has now been hit, and the value of these loans, as well as the underlying collateral, i.e. the houses, has become questionable.

The credit market is now in a valuation crisis that puts the banks'
solvency into question. Because the reserve ratios are so small, about $300 billion of cash assets against $6600 of deposits, the banks can not survive long without liquidity. They have to be able to quickly sell their assets at a decent price or risk defaulting on their obligations.

But liquidity can only be provided by the banks themselves, because they are the principal creators of money. The Fed has lost its influence. Even a rapid flow of cash from the Fed could be overcome by an even greater withdrawal of credit by commercial banks. There is an actual risk of a complete banking system meltdown. If that risk is realized, we can forget inflation.

This scenario would bring us back to the great depression, with much bigger excesses this time. This is what the bankers, including Bernanke, are really scared about. They are willing to risk serious inflation to avoid that.

The fact that the US dollar is sinking might be a sign of expectations of actual monetary inflation. But there is a delay in the effect of monetary inflation. It takes time for the new money to end up in the pockets of the average consumer, so a severe recession and even nominal deflation can possibly not be avoided.

If an actual solvency crisis in the banking system occurs, there might be a mad dash for cash, with bank runs everywhere, and an associated spike the US dollar's foreign exchange rate.

October 27, 2007

The Credit Crisis and the Fundamentals of the Stock Market

Ambose Evans-Pritchard writes in a blog entry at the Telegraph:
Even so, equities have not begun to reflect the reality that the 2006-2007 credit bubble has popped and cannot be easily reflated at a time of stubborn, lingering inflation. Spare me the mantra that the “fundamentals” are sound. Credit is the ultimate fundamental.
This is a folly. It is natural for the stock prices to edge higher when the alternative investment opportunity that is provided by the credit market is in trouble. Upward drift in the stock market is not always a reflection of belief in higher profits. In this case it is more likely to be a lack of good alternatives.

It is a mistake to report the stock market mood as "jubilant" after the Fed acknowledged the credit market troubles with the rate drop. The mood is quite probably more like: "These stocks are going to stink at these prices, but hey, look at the alternatives." Willingness to buy at a higher price without any underlying positive indicators is a sign of acceptance of lower yields. I would hesitate to call such a mood "jubilant".

The recent returns to lower stock market price levels have most probably been caused by disappointing profit reports, especially from the financial companies.

There is some correlation between the credit market and the stock market, but these markets are also ever competing against each other. A crisis in the credit market is bound to have a short term boost in the stock market. If an investor is faced with modest yields and a high risk in the credit market, he might just as well put his money into the stock market.

On the other hand, trouble in the credit market might actually be a real boost to established companies with sound cash positions. After all, tightening credit conditions cause hard times for their growth-hungry and deeply indebted smaller competitors. To the economy in general, this is not good news.

October 26, 2007

Human Terrain Teams and Dehumanization of Civilians

Nick Turse wrote in about the mind-set of big game hunters being taken as a model for US Marine troop in Iraq and Afghanistan. He quite correctly recognizes this as a part of the dehumanization of the enemy.

Yet, the very first paragraph of his post brings forward the fact that in this war, the dehumanization has gone much further than seeing the enemy combatants as animals to be hunted for pleasure:
Earlier this month, news of the military's use of Human Terrain Teams -- U.S. combat units operating in Afghanistan and Iraq that contain anthropologists and other social scientists who have traded in their academic robes for body armor -- hit the New York Times. While the incorporation of academic experts into combat units has raised ire in some scholarly circles, their use as "cultural advisers" to aid the war effort has been greeted by the military as "a crucial new weapon in counterinsurgency operations" and in the media as an example of increased cultural sensitivity as well as evidence of a new Pentagon willingness to think outside the box.
"Human Terrain Team" is a perfect display of the role that is played by the Iraqi civilian population in this conflict. This term does not refer to a terrain team made up of humans. It mean a team that is focused on issues with the "human terrain".

This term, human terrain, relegates the population to the level of mere landscape features in a battlefield. They are put on the same level with rocks, buildings, trees, rivers and other parts of the overall scenery that is usually thought of as the terrain. How much lower can we go with dehumanization?

This view-point is directly related to the reckless endangerment that the civilian population has been put through in Iraq. The lives of Iraqi civilians are not only much below the safety of American troops, but they are also much below the importance of killing of capturing even low-level insurgents.

There have been numerous cases of deaths from shooting through doors without warning and calling in air-raids to properties with known civilian presence. In the early part of the invasion, we heard reports of numerous bombings of buildings that Saddam Hussein or other high-level Baath party members were rumored to be located at. There were no limits for such strikes. No matter if it was an apartment building with many families, or a restaurant where innocent people were having dinner. The importance of eliminating a single individual was, and still is, seen as a higher priority.

But now that the original "reasons" for the war have been found to be false, the only remaining concern for the American troops in Iraq is supposed to be the safety of the Iraqi people. Yet the same reckless abandon continues in force.

Some people have claimed that the US must stay in Iraq to fix the damage that they have done. But the US military, with associated private contractors, are the proverbial bull in the china shop. The longer the bull stays in the shop, the more destruction there will be. And it is some very expensive destruction at that.

The Iraqi government is finally starting to show some real frustration with this phenomenon. In two years at most there will be angry demands for a US withdrawal from the Iraqis, and no talking about any enduring bases to be left behind. US strategists should start to prepare for that if they want to save themselves from major embarrassment. They would, of course, be also saving thousands of additional Iraqi people from being hunted for sport or being shot as parts of the landscape.

October 25, 2007

Moving to Blogger from Yahoo 360°

This blog is a continuation of the blog with the same title that I have been very infrequently writing at Yahoo 360°.

I have become increasingly annoyed by the Yahoo system, especially its tendency to lose entire blog entries at submission, so I finally decided to move it here. I think that this move should have been made a long time ago.

This blog is true to its title and not dedicated to any specific subject. The title is also a quote from Donald Rumsfeld, who, according to reports, showed his priorities on 11 September 2001 by saying to his aides: "Judge whether good enough hit [Saddam Hussein] at same time. ... Go massive, Sweep it all up. Things related and not."