on the TSA
So, Doug, North Korea shelled South Korea — do you think that’s
the sound of an approaching black swan we hear?
It could be, but I doubt North Korea wants a real war, and South
Korea absolutely wants to avoid one. Of course, North Korea’s government
is a hereditary monarchy, run by the thoroughly degraded Kim family
— which is a bit confusing, in that everybody in Korea is either
a Kim, a Park, or a Lee. Who knows what’s going on in the abnormal
psychology of Kim Jong-Il, or whoever is really running the place?
It’s perverse. North Korea is already a wasteland, so a war would
do them relatively less harm; in a way they have nothing to lose.
South Korea is a G20 economy, however, so even if they win a shooting
match in short order, they still lose, in terms of the damage they
would suffer in the process.
From a realpolitik
point of view, it makes sense for the North to occasionally kill
a few South Koreans, make threatening noises, and keep the “us vs.
them” rhetoric hot. It provides an excuse for their extraordinarily
low standard of living, and a reason for having a police state.
They use nationalism and patriotism very effectively to prop up
their pathetic regime. In that regard, they are like most governments,
just more extreme. But I consider the chances of an actual war to
It was interesting
to see gold shoot up the day the Koreas traded artillery shells.
Coincidentally, it was just after the EU’s announcement that all
is well and everyone can go back to spending as usual. I don’t think
it’s likely that the Koreas will go for all-out war and push the
teetering global economy over the edge. But it’s possible, because
we’re dealing with certifiable lunatics. It’s more likely the EU
itself will provide a black swan event. The bankruptcy of the euro,
and then the EU, was always inevitable. It may now be imminent as
Korea, though, what’s really interesting is the information leaked
through WikiLeaks that China
— basically their only supporter — may be pulling back its support.
The Chinese can see that maintaining a lunatic regime in North Korea
no longer serves any useful purpose. They don’t need a loose cannon
on their border. I expect it will collapse in the near term. The
Chinese, likely with the collusion of some North Korean generals,
will oust the Kims, and set up something that’s less of a liability.
saw that news. It’s quite striking that after the wikileak, some
Chinese officials have apparently come out and said that they
do, in fact, favor reunification of the Koreas.
The whole idea of WikiLeaks
is terrific. They’ve become one of the most important watchdog organizations
on the planet, helping to expose a lot of government action for
what it really is.
leak of a quarter of a million classified U.S. embassy cables is
quite a coup, not just for revealing China’s changing attitudes
about North Korea, but for exposing discussions the U.S. had with
other countries about bombing
conducted by U.S. diplomats in Paraguay, Chinese
government attacks on Google, and more mundane things like the
lifestyles of Kazakhstan’s political elite.
Shining a light
on the sociopaths who hide in the dark places under the rocks of
government is always a good thing. Just as they recently did in
their exposé of what is going on with the counterproductive
U.S. wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s great to have a whistleblower organization
like them. Julian Assange, who runs it, is a hero, and deserves
the Nobel Peace Prize — although it’s a shame that prize
has become so meaningless and degraded.
more skeptical people become of the Right and Honorable So-And-So,
Exactly. And on a more fundamental philosophical level, this is
in keeping with my sense of justice. Crooks should not get away
with their crimes just because they hold lofty titles, wear spiffy
uniforms, and call their crimes great deeds necessitated by “national
security,” “economic stimulus,” or whatever other nonsensical lies
they come up with.
I’m fond of
saying, “Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law — but
be prepared to accept the consequences.” Well, exposing secrets
is an important part of enabling the natural consequences for dastardly
deeds to follow.
The whole idea
of “national security” has gotten completely out of control. It
has about zero to do with protecting what little is left of America;
it’s all about protecting, and building, the U.S. government, and
the people who participate in it and profit from it. People fail
to understand that the USG doesn’t represent them, or care about
them — or at least not any more than a farmer cares about his milk
cows. It’s an entity unto itself at this point. It has its own interests,
which have only an accidental or coincidental overlap with those
of America. Government is by its very nature duplicitous and predatory;
it always puts itself first. By cynically paying lip service to
traditional values, and whipping up a nationalistic, patriotic fervor,
they can get Boobus americanus to go along with almost anything
they propose. Just like Boobus north koreansis.
Palin apparently does not agree with you about WikiLeaks. She’s
reported as going on record saying that WikiLeaks personnel should
be treated like terrorists.
And people thought I was being too hard on the Tea
Party movement. This is exactly the sort of knee-jerk conservative
reaction that shows that such people really don’t care about freedom
at all. I suspect Palin is cut from the same cloth as Baby Bush
— ignorant, unintelligent, thoughtless, reactionary, and pig-headed.
She belongs on reality TV, not in a position where she could damage
the lives of billions of people.
report says she wants to know why governments didn’t hack the WikiLeaks
website. Well, apparently somebody did last Sunday when these secret
diplomatic cables were leaked — and who is a more likely culprit
than the U.S. government? On the bright side, the attack failed.
A handful of nonviolent individuals took on the world’s greatest
superpower, as a matter of principle, and won. That just goes to
show yet again how technological advances tend to flatten the power
pyramid of society.
Yes; we talked about that in our conversation
on technology. Every advance in technology puts the little guy
on a more even footing with those at the top of the intra-human
food chain. This is why the Colt revolver became known as “the great
equalizer.” For the first time, the little guy was not only the
equal of the big guy but, because he presented a smaller target,
was his superior.
is the best thing that’s happened for freedom since the invention
of the printing press. Technology is the biggest force for individual
liberty, and politics the main enemy of it. But people idiotically
idolize politicians and generals much more than scientists and inventors.
Despite that, with the development of very powerful, homemade laser
weapons, and 3D printers that will soon allow anyone to make almost
anything, at trivial cost in their garage, the cat will soon be
out of the bag. We should discuss those in the future. These things
are very opportune at the very time that the bloated states of the
world are going into collapse, much like the Roman
Empire in the 5th century.
an interesting counterpoint, Reuters reports that Hillary
Clinton defended WikiLeaks, even as she arrived in Kazakhstan
at the same time as the embarrassing assessment of Kazakh leadership
was leaked. Sometimes liberals do defend liberal ideas, like freedom
of the press.
Sometimes. But not if it’s politically
incorrect press. You can rely on them only to make government
larger and more expensive at every turn — that you can rely upon
like a Swiss train. Hillary — like any Secretary of State — is a
skilled and enthusiastic liar. Her stock in trade is deception.
Everything she says is intended to forward her drive to be the President.
I wonder if she’d be worse than Palin? But that’s like asking if
Nero would be worse than Caligula.
argument from me on that. And you know I agree with you on the watchdog
principle, but what if they go after private-sector entities? CNN
reports that WikiLeaks’
next target is a major U.S. bank.
It’s a mistake to think of banks in the U.S. as being private sector
entities. U.S. banks got into bed with the state decades ago, and
got even more closely entwined via the latest set of regulations,
and bailouts. At this point they’re really parastatal entities.
Plus, I’d guess that whatever whistle-blowing WikiLeaks is planning,
it probably has to do with the bailouts or other government interactions
with the banks anyway — exactly the type of thing that needs to
but their mission is not to fight the state, but simply to publish
“important” news and information. What if someone uses their secure
drop-box technology to reveal salacious material on private individuals…
say, a complete list of all of Doug Casey’s mistresses?
Unfortunately, that list would be rather small at the moment. Not
that WikiLeaks would deem that sort of thing important enough to
bother with. But, look, it doesn’t matter; there are tabloids that
cover that ground already, and they get the respect they deserve.
If you aren’t prepared to accept the consequences of something,
don’t do it. The only sure way to avoid having your mistresses exposed,
if you really don’t want that to happen, is not to have mistresses.
do you believe in a human right to privacy?
In the sense of having a right to remain silent, yes. No one should
ever be forced to reveal anything they don’t want to reveal. But
in the sense of stopping other people from saying, publishing, or
broadcasting information about you, no. The information in their
heads is theirs, and they have a right to do whatever they want
with it. If it happens to be about you and you don’t like it, tough.
Develop better security measures. Or better, “If you can’t do the
time, don’t do the crime.”
If information put out by others about you is wrong, defend yourself
with the truth. If you have a solid reputation accumulated over
years of interactions with many people, your side of the story should
get a good hearing. If you’ve been a jerk to many people, or not
always honest, you’ll have a tougher time — which is as it should
harm that lies might do does not justify giving power to the state
to control what other people say — that’s a far greater harm. A
complete free market in information will necessarily make people
much more discriminating, and less gullible. They’ll become much
less likely to believe things without solid evidence.
a bit like an intellectual Wild West.
Yes, but that’s a good thing. We have laws against libel and slander
now, and people violate them constantly. It’s not just ineffective,
it’s counterproductive, because the existence of libel laws makes
people more likely to believe what they hear. In a society without
laws against libel, people would be much more skeptical, and the
potential harm from lies would be diminished.
can see that… and why you favor the WikiLeaks technology. You remain
an optimist; things have to get worse before they can get better,
but the longest term trend of them all is “the ascent of man.”
Yes. The trend is towards rapidly accelerating advances in technology.
So, certainly in this case, the trend is your friend. Don’t fear
technology — it’s what brought us out of the caves and primeval
slime — it’s everybody’s best friend.
Poodles in particular. I suspect this isn’t the time for a sidebar
on standard poodles. But I will mention it’s one of the many subjects
on which I’m in total agreement with my friend Richard
I’m not going to go there now. Perhaps we can discuss animals and
their rights, or lack thereof, in some future edition. How about
Unfortunately WikiLeaks is not itself an investment opportunity,
being a non-profit organization.
it was for profit, would you invest?
I’d have to look at the actual business model and projections, but
there’s reason to be skeptical. By its nature, WikiLeaks is always
going to be outside the mainstream of the economy, with rabid governments
trying to shut it down, maybe even imprison its people, as they
get more desperate. This thing has “scapegoat” written all over
it. I hear Interpol has suddenly decided to bring Assange in on
charges of sexual assault — transparency and accepting the consequences
of his actions should apply to him, like anyone else, but I’m very
suspicious of the timing of these
accusations. WikiLeaks is an encrypted, moving target, but a
you contribute to WikiLeaks? You like the service, but don’t believe
I wouldn’t consider it charity; I value their service. If I sent
them money it would be because I want to show support, and reward
their efforts. Sending them money, and giving them other support,
amounts to a fair exchange, in my view. Not because of charity,
which very often just assuages the guilt of the donor, while subtly
encouraging bad habits in the recipient.
So, other than as yet another straw in the wind — evidence of the
approach of the end game for the current global economic order (the
latest implications of which we’ll cover in The
Casey Report in two days) — are there any other investment
Well, this is also a technology story. WikiLeaks itself is not an
investment opportunity, but there are new technologies that are
fantastic opportunities. Not to be overly promotional here, but
Alex Daley does an excellent job of covering this beat in our Casey’s
Extraordinary Technology newsletter.
Do you mind
if I take this opportunity to thank all our readers who responded
last week and voted for our Belarusian musical protégé?
She won the vote for “best new band” last week, even though we readers
had less than a day to respond after our last conversation went
live. This week there’s a vote for “best band,” and we have until
December 3 to vote.
listen to PRANA in English, go to www.musicbyprana.com,
click on “eng” for English, then click on the angel holding a musical
symbol, then click on the “play” triangle. There are more songs
in Russian on the Russian side of the site.
To vote: go
and click on Prana’s picture (the caption is in Russian, but you
can see the word “PRANA” in caps and she’s the only girl). When
the popup box appears, click on the blue “Голосовать”
button on the left. Thanks from Prana and our Belarusian friends.
In for a penny…
and for your insight on the WikiLeaks phenomenon.
You’re welcome. Talk to you next week…
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