Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This Year’s Smokescreen

Obviously, this year’s smokescreen for not getting anything that needs to be done dealt with, or at least given a serious look at, is the emotionally charged topic of homosexuality and whether it needs to be a guaranteed and protected right in Hawaii -- so that the real business of taking and spending the taxpayers’ money can pass without notice, abetted by all the usual suspects -- especially the same-sex loving media.

That’s how the politicians of Hawaii have learned how to play the game -- and then people will wonder too late, how is it that everything is so messed up -- despite the fact, that they wrote lots of letters and attended many rallies -- about things that really didn’t matter, while everything that did, escaped their notice.

Those are the tricks modern communications and journalism have become very adept at mastering, and why these “watchdogs” in the media, invariably go on to work for the special interests they previously reported on.

If one has a little bit of talent and ability to cultivate a following, they can usually parlay it as the spokesperson for a special interest group, while those remaining in “straight media,” are left to marvel that they could have taken such a deal if they weren’t so honest, and so timid. The spoils go to the most ruthless and capable of saying anything others want them to say -- because that is what they are getting paid for, and to do, they rationalize. Somebody has to pay their bills or how else can they have the home that is the envy of everybody else on that hilltop?

The other hot topic is the resistance to modifying the taro plant to improve its productivity and survival -- as has been done with every commercially successful plant -- or for that matter, every animal that has been domesticated for higher value through natural selection. But by that method, it either dies out as most species have along the way, or they have to improve dramatically and substantially to justify their claim as king of all crops. Otherwise, they’ll no longer be feasible as the staple of that society and culture, and be supplanted by the cheaper and more abundant staples of corn, wheat, rice.

Meanwhile, the grave problem of the schools in which the children each year fail and become less adept at adapting to change -- ultimately resulting in the homelessness and loss of all sense of meaning and purpose dominates the landscape, with the only recourse being, to move higher up on the hillside so as to have as little contact with those realities as possible, and sending the hope of the promising young elsewhere to flourish, because Hawaii has become a place only for those to spend their twilight, and not to usher in the dawn of a promising new age.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What This Recession is About

In a prescient state of the state address in 2007, Governor Linda Lingle warned that the economy of Hawaii could not continue to be based on real estate speculation and land development -- but had to diversify into other industries and expertise. That speech was delivered at the very height of real estate speculation and land development and so that warning fell on deaf ears. Nobody could or wanted to believe that the days of flipping real estate could ever end -- or that the fantastic windfalls created from such deals, should be directed to develop other promising industries -- which Hawaii might be naturally positioned to take the lead in developing those technologies.

Nobody wanted to hear that the days of rapid wealth through real estate speculation and land development could ever end -- and if anything, one could parlay those profits into other even more highly leveraged equities on the world’s markets -- the institutions which provided the machinery for such profiteering in financing these deals.

So at first the actual deals started to slow because financing became tougher to pencil out at the higher levels of speculative profits -- and then the institutions that underwrote all the financings, collapsed on the weight of all that leverage built upon the belief that it could never end. But then, abruptly in September of 2008, it all became impossible to ignore, and the market values of the major financial institutions, evaporated along with the profits of their financing. All the speculative excesses had run their course -- and there was no more money to be made from the next, greater fool. The game was over and done.

All the other industries that had become subsidiary to the support of that primary speculation then no longer had a demand. The price of oil fell from a high of nearly $150 a barrel last summer, to the present $40, which is a decline of 75% for the basic material the world is made with.

Those most affected, were those who formerly profited greatly from this real estate speculation and land development, and their supportive industries. Those who were less involved in these speculations and enrichments suffered much less -- just as in the previous great speculation into investments of the new technology companies of the ‘90s ending in the bubble-bursting crash at the beginning of this century, known as the dot.com boom and bust.

But it was thought that by those who did not participate and profit from them that it should have been obvious that such speculations were not real -- because they were not into the realities of real estate, land development, and energy -- that were real and thus, could rightly and properly, only go up indefinitely. But that too would end -- exposing those who felt that their reality, was the only real one, and not like every other, only an illusion of the wishful thinking popular at that moment.

And so too, it predictably had to end -- and values had to be readjusted and recalibrated, and the new ones discovered and appreciated until one day they too would reach the next speculative excess.

The magnitude of this disruption and change in values, goes even deeper than simply real estate speculation and land development, because the lesser calamities are the passing also of the legacy institutions that have been supplanted from the previous great wave of technological development being fully realized, most notable of which has been the publishing industry and its media passing from the control of a few powerful and rich, to virtually anybody who learns the rudimentary skills to avail themselves of those formidable capacities.

That certainly must be an emerging theme -- of how great enterprises that have been incubating, refining and redefining for the first decade of the new millennium, are ready to challenge the old for the primacy of these times. It has become evermore and more obviously, a world of information and connectivity that makes many of the old values and limitations obsolete and moot. The old ways of doing things, are no longer necessary, and have also passed, along with the more obvious collapse of the old standards of value.

Quite obviously, despite all the talk about declines, disruptions and failures, society still largely works. Stores still sell just about anything one wants to buy, and the banking system still faithfully and accurately records and processes those transactions. So while the economy and society is stressed, there is no critical and widespread breakdown, no great riots and mass tortures and exterminations. If anything, the means for spreading such propaganda and hysteria, are being dismantled, while more people have direct access to the sources of information rather than being the exclusive province of only a few -- the rich and the powerful of old.

So one has to feel fairly optimistic of the future unfolding. The world is simply changing again and we have to readjust to those new realities.

Monday, February 02, 2009

He Got It Right!!!

The embarrassing touting and overhyping of Obama’s meager list of accomplishments and achievements now extend to the Honolulu newspapers boldly going where no one has gone before -- in proclaiming that their messiah got it right in calling the Super Bowl winner.

So he must have known before what he knew after -- that the prohibitive favorite would squeak out a win -- and so his streak for public pronouncements reported by their dutiful reporters of the Honolulu dailies, remains perfect -- coming from Hawaii.

The Honolulu dailies certainly needed a “win” badly -- after touting local boy BJ Penn so that their readers thought he was truly invincible, only to watch a few minutes later in horror and disbelief as their next obamination was destroyed -- and along with it, all the testimonials and tributes manufactured ahead for sale after the predicted victory.

One would wish that the Honolulu dailies wouldn’t think that just because they can manage the outcome of local elections, when they move onto the bigger stages, everything they say and convince the people of Hawaii is true, is in fact true and reality -- that gets exploded before their lying eyes, ears and senses.

Those people at the newspapers have got to stop reading their own material -- and believing their own hype -- which is now “off the charts” -- to be anything they want it to be in the new age of media, which they now hope to hijack, now that their own boats are rapidly sinking.

In fact, they’ve noticed to their dismay how effective the bloggers have become and eaten the best part of their lunches that they now hope to promote “twitter” as a means of securing their own advantage once again -- by limiting everyone else’s ability to compose more than a “sound bite," and in this manner, prohibiting the possibility and need for developing a sustained thought and idea of any greater length, depth and capacity.

Of course the best of the writers can say what they want to say in a few words -- or many, depending on the length appropriate for their task -- but many used to the old manner of thinking, are still selling words by the gross, and think the number of words conveys the meaning and message.

Thus in old style writing/journalism, the ability to expand a short piece about nothing, is greatly admired and rewarded, and the highest art, is to convince the public, that what is untrue and inconsequential, is of great importance, substance and significance, while denying that there can be a “big picture” perspective at all.