Writing is a waste of time? Discuss.

Photo by Jeremy Avery on Unsplash

The networker, John Naughton, Observer, Artificial Intelligence is making literary leaps.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/02/ai-artificial-intelligence-language-openai-cpt2-release

I write stuff nobody much reads. Think of a number below ten and don’t multiply it. There’s a large hole in my idea of normality. I imagine someday, someone, somewhere will pay for my writing and I’ll be in the promised land of earning a living from writing. There’s no evidence to support this assumption. Meanwhile, I just putter along, doing no real harm and getting on with it.  Writing helps me figure out what I think and the odd time gives me joy. Endorphins kick in and I’m on a writer high, conquering the world, word by word.

Anyone that’s being paying attention to the rise and rise of artificial intelligence (AI) knows how the world is going to change. Has already morphed into an existential threat (although the case for that may be overstated).  We know that it is going to do the boring jobs. Then it’s going to do the less boring jobs. AI or pattern-recognition software will be our doctors and nurses our servants and masters a tax on humanity with profits going to the off-shored wealthy.

For us dreamers and scribblers AI seemed a jump too far. I was aware that AI was already performing simple tasks such as writing obituaries and sport columns for mainstream media. Deep Blue pattern-recognition software filtered down to games that challenge novice chess players at different levels. ‘Go’ the board game that seemed to rely on intuition rather than logic seemed a step to far, but the best players in the world were swatted aside by machine learning. I could go on, but I guess you see the pattern emerging.

Write every day, that’s the way, is the kind of crappy mantra I more, or less, adhere to.  What John Naughton is saying here is AI can mimic the way you write. Just the same way that SIRI can listen to what you say and reproduce speech. AI can be you. A different but a better you, with an authentic voice that is yours, but not you.

The myth of the writer in the attic (although I do sit in a cupboard) pondering and pouring out hard copy is hard cheese.  AI can do that quicker and better. Just the same as it can play chess better than you, all the way up to Grand Master level.

We all know how the story of writerly success is promoted. The fairy tale being written in an Edinburgh café by a writer down on her luck. Outliers brought into the mainstream by fate. A fluke of luck, a billion pound industry, resting on the back of a tortoise. Buy a lottery ticket, write that book. You might win.

Lies. Lies. Lies. I sometimes even believe them.

The economics of the creative industries (around 14% of GDP) rely on elasticity of supply.  AI has changed that algorithm.  Why do we need screenwriters when AI can do it faster and better? Why wait for the next great novel when we can just download something very similar?

The slog of writing remain much the same, but the chances of being published and making a writing from living are pretty much gubbed. Oh, well, back to the old-fashioned keyboard. Read on.

Storyville: One Child Nation, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, director Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000bh0j/storyville-one-child-nation

I’ve been pondering the difference between affect and effect. The former is a verb. The latter is a noun and verb. The etymology of affect suggests it has its roots in ‘a little like love’.

The effect of China’s implementation of a one-child policy for couples, men and women, in the early 1980s was nothing like love. It was a top-down, Communist Party, misogynistic policy, based on pseudo-economics, demographics and projections of population growth. This was best summed up by a midwife who conducted tens of thousands of abortions and admitted drowning babies in buckets because she had no other choice. We’d starve and resort to cannibalism, she argued. The Great Famine of 1959-1961 instigated by Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward was in living memory so this propaganda drive was an idea that gained consensus.

The reversal of a one-child policy, around six years ago, was also an economic decision. China’s one child policy had the desired effect. It was no longer the most populous nation on earth. Under President Xi Jinping the Great Leap Forward has reached its conclusion. China is where America was before the first world war, a rival power trying to establish hegemonic influence.

But a simple rule of thumb and way to boost a countries GDP is to have more children. The more children the greater GDP. India is an example of this effect. Children also offset another ratio, the proportion of working population measured against the non-working population. In leaping forward, China has come to mirror the West in that it has a growing aging population and less workers to pay for their retirement. China also faces an additional demographic burden in that there are many more men than women. In our country, as I imagine in China, around sixty percent of the lowest paid jobs are done by women. Women’s work is not well-paid. But the misogynistic assumption that we need more women to care for our elderly holds a universal appeal. China’s implementation of a two-child policy is based on simple economics, or so they’d have us believe. The propaganda machine that churned out memes about the virtues of having one child has volte-faced and advocates two or more children as the perfect number. We live in an Orwellian world in more ways than one.

Nanfu Wang, a Chinese American, with her chid in tow, goes back to her homeland to document the one-child policy. She notes the irony that in China and America (Christian fundamentalist rights challenge of Roe v Wade) neither nation allows women to control their own bodies.

Wang returns to the rural village where she was born during China’s one-child policy. Her name tells you something about the villager’s aspirations. It’s a boy’s name. The one-child policy was modified to allow for two children to be born in some rural areas, but only if a five year gap appeared between births. Village elders had some discretionary power.  For those that failed to follow this policy, village elders were instructed to knock the down the house of the pregnant woman and fine them. Here Wang interviews the village elder who was responsible for these actions at that time. Like many in the village, a repeating motif, was that he was doing what he was told. He was powerless. The village elder’s equally elderly wife was however not affected by the same inertia and fatalism. She warned Wang that her mother, who still lived in their village, would pay, if her husband experiences any difficulties.

Pregnant women who nevertheless continued with their pregnancy, one woman, for example, hid in the pigsty, were hunted down and strapped to a stretcher and taken to the midwife.

The midwife Wang interviewed told her she would perform an abortion every ten minutes. And she’d performed thousands of such procedures. Foetuses at eight and nine months were left to die. Those born and breathing, drowned in a bucket. Mothers routinely sterilised.  

A Chinese photographer showed Wang his study of the corpses of aborted foetuses and other neonates lying in the trash.

One consequence of the one-child policy, especially in rural villages was the abandonment of female babies after they’d been born. Wang interviewed her Auntie and Uncle who’d left their daughter in the marketplace hoping someone else would take her and bring her up. They admitted their daughter had been ate by mosquitoes and died. Nobody wanted a female child. The marketplace was a graveyard for other female babies left by their parents.

The market place became just that when opportunities later came to sell children to wealthy foreigners in the United States, Europe and Canada. One American couple admitted adopting three Chinese babies. The prices they paid ranged from $10 000 to $25 000 or more. Female babies were no longer left to die in the market place, but swept up, with the finders paid a fee by State run orphanages from $50 to $200 per baby.

In a warped sense, this could be considered win-win, but with not enough babies and demand from abroad booming the next step was kidnapping infants. Village elders would, for example, visit the poorest members of their community, issue them with a fine and take a daughter for payment, until it was paid. The child would be classified as an orphan. Police officers would sign a form agreeing that the child had been found outside the orphanage, abandoned and the child would be sold to the highest bidder. In many ways it mirrors the scandal of Chinese prisons selling prisoner’s kidney, but is even sicker.

The effect of China’s one-child policy worked too well. The affect is devastation of lives and an increase in corruption from top down to bottom up. One Child Nation is the story of a holocaust.

Book Week Scotland, Karen Campbell (2019) The Sounds of the Hours, presented in Parkhall library.


Long story. I was in Dalmuir library yesterday. For some reason I wanted to check out Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Diaries.

As you know Gramsci was leader of the Italian Communist Party.  Gramsci writes about how capitalism mutates and appropriates art and literature to establish a cultural hegemony. If that sounds pretty long-winded it’s probably because I don’t understand it either. Gramsci did. And it’s increasingly relevant today. The working class (that includes me) lost the propaganda war. What’s normal, just seems so.

Gramsci was imprisoned when Benito Mussolini’s blackshirts marched on Rome, which is the kind of lie Gramsci would recognise as myth making. Mussolini who wore a bowler hat and spats when taking flying lessons and petted a lion club in his lap, while his driver chauffeured him around the streets of Rome is a leader who sounds vaguely familiar. His switch from supporting the Communist Party to supporting Fascism also resonates with leaders whose only ideology is self-glorification.

Fascism shorn of its spats and bowler hats and lassez-faire disguise sounds to me just capitalism with added imperialism. Making Italy great again, by invading Ethiopia.   Making Germany great again by Anschluss and Lebensraum and seizing the lands of the lesser nations to give the German people breathing space.

Volksfuhrer, Adolf Hitler, demanded Jews and Communists be kept apart and concentrated in camps, caged as Trump cages refugees and immigrant children.

Business leaders’ demands of the fascist leaders were deregulation and a cutting of red tape.  Deregulation = no regulation.

Work makes you free. Himmler’s SS were paid a fixed fee by employers such as Volkswagon for them to provide labour. The SS provided food and accommodation and took a fee, in much the same way Sports Direct Workers or Amazon workers are not employed directly be the company. Zero-hour contracts, mandatory.

Short story. The Prison Diaries wasn’t in Dalmuir library.  Library staff said they’d purchase a copy, even though it’s been long out of print. There’s something beautiful in that.

I noticed there was a leaflet for an author, sponsored by Book Scotland, who was selling her book The Sound of the Hours in Parkhall library.

I couldn’t be arsed going and it was cold outside. But I’d been there. I’d did a gig 2016, Book Scotland, Dalmuir Library, when I was a writer, trying to sell my book Lily Poole (West Dunbartonshire library book of the week).  I decided to go to Parkhall and show solidarity with my fellow worker.

Karen Campbell was great. She talked about her journey as a writer. The Sound of the Hours was her seventh book, but her first historical novel. There were things I can relate to, her setting was often Glasgow, and her having been an ex-cop, but admittedly, not a very good one–write what you know –  she’d wrote detective novels. She also wrote about immigrants and the homeless.

The Sound of the Hours was a harder sell. It was set during the Second World War in Italy, but the Glaswegian part of Italy. Barga. You’ve probably spotted the contradiction. She told me things I was vaguely familiar with, how immigrants from the poorer Southern regions had come here to work, mainly to sell ice-cream and chips to the Scottish working class. A niche market and culture.

They were immigrants like my Da from Ireland, standing outside shipyard gates waiting for that call.

My hand was first up when she asked if we’d any questions. I said, ‘My Da, when he was drunk would always shout about the Gothic Line. That we should get on the blower to Paki.’ Paki I explained, was an Italian and was called Paki because he had black hair. I guess we could say those were more innocent times, but I’d be lying.

‘Was the place she was writing about anywhere near the Gothic Line?’ I asked her ‘Because that’s were my dad served in the army and watched his pals die’.

‘Aye.’

Barga was the Gothic line. Italy is mountainous. The Germans when they’d freed Mussolini from his hilltop prison split Italy like the Brexit vote. She said she’d thought about having the word Gothic line in her title. I was a step ahead of her here. That would have put her in the wrong camp, with Dracula and co.

We don’t judge a book by its cover. She admitted her cover was of the Friday night coup d’état from Bloomsbury order. I’m reminded of Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy in Truth & Beauty: A Friendship discussing how a bad cover can kill your book. And many of my readers reminded me the best part of my book was the cover. So I’m up to speed on the cover issue and she admitted on the foreground it’s got hanging branches with lemons. That fruit doesn’t grow anywhere near Barga, or Italy, generally.  A bland, blue-greenish cover is a bitter lemon for any author to swallow.

Luckily, I was already hooked. I bought a copy…Having read the first few chapters…well, that’s another story. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have, usually, have picked this type of book. Read on.     

Climategate: Science of a Scandal, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, producer and director Steve O’Hagan.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000b8p2/climategate-science-of-a-scandal

Our ancestors believed that the sky was round and the earth was square, the sun and all the planets circled the earth. All these things were self-evident.

When emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of Cambridge were hacked in 2009 the theory that global warming was a hoax gained credence and the sky really was round and the earth square. Everything was up for grabs, including the truth.

  1. Since 1880 our planet has warmed to around 0.85 degrees
  2. 100 percent certainty doesn’t exist in science, but we can say this with between 95 percent to 99.99999999999 certainty that half the global warming is due to human activity, in particular our reliance on fossil fuels
  3. To stay below 2 degree and runaway global warming we have a ceiling of one trillion tonnes of carbon which we can afford to burn.
  4. But we’ve already burnt more than half that figure and are accelerating towards runaway global warming.

Scientists in The Climate Research Unit don’t use terms like runway global warming. They use more prosaic terms such as ‘dangerous levels’ of climate change. In other words we are facing an existential threat in the same category as nuclear annihilation and nuclear winter.

The Third World War has begun but before it heats up, the propaganda campaign takes place. Climategate was the epicentre of the propaganda war.

One of the most striking features of the programme was science isn’t about certainty but uncertainty. Validation comes from not one body but many. When CRU released the data they used to a team of global-warming sceptics, physicists from the University of California, Berkley—with a $150 000 grant from Charles Koch, one of the richest men in America, friend of the moron’s moron in the Whitehouse and prominent climate-change denier— who used a different methodology, but came up with the same figures as the CRU that should be the end point of the earth is square believers. But we know that didn’t happen.

This is an interesting case study in why that didn’t happen and trolls rule the world. David Attenborough, Seven World, One Planet, can tell us that a football-pitch sized piece of the Amazon forest disappears every seven seconds and this can be seen from space. Similarly, Jonathon Watts,  report Battle for The Amazon can make the analogy, ‘rainforests function as the heart of the world…sucking carbon dioxide out of the air’ converting it by photosynthesis ‘pushing 20 billion tonnes of water vapour into the atmosphere each day’ as part of the earth’s cooling system.

But for square earthers if we don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. When we waken up in the morning take milk from the fridge and eat Cornflakes today is much like yesterday. The bomb hasn’t landed.

We’ve been here before. Thomas Malthus, for example, Essay on Population  (1798) argued that unless we showed ‘moral restraint’ population levels would increase at a greater level than we could feed ourselves. He factored in the horseman of the apocalypse, War, Famine and Epidemics, but even allowing for these levelling factors his argument, like that of David Attenborough, on land and sea, mass species extinction and a holocaust, remained self-evident.

Malthus hadn’t factored in Planet B, the increasing efficiency of food production and the rise of global capitalism. As a general rule those that own the land own the people on the land. Natives of the Amazonian forest, for example, are vulnerable because clearing the land of forest increases its value by 50-to-100-fold and they have no land deeds to say they own the land. Land-grabbers, logging, mining and farming combine in a toxic mix that leaves little room for sentiment.

Marxism like Malthusianism has been overtaken by events. Liberalism and Capitalism have established hegemonic influence as the only game in town.

Marx argued, ‘It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness’.

In other words, the interests of the dominant class (the 1% to our 99%), land grabbers, logging, mining, industry, and farming conglomerates are reflected back to us in ideology.

Marx’s architectural metaphor makes this clear. The legal system, our ideology and politics is the ‘superstructure’ that rests on the ‘base’ of the economic structure and socioeconomic relations.

In crude terms, Marx describes morality, religion and philosophy, as ‘phantoms formed in the minds of men’.

When, for example, during the Highland clearances crofters were replaced by the more valuable monocrop of sheep, crofters had to sell their labour and learn to say ‘baa’ to survive. For their children this was a natural state, inseparable from their historical condition.

Marxism’s endpoint was when this false consciousness was shaken off. Climategate, the rise of the moron’s moron in the Whitehouse and Boris Johnston as the people’s czars show this is unlikely to happen soon.

Hannah Arendt, who fled Nazi Germany, argued ‘Things only become irreversible, when people start to think so’.

The dominant class, our 1%, since Climategate have opened up new fronts in the propaganda war. The nothing can be done argument has gained traction. Our eco-system rests on an economic system in which there are clear winners and losers. The Malthusian monopoly ‘on virtue’ has been co-opted by those that benefit most.

An archaic term, ‘running dogs of capitalism’ set loose to defend their rights and virtue. Marxism posited another scenario in which ‘contradictions of capitalism’ would be exposed and the workers would gain control of their workplace and the surplus value extracted from their labour.

Climategate shows there’s no Planet B and we burn through existing resources quicker than we can replace them leading to the increasing likelihood of extreme weather conditions and sea level rise. Bots and trolls rule the world. The contradictions of capitalism might just bring them down. But Malthus might just have got his timing wrong. Far more likely is tens of millions of refugees on the move. Wars and famine.  An Amazonian frog doesn’t jump out of a pot if the water is slowly heated.

 https://odonnellgrunting.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/climate-change-the-facts-bbc-1-bbc-iplayer-presented-by-sir-david-attenborough-produced-and-directed-by-serena-davies/

David Wilson (2019) My Life With Murderers.

Below the typeface of David Wilson’s name is the tag ‘The UK’s Leading Criminologist’. Fourteen other books written (or co-written) by Wilson about well-known criminals and criminal justice system are listed inside the cover. He is one of Britain’s youngest prison governors. It was only when I had neared completion of the book, and the Chapter: ‘Theory into Practice: Interview with a Murderer’, I realised this was a programme on Channel 4 that I’d watched.

Here we had encapsulated everything Wilson had been preaching. He was asked to write the foreword for a book, with the subtitle The Truth about the Killing of Carl Bridgewater. Carl Bridgewater was shot in the head delivering newspapers to a farm near where he lived. Nobody was convicted of his killing. Channel 4 could tag the Interview with a Murderer because the original suspect of the police investigation, an ambulance driver, Bert Spencer was convicted of another killing. It was that of his friend and a ‘father figure’ that sometimes employed him, Hubert Wilkes. Spencer shot him in the head and claimed amnesia. In many crime dramas the protagonist suffers amnesia and the viewer later finds out that’s not the way it happened. He was not guilty. Spencer was guilty and sent to prison.

When he came out of prison he set out to clear his name. The Carl Bridgewater case, apart from family members, was largely forgotten. Most of us recognise what a psychopath looks and sounds like by seeing the moron’s moron, President Trump, on television and the way he needs to feed the continuing ‘I’ into his angst on social media. Bert Spenser was a littler ‘I AM’ that was not to be ignored.

Trump’s bestseller The Art of the Deal wasn’t ghost-written by Tony Schwartz, but wholly written and fabricated by him (a deal with the moron’s moron he later regretted).

Similarly, author Simon Golding had written about the Carl Bridgewater murder based on what Bert Spencer had told him. Like the moron’s moron in the Whitehouse, Spencer liked to claim he’d-all-but-written the book. Similarly, he was the hero in his own story. Setting the world to rights. Grandiose thinking and impetuosity are attributes of the psychopathic mindset.

In the same way that the moron’s moron craves the endorsement of well-known celebrities, Spencer wanted to hook the leading criminologist to endorse his book. Spencer wanted to make the splash of big ‘I AM’ bigger.

I must admit I underestimated President Trump. He used other people’s money to get elected and expected to be defeated, but had gone along for the ride because the cameras were always on him. I expected when the circus died down President Trump would be brought down by his own narcissism, greed, lies and above all by his own incompetence. But the moron’s moron repositioned those attributes as virtues. The smell’s still there, but we’re looking –for now- the other way.

Wilson did not fall for Spencer’s false bonhomie and old worldly charms. The criminologist looked at Spencer, looked at his alibi, met the woman that had provided the alibi and quickly concluded it had no validity. Spencer’s ex-wife later agreed to be interviewed and she talked about Spencer washing a jumper in the washing machine on the night of the Bridgewater murder.  Spencer had never done a washing in all the years they had been married. The green jumper and one of Spencer’s shotguns later went missing. Spencer’s daughter also thought he could have killed Carl Bridgewater.

Spencer argued the world was against him. He claimed that Wilson’s eyes were dilated and he took drugs. He was incompetent. He didn’t fully understand the case.

Every time you listen to one of the moron’s moron rants imagine Spencer, both are not guilty of any crime. The question remains, what do we do with the psychopaths among us? We elect them to the highest office, out of harm’s way, President of the United State and Prime Minister of a disunited kingdom. Psychopaths have that great ability to not really care what you think. Just don’t get in their way. When you think of Spencer, think of the moron’s moron and the man that hides what little brains he has under mussed blonde hair.        

Seven Worlds, One Planet, BBC 1, BBC iPlayer, narrator David Attenborough.

There are countless wildlife programmes way back to the mists of time, but there’s only one David Attenborough. He’s the gold standard of natural history and been doing it a very long time. There he is onscreen, popping up in Borneo in 1964, when it was mostly jungle, now it’s not. There are wildlife sanctuaries instead, as soon as you say that you know something has gone drastically wrong.

Here we have it, Seven Worlds, One Planet, has a didactic purpose. Tarzan might have been king of the jungle, but it was Attenborough’s clout and pictures of a whale losing its baby because of plastic bags that led to revolution at home. Plastic bag use is shops is down something like 98% and that’s the Attenborough effect. What he’s telling us now is global warming is killing us, killing the planet and killing the wildlife we are meant to protect.

We can’t because Malthus was right and the clock’s ticking. Mankind scores high in every score in Robert Hare’s Psycopathy Checklist (Revised).

‘Glibness’. In Asia, walruses like to rest on ice, but when there’s none they need to rest on rock.  The problem is congestion. On the Siberian costs tens of thousands of walruses scramble up cliffs and rocks to get a space. Most of them weight a ton, literally and aren’t designed for hard landings. Polar bears find them easy pickings on land. A rare event, polar bears and walruses congregating together becomes the new normal. We can glibly say, ‘It’s only a walrus’. Until there were none.

‘Grandiose sense of self-worth.’ God above, man below, the steward of all. Aye, right. God can just fuck off. Because we’re the real deal. We’ll do what we want, when we want because we are God. Animals are there to be ate.

‘Need for stimulation’. This reminds me of when the great race was on to cover America in train tracks. Just for fun passengers used to get on a train, stick a rifle out the window and shoot buffalo.

‘Pathological lying’. See moron’s moron in the Whitehouse as basic role model for it wasnae me and if it was, it still wisnae me. David Attenborough is trying to bring a bit of sense into the argument. He’s talking eons, when what is now India collided with the Himalayas pushing them up five miles, above the clouds, creating snowfall and microclimates. Nobody’s listening, we’re too busy telling lies.

‘Manipulation’. The Paris Agreement in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first ever, legally-binding, global climate reduction deal. The biggest fossil fuel debtor walked away, said there was no such thing as global warming. See moron’s moron above.

‘Lack of remorse’. When the last Sumatran rhino dies and we no longer hear its jungle song, will we care? I think not. See ‘Glibness’.

‘Shallow affect’. No crocodile tears, no tears at all. No crocodiles. Our emotions are skin deep.

‘Lack of empathy’. Empathy is usually described as putting yourself in another’s shoes. Bit clichéd. Attenborough tries to make us care by showing large-eyed baby orangutans clinging to their mother and climbing the tallest trees to get the best food. He tries to humanise them. See ‘Lack of remorse’.

‘Parasitic lifestyle’.  In The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, his boss CJ always ended his monologue with a story ‘I didn’t  get where I am today…’ Mankind is the world’s greatest parasite. There’s around 7.6 billion of us. Rising to 10 billion, soonish. But we account for only 0.01% of all species but have destroyed around 83% of all mammals and 50% of all plants, from fungi to fish we’re in the dock.

‘Poor behavioural controls’ Poor behaviour is mandatory around animals, plants, fungi and fish. Any kind of red tape is anathema to us. See moron’s morons ripping up almost 100 years of incremental improvements in taking care of the environment. I’m proud to say John Muir was Scottish. He was ‘Father of the National Parks’ in America. The moron’s moron has a smidgen of Scottish blood in his veins, but there the link ends.

‘Promiscuous sexual behaviour’.  Out on the desert-like Indian plateaus garishly coloured lizards fight for the right to have sex. Mankind doesn’t do much fighting for sex, but we do a lot of procreating. See ‘Parasitic lifestyle’.  

‘Early behavioural problems’. Man has always been a killer. Mass genocide of the American Indian, the aboriginal Australians and the murder and enslavement of black Africans is just a taster.

‘Lack of realistic, long-term goals’. We agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Then we didn’t. We disagreed about agreeing and up the ante to 2 degrees Celsius. See runaway global warming – it’s not going to wait.

‘Impulsivity’. Mankind isn’t impulsive. We just do what we want, when we want. Other species can also be red-blooded and impulsive, but usually it’s tied to a short-term goal. See ‘Lack of realistic, long-term goals’.

‘Irresponsibility’. Science is a noun and a verb. A body of knowledge and a methodology. Only man has the language of how stupid and irresponsible we are. We face planetary disaster yet we’d much rather the world burns than change. Science tells us this is going to happen. See ‘Impulsivity’.

‘Failure to accept responsibility for our own actions.’ In the frozen Kamchaka peninsula, brown bears waking after hibernation seek out active volcanoes. Mankind does that too, see moron’s moron.

‘Short-term marital relationships.’ Mankind is pretty good at that and we’re getting better. The moron’s moron’s only been married three times. One of them might be fake news. See ‘Parasitic lifestyle’.

‘Juvenile delinquency’. Mankind has had two global conflicts. The third one really will be apocalyptic. When nations fight for enough water to feed themselves, when every stream and river becomes a conflict zone and those higher up the pecking order control the waters of those below (see the Ganges river, for example) then juvenile delinquency really could come to blows.

‘Revocation of conditional release’.  Yeh, the Paris Agreement of 2015 was ratified, but in 2018 the perennial re-offender and moron’s moron walked away. He’s still on parole. Let’s hope it’s prison time for him, personally, soon.

‘Criminal versatility.’ Mankind has committed every kind of crime against our planet I’m tempted to start spouting like Donald Rumsfeld about ‘the known knowns’, ‘the known unknowns’ and the ‘unknown unknowns’.

Only David Attenborough can explain what we’ve done to our Blue Planet. We massacring it with criminal abandon. That’s the didactic element of Seven Worlds, One Planet. Some known known is sure to complain about a waste of taxpayer’s money. See Grandiose Sense of Self Worth, but watch Attenborough and learn. Mankind scores 20 out of 20 on the Psychopathy Checklist. We are not to be trusted. We fuel not only our own doom, but mass species extinction and we blame somebody else.  There’ll be no walking away this time. No Seven Worlds. No nothing.      

Storyville: Inside Lehman Brothers, BB4, BBC IPlayer, Director Jennifer Deschamps.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0009tpx/storyville-inside-lehman-brothers-the-whistleblowers

Lehman Brothers was one of the first dominoes to fall in the 2008 crash which brought down the world’s financial systems. Debts for Lehman Brothers were around $630 billion. Take a little time to think about that. It’s like the idea of infinity. Your mind shies away from how much money that is. Physicists like to simplify things. If your typical hospital, such as the one in Glasgow or Edinburgh cost £100 million, how many hospitals could you build? Boris Johnson proposes 26 new hospital, but he wasn’t very good at sums, someone quietly mentioned that he really meant six, which doesn’t have the same oomph, but he did throw in 20 000 new police officers in a great big tax giveaway before the next election.  Think of the Laurel and Hardy of British politics, Cameron and Osborne, forever telling us there was no money, while quietly shifting money from the poor to the rich. The United Kingdom and London, in particular, the money-laundering capital of the world.  Lehman Brothers isn’t the rogue bank, the cautionary tale that taught us a valuable lesson. As the billions of pounds and dollars levelled in fines show, all the banks were at it. Lehman brothers were offered up to the gods of finance because they were small enough to go under.

Winners and losers. Richard S. Fuld Jr, who was essentially Lehman Brothers, in all but corporate name and whose pitiful salary in 2007 was around $22 million and after appearing before a Congressional Committee and declaring it was a bull market and it ‘wasn’t me’. A common cry from uncommonly wealthy men.  Fuld walks away with $406 million in bonuses and is exonerated.

The sheriff’s department in finance, The Security and Exchange Commission, (SEC) which is meant to step in when financial irregularities occur, in theory, self regulates. What that means in practice is a representative from Morgan Stanley, for example, investigates Lehmann Brothers. Whistle blower at executive level, Matthew Lee, for example, informed the SEC that Lehmann Brothers were running a carousel in which they took around $50 billion off the audited books in America and sent them to Lehmann Brothers in London, then brought the money back, after the audit had taken place, to hide the subprime losses they were making. Trading followed a very basic principle if it wasn’t illegal, do it. If it was illegal still do it, as long as you make money, but don’t get caught. Lee had handed the SEC a smoking gun in a file called ‘Repo 105’.

After six months the SEC hadn’t got back to Matthew Lee but he had been fired by Lehman Brothers.

Self-regulation of the SEC was, in essence, like sending Harvey Weinstein to investigate Jeffrey Epstein.   

In 2018, the moron’s moron, Vietnam dodger, multiple bankrupt and other well-known sex pest, who also happens to be President of the United States, repealed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was set up after the financial crash 2008. Like the Glass-Steagall legislation it was seen as being overly bureaucratic, making the United States less competitive than its counterparts. In other words, let’s fill our boots again and don’t worry about consequences because little people don’t count.

Not only are banks and regulatory bodies for sale, as we’ve seen the position of President of the United States is too. Gearing up for the next election, Mark Zuckerberg, who did so much to get Trump elected has changed Facebook policy to allow politicians to publish alternative truth, ‘deceptive, false, or misleading content’.

Donald Trump was of course elected to ‘drain the swamp’. In 2017 there’s another bull market and bonuses once again reach 2007 level, running around $30 billion for traders. Algorithmic trading follow the crowd meaning a Lehman type crash will happen faster with greater fallout.

When we’re talking about money, put a face to it. There’s not all them here, not all of them are buffoons, but all of them are millionaires, some of them billionaires. Can another Lehman Brother’s crash happen?  Absolutely.