This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Nasa's Mars Rover, Curiosity, takes a photo of itself
- H1N1 Swine Flu kills nine people in the West Bank
- The 'Kick the Can Theory' and the Fiscal Cliff
- Fiscal cliff negotiations
Nasa's Mars Rover, Curiosity, takes a photo of itself
Curiosity Self-Portrait (NASA)
The spacecraft carrying the Mars Rover, Curiosity, was launched from
Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011. Curiosity landed on Mars on
August 6, 2012, and it's been conducting science experiments since
then, though rumors that life had been discovered on Mars turned out
to be false. This is an actual picture of Curiosity on the Martian
landscape on November 1. Curiosity's cameras are not able to take
this shot, of course, so this picture is a composite of dozens of
images that the cameras took, combined into a self self-portrait
image. Nasa and Jet Propulsion Lab (PDF)
H1N1 Swine Flu kills nine people in the West Bank
There have been 187 recent recorded cases of H1N1 swine flu in the
northern West Bank, and nine Palestinians have died. In 2009, an H1N1
epidemic erupted in Mexico and spread into a worldwide pandemic.
"WHO declares a worldwide H1N1 'mild' swine flu pandemic"
The pandemic died out by Spring
2010, after killing over 17,000 people world wide, and the World
Health Organization has warned that there could be a resurgence at any
and Jerusalem Post
The 'Kick the Can Theory' and the Fiscal Cliff
Some time ago, I formulated the "Kick the Can Theory" which said that
if you want to predict what the Europeans are going to do, especially
with Greece, then just figure out what the minimum amount is that they
can do to get past the current day's crisis without solving the
underlying problems, which then continue to worsen. The crisis then
returns in much worse form, a few weeks or months later.
The "Kick the Can Theory" has never failed. It has always correctly
predicted what the Europeans were going to do. It's worthwhile
looking at it a little more closely, so that we can apply it to the
fiscal cliff negotiations currently going on in Washington.
The Kick the Can Theory turns out to be more complicated than you
might think, because it runs in major cycles, with several steps
within each cycle. Let's remember how the cycle worked with Greece:
- Greece would be facing a crisis (e.g., bankruptcy by a date
- European leaders would have a "summit meeting" to do discuss
options, and to settle on a bailout plan.
- There would be bitter confrontations but the participants would
lie to the press about them. Retiring Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude
Jüncker had the philosophy that "When it becomes serious, you have to
- There would be no agreement, and more summit meetings would be
scheduled. The participants would lie to the press.
- Finally there would be a summit meeting where a "nuclear option"
would be revealed, and it would be announced that Greece's problems
were solved once and for all, with only a few "details" still to be
worked out. A new deadline would be announced to settle all the
- This deadline would be missed, as would several subsequent
deadlines, to decide on "details." The participants would lie to the
- Summit meeting after summit meeting would fail to reach a
decision, until two weeks before Greece had to make its next major
- At that point, there would be agreement to loan Greece just enough
money to make the next bond payment. The underlying problems would
not be solved. Everyone would lie to the press, saying that all
problems had been solved.
We've had three or four cycles of the above steps. The cycle as a
whole is can-kicking, but what's important to understand is that each
step within the cycle is also a mini-can-kicking.
It's worth repeating that there was never a "final solution" for
Greece because no solution exists. It's not that there were three or
four really good solutions, and the participants simply could not
agree on which wonderful solution to implement. It's that no solution
exists, and all the participants can do is blame each other.
Fiscal cliff negotiations
The United States is barely at the beginning of this can-kicking
process. There have only been a couple of "summit meetings" so far,
barely enough to get anywhere at all. Everybody is lying to the press
and blaming each other except that, as usual, the mainstream media is
totally in the tank for President Obama, irrespective of anything else
going on, and will always agree with whatever he says, even when it's
As of this writing on Saturday evening, there appears to be a good
chance of a "deal" that will raise tax on the "rich," which is what
President Obama wants, and there will also probably be some spending
increases, and an increase in the debt ceiling. Thus, any deal will
actually make things worse, but President Obama and the mainstream
media will declare it to be a major victory and stocks will rise.
Or, perhaps there won't be a mini-deal. Yesterday I heard analysts
say that we may go over the "fiscal cliff," which will result in huge
tax increases on everyone, but then agreement will be reached next
week (because then the Republicans will be voting for a tax decrease
rather than for a tax increase) ... or by January 14 ... or by January
21 ... or by March.
If a "final solution" cannot be reached now, then how stupid do you
have to be to think that one will be found in March?
The Kick the Can Theory predicts that there will be multiple "summit
meetings" and confrontations, that all parties will continue to lie to
the press and blame each other, and that no agreement will be reached
until just a few days before some real crisis. At that point, there
will be some agreement on some part of the issue, just enough to delay
the current crisis a few more weeks. The cycle will repeat over and
over until we're at war. As in the case of Greece, no actual solution
By the way, I haven't read anything about this, but I'm going to guess
that a lot of Europeans are looking forward with glee to the
Schadenfreude they're expecting to feel when America has to go through
the same farcical process that they went through.
America is truly Greece now.
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