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David Stafford
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Student of markets, enjoys following their course.
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Around the World in Several Pieces
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  • Interesting Dynamics Shaping EU Votes, And US Cultural Conversations.

    Perhaps similar to but in an inverted relationship to the Ukraine, various EU countries are taking to the polls per se for a variety of measures in the coming days and weeks ahead. Various news sources have mentioned a developing interest in sort of local-centric political parties as opposed to pro-EU parties. Perhaps Ukrainian protestors felt the same way and felt that the EU could be a bulwark against a hegemonic force they felt spreading across their borders(or were just tired of corruption in general in the local govt.). Either way there's perhaps an interesting new focus on localism, or perhaps more specifically "self-determination" sweeping the "western world" perhaps, all the whilst however, where is the US in all of this.


    The US has often been noted as being a little different from other Western countries for a variety of reasons. The US has been noted as not really having a sort of exclusive national identity, and instead has been sort of the home of various sorts of "for fun" nationalisms over the years. Little Italy's, Irish parts of town, Boston for example, is perhaps an interesting example of all of this. With nationalism or localism adding a sort of spice to a particular region or quarter, but not really changing its overall "American-ness", or "Boston-ness" per se.


    So why is America not going to the far right, one might ask, or wonder. Well, perhaps there are a variety of reasons for this, but perhaps an interesting reflection upon "messianic" or pseudo-messianic movements in the US, may help us to shed some light on the sort of unique flavor of American nationalism.


    Ever since the various discussions of spirituality, or agency based freedom have graced the lips of American civic-leaders, the US has had a sort of brand of varying dynamic sort of pop-culture nationalism, that is not really as hard or as "exclusive" as other country's forms of nationalism perhaps. An interesting look at this can be seen in Andrew Delbanco's "The Real American Dream", which seemed at times almost like a sort of play-book for the ambiguous but seemingly captivating messages of "hope and change", and "yes we can" which brought many Americans to the polls in the past couple of elections.


    Though the US is no longer a country of ever expanding borders, and dreams of grandeur, just over the next hill per se, perhaps it still maintains this sort of soft-nationalism identity based political discussion per se.


    Perhaps at the moment we don't see these sort of far-right, or right leaning, political movements taking sway in the US, for the sort of ambiguous nationalism of the US as mentioned earlier, and also perhaps because perhaps nationalistic tendencies are sort of caught in a sort of thumb-war at the moment in the US, over what really is the nature of the US's current "hope and change" ideology.


    Terrorism, or a sort of "Indian War" moment, seemed to grip the country in the wake of the various terrorist events, and wars of the past decade or so. However, now as this phase sort of winds down, it seems as though once again, the US is now swinging back towards its sort of other pole, namely the transcendentalist side per se of the US's hard to really define national psyche per se.


    Perhaps it was the utter crushing of the occupy movement, and the kind of pitifulness of that whole moment in the US, in so far as the disproportionate force that was brought against it per se is concerned, or maybe it's also the ilk of people like Snowden making national headlines, or maybe its the semi-recent gulf-oil-spill events, or maybe its the sort of loss of our "nation-building" adventures to local "tribalism" or nationalism, but it seems as though the sort of expansionist phase, is now coming to a close and now the spiritual side is once again reappearing in the US gestalt's rear view mirror per se.


    The US is interesting in that these clashes are never sort of "hard" per se. There were some congressional hearings about the excesses of the "Indian War" phase typified by elites fighting over their bureaucratic fiefdoms(see Senators from Cali. vs. Intelligence svcs.), however, it seems as though this sort of infighting, and the widespread later question of the congressional testimony of the whole affair and related issues, has perhaps lead to a sort of tacit understanding and acceptance that this phase is sort of a dead-horse at this point. That perhaps the secret-military build up of this most recent "Indian War" phase, has sort of burned its self out, it has come to light, and though unexpected, it's not really perhaps captivating enough to really propel/motivate the American gestalt into an acceptance of further expansion per se(perhaps).


    Perhaps for the US's future political movements hence we will begin to see more and more of a sort of fraying and fusing of the "Indian War" excesses into the more idyllic, utopian-vision-guided future , and more and more of a returning of sort of plural-spirituality based arguments driving the US in the future.


    As sort of an interesting dovetail to all of this, the "Indian War" phase is perhaps even beginning to be questioned on a very subtle level, with for example the hitherto-not-so-problematic name of the "Washington Redskins", coming into the frame of the cultural lens of the US.


    Perhaps this end of the expansionist phase, can also be seen in more and more US locals, are starting to feel as though foreign invasions are not ok, especially most recently in regards to Libya, and Syria. This can also be seen in various Pew polls, whereby US'ers who when asked about about eh US's "global policeman" roll, and there thoughts thereof, most often responded neutrally or negatively to notions of the US being a sort of far-reaching military hegemon per se.(poll results cited at bottom of post)

    Hence, perhaps as the expansionist phase of the US's cultural conversation dies down, will see more of an emphasis on the sort of "green" or "renewable" themes, that were perhaps trendy but not necessary per-se, or fundamental, to the past decade's discussion of commerce and energy, and hence perhaps we can already begin to see this with new sort of condemning regulations being hoisted upon the US Coal Industry as of late as well.


    Either way, it seems that, though the US's economy is not exactly 1980's mode per se at the moment, that perhaps in the future, US society will become more sort of, pleasant, or Vermontian if one will in the next few decades. If one visits the hinterlands of Vermont, which are quite nice this time of year and over the summer, one can get that sort of sense of the enlightened parochial-ness that US transcendentalism was birthed from, and which is still sort of a guiding muse of the US to varying extents. With sort of unique sorts of shops like little farmers' co-ops, nestled amongst Bostonian's country-retreats per se, one can sort of get that sort of spiritually, or community guided spirit, that represents perhaps the other poll that we may begin to perhaps swing towards to a greater extent here in the US over the next few months, and years.


    Hence, though there are still sort of prickly-vestiges of the "Indian War" expansionist phase left, like sort of unusual security procedures(from an international perspective) etc., remaining, perhaps things will sort of languidly, and almost un-noticeably drift more towards that spirit, of tolerance, and of the pursuit of a more-ideal/utopian future, that perhaps enlivens(whether knowingly or not) the US's collective conscience every so many decades, and hence, perhaps even though there isn't as much "excess" in the US as there used to be perhaps, perhaps the US will still be a happy place guided by that other pole, which guides us to the other niceties of life per se.


    Either way, if there is a sort of transition hopefully its an imperceptibly smooth one, and hopefully its great for everyone's investments one way or another. Thanks again for reading, hope everyone is doing great, and feeling their inner "Vermontian" these days.(haven't been myself in years, but hopefully others have gotten that Vermont vibe, or whatnot)

    Ye Olde Vermont;


    Source for picture 1; TravelGuide/Vermont_Intro-Hills_345x225.jpg

    Source for picture 2; /usa+canada/usa/northvermont/new/vermont_035p.jpg

    (Links below(references etc.))



    US's estimated opinion concerning desired involvement level in foreign "adventures" etc.;


    Sen. Feinstein angry at CIA;

    Andrew Delbanco's; "The Real American Dream; A meditation on hope"

    Some interesting reporting on Ukraine by NHK World; more in depth and exploratory pieces on Ukraine, can be seen on NHK world's television station's if one can get a hold of it per se. A few brief excerpts;

    Senate leader's not happy about "Redskins" name;

    Tougher regulations for the Coal Industry;


    May 23 7:01 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Irrigation And The San Andreas

    In perhaps an interesting bit of news tangentially applicable to farming in California, a new study has shown that irrigation based on aquifer reserves per se, can lead to some adjustments in the tensions bearing upon the San Andreas fault.



    From the above cited article per se, one may find that it's not exactly catastrophic per se, but perhaps according to physical logic, underground water usage, changes the dynamics of the landscape per se particularly around the sleeping alligator that is the San Andreas fault.


    It seems that just as fracking, and the inherent forcing of liquids into the earth's crust destabilizes the local tectonic scene per se, so does withdrawing liquid from within its earthy embrace. According to the data compiled by researchers per se, as mentioned in the above article, it seems that as water is withdrawn from Californian aquifers, that this sort of changes the load if one will upon the local tectonic plates. Hence, just as one's footsteps in an old house may lead to "seismic"-creaking per se, depending on one's beam situation, so may aquifer-volume-load related pressures, lead to sort of mini-earthquakes in the areas around the San Andreas fault, or at least the increased potential for said little earthquakes if one will.


    How might this effect farming one may wonder. Well, at first glance it would seem as though mini-earthquakes in and of themselves, are not a tremendous threat to farming activities per se. However, if enough mini-earthquakes are to destabilize a local hill or cliff-side if applicable, this may perhaps lead to increased potential for mudslides-and hence the sort of uprooting/burying if one will of crops etc. The increased density of plants per square foot inherent to large scale commercial farming per se, may also increase the damage potential from this sort of event, relative to a mud-slide in a personal or more "casual" sort of farm per se.


    All in all, perhaps if farmers in the California/San Andreas fault region are concerned by these new not so harrowing findings, perhaps an appropriate response would entail something like building some sort of moat, or wall, against any side of their property facing any of these potentially destabilized cliff-faces or hill-sides per se, or perhaps "shoring up" if one will, any inclines or declines on the property in question using whatever sort of means seems appropriate.


    All things considered perhaps its isn't exactly a really worrying phenomenon, nor an unexpected one, but perhaps in the spirit of thorough due diligence per se, it is none the less perhaps a phenomenon local farmland investors/speculators/farmers may want to at least be vaguely mindful of, particularly in this drought situation in California, where presumably there is more aquifer tapping than usual per se.


    Either way, perhaps a tasty dish involving some palate satisfying California produce is all that's needed to put one's mind at ease, and hopefully everyone's investments are going sweetly, like some sort of California plum related dish, and as smoothly as a Napa-valley Cabernet Sauvignon(a smooth Napa, CS; pages/industry-wine-list).


    Thanks again for reading.



    May 15 4:05 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Friday Fancies; Serenity In The Doldrums.

    The stock market has perhaps been a touch interesting as of late per se. Though the macro picture per se, seems to get a touch more twisty by the moment, perhaps in a few stocks one may find a place of respite per se for one's capital, a little sheltered dale for one's savings/investments if one will.


    Amongst some interesting stocks that didn't really move much yesterday per se we may find some surprises, and perhaps some correlation cues that underlie certain trends. For interesting correlations, namely being one of 1 based on lack of change yesterday, one may find the strange bedfellows, of various high yield-based instruments per se, like DHY and CIK, both moving nil throughout the day. Joining them in this siesta from volatility was some interesting stocks, like our lumbering friend Rayonier(NYSE:RYN) for example, and perhaps some interesting other fixed-income based funds/vehicles, namely NRK(Muni), which doesn't have a shabby yield per se at above 6%, while at the same time reaching the top of a 6+ month long, languid ascent in price per se. So perhaps these correlations were interesting.


    For a couple high yielders relatively speaking, which sort of felt the wrath yesterday per se, one may see that our friend Seadrill(NYSE:SDRL) took a decent plunge of over 2%, joined by another energy related company namely, Terra Nitrogen(NYSE:TNH), which was down around 3% for the day, both have nice yields, and are quite volatile, so this might make for a decent very short term Friday fancy per se.


    An interesting situation also emerged given that RYN, exhibited zero change for the day per se. Namely, this might give us some sort of baseline per se, whereby one may better understand the way in which RYN, and Plum Creek(NYSE:PCL) maintain their interesting dance, that does seem to have a sort of vague pattern to it at times. PCL was up .23% or .1$, while RYN was unchanged so, perhaps that may give us a potentially interesting point along an experimental chart per se, perhaps its nice to have an intercept per se, if one will.


    Perhaps with the markets being a touch squirrelly as of late, and the macro picture continuously devolving, with discussions of Chinese debt, and previously stable euro-area economies getting a little smoky, this might be a decent time for a "when in doubt" sort of investment like a relatively stable State's municipal bond fund or perhaps even a water fund, for surely if there is one thing that's been becoming more and more clear as of late, one might say that this would be that the worlds water is becoming less and less clear, so perhaps having one's finger in a water-pot somewhere might not betoo conservative per se an idea the way things seem to be shaping up.


    Hopefully everybody's water is clean none the less, and everybody's investments are doing great.


    Without further adieu, that financially savvy feathered Uncle

    May 02 5:55 AM | Link | Comment!
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