Friday, 25 July 2014

The Graduate Senator

It is one of those odd stories.

Someone kinda suggested to the Army War College to go back and look at X-research paper from a Army officer that attended the university about a decade ago.  No one from the university crew will say who suggested this...but the results are this....this simple fourteen page report has around 98 citations attached to it (all done correctly apparently)....but basically copied word-for-word....from an existing paper of the period.

The guy involved?  Well....he's the stand-in guy for North Dakota's senate seat....a Democrat.  Yeah.....he's running in the fall. really shook up things a bit.

The Army War College?  They simply asked him to present himself and answer a few questions.  The worst of scenarios?  They revoke his master's degree.  For a Army's pretty much kick-in-the-butt.  You can't really fix this, and if all is proven's a done deal....just a couple of weeks of chat, and they make their decision.

What Senator Walsh says?  Well....he kinda admits he may have just lifted an entire paper to fill this void, but it's OK because he was having PTSD episodes at the time.  The Army?  Normally, the Army guys would all fall over each other and say "sure"....but this is the Army Staff College, and these geeky Army folks are a bit different.

My observation?  Well....if you say you had PTSD back in 2007....who is to say that right don't have PTSD?  Can we allow some Senator to remedy himself and just he's pure and clean issues?  I just don't see how.

I can see future military leaders always caught in a lie....just say you got PTSD, and you get off the hook.

My belief?  By late August....the Army War College will have met and discussed the fourteen-page paper and it's affect.  PTSD won't be discussed.  They will simply say a sixty-day review will take place within the university....and shortly after election day in November....they revoke the degree.  Maybe it has no effect on the election.....maybe it does.  But it's not a player until after the election.

As for purity in master degree programs?  It's best to say that if you really went into every report and thesis written over the past twenty least twenty percent would fail the purity test.  Incompetent individuals?  No....just people under stress....and the program is more than they expected.  So they cut corners.....fill in the voids, and pay the idiots their $40,000 for a certificate that you can hang on the wall, and gets you a $30,000 pay-raise.  That's life.

Russia and Capital Flight

There's a phrase that got tossed around a good bit in the last week....."capital flight".  It's used on rare occasions.....and some reporters have used it recently to talk up Russia and it's long list of issues that worry the billionaire guys who hang out and run the business side of Russia.

To put capital flight into a localized perspective.....imagine this guy in Bama....who has done well financially.  Small community, you made $250,000 this year off your franchise operation down on highway 4.

Normally, after you pay your'd turn around and invest the remainder into real estate, or expand your business.  You might fix up your house.  You might buy a new big-screen TV from the local guy selling them.  You might buy a new Chevy from the dealer twenty miles away.  You might buy a pontoon-boat for your weekend pleasure from the local dealer.  You might do a number of things, but you are mostly parking that money left into localized things and spending it on the local level.

Other locals are in some way....sharing in your success.

In capital take the funds left after taxes, and quietly shift it completely out of the state.  Other than house renovations or airline tickets for you to continually enjoy luxury in distant don't spend a dime on local items.  No real estate car from a local pontoon-boat from a local guy.

No one in the local region.....shares in your success.  What you are that you are fearful of someone screwing you over, tricking you out of your capital, and don't want the risks associated with any local banking, investing, or purchases.

What Russian oligarchs kinda figured out since 1990 when the Soviet Union that there is no safe place in Russia to park billions.  Every time some idiot gets forced or pushed into banking with Russian banks or investing into Russian real estate or goes into a black hole, and the success rate is marginal.

So, the money moves out of Russia.  The most popular places to park the money?  You can go into Paris, London, or find various upscale homes and condos which have been bought and are currently empty....just sitting there with cash holding it's value.  Go into New York City and you will find the same business going on, with the Russian billionaire folks parking money.

About a decade ago....the Russian billionaire found ways to get residency into Cyprus.  They brought bundles of cash.  The Cypriot banks were falling all over themselves in the beginning. They had people wanting to build new resorts and hotels on the island, and this new fresh money helped to start a trend.  But the billionaires kept coming up with more bundles, expecting the same generous rate to continue.

At some point, the Cypriot banks got to a point of saturation.....too much lucrative way to get a fair return. But they couldn't decline this great funnel of money.

 So, the bankers started to take in risky loans....hoping they'd pay off and making their new Russians friends happy.  Well....perhaps in the first year of this worked to some minor degree, and then risk lead onto more risk, and eventually....the Cypriot banking system fell into a mighty big pit.  They had massive debt owed to regular Cypriot people.....small-business Cypriot business people....and to their rich Russian friends.  That was the issue of 2013 that had to be dealt with.

The Russian billionaires?  Well....they've had a bit of a fallout with Cyprus, but frankly where else are they accepted so easily....with a reasonable amount of transparency?

All of this leads back to capital flight....Russian profits which aren't staying in Russia.  You'd sit there and think about this, and start to ask....well....aren't the locals peeved and kinda upset?  Yeah.

In 1990....Russia hit the top of the population chart.....150-odd million in residents.  Even with the birth-rate drifting downward along general terms....Russia sits at around 143-million residents today.  Based on varying numbers....what the economic experts say is that three million Russians have packed up and left over the last decade.

Who made up the three million that left?  The National Post article cited engineers, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs.  The best and brightest....packed and left.  Whatever money that Russian is making off oil and natural gas....these people aren't saying too much in terms of results.  They were disenchanted, and felt betrayed in some ways by capital flight.  If the system of banking and investing in Russia is that screwed up for the billionaires....what does it say for the regular smart guy in the middle of the mess?