Thursday, May 21, 2009

preserve, protect and defend

At one point in Obama's speech today he misspoke saying "I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution as commander in chief...". This would be a Constitutional error in that he did not take the office as "Commander in Chief " but rather he is President of the United States; "commander in chief" is a responsibility of the office he holds and not his office. Unlike the trained chimp who soiled the Oval Office rug and thought he had been elected "Commander In Chief " or the psychopath who held his leash, Obama does understand this.

In the context of Obama’s speech about the War Crimes committed by the Bush Crime Family; he refers to himself as commander in chief and to the President’s oath of office in the same sentence. He is making the point that the President cannot suspend the Constitution of the United States just because he likes to play dress up soldier games.

He is also sending a message to Cheney and his ilk that he is the most powerful single man on the planet having been duly elected President of the United States by the people. Rather than having been appointed by his daddy’s cronies.

PS: the reports of Obama wanting to act like the BCF and preemptively detain people has got to be bat squeeze. Conspiracy charges are enough to incarcerate anybody who is a real threat. The idea that Obama is considering what amounts to a gulag system and doing so in an open meeting no less, is not believable.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What the "L"?

The government agency that guarantees the pensions of bankrupt corporations has had its deficit triple to 34 billion in the last 6 months. It still has sufficient assets to cover its activities since the Bush Crime Family’s attempt to invest the trust fund in the Stock Market last year didn’t go through before the crash. But the fund has been maintaining its solvency by paying only pennies on the dollar. The average recipient gets less than $7000 per year and recent victims of pension bankruptcy get even smaller portions of the pensions that they paid for. Only 401k victims are doing worse; when their accounts are used up they won’t even get the pennies on the dollar that a pension pays.

The markets were up early but closed down today on the growing realization that the banks probably won’t raise enough capital to meet the Stress Test standards despite all the happy talk earlier. TV stock market analysts are starting to predict the end of the Bear Rally and are expecting a plunge in share prices. When asked if the market would set new lows they said they were sure it wouldn’t; much like the crew on the Titanic who told the passengers that the lifeboats would come back for them.

In the real economy the Fed has revised its economic outlook sharply downward but reality based economists are still calling the Fed report "too rosy". Despite people being unable to afford new cars, the number of cars being scrapped exceeds the number being sold by almost half again. Normally new car sales far exceed scrappage rates as the population grows. The number of people slipping into homelessness now exceeds the population growth rate. Fewer people are coming from poor third world countries as poverty at home is often better than the American Dream.

Mainstream economists are describing the yet to be realized recovery as an "L" shape instead of the usual "V" shape. The assumption is that once the economy stops going down it won’t come back up at any noticeable rate. It could be a lower case "l" instead of a capital "L" where there is no real bottom for the middle class. Don’t scrap the old family car unless it will bring enough money to buy a camping tent.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The new American Dream is a bigger tent to live in

Forecasters were predicting the report on the housing would show a significant improvement but a sharp decline appeared instead, especially in apartment construction. The corporate press dutifully reported that this was in fact good news as it would lead to the end of the glut in empty apartments. You would think the many millions of homeless could take advantage of the glut of empty rentals instead of living in tents and cars or imposing on friends and relatives. A new phenomena has emerged; not only are couples postponing divorce but they are sometimes continuing to live together with the new significant others of their spouses.

Then there are the expected eight million foreclosure victims and their families who are going to need somewhere to live. The builders of apartments don’t point to over building as the reason for not starting new projects since the glut is largely confined to a few areas that were caught up in the real estate speculation bubble. They instead point to fears of further job losses or the unavailability of credit.

The millions of new poor are causing physicians to cut fees to try to keep children coming in for treatment but it’s not working very well. We are poised to produce a generation of children scarred by this depression; homeless; sickly; uneducated; turning to crime or becoming victims of it; the mental health issues will increase the number of people in the permanent homeless class. When these children of the depression come of age with no sense of the American Dream as their childhoods have turned to nightmares while most of society went on without them; care to predict what dangerous groups these people gravitate to the most?

A more immediate threat to children is that the Swine Flu has not gone away as expected with warmer weather but seems to be mushrooming in some areas. The average age of people sick enough to be hospitalized with this Flu has been fifteen. Flu complications are normally confined mostly to the very elderly. The more it spreads, the more likely it will pick up the one missing protein it needs to become the 1918 killer flu.

Though out history, massive population reductions have produced a remarkable renaissance period. Don’t pay any mind to the intervening dark ages.