Thursday, June 4, 2009

Remember the massacre on the Washington Mall

The little guy with a white plastic shopping bag in each hand stopping a line of tanks made you think that China was really going to change. Even the people in Tiananmen Square didn’t believe that the Army was firing real bullets at them. Instead of running, they turned and charged at the troops.

They had been told for decades that the Peoples Army loved the people and would never hurt them. In fact the crack down had to be delayed for days as the government brought in troops from a remote province that didn’t have any affinity to the people of Beijing.

Do we as Americans have any right to criticize China for that massacre after the atrocities of the last eight years? We do if we face up to and demand justice for the crimes of our "leaders" or rather "rulers" since they weren’t elected.

How close did we come to having Blackwater troops massacring protesters here? Far closer than most people want to believe. If our past rulers hadn’t been incipient cowards, almost certainly that would have happened here. The far right has fully embraced the idea and has been doing it on a individual basis, doing it as a mob isn’t that far away and they would put on the Brown Shirts in a heartbeat. (in hushed tones) "Remember the massacre on the Washington Mall" or maybe it would be shouted as a battle cry. Is that the difference between us and China? Or is there any difference?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I hear dead people

The ghost of Osama bin Laden rose up yet again to comment on President Obama’s visit to the Middle East. A US counter terrorism official confirmed off the record that it was bin Laden and that there had never been a fake bin Laden tape. (you know, some people don’t know enough to stop lying while they’re ahead)
Crude oil prices slipped today on reports that US inventories are up 3 million barrels over last month. Commodities in general are up with reports that China’s economy is booming. Meanwhile the Dollar continues to weaken against other currencies.

The Fed is having a hard time keeping Treasury bond prices down despite the Fed having purchased huge blocks of them. This is driving up home loan rates that are pegged to these bonds. If they can’t get a handle on this, the house of cards could come tumbling down. But consider how bizarre this really is that the US Treasury is selling bonds to the Federal Reserve to finance the Government debt. The Federal Reserve burned through their reserves almost two years ago and has been printing trillions since then.

There were constant reassurances on the corporate media today that things aren’t going downhill at quite the breakneck speed of last month. The local news most places is dominated by business bankruptcies, layoffs and closures. Fed Chairman Bernanke testified today that the recovery could be slow. Maybe he’s not printing money fast enough. I’m going to run off some labels with Dollar signs on them and stick them on my canned goods.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Did the Republicans all leave and not tell us?

What’s good for Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. is good for America or at least that is what the Masters of the Universe at GM would have you believe. GM is patting itself on the back for keeping 3000 Hummer jobs in the US. But that deal is only for a year and a half, then Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. can do as it would like. The only good news is that the Humvee military truck isn’t made by GM and those jobs will stay in Indiana.

Gasoline prices are increasing despite the fact that demand for gas is continuing to decline. Inventories have not declined even though the oil companies have slashed refinery production as the economy continues its slow-motion collapse. The numbers for May are just starting to emerge and they aren’t expected to be good. Retail sales are expected to decline about 4% and that could be a rosy forecast. Walmart, which had been benefiting from the shift to low-end retailers by the formerly middle-class has stopped reporting monthly sales figures.

The jobless rate continues to go up. State and local governments are cutting pay for workers as well as eliminating jobs and programs that serve the public. California is going to force 2 million people off state run health insurance putting an even bigger strain on emergency rooms that are also losing funding. Even the state’s Poison Control Center will be killed off and its 800 callers per day will have to rely on the overworked emergency rooms. And who does the emergency room doctor call when an unusual poisoning case comes in? You guessed it.

States are finding that tax revenue is down more than expected and as they cut back more, tax revenue goes down still more. The Republican diversion of the stimulus package into tax cuts is already coming home to roost. When the kids of Republicans drink something that they found in the maid’s closet do they call the Poison Control Center? Do they drive their Hummer to the same emergency room we do? Do they still live in this country or did they leave us behind?

Monday, June 1, 2009

I drove my Chevy to the levee and it collapsed under me

As American as mom, apple pie and Chevrolet: mom has lost her pension and health insurance; the pie filling comes from China; Chevy is bankrupt and then some. Even with GM stockholders wiped out, its bondholders getting pennies on the dollar and 70 billion in tax dollars throw in, there is no guarantee that GM will survive even as a shadow of its former self.

How could they go from being the world’s largest car maker to nonexistence in only 25 years? The simple answer is Ronald Reagan. His premise was that middle class union workers were nothing more than greedy, lazy louts and a drain on the rich. We could all be rich if we let the Masters of the Universe run their businesses the way they wanted. We didn’t need to make Chevy parts here; imports are cheaper and better. We didn’t need to have any of those dirty factory jobs at all. High tech jobs and financial "industry" jobs were better and they would create service jobs for everybody else. Union workers became Reagan Democrats, Republican car dealers that suffered under the tight money policies of the Fed during the Carter years were happy as clams with Reaganomics. Everybody was putting their retirement into the stock market, they didn’t need that stinking socialist security.

The end result is an economy so hollowed out that it could collapse entirely at anytime. Things are so bad that even Toyota has contemplated the possibility of abandoning its North American operations. Reagan Democrats are living under bridges and Republican car dealers are finding that their multi-million dollar car dealerships aren’t worth a much as a bucket of warm spit. As American as Chinese apple pie.