Friday, August 21, 2009

Pigs, Turkeys and the Fed Chairman, pick the one that doesn't sneeze

The Fed Chairman says the economy has bottomed out (maybe) and he plans to stop buying Treasury Bonds in October (maybe). Maybe is the operative word with the Chairman. And last year, that was maybe just a market panic, nothing serious. The Chairman has passed out 24 Trillion dollars in the past two years to keep the big banks afloat, nothing serious folks, just a panic.

Back to reality: We set another new record for delinquent mortgages. Grinding unemployment is dragging down fixed rate mortgage holders. New unemployment claims were up unexpectedly and are again approaching 600 thousand per week not counting people with no eligibility for benefits.
Oil is being run up by speculators and this is putting a drag on the economy. The Dollar has been up since last year’s "panic" but Europe is recovering since they didn’t abandon their workers and have been stimulating from the bottom up.

With the Euro recovering, this will eventually drive the Dollar right to the basement and if the Euro doesn’t do it, there is China. They have been keeping their currency artificially low since they already take in more Dollars than they can ever spend since we don’t make anything. At some point China will stop propping up the Dollar and imports of any kind will become impossible to pay for.

Swine Flu however, is on the upswing. The H1N1 virus doubles every three days in dry air and with Fall comes cool dry air. Forget buying masks, buy a humidifier. The virus has been identified in turkey flocks, not a big deal for the turkeys, but for us it might be. As this virus moves around from people to pigs to turkeys and back again it produces uncountable mutations. Almost all of them are not viable. Almost all of them. It’s a race to see if everybody gets the relatively harmless version before a deadly one develops. Don’t let the Fed Chairman sneeze on you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Race to the End

Prairie2, handicapping the four horses of the apocalypse.

The White Horse is ridden by Conquest who carries a bow and is given a crown and seeks to rule the world.
The Red Horse goes forth with War on his back who wields a large sword and brings civil war and bloodshed.
The Black Horse carries Famine with nothing more than a weighing scale to measure how many days wages will pay for a quart of grain.
The Pale Horse is mounted by Death the bringer of pestilence and disease and Hell follows him.

And they’re off: The White Horse is currently out of the competition with jockey Dick Cheney having dropped his whip and not able to start new wars but look for a late charge. The Red Horse of civil war is definitely in the running despite carrying Rush as his jockey. The Black Horse of Famine is always a comer with the Great Depression strategy to win. The Pale Horse can’t be counted out with the next pandemic just one sneeze away.

The leader is rounding the turn and disappearing into the fog of war, we can only follow the shock and awe from concussions of bombs and the screams of children. Track spotters provided by the corporate media are reporting all is well however and victory is only a surge away. We still can’t see anything but the conservative crowd seems to cheering harder as the acrid smoke and putrid smell of rotting corpses washes over them. Wait, there seems to be something happening at the far end of the stands, I can’t quite see, OH GOD! (piercing tone, connection lost....)

For some cheery filler music about the Four Horses and their riders get "The Man Comes Around", the title track from Johnny Cash's American IV album , released in 2002 runtime 4:26

There are several youtube versions, this one features fallen soldiers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is Obama Playing Chess on the Health Care Bill?

Did Obama sucker the Republicans out into the center of the board by offering to sacrifice 50 million pawns? Forced to answer questions about health care co-ops, Republicans were obliged to say they would of course vote against them (co-op translates to communist after all). So much for the BI-partisanship that the right-wing death panelists like Grassley have been lying about. So it’s really up to the Democrats in the Senate after all. Sixty of them, count them, sixty god damn Democrats. Who are they kidding that they ever needed the Republicans to begin with. No Democrat in the Senate is in any real danger of losing his seat and we could pick up a couple of more, especially if everybody gets health care for a change.

If people found out that they would no longer lose their insurance for preexisting conditions. That they couldn’t have their insurance cut off in the middle of cancer treatment. That they could change or lose their jobs and never, ever, no matter what, lose their insurance. Who will the formally middle class people vote for when they start getting insurance again? You see that’s another of the big lies, that it’s the poor who don’t have insurance. The poor get Medicaid, the 50 million and by now it’s probably 60 million who don’t have insurance are people who are middle class. Or they should be except that no middle class jobs have been created in the last thirty years as those jobs were either out source d or downgraded by union busting.

So it comes down to a chess gambit. It’s not hard to fool Republicans, that goes without saying. You have to be stupid or insane to be one, but that doesn’t keep them from knocking the board on the floor and pulling a gun. Like saloon poker Mr. President, don’t play with your back to the door.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Follow the Trail of Treason Back to More Treason

Robert Novak, an un-indicted coconspirator in a grievous act of treason died today. He was a willing participant in the outing of an deep cover CIA agent who was doing anti-terrorism work involving the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Any claims that Novak was unaware that the agent in question was deep cover are disproved by his own writing where goes on to out the agent’s employer as a dummy corporation set up many years ago by the CIA and thereby breaking everybody’s cover.

Cheney, Libby and Novak broke the cover of multiple CIA agents who worked for the Brewster-Jennings front company. These agents wore this cover publicly for their entire careers from spy academy until death. Any foreign asset who ever had contact with them over several decades was likely executed (reports are that close to one hundred died) and it would put a chill into all CIA contacts worldwide. The excuse for the deliberate destruction of this intelligence operation and the death of agents was that it was petty revenge for exposing Bush’s lie in a speech claiming Iraq was buying yellow cake uranium from the African country of Niger.

It seems an extreme measure to destroy a CIA clandestine intelligence unit even for a man like Cheney that would shoot his friend in the face and then graciously accept his friend’s apology for getting shot. It would be more logical to look for some stronger motivation to commit what the first President Bush characterized as nothing less than treason.

There were rumors at the time that the real reason was to stop CIA intelligence work on WMDs involving Turkey and Iraq immediately post invasion. We now have hints of a far reaching scandal involving Turkey from Sibel Edmonds a former FBI translator. Her testimony reportedly implicates high government officials in a whole host of crimes involving nuclear weapons secrets, Bush support of Bin Laden right up to 9-11 and other things that would justify treason. Or rather, committing more treason.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stormy Weather Coming

The FDIC closed a total of five banks Friday including the sixth largest ever, this caused a downturn on global financial markets that was reflected in the US markets today. The back to school sales have been characterized as a train wreck and this does not bode well for the Christmas retail season. It is very likely however that many retailers won’t be around for that debacle.

Retail sales are being driven down by declining income on several fronts. Major cities and even state governments across the country are giving workers unpaid days off and cutting pay as well. Some governments are to the point of scheduling 16 days unpaid for the coming fiscal year and should really be measuring the time off in weeks. This compounds the income already lost to vanished factory jobs and expired unemployment benefits. The inevitable loss of retail jobs will accelerate the decline of the economy still further and as retail sales decline, tax revenue will drop since Republicans have insisted on the regressive sales tax to fund local and state government.
The spiraling unemployment will also push more prime loans into foreclosure and spike the number of people who no longer get health insurance burdening still further public health assistance. The decline in property values is expected to cause fully half of mortgages to be underwater by the end of the year putting anybody who is out of work or experiences an income loss in a desperate position. Selling or refinancing becomes impossible and bankruptcy only provides marginal relief since the Republicans blocked the courts from rewriting middle class home mortgages reserving that for corporations and the rich.

If something isn’t done soon the speed of the collapse could exceed the ability of government to stop it. With garbage beginning to pile up in the streets and the nuts beginning to carry guns to political rallies things are getting to the point where some unforeseen crisis could put us over the edge. Hurricane season is suddenly picking up as the upper level winds are no longer cutting the tops off of tropical storms. A couple major hurricanes could devastate the oil refineries. China is becoming less and less concerned about the consequences of cutting us off and moving to assume control of our former trading partners. Saudi Arabia is in the middle of a banking crisis that could destabilize the monarchy and other middle-east countries are having currency problems brought on by a real-estate collapse. The list things that could cause a cascade of unfortunate events goes on and on.

Why can’t the corporate crooks stop after they get theirs? As well a the psychopathology there is a fundamental Ponzi dilemma. They didn’t get to the point of a 9 figure salary by being a get along choir boy. There are people up and down the food chain that are expecting to continue to get their millions too. They can’t just stop because they "have theirs", there are too many memos and tapes and alternate sets of books in various safes. Then their are the politicians who expect to continue getting paid off to keep them out of prison and on and on. Once put in motion these "on going criminal conspiracies" can’t stop.

You Are Entitled to Die for Our Profits

Here is well known case of insurance company death panels.

The right says the left will use "productivity" as a criteria for life or death. The insurance company’s only criteria is if they can avoid paying. You wouldn’t have to stand on the steps of any hospital for very long to find a similar case but most victims don’t realize what has been done to them is even wrong.

It's been beaten into everybody for thirty years that we aren’t "entitled" to health care. If you die because they won’t treat you it’s your fault. When the Republicans were in charge they also wrote into Federal law that you can’t sue insurance companies for doing this. You can identify a real conservative because they don’t see any problem with this. Lower class Republicans even accept this for their own children. Evolution will take care of this over the long term but they will probably make us all extinct in the process. Maybe the cockroaches will do better.

Call the White House and tell them you want the public option Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414 FAX: 202-456-2461

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Japan's next PM will leave behind Globalisation and the US Dollar

Japan is moving to break with the last vestiges of Reaganomics, not that they were ever as foolish about it as the US has been. They never fully embraced "free trade" and now want out of the suicide pact for good. Yukio Hatoyama, who is about to become Japan’s next prime minister condemned "US-led market fundamentalism" and vowed to shield his nation from unrestricted globalisation and move Japan toward a regional currency union.

In an essay published in the Japanese magazine Voice, Mr. Hatoyama wrote that the global economy had "damaged traditional economic activities" while market fundamentalism had destroyed "local communities", citing the decision by Junichiro Koizumi, former prime minister, to privatize Japan's post office.

"Under the principle of fraternity, we will not implement policies that leave economic activities in areas relating to human lives and safety, such as agriculture, the environment and medicine, at the mercy of the tides of globalism," Mr. Hatoyama wrote. He went on to state a need for better welfare, more child support and wealth redistribution. "As a result of the failure of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, the era of the US-led globalism is coming to an end and …we are moving away from a unipolar world led by the US towards an era of multipolarity," he said, adding that fears about China's military rise were a big factor in "accelerating regional integration".

Japan has been moving in this direction for more than ten years since the attempt to rescue their economy in the 90’s by giving truck loads of money to their large banks was a dismal failure. The collapse of the United States into another Great Depression has removed all meaningful opposition to this sea change in Japan. They apparently hope to get out of the water before the US drags them down too.