Friday, February 25, 2011

Pizza will overcome!

They say the oil market has stabilized but the price is up again today, up 17% in the past week. Gas continues to climb, up 45 cents since last fall and expected to top out at somewhere north of $4.00, maybe $5. But for a reality check: we have a record inventory of gasoline on hand and consumption is still lack luster as we linger on the edge of another Great Depression. So much for the price being determined by supply and demand.

Some Wall Street bankers are warning that if oil hits $120 that the world economy will collapse. That’s possible, but what they are really concerned about is selling more derivatives as insurance against price spikes. They are perfectly willing to drive the panic to make a quick couple of billion. (remember, we have record inventories and Libya is only 1% of total world supply)

Consumer confidence is up, but that is just a survey. Real numbers are starting to come in and the GDP for last year has been revised downward significantly from 4.4% growth down to 4.1% for the fourth quarter. Those economists that get surveyed (the ones that are always wrong), they predicted the number would be revised up. Still this was the best growth since 2006 when the blunders of the Bush Administration were really starting to take hold.

Republicans are determined to drive down public worker wages. It’s likely they will succeed and this will be another large stone piled on the chest of the American economy. Continued outsourcing, systematic driving down of private sector wages, skyrocketing fuel prices, soaring prices of essential commodities and ever increasing looting by the kelptocracy,  you could write a new chapter to the Art of War by Sun Tzu. Actually he did recommend weakening your enemy by trade if possible.

There are rumors that Governor Mubarak in Wisconsin is going to send in 400 state police to clear the Capitol building overnight Friday in advance of an expected 100,000 protesters Saturday. Nationwide, labor organizers hope to turn out a 1,000,000 solidarity protesters in all fifty states.  Pizza orders have now come into that little pizza shop closest to the Capitol in Madison from 55 foreign countries including a research station on Antarctica. Pizza will overcome.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reichskommissar Scott Walker

As many as 20% of Americans suffer from authoritarian personality disorder. The fact that Wisconsin Governor Walker is desperate to strip the rights and protections from the workers under his control dove tails with his unquestioning obedience of Koch who is clearly his master. In his world he would really use the baseball bat in his office on his underlings but would kiss the ring (and body parts) of anybody over him.

The similarity to the Third Reich is not a coincidence. Once these people have that much power that is exactly how they will behave. It's in their nature, they crave it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The World turns on the Battle of Madison

The various stock markets were down between 1.4 and 2.5% today as oil continues to climb on the news that Libya has split in two parts from fighting between Gaddafi loyalists, his mercenaries and rebel forces. This is even though Libya only accounts for 1% of world’s oil production.

The problem with allowing speculative markets in a world where speculators aren’t regulated or taxed is that bubbles are inevitable and once they start they just keep getting bigger until the damage they do causes a collapse. Each collapse is of course worse than the previous one, no problem though, if you are in the bubble making business.

The USD is up and down against the Euro but is weakening overall. The Financial Times of London ran a long article today about the “Battle of Madison” as the idea of quashing labor unions seems a difficult concept for most Europeans to understand.

The rightwing would have you believe that Europe gets its socialist leanings from the Soviets. In fact these values were installed by Truman after WWII, you see Europe got the entire New Deal. Unfortunately the Republicans who regained a 2/3 control Congress in 1946 and began rolling the New Deal back in the US. Most notably they passed the infamous Taft-Hartley Act that allowed the states to opt out of the Wagner Act of 1935 that made labor unions legal. FDR had sent the Army into seize the offices of Montgomery Ward in 1944 for their refusal to allow unionization.

Many people wrongly believe that unions are a Constitutional right, they would be if this were Germany. (Truman supplied their Constitution) It is a right under the UN Charter and you know what Republicans think of that. What you see happening in Wisconsin and the other states that are newly under the control of Republicans is only legal because of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1946. This is the end game of a right wing push lasting 65 years. You see it isn’t just about being filthy rich but making sure they have it all and keep it forever.

People think that Tunisia was a turning point that could change the world forever as the Middle East strongmen seem to be falling like dominos. But the outcome of the Battle of Madison may have far more significance for the coming century as it could determine whether the US regains democracy or becomes a one party state bent on world domination.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'd like a pizza delivered with a double order of democracy

Oil prices spiked 6% in trading today on news that the Muammar Kadafi is using fighter-bombers against his pro-democracy protesters. Republican Governors in the US are green with envy.  Corporate media in the US are dutifully reporting that gasoline prices in the US are going to shoot up as a result. No mention of the fact that the big oil companies secured their supplies when prices were under $20/barrel and are just using the phony supply crisis to jack up prices.

The so-called market price used to be called the spot market as in “we’ve got a spot of surplus oil today, who’d like to buy it cheap?” Then they discovered that the typical uninformed American could be easily deceived into thinking that was the actual cost of oil and then they started having record profits.

Pro-democracy protesters in Madison Wisconsin are into their second week with surging crowds today as this is a mandatory unpaid furlough day for State workers. A week of unpaid days was negotiated under the previous Democratic Governor.

The current rightwing thug says he won’t accept the union’s offer to give into all his fiscal demands saying that if he allows them to retain the right to bargain that they will renege later. He doesn’t seem to grasp what a contract is or rather he hopes that average voter doesn’t. In fact he barely won election and has no hope of a second term but if he destroys the unions he can count on the Koch brothers who funded his narrow victory to make him a very rich man.

One part of the economy in Madison is doing very well as ubiquitous pizza parlors are getting calls from across the US and from a dozen foreign countries to purchase pizza for the pro-democracy protesters. This includes Egypt where the unions are closely following the outcome of the protest. It might seem strange that Egyptians would even know where Madison was let alone what a pizza is, but the UW’s huge engineering school has likely educated thousands of Egyptian students over the decades. The unusually liberal city of Madison is a place where they could have learned about unions, democracy and peace as well as pizza.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Huge turn out of tea baggers in Madison

Saturday brought the biggest turnout so far in Madison Wisconsin's 6 day siege of the state Capitol with an estimated 70,000 pro-union protesters. The corporate media tried to portray an equivalent number of tea bagger counter protesters but while the pro union crowds were shown streaming down the broad streets in the tens of thousands, the tea bag contingent were shown only in closeup with the perhaps a hundred visible at most.

Faux News's Chris Wallace interviewed the Imperial Walker on Sunday Morning where the Governor had a difficult time even with Wallace's softball questions and brushed by the suggestion by Wallace that the fugitive Senators be declared in contempt and brought in as criminals. The Governor has already attempted to arrest the lawmakers but as they are across the state line in Illinois which not likely to honor extradition for such an absurd reason, it's just bluff and bluster for the tea baggers.

 This just in: the rebels continue to hold their own against the Imperial Walker on the snowy plains of Wisconsin.