Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Great Chess Game

It's a common thread with Hope & Change liberals that Obama plays chess while conservatives play checkers. In reality they are all playing a game more complicated than you can imagine, and then multiplied. The pawns on the right don't get that. They like simple answers, but they also like to pick the winners in advance, it's just that in the long run, it doesn't work that way. God isn't picking winners and losers, and if he did, they wouldn't be who the game would be rigged to benefit. Demons in Hell would be playing soccer with their heads.

In 2008, Obama routinely out maneuvered McCain-Palin and now he has four years as POTUS under his belt. (He's seen the real Zapruder film and the files from Roswell.) I'm kidding of course (not really), but the real point is that he has knowledge, resources, and infrastructure the rest of us can only dream of. More importantly he has some clue what to do with it. Republicans have always squandered those resources enriching their cronies.

This doesn't mean that I know for sure that Obama will win, or even that he is really on our side. I do know the people he opposes want to make us into serfs or worse. He does give me that little spark of hope every now and then, like when he does something he didn't need to do that might shift things in our favor.

If nothing else, he pisses off the traitors of our Democracy that I hate.

Friday, March 16, 2012

They don't do God's work, and it doesn't belong to them

This week’s report on initial unemployment claims showed a sharp drop erasing last week’s increase, and this restored the downward trend we‘ve had since early in the year. There was a 0.1% increase in hourly wages last month but this was more than wiped out by a 0.4% increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Mostly from gasoline, as non-fuel and food prices were only up 0.1% for the month.

It appears that stockpiles of fuel components to make summer blend gasoline are at record levels suggesting that the gasoline price bubble is about to burst. The corporate media was reporting yesterday that the Obama Adm and the Brits had agreed to release oil from strategic reserves, but this has since been denied and the price of oil has recovered to previous highs.

The wild swings in gasoline and oil make a lot of money for the Wall Street bankers as they buy and sell futures contracts making money going up and down. They also sell derivatives based on what the future price will be to the suckers who play in their casinos, you might wonder who fed ABC the rumor that the price was about to collapse. You can bet who ever that was made a killing by (timing the market) or more accurately by (making the market).

Mayor Bloomberg defended the head of Goldman Sachs saying  “He’s trying to lead this firm at a time when God couldn’t lead it without being criticized,” Bloomberg, a billionaire himself, started as an investment banker. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein was at one time quoted as saying the bank was “doing God’s work”. The only record of God getting involved with people like this was to smash their tables and chase them from the temple.

The Republican base constantly frets over taxes and the size of government. They do this even as our government represents 21% of GDP compared to 50% in most developed countries. Countries that when taken in total, altogether don’t spend what we do by ourselves on the military.

Republicans also have no problem with financial services consuming a quarter of the GDP. The “economic royalists” as FDR called them, take a huge cut off the top off everything in the US and provide nothing for it. They don’t provide the expert business decision making for the country that we’ve been promised for the past thirty years. They’ve run the country into the ground, the whole place looks like any privatized prison after a couple of decades on the lease, it’s ready to be torn down.

When you go to the gas pump, the cut taken by the Wall Street bankers and oil company CEOs far outstrips the gas tax the Republicans refuse to raise. No matter how many bridges are closed (or simply collapse during rush hour). More and more government is being privatized, a large cash payment allows Red State Governors to balance their budget for one year and cut taxes for their rich cronies. We get to pay double, triple or more for something we used to own, and now we pay rent forever.

When you go to the doctor, the insurance company makes more money than your doctor, and they didn’t go to medical school. Obama-care did put a throttle on that, now only 15% goes to the insurance company instead of 40%. Despite what the right says, premiums are starting to come down. Insurance companies who don’t cut rates will start sending out big rebate checks around election day.

It’s not single payer healthcare like the rest of the developed world has.  Medicare does it for less than 3% overhead instead of 15%. The next most expensive system in the world does it for half what we’ve been spending per person, and every country has better health statistics than we do, but it’s a start.

We can have our country back, but first, most people need to learn that it used to belong to us.

Youse girlfriend could be bacon real easy

The President signed a new law this week overturning a right-wing court ruling banning the Obama Adm from bringing trade cases. At the ceremony he announced an official action before the WTO to force China to resume the sale of Rare Earth metals. These exotic metals are required to produce anything more advanced than what might be made by a 18th century blacksmith. The US was a major producer of raw earths until the Bush Administration allowed China to purchase, close and strip all the mining and refining facilities in America. China did this worldwide and now controls 97% of the supply.

Obama did slap China with 99% tariffs on tires and steel pipe early in his Administration. He’s been blocked from similar actions since then by the corporate dominated courts. Enough Republicans were publicly shamed during this election year into supporting today’s law allowing Obama to resume these trade actions.

No Republican Presidential candidate supports such interference in free trade. It doesn’t matter to them if the US is unable to defend itself without the participation of Red China in the manufacturing process. There was a poem that was popular in WWII about the Republican who was offended that FDR ended the selling of scrap metal to Japan, until he was hit in the head with a piece of it on the front line.

Retail sales were up sharply in January, and December’s numbers were revised upward. This wasn’t what drove up the stock market, but rather the news that most of the major banks passed the Fed’s stress test. That’s a kind of audit that is based on a “what if” things get bad scenario,  Citigroup, Ally (formally GMAC), Suntrust and MetLife did not. In reality all of the big banks are zombies, but the Fed will allow the others to start paying dividends again anyway.

Speaking of Zombies banks, a VP of Goldman Sach’s announced his departure from the bank in a NYT editorial. He basically accused Goldman of being exactly the kind of quasi-criminal operation everybody knew it was. It seems they routinely snicker over screwing their clients and call them Muppets. I guess Lloyd Blankfein won’t be getting a guest spot on Sesame Street, the derivatives that Kermit bought turned out to be garbage.

Speaking of derivatives that turn out to be garbage, it appears that the default of Greek bonds, you know, where the bonds are losing 75% of their value, this won’t trigger any derivatives. This is because the 15-member Determinations Committee for Europe, convened by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) are going to “control” the default process. This bunch could be thought of a the guys that the mob casino keeps in the back room to “control” losses to “hot“ gamblers.

There is talk of investors not buying Credit Default Swaps anymore as they are so outraged. You can bet the big Wall Street banks will keep right on selling them to any Muppet that they can. Derivatives are marketed as really being a kind of insurance, and investors often find themselves desperate for insurance with all the wild swings in the economy. Wild swings created by the same Mob that wants to sell you insurance. “Hey Frog, youse think this Sesame Street is fire proof? Maybe youse need some insurance.”