Saturday, December 15, 2012

Guns

It's really easy to say 'if there were no guns', but it didn't keep it from happening in Norway. The reality is that things like this happen. Japan has no guns, and almost no gun deaths, although some people claim that they simply don't acknowledge shootings. That would fit the Japanese way of doing things.

The reason that these shooting have steadily increased since 1981 is fairly obvious. Ronald Reagan closed all the insane asylums and didn't create the halfway houses he promised. Republican crony developers made billions off of the real estate that was held by these institutions. Often created by 'land grants', many had a square mile of what had become over a hundred plus years, very valuable land.

Ordinary day to day gun violence is largely a product of the inequality that Reagan and his disciples have brought us.

We need to take seriously the treatment of the mentally ill, and the confinement of those who need it. Electronic monitoring might even be an option, as long as no 'for profit' corporation was involved.

It would be a good idea to force the media to stop glorifying these killings. When they stopped covering people jumping from buildings, that ceased to be a big problem. It didn't actually reduce the suicide rate, but it was safer on the sidewalk. The same would apply here.

Gun control? We'll have that when Blackwater goons going door to door seizing guns like they did under Bush in New Orleans.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Oh Neville..."

The number of Initial Unemployment Claims fell by 29,000 to 343,000 which is the second lowest number for the year. It seems the total collapse of the US Economy that the right proclaimed was ensured by Acorn's rigging of the Presidential election has been put off. Same for the Fiscal Cliff. New polls show 2/3 of Americans support the President's position of raising taxes on the rich.

It has been speculated that Speaker Boner was putting off a deal with Obama until his own re-election as speaker on January 3rd, but this may not be the case. Boner has demoted four tea bag Congressmen from the Banking and the Appropriations Committees down to sorting hangers in the cloak room.

These were plum positions that made campaign fund raising (and bribe taking) a simple matter of holding open a large bag with the dollar sign on the side while the cash poured into it. A Tea Bag Congressman may find it difficult to get re-elected if he must actually raise funds from the 'Tea Party' instead of Wall Street. Outraged Right-wing groups have pledged to support the Bagger Congressman, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will actually want to share their own ill-gotten gains with them.

Just to indulge in 'wild speculation', I wonder if the exit of the Tea Bag Senator Jim DeMint was actually organized by mainstream Republicans just to get rid of him. There is a general belief that he's joining the Heritage Think Tank to take the 'think' out of the operation. What if it's just a tar baby? Once he leaves the Senate, he'll be stuck to it somewhere out in Brer Woods never to be heard from again. One can't assume we've completely out maneuvered the Billionaires, they aren't simply going to give up when they're this close to owning the entire country. It's very possible that the Tea Party will be gone by the next election. You can't really expect an astro-turf roots organisation to live long once the money guys shake the etch-a-sketch. I wonder what they'll call the new 'grass roots' movement, after they create it down at the 'think' tank. It seems impossible that they could re-invent themselves, but what we've just been through should have been impossible.

The Federal Reserve announced this week that they will keep interest rates at zero until unemployment drops below 6.5% or 'projected' inflation rises above 2.5%. They said 'projected' so even if inflation should spike from gasoline for example, they can continue to 'project' a lower rate. This is the first time since the Fed was given a new mandate by Congress in 1977 to do something about unemployment as well as inflation, that they (the Fed) have actually done anything. For the decades that Alan Greenspan ran the Fed, he read the Congressional mandate to mean that it was his job to control 'wage inflation', in other words drive down wages and break unions.

In reality there isn't much they can do. They will begin printing money again, this is QE(guess the number). This newly created out of thin air money will be used to buy bank held Treasury bonds and mortgage bonds to keep interest rates down. The important thing is that they are keeping us from dipping into deflation. The rich and their corporations are sitting on trillions in cash just waiting for an asset price collapse to buy up stuff for pennies on the dollar. Ironically most of the $3 trillion that corporations hold is really borrowed money that they got at these near zero interest rates. The Rich guys trillions are the result of 30 years of no taxes. They want to buy up the country, the riff-raff have owned it long enough. To use the words of  Ann Romney, for them, 'it's our turn'.

If the Fed were to cook up some real inflation these people might be provoked into actually putting their money to work rather than see inflation eat it up. The problem is that they simply have so much money that they aren't intimidated even by the Fed. "Oh Neville, tell one of the servants to do something about that yapping dog".  www.prairie2.com






Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Drowning the American Dream in the sludge holding pond

Gasoline prices are expected to plunge to under $3/gallon across much of the US by year's end. Since when was that considered a bargain? Since getting screwed by rich people became the new normal, that's when. Gasoline is nothing but oil refinery waste that we've been trained to think of as precious. We've always exported millions of barrels of the stuff through every period of 'shortage' at the pump.

We're really swimming in the stuff since Obama eliminated the gas guzzling incentives put in place by Bush and previous Republican administrations. Fully 30% of refined fuel is currently exported which makes that our largest 'manufactured'  export. Although... that has a lot to do with us simply not making much of anything here anymore.

A report from The Head Spy, the Director of National Intelligence, estimates that we will be energy independent in 20 years, of course that has a lot to do with another big bullet point of the report. We won't be a major economic player in the world anymore with China in full ascendancy. Well hell, they will have passed us by after their next 'five year plan'. Are you old enough to remember when the Communist 'five year plan' was a big joke? That was 32 years ago, before we elected the man who made it possible for Republicans to send us down the path to third world status.  

Back to the price of gas, why is it going down now? The corporate media says it's because the supply is so high. But the supply has always been high, that didn't keep them from running up the price. Gasoline prices are set by the Commodity Futures market with 90% of the trading done by Wall Street banks. That is ever since this practice was decriminalized with the creation of the Enron loophole. Remember Enron screwing us on electricity? They didn't get bailed out like Wall Street did after doing the same thing. They went to prison, but that was another time.  

What we do have a large supply of is Senator Elizabeth Warren. Gasoline started down the same day it was revealed that she would be joining the Senate Banking Committee. This is unheard of for a freshman Senator, so is a real decline in the price of gasoline.

If the price of gasoline stays down, and that appears a real possibility, as the Dodd-Frank Act forces banks out of the gasoline business. If it is finally enforced we could see a real economic upturn with an additional million new jobs in 2013. This would be above the previously predicted 3 million new jobs according to Moody's. Consumer prices that have already been adjusted to allow for gasoline in excess of $4/gallon could fall sharply adding to consumer demand.

Given this rosy outlook for the economy, Obama has no reason to panic about the Fiscal Bunny Slope, and it appears that he is well aware of it. Republicans have set upon a strategy of dismantling the economy at the state level by pushing for Right to Work for Less laws. Not reported in the corporate media is that the real union killer in these laws are provisions that require Unions to provide expensive representation for non-union workers in their 'union shop'. Companies can simply nickel and dime the union local by bringing 'unjust' actions against workers that cost the union $2000-$3000 a pop to resolve. As the costs go up, the dues go up and dues paying members become scarce. Forget about striking, a lock-out is more likely as the company knows that the union can't afford a strike. This drives down wages and having a union begins to seem pointless.

Obama just appeared at a Union plant in Michigan and made it clear that these right-to-work laws are all about politics and not economics. Becoming a low wage state to compete with southern states for European car factory jobs just means even lower wages in the south. Forget about owning the modern equivalent of Ford's Model T on the wages Republicans want to pay, you can walk to work from the shanty town down by the sludge holding pond. But hey, you can have a bucket of sludge for free.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Can't we get real?

The corporate media is pushing the meme that Democrats are super hot for Hillary Clinton in 2016. WTF? She's been an acceptable Sec of State because she does what Obama wants. Her policies when the was candidate Clinton weren't acceptable. She's not good policy maker, mostly because she really doesn't have grasp of what's going on, or doesn't care.

The corporate media want a good corporatist as President. The corporations have been very, very good to Bill and Hillary. Broke when they left the WH, they are now worth 200 million plus. In simple terms we want somebody they don't want. My vote is for Elizabeth Warren. Smart, informed and a sworn enemy of the big banks. Everything Hillary is not.