Thursday, December 27, 2012

3-D Ludus latrunculorum (see footnote)

Initial unemployment claims dropped to a five year low last week, but save the champagne for New Years. Holiday weeks always end up being adjusted, usually upward when the disruption is straightened out. It is good news anyway since it didn't actually skyrocket upward as the right had predicted would be the result of the fiscal 'cliff' panic. The Republicans seem oddly concerned about the cuts to government spending that will kick in, with Boner narrowly squeezing through a bill that put off the cuts for a month. You would think they'd see any cuts as a good thing as it is their stated philosophy, but they're predicting the collapse of Western Civilization instead.

In another of his 3-D chess moves, Obama had his Treasury Sec announce unexpectedly that the debt ceiling has already been reached. They had put out that it wasn't coming until March based on juggling the government's books. The Republicans had refused Obama's request to end the unconstitutional limit on borrowing to pay for expenditures. Expenditures that the very same Congress has already mandated by law. It appears that he is simply going to call their bluff now, rather than allow them another go round in the Spring. He may choose to simply defy the weakened and foolish looking Republicans and let them sue him over the 14th amendment's requirement that Federal debts be paid, period. That's if they have the cōleī. (latin profanity)  

Incredibly, the Republicans view of the negotiations is to sit and wait for the Senate Democrats to send them a bill that they like. They say that they won't write a bill of their own, that's another lie of course. Boner put out a bill, the fabulous Plan B, but couldn't find enough votes with the tea baggers against it. The House could vote on the Senate bill they keep insisting doesn't exist. He had planned to vote that down at the same time as his Plan B was voted in, but the Senate bill being reasonable might pass, so that vote won't happen.

So it appears likely that we will go off the 'cliff', at least briefly. It's possible that Boner will pass the Senate bill in the final hours of the year, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Most likely he will only allow anything to happen after his own re-election as Speaker. If he does it before, they will all gather for the symbolic 'dagger in the back' caucus, and make Cantor the new Speaker. (et tu Cantor?) So the dirty work of raising taxes on the rich will be done by Boner and he gets to keep the laurel wreath, at least until they can find some other excuse to perforate his toga.

Footnote - From the Wikipedia: Ludus latrunculorumlatrunculi, or simply latrones (“the game of brigands”, from latrunculusdiminutive of latromercenary or highwayman) is a strategy board game played by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is said to resemble chess or draughts, but is generally accepted to be a game of military tactics.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We know

Preliminary sales figures show a very low growth rate for retailers this Christmas season that is likely to be the lowest since 2008. It's not too hard to figure out why this is so, people are getting lower wages and so have less to spend despite increased consumer debt.

It's not that there isn't enough business activity, corporations are showing record profits and the rich are swimming in cash, they just keep it for themselves. In the old days, when cash hoarding really started to tank the economy, people called this occurrence a 'cash shortage'. Today economists call it a recession when it meets their arbitrary standards of decline.

When it got bad enough people would start stuffing their savings under the mattress which caused a 'bank panic', we call those depressions. Rich people would then take the cash they'd been hoarding and start buying things for 10 cents on the dollar. The Koch brothers fortune was created that way.

The far right business bloggers are pushing the notion that the billionaires are all bailing on the stock market, and so you should expect a 90% correction. (10 cents on the dollar) If I didn't know better (snort), I'd say they are trying to gin up an old fashioned bank panic. They mostly want you to buy gold or a Mayan doomsday shelter. Gold is down by the way. If you bought it a couple of years ago at its peak you've lost about $200/ounce. That was back when righties were saying that I was crazy for telling people not to buy any gold. Every time anything bad happens, the USD goes up, not down. That's why rich people are invested in 'cash'.

Not that I'm saying that they are, 'for certain', wrong about the stock market. It is just a Ponzi scheme after all. Wall Street banks and the high frequency traders have taken trillions out of the markets over the years, and the only new money coming is from the suckers who want to get in on the easy money to fund their retirement. Pssst! Cat Food stocks are a good bet, lots of boomers coming into retirement soon.

Banks aren't really at risk in the sense that you can lose your FDIC insured account, the Fed can just replace the money by printing as much as is needed. This is why we can't turn into Greece, we don't really borrow money from foreigners. Have you seen any government checks payable in Chinese Yuan?

The old time radio show said, "What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows." Actually is pretty much just greed, lust for power, and a total disregard for anybody they can take advantage of. And they do these things at every possible opportunity without exception.

Under the heading, the further decline of America's status in the world: China has opened another high speed rail line, the world's longest, and it operates at 185mph. It covers the distance in a third of the time of the old train it replaces. The old train ran at nearly double the speed Amtrack averages on route of similar length. Why does Amtrack do so poorly? Am 'track' doesn't own any of its own track. It exists in the Republican world of funneling money into the pockets of private rail lines who deliberately cause problems for Amtrack as they in fact get paid more that way. Hey Republicans, The Shadow knows, and we do too.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Math challenged

One of the 'leading' suppliers of high capacity magazines claims that they've sold 3.5 years worth of them in the 72 hours since the latest massacre. Yeah, no, as the kids say. The math for that simply isn't believable. The only way that is possible is that there was almost no demand for them to begin with, that I could believe. But of course the far right will make what ever fantasy of that they care to. Reality has a liberal bias. In Germany, clip size is limited to 3 rounds.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


That magic underwear must be fireproof. This from the Boston Globe, “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside.

Who are these people kidding? He's been running for President for 30 years. Not to mention the savage attacks he put out against fellow Republicans in the primary. Granted none of them were qualified to be President either, and he did the nation a service by getting Obama re-elected. But, how about just going away without all the whining.