Thursday, February 7, 2008

SAR #8039

The communists committed their crimes
in betrayal of their values; the Neocons
in fulfillment of theirs.
John Carroll

Look Under The Bed: Based on 'new evidence', the administration is warning that Al Qaeda is training a new generation of "western recruits" to attack domestic targets. There was no indication that Al Qaeda had succeeded in getting operatives into the US. Or that they had tried. Based on 'old evidence', be afraid, very afraid. You are being manipulated.

The Up Side of Down: The world annually produces 250 billion pounds of plastic to be made into cars, computers, medical equipment, gallon jugs for milk. None of it goes away. There is no away for stuff that lasts 25,000 years. Much of it ends up in The Great Garbage Sea in the North Pacific. Good news: When we run out of petroleum we will stop making this stuff. But not before, we're not that smart.

Shall We Prey:

Words Of One Syllable: The US is a consumer-driven economy. Consumers are not spending. If some consumers had more cash they would spend it. This would cause business to expand. Who are the consumers who need more money so they could spend it? Who are the consumers who have lots of money? If we gave money to the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the unemployed, they would spend it. Who do the Democrats want to give money to?

Corollary: Businesses exist to sell services or things. Business do not borrow money to expand because money is cheap. Business expand to make things they know they can sell. If customers don't have money, they won't be buying things. Businesses have little use for a brand new idle factory. Who do the Republicans want to give the money to?

Here endeth the lesson.

For Want of a Nail: The electric power shortage in South Africa, which had shut down mines and factories, as well as export of power to neighboring nations, has now lead to the closing of the refinery providing 'bunker oil' for ship fuel and LPG for cooking and heating. You'll miss me when I'm gone.

And the Truth will Make You... Turkey opposes Gaz de France's participation in the Nabucco natural gas project because of France's position on the Armenian genocide. France's position is that it happened.

Man Bites Dog: Bush wants to eliminate a domestic oil and gas program. Called an "unnecessary subsidy for oil companies." Quite unlike the necessary ones.

Fad Diet: Goldman Sachs, citing global oil output that has been stagnant for four years, reports that some regions face famine over the next three years as rising energy costs drive up the cost of food and increasing biofuel production reduces the area dedicated to growing food.

Words of One Syllable: Monoline insurance is a pretty misty cloud. Let me try to explain the problem: They insure bonds will be paid off. They are going to fail and the bond's won't be paid off. It will cost you a lot of money. Your city's cost of issuing bonds will go up. There will be a recession. Tax receipts will fall. Taxes will go up. Services will be slashed. You will not get $147 million in severance pay like the guys who dreamed up monoline insurance.

Repetition: Deregulation has given us the S&L crisis, Enron/World Com, California's electricity blackmail, and now the housing bust. Unfettered markets do produce big bonuses for CEOs; they do not lead to any general well being. Deregulation has not worked. Repeating the experiment would seem unnecessary.

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