Saturday, June 7, 2008

SAR #8159

"Or else" is what is happening now.

And I Quote: "It’s pointless to post government unemployment statistics, but even by their bogus numbers, it’s the biggest rise in more than two decades." The US lost 49,000 jobs in May, double April's loss. The jobless rate increased 10% in a month, to 5.5%.

Apology: Yesterday I reported that the downgrading of Ambac and MBIA would downgrade $600 billion in shoddy paper to a rating of "shoddy", causing all sorts of mischief. I was wrong. It's now estimated at over $1 trillion. It's not the first mistake made in the monoline insurance business.

Interesting times: Morgan Stanley says that "Asia is taking an unprecedented share" of Middle Eastern exports, while the record levels for petroleum are causing US consumers and businesses to change their behavior. Morgan estimates oil at $150 by July. Or next Thursday.

Sex, Lies and Foreclosures: A financial report. Tanta at Calculated Risk say "you guys would need to read that." Don't ask me, I'm resisting.

To Market, To Market, to Sell You a Pig: The administration and big business - but I repeat myself - claim that "the market" is the only way to solve any problem, especially carbon emissions and global warming. Those of us who were adults before Bush sobered up recall that "the market" had nothing to do with reacting to the problems of pesticide pollution, ozone depletion, resource scarcity during World War II or even the energy crisis on the 70's. Back in the bad old days the government united the people and got the job done. It was not privatized.

Limits Here, Limits There: The International Energy Agency, in a welcome change from predicting oil production increases that will never happen, now warns Europe that as soon as 2015 Russia's Gazprom will be unable to supply Europe with the natural gas needed to heat its homes and run its industries.

Interesting Proposal: Pakistan, beset by shortages of electricity, diesel fuel and political stability, has asked Saudi Arabia if it would be okay if they didn't pay for their oil just yet.

Recount: In Zimbabwe's presidential election, Mugabe's police have again picked up opposition candidate Tsvangirai and hauled him off. He was beaten nearly to death by Mugabe's thugs a year or so ago, but this time he's helping with the election recount. They're using his toes to count his votes.

Favor: The GOP has blocked a global warming bill requiring major reduction in CO2 emissions, claiming that it would cost too much to have a future.

Irresistible: The US has made Iraq an offer it cannot refuse: accept the indefinite presence of US combat troops in permanent bases, or forego the $50 billion in Iraqi funds currently impounded in the NY Fed.

The Less There Is, The Less There Is : Mexico's Pemex says oil exports will average only 1.40 million barrels per day in 2008, about 15% below 2007's 1.69 million bpd. Mostly they export to the US, when they can.

Papers, Please: The authorities sweep in, sealing off entire neighborhoods, set up roadblocks and checkpoints. Non-residents are expelled from these "Neighborhood Safety Zones." Baghdad? Sadr City? Nope, Washington, DC. Keep your National Identity Card handy and look out for the crowd dispersing ray-gun.

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