Tuesday, July 29, 2008

SAR #8211

We have seen the future and choose to ignore it.

Demand Destruction: A lot of commentators have seized on the 3.7 percent drop in miles driven in May 2008 vs May '07 as a sign of Americans adjusting to peak oil. Nonsense. The report didn't mention that Americans spent more this year than lest, just that they went fewer miles. It's just the American underclass being priced out of driving.

Hearts And Mines: In what used to be casus belli, the US has lobbed another missile into Pakistan, killing some civilians.

Bush's Budget: It took several hundred years for Wester Europe to shed the feudal system where the son inherited the father's debts. It's taken the US only since Reagan to enslave their children and grandchildren to foreigners, who hold well over $1.5 trillion in US IOUs and sooner or later will want something in return.

Satisfaction, Not: Mr. Ben has lowered rates, offered everyone that owns a gray suit access to cheap federal funds, an d still mortgage rates are going up and borrowing rates are going down. Damn, what happened to 'economic man', the logical fellow who inhabits economic theory?

Action : Congress is itchy to do something, anything, about energy costs. There's no agreement on what should be done, nor any real indication that anything useful can be done, but don't worry, they'll do something. On second thought, worry.

Lemons/Lemonaide: By now there are entrepreneurs buying up cheap used SUV's in the US and shipping them to China.

All Fist, No Glove: The Bush administration is making it clear that Iraq's desire to be rid of US troops is unacceptable, and that "the objectives of Iraq must include continued dependence on US troops for an indefinite period." So much for the standing up and standing down.

Game of Nations: If leaders of other states - even if acting in the form of the UN's ICC -- encroach on the rules set up by the Peace of Westphalia and start imprisoning other leaders for what they do to their own subjects, all hell is going to break lose.

Quoted: “I cannot find a single convincing argument that tells me that astrologers won’t do better than economists,” Nassim Taleb.

Saved! We Are Saved! A group called the Post Carbon Institute has determined the best way to clean our room, mow the lawn and take out the garbage in preparation for peak oil and global warming. Or "How to save the world from energy shortages in 10 easy steps taking only ten short years; a guide for policy makers, citizens, and businesses", or so they claim. Considering we're a carbon-based life form, the name of this group is a bit scary.

Discretion: The credit collapse is spreading economic problems across the globe. Politicians are turning to their central bankers, saying 'Do something!" Unfortunately, for the first time in history central bankers have an unlimited ability to print money. And they will.

New Math: Merrill Lynch plans to raise $8.5 billion through the public offering of common stock, but to do so must pay its major stockholder, Temasek Holdings, $2.5 billion. When Merrill says $8.5 billion it means $6 billion. Then it sells $30.6 billion in CDOs for $6.7 billion and reports the difference as only $4.4 billion. There's a lot of that going around.

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