Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SAR # 8225

"The fact is that income inequality is real;
it's been rising for more than 25 years."
George W. Bush.

Squeeze Play: Surveys expect the downturn in the US will last well into 2009, with growth slowing to 0.7% in the last half of 2008, unemployment reaching 6% by January , inflation outpacing wage growth, and consumer spending declining - the first decline since 1992.

Countdown: Some speculate that the events in Georgia will act as a distraction to cover a strike - by Israel - on Iran, others view a "massive US and European armada" reportedly headed for the Gulf as a blatant attempt at intimidation of the Iranians while their Russian protectors are occupied occupying.

Faint Echo: As oil prices soared, SUVs fell out of favor and car companies cut back production of many models, airlines raised prices, factories closed, grain prices rose, everything from toasters to tofu rose quickly in price. While oil's fallen 20%, gasoline has only dropped 10% and lots of other price increases remain in place. Maybe market enthusiasm is overdone.

End of Times : Talk of holding global warming to 2°C is nonsense; we don't know how to do so. Thus we must prepare for a world 4°C warmer. Except 4°C is a catastrophe: staring with the melting of both polar ice caps and the release of immense quantities of methane from the melting permafrost whcih would in turn amplify global warming. So we must limit warming to 2°C - which we don't know how to do - as we prepare fro 4°C - which we cannot survive. Billions would undoubtedly die. No wonder Bush doesn't want to talk about it. No one does.

Pace Initiative: With al Qaeda and Taliban attacks increasing in Afganistan, why doesn't the US simply apply the lessons learned by General Petraeus in Iraq? Bribing the Sunni militants was cheap (about $216 million) and reasonably effective (i.e., the American public has been fooled). It has got to be cheaper to buy 'em than bury 'em. plus it teaches them the American way.

Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat? The Fed needs to raise rates to combat inflation... while lowering rates to encourage economic growth. Congress needs to exercise fiscal responsibility... while bolstering the economy. Peak Oil means we must conserve energy and expoloit alternatives... while drilling for more crude. Why does anyone want to be president?

On the Trail: Obamma seems to have no idea, or far too many ideas, as to what the US response should be to the Russia/Georgia contest. McCain has but one answer, aggression everywhere. Both are wrong. The problem is that the US has no credible way to threaten Russia or support Georgia without making matters much, much worse.

Note: For the past week or so I have also been posting at Naked Capitalism while Yves was on vacation. They were not cross-posts, so entries here have been somewhat fewer than usual. We'll soon be back to speed here.


vader said...

'First do no harm' is a good political strategy.

Especially if your options are limited.

In any case, it allows you to evaluate the situation before doing something rash.

Better than saber rattling when your opponent knows you cannot do anything.

Steve said...

Love S.A.R. - I read it every day.

re: "Countdown": thankfully, the reports are incorrect that additional U.S. Carrier Battle Groups are headed for the Gulf.

Map of carrier locations: http://notes.stevehamlin.org (from the below Stratfor article)

Aug 12, 2008 - Stratfor’s weekly U.S. Naval Update (http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/u_s_naval_update_map_aug_12_2008) (go thru Google to bypass login)

"After our Aug. 6 Update, the Kuwait Times published a story - since widely circulated - that the U.S. Navy was surging multiple carriers to the Gulf. The U.S. Navy has already denied this report."

"As the Aug. 6 Update showed, the U.S. carrier fleet was in one of its most relaxed postures, with a single carrier — the Lincoln — in 5th Fleet, and a single carrier — the Reagan — in 7th Fleet near Japan. The rest of the “armada” was operating fairly close to the U.S. East or West Coast."

Jim Fitch said...

Steve - For one I'm glad I stuck 'reportedly' in that one. Glad to be in a still peaceful world, too.