Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment I, US Constitution
Goal: Turkey is looking nervously about for an alternative supplier of natural gas to get it through the cold winter, made colder by Turkey's "balanced" reaction to the Georgian-Russian incident. Russia's goal of pressuring Turkey into a neutral or even pro-Russian stance has been unappreciated by the press.
Now and Forever More: Bush wants Congress to indefinitely extend the power to erode citizens rights he claims were granted him under the War Powers Act, as well as the authority to range the world gobbling up nations and individuals. All in the name of peace and democracy.
The Beat Goes On: The US spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. What threat justifies all that money? Iran, the designated bogeyman, spends about 1% of what the US does on 'defense'. Al Qaeda's budget is dwarfed by my tab at the Rod and Gun Club. Oil's still over $100 a barrel, so just what is all that money being spent for?
No You Can't: Echoing the McCain campaign theme, the Agriculture Department and the US Court of Appeals have prohibited a small meat packer from testing its cattle for Mad Cow disease. The legal theory appears to be that this would give the small meat packer an unfair competitive advantage over the large, politically connected meat packers who are too damned cheap to do so. Free markets? No, you can't.
Revelations: Some say God is sending a hurricane to punish America again, this time for nominating a black for President. Some say God is sending a hurricane to punish American again, for nominating a female as vice president. I wish God would shut both sides up, or at least make Michael Moore a Republican.
One Thing and Another: US oil imports from Venezuela and Mexico combined are dropping at an annual rate of 25%. Their exports comprise about 25% of US imports, thus the US has lost about 7% of its usual supply. To replace that on the open market will remove another million barrels from the international supply; if the US uses it others cannot, no matter how high they bid. So they stop bidding and the price subsides. Until someone else stops exporting quite so much.
Mirrors: Money is debt. Banks create money out of thin air by lending. Banks charge interest. In order for a borrower to pay back both the principal and the interest, more credit must be created. If there is one bank with one customer and the bank lends $100 to the customer, there is but $100 in circulation. The loan cannot be repaid. To make the system work, continual expansion of debt is required. That's why a credit contraction is a bad thing. Less money chasing the same goods leads to deflation. Class dismissed.
Porn O'Graph: Russian petroleum exports have been.... dropping?