Monday, April 6, 2009

SAR #9096

No country can survive being rendered a laughingstock.

Two Headlines. "Obama Maintains Control Over Banks By Refusing To Accept Repayment Of TARP Money..." And: "Geithner Says He May Oust Executives..."

Time Saver: PPIP is not about "price discovery", it is a way of paying banks 80 cents for a 30 cent apple. The government is aware the banks are "gaming" PPIP from both ends, increasing the marked price of the apples and forming secret entities to join PPIP and buy them at the higher prices. Now you can skip all the rest of the articles about PPIP. Go eat your breakfast.

Headline Only: One in 10 Americans is on food stamps.

Countdown: The unemployed now number over 13 million, and another 5.5 million have stopped looking, thus are not counted as unemployed. That brings unemployment to nearly 12%. Then there there are the "marginally attached" who, if they counted, would swell the unemployment number to over 15.5%. Swell, just swell.

Geithner: Secretary Geithner denies that the White House is helping CEO's avoid the pay limits passed by Congress; rightly so, for they are quite capable of doing it unaided.

Damned Poor Idea: A dam planned for the Xingu River, the Amazon's largest tributary, will flood about 200 square miles. It is the first of a dozen major dams planned to improve life in the jungle region. It will provide power so more people can settle in the area, destroying ever more of the rain forest in the name of progress.

Just As We Suspected: "Senior S&L Regulator Says Government Engaging in Massive Cover-Up of Economic Crisis: 'The Entire Strategy Is to Keep People from Getting the Facts."

Brother's Keeper: Why do we get so upset at North Korea for firing a missile? Why is it okay for the US to have nukes but not Iran? Oh, right. We're bigger. Some basis for morality.

Counterinsurgency: Nearly a million Pakistanis have become internal refugees, seeking to escape being "inadvertently killed" by American Predator drone attacks. Like their Iraqi counterparts, their displacement does not make headlines. It does make Taliban recruits.

Wrong Question: The headline asks, is this "The end of Christian America?" Given our national behavior, one could hope.

Asked & Answered: Has America become numb to tragedy? Yes.

Anchor Away: An ice bridge anchoring the Wilkins Ice Shelf to land has shattered. It will not immediately raise ocean heights, but is one more step towards a much warmer world. Some 80% of Arctic ice may disappear in 30 years, not the 90 years as scientists had previously estimated.

Clip & Save: "I don’t think we have any concerns about disruption to the navigation” in the Persian Gulf. "Certainly nothing from Iran." General David Petraeus.

Piper, To Be Paid: Homeowners are not amused that their tax apprasials have not fallen nearly as rapidly as their house values. Record number of assessment appeals are being filed and nearly 40% of them are successful. City treasurers are not amused, either.

Move Along, Nothing to Be Seen: US Treasuries continue to slide as bond traders worry over the $3.25 trillion the US needs to borrow this year. We've decided to name the 300 pound gorilla "Inflation."

Prophalaxis: There is no evidence that mortgage modifications are any more successful at preventing delinquencies than Virginity Pledges are at reducing teenage pregnancies.

Toil and Trouble: How come we have the housing bubble and how housing prices got simply too high, the credit bubble and how credit was extended far too recklessly, but we don't hear about the stock market bubble where stocks were unreasonably priced? Nope, 14,000 made sense. Right. But what if ? Say 3,800 on the Dow for a few years...

Porn O'Graph: Bear Hunting or Bull?


Brock said...

Good morning,

I greatly enjoy your daily updates and thank you for your effort. I seldom find much to disagree with.

However, your position on North Korea is a tad cynical. While I do not believe that the United States ought to be deeply involved in the region (I lived in Korea for many years) it does not follow that the DPRK should be left a free hand.

The primary problem with the DPRK's belligerence lies in the Japanese response. Should the Japanese feel sufficiently threatened, they will (as would be reasonable) remove themselves from their American-imposed pacifist constitution and peruse nuclear weapons. This has the potential to severely harm "harmony" in the region, primarily with the Chinese.

Further, there stands today a serious risk of conflict in the Koreas. The balance of power must remain with the ROK. There are anywhere from 10-15,000 pieces of artillery on the DPRK's southern border aimed at Seoul-Incheon (a population of around 25 million people, equal almost to the entire population of Canada). The ROK does not have nuclear weapons, yet. Given the emotive animosities in the region, it is best that the DPRK is restrained by the "international community", even if that means Uncle Sam and Japan.

Anyways, thanks kindly for this site. I'd like to say it brightens my day....

CKMichaelson said...

Brock - My position on nearly everything is a bit cynical.

In this instance, as in the matter of Iran's nuclear experiments (were there such a thing) or Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (had there been such a thing) is that it is more than a tad arrogant of the US to tell another nation what it might or might not do in the realm of developing a rocket.

Yes, there is some concern that they may one day use it against a neighbor - but no one has elected us Bully. It is just another way of "preventive attack", perhaps cheaper than attacking Iraq but no less arrogant nor morally defensible.
- ckm

Brock said...

I do not disagree. But we don't live in a perfect world.

I am biased here. I have a deep affection for the ROK. The Koreans have suffered so much through much of their history. The last 50 years (for the ROK) have been the most stable, most prosperous and all together 'best'. I'd like the DPRK not to derail that, and ultimately join.

The Chinese will have to pull the bottom cards out on KJI, and I suspect they will. Until then, the DPRK is a meaningful threat to stability in the region.

I know, I know. But what of America in Iraq etc. Yes, I agree. But North East Asia is different, and the American relationship with the region is different.

Anyways, I doubt we'll agree, and that is ok.

Again, thanks greatly for this site.