Reading the news has become a daily adventure in denial.
More is Not Better: Soon, maybe, a May 2004 CIA Inspector General's report on US torture will finally see the light of day - which is more than some of the tortured did. The report is described as 'sickening' by those who have seen it, so sickening that they apparently brought the Bush torture regime to an end. Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) warns that almost everything we think we know about the Bush torture program is wrong, an understatement. It would be better if Obama got out of the way on this one and let it happen. No, not better, necessary.
Made In Japan: The US housing market collapse is looking more and more like Japan's 15 year trek through the doldrums. Remember when copying the Japanese was a good business practice? Still got the books?
Ready Where? Retail sales were down 10.8% in May, y/y. Sales were up a half a percent from April, but that's because I filled up the Hummer.
Afghanistan: The new US warlord in Afghanistan is calling on teams of Special Forces and other secret ops troops in order to step up attacks on the Taliban while crushing the heroin trade and bringing democracy, apple pie and FOX News to the make-believe nation.
Asked & Answered: "Is Eastern Europe on the Brink of an Asia-Style Crisis?" Yes.
Coming Events: We've mentioned the coming resets of the Option-ARM mortgages. Here's what it will mean: Option-ARM's let you pay pretty much whatever you want, until your amount due reaches 125% of the original loan, then you have to start paying a full amortizing amount. In that 42% of the 2006 vintage and 35% of the 2007 vintage are already 60 days late, wait for the resets. Then wait for the RMBS and their derivatives to fall apart.
Onanistic Possibilities: Following a business as usual path, China will bring about a 2.7ºC global temperature rise all by itself. But we'll continue to help anyway.
Apply as Necessary: Detainees are now being Mirandized. The Bush administration also reportedly advised some detainees of their rights, just before waterboarding them.
Good News / Bad News: US foreclosures dropped 6% in May, Hooray! May's forclosure activity was only 18% higher y/y and was but the third highest in history. Boo!
Dominoes: Latvia is reprising the role of collapsing currency played so well in the 90's by Argentina. The supporting cast - set to stumble and fall along with Latvia, are Swedish and Austrian banks and Latvia's neighbors, Estonia and Lithuania.
Who? Who are you? And do you have the flu? The WHO suspects a great many of you do, or will soon have swine flu.
Nothing Personal: Russia says it may follow China in dissing the dollar. Russia says some IMF SDR's might be just the thing.
Porn O'Graph: Year to year retail sales sail away....