Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SAr #9237

If you believe this is over,

you don't remember the picture of the earth from space.

Piggy Bank Nation: Now that China is “showing reduced willingness” to buy US debt, it is every citizen' s responsibility to smash the kid's piggy bank and finance his own debt. How cutting off one end of the sheet (future income) and tacking it on the other (debt spending) makes the sheet bigger is still a mystery. More likely, a self-hoisting petard.

Enter the Chorus: This time around you should not be caught unawares. There's trouble brewing and it's being announced. Starting with the death of the Consumer. In which the portion of GDP that is consumer discretionary spending is indiscreet. An 'X' Shaped Recovery – in which the middle class is Xed out. Double Down in which Roubini worries that the central bankers will kill the recovery through fear of inflation, or kill the recovery with inflation. Six, Count'em Six reasons to expect another bear market. Consumers 'probably' are cutting back. A report from the retailers.

Death in Washington: Zombies that won't go away: Reaganomics, supply side anything, efficient and/or free markets, Republicans, oil wars, Rush, Newt and McCain.

Early Days: The current odds from the CDC: About 150 million Americans will get swine flu. 1.8 million will be hospitalized. 90,000 will die (that's three times normal, but we'll also have a 'normal' flu going around.)

Medium of Exchange: I took my 7 year old daughter to the Megamart today. We got two bags of stuff from China and a bag of food from various hungry third world countries. To pay for the goods, I signed a note obligating her to work for the store for a total of 27 hours during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of March, 2027 – earliest dates she had open. We've been looking at a new plasma TV home entertainment center, but will have to put that off until she goes through puberty and can indenture her potential children.

Asked and Answered: Did Professor John Yoo commit a clear act of professional misconduct while in the service of the Bush administration? Yes.

No Crabs: Alaskan villages are slipping into the waves, Alaskan polar bears are slipping into extinction, and Alaskan fishing waters are becoming acidified by absorbing CO2 – and doing so much faster than tropical seas. Fish and crabs were not designed to thrive in acidic waters.

Plausible Denial? If the CIA hires some fellas to chop down a tree, but Congress doesn't hear about it, is it unconstitutional? How much secrecy can a democracy tolerate?

Homework: The middle class – which provides the bulk of consumer spending in the US – has debts that exceed 200% of their disposable income. Try to figure out how much they can pay down their debts over the next two or three years and what they are going to give up to do so.

Strike One: Forget all you think you know about Larry Flynt, and go read his call for a national strike: “Let's set a date. No one goes to work. No one buys anything. And if that isn't effective -- if the politicians ignore us -- we do it again. And again. And again.”

Algebra: Income Inequality + Financialization + Globalization = Destruction of the Middle Class

Damn : During its first two years, Medicare Part D exceeded expations and delivered extended drug coverage to most seniors while saving them money. Think how well it would do if they got rid of the GOP money-saving 'doughnut hole' and let the program negotiate prices with Big Pharma. Don't you just hate it when Big Government does good?

Sobering Up: Five myths you should know about if you are going to pretend to know about health care.

Porn O'Graph: Line the three bears up and yell 'Go!'


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

Regarding Larry Flynt's suggestion: A day of not buying? Possible. A day of people not going to the jobs they have, placing their continued having of that job in question? Not so possible.

Anonymous said...

Strike One:

Good piece from Flynt. Problem is that Americans don't protest. Geez, the French are more uncivil when disturbed by their Government.


Bill said...

I agree with Flynt: The political class is corrupt, and answers to the corporations. John Whitehead recently wrote:

This is the new face of power in America: Big Business and Big Government have finally fused into a corporate state. As Bertram Gross, a presidential advisor to both the Truman and Roosevelt administrations, warns in his book Friendly Fascism:

The Chief Executive would neither ride the tiger nor try to steal its food; rather, he would be part of the tiger from the outset. The White House and the entire Chief Executive network would become the heart (and one of the brain centers) of the new business-government symbiosis.

Under these circumstances the normal practices of the Ultra-Rich and the Corporate Overlords would be followed: personal participation in high-level business deals and lavish subsidization of political campaigns, both expertly hidden from public view.

Look at the Cap-and-Trade bill: it's a gift to Wall Street.

Remind me again why it's such a great idea to let these thieves have even more control of our economy.

I agree that the public is much too passive. But Obama's swoon to the banks and back room deals with big pharma are waking people up. Isn't it ironic that the main stream media is painting the protesters as the bad guys, racists, etc.

The nation is so caught up in ideological warfare that we've overlooked the root problem: corporate fascism.

K Ackermann said...

Bill, you nailed it. The ideological warfare is manufactured too. The media feeds into what their audience wants to hear, because the media wants to sell ad time.

The problem is, some people believe what they are watching. They think it begins and ends with the stereotypes they are used to hearing, and that's why some of them are baffled by reality.

If I had a dollar for every time a democratic president tried to take my guns away, I'd be flat broke. yet, they are well known for taking guns away.

The corporations love that kind of squabbling. If everyone were unified, they would have a much harder time driving agendas.

From my experience, most people are not familiar with the weapons offset trade. It is common practice for some country to demand concessions from a weapons manufacturer. The concessions are commonly equal in value to the weapons sale, so it is essentially financed without money. What the other country wants can range from a promise to build a factory in the country to manufacture the weapons there (which siphons jobs away from the US), to arranging the purchase of some exported product (which might kill the sales of a domestic producer).

How big is this market? Big enough to have trade associations, such as:
• American Countertrade Association
• Defense Industry Offset Association
• International Reciprocal Trade Association
• National Association of Trade Exchanges
• Corporate Barter Council
• Investment Recovery Association
Global Offset and Countertrade Association.

I linked to the last one in case you want to see what kind of members they have.

Those are just the trade associations. What they really do is put you in touch with the right people in the government. If you needed to unload 100 tons of mangoes that you had to take in order to sell weapons, there are literally a thousand federal employees that do nothing but help the arms industry cope with offsets. Mostly out of the State department.

You and I fund gun running on a big scale.

The DoD offically frowns on offsets, but they publish standards on trade valuations. They also0 publish how many man-years of labor the offset trade saves, vs. how many displaced. In 1999, it was 38,000 saved, 9,900 displaced.

Yeah. They are not too interested.

K Ackermann said...

The article yoo linked to about John Yoo tells me Brad DeLong is one smart person. He's an economics professor, but that was an impressive display of history knowledge (for me, at least).