Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SAR #10209

There is a difference between evidence and proof.

The Nature of the Beast:   Homebuilders, stuck with about 1.2 million building-ready development sites, are continuing to build houses – even in places like Las Vegas - even though they have no hope of selling them, especially at a profit. It's what they do.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  A Federal Judge said he wasn't going to “second-guess the CIA Director regarding the appropriateness of any particular intelligence source or method,” even if they are explicitly illegal under US law.  What part of 'secret' do you have a problem with?

Fine Distinction:  The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defense is unable to account properly for 96% of the money.   DOD says the money isn't missing, they just don't know what they spent it on.

Disconnect:  Business is booming, corporate earnings continue strong, while in the worker's world wages continue to stagnate, real unemployment continues to hover in the high teens, and resentment continues to grow. How long can this chasm continue to grow?

Fall Campaign:  The neocon Neanderthals that suckered us into Iraq are gearing up for a big push to lie us into Iran this fall. Forewarned is forearmed.

Water Is Wet #467:   Nassim Taleb says the problem with debt based economies is that they need more and more debt just to stay even, and even more debt to make any progress – and sooner or later you run out of suckers.  It's later than you think.

Silly Question:  Will Republicans Really Block Tax Cuts Because They Go Only to Earners Below $250K?

Doomer Porn:  If you like to be depressed, have at it - “America’s collapse occurred when government ceased to represent the people and became the instrument of a private oligarchy.”  Which isn't quite right because the government was captured some time ago but the collapse is just beginning.

Spot Quiz:  Raise your hand if you think big Wall Street banks do not make a profit laundering the profits from the drug trade.

Veiled Truth:  Before we get all excited and ban veils along with mosques and people who don't look like us and those who want to be roofers and take care of our children, it might be worthwhile to get a bit of perspective.  Nah, that's unAmerican and not worth the trouble.

Neither/Nor:  Saying that the horror stories from victims of shale-gas fracking are fictions and that they are not responsible even if they did happen, industry leaders maintain that regulation would kill jobs, stifle gas production and cut their profits.  Especially cut their profits.

Assigned Reading:  “The issue is death — death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day.  Not just death to eleven human beings.  Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf...”  Go read the rest.

Numbers Game:  In the US, the top 1% own 83% of all stocks, from 2001 – 2007 over 65% of all income growth went to the top 1%, at least 60% of Americans “usually or always” live from paycheck to paycheck.  Cambodian garment workers make 22 cents an hour.

On Balance:  The business press is embracing Richard Koo's view that The Current Mess is “a balance sheet recession” caused by businesses paying down their debt rather than investing in production.  He cautions that the need now is for further government stimulus, not an austerity program to tame government debt.  It would have been quicker if he'd just said he was a Krugmanite.

Porn O'Graph:  Peter, meet Paul.

3 comments:

kwark said...

RE: On Balance. Seems to me businesses aren't producing because their markets are impaired; customers with too much debt and an oversupply of product. So piling on yet more public debt is the solution? In a country with public debt already reaching eyeball-level? Seems to me more like wishful thinking or maybe kicking the can down the road long enough until the magic debt fairy comes along and makes everything better.

CKMichaelson said...

kwark - Yeah, customers got no money to buy new stuff. A lot of 'em got no jobs or no money. Businesses have shaved the excess off down to about a half-inch into the bone and they are not about to invest in new production or new jobs.

So we have a closed circle where government spending (debt, debt) is the only deus ex machina in sight.

It won't work in the long run, might not work in the short run, but dammit, it's supposed to cure all.

And other than a really nasty cleansing of the various debts, personal, corporate and governmental is there some secret solution?

ckm

CKMichaelson said...

kwark - Yeah, customers got no money to buy new stuff. A lot of 'em got no jobs or no money. Businesses have shaved the excess off down to about a half-inch into the bone and they are not about to invest in new production or new jobs.

So we have a closed circle where government spending (debt, debt) is the only deus ex machina in sight.

It won't work in the long run, might not work in the short run, but dammit, it's supposed to cure all.

And other than a really nasty cleansing of the various debts, personal, corporate and governmental is there some secret solution?

ckm