Hoping to break even is not investing.
Indignations: The protests spreading around the Mediterranean are not particularly leftist nor rightist, they are mainly the fed up – the indignados – who are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. They are underway in Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy and they are not much different than their cousins in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria. They turn out by the tens of thousands, even the hundreds of thousands. Imagine how large and how angry the gatherings will be when they learn the plans the bankers and the IMF have for their sovereignty. Imagine what the long, hot summer will bring.
Not Made In Japan: Japanese car exports dropped 68% in April – which might have been good news for Detroit except that a lot of their essential components are made in Japan. Or were before the tsunami and related disasters.
A Modest Proposal: Paul Krugman thinks we should forget – for now – the Ryan Plan and its shortcomings and attend to more pressing business: the 14 million unemployed and half again that many of the underemployed. He proposes 1) a WPA type infrastructure repair and improvement program to put people back to work. 2) Reducing the mortgage debts of homeowners (which implies the investor class taking a big hit and raises the question of equity and fairness among homeowners), and 3) Running inflation at 4% or more to inflate away the national debt (and a whole lot of private wealth). Politically unacceptable for a lot of reasons, and sure to be the target of more attacks than discussion.
House Rules: Ahmed Karzi says NATO may no longer conduct “airstirkes on the houses of people.” NATO countered by saying it always “coordinates” such strikes with Afghan officials.
Yes, But... The Defense Department – the nation's largest energy consumer – has been making significant efforts to reduce the amount of fossil fuel it uses. The coal, gas and oil industries, through their political action committee, the Republicans, are trying to use the current funding bill as a way to reverse this, indirectly increasing the threat to national security that dependence on fossil fuels and the attendant global warming pose.
Chicken, Revised: Instead of seeing who will swerve to avoid the crash (intentional US default due to not raising the debt ceiling), now it's to be a game of seeing who can wait the longest to dial 911 after the crash.
There Goes The Neighborhood: The IEA reports that mankind's CO2 emissions hit another record high last year. After over ten years of pretending to care, no significant steps have been taken to keep global warming below 2º C. Any warming above 3º C is seen as catastrophic by most climate scientists. As you were, smoke 'em if you got 'em.
Bad News/Good News: The price of food is predicted to double by 2030. But that assumes an inflation rate of only 4% and that there will still be food....
In Memoriam: This is no longer a nation of laws – how can it be when the executive branch will not let even the congress know what the laws are? What's the point of The Great Charter and its painfully earned descendants if defendants are not allowed to see, much less challenge, the secret evidence which the government claims to have? The shibboleth of 'national security' justifies giving billions to the biggest banks in secret – because... well, if you don't know you can't challenge it, can you? Say 'goodnight', Gracie.