We neither know nor care where our food comes from. This will change.
Mom Always Liked
You Them Best: In the best free-market capitalism tradition, the Fed secretly – very, very secretly - gave Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and the Royal Bank of Scotland each a 9 month loan of $30 billion or so during 2008, at an interest rate of 0.01%, so they could pay themselves bonuses. Interesting, very interesting.
Tea Leaves: In NY's über-conservative 26th Congressional District, Democrat Kathy Hochul trounced Republican Jane Corwin, even though she was outspent 2:1, by campaigning against Paul Ryan's plans to gut Medicare. Her mantra, “We cannot balance our budget on the backs of our seniors" seems to light the path forward for the Democrats. Of course the GOP alibis began immediately, but it is expected that more and more Republicans will seek protective cover.
Volatility: Nestle, McDonald's, and Whole Foods will boost prices to reflect increased costs. The price of oil is back over $100 a barrel. The USDA estimates retail food prices will jump 4% this year. The Government will continue to exclude the volatile food and fuel areas from CPI calculations, so there will be no inflation. Just higher prices.
Ask A Gecko: Are Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley manipulating the oil market? Does it take two to tango?
Why? The Pentagon wants to buy 100 long-range, radar-evading, nuclear-capable drone bombers and will bribe Congress with $55 billion (original price, bound to triple later on) in contracts to scatter around various districts. You never know when Kyrgyzstan might attack.
Choices: If the 50-year experiment with what has become Euroland is to continue, Germany and France must find a way to pay the debts of the PIIGS by moving towards even greater integration of the separate states. While there seems little enthusiasm for the rich bailing out the poor ('twas ever so) there is an absolute fear of what happens if they are allowed to collapse. Don't get too comfortable, it's not a spectator sport.
Plenty of Truthiness: When newly minted Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty says his campaign is “all about the truth” he means “about” as in going around it, avoiding it when necessary. Like Newt.
Revenge of the
Sith Shiite: After a four year absence, Moqtada al-Sadr is returning to Iraqi political life with a planned march by tens of thousands of his Mahdi Army through Baghdad's Sadr City, demanding the US withdraw from Iraq.
Tanking: Frontline, which runs the world's largest fleet of oil tankers, suffered an 81% decline in net income in Q1, y/y. In July 2008 very large crude carriers rented for $177,036 a day. Today you can get one for $8,900. Supply and demand – with increasing supply meeting decreasing demand.
Antiques: Saudi Aramco is going to re-start production in the Dammam field, its original oilfield, which produced 32 million barrels of oil before it was shut down – even though the Saudi's claim the field contains “a half-billion barrels of proven reserves.” Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.
Civilization and Its Discontents: French President Sarkozy continues to seek a “civilized” internet – by which he means “one he can control”. In the US, when the Republicans call for “net neutrality” they mean a neutered net, controlled by big business and the national security state. Watch what they do, not what they say.
Debt or Nation? “We’re in a strange state now where people who actually take textbook economics and simple arithmetic seriously are seen as dangerously radical and irresponsible, while people who believe in invisible bond vigilantes and confidence fairies, who claim to know what the market will want even though there’s no sign of that desire in current asset prices, are viewed as Very Serious.”
Porn O'Graph: Hockey Stick, Too.