Thursday, November 10, 2011

SAR #11312

When in doubt, doubt.

...on the Way to the Forum: Remember the €1 trillion bail-out fund, the one that was going to save the world a few PIIGS? Eurozone finance ministers are “delaying” decisions on how to proceed after their initial efforts raised only €3bn, and that only with record interest rates.

Two Way Street: The IEA is warning that oil prices “could hit economically damaging record highs one-third above the record $147. It also said that the current $102 per barrel average for 2011 has put global economies at risk. OPEC disagrees and fears that eurozone problems will lead to significant price declines as world economies slow.

Once More: Italy is “too big to fail and too big to save.” Well, actually it isn't too big to fail... And Barclays says it has passed the point of no return.

La Loi: There are two fundamental values that are essential to any working capitalist economy: accountability and the rule of law. The proposed nation-wide mortgage fraud settlement is... a fraud. Banks have confessed to submitting up to 10,000 falsified affidavits a month, for years. The banks say “it was only a process” that got trampled – but then, trial by jury is a process, too.

Equality:Without winking, crossing your fingers, or outright lying, please explain why Internet sales should not be subject to state sales taxes.

Slight of Hand: Banks in Europe were required to boost their capital holdings. So they increased their own evaluation of their risky assets, making them both less risky and more valuable as capital. All in time for a late lunch.

Revival: In the face of a looming recession, France has unveiled the toughest austerity measures since WW II. They are promising “to protect the French against the grave problems facing other European countries,” by doing the worst possible thing in a effort to save the country's virginity AAA rating. It includes increased taxation, cuts in pensions and other health and welfare programs. It is the latest step in a relentless campaign to force the eurozone into a death spiral in order to make sure the bankers get paid.

Good Question: Why is big pharma allowed to kill its customers? Oh, my. If you need ask, you are beyond hope. Maybe there's a pill for that.

Smaller Giants: Walmart has discovered the 'pop-up' store – a 1000 square foot temporary outlet in a mall or strip center, run for a couple of months and then gone. This is attractive to a company that has over 12 million square feet of closed stores to sell or lease. Another niche market where the little guy is facing Goliath.

Less Than Meets the Eye: Most people who sell a house do so to buy another one. These days the buyer will need to pay off the house, pay a Realtor 6%, and put 10% down on the next house. Based on that, over 50% of mortgaged households in the US are effectively underwater.

A Sure Thing? Investor extraordinaire John Hussman confides that his firm's models predict the probability of oncoming recession at nearly 100%.

Engaging the Enemy: The hydraulic fracturing industry is being urged to treat those who oppose fracking as “insurgents” and to follow the military's counterinsurgency manual in confronting them, and to hire former military psy-ops personnel to manipulate the discussion and “overcome stakeholder concerns.” Doesn't the field manual also suggest bribing local warlords?

Assignment: Translate the following: “The bright side of this is the bond market is forcing change that can no longer be ignored. Italy is a big, wealthy country and it is in their power to liberate their economy and cut spending” Then explain what “liberating their economy” will consist of, and from whom it will be liberated.

Uggianaqtuq: Torrential downpours, floods, droughts, wildfires, surprise snowfalls and tornadoes dominated the news for much of 2011. Even now “one of the most severe storms on record” is bearing down on Northwest Alaska, where the native Inuit call the unusual weather “the stranger”. I'm with Brian Williams: “All I know is this didn’t happen when we were kids.”


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

re state sales taxes - between undergrad and grad school, I spent a year as a uniformed guard in a ruling class jewelry store in Massachusetts. People who lived in New Hampshire would select something, and then have it mailed to them, as a way around the sales tax. The store accommodated them. It accommodated them to the extent of mailing them empty boxes, while letting them walk out onto Newbury Street with the jewelry in their possession.

The ruling class has never considered itself subject to the laws imposed on others.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

Small Retail is Beautiful: Earlier this year, an Aldi store opened in my shopping catchment area. Their strategy for cost reductions includes downsizing the store by offering, for each item they carry, only one brand (usually the store brand - but they have multiple "store brands", specialized by type of food), and only one size of container. Quality is good, price is lower, shopping is quicker - triple win. But you do have to go elsewhere for some of your regular needs (something as prosaic as brown rice is not in their repertoire, e.g.)

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

re Engaging the Enemy - the counterinsurgency manual is found at

TulsaTime said...

I'm with you mistah C, love the Aldi store. It was like a secret club for a year or so before people discovered it was quick and cheap.

CKMichaelson said...

But how much of our current predicament has been caused by our focus on "quick and cheap"?


fajensen said...

Half the employees, self included, where I used to work recently got sacked when our Chinese "partners" did not pay their licensing fees.

They probably copied the software or maybe they just decided to keep the Gweiloos money - as predicted.

I was shopping at Aldi beforehand but now, I will definitely shop more at Aldi and Lidl, they also got some decent wine and German "reinheitsgebot"-Beer.

Besides, "economists" all say we should "spend more" so I want to do the opposite.

kwark said...

RE "Two Way Street": Seems as though they're more concerned about the the European portion of their investment portfolio than what may happen to the price of oil.

RE "Engaging the Enemy": As disgusting as this is, I suspect this will be a self-limiting phenomenon - as in there will be no money for this kind of abuse once the shale gas investment/Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses.

RE "Uggianaqtuq": I have it on good authority that Brian Williams is part of that all-powerful "liberal media" that is pushing the global warming hoax. The same authority tells me "the hoax" is about making money by scaring people and/or it's about destroying American business via over-regulation. As you say CKM, the usual prize for making sense of either of those claims.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

fajensen - Thanks for mentioning Lidl - the Wikipedia article about them explains the business model quite well - Aldi is the only chain of that type in the U.S.

Good luck in your quest to remain nourished and sheltered.