Friday, December 16, 2011

SAR #11348

Is the solution in Europe a Franco/German Empire? Or a Fifth Reich?

Ozymandias: Bush's demonstration of power has failed, becoming the most expensive waste of money in US history – not counting America’s thousands of dead and tens of thousands of the crippled in body and spirit. Behind, in Iraq, we leave hundreds, perhaps a million, dead Iraqis, ruined cities and an ungovernable, divided country. Intended to impress the Chinese and Iran and to defend the Israelis and - yes - to secure the oil, it accomplished none of the goals.

Zebras? The IMF's new director, Christine Lagarde says that things are not going well in Europe and that help "from countries outside the EU" is needed. Bernanke says he can't help, and Cameron's UK is both broke and offended. Russia may pony up $20 billion, from the stash it's been building up by dumping its holdings of US bonds. The Chinese remain inscrutable are trimming their holdings, too. Fitch has downgraded Barclays, BNP, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, UBS (plus BofA and MorganStanley). Regulators in Australia have told banks to been told to hunker down. And another big-deal asset manager has fled to cash.

Landscaping: During the current century, most of the Earth's land will see at least a 30% change in plant cover. And with the change in vegetation there will be comparable changes in animal populations, including humans. And that's if the globe only warms 3 or 4ºC.

Data Is Data: New claims for unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to a 3½ year low of 366,000. The 4-week moving average is now at 387,750, also a 3-year low. A total of 7.45 million people were receiving unemployment benefits up 874,670 from the prior week. Industrial production in the US fell 0.2% in November, against expectations of a 0.2% rise. How business can be falling and employment rising is a mystery.

Talking Point: The GOP wants to prove that hungry, homeless people will work for whatever the employer wants to pay and is sure the Army can keep the peace.

Constitutional Conventions: Congress thinks it has the power to grant the President the power to use the military within the US to arrest American citizens and incarcerate them indefinitely, with no charges, no trail and no rights. This effectively abolishes the Posse Comitatus Act, portions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) and abolishes eight or nine centuries of habeas corpus. And the executive is all in favor of continuing to wield these powers – which he already thinks he has. Eventually the Supreme Court may hear a case questioning the constitutionality of the law, but it seems unlikely. After all, if there is no trial, there is no judicial matter to appeal. The White House has cited the extra-judicial (that is, illegal) assassination of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki (a US citizen) as evidence that there should be no restraints on the form through which executive power is exercised. It is official, the transformation to a Military-Industrial dictatorship is complete.

Hills, Run For The: Richard Russell's latest newsletter gets right to the point, "Get out of stocks." He says the current market - "the greatest sucker's rally in history" - is coming to an abrupt and brutal end.

Porn O Graph: That's you, down there at the bottom; smile and wave!

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