Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SAR #12269

There are bigger forces than governments.

Mumbled Numbers: The S&P Case-Shiller Index shows that average house prices increased 1.6% m/m. Much of that increase was due to seasonal factors, absent which the increase was 0.4%, which is an annualized 5% rate. That probably will not continue. This is the lowest the slowest sequential increase in the past 5 months. At the current rate of decline, we may see falling prices this fall. The real story is that people don't seem to care. Besides, the housing market is far too small – a mere 2% of the economy – to make a difference.

Editorial Correction: Save the Children reports that Syrian children are being abducted, imprisoned and tortured and calls for these atrocities "to be better documented." to be stopped.

Rose Is Rose: The US has more than 10,000 weaponized drones, a large number of which terrorize the civilian population of Waziristan every day. Every night. As many as six drones will circle over one location, often for 24 hours a day. Waiting. And the people on the ground can hear them, see them. Every day. Every night. They never know when death will slam into them from the sky, but they know it could. Perhaps it will not kill them, today. Or their children, tonight.

Just Yesterday: We noted yesterday that the demise of popular uprisings was announced prematurely. Today there are resurgences in Spain and Portugal.

Since You Asked: Is climate change hell inevitable? Yes, if hell is a 4ºC  rise in global temperature -  because we are human.

Austerity Uber Alles: Angela is back on the soapbox, insisting that if you take Germany's money you are going to have to take Germany's advice. She said it more politely, but that's the essence.

Datapoints: More than a million Class of 2008 college graduates are living with mom and dad. Nearly 21 million 18 to 30 year-olds live with their parents. Canadian new home sales dropped 64% in August. Government changes to mortgages and home equity loans are blamed. The economic collapse in Greece continues. Unemployment is at 24.4% and increasing by 1% a month. About 30% of all businesses in Athens have closed – and nearly 50% in some areas. There's no economic life and thus no economic life to tax and thus no tax revenue. Spain's tax collections fell 4.6% in August, y/y, while government spending rose 8.9%. The nation's budget deficit rose to 4.77% of GDP from last year's 3.81%. Austerity rules!

Clarification: Paul Ryan acknowledges that he would “end Medicare as we know it.” Any questions?

Reality Check: In Valencia, Spain, the pharmacies have no pharmaceuticals. Quite why is a long and involved tale about boom and bust and economic blindness plus a real estate bubble bursting and the fall in tax revenues followed by austerity programs that further drove down the economy and tax revenues. But in the very real end, pharmacies have no pharmaceuticals because they, at least, have to pay their bills.

The Parting Shot:



Anonymous said...

Well CKM...been reading your for the last few years and things just seem to be getting worse and worse. It's very bitter-sweet. On the one hand, I feel my own perceptions about our (planetary scale) trajectory have been well vindicated, but it's one of those situations where I would rather have been wrong.

But your blog helps keep me sane knowing that others (no matter how few) see the big picture too. Hope all is well with you personally and please keep up the great work.


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Thanks, mom. - ckm

Anonymous said...


Anywhooo... I did want to comment on one story today. The "Since You Asked" article bothered me for two reasons. The first was that there was really no mention of the issue of population. Surely limiting our numbers going forward is the single best thing we can do to limit carbon. Secondly, there was no mention of the real tragedy in my mind which is the loss of all the other animal (non-human) that is sure to follow from feedback loops and the acidifying ocean.

But I guess the truth is that we are unlikely to do much of anything in a world where a Romney/Ryan is considered a sane choice by many.


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Darwindows: The time has long since passed when any useful food can be achieved by "limiting our numbers." Population - which is the root of most evil - has far too much inertial growth at this point.
An article in today's SAR (12270) says that at lest 100 million 'extra' climate change deaths will happen by 2030. What it doesn't say is that 100 million 'extra' deaths out of a population of 8 billion will not be noticeable and will do nothing to alleviate the population problem nor slow our despoilation of our environment. - ckm