Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SAR #13092

The Eurozone fiasco is making Geithner look good. Yves Smith

An Easter Miracle: The USDA, which had been predicting that there would be a struggle to find corn supplies, suddenly came up with an additional 400 million bushels in the nation's inventory. It was blamed on a “"highly variable estimating algorithm.” Let them eat cake estimates.

Teaching Point: The rate of global warming since 1900 is 50 times greater than the rate of cooling in the previous 5,000 years. And the race goes to the swiftest.

The Newer Reich: "German taxpayers will once again be funding the biggest single share of yet another eurozone bailout.” But their growing dominance is accompanied by growing resentment (envy?) which is now a major European political theme. Ironic, in that the whole point of the EU project has been to prevent Germany from becoming too powerful and doing the lebensraum thing again.

Correction: 'GOP's Future Lies in Heeding Women's Concerns' 'nough said.

Box of Chocolates:  The appropriately named Jeff Flake (R-AZ), showing his ability to speak from both sides of his mouth at the same time, says “ We do need to strengthen the background check system, but universal background checks [are] “a bridge too far.” Yeah, we wouldn't want to impede any of those whackos who buy semi automatic weapons with 37 shot ammo clips at gun shows...

New Normal “The future that the bond market sees for America: a slack and depressed economy” – Brad DeLong

Peak Affordable Oil: It seems likely that this year the US will produce more oil domesticity than it imports. If we're swimming in oil, why is the price up 11% this year? Oh, because all the $3 and $30 and even $70 a barrel oil is all gone and the increasingly hard and expensive to get stuff we have now... Ah, just like those discredited peak oil folks predicted.

Me First: The Tokyo Electric Power Company says that “to ensure our survival and strengthen our financial position” it must cut $1.1 billion in annual expenses. This seems to be a prelude to seeking to pass the costs and responsibility for cleaning up the Fukushima mess to the government. A similar concern for the survival of their customers would be encouraging.

Taking the Waters: A couple of decades ago social scientists came up with a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (which is a real condition, probably brought on by stuff we're doing to the environment). The diagnosis (if not the condition) has rapidly increased in the last decade, to the point where the previous estimate of it affecting 3 to 7% of children has now become 20% of all American boys. The cure is to drug them with profitable stimulants like Adderal or Ritalin – a profitable $9 billion a year in sales for Big Pharma. Either rampant over-diagnosis is occurring or we'd better find out what it is we are doing to ourselves and stop it.

Emperor’s New Energy: Empirical evidence debunks the claim that switching to natural gas will save us from CO2 driven global warming. It will not - “fugitive natural gas emissions” (which another way of saying gas leaks) in the production, transmission and use of natural gas has been found to be about double the level at which gas had an advantage over other fossil fuels in regard to climate change.

Going For The Gold: Otherwise passably rational people who argue for 'going back to the gold standard' miss an essential point. All currency beyond basic barter is based on trust – faith in the dollar is no better nor worse than faith in gold or electronic blips. Yes, if my currency is 'backed by gold' I can – generally with an enormous hassle – get the actual stuff. And then spend my time guarding it. And looking for someone who actually wants it. Gold is not particularly useful, except to inspire faith. All currency is backed by faith. Always was. And all currencies have eventually been debased. So? (And yes, Simon was pulling an April First.)

Porn O'Graph: There doesn’t seem to be much trickle-down trickling down.

The Parting Shot:


Claytonia virginica, Virginia Spring Beauty.


Anonymous said...

Have to disagree about gold. Your point about barter is true as far as it goes. Gold is not fiat, it is valid anywhere in the world, convertible to cash - who cares about the hassle? It's called the ultimat safe haven for a reason (that, and a full pantry).

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Anony 2.20 - But at base (pun intended) gold is "the ultimate safe haven" because you and lots of others believe that it is. Which is my point - the utility value of gold is quite low, but the romance and aurora is what matters. But it is a matter of faith, just as is the dollar bill. All currency above the barter for immediate need satisfaction is based on some level of trust, belief, faith... Trust me.

TulsaTime said...

GOLD BUG GOLD BUG hahahahahaha...

Sorry, had to get it out of my system. Now, about the lack of good models for survival in a contracting society/economic unit. We have thousands of years of working in expansion, but I have a strong feeling that life in contraction could be seriously different.

HS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HS said...

Emperor's New Energy: High school chemistry confirms the article's results: CH4 + 2 O2 → CO2 + 2 H2O

Anonymous said...

Hi Charles, yes I agree, gold is worth what people agree it is, that is so - and apparently gold's thousands of years of belief around the world continues to uphold that belief, since so many countries are buying (India, China) or want to repatriate (Germany. What fools!

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

I'd have to differ with you on the 'what fools' comment. Faith in gold as a store of value has a long enough history to suggest it will outlive many of its paper-based companions. It doesn't make it any less faith-based, just a longer lasting one.