Thursday, April 4, 2013

SAr #13094

When there is no good answer, the least awful becomes the good.

A Rose By Any Other Name: According to Exxon, the crude oil spilling out of its pipeline in Arkansas is not crude oil, is not petroleum of any sort, it's “diluted bitumen” - and as such Exxon is not required to pay to clean up the environmental mess. Could we “diluted bitumen” and feather them?

What Goes Around: Why are the markets assuming that the fire in Cyprus has been put out? That no sparks have floated down elsewhere in EZ land, that there's no contagion? History suggests that economic and fiscal meltdowns spread slowly at the start. But many of the companies that will lose 60% of their Cypriot bank balances owe funds elsewhere, or to their employees. And even the 40% that's left is not really accessible. So their creditors and, eventually, their creditors creditors and employees will do without. What doesn't go around won't go around. The impact of the EU/ECB/IMF plundering of Cypriot banks will not be clear for a few months. By then there'll be some new explanation for why all this austerity and intentional stupidly isn't working. What Cyprus makes clear is that there is not enough money in the world to bail out all the banks that need bailing out - even if they steal all the depositor's money.

Point Of Order: Teenage pregnancies and births have fallen 42% since 1990. Make up whatever cause you like, others will.

Copycat: The Netherlands is traipsing into the same sort of of real estate disaster that the US and Spain have experienced, with much the same poor judgment and bad behavior on the part of their banks. Consumer debt amounts to about 250 percent of available income – twice the level Spanish customers reached. And, of course, tough austerity measures are ruining the economy, and more cuts to public services and healthcare are on their way.

Datapoint: Babies born in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California between 1 and 16 weeks after the Fukushima disaster were found to be 28% more likely to have congenital hypothyroidism than babies born in the same areas a year before.

Demonstrator, Ho! “Could the Banksters Grab Your Bank Deposits?”  Sure.

Cut And Run: Assistant US Attorney Jay Hilerman “has withdrawn” from the federal racketeering case against Aryan Brotherhood hoods. He cited a desire not to be assassinated “security reasons”. Welcome to the third world.

We Lost: President Johnson's War on Poverty has been lost. There are more Americans living in poverty today – 50 million - than at any time since the mid 1960s, including 1 out of 5 of our children. The sequester will cut funding for programs that support and feed the poor and provide long-term care for poor seniors including assisted living, nursing care, and fewer low-income housing spaces. Too bad, they'll just have to get a job, because the US cannot afford to take care of the downtrodden.

Fine Print: The government does not routinely spy on us. Just some of us - the troublemakers and those who might be a tad irritating. Sure, it spies on the rest of us 24/7, but it just stores that information on gignormous computers for instant recall once it decides we're worth spying on.

Preview of Coming Events: The world is headed toward at least a 5ºC (9ºF) increase this century. The earth has not been that warm in the last 30 million years. Three million years ago, when the globe was 3ºC warmer than today, the sea levels were 65 feet above current levels. Even if nations fulfill the pledges made in Cancun in 2010 (which no one is even pretending to do) the the world would warm 4ºC (7ºF) which would, at the very least, end the denial of global climate change.

Vanished: According to the BLS, the US has lost 2 million clerical jobs in the last 5 years. Jobs for those who can figure out how to get rid of clerks, cashiers, and service personnel are increasing. But in the end, their task will be to eliminate their own jobs.

Get Over It, You Lost: North Carolina Republicans now want to establish an official religion in the state, claiming that the Constitution “ does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion. … The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina...”

Porn O'Graph: Conservative economic history.

The Parting Shot:


Trillium cuneatum, Sweet Betty.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

About "diluted bitumen" and feathers - President Abraham Lincoln was once asked to describe what it was like to be President of the United States during the Civil War. Lincoln’s answer cited the story of a man who was tarred and feathered, then ridden out of town on a rail. When asked how he liked the experience, the man replied, “If it weren’t for the honor of the thing, I’d rather have walked.”

He was joking, of course - to some extent.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

CKM, you state " What Cyprus makes clear is that there is not enough money in the world to bail out all the banks that need bailing out - even if they steal half of all the depositor's money."

Here is one of life's persistent questions for me - if what you state is so - "there is not enough money" - why couldn't there be enough money, very easily? In the days when money consisted of gold or silver coins, it was clear that money obeyed the laws of physics and conservation of mass/energy. But money isn't metal, any more. It's not even printed paper. It's arrangements of electrons, and electrons are very easily and cheaply rearranged. The relationship between these arrangements of electrons and the physical world is intermediated by PSYCHOSOCIAL, not physical, facts. Money is worth something because you can trade it for products or services that other people have control of. Money stops being worth something when people stop accepting it. Money is created and destroyed by social and political processes, not physical ones.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

mistah charley - again you improve - the "half" made no sense when I'd already said "all". Fixed that one.

The last three lines say better what I was trying to say yesterday in the post about gold being a faith-based currency.

Robert Lowrey said...

Exxon's cynicism gives the 'Peak Oil Production' theory the boost it needed. By dumping 'oil liquids' in with conventional oil, the industry and its acolytes have used those amounts to declare peak oil dead (, yet by insisting that these derivative products and their source are not, in fact, oil, Exxon proves that the theory is in fact dead, but for the inconvenient reason that it is no longer a theory, but a FACT.

Anonymous said...

legislators in north carolina are living in a dream (nightmare) and clearly are historically illiterate

the 14th amendment to the constitution extended protection of the rights in the first ten amendments ( the bill of rights) to the states whenever and where ever such rights pertain to life liberty an the pursuit of happiness.

clearly north carolinas intention to deprive its citizens of the protections afforded by the first amendment is bigotry and is unconstitutional

mock turtle

HS said...

What Goes Around- The markets no longer care about things like corporate fundamentals or macroeconmics. The only thing that matters any longer is how much freshly printed money the Fed will dump into them and how many 401(k) mutual funds will be left holding the bag when they stop.