Monday, November 18, 2013

SAR #13322

“Maybe we're not ready for what we think we want.” Mallory Rubin

The Big Lie: German newspaper and television investigations have confirmed that the US routinely used German territory for “tapping, code cracking, recruiting informants, observing suspects, kidnapping and abducting foreign enemies.” They promise more, and more damning reports to come. The US responded by claiming "as a matter of policy the United States does not engage in kidnapping and torture, and does not condone or support the resort to such illegal activities,” which is an obvious and blatant lie.

Pogo Redux: “In the battle against the NSA, the biggest enemy is not the authoritarian state's Super Big Brother, but apathy.” 
Champagne All 'Round: Some biggies in the economics racket have finally noticed that the US wobbles from bubble (S&L real estate) to bubble (tech stocks) to bubble (housing) to bubble (now, stocks?) and doesn't do real well unless a bubble is a'bubbling. And they suggest this is structural and will be the norm - with low growth, low interest rates and low employment alternating with crashes that funnel wealth ever upward to the 1%,while the great majority suffer years of privation. We've known how to solve this problem for about 80 years, but our elected representatives keep forgetting, and we don't have the political guts to stand up to the rich and take the economy back.

Little Blue Dresses: Ken Starr, whose claim to fame is years of harassing Bill Clinton over an act of consensual sex, told the court that his friend Christopher Kloman should not go to prison just because he sexually assaulted 10 -14 year old female students for years.

Lagniappe: Today's low gasoline prices in the US have little to do with fracking-originated surpluses and a lot to do with European shortages. Yes, the US is producing a bit more. Yes, the US has had a modest increase in efficiency and a serious decrease in miles driven, but the real cause of lower gasoline prices in the US has to do with the nature of refining. On average in the process of refining crude oil to make one gallon of diesel, two gallons of gasoline are also produced. There is a growing market in Europe for diesel that the US is supplying. Exports grew from 260,000 b/d in 2007 to 1.4 million b/d this summer. That leaves over 2 million barrels a day of excess gasoline sitting around the US, thus the lower prices. But it is a temporary phenomena; oil fields are still depleting faster than they are being found and the basic geophysics of peak oil remain intact.

Slip Sliding Away: Post Kaddafi Lybia is spiraling out of control, as most of the eastern oilfields are no longer under government control and militia clashes continue in Tripoli. Trying to placate the rebels, the government says it will institute Sharia law.

Realpolitik: The US makes no pretense that it and the other highly industrialized nations are not responsible for most of the CO2 emissions that have caused global warming. But it also makes abundantly clear that it will do nothing diminish its continuing emissions or, more importantly, to compensate smaller less developed nations for the destruction of life and property those emissions have caused. Period.

Location, Location: Headlines report that foreclosure activity has fallen 39% in Charlotte, while rising 30% in Chicago.

The world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces.”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

The Continuation of Economics By Other Means: The euro was supposed to bring Europe together, to encourage closer economic ties, even as it fostered a sense of shared identity. Instead it is producing anger, distrust and suspicion with no end in sight. Not that long ago EU officials proclaimed their austerity programs had succeeded and things were getting better. Not so. Now the real threat of deflation hovers over Europe and the Mediterranean states are in revolt, refusing to accept German orders any more. Blame Germany Germany does not want to write the periphery any more checks, prop up their budgets and certainly does not - and probably will not - accept even a little more inflation at home. In truth, Germany has seller's remorse and no longer wants to be part of the euro area. The youth of Europe are being cast aside, with Deprssion-era unemployment rates and worse, and tgheir discontent may well be the final straw that puts an end to the single-currency experiment amid a deteriorating political and social landscape. The people of the austerity-crushed southern European states are becoming 'populist' ( a codeword for nationalist, fascist, racist) in their discontent with EU leadership. The ongoing stresses and arguments, both in Brussels and in the streets, lead to dead ends; Helping 'Club Med' is unacceptable to Germany and the policies that Germany needs will doom Club Med. Increasingly the euro which was supposed to unite Europe is becoming the force that is pulling it apart. The play's a tragedy that will be decided by politics and emotions. Or war. First the one, then the other.


TulsaTime said...

Excellent piece today, I'm surprised to see no previous comments. All of these items are excellent links to the premis, 'world civilization, it sure was nice while it lasted'.

I think the NSA story will not go the way the government hopes. To collect everything ends up with having nothing, and this will be very expensive.

Libya, Somalia, Iraq, and soon Egypt are all chaos collectives. Amurka is going to be in awful shape when this next bubble pops, and that needs to happen next week if we hope to have anything left to 'recover'. Europe could have their own little WWx. The world has to exit climate change denial or exit life as we know it. Peak Everything.

So, the cynic's dream looks like it will come to pass, and the wife thinks I'm too grouchy now...

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Yeah, I thought the class had let me down today. I expected a small ration of disturbance for the 'war' cite in the final item if nothing else