Small events can trigger big changes.
Be Prepared: For the new
“Survivalist” “I Am An American, Too” merit badge, you and your children must live for six months with no cash income. You may, if you are lucky, get Food Stamps. Luckily, the recession is over.
Anecdotal Evidence: Remember the term “shadow inventory”? Well, in San Diego there are 7,964 houses listed for sale, 19,453 in foreclosure but not listed for sale, and 4,072 pending short sales. That works out to a 240% shadow inventory. But that's San Diego, not here. Right?
Fear Itself: American's childish sniveling – fed by the 24/7 hysteria of Fox and the rest – continues to make it a simpleton's task to scare the US into giving up ever more of what it pathetically still thinks of as its liberties and freedoms. To preserve same, the scared multitudes beg the storm troopers at Halfbaked Security to take ever more of our dwindling privacy, eavesdrop on ever more of our conversations, tighten travel restrictions, imprison us without charges or the right to trial. Anything to keep us safe in our paranoia.
Jobs Program: Shipping 30,000 US soldiers to Afghanistan will open up employment opportunities for at least 56,000 additional
mercenaries contractors, each of who will cost the US about $220,000 a year. Shovel ready.
Not Over Housing has been propped up by every artificial means the bankers could dream up to keep their bad investments from seeing daylight. But what happens when the subsidies go away and house prices are no longer propped up by taxpery money? At some point – probably after the elections – reality will confront the US economy and government, and it will not be pretty.
European Travel: The European Commission says about half of the Eurozone countries have “unsustainable” economies, are essentially bankrupt, and are rushing off a cliff. Calling them by name: Ireland, Greece, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia and Netherlands first, then Portugal and Italy.
Gone, Forgotten: The Army's Combat Studies Institute now says that the Bush administration 'hamstrung' Army efforts in Afghanistan by invading Iraq on whimsical pretenses and depriving the Afghanistan command of sufficient forces, planning and supplies. Okay, they didn't say the part about 'whimsical pretenses.'
An Outlook: The US is not going to see a sharp recovery from the current mess. Judging by the Japanese experience – which we seem to be slavishly following – the slump will last more or less forever. It is a deflationary trap and the optimism about in the markets today is but false hope. We are not handling this crisis well, and all indications are that we will have a seriously depressed GDP for years and years. So says Mr. Krugman, much to our approval.
Psst: Tell the Democrats. No one will follow you if you don't lead.
Sham: Why was anyone surprised when Blackwater's CIA thugs got off scot free? Both US law and the Status of Forces agreement forced on the Iraqis indemnified them. Did you expect the US to permit its shadow soldiers be tried for their murders or rapes or... After all, they're fighting for the American Way
and big paychecks.
Clip & Save: Iraq claims its oil production will reach 11 million barrels a day by 2015. Put this in your wallet and look at it from time to time after the price of oil goes above $110 a barrel.
Chickens to the Roost: Many who were too dumb to understand that they could not afford the house they got talked into are too dumb to understand that they should stop wasting their money making payments. But some say stopping payments may become the in thing, once the underwater understand they can stop making payments and live rent-free until the sheriff comes to see them out – which may be a long time, for the sheriff is busy these days.
Porn O'Graph: All purpose map, showing Obesity, Religious Belief, Illiteracy, GOP Strength, Lack of Health Insurance and Poverty in the USA. (pdf)