Monday, August 23, 2010

SAR #10235

It's not a double-dip recession; there are more than two dips responsible.

Haruspicy:  Everyone is falling all over each other, excitedly explaining that the American consumer – long addicted to cheap credit and having lost access to his house/ATM – has turned to withdrawing funds from his 401k's and other savings in order to keep living the life he was promised.

In Plain Slight:  Some are beginning to wonder if the government scientists behind the recent “The Oil's Gone!” stories were incompetent or simply pressured.  Seems they missed a slick that is 22 miles long, over a mile wide and about 650 feet thick. Real scientists suspect the oil from the BP leak will be around for decades.

Chickens, Roosting:  Turns out that the fellow who foisted all the rotten eggs on the public has a record that Upton Sinclair would have gladly exposed, including forcing his workers to live in rat-infested trailers and to handle chicken manure and dead chickens with bare hands.  DeCoster has a long history of major health and labor violations, the current national salmonella outbreak is just the latest result of weak regulatory supervision of our food supply and labor conditions.  Profits before people.

Nest Eggs: Greece's GDP contracted by 3.5% and unemployment climbed to 12% as 'austerity measures' crush the economy.  Exactly what the deficit hawks want the US to do, too.

Onward Christian Soldiers:   Soldiers at Fort Eustis, VA who declined to attend a Christian rock concert were confined to their barracks and made to clean them while their more enlightened compatriot attended one of the “Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts."   Look closely, the key phrase is “one of”....

Banquo's Ghost:  Companies are slow to hire, because consumers are slow to spend.  After 30 years without a real raise, consumers are finally getting the idea – they are never going to get ahead, they aren't even going to break even.  That also explains why companies are slow to borrow money – they know they've killed the goose.

Time's Up:  Our civilization & its economy are destroying the planet on which we live.  Anybody see the problem?  Anybody got a solution?

Volunteers, Ho!  Carl Paladino, a candidate in the Republican primary for governor of New York wants to transform some of the state's prisons into welfare housing where the poor could learn good work habits and take lessons in personal hygiene.  The plan would be voluntary, just as accepting public money is voluntary.

Clip & Save:  JPMorgan analysts see oil at $50 a barrel within a year due to weak economic growth.  Put the article on the fridge, next to the Dilbert cartoon.

The Question:  Do we need Fannie and Freddie and the FHA and VA loans? Define 'need'.  Also write a short essay on the consequences of going cold turkey.  Extra points for a workable description of how all this can possibly end well.

Connections:  In our current socio/political/economic setup the elite – bankers, financiers, politicians – act as though they ruled with the divine right once accorded kings. T he consult soothsayers (economists) who read goat entrails and then prescribe human sacrifice austerity programs in which the poor suffer while the rich wring their hands.  All well and good, but when their incantations fail, economists (like Italian seismologists) should be punished for their failures.

Playbook:  Sweden says no mistakes were made in issuing an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks' founder even though there were no grounds for the rape charge. T hey quickly withdrew it as soon as the damage had been done. Everything went, they said, exactly as the Pentagon had planed.

Peaking at the Future:  It used to be peak oil that was going to doom us. Recently coal has been sneaking into the possible shortage spotlight.  But suddenly potash is the darling of the crisis crowd.  And rightly so.  No potash, no industrial agriculture.  Etc.  And pretty soon damned little food. The plot's recycled, got a new villain.

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