Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SAR #12102

If there were consensus on what to do, it would have been done.

What Happened? The stock market, we've been led to believe, will never go down because the Bernanke and his ilk would not let that happen. The current (or just ended) rally took over $3 trillion in global liquidity injections - but lasted only 100 days or so. Before that the first $1 trillion lasted (with a little QE2 and Operation Twist help) nearly 3 years. We can confidently expect that the next (yes, Virginia, there will be a 'next') will be maybe $5 trillion and last about 60 days. Have faith.

Nomenclature: According to Paul Ryan, the US is composed of the poor,  the middle class and job creators. 'Rich' is, as we've suspected all along, a dirty word.

The Center Does Not Hold: Economic troubles are everywhere - China, Japan, the USA and the EU. The only apparent safe haven is Switzerland, where both six-month and two-year treasury notes are yielding negative returns.

Ground Rules: One more proof that the US is no longer the free nation where a young Fidel Castro wanted to play professional baseball, the Florida Marlins have suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for 5 games for making positive comment about Castro. Good thing Guillen lives in the USA, where we still have freedom of thought. Unvoiced thought.

A Rose By Any Other Name: Bush: ‘I wish they weren’t called the Bush tax cuts’. Does he understand why they are called that?

Discuss: “The only difference between Israel and the Third Reich is Auschwitz,” (German historian Ernst Nolte, 2004), in light of the outcry over Günter Grass’s poem, "What Must Be Said", about Israel - an outcry that confirms what Grass was saying: That it’s impossible to criticize Israel without being called anti-Semitic and worse. But imagine for a moment that Israel was founded by descendants of gays, atheists and gypsies murdered by the Germans and then judge Israel's behavior. Grass merely dared to question Israel’s first strike policy against Iran and to mention “the West’s hypocrisy” that permits Israel to have an arsenal of uninspected nuclear weapons and then permits Israel to threaten to annihilate the Iranian people if Iran tries to get one of its own. Should we not ask ourselves "Why do I stay silent?", or join with Bishop Tutu in asking "Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon?"

Campaignus Interuptus: Rick Santorum announced he was pulling out of the presidential race.

Speculators! Much to the annoyance of Republicans who want to blame Obama for $4 gasoline, China's daily imports of petroleum remains at all time highs. China will take whatever petroleum it can get and will enter open competition for "our" oil once the US manages to shut off Iran's output. But not to worry, Saudi Arabia says it can make up the difference. Well, the "make up" part is probably true.

Upping the Ante: Republican-controlled Oklahoma is working on a law that would, from the moment of conception, make embryos equal to people. This would make any abortion a murder, effectively eliminating the procedure, and make the morning-after pill homicide. Do women get to vote in Oklahoma?

Water Is Still Wet: We are shocked to learn that banks let houses in poor neighborhoods deteriorate, while REO properties in wealthy, predominantly white, neighborhoods get their lawns mowed and the buildings tended to. That this discrimination is a violation of the Fair Housing Act, in this day of non-enforcement and the inalienable right of bankers, does not matter.

Lab Experiment: Some California college students think they've got a way to avoid going ruinously into debt to get a degree. They want to option 5% of their post-graduate income for 20 years to their schools. If the education is worth what they're charging, then the 5% will be far more than the current tuition costs. And it cuts out the loan sharks.

That Bad? The US economy is so bad that Mexican illegal immigrants are going home in large numbers and replacements are not showing up.

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