Saturday, July 31, 2004


The Bush administration has changed US policy about inspection provisions of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty? Not to insist on them, but to the contrary, to resist them? Are they nuts?

Well, duh.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Greenspan's joviality revisited

From the Forex news of 7/30/04, commenting on the soft Gross Domestic Product report today:
Despite the incompleteness of the advanced GDP report, the figures offer a sobering account of the softening in economic activity as consumers feel the impact of escalating oil prices and fading tax stimulus. The report should prod market participants to reassess Greenspan’s jovial appraisal of the US economy, upon which the recent dollar rally was largely founded. While this will not bar the Fed from raising rates, it means softer growth ahead, which is a negative combination of the economy and the dollar.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Kerry, Kerry, Kerry

I just watched John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention.  He was superb in both delivery and content. Yeah, he said some things I didn't like, but not many and not without equivocation.  I rated his performance--and that was what it was, a performance--an "A" and I'm going to support him, if not wholeheartedly at least half-heartedly.     

I'm enjoying contemplating the discomfiture that Karl Rove must be feeling tonight.

It's the lack of wage growth, stupid

The profits of corporations are soaring, while federal income taxes on them and on wealthy individuals (whose income--capital gains from stock and realty ownership, dividends, interest--aren't largely derived from sources that are subject to the onerous payroll taxes) are declining.
Meanwhile, the wages of middle class Americans aren't growing at all, and are in fact declining in real terms, when measured against rising inflation.
This factor, it is to be noted, is further reflected in the components of the cost of production. As can be seen, the wage factor has remained flat, with all increases of employee costs being caused not by wage increases but by higher costs of benefits, which means, of course, increased payments to insurance companies and HMOs.
This is what the Democrats are calling the "wage squeeze," and it's not just political rhetoric. Borrowing, not just on second-mortgages but on credit cards, is at an all-time high.  For the vast majority of American wage-earners, the impossibility of meeting rising debt obligations with flat incomes, is a sad, stark reality.  It's this message I hope Kerry hammers on in his speech at the Democratic Convention in a few minutes. 

Anybody but Bush?

Yeah, despite the troubling (deeply troubling) allegations of this article in CounterPunch, I'm supporting Kerry. I gotta tell ya, though, Kerry could be as big a fraud as Bush/Cheney, and his international politics aren't much better.

Maybe he's a bastard. But he's our bastard.

Uh, oh

"A cauldron of violence." That's how some describe what Iraq will turn into if neighboring arabic nations send forces to assist that country's "security." Can you imagine troops from France, Mozambique and Korea standing on our street corners, enforcing a curfew in, say, South Central LA?

More than abuse, more than torture

Too bad there weren't cameras rolling when our soldiers tossed this Iraqi off a bridge to his death. Apparently, unless somebody has a cameraphone handy, murder doesn't make the news.

Trying my patience

I've been watching the Democratic Convention and CNN's interviews with politicians in the aftermath of Wednesday's speeches. I'm watching Lieberman and Biden and other standard politicians spin their positions, with a sickening effect.

I hate this. I'm going to hold my nose bigtime to support this ticket, and maybe hold other parts of my anatomy too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Democracy in the "New Iraq"

The interim PM of Iraq has created a commission to approve news media restrictions, and to censor newscasts from Iraq.

This completes the outrage. No WMD's; no more Saddam; and now, no democracy in Iraq. We've now officially run out of reasons for subjecting our soldiers to death and injury in Iraq. They've now just become Allawi's Gestapo.

Now, wait a little doggone minute

As I understand it, the federal court decision upholding the restriction of demonstrators to a pre-selected "protest area" at the Democratic convention in Boston was reluctant, and based solely on the over-riding concern about "security."

I don't agree with that decision, of course, but it surely doesn't authorize the removal of a sign-carrying demonstrator from the convention floor itself. The demonstrator was a certified delegate, a former candidate for vice-president on the Green Party ticket, I believe. Her removal was based on the content of her message, not because of "security" considerations. Mayor Daley would be proud.

Monday, July 26, 2004

On the road

I've been up in the Sierra Nevadas for the last several days, to return to SB later this week. I must say, being out of touch with the craziness that's going on in the world is, to say the least, pleasant.

I'll return to the unpleasantness soon.