Thursday, March 17, 2005

Breaking the silence

I've been so overwhelmed by Bush's recent machinations that I didn't know where to begin to post in reaction. His cabinet appointments--keeping Rummie, elevating Condi, appointing Gonzalez, to name a few--and his other appointments--Bolton, Negraponte, Wolfowitz--are enough to silence anyone. Now his assault on Alaska, his ramroding bills through Congress for war funding and diminishing social programs. It's too much!

But, guess what? It's precisely what he did in his first term. Recall when we couldn't believe his early actions, his appointments and agenda? We thought "he can't mean it," "it can't be happening." But it was, and it is again. Make no mistake, Bush/Cheney are out to transform the United States into a Christian fascist state--and the media is allowing it to happen. Even the Democrats are stifled, their occasional dissent but a whisper in the wind.

I told one of my fellow peace marchers that it's an exciting time, in a way. We are allowed to witness an historical earthquake, the end of a democracy, the finest democracy on Earth. Exciting, but painful indeed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Whither the dollar?

Today's report, showing a sharp rise last month in the foreign purchase of US debt instruments (treasury bonds, corporate securities) appeared on its face to be good news for the dropping dollars. Indeed, it brought a quick reaction of the Forex market, in which the dollar gained a penny against the euro, which fell from $1.34 to $1.33.

But the underlying data are troubling, because, as has been rumored in recent weeks, it appears that the foreign governments (Japan, China, chiefly) in fact cut back their purchases, whereas foreign-based private hedge funds increased theirs mightily last month. As the Reuters analysis points out, monthly fluctuations in the amount of these private purchases are great, leaving the prospect of an upcoming period, not long from now, when there'll be neither private nor governmental foreign purchase of our equity and our debt, which presently accounts for one fourth of the market for such securitites. Such a vacuum would immediately cause a rise in interest rate of our debt to attract purchasers, and could trigger further inflationary fears. The likely result: The dollar would weaken even more as it cheapens, the dollar debt would become yet less attractive, and the interest rate needed to peddle that debt would rise further, starting a spiral of inflation, increase of interest rates for all kinds of borrowing in the US, and loss of buying power for US consumers, a credit-saddled bunch, who are, after all, the only engine our economy has.

It could get real ugly, real soon.

Scott Ritter for President

This second part of a three-part interview with former UN weapons inspector Ritter, long an opponent to the Iraq invasion, nails the neocons perfectly. They thrive on our fears and whenever we become complacent about their "war on terror" grab their well-placed microphones to frighten us anew. As I've long said, both Osama and Bush gain from our fear, and the US media profits from it. It takes insight to recognize this awful symbiosis and courage to voice it. The question is, what can be done about it?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Rain, rain go away

I don't want to wish ill on anybody, really I don't, but if there's going to be a huge wildfire season this summer, wouldn't it be wonderful if it took place in Montana?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

I told you so

For months I (and other bloggers) have been predicting the economic catastrophe that the NYT is now, finally, suggesting.