Saturday, May 06, 2006

Meanwhile, down south

in the supposedly tranquil part of Iraq, near the Shiite city of Basra, a military helicopter is shot down, killing four British soldiers. The supposedly tranquil Shiites' reaction?

"Sky News footage showed locals celebrating, dancing and throwing stones at British troops attempting to reach the crash site as a plume of thick smoke rose behind them.

"Two British Army Warriors (armoured personnel carriers) and a Land Rover also came under fire from petrol bombs as the scene degenerated and clashes broke out between British troops and Shiite militias.

"The scene of the crash Police Captain Mushtaq Khazim said British soldiers fired weapons over the top of the crowd in an effort to disperse it but fire was returned and at least two people, one of them a child, were killed."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Stocks and bonds and the dollar, oh my.

Okay, here's what's wrong with reliance on the U.S. stock market to determine the state of our economy. Today's weak Labor Department payrolls report, showing a gain of only 138,000 jobs in April (far fewer than the predicted 200,000 jobs, coupled with a significant downward revision of the earlier months' job creation) caused a sharp drop in the dollar against foreign currencies; but nevertheless ignited a buying spree of stocks. Why? Because the lapse of growth of jobs means, to investors, that the ecomony is cooling enough to cause the Fed to demur from further interest-rate increases as a means to quiet the prospect of inflation from a too-hot economy.

Get it? Because interest on U.S. debt instruments--related to the Fed's decision about rate increases on short-term borrowings from federal banks--won't rise, common stocks will become attractive investments, relatively.

We're in another period of "irrational exuberance" in the market. There's no basis, it seems to me, other than investment speculation, for corporate investment to be so out of kilter with reality. It's true that many companies are reporting high profits, but it's entirely at the expense of their workers; and with those workers (as consumers) saddled with debt and not receiving decent wages, we're in for a long fall. This fall.
Let's see how these amendments in the House and Senate fare. Whatever they mean--and they're hardly hard-nosed refusals to fund permanent bases--I'm absolutely certain if they survive the conference committee of the Congress they'll be subject to a Bush "signing statement" that will provide, in effect, "I'll do what I like."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Just so you know

the insurgents in Ramadi haven't quite succumbed, not when they're publicly executing Iraqi soldiers in the middle of town.

Words fail me

to capture my reaction to the summary execution by Iraqi police of a gay fourteen-year old boy. For sure, you can't know my gut feeling, but yours?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I wish I'd said that

The last line of this piece by Maureen Dowd is wonderful. After comparing Bush's position in Iraq to the kidnappers' plight in The Ransom of Red Chief (wanting, but unable, to give back their victim, who's turned out to be a nasty kid), she notes that Bush ended his recent diplomatic trip with a bike ride and noted, "When you're on the hook, play hooky."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

No mystery to most folks

The TV pundits have of late been wondering how come, with the "improving numbers," Bush is doing so poorly in the polls on the question of the state of the economy. Well, if the talking heads, who rely on GDP figures and gross inflation trends, would look at the average worker's situation, he'd see this: flat or declining wage levels, increased borrowing, negative savings.
In other words, if they'd do their jobs, instead of simply spewing Wall Street's markers, they'd realize what most Americans realize. The present US economy is a hollow shell, fabricated on corporate and rich-folks' wealth and fed by consumers' borrowings.

If I were mean-spirited

I'd beat the Republicans over the head with the hypocrisy of Bush's insistence that the national anthem be sung in English.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Erik Come Lately

I know I'm the last person on the Net to know of this it's neater than heck...with a world of possibilities. It requires high-speed connection, but you can upload digital videos and share them with the universe, which can download them, share them, etc. Amazing. Surfing the site is truly dangerous--addictive.

What a great question

Here's a pollster question asked by the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey:

"At the conclusion of the war in Iraq, do you feel that most Americans will think it is more like World War Two, which unified America and was considered an important turning point for the United States' role in the world; more like the Korean War, a stalemate in which neither side prevailed and American troops had to remain for many years; or more like the Vietnam War, which divided America and lowered the United States' international prestige?"
WW II--11%

I wish I'd come up with that question. And the answers: 83%--plus think we're gonna have a "Mexican Standoff" or worse.

I told you. Bush hasn't won anything in his lifetime, except his elections. Just like Hitler.

I hate to say I told you so

but I don't, not one bit. It's time to buy euros, or gold, or yen--anything but US currency and evidences of indebtedness.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

What an easy job

to run the New York Times. You can plump for war, unrelentingly, and then when the war goes badly you can hammer those who plumped for war and complain about the result, unrelentingly.