Archive for September, 2010

So, Obama supporters, how is that recovery going?

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Recession scorecard …

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Comstock Partners compares the economy after the National Bureau of Economic Research called the end of the Great Recession to that of previous recoveries. The upshot to their survey is stark: THERE IS NO RECOVERY!

1)  GDP was up 5.3% and 5.7% at this point in the last two cycles, and is now down 1.3%

2)  New home sales were down 8% and up 31%; now down 42%.

3)  Industrial production was up 3% and 1%; now down 7%.

4)  Retail sales were up 9% and 12%; now down 4%.

5)  Payroll employment was flat and down 2%; now down 5%.

6)  Personal income was up 11% and 7%; now up 2%.

7)  New orders for durable goods were up 5% and 6%; now down 22%.

8)  Initial weekly unemployment claims were down 5% and 9%; now up 34%.

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Exactly how many al-Qaeda chiefs are there?

September 28, 2010 2 comments

Seems they outnumber New York bedbugs…

From the BBC:

US missile strike ‘kills al-Qaeda chief’ in Pakistan

A senior al-Qaeda leader has been killed in a suspected US drone missile strike in Pakistan, officials say.

Pakistani security officials said Egyptian national Sheikh Fateh was killed on Saturday in North Waziristan.

The officials said Sheikh Fateh took over as al-Qaeda’s chief of operations for Afghanistan and Pakistan in May after al-Qaeda’s number three leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid was killed.

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The bloody execution of Furkan Dogan

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment


The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.

The report says Dogan had apparently been “lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time” before being shot in his face.

The forensic evidence that establishes that fact is “tattooing around the wound in his face,” indicating that the shot was “delivered at point blank range.”  The report describes the forensic evidence as showing that “the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back.”

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Are the Left total pussies?

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

A question posed by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism:

Why is There No Political Outlet for Anger on the Left These Days?

Poll ratings show approval levels for the major political perps, meaning the President, Congress, each of the two major parties, at levels so low as to be tantamount to loathing. But while the Tea Party has become a force to be reckoned with by tapping into this wellspring of discontent, those on the left who are unhappy with the lump of coal the Administration and the Democratic party has put in their stocking have no outlet.

We think she assumes what remains to be proven: That there is a possibility of a left alternative to the existing order within the bounds of the existing order; that there is a political alternative to existing politics.

Suppose there isn’t.

Suppose, for instance, that the only alternative to the existing political order is something that is not itself political, but a renunciation of politics itself. If the perfection of politics is universal suffrage, this alternative would consist of the ruthless criticism of universal suffrage itself – a criticism of the notions of The People, of Democracy, of self-government.

Such a view might state, “If there is to be government, then it must be Government of The People; but why is government itself to be tolerated?”

The most contentious questions of the time come down to this very issue. Who decides what person another may marry? Who decides whether a woman should carry a pregnancy to term? Are these to be settled on the basis of one person one vote?

Who decides when the working day shall begin or end?

Wall Street?


If the politics of “the left” is the liberation of the individual from the organs of hierarchy and social domination, then government itself is also the enemy, not the means toward this end.

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Ireland leads the way…

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Ireland becomes the first European country to officially enter the second leg down on the heels of government imposed austerity. Greece, Spain and others will follow in short order, as every nation proposes to export its way out of its difficulties by starving its population and selling the resulting surplus product elsewhere.

Thus, the question: Export to whom? If everyone is imposing austerity in order to grow exports, who is going to consume all the excess?


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Baby formula at midnight…

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Insight from the strangest of places:

You know, we talked earlier, too — I don’t need to tell you that our customer remains challenged; the Wal-Mart customer is a bit of a microcosm of the US economy. And I say this not to use it as an excuse, but really for us to acknowledge that we have a responsibility and a duty to figure out how to serve that customer in a challenged time, because that is what we do and that is what our business model is for.

Our customers are focused on their savings, and they need us now more than they ever have. Unemployment, we all know, remains mid-9s and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere quickly. Gas prices are high. They don’t appear to be going anywhere. We need to figure out how to operate in this environment.

The paycheck cycle we’ve talked about before remains extreme. It is our responsibility to figure out how to sell in that environment, adjusting pack sizes, large pack at sizes the beginning of the month, small pack sizes at the end of the month. And to figure out how to deal with what is an ever-increasing amount of transactions being paid for with government assistance.

And you need not go further than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it’s real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m., customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items, baby formula, milk, bread, eggs, and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight, when electronic — government electronic benefits cards get activated and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.

And if you really think about it, the only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it, and they’ve been waiting for it. Otherwise, we are open 24 hours — come at 5 a.m., come at 7 a.m., come at 10 a.m. But if you are there at midnight, you are there for a reason.

Bill Simon
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. – President, CEO of Wal-Mart US

What he came to do…

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Larry Summers as seen by Michael M. Thomas:

I think Summers, with a deftness that would be admirable were it not so repellent in its long-term effects, in what it has cost this nation, saw that change was talked about, but not initiated. The talk was talked, but the walk was never walked.

That’s what Summers came to do, in my opinion, and that’s what he did. If, in November, he actually leaves the White House, he can with pride and justice flaunt a banner that reads “Mission Accomplished.” On few mortals is such greatness showered.

A real time view of the crisis as it unfolds…

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Above is a currency strength heatmap created by Zero Hedge. This heat map shows the relative strength of the dollar to other currencies. The countries in green are seeing the dollar weaken against their currencies, while those of a more reddish hue are seeing the dollar strengthen against their currencies.

As you can see, the dollar is weakening against almost all other currencies.

Devaluation can be a means of gaining an advantage over your competitors. It can also be a means of defaulting on your debts, provided all of your debts are denominated in your own currency, by paying your creditors in cash that is worth less than it was when you incurred them. Finally, it can be a means of impoverishing your own population by depreciating the purchasing power of their wages.

As you can see from the map above, the US is impoverishing the entire planet by eviscerating the purchasing power of its currency. It is doing to every country what Greece, Spain, Ireland, etc., are doing to their own populations — squeezing them unmercifully. It alone can do this, among all countries, because its currency is the world’s default currency.

However, merely devaluing your currency is not enough — even if you own the world’s reserve currency. What is required is not merely a monetary devaluation, but a real devaluation — productive employment must collapse, factories must be mothballed, money capital must lie idle, the real prices of goods must fall.

Moreover, even this will not stem the crisis: beyond the collapse of productive activity, the actual waste of social resources — in the first place labor — must definitely increase. Hence, even as productive assets are devalued, speculative debt must increase even faster.

Finally, capital must be exported to those places — mostly shown in gray — where the market in labor power may have the greatest likely return on investment.

Now that he has eaten all the food in the fridge, trashed the house, and killed the dog, Larry Summers decides to return to Harvard…

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment