Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Is Hell Starting To Break Loose?

Dateline Chicago, Wednesday 27 May 2009

[WSJ] At least 30 people died and dozens were wounded in an explosion at a police building in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.

North v South
Korea, that is.

Can we bring M*A*S*H back, picking up with today's events?

North Korea says the 1953 Truce is OFF.

S. Korean President Lee Myung-Bak already had problems, trying to head off herds of mourners for the former President Roh Moo-hyun, who leapt to his death last Saturday (23 May 2009). From the Korea Times article:
"They [Seoul] didn't rule out the possibility that ongoing mourning parades could develop into anti-government rallies, with a large number of Roh's supporters believing the former head of state had fallen prey to a politically motivated investigation by the prosecution, which they say is under President Lee Myung-bak's control. "

Good news: the market is only down 0.6% at the time of this writing.

Did we mention that Japan's going to get back into the weapons game?

Ha'artz editorial reports that Netanyahu is bringing Israel closer to war with Iran. From the article:
"Netanyahu said that if Israel does not lead the defense against the Iranian threat and bring in the United States and other countries, no one else will."

This just in: North Korea says truce is still broken.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More good news - WWIII not too far off now

Japan is going to lift their self-imposed ban on weapons manufacturing.

They're doing it to save their economy, and while the obvious parallel is Hitler's Germany, ca. 1930s, I see the Ango-German naval arms race leading to WWI as a better blueprint.

In the years prior to the big breakout, there were the regional conflagerations (Boer War, Boxer Rebellion, Spanish-American War, Balkan War(s) - with all the Great Powers either directly or indirectly by proxy involved.

My question: is there anybody out there who fails to see this as a major step forward to WWIII?

Second question: Are we going to skip worrying about a deepening depression and go straight to worrying about another Bataan Death March?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Goldman Sachs isn't wearing any clothes

Reading the comments of Mish's most recent post today, on the Rapid Decline And Fall of California and I find I've strayed was off the reservation.

A lot of the commenters (and Dealbreaker was toeing the same line) were barking how Paulson made the banks take TARP money last autumn. And then had the gall - the gall! - to make it difficult for them to give the money back.

And I'm thinking: are you f*cking kidding me? The banksters at that Paulson/Bernanke BBQ were telling them how it was going to go down. And the cover story would go something like this: Treasury/Fed is making all the banks take money so no one institution is singled out. Also recall that nothing was said at the time about paying the money back.

Now fast forward to the outrage over AIG bonuses while billions fell out the back door to Goldman Sachs et al, making their bets whole. (By the way, there's more to that bonus story, starting with that Cassano dude - it isn't the red herring cynics think it is.)

Goldman Sachs, knowing the script, then claimed they wanted to pay their TARP money back but Washington wouldn't let them.

Now I'm thinking: if you don't have the money to pay back gigantic sums of moolah, the public is ticked off about same said moolah, you then claim "I'm ready to pay it back. Oh, wait - Treasury says no. Nuts."
How HANDY. Deus ex machina.

And unbelievably enough - tons of people are buying it! People who should know better. Crikey.

I think of that fable of "The Emperor's New Clothes" and shake my head.

Friday, May 08, 2009

About those green shoots

Are we talking about dusky green, dried shoots? Maybe encapsulated in a rolling paper?

From the San Jose Mercury News:
SANTA CRUZ -- Call it a threat or a grim reality. Whatever it is, it's not being welcomed at city halls across California.

The governor's office suggested this week that if the May 19 budget-reform measures are rejected by voters, the state will have to borrow $2 billion from cities and counties.

The proposal, which comes as polls show little hope for the ballot measures, is being met with horror by local governments that face red ink of their own.

"Our budget gap is so big it's beyond anything we could have imagined already," said Santa Cruz City Manager Dick Wilson. "If the state adds this additional burden, it's overwhelming. ... It's appalling beyond words."
And TrimTabs doesn't see any green shoots either:
Sausalito, CA - May 6th, 2009 - TrimTabs Investment Research estimated today that the U.S. economy shed 745,000 jobs in April as wages and salaries plunged an adjusted 5.7% year-over-year. TrimTabs estimated that the economy shed a record 5 million jobs in the past 12 months.
That's somewhat at odds with BLS's report:
Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in April (-539,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 8.5 to 8.9 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs have been lost. In April, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Overall, private sector employment fell by 611,000.
To sum up, TrimTabs says 745k jobs lost in April '09.
BLS says 611k.
Difference: 134k.
[Ed. note: Expect to see a large revision upwards next month for the April numbers.]

TrimTabs says 5 million jobs lost since April '08 (past 12 months).
BLS says 5 million jobs lost since December '07.
Difference: BLS claims it has taken 17 months to lose 5 million.
[Ed. note: The BLS are liars.]

TrimTabs doesn't say what they think the unemployment rate is, but we know BLS's 8.9% rate is crapola.