Archive for July, 2010

Stalling Out

Friday, July 30th, 2010

GDP growth estimate: 2.4% in the last quarter!!!

To illustrate why this is such a dismal figure, here is the estimable economist Dean Baker:

“In the first four quarters of recovery following the 1974-75 recession the economy grew 3.1 percent, 6.9 percent, 5.3 percent and 9.4 percent. In the first five quarters following the 1981-82 recession the economy grew by 5.3 percent, 9.3 percent, 8.1 percent, 8.5 percent, and 8.0 percent.”

There’s not enough growth to maintain employment levels in relation to population growth.

Despite all the hand wringing about small business, the fact is that there’s little or no consumer demand (70% of the US economy) because those consumers who still have jobs are cutting back on expenditures.

The private sector meanwhile is sitting on piles of cash. Currently, the Fed’s holding over $1 trillion in bank deposits.

Given that the stimulus effects are largely behind us, it would appear that the second half of 2010 may see the US economy sliding backward into another recession.

The response from Washington and the Fed: as usual, nothing!

Gorilla says: “Tokyo, here we come!”


Deal Or No Deal

Friday, July 30th, 2010

With Iran, now ready to negotiate on the nuclear issue?

With the announcements by Russia and China that they don’t support further EU-style sanctions, it’s clear that eventually negotiations and a deal are both the only way forward and the only thing on the horizon.

The stumbling block will be the US, which doesn’t seem able to take yes for an answer.

It’s an election year, so the Administration doesn’t want to be seen as “weak” on Iran.

On the other hand, getting to a bilateral deal would go a long way towards reducing tensions in the region, particularly with the ongoing morass in Afghanistan and the unserious talks about talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Gorilla says: “They’ll all be talking turkey in 6 months or less!”


Pure As The Driven Slush

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Channeling Tallulah: Wikileaks, you’re so terrible, Mike Mullen is appalled!!!

A handful of Afghan informants may or may not be under threat as a result of the leaks, while the Pentagon has killed several hundred thousand innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Mike says: “Let’s have it both ways again! We’ve changed our policy because of all the old Wikileaks crap,so we’re winning, unless of course we’re not, in which case it’s all their fault!”

How woeful is our intelligence, how untrustworthy are our generals, how pointless are our wars.

Gorilla says: “Memo to Admiral Mullen: the Pentagon can no longer get away with this specious garbage, it’s not 2001!”


Education Is So Important…

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

America should lay off hundreds of thousands of teachers, because doing nothing is the cause of economic growth!!!

No, that’s not what the President said, but that is his current education policy.

One wonders when all the bullshit rhetoric on (insert subject here, recently these might include AIDS, education, unemployment) will end, particularly that rhetoric which is unaccompanied by anything like the resources necessary to make the vision thing work.

Gorilla says: “Test scores don’t rise when there’s nobody teaching!”


Moscow Blights

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Not having enough power already, Russia’s FSB may now “”warn officially an individual about the inadmissibility of actions that create the conditions for the commission of crimes”.

So, we’re back to the good old days, when anyone with a dissenting opinion or in possession of inconvenient facts about the regime may be subject to warning, detention, or, if you’re a reporter, execution.

Not that this changes much, it’s an entirely undemocratic regime run by what’s left of the KGB anyway.

Gorilla says: “No more elevator shoe jokes about Medvedev, comrades!”


This Week’s George T. Platter And Bait

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The tidetime folklorist wonders if the sound of a nation adrift is any more sonorous than a dead tree falling in a wood of ancient infrastructure.

The Platter
: Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Ken Curtis (the non-answer is build a fence)

The Bait: The AeroJig Hackle Jig (how low can expectations go?)


A Small Victory

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Most of the important bits of Arizona’s racist anti-immigration law have been blocked by a Federal judge.

This is hardly a surprise, since it’s very clear that immigration is a federal responsibility.

Alas, it doesn’t remove from power the amoral, pandering racists like Governor Brewer, the Arizona Know Nothing Legislature and Sheriff Arpaio.

Their combination of outright lies (Arizona’s crime rate in fact has gone down the past 5 years and there is no evidence that immigrants, legal or illegal, commit any more crimes than native born Americans) and breathtaking hatred should be deeply shameful for a country that prides itself on welcoming all to these shores.

Gorilla says: “Thanks, judge, but Arizona remains the asshole of America!”


Not Very Durable

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Durable goods orders: down for a second month in a row!

There appears to be very little demand in the economy.

With the stimulus effect having more or less expired, and that effect having contributed about 2.5% of the 3% current annual growth rate, the overall economy is stagnating.

The output gap remains above $1 trillion, and there’s absolutely no sign that our leaders in Washington will do anything about it.

Gorilla says: “The private sector’s doing nothing and the public sector only wants to fight wars!”


Wake Me When It’s 218

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The House voted to continue funding for the pointless war in Afghanistan, and the NY Times thinks that 114 no votes is a big deal.

But it isn’t.

After a series of leaked material on the war, a closer vote than 308 to 114 might be expected.

Alas, it’s an election year and Democrats, while worried about the war, aren’t about to be challenged on their commitment to 9 years of national security stupidity.

Gorilla says: “Must be seen to be strong, it’ll win even more votes than being seen to do nothing!”


Leaking Is Winning!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Or something…

Yesterday, it was “leaks endanger us, but we’ve changed our approach, so there!”

Today, it’s “leaking makes us win!”

Tomorrow, who cares?

Gorilla says: “Losing is when your leaks are pissing into the wind!”