Contributed by: filbert Monday, May 24 2010 @ 05:54 PM CST
China’s Hu tells U.S. he wants gradual yuan reform [*3] — The amusing thing to me is that this current administration seems to think it has the standing to talk coherently to the Chinese about anything . . . I never thought it would get to the point where I thought that the Chinese Communists were more dependable and responsible world citizens than my own government, but the Obama people are getting there fast . . .
A Perspective On Why Some of Us Consider Obama Insufficiently “American” [*4] — Ah, yes. Barack Obama is, in fact, a ninny.
South Korea’s Lee says to take North to Security Council [*5] — At some point, the few remaining responsible countries of the World will simply have to take out the North Korean government. As a humanitarian act, if nothing else . . .
If Barak really is Kagan’s judicial hero, and I think we should take Kagan at her word, then she is manifestly outside the legal mainstream (in “completely different juristic universe,” to borrow the phrase Posner applies to Barak), and should not serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her regard for Barak as a hero shows Kagan to be radical in a way that Diane Wood, for example, is not. Wood is a liberal to be sure, but she possesses a long history of generally operating faithfully within the constraints our system places on judges.
Jamaica declares emergency in capital after attacks [*7] — Come to Jamaica and feel alright?
“since feeling is first…” [*9] — “This may seem so elementary as to be worthless. But if you’re struggling right now with a story or book that just seems flat, that isn’t working at some level you can’t identify, it may well be that you haven’t fully tapped the emotions of your main characters. I’ve been writing professionally for 15 years and I still struggle with this from time to time.”
Pennant postscript [*12] — Go Rabbits!
Break it Down [*15] — “If I get to the decision point and find out I’ve only written 145 words, I know I’ve probably skimped on description or internalization or I’m not increasing the conflict or tension as much as I need to. I’ll add something, a problem, a fear, some foreshadowing, it varies wildly depending on the scene and what’s needed at that point of the book.”
Malinvestment, Not Overinvestment, Causes Booms [*16] — And what is the primary instrument of malinvestment? Government.
If the S-300 Sale is Allowed, Obama’s Russian “Reset” Policy Has Failed [*17] — I think at this point the construction of the phrase needs to be “Obama’s (fill in the blank) policy has failed again.”
Obama Tanks in Polls… Approval Rating Sinks to Dismal 44% [*19] — Time to start up the Obama=Miserable Failure Googlebombs . . .
Outraged over outrage itself! [*21] — Which, I think, is why I’ve switched from the previous topic-sorted Whip format to this more stream-of-consciousness, Instapundit-ish format . . . it’s easier to let the various outrages of the day wash over me this way . . .
SEIU, HuffPo and Media Matters: Is an Unholy Alliance About to Unravel? [*22] — I would be highly amused and somewhat gratified if some enterprising district attorney somewhere identified a crime that had been committed, and rolled it up into a big friendly RICO indictment of a goodly portion of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy (which, unlike the “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” actually does exist, thanks to George Soros and his friends . . .
Another of the ‘Palin 20’ in Deep Trouble [*24] — Revenge of the ‘Cuda continues . . .
Does Congress Know What It’s Doing? [*25] — Stupid question . . .
A thug too far, part 2 [*26]
It is precisely this bankrupt system that Obama has set out to emulate with his giant public health care, cap and trade and immigration “reform” programs. Having imitated Europe at home, his new international order appears to emulate it abroad. The ends of his security policy — environmentalism, development and humanitarian assistance — as well as the means — diplomacy and multilateralism — are strikingly European. What the President left out of the speech was a description of how the West, once it has collectively purged itself of hard power, will can wield soft power effectively. It is like one of those scenes in a movie where two men in a shack, watching the bandidos approach with murderous intent, prepare their defense.
The unsettling thought is that the people in the Obama Administration don’t know what they’re doing. The more unsettling thought is that they do know what they’re doing.
Relive 5 Years of “Get A Mac” in Five Minutes [*28] — Personally, I think that should be “Re-live” . . .
What would we do without activist entertainers? [*29] — Um . . . let me take a shot at this . . . actually be able to go to entertainment and be entertained? Those of you who think you know everything are annoying those of us who do.
Suddenly, Democrats get queasy at new spending [*30] — Gee, after a hundred years of “progressive” throw-money-at-the-problem politics . . . the change of heart is less than totally convincing . . .
Is this any way to run a country? Should the President of the United States be passing off responsibility to “independent” commissions? Should Congress be passing off responsibility for securing our nation’s borders to an unaccountable commission of experts? How is any of this consistent with our nation’s First Principles or the United States Constitution? It’s not. The authors of our Constitution never meant to create a federal government with the power to force you to buy health insurance, let alone one where it would be unelected bureaucrats who determine what type of health insurance you could buy.
Faber: Nations Will Print Money, Go Bust, Go to War…We Are Doomed [*32] — Repost, with blockquote of particularly terrifying statements this time:
* Central banks will never tighten monetary policy again, merely print, print, print
* “The lifetime achievement of Greenspan and Bernanke is really that they created a bubble in everything…everywhere.”
* US housing bubble that Greenspan could not spot (even though he has recently spotted bubbles in Asia) stands in stark contrast to that of Hong Kong in 1997, where prices fell by 70%, yet none of the major developers went bankrupt; this was a result of a system not built on excessive debt like that of the US
* “You have to ask what they were smoking at the Federal Reserve,” during the housing bubble, as prices were increasing by 18% annually when interest rates started to steadily rise in 2004
* Over the last couple of years, when the gross increase in public debt has exceeded the gross decrease in private debt, markets have risen, whereas when private debt growth has outpaced public debt growth, markets have tanked
* The next 3-5 years will be highly volatile
* Americans must re-think what constitutes a safe asset; in a “traditional” period, one would generally rank from most to least safe assets: cash, Treasuries, corporate bonds, equities, commodities
* . . . cash and longterm bonds will be a bad place to hold one’s money; equities are an avenue to preserve wealth (but this is a risky proposition, given the effects of rampant currency depreciation); precious metals are a sound place for wealth preservation
* As for the US being the most important economy for the world, there is a sea change going on right now; recently car sales in emerging economies (such as Brazil, China) are outpacing those of the US, Europe and Japan; oil consumption in emerging markets is increasing, while in the developed world it is contracting; the whole world does not depend on American consumption anymore – 60% of total exports are now going to the emerging world when one includes E. Europe; the US is still a large economy but it is not growing, while the growth in the emerging world is and will continue to be strong
* “Everybody should have 50% of their money in the emerging world, outside the West.”; people should also keep the custody of their assets overseas
* Contrary to what the talking heads are saying, markets are not out of control, central banks are out of control printing money
* The drivers of growth in the emerging world will be the urbanization of India and China; stocks won’t necessarily rise in the short term, but there will be significant growth in Asia in the long run
* The shift in economic power from West to East has been remarkable in speed, largely due to the rapid industrialization of the emerging world and the speed at which information travels today
* There will be a massive increase in resource-intensive industries and new export markets, met with increased volatility and tension around the world
* The supply/demand characteristics of oil are great due to the need for oil in China, India, rest of Asia
* Oil is the top priority for China, as they are now a net importer
* US has a huge strategic advantage over China given that we have access to our own oil, and that of Mexico, Canada, the Middle East and off the western Coast of Africa, in addition to the ability to travel on the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean; meanwhile, China sources 95% of their oil from the Middle East, and while they are building pipelines throughout Eastern Europe for example, their oil supply points in terms of ports for example are limited, and the US has defense bases surrounding these areas; Chinese subs could sink our boats however; the Russians are also not happy about our forces being in the region, and tensions will grow as the need for natural resources in these nations grows
* Eventually, there will be war and one will want physical commodities “not paper from UBS or JP Morgan”
* In war, cities will not offer safety because one can get bombed, water may be poisoned, electricity shut off; instead, one should buy a house in the middle of nowhere/on the countryside
* The tremendous economic Sophism of the day is that a nation can print its way into prosperity; “If debt and money printing equaled prosperity then Zimbabwe would be the richest country.”
* “Mugabe is the economic mentor of Ben Bernanke.”
* Our fiscal situation is much more horrendous than it is made out to be; total debt (public and private) as a percentage of GDP counting unfunded liabilities is an astounding 800% of GDP, more than double that during 1929
* Sovereign credits in the Western world are all bankrupt, but before bankruptcy governments will print money; US government leaders will try to postpone the hour of truth, pushing the problems off till succeeding Presidents and Congressmen
* If deficits didn’t matter as many like Economist James Galbraith argue today, why should citizens even pay taxes? It would make everyone happier if they didn’t
* Faber is sure that the economists in academia are intelligent and they study the textbooks hard, but they study the wrong textbooks and are totally inconsistent in their philosophy
* In an environment of money-printing and high volatility that exists in the US and that will be created by future policy, physical gold is the best thing to own
* Once currency depreciation does take place, stocks may become very cheap, as happened when the Mexican peso depreciated by 95% in the early 80s, as the fund managers invested in Mexican equities completely undervalued them after currency collapse
* In a nutshell Faber says he is essentially bearish on everything, though he favors commodities (especially physical precious metals and agriculture), owning a house in the countryside, equities in emerging markets tied to resources (especially necessities like water and oil) and healthcare, and most of Asia including especially Japanese stocks
* There is no means of avoiding a total collapse in the West; at the first train station in 2008, the financial system went bust but didn’t die, at the next station nations will go bust (though this could take 5-10 years or less), but first they will print money as this is the most politically tenable option, and ultimately the world will go to war
* All of us will be doomed
We Are So Screwed.
The economy – what we’re facing right now [*33] — In short: We Are So Screwed.
The Entitlement Spending Threat to National Security [*35] — First of all, we have to stop calling them “entitlements.” “Unsustainable but well-intentioned welfare programs” would be a better name for programs like Social Security and Medicare. These programs are not “entitlements.” They are however deeply irresponsible.
Deval Patrick: These darned Republicans are almost at the level of sedition [*48] — OK, I’ll play: “progressives” are anti-American. Gee, this is fun!!! The complete blank Democrats draw, failing to recall their despicable behavior during the George W. Bush Presidency is simply breathtaking. The simple truth is that Democrats can dish out political opposition but they simply can’t take it. They are the exact opposite of “democratic” in that respect. There is no group more intolerant of different beliefs and ideas than “progressives” and “Democrats.”