Friday, May 20, 2005

* GOOD NEWS...not

Death Star
Pause seen after strong week" trumpets CBS. This is how they explain falling stocks. "Profit taking". Ie: more sellars than buyers. Why this profits anyone is beyond me. When I sell stuff I like to do this in a rising market. You don't make good money selling on the downside! If something continues up after I sell, this merely confirms to me that it was a wise decision. Panic sales happen when everyone waits for the "top".
Adding to a bearish posture was overseas economic news, as both French and South Korean GDPs rose by less than economist forecasts, with French GDP up 0.2% and South Korean GDP rising 2.7% in the first quarter, though the benchmark stock market indexes in both countries were in positive territory.

The dollar was steady against major rivals and crude-oil contracts were back above $47 a barrel.
Once again, the oil/stock see saw. One goes up, the other goes down.
The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index plunged to 7.3 from 25.3 in April, the lowest since June 2003. It was the largest one-month decline since January 2001, a drop that helped to spark the first Fed easing in 2001.
This came out yesterday so today, if the market goes down, it isn't "profit taking" but "panic attack".

The fundamentals are looking pretty nasty. Here is where the real hemorraging is occuring: In Iraq.
The Rising Economic Cost Of The Iraq War--- Fighting in Iraq has been prolonged and remains intense enough that it has pushed the total cost of U.S. military operations since Sept. 11, 2001, close to that of the Korean War.
Despite the yawning federal deficit, Congress hasn't blinked at this price. And while annual defense spending is now as high as it ever was during the Reagan buildup, the U.S. economy as a whole is much larger, making it easier, in economic terms, for the nation to shoulder the bill.

Yet the costs for Pentagon operations are likely to pile up in years ahead. By 2010, war expenses might total $600 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Much depends on when - and how many - U.S. military personnel can be withdrawn from the Iraqi theater of operations.
OK. Several things. This "war" isn't the Korean war. It is very expensive because of the American warlords looting the Treasury. Everything is goldplated and nearly useless. Even today, years after starting this war, they can't figure out how to make bullet proof vests or armoring the Hummers. This half hearted effort is costing a fortune. Of course, this being an official military article, they pretend this doesn't matter. The "economy is bigger" they claim.

Only the "bigness" is due nearly entirely to the military/industrial complex chewing through masses of money!
"We can't be any more certain about the trend of the defense budget than we can be about the number of troops that will be deployed overseas," says Steven Kosiak, director of budget studies for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
This is an outright lie. Famously, the budget cruncher for Bush warned him it would cost over $200 billion to invade Iraq and Bush and the Pentagon screamed that this was a lie, it could be done for a mere $25 billion. So the bearer of bad news was summarily discharged and replaced with a toady and Rumsfeld slogs on. If the military can't figure out costs then they should hire someone who can. Obviously.
Fighting in Iraq "is lasting longer, and is more intense, and the cost to keep troops in the theater of operations is proving to be much greater than anyone anticipated," wrote Rep. John Spratt (D) of South Carolina, ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee, in a recent Democratic report on war costs.
This is a rank lie. Obviously. SC slurps up tons of military budget dollars and is a key player in this hemorraging of red ink.
More spending on the war is sure to come - even if the U.S. begins to draw down troops levels. While it is difficult to estimate precisely, it is sure to be in the hundreds of billions, experts say. The Congressional Research Service pegs the cost of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan at an additional $458 billion through 2014.

This is hardly cheap, but given the overall size of the U.S. economy, and the levels of defense spending maintained during the cold war, it is well within the bounds of recent experience, according to Center for Strategic and International Studies military expert Anthony Cordesman.

Total defense spending in 2006 will probably be around 4 percent of gross national product, notes Mr. Cordesman. The average since 1992 for this measure has been 3.6 percent.

"When it does come to economic and federal 'overstretch,' defense is unlikely to be the cause," Cordesman argues in a recent report.
If I tear out any more hair I would be a Hari Krishna devotee. This 4% of GNP is a false number. Since much of our GNP is in the red, and since much of the money generated today by industry is for wars, this is the beating core of what is destroying us from within.

And obviously, our military doesn't teach math skills. $458 billion more on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq until 2014? That is a mere $50 a year. Right now we are spending $5 a month. 108 months in 9 years times $5 a month equals $540 billion dollars. So this is assuming not only no inflation but an over all drop in costs. Anticipating spending only $4.2 billion a month for 9 more years is insanity. This brings the bill anticipated from day one to the furthest projection in the future: $758 billion. But using realistic numbers this is: $840 billion. Add inflation costs and it rises to a cool trillion dollars. For bringing "democracy" to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The military, being basically a parasitical organization, finds this to be OK and even nothing big. It ain't their problem we are seeing wall to wall budget deficits. The yawning deficits will be taken care of the Uzbekistan or North Korean way: starve everyone else but the military. If there is objections to this, kill the civilians.

A lot of the tension between red states and blue states can be traced to several money flows that benefit the military/industrial complex which is moving aggressively to implant themselves in a citadel of power in the red states. This consolidation of power will be enforced via brutal suppression of the cities if it comes to that. Right now, managing the flow of free money that pours in from overseas keeps everything greased and running without violence. When that flow ends as it is doomed to end, it could get pretty ugly.

Lastly, for a mere trillion dollars we could put solar arrays on nearly every roof in America. Spending this loot on the Iraqi wars is sheer lunacy.
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