Sunday, May 9, 2010

Last Call

And apparently that $560B "crisis fund" for Greece has been approved by the various EU ministers.
The ministers, meeting in Brussels, Belgium, sought to ease markets shaken by the Greek economic crisis before they re-opened Monday.

Under the deal announced early Monday, the International Monetary Fund could provide up to 220 billion euros (US $280 billion) to the crisis fund in addition to the EU's contribution of 440 billion euros, Spain's Finance Minister Elena Salgado said.
 That'll last.  Monday's going to be real interesting.

Especially since the EU doesn't have the money.  Guess they'll print it.  Hey, it's working for Helicopter Ben, right?


Zandar's Thought Of The Day

If you're wondering why the bad guys are still able to recruit people to die for them in suicide attacks in the Middle East, it's because we make it so very easy for them to hate us.

Hannity: I've actually had an idea -- no one listens to little ol' Sean Hannity. But I'm like -- I think the Iraqis, with all their oil resources, need to pay us back for their liberation. Every single solitary penny. Because we really need --
Johnson: I really thought that from the beginning. I thought that that was kind of, part of the equation.
Hannity: It should have been part of the deal.
Johnson: Should have been part of the deal.
Hannity: I think it should be now. I think they owe us a lot for that.
This of course happened after Hannity suggested that Obama resign over the Nashville floods.

Gosh, I can't think of any reason why the Iraqis can't pay us back for all the wonderful things we've done for them...

Greek Fire, Part 18

The latest casualty to be burned to ashes in Greek Fire?  Germany's coalition government, headed by Angela Merkel.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, beleaguered by her handling of the Greek financial crisis, her squabbling government and disgruntlement over hardship in Germany’s rust belt, had historic losses Sunday in crucial regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, where exit polls suggested her coalition was trounced.

If the results are confirmed, Mrs. Merkel will lose her majority in the Bundesrat, the upper house of Parliament, which signs off on legislation and contains representatives from each of the 16 states in Germany.

That would mean that Mrs. Merkel would no longer be able to push through decisive changes. She had initiated few since taking office for a second term eight months ago because of infighting in the coalition of her conservative Christian Democrats and pro-business Free Democrats.

Just three days after British voters left their national leadership in limbo, the biggest state in Germany followed suit, punishing Mrs. Merkel’s coalition but handing little satisfaction to the opposition Social Democrats. The future shape of the state’s government was unclear. 
Results aren't in yet, but exit polling shows that clearly Merkel's government is in real trouble.  Germany's proposed 600 billion euro bailout of Greece just might have peeved the locals.  Like throwing water on the legendary unquenchable flames, the Greek Fire cannot be put out.  What happens after that too fails?  Tyler Durden's on the right track:
And once this money is exhausted which it will be, Europe will default as the playbook is TARP then immediate monetization, however without a reserve currency backstop. The EURUSD is spiking by 3 handles right now, however once traders realize that the ECB will commence printing money in earnest it will go straight down to parity. 
Marvel as the euro collapses!  The alternative?  A European central treasury to go along with the bank and the currency, and austerity measures for everyone!  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:
But if the early reports are near true, the accord profoundly alters the character of the European Union. The walls of fiscal and economic sovereignty are being breached. The creation of an EU rescue mechanism with powers to issue bonds with Europe's AAA rating to help eurozone states in trouble -- apparently €60bn, with a separate facility that may be able to lever up to €600bn -- is to go far beyond the Lisbon Treaty. This new agency is an EU Treasury in all but name, managing an EU fiscal union where liabilities become shared. A European state is being created before our eyes.

No EMU country will be allowed to default, whatever the moral hazard. Mrs Merkel seems to have bowed to extreme pressure as contagion spread to Portugal, Ireland, and -- the two clinchers -- Spain and Italy. "We have a serious situation, not just in one country but in several," she said. 
And the Greek Fire is now going to force Europe down the same path we're on.  Over here in America, pay attention to the markets this week.  It's going to be may turn out to be downright brutal.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

When it comes to Lake Palin, the greatest engineering minds of the Twenty-First century have a Plan B, folks:
If using a massive dome to cover the source of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico doesn't work, crews are preparing for another option: clogging it.

Engineers are examining whether they can close a failed blowout preventer by stuffing it with trash, said Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard. The 48-foot-tall, 450-ton device sits atop the well at the heart of the Gulf oil spill and is designed to stop leaks, but it has not been working properly since the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and later sank.

"The next tactic is going to be something they call a junk shot," Allen told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "They'll take a bunch of debris -- shredded up tires, golf balls and things like that -- and under very high pressure, shoot it into the preventer itself and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak."
We're pretty much screwed to the point of this being a Mel Brooks film, folks.  Honestly, was Aquaman not available to help with Giant Concrete Box Thingy?  Now we're using Junk Shot.

What plans did they turn down to go with Junk Shot?

Liz Cheney: Not As Smart A Her Dad

Greek Fire is a serious problem, but we're not "bailing Greece out" any more than we are, say, Israel.
Conservatives have responded to the massive economic crisis in Greece — which is spreading to the rest of Europe — by trying to score political points against President Obama’s domestic economic policies. This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace and Liz Cheney pushed the myth that the United States was “bailing out” Greece, and Cheney even suggested that America adopt Greek-like austerity measures to counter the budget deficit:
CHENEY: When you look at the question over whether the US tax payer ought to be contributing to bailing out Greece, I think you also got to say wait a second at the same time that we are looking to put $7 billion to bail out Greece… we’ve got the same types of policies being put in place here in the United States that frankly are much more likely to lead us down the path that we see Greece on.
 For the record, we've given more money to Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq in direct aid and loan guarantees than we have Greece here.  It's funny how fiscal conservatives don't complain about that outflow of US money that doesn't get paid back, either.

And of course that means Liz's dad and his buddy George gave out tens of billions in aid and loan guarantees every year too.  Guess we "bailed out the world" on a yearly basis.

Sunday Funnies: Blowing Up On Broadway Edition

The Bobblespeaks, they live
Gregory: how did a guy with a MBA become an unethical radical soulless dipshit?

Holder: it’s a mystery

Gregory: how come you didn’t arrest him
before he committed a crime?

Holder: it’s doesn’t work that way Dancing Dave

Gregory: these are homegrown terrorists!

Holder: they are people with clean skins

Gregory: like who use ivory soap?

Holder: yes - also white people

Gregory: why don’t you track all people
who go to Pakistan

Holder: 200,000 people!?

Gregory: yes dammit!

Holder: I heard you were a moron
If you can fail in New York, you can fail anywhere!

Happy Mother's Day!

Call your mom.

Treat your mother right!

More Wishful Thinking On "Obama's Katrina"

Wingers seem to think if they say it enough times, the federal government's response to Lake Palin will become an impeachable offense.  Steve Benen and the AP put this nonsense to bed for good.
For several days, the national media seemed heavily invested in characterizing the BP oil spill disaster as "Obama's Katrina." Major, mainstream outlets -- not just Limbaugh and Fox News -- "concocted the absurd 'Obama's Katrina' claim in the first place, and then helped actively push it. Journalists did it by pointing to mostly faceless, imaginary 'critics' of the Obama administration in order to float the phony storyline."

But it didn't take. It may have had something to do with the intervention of other world events -- the attempted terrorism in Times Square, the European debt crisis, the British elections -- but vague criticism of the administration's response to the Gulf was relatively short-lived. Even conservatives found it easily dismissible.

When House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) held a press conference to blast the president's handling of the issue mid-week, he couldn't explain why he was unsatisfied, and most of the political world found it best to just blow off his shallow nonsense.

While the oil spill disaster remains an ongoing crisis -- indeed, oil continues to gush into the Gulf as I type -- the questions surrounding the speed of the Obama administration's response seem to have been answered. To the wire service's credit, the AP's H. Josef Hebert and Erica Werner published a lengthy report this morning on the "aggressive" federal response to the disaster.
That AP piece is a good read.  Unlike Katrina, which was predictable and indeed seen barreling towards the Louisiana coast for days before it hit, BP just now got around to trying to stop the oil flow, a good two and a half weeks after the accident...and their plan A failed miserably.  It's not Obama failing to fix this problem on national TV, it's BP dropping the ball.

Oh, and let's not forget the government's quick response to the Tennessee floods as well.
Last weekend's storm system devastated Tennessee and neighboring states, leaving at least 31 people dead across the Southeast, authorities say. Flooding has caused more than $1.5 billion in property damage in the Nashville area alone, city officials said Friday.

Napolitano said that as of Saturday morning, 16,000 people had requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and more than $4 million in federal assistance had been approved for individuals.
More of that help is coming.   Sorry Wingers, this isn't Obama's Katrina either.

If anything, the events of the last two weeks (Times Square, Tennessee, the Gulf Coast, and the stock market roller-coaster) show that a strong, responsive federal government is indeed necessary, and when it does its job, our government can get it done.

It's not the free market that's going to solve any of these problems, folks.
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