Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Morning Links, News, And Views -- Part III


September 8, 2013: this is how Bloomberg saw the G20 summit. Putin hosted; Putin seduced; Putin won. "Overwhelming" was the word used. In his Cadillac, O'Bama was the outlier -- all the rest rode in the BMW's provided by the host.

Later, 3:50 pm CST: the worst thing about the Syrian missile crisis is that it appears to be viewed completely from a political point of view. I was too young to understand at the time, but now, 50+ years later, reading about it, I don't recall the Cuban missile crisis as being political. It seems that Americans were genuinely concerned about the crisis, and the Kennedy brothers were truly equally concerned.

I think the unsaid issue with the Syrian missile crisis revolves around the other 800-pound gorilla in the room - Russia and his trainer, Vladimir.

It may be all political fun and games now, but if the US goes ahead with military intervention, I do feel strongly that Russia will intervene. For the moment, Vladimir has not been foolish enough to make his own "red line" speech, but he has probably already drawn a "red line" in the sand. If the civil war in Syria becomes a major confrontation between Russia and the US, it will not be pretty. The entire Mideast will draw up sides pretty quickly. This might be as good a time as any to read Bernard Lewis' history of the Mideast and the clash of civilizations: What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis, c. 2002. My notes are here. Russia's ties with the Mideast go back a lot longer than US ties with that part of the world. 

Original Post

Wow, the market is so incredibly unpredictable. I would love to hear what CNBC talking heads are saying, but I am so glad I'm not. What a bunch of fluff.

Oil is spiking, up almost $2.00. Solidly over $110, and almost every Bakken operator is enjoying the run. Profit taking by the end of the day? And the market just went green. I think investors know the strike won't occur over the weekend, so there is little risk holding stocks over the weekend. I assume the president will release the war plans at least 72 hours in advance to allow the adversary time to adjust. Also, he needs to see if polling suggests he needs to change his war plans.

But this is a most interesting story, reported by Yahoo!Finance: traders struggle with perfectly terrible jobs number.
Well, that was awful. Or should I say, perfectly awful?
The August jobs report missed expectations pretty much on all major fronts. It also included some historic morsels of doom, and a general smattering of blah befitting a sluggish economy rife with uncertainty. 
All those jobless numbers, and yet auto sales are surging. What gives? In the big scheme of things, it doesn't take many new auto sales to goose the numbers. My hunch is that the oil and gas industry is having a huge trickle down effect on the economy. First of all, there are more new millionaires than ever in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and south Texas, just from direct impact of oil and gas drilling. Then all the folks who work for the railroads, and then all the oil service companies. As much as they hate mining sand in their states, my hunch is that there are a lot of employed truck drivers in Minnesota and Wisconsin hauling fracking sand. [By the way, I understand there is a sign at the Michigan border asking the last one leaving the state to turn off the lights; apparently that state is hemorrhaging residents about as fast as North Dakota is gaining them. That was true of Idaho several years ago when the Bakken boom began.]

So, the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" continues to widen, and the "haves" are able to buy cars.

On another note, my ten-year-old granddaughter tells me that everyone in her 5th grade class has an iPhone. I think I mentioned that the other day. Two days ago she couldn't live without an iPhone; yesterday she rationalized why she doesn't need one. She still confuses "android" with "iPhone" but I always correct her. I don't want her to make a faux pas at any social event.

Wouldn't this be the most perfect soundtrack for the lead up to the Syrian missile launch, say, the one hour before the strike begins?

Theme From Twin Peaks, Angelo Badalamenti

The NSA/White House could commandeer all television networks/cable stations, replace whatever would be shown with this still/music.

Play the music/video while reading the post, and imagine the lead up to the missile launch. The missile strike won't happen on a Friday (Muslim sabbath) and so it probably rules out a weekend launch, although a Sunday evening launch would work, allowing for a Monday morning briefing by the commander-in-chief, John Kerry Barry O'Bama.

You know how your computer locks up when it gets conflicting input? The same thing happens with my brain: it locks up when I see a video of John Kerry ready to kill innocent Syrians and then think back to April 23, 1971. Back in 1971, I had my lottery number -- that was the draft lottery -- one of the few lotteries in which you did not want to "win." My number was low enough to have been called up; I still don't know the back story.

And then, of course, this was a #1 song back in 1971:

How Do You Mend A Broken Heart? The Bee Gees

This could be the song for the aftermath. After the missile strike is over.


For the time-date stamp: if O'Bama launches, it will launch a replay of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and the outcome will be quite different. Vladimir Putin will not let Russia lose a second time.  It might behoove O'Bama's "brightest and best" to really think this thing through before doing something they regret.

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