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June 18, 2010

Friday Financial Briefing

Various hyperintelligent computers, acting from some obscure machine logic unknowable to mortal men, made sure that stocks rose yesterday in late-day trading after being down for most of the day. Their unblinking eyes stare without pity even now as they slowly and methodically draw their plans against us.

UPDATE: I have learned the name of our cybernetic adversary! I name thee...DAGGER!

As an inveterate space-geek and champion of a privatized space industry, I find this to be wonderful news. SpaceX just signed a half-billion dollar contract with the Iridium Communications Inc. for launch services. That is just cool.

More after the jump.


Face it, Britain. Obama's just not that into you. Based on the evidence, in fact, he hates your collective guts. I'm guessing this was not what you expected during the euphoric days just after the 2008 elections. W might have been a cowboy, but at least he was a polite cowboy.

The Italians are revolting! Hygiene aside (nyuk nyuk nyuk), they are concerned that "austerity" (i.e., working to pay off their debts rather than to buy slinky outfits and outrageously expensive cars) runs counter to the southern European ideal of sitting around and letting the Germans and Scandinavians pull the economic cart. Which is not to say that deflationary monetary policy is necessarily a good thing -- it worsens the debt-to-GDP ratio and makes the debt much harder to pay off. And when the debt is mostly owed to foreigners, the citizens begin to ask themselves if years of austerity are really worth it. Usually, the answer is "no".

Jobless claims came in a 472,000. Unexpectedly, can I hear Amen! This number is mostly bullshit anyway because it doesn't count "people who have stopped looking for jobs", whatever the hell that means. You're just as unemployed if you're sitting at home eating cheese-curds out of a tub as you are sitting in the local unemployment office wondering if the huge growth on the receptionist's face is a wart or a wen. The real rate of unemployment is probably closer to 18%, and if you count underemployment it probably shoots up to 25% or so.

Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia AIG!

Spain is totally not broke, and if you suggest otherwise, you're nothing but a filthy-dirty gringo liar! By the way, Spain is wondering if you might have some spare change, or if you need your lawn mowed or anything.

Spain also subsidized something that everyone else gets for free...sunshine. And fucked it up. But hey, let's take a lesson from these Spaniards and do the same thing here, only with wind!

The coming war between the public sector and the private sector is getting harder to ignore all the time. In fact, I -- SQUIRREL!

China to the G-20: "Pointing out that we have been ruthless currency manipulators for much of the past two decades may lead to some awkward moments, so we'd really appreciate it if you'd just keep it on the down-low."

Those jokesters at ZeroHedge link a good CNBC interview with noted optimist Marc Faber. (Be sure not to have any poisons or sharp implements nearby before watching and keep repeating: Bernanke knows best! Bernanke knows best!)

You can add "free checking" to the list of things we used to have but can't have any more because we're stupid.

Maybe our alien insect overlords will show some God Damn fiscal responsibility. Pull quote:

We are so in debt to China that President Obama had to visit their president in his first year in office. It was an important meeting between the most powerful communist leader in the world and the president of China.
Heh. Burn.

Insty helpfully reminds everyone that more than 90 banks have missed TARP payments. Are you not stimulated?

Jealous of all the attention lavished on Greece, Spain, and Portugal, other Euro nations are now clamoring for Mom's attention. Apparently Denmark, Finland, and Cyprus have discovered that their Platinum Euro card did, in fact, have a limit. Who knew? Now Dad's gonna be pissed.

Some fairly terrifying words via the always-upbeat crew at ZeroHedge. Pull quote (emphasis mine):

The median age of the 78 million boomers is 54 going on 55 and even after two bubbles bursting less than a decade apart, this cohort still have 55% of the asset base in equities and real estate and a mere 6% in bonds.
As I often say: it's not "Boomer-bashing" if it's true. As I often also say: we're doomed!

I'm drawing more adherents to my "Germany is looking for a way to quit the Euro" conspiracy theory all the time. Bwah-hah-hah-hah! As soon as I've gained enough cultists, I'm going to dress them all in sack-cloth and make them sell stupid little tourist doodads at the airport. It's sort of my retirement plan. Pull quote:

At minimum, a powerful new agency, administered in Brussels, would scrutinise the tax and spending plans of all members of the eurozone. It would be empowered to order a profligate government to rein in its spending, or face unspecified penalties.
Oh my dear God NO! Not "unspecified penalties"! Anything but that! Anything!

Gold continues its march upwards, pretty much irrespective of what the stock markets are doing on any given day. Gold has in many ways become decoupled from the Monopoly-money equities world. It's no longer just a hedge or a backstop. It's being bought and sold as money. (A money of last resort, true, but still -- money.)

People who spend all day with their thumbs up their butts tend to end up with this problem.

California might be ever so slightly less boned. But then again...nah, they're still boned.

In honor of California, this briefing brought to you by....

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posted by Monty at 06:39 AM

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