“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Whit's Crystal Ball

Yes, there! I see something. It's becoming clearer.... there it is, I see it! I see the future!

I hear more talk about inflation. I see very serious men at a business meeting. Oh, one of them is Ben Bernanke. It must be a Fed meeting... Yes that's exactly what it is. Wait, it must be a press conference or an interview, Bernanke is announcing that the Feds are holding interest rates steady in light of growing inflationary warnings. He warns that they may have to raise the rates.

Now I am seeing something else. What is happening? Why it's the economy roaring back to life!


Counter intuitively, this is exactly what the market needs. Real estate is a buyer's market but the buyers have been hesitant to act. Faced with rising interest rates, many will. Real estate sales will pick up steadily as buyers move to lock-in more favorable rates. The banks, going back to more rigorous underwriting standards will be happy to make loans at the higher rates.

More good news is that even as the real estate market makes its comeback, the knock-on effect of higher rates will be a strengthening dollar and as the dollar rises, oil prices will fall. As oil falls, there will be no future in oil futures. Foreign countries like India, Malaysia, Iran and China have recently begun weaning their populations from government fuel subsidies and are not likely to go down that road again. More downward pressure on oil as third world demand weakens.

Remember, you first heard it from whit the soothsayer. For a private investment consultation call 555.......


  1. Hot damn! About time! Give me a timeframe! When will I see prices at the pump begin to fall? 6 months? 1 year?

  2. Fearful of stirring popular resentment, Beijing pledged subsidies to weaker groups such as farmers, fishermen and cab drivers, right after the announcement of the price hike.

    In Beijing and Shanghai, motorists queued for gasoline at petrol stations on Thursday night as word of the price hike leaked out. Police stood by at one Beijing petrol station.

    At least one station told customers that it could not serve them until the price hike took effect at midnight, prompting an altercation between staff at the station and a group of angry motorists.

    Price Rise

  3. In the future Sam. Sometime in the future. All good gazers know to hedge the predictions. In the future...

    Evil Sweden Passes Spook Bill

  4. To continue a discussion from the previous thread - An Excerpt from Christie Blatchford's first story on the "Toronto 18" terror trials:

    Terror trial begins with notes of divine comedy



    E-mail Christie Blatchford | Read Bio | Latest Columns
    June 4, 2008

    BRAMPTON, ONT. -- As former deputy director of CSIS Jack Hooper says in a smart new documentary on the Air India bombing, "At the early stages of a conspiracy, the nature of the terrorist beast is that the plan has not crossed the line into criminality."

    But comedy? Oh hell yes. It's never too early in a terrorist conspiracy, alleged or otherwise, for comedy.

    Thus it was that yesterday, as the trial of the only youth still charged in the so-called Toronto 18 terrorism case began in earnest, Mr. Justice John Sproat of Ontario Superior Court must have felt his command of the language rapidly plummeting as the voices of some of the alleged conspirators filled the courtroom in what can only be described as a unique Canuck-gangbanger-meets-the-Prophet dialect, with most of the conversations beginning roughly like this: "Yo, peace be upon you" and ending with " 'Shallah" (the short form of inshallah, or "God willing") and occasional purely Canadian exclamations over geography ("Yo, look at that view, eh?") with dutiful product placement buys for Tim Hortons, Harvey's and Canadian Tire."


    Go back to the other thread for a link to more of her stories on the trial...if anyone cares to see just one terror trial at work.

  5. more from that first article:

    "The alleged conspirators - most are in their 20s and none can be named, with the youths' identity protected by the usual statutory publication ban - use a moronic code on their various tapped phones (guns are referred to as "girls," with each needing her own "food," or ammo), revel in their various nicknames for one another, boast constantly and engage in chat of such breathtaking inanity that it took a wise old police officer to remind me that compared to typical conversations in drug-conspiracy cases, where the stoned silences can last upward of 10 minutes, these exchanges are positively sparkling.

    "That truck," one alleged conspirator says alertly as some of the group was travelling to Northern Ontario ostensibly to recce a house they could use as a base, "I think I've seen it before."

    "Ice Cap?" says an unconcerned voice from the back seat. "You got the Ice Cap?"

    "Which one is the hot chocolate?" asks a third man.

    "Don't be eating the doughnuts and crap," snaps the alleged ringleader.

    "I wouldn't mind having a Timbit," says the other man, unrebuked.

    "Let's go to Harvey's!" cries another voice.

    In that perhaps six-hour trip, four of the alleged conspirators ate constantly, moving seamlessly from doughnuts and coffee to rice to bagels, and stopped short, just barely, of actually whingeing, "Are we there yet?" Not since a friend and I years ago did a walking tour of the Lake District in England, and packed enough food (including cheese you squeezed from a tube) for an army, have I encountered people so unnecessarily afraid of starvation, and not since my friend and I were passed by walkers aged, infirm and disabled have I met a group so utterly inept.

    When the alleged conspirators braved the elements (it was -2C, according to one) and dared leave their van, they immediately complained about freezing and frostbite, and returned from their brief foray demanding water with a desperation at least as great as a fellow lost in the desert for a week. At one point, it appeared one guy locked himself in the vehicle; at another, they fretted over a light on the dash; someone turned on the OnStar system by mistake.

    But for all that, smack in the middle of these conversations either remarkably banal or comic, despite pages of transcript which appeared to consist entirely of notes such as "child screaming in background," something decidedly unsettling would come.

    Sample exchange, this from an alleged conspirator apparently complaining to another that word was out in at least some part of the Muslim community about what they were up to: "Why you go to the mosque, guy?" "Yo, they know, eh?" "How'd they find out, hmmm?" "I don't know, man. I don't want to tell you, you'd probably kill that guy." "How'd the hell they find out?" "You know, right, that they know? I didn't see till I went to the mosque and they were asking me so many questions. I was like, 'What the hell?' ""

  6. I mean that's like a total bummer, dude.

  7. Forum of Canadian Sri Lankan Against Terrorism thanked the Conservative Government of Canada for listing World Tamil Movement, a Terrorist organization.

    A statement released by the Forum said, "We thank the Government of Canada on behalf of thousands of voiceless innocent Sri Lankan Canadians who were facing threats and intimidations on a daily basis from Tamil Tiger terrorists attached to WTM. This ban will encourage innocent Sri Lankans to come forward and give more information about LTTE terrorists in Canada.

    More importantly this ban will decrease attacks against innocent civilians in Sri Lanka and it will help to eradicate LTTE terrorism from Sri Lanka and from the world."

    The statement further added, "Also at this moment we like to point out to the Government that there are still, LTTE fund raising activities are going on in a low scale. We request Government of Canada to ban those operations as well and not to allow Tamil Tigers to misuse the freedom we experience in this great nation.

    Tamil Movement

  8. These dudes aren't Hezbollah. Maybe Hezbollah controls the mosque. And doesn't want the heat.

    word was out in at least some part of the Muslim community about what they were up to: "Why you go to the mosque, guy?" "Yo, they know, eh?" "How'd they find out, hmmm?" "I don't know, man. I don't want to tell you, you'd probably kill that guy." "How'd the hell they find out?" "You know, right, that they know? I didn't see till I went to the mosque and they were asking me so many questions. I was like, 'What the hell?' ""

    most are in their 20s and none can be named, with the youths' identity protected by the usual statutory publication ban

    How long does the period of youth last in Canada? Here it's eighteen I think.

  9. They were arrested a little over two years ago I believe. 17 at the time. Some of the adults are still slated for trial I think.

  10. You illegal immigrant you, doug

    HONOLULU (Associated Press) -- Surrounded by royal guards and the occasional tourist, Her Majesty Mahealani Kahau and her government ministers hold court every day under a tent outside the palace of Hawaii's last monarch, passing laws and discussing how to secure reparations for the Native Hawaiian people.

    Kahau and her followers are members of the self-proclaimed Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which is devoted to restoring the Hawaiian monarchy overthrown in 1893. Nearly two months ago, they stormed the gates of the old Iolani Palace, and they have politely occupied the grounds ever since, operating like a government-in-exile.

    "We're here to assume and resume what is already ours and what has always been ours," said Kahau, who is a descendant of Hawaii's last king and was elected "head of state" by the group.

    The Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which was founded seven years ago and claims 1,000 followers, uses its own license plates and maintains its own judicial system. In recent years, members have voted to dissolve the state of Hawaii, its land titles, welfare programs and public schools. They also claim the right to confiscate all bank assets in Hawaii.

  11. The 268 to 155 vote would bring to more than $600 billion the amount provided by Congress for the war in Iraq since it started five years ago. For operations in Afghanistan, it comes to almost $200 billion, according to congressional analysts.

    The bill would give Bush's successor several months to set Iraq policy after taking office in January — and spares lawmakers the need to cast any more war funding votes closer to Election Day.

    Immediately afterward, the House began voting on tag-along legislation to extend unemployment benefits and a generous increase in GI Bill education benefits for post-Sept. 11 veterans.

    Iraq and Afghanistan

  12. It’s a trap Whit.

    I was listening to a guest on Kudlow today who warned that that the obstacle on the horizon that would very effectively counter anticipated growth vis a vis Fed holding Prime Rate steady, rather than raise it to control inflation, is the potential for vast increase in regulations.

    If I understood his position correctly, he was referring not to the carbon cap and trade of McCain nor the windfall profits tax of Obama nor the threat to national oil industry by Pelosi - all of which would only reinforce his point - but to the pending regulation to reverse the effects of removing the wall between investment and banking, which created a free-for-all in the financial markets.

    His point was that the removal of this long-standing separation between the two arms of banking created conflict of interests characterized by volatility and outright fraud such as the off-shore accounting vehicles that took down Enron and WorldCom. He maintained that Sarbanes-Oxley was a failure that inhibits business enterprise overseas and more regulations will be forthcoming to mitigate the conflicts between investment and banking.

    Glass-Steagall Act, creating the "Chinese Wall" was enacted in 1933 and repealed in 1999 under Clinton. The guest supported putting the wall back in place.

    Well, he’s right.

    Just when the economy starts to find the gas pedal, Congress will get religion.

  13. Warriors were known as koa

    Chieftain al-koa-al-Dougal, an illegal immigrant from Polyniesia, wasn't no aluminum man but made of hard straight, wood, goodwood his wife said, but stern, and Practiced Not Habeas Corpus but an enemy captured in battle might have his entrails removed and every bone methodically broken while still alive, so that his body could be "bundled up" and carried off the field as a sacrifice.

    al-koa, known locally as Doug, has melted in the pot of the local culture, trying to evade the Englishman's justice.

  14. A new administration won't want to talk publicly with terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban, but there's no reason it shouldn't emulate Henry Kissinger -- who authorized secret intelligence links with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1974 even as the United States branded it a terrorist group and refused to meet with its representatives openly.

    The presidential campaign debate about Iraq, so far, has been a sterile one -- implying that the choice is between an Obama solution of pulling out the troops and a McCain solution of staying the course and winning military victory. Neither alternative is realistic.

    The right way out is something in between -- ambiguous, messy, occasionally in the shadows -- a course that recognizes Iraqi sovereignty but also works with care and cunning to protect America's interests.

    Iraq Footprint

  15. Bobal, you are a man after my own heart.

  16. Bobal: ...an enemy captured in battle might have his entrails removed and every bone methodically broken while still alive, so that his body could be "bundled up" and carried off the field as a sacrifice.

    They were pikers. White people used to break people's bones and then braid them into the spokes of a wheel and haul them up on a pole for the vultures to eat their still-living flesh. I imagine this would suck as bad as a crucifixion.

  17. Wouldn’t you like to see your life from the widest perspective imaginable? Wouldn’t you like to KNOW what is really going on in the Universe and WHY?

    Why did it happen? Why it HAD TO happen?

    Wouldn’t you like to discover and prove it all without moving from your armchair?

    Freedom of Choice

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. slade,

    so yer for the increased regulation?

  20. I'm for reinstating the Glass-Steagall wall between investment and commercial banking, which worked for 60 years, and repealing Sarbanes-Oxley and requiring GAAP accounting rules on Congressional budgets.

  21. http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=774385616

    Kudlow & Company: Drill, Drill, Drill!

    The dribble of oil wont come online 'till 2030, but the argument is, that even so, it will have an impact on the Futures Market. So then, the question to ask is, why not just invest in alternative energy?

    Catch the last 10 sec of the segment.

  22. You got me figured Lilith, but have I a chance, a chance?

    And please, advise me, I can't make up my mind whether or not to buy that book on Freedom of Choice.

  23. Call me Duke, white boy

    Hemmings was quite the surfer.
    Then he ran over his foot w/a rotary mower.
    ...been a Pub Politician ever since.

  24. O don't braid me upon the wheel.

  25. Bobal, that Freedom of Choice book looks as loopy as those books about making cars that run on water or appliances that plug into the ground.

    "That Cyd! When you've danced with her you stay danced with." -- Fred Astaire

    She was married for 60 years. Wow. Most girls with legs like that, tequila makes their clothes fall off.

  26. OK then, I've made up my mind, I choose not to buy it.

    She was married for 60 years. Wow. Most girls with legs like that, tequila makes their clothes fall off. :)

    But, to how many men was she married in those 60 years?

  27. Unless Sam talks me into buying it.

  28. why not just invest in alternative energy?

    OK. Here’s my take and I am not a resource economist.

    1. The infrastructure to process and refine oil and gas is currently in place. This will impact the cost-benefit scenarios.

    2. The storage and distribution networks for alternative energy are either not fully developed or not in place. Storage technology in particular is still evolving.

    3. I personally am not buying this 2030 timeline. It reminds of the 200,000 new jobs under NAFTA that morphed into 2,000,000. In fact, I will go so far as to say that the number is about as bogus as the NAFTA jobs number. So we pay $4 gas for the next 20 years.

    4. Natural Gas. Jim Cramer is recommending this sector. He interviewed a CEO today who agreed that the untapped natural gas reserves are huge. These will be on-line well before 2030. I don’t have the numbers. That is a research project so I am keeping it general. I have heard a 10-yr time frame. My guess is that it could be cut in half with relaxed environmental permitting.

    5. The wildcatters are back in the field because the potential profits make the business cost-effective.

    6. My concept of Drill! Drill! Drill! (including natural gas) is this - it will provide a cushion as this country transitions to alternative energy. I object to the “either-or” formulation as a political ploy to be leveraged by the Democrats. It will also reduce imports which should be factored into the cost-benefit analyses. It will also reverse the psychology of this market and serve to kick start growth in industry.

    7. I will have to research this but my understanding is that Montana has some of the largest low-sulfur coal deposits in the country. The reserves have not been significantly depleted because the high-sulfur deposits back east were more cost-effective to develop due to environmental rebates given for installing scrubbers, which aren't required by Montana coal. [There is a CATO article on this but quite old by now.]

  29. Don't know anything about the book. Just ran across it then and skimmed the page. Look pretty far out, alright.

  30. Charisse was married to singer Tony Martin from 1948 until her death. The marriage lasted almost 60 years, a notable length among Hollywood marriages, matched in 2008 amongst living American actors by only Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson (also married in 1948).

  31. hmmm--rare, till death do they part.

  32. why not just invest in alternative energy?

    Robert Reich was on Kudlow not too long ago arguing for some form of government energy program, like The Manhattan Project, to “jump start” the transition to alternative energy sources. The debate was as per usual - let the markets control the process versus bureaucratic stimulus. Reich’s position was that market forces could handle most of it but major transitions require some front-end encouragement.

    I recall thinking that made some practical sense. It was not a long-term government subsidy but an initial kick-start. At least that’s the way he presented his case.

    Kudlow’s Drill Drill Drill agenda seems to me to fit that bill - something to kick start the energy transition (and the domestic economy) - but Reich didn’t mention that today, which suggests to me that politics is playing a large role in Democratic energy policy.

    Who knew?

  33. I agree about the natural gas as a backup for a full transition to renewables. And I'm all for drilling for more.

    But what I think is most critical is the aggressive transition of the transport infrastructure away from gasoline vehicles and towards plugin electric vehicles that can be charged at home.

    Btw, it would be if those same loan guarantees proposed for the nuke industry were also provided to Wind and Solar.

  34. Cross out 'proposed' and sub in 'provided' in regards to those nuke loan guarantees.

  35. Damn Dentist is startin to write like a lawyer.

  36. (probly writin up that plan for the Jooish invasion of I-Ran)

  37. Shanghai at 431 km/h on an electric train:


  38. Just highlighting the relevant parts.. :)

  39. why not just invest in alternative energy?

    This is speculation but it appears to me that the repeal of Glass-Steagall - the wall separating commercial from investment banking - is also responsible for the current sub-prime crisis. It is said that without the new investment vehicles presented by the sub-prime mortgages that recently collapsed - the financial services sector has no avenues for growing their profits. In other words, stuck with static profit margins - not growing. So the repeal of Glass-Steagall - under Clinton - can be seen as an attempt to allow the financial services sector to grow profits. Without that, they really don’t have any more new tricks to play.

    Yet deregulation under Reagan remains the bogeyman.

  40. But what I think is most critical is the aggressive transition of the transport infrastructure away from gasoline vehicles and towards plugin electric vehicles that can be charged at home.

    I don’t disagree with that but note two things. Domestic versus commercial transport. The same technology will not run the 18-wheelers which demand greater range. Secondly, watch the environmentalists and the role they play. It is one thing to mandate technological safety measures, like double-hulled tanks, but it is quite another to stand on the Endangered Species hill. I expect that the level of environmental concern will rise in direct proportion to the level of carbon emissions. I consider this to be an inappropriate metric, in and of itself.

    RE the loan guarantees, that is the responsibility of the industry to lobby their case in front of Congress. I have trouble imagining a more receptive Congress than this one.

  41. "The same technology will not run the 18-wheelers which demand greater range."

    So don't use them. Use trains. Electric trains.

  42. "I have trouble imagining a more receptive Congress than this one."

    The cost of a nuke plant is 10x that of solar. It also takes 10x longer to build a nuke plant vs solar. The only reason I see for going with nuclear (which also has a 30% plant failure rate) is that it's a delay tactic lobbied by and for big oil. Let's not kid ourselves.

  43. … delay tactic lobbied by and for big oil. Let's not kid ourselves.

    I expect that is more correct than not.

    I remember when the tobacco industry was pressured by public trials linking smoking with cancer. Lasted about a decade. During that time, the industry diversified their corporate portfolios. The writing was on the wall.

    The writing has been on the wall for some time with carbon-based fuels. Unless I am to believe that the oil execs are stupid, I can only conclude that greed is the driver. And I am reaching that conclusion.

    Market forces my @ss.

    Sometimes. Sometimes not.

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. The same technology will not run the 18-wheelers which demand greater range."

    So don't use them. Use trains. Electric trains.

    Not enough rail capacity right now. The rail freight business is running at nearly full capacity.

  46. With Kunstler's famous words I say to you: The US national rail system is one the Bulgarians would be ashamed of. :)

  47. I would think rail would be a prime investment - not just for commercial freight but passenger service as well since who knows where the airline industry will end up. One thing that has been apparent for some time is the service reduction in certain flight routes. I expect the connectivity will be further reduced to cut costs. Flying from Big City to Big City is not bad but getting to the second and third and fifth tier places is attention-grabbing.

  48. Definitely.

    There's nothing I hate more than air travel. Having to sit down in an airplane chair for 2 or more hours, to me, is a form of torture.