“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Don't Worry, It is Only Our Currency.

Oil at $84 a barrel. The dollar at $1.40 to a Euro. Russia has $420B in currency reserves and Americans have a 0% saving rate and are buying heavy Chinese at WalMart. The world saves and we spend. We shall see.

US dollar plunges to new lows
By James Quinn in New York and Emma Thelwell in London Telegraph
Last Updated: 3:22am BST 21/09/2007

The US dollar plunged to fresh lows against global currencies as investors flee the greenback amid signs that this week's 0.5pc rate cut by the Federal Reserve will not be its last.

The dollar fell to its lowest level against the euro since the currency's inception, breaking through the $1.40 barrier, as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke raised expectations that a further cut is on the cards.

Against the euro, the greenback almost hit $1.41 at one stage, while the Canadian dollar hit parity with its American counterpart for the first time in 31 years.

Sterling was up 0.45pc at $2.0093. Analysts expect the dollar to weaken further against the euro. Barclays Capital's Paul Robinson warned it could slide to $1.42 by the end of the year, possibly even hitting $1.45.

The Daily Telegraph's report that Saudi Arabia is preparing to break its dollar-peg intensified the woes, as did the rising price of oil, which surged through the $83-a-barrel mark as oil companies closed down facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

In New York, US crude was up $1.44 at $83.37 by mid-afternoon, while in London, Brent crude rose 40c to $78.87.

Investors headed to the gold markets, with the yellow metal jumping its highest in 27 years, touching $746.50 at one stage in New York.


  1. "Borrow $500,000 and the bank owns you. Borrow $500,000,000 and you own the bank."

  2. Good point, methuselah. Like Tony Soprano saying to the Chinese, "Nice stack of greenbacks you got there in exchange for these shoes and stuff. Be a shame if anything happened to their buying power."

  3. Wheat's 9 bucks a bushel for December delivery here. Just when I'm out of farming, except for a little miserable alfalfa. But gravel is only $4.50 a ton, self delivered. I know, cause I'm working on a driveway. I boiled some for lunch, but I broke my teeth. I'll go to the bank, see if they think I'm good for 500M.

  4. Goodbye Nasdaq Hello Dubai We send our manufacture overseas, and are owning less and less. We let anyone wander into the country, and have no emergency national energy policy. Who the hell is running this place, Larry Craig?

  5. And Canadian money is worth as much or more than ours. Maybe I won't see Albertson's bitching about those Canadian nickels.

  6. my exports to canada and australia are exploding!

  7. Yeah, Bobal:
    Says the last time that happened with the Canuck Dollar was in 76, when that other contender for the worst President in our lifetimes took the helm.

  8. Comedian Danny Bevins - Audio, Video, Downloads and More!
    Comics On Duty:
    We love you, Mrs. Bevins is not a political statement, rather a visual rendition of the human need to be remembered and the faces that show ...

  9. I'm waiting for the first SUV powered by the biowaste from a liposuction clinic, which is a renewable resource in America. May the fat of a thousand McNuggets propel your Hummer.

  10. Quick! Tell me SOMETHING about this GD'nd Liberal Administration that I like, or my head's gonna explode!
    Justice Department Settles Voting Rights Lawsuit With the City of Walnut...
    The settlement agreement with the city of Walnut, which still must be approved ... in voters not being able to access the polls or cast an informed ballot. ...

  11. Do you prefer Biodiesel, or direct combustion beneath the boiler of the Reborn Stanley Steamer, Ms T?

  12. 127.7 mph In 1906, ain't bad!

    Stanley Steamer - Wiki
    The Stanley (nicknamed Stanley Steamer) was a steam-powered automobile produced by the Stanley Motor Carriage Company.

    In 1906, the Stanley Rocket set the world land speed record at 127.7 mph (205.5 km/h) at the Daytona Beach Road Course, driven by Fred Marriott, picking up the Dewar Trophy in the process. This is still officially recognized as the land speed record for a steam car.
    The Steamer enjoyed a boom in the early 1900s before eventually being overtaken technologically by the internal combustion engine.

  13. DOUG: Quick! Tell me SOMETHING about this GD'nd Liberal Administration that I like, or my head's gonna explode!

    Ummm...the President has the power to see right through plastic lens caps?

  14. I join Doug in asking, 'and those would be, WiO?...'

  15. This record was not broken by any automobile until 1911, although Glen Curtis beat the record in 1907 with a V-8 powered motorcycle at 136 MPH!
    Glen flew at low altitude, too!
    a V-8? wild

  16. Great picture, Ms. T, I wonder if he is using the zoom feature.

  17. Doug, I was just listening to an 'Iranian American'--self described as such--on KGO Radio discussing the situation of Iran, Israel, the US and the west etc. Speaking of the Iranians, he says 'my people'--but then, to this US citizen, what are we? So many people from the mideast that are American citizens always see things through their home country's lens. (lens cap maybe)

  18. ST. GEORGE, Utah (Associated Press) -- Two officers in border towns where many residents belong to a polygamous sect were stripped of their badges in Arizona, and Utah will open its own probe, an official said Thursday.

    Fred Barlow, marshal in Colorado City, Ariz., and Preston Barlow, a deputy, were decertified Wednesday in Arizona after an investigation found them guilty of misconduct.

    They were accused of not cooperating in civil proceedings involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a criminal investigation of its embattled leader, Warren Jeffs.

    In October 2005, when Jeffs was on the run from authorities, Fred Barlow wrote a letter in which he warmly referred to him as "Uncle Warren" and pledged "our desire to stand with you and the priesthood."

    Utah officials were waiting for a decision by Arizona before pursuing their own investigation, said Maj. Rich Townsend, executive director of Police Officer Standards and Training.

    "Arizona received the information first, and we just didn't feel like it was right or appropriate for Utah to jump right in the middle of it," Townsend said.

  19. We'll just have to send in Dennis Kucinich to straighten things out. He certainly has more insight than Krauthammer.

    Blood's thicker than water, money is thicker than blood, and religion is thicker than civil law, to some folks, Rat.

  20. Wrecked Rocket
    He survived!
    Glen had balls of Steel!

    ...the legacy of motorcyclist and aviator Glenn Curtiss, who set a motorcycle land speed record of 136 mph on Ormond Beach on that date in 1907. The record was set during an unofficial time trial, using a V-8 engine mounted on a large bicycle frame, according to historians.
    That motorcycle world record stood for 23 years, and Curtiss went on to become an aviation pioneer.

  21. Subprime Shenanigans:

    The herd mentality of human nature can break out in stampedes which result in more harm than the vague threat which the herd was reacting to.

    The market has been in near panic over the tightening credit market brought on by shallow and sensational "24/7 news" about the subprime lending market and rising foreclosure rates. Panic is the operative word here as so far, no one seems able to say what per centage of the market comprise the non-performing loans. No one knows yet. The panic has even evoked scenes of the 1930's depression era with an actual run on the Northern Rock Bank in England.

    Billions of pounds and dollars have been pumped into the UK and US economies in efforts to calm the herd.

    Then on the other hand, a number of people are sounding positively Hooverish as they call for the "speculators" to pay the market price for greed and avarice. These voices from the left, heard on the BBC and NPR(surprisingly or maybe not) say that the government should not reward the bad behavior of the market.

    What to do? What to do?

  22. Hoped for effects of the lower dollar are increased exports and more tourism to the US.

    US manufacturing and exporters should benefit as US products become more affordable to the world. Likewise, foreigners will find that their currencies go farther in the United States. Conversely, as imported products become more expensive, US consumers will become more selective in their spending.

    So, provided that the anti-Americanism is not too widespread and barring a worldwide recession, the market should seek equilibrium.

    Of course, overlying and undermining all that are the energy machinations of the Carbon Crusaders versus Big Oil.

  23. Colin Powell, Pat Buchanan and Trish:

    Buchanan writes:

    "It may have been politically incorrect to publish the thoughts on the sixth anniversary of 9-11, but what Colin Powell had to say to GQ magazine needs to be heard.

    Terrorism, said Powell, is not a mortal threat to America.

    Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is seen speaking in this video grab provided to Reuters on September 11, 2007. Bin Laden eulogizes a September 11 hijacker as a rare and magnificent man in a tape released on Tuesday to mark the sixth anniversary of the attacks on the United States. The Al Qaeda leader's voice can be heard over a still image presenting the last testament of Waleed al-Shehri, and praising his role in the attacks. The 47-minute video did not appear to include any moving images of bin Laden, but it did include English subtitles. REUTERS/Internet

    "What is the greatest threat facing us now?" Powell asked. "People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?"

    History and common sense teach that Powell speaks truth.

    Since 9-11, 100,000 Americans have been murdered -- as many as we lost in Vietnam, Korea and Iraq combined. Yet, not one of these murders was the work of an Islamic terrorist, and all of them, terrible as they are, did not imperil the survival of our republic.

    Terrorists can blow up our buildings, assassinate our leaders, and bomb our malls and stadiums. They cannot destroy us. Assume the worst. Terrorists smuggle an atom bomb into New York harbor or into Washington, D.C., and detonate it.

    Horrible and horrifying as that would be -- perhaps 100,000 dead and wounded -- it would not mean the end of the United States. It would more likely mean the end of Iran, or whatever nation at which the United States chose to direct its rage and retribution."

    Sometimes the man is right, sometimes he's disgusting.

  24. BTW:

    I just upgraded my Dell notebook to 2 gigs of memory (abt $95). Now, turbocharged, it zings. I heartily recommend it. Go to and run the utility on your pc to find out what they recommend for you machine.

    This is not a paid endorsement.:)(Wish it were.)

  25. I guess Patrick doesn't consider it "Murder" when one of the many Self-Starting Domestic Jihadis kills innocent Americans?

    The Maryland Snipers just put people out of their misery, I guess.

    A Nuke in DC would change us radically and irrevocably, some of that change being good (cleansing Gomorrah) much of it taking us even farther from an America run according to the Constitution.
    The economic devastation and paranoia would also not be inconsiderable.

  26. Memory:
    Cheapest Performance you can buy, unless you bought one of Dell's lemons, like I did, with F...... Expensive and hard to find Rambus Memory! Keep waiting for it to go down, don't think it ever will.
    Made sure my new Hp uses standard cheapo stuff.

  27. Whit,
    Long before 24-7 news people were responding to the same boom and bust mentality, and bubbles always overshoot just as do corrections.
    The most reliable indicator of market tops is when everyman on the street is talking Real-Estate.
    Plain old human nature:
    Greed, Fear, Ignorance, Hubris, and etc.
    I once had a neat real-estate book that described various Manias, starting with Tulipmania!

  28. my exports (of american made food stuffs) has jumped

    we are shipping the uk, tazmania, reunion, australia, germany, canada at never before heights.

    american made exports will do well when the dollar drops

  29. Doug:
    I knew the market was at the top when the "clean-up man" on my construction sites was talking about the "flipping" his real estate investment group had done. Now, in his defense, he's not a dummy as you might expect but still....the clean-up man?

    Reminds me of the shoe shine man giving some baron of industry stock tips just before the "Great Crash."

  30. WIO:
    Send me your email address. I want to talk to you about "food stuff."

  31. Speaking of Dummies:
    I just heard School Bus Nagin Blabbering on about Blacks inherent Civil Right to beat the shit out of Whitey.
    All the great leaders have rallied over Jena, Jesse, Sharpton, School Bus...

  32. I wonder how Calif Wines have done with the falling dollar?
    Saudis are threatening to depeg Oil soon.
    That will be interesting.
    Wonder when the Euro will go from King to Dumpster?
    Can Rufus or anyone tell me the source of it's strength?

  33. It is not that the Euro or Canadian dollar is rising but rather the US dollar is falling. It has been for a long time now. The hope is that it will continue to do so in an orderly manner. Why is it falling...welp, on thing is there are a lot of them kicking around and more and more being pumped out everyday.

    The rich have 'wealth advisors' who have moved them out of the currency long ago so they are sitting pretty. The Chinese have the Yuan pegged to the dollar so their manufacturing price falls in lockstep with the US. Does the US manufacture much anymore?

    The average American appears to have run up a lot of debt. How much of that debt is put on the ubiquitous initial low rate credit card now gouging double digit rates? Care to buy some paper backstopped by that stuff, denominated in US dollars? Yes? Have I got a deal for you.

    If you were holding Euro's, and someone wanted to borrow money from you, what currency would you choose to lend it to them? The easy play right now is borrow in America and move the money out, not lend to America. Yeah, corrections tend to overshoot; how low will she go before she starts to overshoot the mark? What's your bet?

  34. doug wrote:

    "Saudis are threatening to depeg Oil soon."

    They, for the first time ever I heard, just refused to follow the US fed with an interest rate change. Saddam threatened to depeg Oil think similar consequences will follow the Sauds?