Friday, November 26, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Default Rag.

Armageddon, Here We Come At a private meeting of investors this week, Morgan Stanley chief economist Stephen Roach sketched out a scenario he says gives America a 90 percent chance of facing "economic Armageddon": America's record trade deficit means that the dollar will keep falling, especially against Asian currencies. In order to keep foreign investors buying T-bills and to prevent a rise in inflation, Alan Greenspan is going to have raise interest rates farther and faster than he wants. The result: Americans in debt will get crotch-punched by the sudden interest hikes. Consumer spending will drop off sharply, and the economy will plummet. The alternate is that Greenspan raises inflation and keeps interest rates down, allowing consumer debt to shrink in real terms (household debt in the US is now worth the equivalent of 85 percent of the total US economy). The only problem with that is that it totally devalues long-term t-bills, which could mean a dropoff in foreign investment in those, which would in turn mean that the US government could no longer finance its massive budget deficits. Roach says there's only a 10 percent chance we'll avoid both outcomes. Like those odds?

The Government Grabs the Bozack. Literally Here's a pleasant surprise for holiday air travelers: As part of new search procedures, airport security personnel are now going to be, in the words of R. Kelly, "feelin' on yo booty." "In late September, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began allowing security checkpoint screeners to manually pat down women's breasts and the genital and derriere regions of both sexes during searches." Once again, the Republican administration gets government off our backs...and swinging from our balls.

Dude! We Were Totally Going to Call You! According to newly-released CIA documents, the U.S. government knew for weeks in advance about the planned coup in 2002 against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (a coup, of course that lasted almost a full weekend). Before saying, "What? Is it our job to tell everyone when there's a sinister conspiracy afoot in their country?", think about how angry you'd be if you found out that Hugo Chavez knew for weeks about September 11 but didn't inform the US government.

Democracy Marches On A lot of people complain that not enough Americans vote...well, in the very red state of Wyoming (residence of Destro Cheney), they've somehow managed to solve all that. According to the Wyoming Secretary of State, out of 232,396 registered voters, there was a turnout of 245,789 - a whopping 106 percent.

The Bloodless Purge Continues In the latest sign that "everything's a-ok" at the CIA, two more senior officials have announced early retirements, and are widely believed to be casualties in Porter Goss' war to make the agency more Bush-friendly. The chiefs of the Europe and the Far East sections are stepping down, with Goss vowing in an internal memo that more heads are going to roll.

-Consider Arms