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Bruce Enberg's Commentary

This is the end, Hold your breath and count to ten....

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A Big Box Store owned sweat shop in Bangladesh collapsed into a twisted pile yesterday, 90 known dead and hundreds still missing. When I say the Walmarts of the world own these sweat shops, I mean it in an economic sense, not in the paper fiction consisting of layers of corporate ownership that they hide behind to evade criminal responsibility. If you or I did the things the Walton family have done behind the bureaucracy of their corporate holdings we would never see the light of day again. That's not to say they are the only ones doing this, the decriminalization of mergers & acquisitions by the Reagan Adm has put most of the world's corporate holdings in the hands of sociopaths.

 

The fiction promoted by the corporate media is that these garment factories are locally owned, but the margin they operate on is so small that they have no choice but to do exactly what they are told by their corporate masters. It's true that they aren't explicitly told to lock the fire exits and ignore the giant cracks in the concrete, but they'll be joining the ranks of the starving poor if they don't, and they will simply be replaced by someone who will. The thing is, it really doesn't make the poorly made shirt that you buy cheaper, labor is not a big portion of the cost, it just deprives people a living wage, and that is the goal of the Neo-Cons.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 22:47 Read more...

Bare Boobs Kill! No, actually it's Right Wing boobs that kill

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The blast in West, Texas produced a yield equivalent to about a kiloton of TNT. They know this by measuring the size of the mushroom cloud. You see they did so many open air nuke tests in the 40s and 50s that there is actually a formula for this. The amount of anhydrous (dry) ammonia gas in the tanks was enough to yield 1.2 kilotons if it was all consumed in the blast. This was 1350 times what was allowed by Federal regulations, but since the Reagan Administration it's been up to the states to enforce these sort of work place rules. We don't know yet if the massive amount of ammonia nitrate also stored on the sight played any roll in the blast, it's an oxidizer and won't explode unless mixed with fuel oil.

Texas doesn't like to interfere in the rights of business. In fact there was nothing keeping the plant or something even worse from being right in the middle of town. The only zoning restriction in Texas is how close a strip club can be to a residence, church or school. Nuclear scale explosives? No problem, there's a vacant lot between the school and the nursing home, move right in, as long as your female workers keep their tops on. The thing about anhydrous ammonia is it's not particularly flammable, it burns at a lower temperature than its ignition point. The big concern for public safety is that you can use it to cook meth. That is it's safe as long as you follow the applicable regulations, funny how ignoring what the nanny state tells you tends to work out badly.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 April 2013 21:40 Read more...

The value of canned goods has collapsed?

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Gold closed at $1355/oz today, nearly $600/oz below its peak less than two years ago. I said then, sell, sell. Man did I get the mail from the gold bugs. I was just crazy, hyper-inflation was going to happen any minute, the USD would be worthless, and gold would be $10,000/oz within months.

 

The pundits are blaming gold's collapse on reduced growth in China, as if 8% annual growth was bad. As I recall the imminent collapse of the Chinese economy was one of the compelling reasons to buy Glenn Beck's gold.

 

The race to the bottom is being driven by margin calls since gold is nothing but another commodity. In fact, the panic is driving down all commodities and stocks as well as investors try to get into a 'liquid' position. As in, floating on top and not drowning.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2013 21:45 Read more...

Buffy closes the Hellmouth

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Ever heard of 'The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists'? Using information that must have come from something akin to the 'Anonymous' hackers (or maybe the NSA) they have begun to reveal the rampant tax evasion of the wealthy.

The first articles based on a cache of 2.5 million files were published Thursday (today), laying bare the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore entities, including your basic shell corporations and legal structures known as trusts,  that have been used to hide the finances of politicians (Mitt Romney?), crooks, drug smugglers, dictators and others from more than 170 nations.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 18:58 Read more...

P2 is Bearish on Magic Beans

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Initial Unemployment Claims edged up slightly for the week, but are still near five year lows. Building contractors in some previously depressed areas are finding it impossible to keep up with the demand for new units. This is partly because of the unavailability of existing homes because underwater owners can't sell, and partly it's pent up demand that is being released by the improving economy.

 

All of a sudden we don't have an immediate debt crisis, at least according to some prominent Republicans in Congress. Basically they're admitting to having lied about the 'debt crisis', literally the day before the new talking points came out, because nothing has changed. A new Continuing Resolution has passed Congress that will take some things off the Sequester chopping block, it still requires the President's signature. Sounds like Obama is a brand new friend to some Republican Congressmen who suddenly don't care about the 'debt crisis!!!', as long as their pet projects get funding. Would this be a good place to insert one of those 'Obama playing chess' metaphors?

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 20:09 Read more...

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