The Talking Dog

July 19, 2015, Sunday funnies

A WaPo op ed columnist urges us to "Stop Laughing at Donald Trump," even as he mocks Republican icon John McCain for having been captured in the Vietnam War. Seems like reasonable advice, given that he might well be a false flag candidate.

The slow moving toxic-waste-train-wreck that is the Greek bailout rolls on as the EU approves a seven billion euro loan to pay back the EU bondholdersGermany the IMF and ECB. The Greek referendum of a couple of weeks ago just highlights the adage of "always have a plan B"... the amateur-hour Greek PM clearly wanted to lose the very vote he was campaigning to win... he wanted cover for the wrong thing... and the end result,,, will probably be yet more suffering for his put upon people.

And China, the world's largest second largest economy, has a stock market crash that might (or might not) be over. God knows they're trying everything they can to keep propping it up, including outlawing selling! Say what you will of communist China; they mean business!

And finally, I'm going to do something I'm not sure I've done on this blog before; I'm going to grade my fellow Columbia political science/international politics student (that would be the President, Barack H. Obama), and then given him an "A," on foreign policy, at least for the current quarter. I'm with financial commentator Mike "Mish" Shedlock on lauding the Iran nuclear deal. Coupled with quiet praise for Russian leader Putin on the Iran deal, the new diplomatic relationship with Cuba, and even behind the scenes manipulation of the IMF to be less bitchy toward Greece, the President is living up, to some degree, to the promise of his ascendancy to the office.

In order to give him the A, I have to drop his lowest grades, on things like the ever-festering sore that is Guantanamo Bay, the never-ending drone wars, bear baiting China and the like, but the Cuba and Iran things-- two of the longest-standing American policy fiascoes Obama inherited from his predecessors-- are sufficiently huge to sustain that grade, IMHO (yes, YMMV, but keep in mind, that even many in Israel blame Netanyahu and his "just say no" stance for the Iran deal)... and so, the simple reality is that restoring some level of normality with Iran (and Cuba)... is really big. It gives me hope that there is promise that just maybe in his last year and a half, he can make progress in some of those other areas (without getting the planet blown up in the process.)

And I'll leave it at that.

July 8, 2015, Be Afraid

As you know, American national policy is that Paranoia is Patriotic [TM]. Today, and really the last few days, are truly worthy of the old adage, "Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid." Not over the official horsesh*t, like ISIS Islamic State ISIL, but over, well, you know, the world coming apart at the seams.
(I'd personally blame that water-stealer Tom Selleck, but that's just me.)

Item: the Greek PM has, shortly after sacking the only grownup in his government Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, gone back to the EU finance people begging for a new three year loan, without discussing any specific terms of "reforms" that are supposedly warranted. Evidently, he called the snap "yes/no" referendum on the previous bailout terms hoping that the people he cares about (that would be "the rich") would carry the day and vote to keep the euro, austerity be damned... but, of course, it went the other way, and these things just, you know... sometimes don't work out... Meanwhile his country has an influx-of-refugees crisis brewing as well... oy... or should I say, Oxi...

Item: the Chinese stock market has collapsed, down around a third in just two or three weeks... and the nosedive seems to be continuing despite evasive action by Chinese regulators,

That would seem to be a basis for some concern in American finance. Except... no one could trade, because...

Item: the New York Stock Exchange had a still-unexplained "computer glitch" that suspended all floor trading for over three hours of the trading day today. Naturally, a cyber-attack is absolutely out of the question.
Just as it's out of the question that any kind of cyber-security problem was responsible for extensive outages that grounded all United Airlines flights for a while or shuttered the Wall Street Journal's web operations for a while.

No, of course not. It's not as if this country or its financial institutions have any enemies, now is it? Then again, why is it so hard to imagine that the technical infrastructure even of our most vaunted financial institutions (and a major airline) aren't suffering the same kind of starvation for maintenance and upgrading as the plain old physical infrastructure in the rest of the country, as every ounce of financial lifeblood that can be sucked by the proverbial vampire squid is drained from this economy, even if it means Wall Street is quite literally cannibalizing resources to pay its mandarins their Christmas bonuses, even if said resources would otherwise be necessary to sustain itself as an ongoing venture. Good times.

Then again... maybe it's that cyber-attack thing.

Don't know. Don't care. We got trouble. Right here in New York City.