Sunday, April 20, 2008

En este camino no hay nadie más

"toma tus cosas y vámonos ya,
si no corremos nos van a dejar.
Ponte tu casco y tu traje espacial
la carretera no puede esperar"
-Vámonos, Café Tacvba

It's road trip season! I won't be taking one today, but oh, to just jump in the car and drive south! San Miguel de Allende, Real del Catorce, Tepoz, wherever. And even further down, Maruata, Pátzcuaro, Chacagua, Zicatela and all the other little towns and beaches in Michoacán and Oaxaca.

No time off right now, it's all double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble, hee.

Sure, I love what I'm doing, I just miss taking off. Rusty and I were going to Bangkok for three weeks and use it as a jumping off point to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He never complained that it got canceled, such a sweetheart.

Instead we obsess about the Democratic primaries and talk about him leaving for London eventually, among a thousand other things. So many of our friends are getting hitched, and R feels stranded on the dock. I imagine a forlorn Principito staring out to sea... draw me a lamb...

A couple of months ago, he mentioned that if he could define me in a phrase, it would be:

lo que nos importe, y lo que nos congrega,
una sociedad conjunta que amamos y que nos dele,
y un futuro conjunto que también amamos
y que no estamos dispuestos a que también nos duela

Of course I googled that right away and it's from Pablo Fernandez Christlieb. Tomorrow I'm going over to gandhi and ordering a couple of his books. They almost never have what I'm looking for, it's a bummer. Maybe they'll have Coetzee on sale now.

This post is like a simpsons episode, starts off being one thing and ends up being another. Well, to continue in this slightly odd vein, let me fire my predictions for Obama.

Obama will win Pennsylvania, or Hillary might scrape by the skin of her teeth. Bittergate is a media creation and I don't think that many real people, voters, were offended. Hell yes, I'm bitter. I lost my job to the Chinese! or some such. You all know what I think about that sentiment, the importance of the service economy and the race to the bottom; but it's kind of hard to say that to someone who lost their job.

Anyway, things are not going well for the Clintons despite what they may think or what the MSM and pundits pompously posit on about. Her campaign is moribund, running out of steam and money.

Then you hace McCain, and Rove. Well, the Wave Principle will take care of this one, I think. A bad economy hurts the incumbent and helps the opposition. And folks, the economy isn't getting any better in time for the election. Bernanke said we'll see some improvement in the second semester, but central bankers tend towards optimism. And it's a good thing otherwise everyone else would panic even more.

But oil reached 117 on the Nymex last friday, and West Texas Intermediate closed at 116.69; Brent crude ended at 113.54 in London. It's not just the Nigerian sabotage and the Mexican interruption. Our ports close down for short periods due to bad weather several times a month, it's temporary and everybody knows it.

It's the weak dollar, the Chinese demand, OPEC and the war in Iraq. I believe I've written about this before. Also, the futures contracts for May expired on friday. The June contract will start trading on Monday, and there's no reason for it to go down. Oil prices will affect everything else, and we can expect further inflation.

There have been food riots in places like Haiti, Bangladesh and Egypt, and the world's grain stores are low. I know most Americans don't give a shit about disturbances in places like these, but this will bite them in the ass in a couple months, if not already.

The economy is slow, but unstoppable. It's not even that slow, just that we're used to 30 second sound bites, we have extremely short attention spans and no long term memory. Any macroeconomics guy will tell you that it takes two years to cycle out of recession, if it's a quick one. It can take six years if it's a slow cycle. Victor (Kux or little bro to you) compared it to "a happy iceberg". Happy, indeed.

What does all this mean? Well, I can't possibly guess what the political climate will be come september, but I can tell you one thing. Gas will be expensive, and so will food. Who knows if another Bear Stearns will pop up. Do you think Bernanke will follow Jezebel's advice and just tell Wall Street to go fuck itself? Three guesses.

And he really probably shouldn't. The so called little people might resent it if their tax dollars are used to bail out the big bankers, but all their credit comes from Big Banks, so it's not a good idea if BB goes broke. It's the same reason they bailed out LTCM.

Barring new terrorist threats, or the perception of a new terrorist threat, I really don't see how Rove will be able to distract middle America from the fact that their dollars can hardly buy anything, they have no money for gas and their mortgages are very close to defaulting. How the hell can he get a candidate elected on that? My perverse side would love to watch.

I'm not saying it's going to be a total meltdown. But the world's foremost economy is no longer. China's domestic demand is quite big, so are other emerging markets. Not to mention the EU. The world can keep spinning. Japanese bankers may not feel compelled to buy so much American debt anymore if they can find someone else to buy their products. Places like... you guessed it, China. And India.

Am I repeating myself? Sounding like an imbecile pundit? Did you know the fastest growing industry / sector in the U.S. economy in the last couple years is debt?

Well, it's late and my arms are hurting. It's weird, I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome but maybe it's some sort of tendinitis. Forearmitis?

Por mientras canto Tu TuruTu TururuTururururu,

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