Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Monday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 13, 2009

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— Even as paid coupista apologists write panegyrics on Micheletti’s behalf in the US media, his gang has no kicked out TeleSUR, the last truly reliable TV network reporting on the ground in Honduras. This is an ominous sign and indicates that the coup plotters are planning to seriously up the violence factor.

The US trade gap is still narrowing, and is now at its smallest amount since November of 1999; even though we’re importing more from China, we’re importing far less overall.

This is seen as an example of the weakness of the US economy. That could be so, but there is also this hypothesis: The fuel price shock of last year, which I suspect was one of the triggers of the worldwide collapse of the economy, suddenly made it a lot more costly to import things to the US. Up until last summer, it cost around $2000 to $3000 to ship a standard container to the US. As of September of last year, it cost from $7000 to $9000. Even though the price of oil has dropped in the wake of the collapse, it’s still not cheap enough for shell-shocked overseas economies to be able to start importing things on a pre-collapse scale. So while we’re weak, other economies are much weaker still.

— The current favorite right-wing revisionist history talking point being dutifully transmitted by conservative media writers (and thus e-mailed among hardcore conservatives) is that Sarah Palin was being attacked from the get-go by the US media. TPM’s Josh Marshall takes a little time to blow that sucker to smithereens.

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5 Responses to “Monday Morning News Roundup”

  1. Charles II said

    1. It’s worrying that the Honduran coup expelled the media. It very likely means the repression is about to get started for real. So far, the death count has been relatively light, though I still find it hard to get the image of Obed Murillo out of my head. But this is the same faction that ran the death squads, killing and torturing mercilessly.

    Let’s hope that there are some freelancers with satellite phones who can keep an eye on what’s going on.

    2. It’s normal for the trade gap to narrow during recessions. For example, if exports are $50B and imports are $100B, then both are cut in half, the trade gap narrows from $50B to $25B. The real question is what structural changes occur as a result of declining trade. Unfortunately, those do not look as good. We are shuttering high value industries, like cars, while China is re-opening low value industries like textiles (and supporting industry up and down the line). When the recession ends, China will be an even more dominant force.

  2. Diplomatically speaking, the Obama administration should be placing a lot more emphasis on civil rights and press freedoms in Honduras, independent of the status of Zelaya going forward. If Honduras claims to be preserving its constitutional government, whoever the leader of that government is, must be held to account.

  3. Kathy said

    Perhaps container ships and oil tankers should think of using sails when the wind is with them. Now that would be an interesting sight, wouldn’t it?

  4. nicteis said

    Pssst. The whole controversy over free trade vs. protectionism is about to be rendered obsolete. Mother Nature has bypassed the legislatures, and imposed an automatic transportation tariff. If free traders (who, come to think of it, tend also to be deniers of both global warming and peak oil) ingore Her, She’ll just put the screws to them all the tighter as time goes on.

    “The transportation tariff.” As the 2010s come on, I’m predicting this’ll be a buzz phrase with a bullet.

    • Charles II said

      Over the long term, there’s no question you’re right, Nic, though I’d say that the screws are being put to us all.

      Over the shorter term, oil can fall further and put green energy producers out of business (not to mention accelerate global warming).

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