Putin vs. Dell – Round 2

Remember when Vladamir Putin rudely slapped-down Michael Dell’s offer for technological help at Davos in 2009? If not, near the beginning of the video below, you can see Putin reply: “We don’t need help. We are not invalids. We don’t have limited mental capacity.”

Well, we may find out who “needs help” soon. When Turkey requested Patriot missiles from NATO to bolster its defenses against Syria, Russia responded by sending their Iskander missiles to Bashar Assad. So, the scene is set for a USA-Russia missile duel in Syria.

Will we win? Maybe not. From what I have read, these Iskanders are formidable. They can fly at 1.3 miles per second, perform evasive maneuvers, and release decoys. And they are battle-tested. Russia used Iskanders in their 2008 invasion of Georgia. The Russians claim that one Iskander destroyed 28 tanks at a Georgian base.

There is also a rumor that the Russians challenged us to an Iskander vs. Patriot duel at an air show, but we declined.

I find this all fascinating because we Americans are rather arrogant. After all, what does Dell know about technology? Don’t they just assemble parts from Taiwan? Was Putin right? At some point, our hollowed-out industrial base is going to catch up with our military swagger.

Perhaps Vladimir Putin thinks that time has come.

Larry Kudlow, Gas Bag

CNBC’s Larry Kudlow is campaigning for the exportation of natural gas. At 2:18 into the video below, Kudlow says:

“It’s a world market. So, if you’re exporting, there’s going to be global price setting just like there is in the oil business. Why would these natural gas prices explode?”

But it isn’t a world market. Natural gas has never been priced globally like oil because gas is much more difficult to transport. So, if Kudlow is not arguing his case from actual facts, what is he basing his case on? Answer: ideology. The same “free market” ideology that, when applied to banking, crashed the global economy in 2008.

I for one, would like to see an energy-independent America. Larry Kudlow does not. Like I say, Kudlow is not a patriotic American, but rather a patriotic globican.

With the growth of liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities, it is possible that natural gas would be priced globally one day. However, today, the USA has a huge advantage on gas prices over competing nations. From Reuters:

“Global LNG trading is much younger, and as a result of the immature market, LNG prices differ widely by region. Currently, North America benefits from the lowest gas prices at around $3.5 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), while Asian importers have to pay almost $14 per mmBtu for LNG imports.”

This makes it possible that some heavy industry might be able to move back to the USA. For example, energy intensive plants that make toys might come back from China.

Fracking has been a rare bright spot for the USA in recent years. If we are going to suffer the ecological degradation, however bad it may or may not be, we should definitely be keeping the benefits for ourselves. People like Kudlow are only for nation-building when the nation in question is not the USA.

Bizarro Kudlow Cheers Workers

At the beginning of the video below, you can see CNBC’s Larry Kudlow cheering for workers at Facebook for what is probably the first time in his life.

Kudlow is normally seen pounding the table and demanding lower pay for workers, not to mention savage austerity after their jobs have been offshored. Facebook pays its interns $5,600 per month, so Kudlow seized on that as proof that “free market capitalism” is working.

But we don’t have the “free market capitalism” that Kudlow advocates. Kudlow is a globalist and wants wide-open immigration – especially for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs like the ones at Facebook. If Kudlow had his way, every one of those Facebook interns would be from India and getting paid $1,000 per month.

It is the people who fight against mass-immigration who can take credit for these workers getting a larger slice of the pie.

Note: It’s not all peaches and cream for workers in Silicon Valley. See this story.

New Food-Stamp Record: 47,710,324

The USDA reported today that the number of people on food stamps in September surged to a record 47,710,324 – a jump of 607,559 from the previous month. The USDA reports data with a two-month lag, so this total does not include the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Click chart to enlarge:

The economy is creating jobs, but obviously not enough to keep up with “population growth” (a.k.a. “mass immigration”).

Data source: USDA.

See more charts here.

Carl Quintanilla is an Airhead

The “entitlements” meme is designed foremost to convince us that programs like Social Security are actually generous when in reality they are stingy. Some retirees can’t even afford running water and electricity. Others have a new Christmas ritual: roaming around like gypsies in RVs looking for work. And they end up being driven like sled dogs in America’s new sweat-warehouses.

At 2:10 into the video below, you can see CNBC airhead Carl Quintanilla lay on a thick coat of corporate happy-talk as he raves about the fabulous “mobility of the modern workforce”:

To get an idea of what it’s really like to work in these places, read: “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave.”

Jane Wells is also in the video. Back in January, the Quintanilla/Wells duo teamed-up to have a chuckle over child slave labor. Nice, huh?

To read more about how stingy Social Security actually is, read: “The Fiscal Cliff is a Lie” by Michael Lind.

Did Warren Buffett Just Endorse Protectionism?

It seems like it was only just yesterday that I was predicting that everybody would be protectionists soon, and then Jon Stewart brought up the subject to Warren Buffet on Tuesday (11/27/2012).

Earlier in the show (at 2:17 here), Stewart did a piece on the horrific sweatshop fire in Bangladesh. So, that’s why it was on his mind when he was interviewing Buffet. At 3:45 into the video below, Stewart says:

“This idea that, because in Bangladesh and China they accept working conditions that Americans would not consider optimal that you can’t ask for anything anymore because, hey man, we’ll just send our stuff over there. And I understand that but there has to be some sense of domestic policy that keeps that in there. Yes?”

In case you can’t decipher Stewart’s mumbling, he was asking Buffet if we should adopt protectionist policies to prevent offshoring and global labor arbitrage. Buffet didn’t say anything in response, but he did nod and grunt in ascent. So, did Warren Buffett endorse protectionism? Take a look:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Warren Buffett & Carol Loomis Pt. 2
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I think he did, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Buffet to do anything. The fact is that our vast Asian gulag “supply chain” isn’t going anywhere until another Abraham Lincoln comes along and smashes it. How would he stop young Asian girls from being locked into burning sweatshops? First, you slap on a tariff high enough to bring the factories back to the USA. Then you unionize them, and enforce workplace safety laws. Problem solved. Again. We actually already did that back in the 1930s.

Will Buffett ever go back on Stewart’s show? Maybe not. I doubt if he appreciates being hit with that question. After all, the first thing they teach you in Main Stream Media school is that one does not raise the topic of sweatshops in polite company. I guess Jon Stewart missed that class. Good for him.