Daily Flog: California, here we go; crisis also sweeps through Asia
Like a game of Risk played on speed, big investors are scurrying around the world looking for hiding places from which to make their last stand. Asian markets are now feeling the impact of the Fall Street fallout.
Things are so strange that the Bush Administration is even on the verge of nationalizing banks, as I noted last night. Republicans veering toward socialism. OK, even in the good times we already had a deeply entrenched corporate-welfare system, and maybe this is just nationalized health-care for banks, but still . . .
Hunkered down in the States, I'm one Okie who's glad he already fled East. This morning's Wall Street Journal story "First Into Recession, California Shows Possible Future for U.S." explains why it might be safer to keep living in the Dust Bowl or anyplace other than the formerly Golden State:
A lot of Californians are probably kicking themselves for having listened to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he said, "Come with me if you want to live!"
Run in the opposite direction. And don't worry: You can still race for cover in some pimp kicks. The bad news from California and the Asian markets doesn't mean that you have to rush to FootLocker — the Asian sweatshops that manufacture your sneakers are still functioning abnormally.
As for the good things? Forget it. Like book-review sections in newspapers, good things are already getting sliced by the bad times. For instance, this sad news for huggers of trees and the solar-energy industry: Surviving investment bank Goldman Sachs "slapped sell ratings on the two largest publicly traded U.S. solar power firms, with the broker flagging the possibility of oversupply as overseas subsidies dry up in the face of the global economic meltdown," MarketWatch has reported.
While the investment bank's former CEO, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, is bailing out banks, Goldman analyst Michael Molnar is single-handedly dooming prospects for the alternative-energy industry around the world:
Great news for Big Oil, which, as I previously pointed out, is already sitting on big piles of cash.
It figures that oil would remain more liquid than other industries, but in this case the liquid is green and it hasn't peaked.
While everyone's frantically looking for cash, Big Oil and the private-equity dweebs are sitting on billions, just waiting for things to bottom out before they swoop in and snatch up companies for pennies on the dollar.
For the rest of us? If you think things are bad now, just wait. That's the word from China, which is about to replace the U.S. as the 21st century superpower. In an interview with the China rag 21st Century Business Herald (reprinted in Beijing Review), big-cigar banker Wang Zili says:
The world financial crisis wasn't exactly helped by an exceedingly gloomy forecast by the International Monetary Fund. As the Financial Times reported on market action early yesterday:
If you want to scare yourself, see the transcript of yesterday's IMF "World Economic Outlook" press conference in D.C.
Does this make you want to lace up your Nikes and start running? Wait, here's more stuff, old and new . . .
NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
Al Jazeera: 'Arab markets continue to dive'
The Oil Drum: 'How Much Nationalization Is Appropriate?'
Terrorism Monitor: 'Is the U.S.-Pakistan Alliance Against Terrorism Coming to an End?'
United for a Fair Economy: 'Executive Excess 2008: How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay'
Institute for Policy Studies: 'A Sensible Plan for Recovery'
Students for an Orwellian Society: 'Big Brother Bush's Eighth State of the Allied Bloc Nations Address'
Waxman Committee: 'Hearing on the Causes and Effects of the AIG Bailout' (video)
GlobalSecurity.org: 'McCain: "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" ' (video)
CounterPunch: 'The Debate in Nashville: Imbecilic Tedium' (Alexander Cockburn)