As I mentioned to Peoplenomics subscribers a week or so back, one of the thoughts that crossed my mind while sitting under an old oak tree at the US Civil War Memorial in Vicksburg, MS was that it takes it a really, really big issue to divide a country against itself. And I wondered then whether gay rights might be such an issue. It’s emotionally hot – feelings run deep – and that makes it something easily manipulated by amoral marketers on both sides of the political trough.
It’s worth mentioning the concern again this morning since over the weekend, Newsweek came out with a cover picture of president Obama complete with a rainbow-colored “halo” and the caption lower left “The First Gay President” although many news outfits are asking whether that’s quite accurate.
Still, as a half-century viewer of politics in America, there aren’t too many things that could divide us against ourselves, though gay rights may have that potential, especially in the deep South where we’ve been traveling lately.
True, there’s a new Gallup Poll out thisi morning that says the majority of Americans have settled on gay/lesbian rights as the “new normal.” But I’d wager a beer (or so) that if one were to overlay a “heat map” on the issue of gay rights today, the geographical similarity to the Civil War might become apparent.
And politics being the crass business of twisting voter’s emotions this way and that, don’t be surprised to see this become one of the few polarizing issues as we get deeper into the silly season which has the potential to trump the economy.
Depressing 2nd Depression Notes
We’ve been chronicling this “stealth Depression” since 1997 when it became obvious that we were on an unsustainable path. (*See chart in the Coping section which follows the news part of this report.) So it really comes as no surprise to see the headlines that California is now underwater to the tune of $16-billion thanks to too much government, failing pension returns, and the list goes on.
Alas! When some calls this the worst recession since the 1930′s they reveal two important facts: a) They haven’t been reading this site over the past 15-years where I’ve been something of a broken record on this stuff. But the second thing they reveal (b)) is that they have no grasp of economic history.
So why are they holding office?
Tanks for Voting, Though
We can help but notice the uneasy calm out of the former Soviet Union (FSU) where Vlad Putin got out the tanks to send a message to Russian voters last week: I’m back and in charge.
What’s the old saying? Tigers don’t change their stripes often? Or, maybe it’s that one-time KGB strongmen didn’t keep their roles in the New Russia by playing namby-pamby Mr. Nice. Same power trippers, new packaging.
The interest paid by Spain to borrow billions this morning has gone up a bit. This as Europe wonders if Greece will split the sheets with the EU and strategists wonder how much dough Spain and the other basically broke EU members are going to cost to paper-over.
Dimon’s Were Forever
…until the $2-billion blow-up over Thursday and Friday of last week. Fast-forward to this morning and several excecs are out and the open question seems to be whether this was a big enough spark to cause an explosion (albeit in slow-motion) of the derivatives bubble. JPMorgan’s got something around $71-trillion of notional value. True, only a small fraction of that could ever be realized (in theory, notes Ures truly nervously). Even so, that’s about 5-times the entire US Gross Domestic Product and how big a fraction does that have to be in order to cause panic in markets?
Freebie NBC Marketing Idea
Speaking of Mr. Dimon, here’s a new marketing name for their Meet the Press show. How about “Meet Depressed?”
Kicking Down Markets
So between the Russians snubbing the G8 meetings, the higher bond yileds out of Spain/Europe, the further collapse of gold by almost $20-bucks, the Newsweek cover, and trading mess at JPMorgan, what will markets worry about next now that a downside move of 1% is possible in today’s trading, based on the futures?
Glad you asked.
Retail sales and the consumer price index come out tomorrow and that has the potential to drive the US markets down to the 1,325 (or lower) target we’ve been patiently waiting for.
Say, you don’t think ex-KGB’er Vlad knows something in advance, do you?
Don’t know how many people picked up the story last week of a “radioactive man” being pulled over by a state trooper in Connecticut? Who knew staters were carrying radiation detectors good enough to catch a passing vehicle’s occupant? That there is some good technology…but it does raise questions for people having medical work done. Might want to get a hall pass from the doc…
Speaking of the long arm of the law – you don’t want to have overdue books since there’s a report out of Freeport PA by the CBS affil in Pittsburgh that the cops got called out to collect overdue books from a four-year old.
Wonder if a dozen would bring out a swat team?
Junk Food: Timing is Everything
In case you’re bothered by the “Infographic: When the lights go out, the world eats junk” article here, I’m pleased to offer a free solution the problem of night time munchies: Go to bed earlier, get some sleep and maintain high energy.
Besides, that will leave more chips and nibbles for me…
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