Skip to main content

I read the news today (oh boy...)

Taking a glance at some of the news stories today, we've got celebrities, nationalization and human rights as some of today's themes. We'll let Google News sell Tom Cruise above the fold, I want to take a look at some of the stories further down the page.

Does Democracy ensure peace, human rights?

Here's one from the VOA News site headlined, "US Vice-President Criticizes Russia's Human Rights Record". Cheney has taken the now widely recognized idea that Russia is using its energy supplies as a political weapon and used it as the fulcrum for his attack on Russia's turn towards authoritarianism. Quite right, but I'd say that's more than a little ironic coming from a man who has stood behind our country's relentless march to war against enemies real or imagined, helping to ensure the resulting decay in liberty.

Illegal detentions of suspected terrorists or "enemy combatants", secret courts and prisons, a widely publicized disregard for principles of prisoner treatment as set forth by Geneva Conventions, unconstitutional pre-emptive war declarations, programs for spying on American citizens, must I go on? A decent overview of this administration's actions in a piece such as this one, by Robert Parry, should put things into perspective.

Senate passes spending bill

Elsewhere in the news, the U.S. Senate has approved a $109 billion emergency spending measure, largely related to the war and operations spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are some notable chunks of money earmarked for other causes - here's a passage from Bloomberg's report on the subject:

The legislation provides $66 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; $28 billion for Hurricane Katrina related- relief; and as much as $4 billion in farm assistance. It would also provide $650 million for port security, $1.1 billion for the Gulf Coast seafood industry and $1.9 billion for border security programs.

The total figure exceeds the $94.5 billion that the Bush administration is willing to spend, but I say, "hey, what's a few billions between friends?". By the way, Iraq & Afghan war costs have totaled $439 billion to date, according to World Peace Herald.

Kind of differs from the official govt. estimates I remember flashing across the news tickers in the run up to the Iraq war. I believe at the time (late 2002), the official estimates had the Iraq war costs pegged at $9-$13 billion and this was counter to an independant organization's estimate of at least $100-$200 billion in total war costs. I've got to retrace those figures.

Bolivia

Bolivia's nationalization of the gas sector has mostly gone according to plan, with "renegotiations" being scheduled between the country and the major foreign oil & gas companies that are invested in its resources. However, Petrobras seems to not want to play a part in this unfolding drama. According to a recent report by Forbes, Petrobras chief Gabrielli is suspending the company's business in Bolivia.

So far Repsol seems to be biding their time and playing the game. We'll see how this plays out. I wonder if some of these companies seem to think it might be worth their while to bite the bullet and wait out the situation. Unfortunately for them, I think the nationalizing countries will want to try and hold on to the resource rights as long as commodity prices remain high. That seems to be the pattern in which these resource grabs/nationalization efforts play out, at least to my limited knowledge. I wonder what an industry insider would say. Perhaps I'll have to try and find one and get an opinion.

Popular posts from this blog

The Dot-Com Bubble in 1 Chart: InfoSpace

With all the recent talk of a new bubble in the making, thanks in part to the Yellen Fed's continued easy money stance , I thought it'd be instructive to revisit our previous stock market bubble - in one quick chart. So here's what a real stock market bubble looks like.  Here's what a bubble *really* looks like. InfoSpace in 1999-2001. $QQQ $BCOR pic.twitter.com/xjsMk433H7 — David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) February 24, 2015   For those of you who are a little too young to recall it, this is a chart of InfoSpace at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble in 1999-2001. This fallen angel soared to fantastic heights only to plummet back down to earth as the bubble, and InfoSpace's shady business plan , turned to rubble. As detailed in our post, " Round trip stocks: Momentum booms and busts ", InfoSpace rocketed from under $100 a share to over $1,300 a share in less than six months.  In a pattern common to many parabolic shooting stars, the s

Jesse Livermore: How to Trade in Stocks (1940 Ed. E-book)

If you've been around markets for any length of time, you've probably heard of 20th century supertrader, Jesse Livermore . Today we're highlighting his rare 1940 work, How to Trade in Stocks (ebook, pdf). But first, a brief overview of Livermore's life and trading career (bio from Jesse Livermore's Wikipedia entry). "During his lifetime, Livermore gained and lost several multi-million dollar fortunes. Most notably, he was worth $3 million and $100 million after the 1907 and 1929 market crashes, respectively. He subsequently lost both fortunes. Apart from his success as a securities speculator, Livermore left traders a working philosophy for trading securities that emphasizes increasing the size of one's position as it goes in the right direction and cutting losses quickly. Ironically, Livermore sometimes did not follow his rules strictly. He claimed that lack of adherence to his own rules was the main reason for his losses after making his 1907 and

New! Finance Trends now at FinanceTrendsLetter.com

Update for our readers: Finance Trends has a new URL!  Please bookmark our new web address at Financetrendsletter.com Readers sticking with RSS updates should point your feed readers to our new Finance Trends feedburner .   Thank you to all of our loyal readers who have been with us since the early days. Exciting stuff to come in the weeks ahead! As a quick reminder, you can subscribe to our free email list to receive the Finance Trends Newsletter . You'll receive email updates about once every 4-8 weeks (about 2-3 times per quarter).  Stay up to date with our real-time insights and updates on Twitter .