Kabuki Theater Calamity

October 13, 2013

vintage-gas-station-v3a-wingsdomain-art-and-photographyClear and cold this Sunday morning here on California’s north coast, the sun near-literally bursting up like thunder a little while ago — and I don’t really know, but it sure feels the cold has arrived earlier this year.
The word, ‘cold,’ being relative, of course.

Such as wanting to coldcock some assholes in DC — hard-hitting imagery with a touch of innuendo, ‘coldcock‘ — and re-populate Congress. Despite ‘conversations, the shutdown continued into its 13th day: “I hope that our talking is some solace to the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Saturday after discussions with Republican Senate leaders. “This should be seen as something positive, even though we don’t have anything done yet.”

Harry, though, just needs a good bitch slap.

(Illustration found here).

Rest of those clowns should be clobbered — yesterday, after a week’s shitload-worth of one-sided proposals by House crazies got shot down a final time, the Senate did its part and buffaloed a bill to raise the debt ceiling through next year — all upper-chamber Republicans blocked it.
Says Harry: Reid told reporters after the vote that it is “hard for [him] to comprehend” why every Republican voted against opening the debate.

Anyway, enough of the updated-origins of this twisted-tale.
Along with an enormous list of casualties off this truly batshit-crazy hold on government, it’s not only federal people suffering, but the shutdown has an in-direct ripple and/or a trickle-down effect on all kinds of people, which causes the whole economy to tilt/teeter toward the shits.
Via 24/7WallSt: Market research firm IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS) has estimated that the shutdown is leaching an average of $160 million a day from the U.S.’s $15.7 trillion economy.
Operative word here, ‘leaching,’ from ‘leach,’ which means, among other related things, to “empty or drain.”
Yet irony lies unrepentant:

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those who gathered Sunday morning, along with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, according to WTOP radio.
Cruz said President Obama is using veterans as pawns in the shutdown.
“Tear down these walls,” the crowd chanted.
Protesters also sang God Bless America and other patriotic songs as they entered the memorial plaza.

All gathered at the WWII Memorial on the National Mall — a vicious circle back to the vicious opening days of the shutdown.
Meanwhile, back in reality of myself, I hadn’t been aware of this particular glitch via the shutdown, though with all the racket about the public peril due to staff reductions/cut backs at the EPA, the NHTSA, the USGS, NASA, and so forth, and so on, it’s no real wonder.
On Friday, from Bloomberg:

The Energy Information Administration said today it ceased operations and furloughed staff, stopping publications including the 34-year-old Weekly Petroleum Status Report on Wednesdays, which includes crude oil and gasoline data.
The suspension means the market will turn to commercial reports from organizations such as the American Petroleum Institute, an industry-funded group that gives paying subscribers first access to the information.
Traders already lost a separate weekly government report on hedge funds’ holdings of futures and options positions.
The EIA stoppage may add uncertainty to the market, potentially discouraging data-driven traders from placing bets and increasing market volatility.
“Losing any such really high-quality data source would be worrying,” said Julius Walker, global energy markets strategist at UBS Securities LLC in New York.
“It would create a lot more uncertainty and possibly volatility in oil prices because we’d just have less of an idea of what’s going on.
“The API numbers are based on a voluntary survey, so they don’t capture all the companies.”

Yes, indeed, so captured the oil institute.

The agency’s weekly report, started in April 1979, has never encountered interruptions related to a government shutdown, Cogan said.
It delayed the Feb. 9 report in 2010 for two days as a snowstorm forced federal offices in Washington to close.
The EIA also publishes a natural gas inventory report every Thursday.
Oil and gas markets may be more volatile as the reports are suspended and traders speculate on changes in supplies, according to Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York.
“We’re going to see increased volatility because the market won’t know what the actual storage number is,” Yawger said.
“The assumption would be that both crude and natural gas inventories will tend to build at a quicker rate in the next couple of reports, but there’s a degree of uncertainty.”

One bizarre, fatal-cancerous boil blistering on the body of mankind is oil. And freakin’ talk about ‘uncertainty,’ or just oil as opiate — last week, an example of  current-drug-induced jitter, mistaken from 40 years ago:

Still, oil traders took the tweet as current, according to Reuters, which drove up oil prices by about $1 per barrel, from $110.40 to $111.50.
Apparently, traders who saw the tweet (the ubiquitous Bloomberg financial terminals sometimes carry tweets) believed that Israel had just bombed Syrian airports.
That developed into rumors, which led traders to worry that the supply of oil was about to become more expensive, so they started buying more oil in anticipation of a price spike, thus causing an actual spike in prices despite the fact that nothing had happened.

“Although traders quickly realized the historical nature of the Tweet, oil prices maintained their gains.”
Oil prices actually ended up going even higher, to $111.74 per barrel, the most expensive it’s been all month.

Much a great-do about nothing — but it might effect/affect me and thee. Oil prices trickle down to the gas pump, and I usually do a post on oil and its current cost as a take on my semi-rare (I drive near-nowhere) visits to the local Union 76 — and on Friday, I put another $20 worth of gas in my Jeep Comanche at $3.99 a gallon for regular.
Down a dime since the last time I posted about it (maybe one trip since) at $4.09 a gallon. California’s state average is $3.85 a gallon, down $.06 in a week — the AAA reports Northern California’s average is $3.84, but the highest in the area is nearby Eureka, set at $4.08.
I really don’t know any of the details of how that shit works.
The AAA also reports the US national average as of Friday was $3.35 a gallon, two cents lower than a week ago, 22 cents lower than a month ago, and 46 cents lower than a year ago — an appearance of something?
Just being fickle: Light, sweet crude oil for November delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled down 99 cents a barrel, at $102.02 a barrel…ICE Brent crude for November fell 52 cents to $111.28.

However, the mess of the shutdown — the real shit comes this week.
If the assholes in DC can’t work out a deal, the US will hit the debt ceiling on Thursday, a point where the Treasury Department won’t be able to borrow money by issuing bonds, and after awhile, its cash balance will be ‘leached‘ off by government paying for its operation.
Business Insider this afternoon:

“Our own estimate implies that the Treasury could conceivably continue to make its scheduled payments until the end of October,” said Goldman Sachs’ Alec Phillips.
“However, the Treasury’s cash balance is likely to be so low after about October 25 that, depending on revenue fluctuations, the cash balance could be depleted on any day.”
“This would be a very rapidly spreading, fatal disease,” warned Deutsche Bank CEO Anshu Jain saying that a U.S. debt default would be “utterly catastrophic.”

And the outlook:

“The likelihood of a deal to lift the debt ceiling and end the shutdown before October 18th has increased, but only for a deal of limited scope and duration,” said Deutsche Bank’s David Bianco.
“Such a deal is not the deal investors wished for and it will put the burden on 3Q earnings and macro data to push the S&P to 1750 or higher by year end.
“We have a “high stakes week ahead,” he said.

No shit, sherlock.
Although, some expected as much from assholes in DC: “Stocks were all eager to rally when the two parties just began to talk. I think that twists and turns such as this were to be expected as part of Washington’s typical kabuki theater act,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, interest rate strategist with TD Securities in New York.

Well, the curtain is about to rise — Bloomberg last week apparently nailed missing the debt-ceiling deadline as ‘an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen.’

And tomorrow is Monday, again!

(Illustration out front found here).

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