Oil Over $100 A Barrel: Oil has hit new highs on world commodity markets, closing at over $100 a barrel for the first time ever yesterday. OPEC is refusing to boost production in the near future figuring that the new higher market prices should help to decrease oil demand. All of this will no doubt fuel more energy related inflation in the U.S. on all goods including food, despite creeping recession fears which normally fuel price cuts by retailers to boost sagging sales. High oil prices for gasoline and heating oil also will drive consumers away from other market goods and only increase the possibility of a coming recession as well. Increased price inflation of goods while sales actually slow will be an unique characteristic of this coming economic slowdown.
Automobile Repossessions: While much has been said about home foreclosures, little has been said about a growing crisis of rising automobile repossessions as many consumers can no longer afford to make their car or truck payments in a tightening economy. Certainly any new trend that many consumers can not afford to make their car payments will translate into reduced sales of new automobiles very soon and only help to further depress the economy. They say that so goes GM, so goes the nation.
Inflation In China: Recent new trends in rampant inflation in China may soon spell the end of ultra-cheap imports. Whether this slows American consumer spending on low priced imports from China as prices rise or lures multinational industrialists to seek new underdeveloped areas of the world beyond China to set up manufacturing could follow in the near future.
New Mideast War?: A top Iranian official proclaimed that Hezbollah on Monday is preparing to soon crush Israel. After Israel was unable to defeat the Hezbollah organization in the July War in Lebanon in 2006, all evidence strongly suggests that both Iran and Syria have greatly helped the Hezbollah organization to rebuild it's military and force of rockets with improved Iranian technology, arms and training. Hezbollah may be ready to launch a new war with Israel very soon, having learned tactical military lessons from the 2006 war on how to again withstand and outlast the Israeli military.
Renewed Violence In Iraq: While the Al Qaeda terrorist organization operating in Iraq has suffered such huge losses of male adult fighters that it is now heavily relying on using women, mentally handicapped adults or recruiting children for future attacks, the Mahdi militia associated with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr could soon renew fighting against both Americans and Sunnis as the temporary cease-fire agreement ends on Midnight on Saturday unless al-Sadr proclaims an extension of the cease-fire.
Kosovo Independence: While this story has gotten little play in the U.S., it is a huge concern to both the Serbian and Russian governments. Serbia has gone to the UN Security Council to protest what it considers to be yet another split in the former state of Yugoslavia that it considers to be illegal under international law. Relations with Russia could grow far worse over this powderkeg as well.
Castro Resignation: While this is unlikely to soon moderate the hard line revolutionary government of Cuba into becoming a more pragmatic government like the Communist governments of China or Vietnam, it could allow for a small opening for increased American travel to Cuba and some increased agricultural sales by U.S. farmers. But Cuba is far from moving towards opening the nation up to major political reforms or creating a stronger economy by opening up tourist trade or luring vacation development such as hotels or casinos. The days of Cubans keeping their 1950's automobiles running forever because of so little trade with the U.S. will only continue for the near future at least.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!