Saturday, April 30, 2016

SAR #16121


Litmus test: Single-payer health care, universal voter registration and a carbon tax.
Pogo, Etc. “‘The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big-money interests? Do we stand with the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor? Or do we stand with Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies? … our job is to revitalize American democracy.'”
Overreach: An investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunal – the corporate extortion mechanism built into TPP and TtiP – ruled that Russia had to pay $50 billion to the former stockholders of Yukos Oil. In that Russia was not a signatory of the trade agreement that suit was filed under, they're not going to pay.
No Runs, No Hits, Lots of Errors: The Fed once again has failed to revive the economy. QE didn't work. Zero (and occasionally negative) interest rates haven't worked. Core Personal Conception Expenditures – a measure of inflation the Fed wants at 2% - has fallen last quarter to a dismal 1.6%. But those who actually buy food when they can afford it have seen food prices up 10% in the last four months, which translates to a 30% inflation rate. Let's face it, the central bankers and their economists haven't the faintest idea what they're doing.
Stacked Deck: The US, after investigating the intentional bombing of a civilian hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 civilian doctors and their patients, has ruled that the obvious war crime was, in fact, not a war crime, but “disciplined” 16 soldiers, including one general. Must have been investigated by the same lawyers who discovered that torture wasn't actually torture when the US does it.
Sooners: In Oklahoma, if you get your date drunk enough you can do anything you want and it is not a crime – because sexual assaults “cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act”. I'm not letting my daughter even drive through the damned state.
Accountability: Shawano,Wisconsin has adopted an ordinance that will result in fines for parents who cannot teach their child not bully others. Yeah, a form of bullying.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, April 29, 2016

SAR #16120


Gasp: We knew that the CO2 being taken up by the oceans was driving up the acidity to the point – currently 30% more acidic than before we started killing ourselves with progress - that crustaceans such were having trouble making shells and corals were bleaching. Now we find that the oxygen levels in the seas are falling; warming oceans absorb less oxygen and turn over more slowly, leading to depletion at depths. This deoxygenation poses a major threat to marine life and is one of the most deadly side-effects from a global warming. No oxygen in the water, no life in the seas. No life in the seas, little elsewhere.
Wish Them Luck: Iran is calling for the global destruction of weapons of mass destruction. If they will include religion under that rubric, I'm for it.
Mirrors: The US foreign policy establishment, in and out of government, Republican, Democrat and academic is having kittens over Trump's foreign policy speech. Based on the last thirty years of misadventures and international disasters, quite where the establishment gets a pulpit to preach from is a mystery. Name something they've gotten right. Anything? We'd be a lot better off without their expertise and so would hundreds of thousand dead civilians.
Boom: In March the median annual household income in the US reached $57,263, close to the real level of that existed in January 2000. Yeah, recovery!
Capitalism Clarified: The Taiwanese conglomerate building a state-of-the-art steel mill on the Vietnamese coast explains that the choice is “whether to catch fish and shrimp” or to build the mill. Let them eat ball bearings.
Like A Virgin: Ted Cruz's Super PAC either transferred or donated (there seem to be legal differences) but at any rate gave Carly Fiorina's Super PAC half a million dollars. No, not to get her to help him lose, but back when Trump was accusing Cruz of having extra-marital affairs and one of Carly's campaign workers was rumored to be involved. This is the only known instance of a candidate giving an opponent half a million bucks.
Hide In Plain Sight: The National Security Agency is so busy scooping up every tweet, text, email and phone conversation that is overwhelmed and cannot separate the wheat from the chaff. If there is any wheat, that is.
Job Well Done: Volkswagen's departing CEO will get a $8.2 million goodbye gift in honor of his years and years of deceitful marketing. Cheap compared to the estimated $18 billion the deliberate fraud will end up costing the stockholders.
Quoted: Many Americans have almost no savings, so they have barely any wealth. Two-thirds live paycheck to paycheck.”
Right Hand Washes Left: Germany is going to underwrite the sales of new electric cars to the tune of €1bn. Maybe they could take the money from the profits that VW, Audi and others have made cheating on diesel emissions.
Making Haste Slowly: The Fed now sees real GDP growth in 1Q2016 as 0.6%, maybe even 0.5%, not the puny 0.4% previously reported. Too bad it seems based on Consumer spending, largely on services,
Succinctly: “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” John Boehner describing Ted Cruz.
A Parting Shot: