Thursday, May 28, 2015

SAR #15148

Wish I'd Said That: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is “a hero to me” because he “the NSA whistleblower “gave up his own life . . . to help the rest of us". 
A Definition: The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is not a “free trade” agreement; it isn't about trade at all. It is about corporate globalists circumventing sovereign nations' control and regulation of their empires. “The long-term goal of the globalists is an international rule of law unaccompanied by democracy.” And pro-slavery Republicans like Paul Ryan and Democrat Barack Obama are doing their best to shackle America to the corporate dungeon walls.

More: Israel wants a 50% increase in its allowance from the US for weaponry so it can continue to confiscate Palestinian lands and kill the occupants. And they'd like a new, more AIPAC-compliant President.

A Precedent: Madagascar's parliament voted to remove the country's president for “general incompetence.” Not beating about the Bush, are they.

Signs of Life: Greenland's parliament has unanimously approved same-sex marriaage. The Scottish government has banned creationism from science classes. Cuba, after 50 years of US economic and political sanctions, has achieved an average life expectancy of 78.45 years, one of the highest in the world, matching that of the US.

Say 'May I': Britons may soon face identity checks to access adult material on the internet even if such censorship is against EU rules.

Headline News:Senator Lindsey Graham Claims He Knows the 'Iranians Are Lying' Because His Parents Owned a Pool Room.” Don't ask.

First More, Then Less: Scientists expect that at least 70% of Mt Everest's glaciers will melt away by 2100. At first the increased meltwater will cause flooding, but at the glaciers disappear, so will the annual melt which supplies over a billion people with water.

An Easy Mark: "The biggest surprise for me … is the degree to which politicians are willing to put political interests ahead of helping people in need. Watching the political/policy reaction to the Great Recession was both disappointing and eye opening..." - Mark Toma.

Question: Could lucrative book deals explain most of the Republicans in the Clown Car?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SAR #15147

There is always a next bubble.

It Lives! The TPP contains a clever little provision – the “living agreement” provision – which enables representatives of signatory nations to “update the agreement as appropriate to address trade issues that emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries.” This commission would have the power to revise, extend and change the agreement without reference to such noisome bodies as Congress or the public. So much for the pig in the poke. Thankfully, neither the Dems or the GOP want the TPP to be mentioned during the presidential election process, so we may be safe until 2017. Then duck.

Sides: Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have captured a Turkish intelligence operative fighting alongside ISIS militants. Tell me again whose side Erdoğan is on?

Drumbeats: The world economy is disturbingly close to stall speed. The longer this soggy patch drags on, the greater the risk that the six-year old global recovery will sputter out. Global authorities have alarmingly few tools to combat the next crunch, given that interest rates are already zero across most of the developed world, debts levels are at or near record highs, and there is little scope for fiscal stimulus. 
Bottomed Line: Kansas now prohibits welfare recipients from withdrawing more than $25 a day and limits them to ATMs to access welfare payments. And each $25 withdrawal costs $2.50, which is deducted from their welfare account. If an individual receives $250 a month in support, the banks will end up with at least 10% of that. It is simply stealing from the taxpayer to give to the banks, while pretending that the money is going to the poor.

Us and Them: Gambia is undertaking to reduce its contribution to global warming by reducing its carbon emissions. Gambia is responsible for 0.05% of the globe's emissions – about what you emit, daily. What is it that you're going to give up to help keep the planet habitable?

Memorial Day: “[A]nyone born in the past 13 years has never known an America that isn’t at war. Anyone born after 1984 has likely seen America at war for at least half of his or her life” [WaPo]. And we lost both Iraq and Afghanistan. The War on Terror is as sensible as a War on Flanking Maneuvers, since terror is a tactic, not an enemy. The War on Drugs is shuddering its way to an awful conclusion, with 4:20 today’s equivalent of “11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.” In fact, over the course of my lifetime, I can’t think — let me pause here to chant U.S.A! U.S.A!, just to establish my bona fides — I can’t think, I say, of a war we’ve won. Except the War on Poverty, of course, a war we have to keep fighting over and over again, for some reason.” - Lambert Strether, at the Water Cooler. 
Self Hoisting Petard: The latest miracle promised us is the self-driving truck, which in a few short years will haul stuff from sea to sea. The boosters don't mention that this will put 3.5 million long-haul drivers out of work, along with the waitresses, restaurants, and motels they support.

Definition: The Vatican says Ireland's gay marriage vote is a “defeat for humanity.” I think they've once again confused ”humanity” with “the church”.