Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SAR #15209


Social mobility is a good idea, unless you are at the top of the heap.

Rinse And Repeat: If, and it is far from a done deal, Greece gets another €90 billion or so – bringing the bailouts to about €400 billion or so – most of which will immediately go back to the German, French and other northern European banks who stupidly lent Greece all that money in the first place. It is not Greece or the Greeks who are getting bailed out, it is, as always, the bankers. It's not about “the European project”, it is now, as it has always been, about profits.

Noted: Extreme drought in Mongolia this summer has decimated about 80% of the country's crops.

What's Wrong With The Economy? Wealth accumulation and efficiency and increased production worked so well for the American economy that as goals they have become outmoded. Today they are the wrong goals. We have enough. We need to figure out a new way of addressing our economic and social issues. It is time to declare the production competition over and begin working on distribution. Efficiency in production needs to be replaced by equality of distribution as the goal of our national efforts.

Motivation: A former AIPAC senior executive admits that their opposition to any Iranian deal has nothing to do with the merits of the treaty and everything to do with keeping their donor base in a supportive frame of mind. Crying wolf pays the bills.

Big Wheels Keep On Rolling: The US Senate, bending to the bottom line of America's giant transportation companies, are planning on letting 18-year olds drive the big rigs in interstate commerce. Sure the under-21 drivers are six times more likely to kill people on the highway, but the companies figure that the savings from paying the kids a lot less will more than offset the settlements to victims' families. 
 
Please Leave A Message: In 2000 the NSA intercepted a call from one of the 9/11 hijackers to al-Qadea operational headquarters in Yemen, and apparently failed to follow up on it. Or... ?

Tea Leavings: Durable goods orders are encouraging because they are a little higher than expectations, even though the factory sector is still depressed, the three month rolling average continues to decline, and data from previous months was revised downward. Pending orders are in an eight month decline and shipments declined for the sixth consecutive month. Bank loans continue to languish and everything is getting better, the government says.

Different Strokes: The Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Sewel, was filmed snorting cocaine with prostitutes at his London flat and has subsequently resigned. He departs with the coveted Wilbur Mills award.

Fluctuations: Despite two weeks of increasingly severe attempts by the Chinese government to stop the bleeding, Chinese shares continue to slide – down 8.5% on Monday and down 28% from their high in June. While the Chinese economy is not as tightly connected to the stock market as are western economies and stock exchanges, “the economic situation is deeply clouded.” 
 
All The News That Fits: The NYTimes acknowledges that its story on Clinton's supposed classified emails was “inaccurate”. As in made up out of whole cloth with apparently no fact checking. Corrections will be issued in tiny print on the bottom of page 34D. 
 
Money Back Guarantee: The government has become tired of Fiat/Chrysler's less than sterling record of hiding defects and not properly recalling and repairing defective vehicles, and has fined them $105 million and is requiring them to offer to buy back 500,000 pickups.

Monday, July 27, 2015

SAR #15208


Just being right isn’t enough to change the world. Paul Krugman

Foreshadowing: “Why have we not learned from our history? I still rub my eyes in amazement: I would have thought that the Great Depression was a salient enough event in European history that we would not be making the same mistakes, exactly, again--and right now it looks like in what will turn out to be a more extreme way.” Brad DeLong.

Friends: The US is selling 355 air to ground missiles to Saudi Arabia, for delivery to Yemen.

'Outrageous': No one selling coffee and making donuts is worth $15 an hour, says Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin' Donuts. He does support a “living wage” of $12 and hour, he says. Too bad a living wage for a two-worker family with two kids requires each make $18.30 and hour. For a single mom with a couple of kids, more like $30 an hour. Mr Travis makes $5,000 an hour.

Correlation/Causation: Recent analysis suggests that the lower cost of eating provided by superstores and warehouse clubs, along with increasing numbers of restaurants serving enormous quantities of cheap calories are “leading drivers of the rise in obesity occurring since the early 1980s.” Will power, nah. They made me eat all that stuff.

Marking Time: Despite there being a 75% chance that drilling in the Arctic will result in a major oil spill within ten years, the Obama administration has told Shell to go for it. Because with oil at $50 a barrel and far too many barrels on the market, we need to drill, baby, drill.

Take Two and Die: Regarding Ibuprofen, Celebrex and Aleve - in case you missed the FDA announcement - “We know that the risk of heart attack and stroke may occur early in treatment, even in the first week…. There is no period of use shown to be without risk.”

Infectious Disease: Great Britain will soon begin letting corporations pay their way out of prosecution for all sorts of wrongdoing, misdemeanors and crimes – just like in the US. The Not So Serious Fraud Office (NSSFO) has said it expects to sign its first deals by the end of the year.

Bill of Wrongs: The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Houston cannot ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity because in Texas fags don't got rights.

Reality Check: The US Secretary of State, a position still held by John Kerry despite Netinyahu's extreme displeasure, notes that if Israel blocks the Iran nuclear treaty in the US Senate, the world will rightly blame Israel. When did Israel get veto power in the Senate? How many generations of guilt does the US need to carry for something the Germans did?

Ignorance Is Bliss: There is no science (yet) that shows GMOs present any danger to the public, so the Republican-controlled House passed a bill preventing states from requiring products containing GMOs to say so on the label, because no Republican actually supports the idea of of an informed electorate. 
 
Double Date: Rick Perry says we should all be allowed to take our guns to the movies so we can take part in any shootout that might occur. 
 
Porn O'Graph: Energy in, prosperity out.