Wednesday, April 1, 2015

SAR #15091

Object Lesson: After Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown )(Actual Democrats, MA and OH) didn't follow explicit instructions from JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to back off explaining to the public why the big banks should be dismantled, the banks said they would no longer contribute to Senate Democrats. They weren't getting what they paid for, plain and simple.

States of the Nation: Connecticut, Washington, New York have all banned state-funded travel to Indiana, as have dozens of corporations and at least one college coach. Arkansas, to cement it's position as one of the most retarded of the states, rushed passage of a bigotry bill similar to Indiana's. Not to be outdone, NC legislators want to give hospitals the right to turn away gay patients.

Co-Conspirator: If you've been confused as to how the US could agree to a treaty that would let corporations sue cities, states or the federal government for possible profits that might have been prevented by health, environmental safety or social welfare laws, it might help if you knew that the chief US negotiator was from Citibank.

Good Old Days: Six years after the housing crisis, about a million homes remain lost in the foreclosure process even though the percentage of homeowners behind in their payments has declined by half. About 17% of houses with mortgages are underwater. Nearly 4 million other mortgages have been modified with low interest rates that will increase when interest rates increase (later this year?) or have balloon payments or ARM mortgages– which will increase the foreclosure rate again. 
Myth/Reality: The gospel according to GOP gurus is that social welfare programs encourage recipients to sit around drinking beer and playing the lottery. Actual research across 18 EU nations found little evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the more generous the welfare, the greater the commitment of recipients to seeking employment.

Teaching Point: Two out of three student loans are delinquent or in default. The Federal Reserve cites student debt levels as a significant contributor to the decline in homeownership rates and “the sharp increase in parental co-residence among millennials.” Mostly co-residing in the cellar or the garage apartment.

Not A Quote: “Democracy be damned, ship those weapons to the dictators!” Obama didn't say that, but could have as he lifted the arms freeze against the military junta that deposed the elected president of Egypt.

Faceoff: In Europe, Facebook tracks computers without their users' consent, even if they have explicitly opted out of being tracked. Here they are just one of many.

Danger Zone: The Powers That Be are becoming excited about the possibilities of a Value Added Tax as a replacement for income taxes. Sure it's regressive and hits the poor hardest. That's what TPTB like about it.

Porn O'Graph: Pin the tail on the Gulf Stream.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SAR #15090

Arrogance: Should a company have the right to sue a state or city or nation if that city, state or nation passes a law or regulation to protect the health of its citizens and that regulation prevents the company from profiting from a clearly harmful product? If you answered 'yes', you probably negotiated the TPP. 
Previews: Revenues of S&P 500 corporations are expected to fall 2.8% in 2014Q1 – the largest y/y drop in over 5 years. Blame it on the recovery. 
Mission Impossible: George Soros is reportedly ready to buy pour $1 billion into Ukraine. Humanitarian. 
Heat's On: The temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula reached 63.5°F. Counterintuitively, this is one of the fastest warming areas on Earth. 
Timed Travel: Virginia has increased retention time for license plate data gathered by trafic cams and license plate readers from seven days to 60 – because it might come in handy.

Bricks Without Straw: Iron ore has dropped to a six-year low. Strange, the jobless recovery isn't short on irony.

Fine, Just Fines: Nashville's DA has told his prosecutors that they can no longer make mandatory sterilization a condition of a plea deal. “No longer.”

Pledge Drive: Mrs. Clinton (Housewife, NY) wants the US to suck up to Israel. John McCain (Old Guy, AZ) wants Israel to bomb Iran back into the sand age. 
Two Rights: When the Iranian Guard in Iraq claimed that a US drone killed two of its advisers, the US said it had only struck militants.

Noted: Don't worry, you're not going crazy; that recovery they keep talking about - that has nothing to do with you.

One Brick Shy: The mayor of Ferguson, MO says it is not fair to him, his administration or the city for the Justice Department to focus on race and not mention the good things about the city. Pressed for an example he...

A Pound At A Time? Germany insists that Greece must flesh out the required reforms.

Pot/Kettle: Israel's Ambassador to the UN is urging the world body support the creation of an independent Palestinian Kurdish state. 
Porn O'Graph: Signs of the times.