The light at the end of the tunnel is moving away. Michael Panzner.
Honesty: As the mini-series continues, with Iceland, Greece and now Ireland brought to their knees in the drive to keep European banks and financial giants solvent, all attention will turn to slaughtering the peasants in Portugal. In celebrating its Irish victory, IMF chief Strauss-Kahn demanded that European nations cede even more of their sovereignty to Brussels, for the time has come for centralized control and reform of European labor markets. Yet support in EU countries for continued EU membership is close to the lowest levels ever. It is becoming clear that the euro experiment will end in inevitable collapse. Facing this failure, expect European political and financial leaders to concentrate on promoting the interests of multinational corporations.
The Quote: “The disconnect between the American body politic and reality grows larger every day.”
Truth in Packaging: Mexico's National Hydrocarbons Commission has told Pemex to either produce more evidence supporting their claimed 17 billion barrel in reserves in the northern region, or to lower it by 50%, reducing the country’s total claimed reserves by 17%. Wonder how they feel about a road trip to Saudi Arabia?
Sauce/Goose/Gander: China has unveiled 25 new models of unmanned aerial vehicles, offering them for sale to the international market. Previously the US and Israel were the world leaders in
killing civilians silently from pilotless drones. Maybe we can sell some of ours to India.
Definition: An optimist is someone who expects anything to come out of the global meeting on climate change being held in Cancún next week.
Use the Library: Insurance companies are now going to data-gathering companies to find out what you've been Googling. Done a search on breast cancer? Uninsurable. Looked up info on that disease your neighbor died of? Uninsurable. Next time you want to look up some medical condition, visit your local library, use their computers. And an alias.
Are We That Dumb? Could Palin become president in 2012? You Betcha.
Privatization: The financial services industry is applying the full court press to get Congress to remove property records from county courthouses paper records to digital blips on a privately owned for-profit computer system with no paper trail. And to make it retroactively effective back to about 2005. What could go wrong?
Take Two, They're Small: A rare pink diamond went for $46 million, because “the demand for rare gems as a portable form of wealth” has pushed up prices. In portable form.
Tyranny. Senator Mitch McConnell has pledged to bring a Senate vote on “full repeal” of the health care bill, calling the bill's provisions requiring individuals to purchase health insurance a 'path to tyranny'. McConnell should be careful – the GOP does not control the Senate and thus does not set its priorities, and the health insurers are pretty damned happy with the individual mandate because it delivers tens of millions of new customers to them.
I've Got Mine: Billionaire Warren Buffett, now that he's richer than everyone but god and Bill Gates, thinks that the rich should pay more in taxes and the lower and middle classes pay less.
Impervious: We think we are entitled to our current way of life, that we can live on buried sunlight forever. We pretend that change will leave us untouched, that our complexly interconnected delicately balanced economy is invulnerable, that we can keep borrowing from our future forever. Even those who think the whole thing is going to collapse somehow believe they themselves will be magically spared.
Good Question: Who will get the naming rights to the Treasury, AIG or Goldman Sachs?
Calculus: US states, led by California, are moving ever closer to bankruptcy, borrowing ever more with no plausible way to ever get out of the hole. Eventually the US will bail them out, with strings attached. But the US is doing the same, with the same endless hole gaping far into the future. Internationally 15 leading nations will have to borrow more than $10 trillion next year. That's twice the entire world's annual savings. Anybody got a happy ending?
Smarter Grid: Some long-term good may come from the use of Smart Meters, but their initial value is to let utilities charge you more for using electricity when it is convenient. Oh, and they get to charge you for installing the meter.