We made choices.
Luck of the Irish: Those rumors about Ireland looting pension funds to pay the IMF and German banks for their bailout have not yet come true. But Little Timmy has announced that the Treasury will start using federal retirement funds to pay the government's debts. Does he plan to tap the Senators' pension fund?
Whiffleball: To cover the shortfalls projected for Medicare (beginning in 2024) and Social Security (2036) would take about half the money that has gone to kill people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and so on, annually since 2000. But the GOP thinks that is far too much. We can afford to take lives, but not to save them?
Follow the Bouncing Ball: “At the time our report was issued, it was written utilizing information from non-classified sources... USAID subsequently classified two documents that were cited in our report. This action resulted in the report becoming classified and we removed it from the web site.” USAID explaining why a year-old public report disappeared into secrecy. That part of your memory is no longer available to you.
Silly Question: “Would vested interests starve the world?” Of course.
Blackwater Reflex Responses has landed a $529 million contract from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to recruit and train an 800-man battalion of foreign mercenaries to protect the United Arab Emirates from its citizens.
Net Grains: Current estimates are that the 2011 Kansas wheat crop will be about 25% lower than last year, even though nearly a million more acres were planted to wheat this year. It will be the lowest production since 1996.
Showboat's a coming: Iran is sending a 'solidarity' flotilla to call on Bahrain. Iran is Shi'ite, as are the people protesting the Sunni rulers of Bahrain. Bahrain is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. US ally Bahrain has imposed a total media blackout – it didn't like the media reporting on brutal repression of dissenters – so we won't get to see the welcoming ceremony.
Why Bail Out Greece? Because banks – German Banks & Goldman Sachs– are on the hook for the losses if there isn't a way found to kiss it and make it better, or at least keep taking it out of the hides of ordinary Greeks for a couple of decades.
Simple(ton) Math: Republicans have a problem. It's the math. For example, cutting taxes reduces income and increases deficits. Raising taxes increases incomes and makes more money available to the government. The American people suspect this is true. The Republicans suspect they can fool the people a couple of more times. The Democrats are too timid to beat this drum. Pity.
Similarities: How are bond auctions like wars? They're no fun if no one shows up. Take China, for example, which wanted to sell RMB 20 billion of one-year bonds and unloaded only half of them. No fun at all.
Fool Me Once... With house prices so low around the country, why aren't people scooping up the bargains? Could it be that Americans are not quite as dumb as Wall Street and the government (ah, redundancy) would like them to be? Could it be that someone who has lost the equivalent of 5 or more years of rent has also lost some innocence? Be warned: They're going to try to come up with a better mouse trap.
Relapse: The Empire State Manufacturing Index, which reflects general business conditions, fell from a lackluster 21.7 to a harrowing 11.9, while the Prices Paid Index increased 112 points to 69, with 70% of respondents reporting price increases.
Glassy Houses: Back in the Bush years, a report produced for Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) found that climate scientists had helped each other foist the idea of global warming on the nation. The report has been repeatedly embraced by climate change deniers as proof that global warming is a fraud. Turns out that it was the report and not the science that was ethically challenged. Having done the damage, it has now been withdrawn and the whole thing blamed on graduate students.