Politics is a form of resource war.
Rent-to-Own: The US has warned NATO that is cheaper and less bother to hire mercenaries than it is to continue funding an organization without a purpose - “the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost," . That's the message Mr. Gates gave NATO, saying it “faces a dim, if not dismal" future.
My How Dry: The worst drought in over a century has settled in on most of Europe, including Britain which has long been watered by the Jet Stream. France is already toast – to the point that French soldiers have been deployed to help save hungry cattle and farmer's taxes have been forgiven. Note, too, that 44 of France's nuclear reactors draw their cooling waters from rivers – whose levels are dropping. Germany is the driest it has been since record keeping started in 1893. The Danube is now at 100-year lows. Russia, where drought and wildfires decimated the wheat crop last year, is already burning, and burning earlier and worse than last year.
Wisdom:“Any bottle of wine will get you nicely buzzed with your friends over the course of an evening no matter what you choose. So why not choose based on the label?”
On Outlooks: The Republicans' refusal to permit Elizabeth Warren become the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Agency has nothing to do with Ms. Warren and everything to do with the Republicans not wanting consumers' finances protected.
Knee Jerks: The vaunted American health system does not actually cure most things, especially the diseases of the elderly. Death is not the worst of the bad things that regularly happen to the elderly – disability, economic insecurity and social isolation are terrible curses. Instead of more pills and more 'procedures' maybe what we need is a cure for our society's penchant for trundling the elderly off to the care of others, to nursing homes and orderlies and specialists. Maybe we should spend less on end-of-life technology and far more on preventive measures much earlier in life – starting at birth – building active, socially rewarding, healthy lives; rather than prolonging death.
Pointedly: What's better than 'single-payer health care'? Socialized healthcare. You know, taking the profit motive out and putting the emphasis on actual health care.
Differences: We measure our economy by how much we spend – GDP – which seems appropriate in a debt-fueled economy. But what if we judged our well-being by how much we earned? What if our measure of prosperity was the difference between what we earned and what we spent? If prosperity was seen as the savings we accrued to invest in the future?
Export Land Model: The biggest danger to the international petroleum-driven economy is not peak oil production, but peak oil exports. When the producers of oil consume most or all of the oil they pump out of the ground, those who don't own an oil well won't be able to get any – at any price. For Saudi Arabia that date may be 2030.
Object Lesson: Syrian troops and tanks are laying siege to a rebellious town near the Turkish border. The US – acknowledging President Assad's usefulness in torturing the hapless for the US – remains aloof from the slaughter of citizens by their government.
Explicit Language: Reports claim that climate negotiators in Bonn to discuss new greenhouse gas emission standards are focusing on "constructive and creative" solutions
so that wealthy countries can keep spewing as much CO2 as they wish. Which means that no agreement is likely.
Tributaries: The political/financial elite simply do not care that 25 million Americans are un- / underemployed, or that it now takes 40 weeks to find a new job. Instead of trying to expand the economy, our guardians are intent on cutting spending – which is the same as cutting even more jobs and making even more unemployed and lengthening even further the search for a job. Deficit spending to put the unemployed to work might hurt the idle rich, so we can't have that. And it is even worse in Europe. And so are the demonstrations in the streets.