How close are you to having nothing left to lose?
We've Only Just Begun: With Panetta moving to Defense and General Petraeus slipping into his seat at CIA, look forward to having the “robust operational capability of the US Armed Forces applied more often and more openly... “where needed”. Not just Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq.
The Anti-Apocrypha: The Facebook / Twitter / YouTube crowdsourcing being used to draw up a new constitution for Iceland is the general outline of what the youthful protest movements in Spain, Greece, Portugal, France and others are turning to as the preferred format for future governance. They call it Democracy 4.0. It would be careless to ignore their anger, just because it is being peacefully channeled. And it would be a mistake to think it is going to be limited to Madrid, Lisbon, and a few major Iberian cities. Under a variety of names, the movement(s) are dispatching organizers and trainers to smaller cities and towns – and not just in Spain, Greece, and Portugal, but also to France, Italy and even the UK. The first target is the end of June; mark your calendar.
The Boss: Saudi Arabia, in a fit of pique at OPEC for not doing things their way, says it will pump 10 mbd in July. Or maybe 9.5 mbd. Anyway, more than the 8.8 mbd its been putting out lately. This falls in the “clip and save” category.
Barefoot and Pregnant: GOP presidential wannabe Rick Santorum says that abortion should be illegal “even in the case of rape or incest”, and that “doctors who perform abortions should be criminally charged...” with murder?
Spring Is Sprung: The brief delusion that democracy might come to the Middle East is evaporating as the despots fight back with their US armed military forces and their torture cells. The passively quiescent world, led by the United States, is very silent. The outlook is grim. If the protestors remain peaceful, they will be slowly snuffed out. If they become militant, they will be crushed with tanks and helicopter gunships. There is little hope for democracy – there's not enough profit in it.
Fool Court Press: A federal appeals court has ruled that circumstantial evidence and hearsay are sufficient cause to keep you incarcerated indefinitely – to hell with a trial and all that nonsense. For the present, the ruling only applies to foreigners accused of being terrorists. Americans who are accused are simply executed with Predator drones.
Laboratory Rats: After Ireland bailed out the private sector banks, the IMF/EU/ECB insisted on severe austerity measures as a precondition for lending Ireland billions at very high interest rates. The austerity was needed in order to stimulate the economy. So far about half of all the businesses in Ireland have fallen on dire times and are struggling to survive. Meanwhile the government will use the last €5 billion in the National Pensions Reserve Fund to try to save a few jobs. They'd already looted most of the pension fund.
The Consumed Economy: Vacancy rates are 9.1% for malls, 10.9% for strip centers – both figures being the largest since 1990. Politic/economists say we've hit a 'soft patch'. A soft patch is what's left after the family cat gets run over.
Repeat After Me: To be a Republican in good standing you must accept – contrary to all the evidence, both home and abroad – that lower deficits will lead to increased job creation and productive growth. Because, the GOP creed insists, lower deficits mean lower government borrowing which means lower interest rates which means companies will borrow more to expand production. How interest rates can go lower than effectively zero is not a permissible question. Why companies want to produce more when the customer has no money is also a forbidden topic.
The Numbers: Statistical data indicates that 2010's petroleum consumption exceeded production by 5 million barrels a day. A neat trick in that the world did not have 2 billion barrels of oil sitting around to draw from. What's the real story?
Almost There: The IEA's most recent carbon emission data show that we continue to exceed the IPCC's Business-As-Usual (A1F1) projections. You know, the one that leads to a 5ºC global warming increase by 2100, followed by even more intense heating as time goes on. The warming will not stop on January 1, 2100, although much of society will have long since ceased.
Lords of the Ring: At least 22, and perhaps as many as 28, of the 'worst of the worst' imprisoned at Guantánamo have been children – or at least started out that way.
Market Farces: The Republicans would have us believe that “market forces” are the answer to our healthcare cost problems. But the “the free market” is financially driven – the object is profits and only incidentally concerned with the actual consumer. Why would advertising-driven profit-seeking medicine be better than a process of expert, peer-reviewed decisions? Why would a system based on ads featuring flying bumblebees be better than a system based on independent reviews of treatment outcomes? Why would a system based on telemarketers, advertising and bribery be better than Medicare?