Are we winning yet? Anywhere? On anything?
"When in the Course of Human Events..." We are about to witness the collapse of the European Union. The collapse is avoidable – it would be far cheaper for Germany and France to pick up the tab, convene a grand constitutional assembly and start over, but emotion has overtaken reason. The needed steps are as clear – a single tax system, a unified banking system, and a directly elected federal system of law and government - as they are unlikely. The problem is, and always was, the failure to back the idea of a single currency with an economic and political union. The collapse is signaled not so much by the problems of Greece, Portugal and Spain as in the collapse of the Schengen treaty. Protectionism, nationalism and fear of the neighbors foreshadows a return to times of economic strife, political posturing and war between the insecure. There first victims will be the poor, the unemployed and the 'foreigners'. Inevitably poverty, suffering and political unrest will follow. It is not the euro that is doomed, it is the idea of the euro. Maastricht is a vague memory. What is needed is a new Treaty of Westphalia. But there will not be one. The nationalist right and the global bond markets have won. There will be no rapture – just an end of days.
Shortform: Total US payrolls today are 131 million, less than in 2000 - even though the population has grown by nearly 30 million.
Break In Case of Emergency: At his confirmation hearing to become CIA director, General David Petraeus said that torture should not be used unless a detainee is thought to be withholding information that is immediately needed to save lives.
Innocent survivors of the questioning would receive lifetime room and board in a deniable overseas prison.
Definition: Privatization is neo-liberal globalization's version of colonialism – extracting the wealth of the conquered nation for the benefit of the investors.
If... Then: If the industrialized governments will release oil from their stockpiles to drive down the price of oil, why not do the same with corn and wheat? Oh, their citizens grow the corn and wheat... And cheaper oil may put a few more voters back to work before the presidential elections. Is this another case of the free market working in favor of the self-designated free, a reaction to the reality of peak oil?
Ten Years And Counting: Politicians are arguing about how long the US must stay in Afghanistan. I wish one of them would explain why we're there, using facts - not hand-waving emotional arguments.
Reformatory:A third of New Jersey's Democratic lawmakers have joined the GOP in requiring public employees to pay 40% more for smaller pensions after more years of work, while taking cost of living increases away from all state employees – even the retired. Now, having impoverished a generation of public workers, Governor Christie plans to decimate the state's educational system so as to impoverish the next generation, too.
Bailing Out: Do the EU plans for imposing their austerity program on Greece include extra funds for riot police and fire departments?
Wanting/Getting:Georgia officials who wanted to rid the state of illegal workers are dismayed to discover the state now has a shortage of illegal workers that has – as predicted - forced farmers to leave millions of dollars’ worth of crops rotting in the fields. The Governor suggested they
use chain gangs hire ex-cons.