Or last freedom is the choice to believe or disbelieve.
Cat/Bag: The US State Department wants $6.2 billion next year for its operations in Iraq, where 16,000 will be employed in the embassy alone. The budgetary request was justified by pointing out that “There's no other source of millions of new barrels in the pipeline anywhere in the world.”
Column A: In the US, 88% of the increase in real national income has gone to corporate profits, “while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1%.”
Ignorance/Bliss: There's something called The Q Ratio – the stock market valuation of all the companies divided by what it would cost to replace their capital investments. Typically that ratio is about 0.71. Today it suggests the stock market valuation is about 50% higher than it should be. Solve for the value of 'X'.
Pope, Incorporated: After 3 years in the red, the Vatican showed a $14 million profit last year, even though donations fell about 18%. Sales at the Vatican Museums were sufficient so that the Vatican City (a wholly owned subsidiary) showed an even larger profit of $30 million. Data on the sale of indulgences were not itemized.
Poaching: Germany is selling Saudi Arabia 200 Leopard tanks worth billions of euros to German manufacturers. The Kingdom needs the tanks for its internal security operations. When the US was in its prime, the Saudis bought their armaments from Washington.
Privatization: Two Pennsylvania judges got $2.6 million in kickbacks from a private, for-profit, prison company for sending 5,000 teenagers to jail.
Time's Up: We have maxed out our planetary credit card . We will soon have to stop living the high-life. The question is when. Most have been led think the world is slowly returning to 'normal' - steadily increasing growth, with occasional annoying but manageable interruptions. This is not true. Changed circumstances will hit hard and painfully. Each crisis will be a little worse than the last. Each one will shake our denial a little more. This is what happens when systems hit their limits. They don't do so smoothly, but bump up against the wall, hitting hard, then bouncing off equally hard. When the realization dawns that our economic system needs an overhaul it will be anything but an orderly transition. Expect to see a placard waving in streets. It's the beginning. Are you ready?
Hypocritical Oath: AARP, the old-folks insurance company, wants you to understand that cuts in Social Security are in
their your best interest. They advocate only amputations that will “save” the program.
Back In The Middle Again: Not only is China challenging the US in the Pacific with aircraft carriers, sneaky subs and stealth fighters, now the
Soviet Union Russia is sending two army brigades, including special forces, to the Arctic “to protect its interests.” Its interests are oil. No rest for the wicked.
Called On Account of Rain: Global climate change has been postponed in Oregon because there isn't enough money in the Agriculture Department's budget to address the issue.