Tell me about the
rabbits banks, George.
Saved From Actual Democracy It took five days but the global financial and political elites, they threatened (or promised?) to set Greece adrift from Europe, to be shunned by the civilized nations. It would have been unable to pay its public employees their wages or retirees their pensions next month without the next €8 billion of EU cash. The vote is in and Greek democracy is now officially dead.
Our Leaders: Obama claims the G-20 leadership made “important progress”, but no agreement was reached to bolster the IMF's resources to help the eurozone pull itself together – which was the main thing the “important progress” was supposed to achieve. Also, few members of the G-20 showed any interest in participating in the EFSF scheme to create a eurozone bailout fund.
NIMBY: A survey found that nearly 60% of Americans think that smokers should have to pay more for their health insurance. But nearly 70% say that the obese should not have to pay more for their health insurance. Any average group of Americans, of course, includes far more fat folks than smokers.
800 Pound Gorilla: The man in charge of MF Global when $700 million of its customer's money wandered off was a one-time US Senator, former governor of NJ, and – of course – a former leader of Goldman Sachs. A true poster boy for power, influence and greed.
Coming Attractions: Military prosecutors claim that the US can detain the detained, rendered and tortured souls at Guantanamo indefinitely – regardless of guilt or innocence. Why not, if the Supreme Court holds that innocence is not a bar to being executed?
One Forty and Fight! World Bank consultant Dr. Salameh on the outlook for the global oil market: "The current alignment of these fundamentals can only lead to a severe tightening of the oil market. ... An analysis of these fundamentals indicates that a severe oil crunch could be in the offing, probably by 2015 or thereabouts, with oil prices projected to exceed the level reached in July 2008."
Vocabulary: Just as de-faced originally meant just that – that the face had been removed from a work of church art – saying our politicians are pre-occupied simply acknowledges the fact that they've already been bought. Which is all you need to know about the so-called “Supercommittee”.
Strike Out Where Not Applicable: “How good are nations at keeping their promises
at G20 summits?
Fat Lady, Singing? A second 'Arab Spring' may soon surface in Egypt, where the generals are tightening their hold on the country. The latest unpopular move was a proposal to exempt the military from all civilian oversight and to give the generals veto power over legislation they don't like. But there is no real opposition that could stand up to a Syria/Assad effort to crush the protest movement, and arrests of activist leaders continue.
Worst Than The Worst: The US Energy Department reports that CO2 emissions increased by 6% in 2010 – far more than any “worst case” scenario considered by the IPCC. A spokesman explained that “... the problem is pretty close from running away from us." Actually, it left us behind a long time ago.
Slip-Sliding Away: Italy and Germany are leading Europe into “a full-blown industrial recession”. New orders fell sharply in Italy and industrial output fell across the eurozone as Germany also contracted. Italian press printed rumors of proposed decrees such as levies on bank accounts – a confiscatory step last taken 20 years ago. Bulesconi's delicate political balance is threated by the Northern League's threats of “revolution” if the government caves in to EU pressure to cut pensions. Across the Channel, the UK is being crushed into a recession by the government's austerity measures undertaken to prevent the very thing it is causing.
Shaken, Not Stirred: A massive crack in Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, 18 miles long and 165 feet deep, is growing wider by more than 6 feet a day. A 340 square-mile iceberg is expected to float free in about a year. Scientists say this particular event is part of the normal cycle of change in the Antarctic ice and is not directly related to global warming.