When in doubt, doubt.
...on the Way to the Forum: Remember the €1 trillion bail-out fund, the one that was going to save
the world a few PIIGS? Eurozone finance ministers are “delaying” decisions on how to proceed after their initial efforts raised only €3bn, and that only with record interest rates.
Two Way Street: The IEA is warning that oil prices “could hit economically damaging record highs one-third above the record $147. It also said that the current $102 per barrel average for 2011 has put global economies at risk. OPEC disagrees and fears that eurozone problems will lead to significant price declines as world economies slow.
La Loi: There are two fundamental values that are essential to any working capitalist economy: accountability and the rule of law. The proposed nation-wide mortgage fraud settlement is... a fraud. Banks have confessed to submitting up to 10,000 falsified affidavits a month, for years. The banks say “it was only a process” that got trampled – but then, trial by jury is a process, too.
Equality:Without winking, crossing your fingers, or outright lying, please explain why Internet sales should not be subject to state sales taxes.
Slight of Hand: Banks in Europe were required to boost their capital holdings. So they increased their own evaluation of their risky assets, making them both less risky and more valuable as capital. All in time for a late lunch.
Revival: In the face of a looming recession, France has unveiled the toughest austerity measures since WW II. They are promising “to protect the French against the grave problems facing other European countries,” by doing the worst possible thing in a effort to save the country's
virginity AAA rating. It includes increased taxation, cuts in pensions and other health and welfare programs. It is the latest step in a relentless campaign to force the eurozone into a death spiral in order to make sure the bankers get paid.
Good Question: Why is big pharma allowed to kill its customers? Oh, my. If you need ask, you are beyond hope. Maybe there's a pill for that.
Smaller Giants: Walmart has discovered the 'pop-up' store – a 1000 square foot temporary outlet in a mall or strip center, run for a couple of months and then gone. This is attractive to a company that has over 12 million square feet of closed stores to sell or lease. Another niche market where the little guy is facing Goliath.
Less Than Meets the Eye: Most people who sell a house do so to buy another one. These days the buyer will need to pay off the house, pay a Realtor 6%, and put 10% down on the next house. Based on that, over 50% of mortgaged households in the US are effectively underwater.
A Sure Thing? Investor extraordinaire John Hussman confides that his firm's models predict the probability of oncoming recession at nearly 100%.
Engaging the Enemy: The hydraulic fracturing industry is being urged to treat those who oppose fracking as “insurgents” and to follow the military's counterinsurgency manual in confronting them, and to hire former military psy-ops personnel to manipulate the discussion and “overcome stakeholder concerns.” Doesn't the field manual also suggest bribing local warlords?
Assignment: Translate the following: “The bright side of this is the bond market is forcing change that can no longer be ignored. Italy is a big, wealthy country and it is in their power to liberate their economy and cut spending” Then explain what “liberating their economy” will consist of, and from whom it will be liberated.
Uggianaqtuq: Torrential downpours, floods, droughts, wildfires, surprise snowfalls and tornadoes dominated the news for much of 2011. Even now “one of the most severe storms on record” is bearing down on Northwest Alaska, where the native Inuit call the unusual weather “the stranger”. I'm with Brian Williams: “All I know is this didn’t happen when we were kids.”