He who sees, learns.
A Great Sadness: Things that were avoided, secret, or outsourced under Bill Clinton and then embraced by Bush/Cheney are now being codified as acknowledge policy and enshrined in federal statutes - Military arrest of citizens, indefinite detention without any legal process, the “extra-judicial” murder of citizens on the President's say-so, killing people at will in natons where no state of war exists. Pogo was prescient, as was Franklin.
ET Phone Home: Informed opinion is that Iran 'spoofed' the US super-duper drone by getting it to believe fake GPS signals were the real deal. They didn't so much shoot it down as simply stole it out of the sky.
Moral vs Legal: The ECB is forbidden to
prop up invest in covering debts of EZ member states. They are not forbidden to loan money to private banks within the zone at near zero rates (in exchange for any and all assets, no matter how iffy) and encourage them to buy sovereign notes at inflated prices and then to use the very same notes as security for another round. If it sounds sly, it is. Too bad the banks don't want anything to do with it.
Destiny: It was always going to come to this: "Democracy itself has been suspended in favor of bank and sovereign survival".
Back of the Envelope: The GOP will go along with the Dems in extending the payroll tax cut for another year and the Treasury will continue to transfer general tax revenues to the Social Security fund to make up the difference. But isn't that undermining the "earned" nature of the fund and making just another tax-transfer welfare program? Exactly. And that will be their point later on when it's time to "raise taxes" - that any increase be devoted to individual retirement accounts that Wall Street can then steal.
Assholocracy: Spread the word.
Bigger Brother: Yes, they track us, all the time. Where we go, who we chat with, what we read on the Internet, what we buy and what we buy it with. Old news. Now they (Amazon in this particular instance) want to use the data they've got to predict. Where you will go, who you will chat with, what sites you will visit on the web, what you will buy and... And that's the part they want to know so the can 'guide you' to buy the right thing.
Long/Short: Fitch Ratings says that a comprehensive Eurozone deal is “beyond reach”. Nearly beyond imagining, actually.
Progress, Not: Ireland's economy shrank 1.9% in the latest quarter - the worst performance yet under the one-size-fits-all ECB/EU/IMF austerity program. This is the same program that is currently "saving" Greece and Portugal and Italy. There seems to be "a disconnect between legislation and implementation" ("disconnect" is IMF-speak for rioting in the streets). Bottom line: austerity will soon make the social cost of staying with the Euro prohibitive.
Another Step: The voices in the land are reasonably unanimous, the Stop Online Piracy Act is too broad, too vague, too unconstitutional, amounts to "prior restraint" and will lead to Internet censorship as practiced by China, Iran, Syria and other despotic governments. To which the sponsors of the bill smugly say, "Exactly."
Short End of the Stick: If you think a company has a good idea, a good product, a good future, then you should act on that belief and invest in the company. If you are really, really sure, you might even buy some stock on margin. Applause all around. But if you think the company has a poor product, poor prospects and a dismal future, and you decide to act on that belief and short-sell the company's stock, you are a villain. Why?
A Truism: Portugal is being urged to simply tell the Germans and the French that Portugal cannot and thus will not pay their debts. "Debt is our only weapon and we must use it to impose better conditions..." And at that point it becomes the banks' problem, not Portugal's.
An Extra Helping: GOP wannabe Rick Perry draws $150,000 a year from the State of Texas as its governor. He also draws A$92,376 a year from the State of Texas as the retired governor of Texas. He's been doing so for a year now and doesn't “find that to be out of the ordinary.”
Porn O'Graph: About all that oil in North Dakota...