Trust in elections requires hand-marked paper ballots, publicly collected, publicly tabulated, retained under secure public storage until the end of the victor's term. If the US were interested in fair elections, we could do this.
And No One Goes To Jail: Pfizer, “under a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve the investigation,” is paying over $58million in penalties for bribing officials in China and Eastern Europe. The nice folks at Academi (was Xe, was Blackwater) are paying $7.5 million “to avoid prosecution for smuggling arms,” and another $42 million “over violations of the Arms Export Control Act.” Morgan Stanley is paying a paltry $4.8 million for price fixing electricity prices that cost NY customers about $300 million. And still no one goes to jail.
Good Question: “You f—ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians?”
Ex Exports: Both Germany and South Korea have seen their exports fall recently, and US exports - 70% of GDP growth since the recoveryTM began - are also expected to continue to disappoint. Drops in export orders have coincided with the beginning of the last two recessions.
Clunker: Prices for used cars are falling and have broken below their two year moving average, which in the past has coincided with a weakening in the auto industry.
It's That Simple: Why are the Feds jumping all over New York's Department of Financial Services for filing charges against Standard Chartered Bank? Because they've been in bed with this - and all the rest - bank all along, and are embarrassed to be caught not doing their job. "They'd rather trash a potentially legitimate case than admit that they were asleep at the switch, especially now after the recent revelations about their failures with LIBOR and HSBC."
Good Question: How many years of tax returns is Mitt Romney demanding from his VP candidates?
Emotionally Sterile: The biggest barrier to taking action on climate change is that it doesn't feel imminent. We know it is bad and getting worse, but we don't see it, don't feel it, don't taste it. It doesn't stir emotional passion in most of us because we have no visceral understanding. I look at my 14 year-old granddaughters and want to warn them, to shake them... but I don't.
An Observation: “In a genuinely free market, rich
corporations people have both the resources and incentive to corrupt the government in order to make the market less free. In other words, Capitalism only works in a world in which people have integrity...” Which explains a lot.
Smoke, Smoke: A story traipsing around the web alleging that The Mitten started Bain with money from those behind the El Salvadoran Death Squads seems to be gathering some actual evidence.
Quick, Gimmie Re-Write: July was the hottest month on record in the contiguous US. The last 12 months have been the warmest twelve-month period since records began in 1895. But it's only weather, fluctuating. Nothing to do with that climate warming crap.
Unexpectedly 5.2: Consumer credit (non-revolving) unexpectedly slowed in June, growing only $6.5 billion, while credit card debt fell.
Who Are These People? Bryan Fischer, a fundamentalist Christian radio nuisance, claims the idiot who shot up the Sikh temple was a liberal - because he disliked Herman Cain. Fisher also wants to start an 'Underground Railroad' to kidnap the children of LGBT parents.
The Parting Shot:
Susan & friend.