The more money an American makes, the less actual work he or she does.
The Reign In Spain: Officials in Spain's Catalonian region are threatening to trigger a movement to separate Catalonia from the central government. It's all about the money, of course. Catalonia pays more to the central government than it gets in return, and right now Catalonia's banks and government are in serious need of additional funds. The best the central government can offer is to “study the matter.” There are about 7.5 million Catalonians; 1.5 million of them turned out in protest last week. The Spanish military was not amused and has threatened to “crush the vultures.”
Now What? The Obama "surge" is officially over in Afghanistan, having accomplished little, if anything. We can’t win the war in Afghanistan, no invader ever has. So we decided to train the Afghans for a while, then claim victory and head for the exit. But it turns out the Taliban outsmarted us on that one. Is there a plausible 'next'? We’re about to find out.
Gainful Unemployment: The unemployed Mitten raked in so much he decided to give Uncle Sam an extra $260,000. Just to save face. (But he can amend his return later and get the refund.) He once said “I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.” I don't think he's qualified to be president,either, but that's not the reason.
Get Vaccinated: Financial systems are inherently unstable. Ours is not immune.
Cautionary Tale: Before you nod your head and trot off to the pharmacy with your doctor's latest fiction, as if your doctor has any way of knowing if the recommended drug does any good, or even if it does harm. Remember, the entire pharmaceutical research enterprise is owned, funded and controlled by the drug manufactures and they do not have to (and don't) tell anyone – anyone at all – about drug trials that don't come out the way they want. We could cure this by passing a law that required drug companies to file complete and detailed reports of all their drug trial (and canceled trials) publicly and on line. Or at least with the FDA. And to completely indemnify all drug researchers against suppressive retaliation by Big Pharma. But we won't.
Culling The Herd: Spain is planning to stop adjusting pensions for inflation and to increase the retirement age to show the EU/ECB/IMF and investors that it is serious about
impoverishing its citizens and ruining its economy in order to keep bankers happy implementing structural reforms. Having learned from Greece, Spain wants to get a head start on the suffering.
Question: If we can't see The Mitten's tax returns for pre-2010 years, could we at least get an answer to this: Did the Romney's “satisfy their responsibilities as taxpayers for the years preceding the 2009” before or after the IRS amnesty program for foreign bank account holders?
Doomsday Clock: The underlying problems in the Eurozone, the US, and Japan seem remarkably similar – they have to do with the ownership of politicians and the political system by the financial sector and the desire of the citizenry for a free ride. It seems plausible to expect their eventual unravelings will be similar, too. It's just a matter of who goes first; right now it looks to be Europe, but these things change.
Quoted: “The US is suffering from a self-inflicted wound – growing inequality of incomes and wealth. Rising income inequality is breeding more inequality in educational opportunity, which results in greater inequality in educational attainment. That, in turn, undermines the upward mobility that is central to the American myth and essential for the country's stability and future. This dynamic all but guarantees a permanent underclass. And eventually actions seeking redress.”
Porn O'Graph: The Big Warm
The Parting Shot:
A fresh start.