It is more effective to tell people how they might improve rather than to point out how stupid they have been.
Rehearsals: Mitch McConnell, not having learned anything from the fiscal cliff fiasco, now threatens to force the US into default because – in his rather questionable opinion - “ the biggest problem facing the country is our excessive spending.” Actually, the biggest problem is Republicans, followed closely by the lack of jobs. McConnell also things he is going to force the Democrats to “adjust the entitlements...” by which he means cutting Social Security and turning healthcare back to the loving hands of the insurance industry. Obama says he isn't going to play that game. We'll see.
The Forever After: In its war on Pakistan, US drones killed at least 10 people on Sunday, some of whom will be identified as Taliban or terrorists or something like that.
Key To The Kingdom: The hoohah about a trillion dollar platinum coin is simply a way the administration could dance around the debt ceiling (and the Republican obstructionists). It does not solve anything. And it isn't a way to 'do away' with the national debt. Return to your lattes.
Incomplet Truth: Roubini claims that the US has been let down by its leadership, because "a deal that extends unsustainable tax cuts for 98% of Americans is no victory" Agreed, but when and how does he propose we get down off the tiger?
Homeland Security: Senator Lindsey Graham (Likud, SC) says that Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense is unacceptable to Israel. Republican Senate Leader Mich McConnell agrees, saying that Hagel “ ought to be given a fair hearing like any other nominee,
and then rejected.”
One Up: Turkish legislators passed a new law making criticism of their markets a criminal offense punishable with five years in prison. Wall street is envious.
Discuss: Robert Reich proposes: (a) The first $25,000 of income should be exempt from Social Security taxes altogether, and (b) we should make up the difference by eliminating the ceiling and making all income, earned and unearned, subject to Social Security taxes. Personally I'm against (a) and in favor of (b).
Third Time's A Charm: The UK, edging back into the third in their current cycle of recessions, reports that the service sector - which accounts for 75% of their economy - is shrinking for the first time since 2009. Another round of austerity, that's the thing!
Up, Up & Awry: Natural gas would be
a fine an acceptable replacement for coal in electrical generation if 9% of it didn't leak straight into the atmosphere. Scientists calculate that the break-even point would be a somewhat less than 3.2% leakage rate.
War Without End, Amen: There is no indication that the War on
Everyone Who Doesn't Do What We Want Terror is ever going to end. Certainly the administration is planning for 'disposal operations' to continue for at least another decade. If you think that our killing people and locking them up indefinitely is going to be kept outside the US, you do not understand the attraction that unlimited power with limited accountability holds for egos driven to seek fulfillment through politics. Not to mention the support of those with a vested interest in the profits that come from an endless, lawless war. They're preparing for more endless wars; their actions are fueling that war; and they continue to reap untold benefits from its continuation. Only compulsion from the citizenry can change this trajectory.
Stupidity, Inc. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) says that no background checks should be required for the purchase of semi-automatic assault rifles because “it’s about freedom.”
The Parting Shot:
Eastern red cedar.