Puppet Masters: Italian voters decisively rejected the carefully cultivated path trod by their imposed leader(sic) Mario Monti, so naturally the European old guard is accepting the voters challenge by plotting to install another puppet as prime minister. This time the technocratic solution is Bank of Italy's Ignazio Visco. This will be seen as an elitist ploy to placate the Germans and the bankers, because it is. If they don't get their way, they'll force another vote. And another. And so on until the get the puppet they want and the austerity the Italians most certainly do not.
Reaching For It: The prime argument being made at the Supreme Court to defend and justify California's Proposition 8 banning of gay marriage is that “Only a man and a woman can beget a child together without advance planning...” Ah. Well, that seals it.
Dumb & Dumber: So the Republicans and the Democrats and the President all pooled their worst ideas together and came up with 'the sequestration' – a series of especially dumb cuts that would be so god-awful that they would be forced to work together and make the compromises necessary to get the country moving. Except it didn't. So as the year goes by the economy will lose 700,000 jobs. And that's for starters. A glance at Europe's numbers suggest the cuts will be worse. Really dumb.
Better To Save You With: To go with, and possibly use, the 1.6 billion rounds of 9mm and .40 caliber ammunition that it bought last year, Homeland Security now has 2,717 'Mine Resistant Armor Protected'. Mini-tanks. To be deployed on the streets of your town. In order to to make sure the government is safe.
Toil & Trouble: Student debt, having trebled in the last decade, now makes up a larger part of consumer borrowing than do credit cards. It is also the loan category with the highest percentage of borrowers more than 90 days delinquent. Bubble? Nah, it's an investment in the future – assuming that debt servitude is a future.
Editorial Correction: An op-ed in the WSJ claimed that Republicans are in trouble because most Americans think the GOP does not care about ordinary people or the less fortunate. This is not true. They don't 'think' the GOP does not care about them, they know it.
Private Facts: The Mexican people are about to have their petroleum rights wrested from them through privatization of the 75-year old state monopoly. Politicians (and the investors behind them) claim that private profits will revive the industry. They won't. Mexico's oil output has fallen not because of poor management, but because one of the world's great oil fields, Cantarell, is running dry, collapsing from over 2 million barrels a day to about 500,000 and rapidly falling. Dry's dry. And profits are profits and they're about to be stolen.
Sock Puppet: Canada, echoing its Big Brother to the south, has condemned Pakistan for agreeing to build a pipeline with Iran and to purchase Iranian energy that it sorely needs. It's the good neighbor policy.
Proof:There are over 1,426 billionaires in the world with about $5.4 trillion between them, 442 of them in the US. How is this justifiable? How can theft of this magnitude exist?
On Passivity:The problems we face are so overwhelming – climate change, unemployment, peak oil, political charlatans and Wall Street piracy and so on – that it is understandable that you feel helpless and retreat to your computer and Facebook and computer games. But if you don't get off your ass and out the door and join in – or form a group – in calling for sustainability and sanity, one day soon you'll be sitting there in front of your computer and the lights will go off and the screen go black and then you'll really, really be overwhelmed and hopeless.
Not Necessarily The News: Research suggests that sugar is behind the global explosion in type 2 diabetes. Maybe not in a causal way, but it is “closely associated with diabetes". Shocking. Never would have guessed. Etc.
Motivation: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has spoken out against including a pathway to citizenship in any immigration reform legislation. Nobody asked him, but he wants to be president so he thought it was time to stake out his claim to the far right of the far right.
The Parting Shot: