Does anyone at the IMF, ECB, or EU have the faintest idea of what they are doing?
Nickel and Dimed: It was bad enough when Obama decided to defraud retirees via Chained CPI. Turns out he also snuck it into his budget in a way that will progressively increase the taxes on the middle class. And all to save maybe $200 billion over ten years – not even enough to buy all the helicopters without transmissions the Pentagon wants.
Shocks and Blonds: European stock markets are up because German PMI results were so terrible investors are sure the ECB will step in and rescue everyone. The same logic pushed up NY markets after Caterpillar’s disappointing quarterly results.
Restrained Enthusiasm: New home sales for March were reported as 417,000 SAAR, an increase over February's 411,000 and greeted as proof of life. Let's see, 50 states, about 63 counties per state, 52 weeks a year – wow! That's a bit over 2 new houses a week in your general neighborhood! A boom, a boom!
Perspective: In explaining why his agency does not plan to expand inspections in the wake of the explosion in West, the Chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality explained that “They don’t explode very often.” Meanwhile Governor Goodhair was in Chicago, using the explosion in West to illustrate how regulation free and business friendly Texas is. And the two-faced Gov. Perry, who as a candidate promised to disband FEMA, is demanding that FEMA get to West pronto and bring lots of money with it.
The Question: Why is Boston ‘terrorism’ but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine?
Majority Rues: Colin Powell's number two at State, Col.l Lawrence Wilkerson, has said - in a sworn declaration – that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld all knew that “the vast majority” of detainees described repeatedly as “the worst of the worst” were in fact innocent, but refused to release them because it would have looked bad. Worse for US prestige than Guantanamo has been?
Bed Arrest: Hospitals (specifically one in Iowa, but the practice is practiced) have been known to act as an informal arm of ICE and quickly put injured immigrants on planes and ship them to their countries of origin for treatment. This has happened to at least 600 people in the last five years – at least some of whom had valid US health insurance that would have covered their treatment.
Exhibit One: Cluelessness: Senior British MPs want the Prime Minister to strip Google's CEO of his position as a government adviser after he insisted that Google's contribution to the British economy relieved it of the mundane responsibility of paying taxes. He didn't quite say he'd take his ball and go home if he didn't get his way, but that was implied. Someone should call his bluff.
The Situation So Far: Americans are, slowly but surely, becoming more liberal. American state legislators are not. Why? Because the far right is better financed and far more fanatical. Mostly it is about money – their masters have it and are willing to spend some of it to get lots more. That women, unions, teachers, retirees, and poor children suffer along the way is unfortunate but unavoidable – especially if the left doesn't get its act together pretty damned soon.
As We Thought: "Luck—not hard work—is overwhelmingly why the rich are rich... differences in income due to inequality of opportunity dwarf those from inequality of effort or talent." Well, yes. Being born a white male to wealthy, politically connected parents is a good career move, too.
The Parting Shot:
The march of the May Apples.