Going Rogue: Of the major US crops, wheat is the only one that is mainly used to feed people, not animals. About 50% of US wheat is grown for export, export to places like Japan and Europe where GMO foods are not acceptable. No country on Earth has approved the sale of GM wheat. That's why there not supposed to be any GMO wheat. Monsanto stopped development of GMO wheat about a decade ago, which makes the appearance this spring of Monsanto GMO wheat in a farmer's field in Oregon so serious. How did it get there? Who's been doing what? Who's playing Pandora?
Observed: Austerity is “a grand political project” designed “for increasing social suffering and hobbling the economy.” To claim that giving Greece, Spain, Portugal and so on longer to squeeze money out of the proletariat and privatize government assets will not make the pain any less, is “extending failure into the future.” This will do nothing to resolve any of the underlying problems – economic decline, political haplessness or social unrest.
Correction: It is not accurate to say that multinational corporations like Apple have taken advantage of the tax codes, they took advantage of the political process to write the tax codes so they could take advantage of them. Their cleverness was not in finding away around the tax codes; their stellar achievement was to put the loop-holes they wanted where they wanted them.
Dissension In The Ranks: According to the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank, the typical American household has only regained about half of what it lost to the
bankers recession. Ben's boys in waiting claim that we've gotten back over 90% of our losses. Raise your hands if you've... Yeah, I thought so.
OPM: People complain that “QE distorts prices and changes the behavior of investors”. Well, Bernanke certainly hopes so, see for example the Dow. Another case in point: the recovery of the housing market, which has been driven by investor demand. And it’s not Mary and Tom from down the street doing the buying – it's Wall Street. Big institutions gobbling up 20,000 houses, planning to make more from them than they can from bonds. Traditionally the costs of maintaining and managing hundreds and thousands of single-family houses have made this an unattractive undertaking for the big money institutions – even when they're playing with other people's money. As soon as yield picks up elsewhere(sic), expect these houses to be dumped. Which will set off another cycle, but Ben will be gone by then.
Comes The Dawn: A new study concludes that “waning unionization, which led to the erosion of rank-and file workers' bargaining power, was the main force behind the decline in labor's share of national income." Union busting pays.
Downhill All The Way: A federal bankruptcy judge has agreed to let Patriot Coal unilaterally "reject collective bargaining agreements and to modify retiree benefits," specifically health benefits. It also lets the company renege on its contractual obligations to current workers and to "adjust wages and benefits", where 'adjust' is meant to mean 'cut'. Tell me again about how under the taxpayer bailout bank executives had to be paid bonuses because of contract obligations...
On Re-Schedule: The Defense Department has announced that the F-35 fighter, the most expensive weapons project ever at $391 billion and growing, and one which the military does not want and which doesn't work very well, will be ready for service by December 2015,December 2016, or perhaps February 2019. maybe. Actual combat against al-Qeada will is not expected to occur for some time thereafter. The military hopes to "make informed decisions about developing and employing the most effective military capabilities to support our national security strategy... against the ever-evolving and unknown threats posed by potential adversaries.” Especially terrorist air forces.
Horizons: After getting by for 50 years under an economic blockade by the blockheads in Washington, Cuba is expected to collapse any day now. Or not.
Porn O'Graph: Point of view.
The Parting Shot:
Spring storms, erosion.