Friday, June 28, 2013

SAR #13179

Eventually everything breaks.

Sheltered: 30-year fixed-rate mortgages zoomed from 3.93% last week to 4.46% this week – the highest rate in 2 years and the largest week-to-week jump in over 15 years. Even with the long run of low prices and low mortgage rates, home ownership rates have fallen for eight consecutive years. Maybe the ongoing decade-long decrease in household income has something to do with it. But that doesn't stop the flippers who are trying to beat the next pop of the walking-dead housing “recovery”.

Yes, But: A survey shows that over half of Americans 'disapprove of Obamacare.” These folks have no more idea what “Obamacare” is (or will be) than they had last year when they went around telling the government to keep its hands off Social Security.

Friends In High Places: The CFTC has filed criminal charges against Jon Corzine for playing fast and lose with over a billion dollars of customer money – most of which eventually came wandering home. The Justice Department has already ruled that he will do no jail time; after all, he is a former Goldmanite, Governor and Washington biggie. And Democratic fundraiser. Another charade to go through in order to pretend there's equality. Somewhere.

Quoted: “Economists mainly make it up”

La Dolce: Italy's second largest bank fears that the country “is likely to need” a bailout from the EU/ECB/IMF by the end of the year as the country's economy continues to deteriorate and credit problems spread to its larger corporations. The country is also vulnerable to economic contagion from Argentina and Slovenia – its close trading partners – both of which are 'worrisome'.

Some Are More Equal: In his felony trial for writing an anti-bank message in a water-soluble chalk on a bank's wall, the defendant may not mention: “the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial.” Corporations, say a big bank, can buy politicians, but that's protected speech, right?

Quoted: “Behind each financial crisis lurks a 'political bubble' — a set [of] political biases that foster market behaviors leading to financial instability. Rather than tilting against risky behavior, in political bubbles politicians and regulators aid, abet, and amplify the risks created in financial markets.  These biases are deeply embedded in the constellation of ideology, institutions, and interests that define the American political system.”

Rear Guard Action: The Republicans claim they will (click your heels) be able to enact a nationwide ban of same-sex marriage. Exactly which nation was unclear.

Today in Privacy: Know those cameras that picture your car as it runs a red light? Reads the license and sends you a bill? Well, nothing says that the picture/license reader can't take a picture of every car that goes through the intersection. And nothing says these can't be store in a computer file. Ditto for that dash-camera in the police car. And you thought it was just your phone's location was being tracked. Call your local police and ask to see your snapshots.

Third Time 'Round: Congress is happily doing nothing to avoid yet another financial cliff, this one the apparently unresolvable fight looming over the budget – or lack thereof – this fall. The no-compromise nutters of the far right of the right wing, coupled with Democrats becoming less and less inclined to cut off another arm, suggest that last weeks Farm Bill debacle is likely to be repeated come budget time.

Essay Prompt: “We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.” That's Justice (sic) Antonin Scalia. 500 words or less, beginning with a definition of 'consistency' and including a comparison of the legislative history of DOMA and the Voting Rights Act. Usual prize.

Contamination: At the secret (well, secret to you and me but not to the 600 corporations who are negotiating the treaty for you) TPP meetings, the chief US negotiator is Islam Siddique, a former Monsanto lobbyist. Bearing in mind the earlier triumphs of NAFTA, what could go wrong?

The Parting Shot:



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