Monday, July 1, 2013

SAR #13182

Passing through a clearing is not the same as getting out of the woods.

History: Funny, those who lived in fear of the Gestapo and then the KGB and Stasi don't find NSA's targeting of embassies, bugging of the EU's offices and computers, and the intercept of half a billion German phone calls and internet connections every month nearly as comforting as the US thinks they should. Maybe their looking at it through a different PRISM.

Shafted: Despite what Goldman Sachs claims, economies rest on primary production – growing stuff or digging it out of the ground. The folks that dig stuff out of the ground are not doing very well, with slowing capital investment, lower earnings, and growing job cuts. But that's okay, we can always drive cars made out of paper profits and live in derivative houses.

Noted: "The only misconduct in both the Benghazi and the IRS stories was committed by House Republicans" and their ABC errand boy, Jonathan Karl.

Belt & Suspenders: Can you identify even one of these? InfraGard, The Domestic Security Alliance Council, the DHA Private Sector Information-Sharing Working Group, or the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Surveillance Self-Defense site. 

Seconds: In Egypt, tens of thousands of Morsi's opponents protested in Tahrir Square and in towns and cities throughout the country, seeking his resignation. In Istanbul, anti-government protests continued in the face of severe police attempts to dissuade them.

More Of The Same: On top of intercepting your email, tacking yur internet use, keeping tabs on your credit carss and taking a few dozen pictures of your car every day, NSA also can (and undoubtedly does) scoop up and preserve a billion cellphone calls every day. This does not mean they are listening to every call, every day, it means they are storing every call and can go back and listen to yours when and if you get out of line. This is not about catching terrorists or making anybody but the leadership more secure. This is about controlling you.

The Same, Only Different: NATO will continue to provide “advice” to the Afghan military until at least 2020. Ask me about my time in Vietnam as an adviser.

Help Me, I've Fallen: During the first quarter of 2013, wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded -3.8%, while productivity rose half a percentage point. The result is that labor costs per unit fell 4.3%. In other words, paychecks shrank, but output grew. You are poorer, the bosses are richer. Over the last decade, men's wages have actually fallen, while women's wages have simply stagnated. Employers – embracing very high unemployment – are more and more willing to cut wages. About 25% of hourly wage earners have had their pay cut during the Current Unpleasantness, and about 35% of the non-hourly folks. Never mind, go out there and buy a house, there's a new 'affordable' loan awaiting.

Explicate: US corporations are trying to defeat a series of “Buy American” bills that are circulating in state capitals. Might interfere with their plans to enrich themselves at our expense under the TPP treaty.

Plotline: Imagine you live in a country with a judicial system where the accused are not allowed to know the secret charges against them, are not allowed an independent defense, and are not allowed to attend their own secret trials. Imagine, if you will, the US military courts at Guantanamo.

Skirmishes: When social conservatives fall back on federalist states' rights arguments and state-by-state debates, they are fighting a rear-guard action, even though they may make occasional transitory victories in smaller and smaller puddles.

The Parting Shot:


Life, going on.


Matte Gray said...

Regarding German annoyance with NSA monitoring, perhaps they'll express their pique by offering asylum to Snowden. Ecuador, Schmecuador.

HS said...

It's becoming abundantly clear that we live in a Democracy In Name Only. What isn't clear, is we'll ever do anything about it.

Classof65 said...

Did you read the article in the NY Times today about employees forced to have their paychecks turned into pre-paid bank cards and how the banks are hitting them with exorbitant fees? This means that, after paying the fees, the employees are making less than minimum wages...

I think a lot of people throughout the country are enraged at what's going on, but none of us knows what to do about it, other than wait until the 2016 election.

Thousands of us have signed petitions, written to Obama and to our Senators and Congress-people, to no avail. Neither I nor my husband can travel to Washington to demonstrate -- we don't have the money to do so.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Classof65 - Yes, I saw the debitcard item and will put it up in tomorrow's SAR.

As for waiting and voting: A) Do we have the time? B) When was the last time it did any good?

Given the amount of control we have let Washington and Wall street assume, assume that things will only get worse and that voting will remain a placeboic pacifier.