Good Intentions: On deck are the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement between a the EU and Canada, and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – all described as 'free trade' agreements. Falsely. They are “free from regulation agreements”, negotiated in secret, designed to permit corporations to evade and/or repeal governmental regulations they find unwelcome. Didn't you want to expand the rights and powers of large corporations? Previous 'trade agreements' have been disasters for working people the world over. These will be worse.
Hear No Evil: “Eric Cantor is a horrible person, whipping a gang of racists and ignorant, fearful, haters into increasingly unspeakable behavior with fake moralizing and outright lies." And more...
Sadness: There are several reports out breathlessly claiming that US medical doctors assisted the CIA and Defense Department in the government's torture chambers. Sad. But sadder is the ennui with which this news is received, the knowing nods, the tacit acceptance that 'of course they did.'
Definition: Rand Paul explains that just because he has extensively used other people's writings in his speeches and articles without attribution does not mean he is a plagiarist. He's just not very good at footnotes.
A Problem: "A surprisingly large chunk of our male population is now in the position where there is nothing that people can think of for them to do that is useful enough to cover the costs of making sure that they actually do it correctly, and don’t break the stuff and subtract value when they are supposed to be adding to it."
Criminal & Civil: Johnson & Johnson will pay more than $2.2 billion in criminal penalties and civil fines to settle allegations that it misrepresented drugs and paid kickbacks to promote drug sales. Forfeiture and criminal fines will amount to $485 million and the federal government and states will share the $1.72 billion in civil settlements. The dead will get an extra bouquet on their graves this year.
Making No Law: A new survey shows that 55% of Republicans support making Christianity the official state religion. Only 33% of them support religious freedom.
Tea Leaves: Economists at UBS think that the current low labor force participation rate – 63.3% - will remain with us for some time, which means that in order to get the unemployment rate down to 6.5% by the end of 2014 (the Fed's goal) we will have to add 185,000 jobs a month. Food for thought.
Holiday Jeers: Odds for a banner Christmas shopping season seem pretty slim. Begin with the $148 billion payroll tax hike in January, add in nearly zero hiring and little if any wage growth during the year, and a slow holiday shopping season seems guaranteed.
People Is Broke: The Republican-controlled House proposes cutting $39 billion from the SNAP; the Democratic-controlled Senate would cut but $4 billion over the same period. The Nov. 1 cut will reduce spending by $5 billion in 2014 (about 6%) and another 6% over the next two years. This will cut the food income for 47 million poor Americans by well over 10% in the course of three years – a government-sponsored diet. Which 3 days a month do you think single mothers will decide their child can miss?
Quoted: “If you’re a civilian and you die in a drone strike, it’s your fault!”
The Dickens: Over one million American students, kindergarten to high school, are homeless.
Austerity Now: Here's how austerity has benefited European economies' GDP in the last year and cumulatively since 2011: Germany down 3.9% and down 8.1% overall. France, -4.8% & -9.1%, Spain, -5.4% & -9.7%, Ireland -4.5 & - 8.4% and the winner is Greece, -8.1% & -18.0%. They had to burn the villages in order to save
Porn O'Graph: The Obama diet.
The Parting Shot: