Friday, November 15, 2013

SAR #13319

Life is an endless series of ever less defensible choices. 

A Quote: “The real danger is not the current or near-term level of federal debt level per se. The danger is that some form of “debt hysteria” will take over and result in a sweeping fiscal adjustment – most likely big cuts in spending on education, research, infrastructure and the like – with the unintended consequence of slowing productivity growth.” (See, for example, Spain. Portugal. Italy and so on and on.)

Level Playing Field: Worldwide the fossil fuel industry – coal, petroleum and natural gas – gets $500 billion in subsidies, six times the amount funneled to renewable energy. Hardly a fair fight.

Indifference: The Dow is wow! The S&P is unstoppable!! Who cares? Why do we get so excited about the market indexes unless we have a lot of money tied up in index stocks? So Warren Buffet and Bill Gates made another billion or two. So? The markets keep going up while the middle class keeps going down; the markets are obviously not connected to reality.

Knowledge Is Dangerous: The FBI has decided that doing research into the results of Freedom Of Information Act requests for FBI documents is “irreparably damag[ing] to national security.” Actually, it's a threat to the arrogance of the FBI, but we won't talk about that.

First Steps: The drip, drip, drip of information about the TPP is finally awakening a response by our elected representatives, with over 150 House Democrats going public with their opposition to giving Obama 'fast-track' trade authority for the agreement. They have joined a growing bipartisan group who suspect – following NAFTA and the WTO – that 'free trade” hurts American jobs and cedes part of US sovereignty to international vultures.

Another Victory: A record opium crop has been planted in Afghanistan this year – another victory for ten years of US efforts.

Paying The Band: Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private sector employer, is also the biggest consumer of taxpayer supported aid, while fast food workers cost taxpayers more than $7 billion dollars a year for food stamps, Medicaid, and other social support programs. The money that McDonalds, Wal-Mart and the rest save by not paying their workers a living wage goes to their profits. Why not track how much we pay to support their employees and send them a bill every month?

Taking A Bath: The world's oceans are becoming acidic at an "unprecedented rate", souring more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 million years and the acidification will increase by 170% by 2100 resulting in the extinction of at least 30% of ocean species, starting with creatures with shells and exoskeletons, including shrimp and corals, with reverberations up the food chain.

Executive Orders: President Obama, trying to placate the uproar over the “you can keep your insurance” lies, has again resorted to administrative orders, just as he did earlier in granting exemptions to the employer mandate. Good for him, but is it legal? Can the president alter the laws passed by Congress that easily? His oath says he “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Not that the laws will be juggled to meet passing political winds. It's a bad law, poorly written. Throw it out and start over.

Garbage In, No Garbage Out: Part of Spain's austerity program reduced the wages of Madrid's garbage collectors, who didn't like being treated like rash so they went on strike. After 10 days the city council has had enough and threatens to cancel the current contracts with private firms if the strike doesn't end. Wait till they get wind of what happens then...

Barefoot & Pregnant: Violence against women - domestic violence, human sex trafficking, and sexual assault - has cost Tennessee in excess of $ 886,171,950 last year. Multiply by 50.

It's Only Money: TSA has spent a billion dollars on a profiling program designed to identify terrorists at airports. Too bad it doesn't work any better than NSA's 24/7 intercept of all our communications flipping a coin.

Porn O'Graph: I'll gladly pay you Tuesday...

The Parting Shot:

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