The Big Lie: German newspaper and television investigations have confirmed that the US routinely used German territory for “tapping, code cracking, recruiting informants, observing suspects, kidnapping and abducting foreign enemies.” They promise more, and more damning reports to come. The US responded by claiming "as a matter of policy the United States does not engage in kidnapping and torture, and does not condone or support the resort to such illegal activities,” which is an obvious and blatant lie.
Pogo Redux: “In the battle against the NSA, the biggest enemy is not the authoritarian state's Super Big Brother, but apathy.”
Champagne All 'Round: Some biggies in the economics racket have finally noticed that the US wobbles from bubble (S&L real estate) to bubble (tech stocks) to bubble (housing) to bubble (now, stocks?) and doesn't do real well unless a bubble is a'bubbling. And they suggest this is structural and will be the norm - with low growth, low interest rates and low employment alternating with crashes that funnel wealth ever upward to the 1%,while the great majority suffer years of privation. We've known how to solve this problem for about 80 years, but our elected representatives keep forgetting, and we don't have the political guts to stand up to the rich and take the economy back.
Little Blue Dresses: Ken Starr, whose claim to fame is years of harassing Bill Clinton over an act of consensual sex, told the court that his friend Christopher Kloman should not go to prison just because he sexually assaulted 10 -14 year old female students for years.
Lagniappe: Today's low gasoline prices in the US have little to do with fracking-originated surpluses and a lot to do with European shortages. Yes, the US is producing a bit more. Yes, the US has had a modest increase in efficiency and a serious decrease in miles driven, but the real cause of lower gasoline prices in the US has to do with the nature of refining. On average in the process of refining crude oil to make one gallon of diesel, two gallons of gasoline are also produced. There is a growing market in Europe for diesel that the US is supplying. Exports grew from 260,000 b/d in 2007 to 1.4 million b/d this summer. That leaves over 2 million barrels a day of excess gasoline sitting around the US, thus the lower prices. But it is a temporary phenomena; oil fields are still depleting faster than they are being found and the basic geophysics of peak oil remain intact.
Slip Sliding Away: Post Kaddafi Lybia is spiraling out of control, as most of the eastern oilfields are no longer under government control and militia clashes continue in Tripoli. Trying to placate the rebels, the government says it will institute Sharia law.
Realpolitik: The US makes no pretense that it and the other highly industrialized nations are not responsible for most of the CO2 emissions that have caused global warming. But it also makes abundantly clear that it will do nothing diminish its continuing emissions or, more importantly, to compensate smaller less developed nations for the destruction of life and property those emissions have caused. Period.
Location, Location: Headlines report that foreclosure activity has fallen 39% in Charlotte, while rising 30% in Chicago.