Friday, January 3, 2014

SAR #14003

Economists assume people will act in their best interests. Wall Street knows better.

Target Practice: The NSA may claim it is intercepting data from all over the world so the government can make American citizens safer, but the long list of ways they are bugging our computers, cell phones and quite possibly that digital TV on the wall suggests that it is more concerned with making the government safe from the citizens.

Fallujah, The Sequel: Sunni Muslim al-Qaida forces have taken over Fallujah, parts of Ramadi and several smaller cities in Anwar Province from the Shia led Baghdad government. Hard to tell the players without a prayer card.

Exceptionialism: Roman Catholic employers have gotten a temporary exemption from that part of the ACA that requires employers to provide insurance policies covering contraception while their challenge to that provision works its way through the courts. I go back, once more, to the question: If the employer is a Christian Scientist, does he have to provide any health insurance at all, or will a pamphlet on faith healing do the trick?

Investment Advice: Study Barry Ritholz's tea leaf readings carefully and prosper. Or not.

Shifty Sands: Iranian Babak Zanjani was his country's designated smuggler-of-oil-for-gold until Iran wanted to cozy up to the US. Now Tehran has arrested Zanjani, and the Erdogan corruption scandal in Turkey centers on Zanjani's co-conspiraters there. Was this the price the US extracted for entering into negotiations over the Iranian sanctions? Is the lesson: Don't mess with the petrodollar?

Back To Basics: The success of the ACA will not be whether you get to keep your doctor, it's whether several millions Americans who do not have a doctor get one.

MBS - More Bank Settlements: Citigroup, adding to the undisclosed amount it had previously ponied up for all the bad MBS it palmed off on Fannie and Freddie, has come up with another $250 million in conscience money. GE (for Ally Financial), which had also previously repatriated a bunch of bad paper from F&F, paid another $6.5 million to the FHFA. Citi, GE, JPMorgan ($4 billion), Deutsche Bank ($1.9 billion), Wells Fargo ($335 million) and others have paid the Feds about $8 billion so far. At least one federal judge, noting that the five-year statute of limitations on these crimes is running out, wants to know why no high-level executives have been prosecuted. Hey, maybe it's because the statue of limitations is running out...

Half a Loaf: New York Times and Guardian editorials say Edward Snowden deserves clemency.  Wrong, he deserves immunity.

Inequality R US: "Americans should be as worried today about the quality of their democracy as they are about the inequality of their incomes. … Unless something – and it will need to be something major – returns the US to its pre-2008 growth trajectory, future economic historians will not regard the Great Depression as the worst business-cycle disaster of the industrial age. It is we who are living in their worst case.” Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate. 
Asked and Answered: So, is the euro crisis over? No, not by a long shot.

The Future, Now: The government is considering requiring new cars to have 'vehicle-to-NSA-vehicle communications systems which would let “vehicles talk to each other to prevent accidents”. Sure hackers will be able to take over the car and cause accidents. So? And it will give NSA even more ways to watch you. They could share the data with the local cops who could then send you speeding tickets without having to actually catch you in the act.

Clearing and Warmer: A new study reveals that as the planet warms, the atmosphere will dry out, making it harder for clouds to form. This will let more sunshine reach the Earth's surface and result in greater warming. The current consensus among climate scientists is that global warming will average 4ºC (7.5ºF) by 2100. As the report says, “4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous. ... it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics.” And it would melt the Greenland Ice Sheet etc, etc.

Porn O'Graph: What came around comes around.

The Parting Shot:

Flamingo tongue, Cyphoma gibbosum


Tulsatime said...

Clearing...that sounds like the perfect combination for better solar panel weather. I hope the Koch corp chokes on the cash flow troubles from all those freeloaders.BBC

Drew Dowdell said...

MBS - Why is it that bank executives get a 5 year statute of limitations for wrecking the economy but you and I have to wait 7 years for a missed mortgage payment to fall off our credit reports?