Saturday, March 15, 2014

SAR #14074

Democracy comes complete with corruption, rigged elections and such; the only saving grace being that there's less of the bad stuff in some democracies... the ones with relatively equitable income distribution.

All Is Forgiven: Following its destruction of the US Gulf Coast, BP was banned from bidding on federal contracts. Enough time has passed for the public at large to have gone back to their reality shows, so the US has told BP that all was forgiven and they could belly up to the trough once more.

Don't Let The Door Hit You: The US has this strange idea that the Russians like us and want to do business with us and that it can use this as a lever in the Ukraine/Crimea sweepstakes. Not true. Long before the current inning Russia was kicking US business executives out of the country for such social crimes as speeding or getting a couple of parking tickets. 
Beating Your Wife? The US claims it is no longer detaining any minors in its 'war on terror'. They've all been held in cages so long that they are now adults.

Equal Protection: FBI agents investigating corruption charges against Utah Senators Harry Reid (Democratic Majority Leader) and Mike Lee (Republican comer) have been sent to the showers by Justice (sic) Department officials. The state-level bipartisan probe, based on information received from an indicted businessman/political donor, hasn't been squashed. Yet.

Cut & Run: Shell's new boss has acknowledged that its investments in US shale operations have been money losers and will be cut back and spun off, even though the US EIA keeps claiming that there's oil under them there hills.

Drones: Have you thought about how much drones are going to change... everything? Sure, sure, Amazon delivery services. But they will also make infantry obsolete, set off an escalation between smugglers using them and the border police using them to catch the smugglers. They will replace handguns as the murderer's weapon of choice and the PI's following wayward husbands about (once the sky is full of drones, slipping yours into the mix will be easy). And terrorists... 
Recovered: The number of millionaires in the US has reached a new high – 9.63 million – after falling to a low of 6.7 million during the recent downturn. How are things in your neighborhood?

Inefficiencies: In an article on the inefficiencies in the US health care system that led to at least a trillion dollar dent in the US economy, not one word is said about the paperwork and administrative costs of our profit-driven health insurance system. Nor about profits. 
Repeat After Me: "The main driver of inequality—the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth—today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values."

Divorce: Amid all the celebration of Mexico's capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, let's not forget that for a decade the DEA and Mr. Guzman had an arrangement where he got to smuggle billions of dollars in illegal drugs into the US while the DEA looked the other way in return for information on his competitors. How he screwed up and lost his protection is unknown. 
Democracy Inaction: Ahmed Shafik says that the “free elections” promised by the military junta in Egypt will be a farce – his word. Him, oh he's a retired general and former prime minister who came in second in the last presidential election. Sour grapes. 
Revised Edition: 'U.S. Says One Thing, Does Another on Mortgage Fraud'

Half A Loaf: A few key senators have agreed to extend (or re-extend) unemployment insurance for more than 2 million jobless Americans whose benefits have run out. That was the easy part and gets them some PR. No way the House Republicans will go along. 
Porn O'Graph: God help us. Or you, anyway.

The Parting Shot:
 Rock Beauty, Holacanthus tricolor.

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