Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SAR #14077

Capitalism assumes scarcity.

Common Theme: Iraq, war, all about the oil. Afghanistan, war, all about the pipeline. Crimea, only blather, because Russia sells $160 billion worth of petroleum to Europe and the US every year.

Wise Guys: True insiders – corporate officers and directors – are more bearish they have been in nearly 25 years. And they theoretically know more about their own companies' prospects than the market in general.

To The Rear March: In an abrupt and historic reversal, the IMF now cites investing in health care and education and instituting progressive taxation as effective ways to decrease inequality and promote growth, while singling out austerity polices as worsening inequality and hampering economic growth. Never mind that for at least a half-century the IMF has insisted that austerity was the only way to go. Don't hold your breath waiting for the agency to change the conditions it attaches to bailouts – it has a long history of doing the opposite of what it knows to be best for the countries and people that are its clients because these things benefit its patrons, the banks and the rich.

Sticks And Stones: Saudi Arabia, not content with banning 420 books at the Riyadh International Book Show, has also banned 50 names as being blasphemous and inappropriate. 
The Other Thing: Sure, there's appalling inequity in income and in wealth distribution in this country. But the more serious inequality is in health and longevity. Poverty not only diminishes a person's life circumstances, it diminishes his life. Poor males die about six years earlier than the rich. That's why raising Social Security and Medicare entitlement ages is so wrong – its saying that the poor must work until they drop because the lawyers and CEOs are living longer.

Gee Mail: User-friendly Google wants the court to black out all that stuff in the trial transcript that details how it steals information from your e-mails before you open them. It's a proprietary business secret, they claim. Unlike your e-mails, which are merely private secrets and thus not worth protecting. 
Pyhrric Victory: The NSA is getting better at its job. Too bad its job seems to be watching us 24/7. NSA does not trust any of us. The want to suck up every electronic trace there is of anything and everything we do and keep it forever, "just in case." It's like the cops videotaping everything you do in every room of your house, all the while, promising not to watch any of the footage unless an acquaintance of one of your friends is suspected of doing something wrong. Why not let them? Because it is unconstitutional. End of story.

Weight Drop Dropped: It turns out that the claimed drop in childhood obesity was a statistical error; actually the obesity rate may have risen. Damned decimal points...

Evidence Be Damned: There is a persistent belief that government money-printing and deficits inexorably lead to runaway inflation and that 'easy money' policies are morally corrupt anyway, no matter their efficiency. Even though years of QE and deficits have not led to any inflation, much less rampant inflation, but facts do not budge the true believers. That doom has not shown up and is not visible on the horizon does not mean it isn't out there, over the horizon. Or rainbow. So there's always hope. Or fear. 
We're Lovin' It: Macky D is being sued for tampering with time-sheets, withholding overtime pay, docking pay for uniforms, forcing workers to clock out while working during non-busy store hours, and barring workers from taking breaks. Great business model: Pay your workers the minimum, then steal part of that.

Our Town: A South Dakota Republican lawmaker claims that KKK business owners should have the right to ban blacks and gays from their premises. A female GOP PAC leader says women are too busy to be concerned with the equal pay issue.

The Parting Shot: 
 Schoolmaster, Lutjanus aposdus.

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