All A'Twitter: US AID is taking the blame for the latest stupid attempt by the US government to overthrow the Cuban government, this time by fomenting a counter-revolution via Twitter. . After 50 years of failure, wasted money and public humiliation, isn't it time we stopped coddling the Cubans who own Florida's sugar plantations and leave Cuba alone? Or better yet, why not extend a helping hand?
Meh: The US Director of National Intelligence has admitted, in writing, that the NSA intercepts and monitors the communications of US citizens without obtaining warrants to do so. This confession was met with massive indifference by a defeated population.
Being Prepared: EU officials (along with US, UK, Canada, NZ and the rest of the Usual Suspects) are changing the rules so that the next time banks need rescuing, the silly people who put money in the bank to save it will discover it un-saved. Confiscated. But only the amount over the 'insured' level. At first. If that's not enough, then everybody gets a haircut. And if that's not enough, then the same would-be savers will get to pony up the rest through taxes. Heck of a deal.
They're Winning: The government in Australia proposes to make it illegal to boycott a company for its environmental crimes.
Obfuscation: IMF chief Christine Lagarde says that global growth “remains too slow and weak”, that inflation is too low, and that the ECB should be “using unconventional policies to support growth.” God only knows what evils hide behind those words. Is it more austerity, which the IMF says is hurtful, or less austerity, which the IMF says is not allowable? She also said that "The situation in Ukraine is one which, if not well managed, could have broader spillover implications." Really. That's why she gets the big bucks.
Up Close & Personal: The NFL is planning to have team cheerleaders
Mirror, Mirror: When they talk about the job creators and how such critters should be coddled and protected and encouraged by the tax system, remember they are talking about you, the consumer. No customers, no demand. No demand, no need for supply. No need for supply, no jobs. To create jobs, we need to put money in customers' pockets. Your pockets.
Bottom Lines: Yes, it was scandalous that over a thousand workers were killed in the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh and it will undoubtedly happen again – especially if the slave drivers are forced to pay the peons a few pennies more a day and thus are forced to skimp on safety measures. But if GM won't spend fifty-seven cents to save an American life, why should we expect Walmart's subcontractors to value human life any higher? They're just part of the Asian horde, not actual individuals, so we can say “Pity” and go on shopping.
Nature Of The Beast: It is becoming more and more obvious that the postwar middle-class world I grew up in was an immense exception and the plutocracy that has taken over is simply the reversion to the norm. It is not a question of getting back to the Garden, the Garden was the exception. The question is how far will down turn out to be.
Ignition: The pitiful recovery in consumer spending is nearly all due to our going further into debt to buy cars. New car sales in 2013 were up 40% from 2009, while other retail spending was up only 20%. Yes, the sales count, even if there's a good chance they'll be recalled.
Torpid Secret: The CIA has done all it can to keep its torture program secret because they tortured more people, in more places, in more hideous ways than previously known, all to no end. They learned only that the tortured will say anything to stop the pain. Sort of like the CIA doing anything it can to avoid the pain of being caught lying to congress. Again.
All Together Now: In the US, 80% of adults are faced with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives. Obviously they don't work on Wall Street. But then, neither do you.
The Parting Shot: