Progress Report: As the US backed civil war grows in Ukraine (and US involvement continues to be ignored by US media) about 400 mercenaries - most likely employed by Greystone, a division of Academi (formerly Blackstone), a branch of the greater US Defense enterprise - are operating with the Ukrainian military in the southeastern part of the country, and have been for over a month. The purported results of the pretend referendum on the future of those parts of Ukraine that Putin wants or wants to control show 89% of the votes in favor of 'independence'. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, it is thought that the presence of NATO toops in Eastern Europe “could be permanent”.
As Intended: Reports suggest that many large employers are transfering their sickest employees to the insurance exchanges, as a way of saving money on their payroll costs, while edging America ever closer to a single payer system.
Wolf, Big Bad: The ECB continues to fight hyperinflation as the eurozone congines to slide into deflation. Fortunately, Mario Draghi says he will act soon. Next month, maybe. Or the month after. But austerity is working; just ask the millions of unemployed.
Water, Water: The Navy has signed contracts worth $17.9 billion to build 10 new submarines over the next decade. Because climate change is inundating islands and creating ever more ocean for the US to dominate... And besides, if we don't keep building them, we won't know how to build them if we ever need to build them. Really, that's what they said. We can't afford to put people back to work building useful infrastructure, but $18 billion for war, no problem.
Voice Vote: Senator Rubio (Wannabe -FL) says he “does not agree with the notion” of climate change and that even if the climate is changing, human activity is not behind it. I don't agree with the notion of that Rubio “is ready to be President.”
Not News: The international drug trade is massively profitable, and laundering all that money is massively profitable for all of the Big Banks. They've been laundering drug money since the early 1990's, and are still doing it today. The drug trade constitutes 3.6% of global GDP, and the rich and powerful are not about to let that go without skimming off their fees. One UN report claimed that it was the profits made from the international drug trade that kept the banking system afloat during the Recent Unpleasantness. This all fits with the big bank's business plans.
Commoner's Core: Last year, four hedge fund managers managed to earn more than all of the kindergarten teachers in the nation.
A Plan: Rick Scott, practicing for his run for the presidency, lied to Florida's citizens when he claimed the Republicans had an alternative to Medicaid expansion. Because, he said, Florida could not afford extending healthcare to the uninsured even though the Federal government was footing the bill. So the Florida House rejected all federal healthcare funding. But never fear, they were truthful when they said they had a plan. The plan was to leave you uninsured and let you die.
Numb Errs: Stock Market Averages are averages. Some are more average than others, but mostly they are only vaguely related to what the stocks you hold are doing, and nearly nothing to do with how the economy is doing or – more importantly – how the society is doing. Else they would reflect the long term unemployed, our growing food insecurity or the pervasive reliance on food stamps for survival. And a real stock index should reflect the fact that many stocks in the index and in the market as a whole are seriously down.
Third World Nations: Sixteen US counties have more than 100,000 children who are “food insecure” and dragging down school scores because they insist on being hungry instead of learning the Common Core.
Porn O'Graph: Bears, in the woods.
The Parting Shot: