Saturday, August 9, 2014

SAR #14219

Having delusions is a remarkably useful survival skill.

Deja Vu: The US is bombing Iraq “in order to save it”. Again.

Austerity Marches On: German bond yields have fallen to historic lows and the German economy appears to have contracted 0.2% in the second quarter. The – mainly theoretical – eurozone recovery has stalled with even the vaunted German industrial sector's output falling 1.5% and the DAX index dropping over 10%. The ECB's Mario Draghi is reassuring anyone who will listen that the magic of continued austerity is working. It'll just take a little longer than promised and “if needed” further action (QE asset purchases) will be taken, but only after deflation gets an even stronger foothold.

A Rose By Any Other Name: New York Times says that, after years of putting lipstick on the pig pandering to Washington , it will use the word 'torture' when describing torture.

The Big Picture: We have a Congress that won’t legislate, an infrastructure that’s collapsing, a climate bomb set to go off. We won’t solve the immigration crisis even as desperate children throw themselves in the Rio Grande. Income inequality threatens to make a great democracy into an oligarchy. The nation that built an interstate highway system, and cleaned up its filthiest rivers and most gasp-inducing air, has become openly hostile to long-term investment or problem-solving, In the West, where 'big government' and Obama are to blame for everything, the government-haters say the government isn't doing enough for them, while cheering Republicans in Congress recently blocked consideration of emergency wildfire funds.

Report Card: The Fed's report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households didn't hand out many passing grades. 40% of US households are financially strained, 34% are either worse off or much worse off than they were 5 years ago, and 20% of Americans nearing retirement have no money saved. None. 
Essay Question: "Is the Earth Fucked?" "Yeah. Pretty much." That's where the road we're on is taking us, but that has less to do with carbon than with capitalism. Our economic model is at war with life on Earth.

Suicide Is Painless: Ukraine, which can't get gas from Gazprom because they haven't paid for last year's gas and is dependent on funding from Europe to survive, says it will not let Russian gas flow to Europe unless Europe sends some of it back to Ukraine. For free, one assumes. Or else the Ukrainians will not let Russian gas transit the country. Let the games begin.

Absolution: In order to suck in even more victims, the credit industry is lowering the value of FICO credit scores by no longer including “failures to pay bills when calculating a score.” Ready, set, spend!

Faith Healing: One of the larger handicaps in formulating and evaluating economic policy is that “ we cannot distinguish changes caused by the policy itself from changes caused by belief – or disbelief - in the policy’s effectiveness”. Click your heels. 
Porn O'Graph: The recovery, I'm lovin' it.

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