Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Among Friends: America's good friend and NATO partner Turkey is denying wounded Kurdish fighters escaping from Kobane entry into the country and letting them die clinging to the fence. It also arrested 274 Kurds fleeing the ISIS attack on Kobane. Turkish jets spent the day bombing Kurdish forces.
Bottom Line: The World Health Organization says that Ebola threatens the “very survival” of societies and will lead to even more failed states. Will the 50% death rate apply to countries, too?
Tick, Tick, Tick: Italy's Five Star Movement has launched a petition drive to force the Italian legislature (where 5 Star holds 150 seats) to “restore Italian sovereignty” by abandoning the euro and reverting to the lira. The referendum would not be binding, but a “law of popular initiative” would be. While not an immediate threat, the process of letting the people democratically decide has begun. Imagine what the euro union would look like if it had to depend on the freely expressed democratic will of the populace.
Bravery Without Borders: Reports say that at least 16 staff members of Médecins Sans Frontières have been infected with Ebola; nine of them have died. The group blames the international community for “inadequate assistance”, noting that while many pledges have been made, little in the way of results has been forthcoming.
Phantom Right: Don't get carried away with having the right to remain silent. You can, but that silence can be (and is) held against you at trial.
Trade Secrets: Beleaguered sub-sandwich chain Jimmy John's makes all employees, even minimum wage part-timers, sign a non-compete contract as a condition of employment. The contract prohibits the employee from working for any competing sandwich shop (ie any fast food place selling something that vaguely resembles an oblong bun with stuff on it) for a period of two years. 'Competing' means within 3 miles of any of the chain's 2,000 stores. They are afraid of losing their trade secrets such as how to make a sprout sandwich without sprouts, how to lose customers' credit card data, and how to steal employees' wages.
Trickle, Trickle... Mortgage applications at Wells Fargo have dropped from a high of $72 billion in Q2 to $64 billion in Q3 and now have dropped to $25 billion – the lowest number since all this fun started back in the Lehman collapse days.
Something In The Water: Australia's demented leadership marches on. This time its Treasurer Joe Hockey who, faced with data that shows Australia tops the OECD in greenhouse gas emissions per capita, said it was ridiculous to suggest Australia is among the world's top contributors to global warming. After all, it is official Australian policy that there is no global warming.
Crass Warefare: America's richest 14 people made more money last year than the government spent on food for people in need. And yet the food stamp program was cut because of a lack of funds. The top 1% made more than we spent on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combined. Most of the richest's' money – some $7.6 trillion (with a T) is hidden in overseas tax shelters. In the US as currently owned and operated there is no way to stop the rampant redistribution of money to the rich.
Barefoot and Pregnant: Apple and Facebook will now pay for their female employees to freeze their eggs for future use. After their usefulness to the company ends. And it beats paying them equitably.
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:53 AM