Just-So Stories: Files obtained by several news organizations detail how the Swiss branch of HSBC helped clients (politicians, drug lords, dictators, fugitives, corrupt businessmen) dodge taxes and hide millions (and billions) in tainted monies. Prosecution will follow, slowly, resulting in a minor fine and no acknowledgement of wrong-doing. No bankers will go to jail.
Budget Cuts: Congress is mucking about with that part of the budget that funds, among other things, Homeland Security. What if no accord is reached? Would anybody miss those HS functions that are pretty much nothing but day care for adults? Certainly the TSA part could go away. It would mean a rapid increase in marginally employable voyeurs and the emotional castration of thousands of blue-gloved martinets, with a return of some degree of dignity to air travel. Would it have any effect on air safety? Probably not.
Serves You Right: If you are so lazy that you bought the new Samsung smart TV so you could chat with it, you should be aware that it is always listening. Always. And sending what it hears to Samsung, who will sell it to anyone and everyone. Go ahead, go read the fine print. Carefully. To yourself.
Is Blogging Dead? Well, I've been wondering.
Whiplash: In a hushed, tense voice Citibank is warning that oil could drop to $20 a barrel from its current $50 or so. Then, with a shrug, they add that $20 oil would only last “for a while” before returning to the $45-55 range and then in late 2015 it will rise to $75 a barrel. So it'll go down, or maybe up. Sooner, or maybe later.
Quoted: “I think that the number that comes out of BLS and the Department of Labor is very, very accurate. I need to make that very, very clear so that I don’t suddenly disappear. I need to make it home tonight.”Gallup CEO Jim Clifton, as a preface to suggesting that the data, while accurate, doesn't portray what it claims, especially in that the percent of full time jobs in this country as a percent of the adult population “is the worst it’s been in 30 years.”
Water, Wet: The press has just noticed that the US Congress is “more loyal” to Israel than to their constituents because AIPAC holds “obscene power” over them through lobbyists and well-organized Jewish groups.
Just Saying No: China has expressed its oppostion to US efforts to
Done Deal: Alan Greenspan , speaking with far more clarity than he ever did when head of the Fed, said, “The problem is that there there is no way that I can conceive of the euro of continuing, unless and until all of the members of eurozone become politically integrated – just fiscally integrated won’t do it.” Morgan Stanley agrees, suggesting that a Greek exit from the euro would lower the euro's value to 90 cents. And Italy is next.
Little Mary Sunshine: The US has sent over 70 howitzers and some 26 million rounds of ammunition - including small, medium and heavy artillery rounds – to Lebanon, which as promised not to use them against Israel. No big worry, they probably have GPS chips in them to help Israeli jets target them.