Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SAR #15175



Are EU officials as dumb as they seem?  Is Trump?

Original Sin: America pretends to be a much less racist nation than it used to be. It is not. Yes, a marked measure of progress has been made on the public level, but on a personal level we are still in denial. That's why we're talking about the Confederate flag and not about our racism, our denial of the pervasive discrimination, fear and hate that silently dominates our public spaces and political discourse. It is probably the operative factor in our disdain for helping the less fortunate. It certainly is the basis for 22 states refusing to extend healthcare to their citizens through the ACA. And the great impetus to resist gun control can be traced to the white fear of black reprisal. We like to think we're better than that. We aren't.

There's An App For That: Seems that Uber's handy little app tracks you 24/7. Just how smart is it to have a smart phone?

Mystery Meat: The essence of every trade deal between the US and the third world in the last 25 years has been to let ever more goods from lower wage nations replace US jobs. People working for a few dollars a day cannot afford US products, and US consumers cannot resist cheap salad spinners. We export jobs, they stock WalMart, auto row and the electronics stores. Yes, it improves – ever so slightly – life in Asian sweat shops. Tell me again why I should care, if it comes at our expense. How much sovereignty is cheap clothing worth?

History Lessened: The idiot brigade is claiming that banning the Confederate flag would be un-American.

Done Deal: This fall, before the Cameron government can dismantle Britain's National Health Service, the UK will become the first country in the world to begin a publicly funded immunization drive against meningitis B. Imagine what it must be like to live in an oppressive socialist country where the government interferes in people's lives like that. 
 
Final Score: Corporations 1, Constitution 0

Reflection: Facebook is now valued higher than Wal-Mart. That's the difference between selling you things and simply selling you.

And So It Goes: In 2007 a global financial crisis resulted from years of excess debt, artificially low interest rates and a determined refusal to recognize risk. The central bankers and financial giants have addressed the problem by increasing debt levels, lowering interest rates to zero and below, and continuing to ignore risks throughout the system. It's not so much that they don't have a Plan B to fall back on, it's that they never had a Plan A.

Negotiations; The Greek crisis is not a matter of principle – neither side can be accused of having any. Greece is a sideshow. The eurozone has failed
 
Rightly Wrong: Republican wannabe Scott Walker claims that equal pay for women is a ploy by the Left to “pit one group of Americans versus another.” He's right, women against the men.

Noted: “Slowly, like the proverbial frog in a saucepan, Britain is sliding towards a dictatorial rule by the state, very much along the lines of that predicted by Aldous Huxley 50 years ago”.

The Company We Keep: Documents released by Wikileaks reveals that it's not just us and Angela, the NSA also eavesdropped on the last three French presidents. 
 
Interpretation: New home sales are up 2.2% while new home prices are down 2.9%. What kind of “seller's market” is this?

Porn O'Graph: Family ties.

6 comments:

Blissex said...

«the UK will become the first country in the world to begin a publicly funded immunization drive against meningitis B. Imagine what it must be like to live in an oppressive socialist country where the government interferes in people's lives like that.»

By coincidence yesterday I discovered that in the 19th century in the UK there was a huge campaign against tax-funded city sewers and water pipes for being a nasty attack on the freedom of the population to live as they wanted made worse by the confiscation of private property to pay for it:

http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/21cc/publichealth/sources/source17/economist.html
«While it would seem that many people - from writers like Charles Dickens to social reformers like Henry Mayhew and civil servants like Edwin Chadwick - were in favour of sanitary reform, there were those who were against it. Often, it wasn't that there was opposition to the reform itself but, rather, to the cost or the effort involved in bringing it about.
Some individuals, usually those with an economic interest in property such as landlords, objected to reform measures - including clean water for every dwelling - because of the cost involved to install them in all of their properties.»

«The Times newspaper went even further and campaigned against sanitary reform:
"We prefer to take our chance with cholera and the rest than be bullied into health. There is nothing a man hates so much as being cleansed against his will, or having his floors swept, his walls whitewashed, his pet dung heaps cleared away, or his thatch forced to give way to slate, all at the command of a sort of sanitary bombaliff."»

A very Usian attitude!

Anonymous said...

«We export jobs, they stock WalMart, auto row and the electronics stores. Yes, it improves – ever so slightly – life in Asian sweat shops.»

Slightly? Coastal China (with a population equal to or greater than the whole of the USA) has seen a job booms for 20-30 years with wages going up in real terms by 10% compound during that period.

That's why some progressive leftist economists are so enthusiastic about exporting well paid jobs from the USA to China etc: sure most of the difference goes to greater profits for the extremely well paid USA (and China) rentiers who benefit from wage arbitrage, but the resulting unemployed USA workers who then live in poverty still on average are much better off than unemployed Chinese workers who live in desperately vicious poverty.

«Tell me again why I should care, if it comes at our expense. How much sovereignty is cheap clothing worth?»

A lot of better off Usians, those who actually vote, think that they are primarily rentiers (pensions, properties), and want cheaper wages for everybody else and bigger rents and property prices for themselves. Why should they care about other Usians getting worse paid, when it is to their own benefit?

Blissex said...

«like the proverbial frog in a saucepan, Britain is sliding towards a dictatorial rule by the state,»

This is very popular indeed, demanded by the many middle aged and older voters, especially women, who badly want a police state to keep down or at least away nasty looking, suspicious people they don't care about. They know they it won't affect them.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

"They know they it won't affect them." Until, of course, it does.

Blissex said...

«"They know they it won't affect them." Until, of course, it does.»

Maybe eventually... But not anytime soon. One of the ways to identify ruling classes is to look at the legal system and see which categories are in law or in practice essentially immune from the justice system. Currently that's (depending on which first-world country) financiers first and women second or financiers first and pensioners (again mostly women) second, plus the security enforcers (police, spies, ...) to which they have handed a blank check to do as they please as long as it is only used against inconvenient "untermensch".

Some historian wrote sarcastically that in the UK in the 19th century a "pillar of respectable society" landowner had a chance of being convicted only if he murdered the judge's own 5 year old son in court before his father's eyes and signed a confession to that. The idea of prosecuting a "wealth-creator" financier or a "defenceless-victim" woman pensioner is today almost as unthinkable.

We all know the very explicit argument of the highest prosecutor in the USA about the absurdity of prosecuting "wealth-creator" financiers, and in the UK there have been proposal to exempt women from the effects of criminal law by the leader of the Liberal party and others:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/number-of-jailed-mothers-is-a-litany-of-despair-10061989.html
«Mr Clegg will propose creating a new Women’s Justice Board, based on the same principles as the successful Youth Justice Board, to attempt to reduce the number of women in prison.
In a speech on Liberal Democrat justice policy, Mr Clegg will highlight the
huge proportion of women offenders who have suffered domestic abuse, drug
addiction or mental illness. And he will say it is unacceptable that thousands
of children every year are separated from their jailed mothers. [ ... ] “Abused and vulnerable women are crammed like sardines into crowded prisons,” Mr Clegg will say.»

There is another telling story: in the 1980s a large number of UK pensioners were swindled of around 1/3 of their pension each by salesmen of private pensions. It was easily proven fraud but it was renamed euphemistically "misselling" and never prosecuted. The reason a conservative-leaning paper gave was: 60% of presidents of district branches of the Conservative party were insurance and pension salesmen, and probably at least the majority of them had done it, and prosecuting a substantial minority or even perhaps the majority of Conservative district branch chairmen would look like a political persecution.
So they simply got away with it.

It gets worse. Another magazine reported that since the 1/3 of pensions that had been swindled away had been paid already to the salemen as commissions, if the pension companies had to refund that 1/3 to the pensioners most would go bankrupt. Thus the government decided to create a very slow investigation and compensation process, because the victims were by definition in their old age, and in the UK legal claims related to pensions are estinguished totally with the death of the victim. The process was slow enough that as expected most victims died before it completed (especially working class men who die much earlier than rich men or women in general) and thus never received a refund never mind damages, saving the jobs and bonuses of most insurance company executives.

kwark said...

Re "Noted": Noted indeed. The US of A is the land of gated communities, many of which are in areas with the lowest crime rates. But our "Leaders", the local police, and the media, beat the FEAR drum relentlessly. Mostly, I suspect, because it garners votes, boosts police budgets, and attracts lots of voyeuristic viewers. Eliminating those bothersome individual rights is a side benefit.