Friday, July 29, 2016
Opinion polls create opinions.
What Did You Do In The War, Grampa? Most of us – at least when we were younger – have felt that the older generation just didn't get it. But what if you are Senator James Inhofe and your grandkids want to know why you are trying to kill them? Well, If you're Inhofe you demand an investigation into why the public schools are brainwashing your 16 grandchildren. Inhofe is the guy the GOP has put in charge of environmental legislation.
Emphasis: Everybody is too busy worrying about the future to look around and notice that the present is pretty damned sucky, too.
If, Then: It seems most unlikely that globalization can be stopped or even much slowed, so we'd have to find better ways to reconfigure the system to make it fairer. The basic rule should be that elevating the poor and disadvantaged of less developed nations should not require pauperizing the workers in the developed societies. Profits to the rich should not be of particular concern.
Audition: Rudy Giuliani, making a bid to be on Trump's team, has called for the “electronic tagging” of all Muslims on the US terrorist watch list. Maybe it's a job creation program. First they'll tag the Muslims, but I am not a Muslim so ...
Starvation Diet: Several French news outfits say they will no longer publish photos of those responsible for mass killings and will limit descriptions of their depredations to simple facts, in an effort to deprive them of “posthumous glorification.” And accounts would refer to “the bomber” and not identify the actors by name or claimed association. US MSM should consider doing the same with our homegrown mass murderers.
Signifying Nothing: Now that the fiat is acompli, Harry Reid acknowledges that Bernie Sanders did not get “a fair deal” from the DNC. It is always fun to watch the naïve discover that politics is serious and played for keeps.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:30 AM
Thursday, July 28, 2016
In choosing a leader we are agreeing to be led.
Trumped Card: The Donald has invited a foreign power to illegally access State Department records and private emails to help him win the presidency, and in return he would, as President, he’d recognize Russia’s right to Crimea as he turns NATO into a protection racket.
Levitation: While the US stock markets are hitting new highs, orders for durable goods continue the longest decline in US history. While the data jumps a lot month to month – this month was impacted by a plunge in aircraft orders which offset the previous month's gain from transportation orders – the long term direction continues downward.
More For Less: Reports show that the more a CEO is paid, the worse his company performs. Makes sense, they are too busy looting their companies to actually manage anything but their retirement portfolios. For example, Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.
Too Big Is Failing: Deutsche Bank, one of the world's largest TBTF institutions is failing. Its 2Q net income fell from €818 million last year to a paltry €20 million this; a 98% drop. Heads will roll, from middle management and the clerical staff no doubt.
Indisposed: As the atmosphere's CO2 levels grow, so does the amount of CO2 dissolved in the ocean, and that increases the water's acidity which in turn significantly decreases the level of reproduction by fish.
You've Been Warned: The Olympic Committee has ruled that people and organizations who have not bribed a Committee member are prohibited from tweeting about the Olympics. That means you.
Even Worser: It seems that even scientists have been astounded by the rapid response of the earth's climate to increased CO2 levels – they knew things were going to get weird, but didn't expect the heat and the downpours and the storms to turn up so soon or to be so extreme.
Inslight: Fox Nattering Nabob Bill O'Reilly cautions Americans not to take Michelle's observation that she “wakes up every morning in a house built by slaves” too seriously because those particular slaves “were well-fed and had decent lodgings.”
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 6:23 AM
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Schedule X? George Will, a well-known Republican oracle, claims that Donald Trump will not release his tax returns because they would show his close ties to Russian oligarchs. Is there a separate tax schedule where you list this sort of thing?
Das Auto: In the US, VW is offering up to $10,000 to those who fell victim to the company's emission level cheating. In Europe it is offering sincere apologies and not a pfennig more – because they don't have to.
Revelations: Under their new head, the DNC (Determined to Nominate Clinton) will avoid emails in order to avoid embarrassing ethical problems. Note that the behavior behind the ethical problems isn't going to change, they'll just try not to leave any traces. Sure the emails that showed the DNC conspiring against Sanders are bad, but worse are those that explain that the state committees got less than 1% of the money raised by the Clinton “joint fundraising” project while the Clinton campaign – either directly or indirectly – got the bulk of the funds.
True To Form: At a campaign appearance at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, VA, Trump was unhappy with the air conditioning, so he has threatened not to pay for his use of the hotel.
Shoe/Foot: The same Clintonistas positive that the unsecured email server in Clinton's basement was never hacked by anyone, much less the Russians, are equally convinced that it was Vladimir's team that managed to hack the DNC server. That's why it doesn't matter that Clinton exchanged classified emails with subordinates on her server.
Noted: The problem with conspiracy nuts is that their limited imaginations.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:44 AM
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
We underestimate the power of collective hatred.
The War Lovers: Now they warn that Russia could invade and over-run Poland “overnight”, and that the US must deploy more missiles, manpower and money, especially money, to the region.
Rewards: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, having thrown the weight of the DNC behind Hillary while putting roadblocks in Bernie's path, has been chased from her place at the head of the DNC and come to roos as 'Honorary Chair' of HRC's campaign. Crime pays.
The Kill Chain: While we cannot predict where the next war will take place, we can be sure that it will. The international order has begun to fray in Northern Europe, in Central Europe and throughout the Middle East, as well as in the Asian Pacific. The coming wars will not follow the traditional rules of war; there will be little or no separation between war and peace, nor between combatants and the civilian population. Indirect confrontation through political, economic and informational warfare will accompany more conventional military efforts. Boots on the ground – traditional occupational maneuver – will give way to the destruction of energy, industrial and information systems.
Read All About It: In the Czech Republic there is a library for every 1,971 citizens. In the US it's one for every 19,583 and it's having its budget cut.
Making Waves: The USS Gerald Ford, at $13 billion and counting, is the most expensive warship ever built. It is the Navy's version of the F-35; it does not maneuver properly, cannot deliver munitions from storage to the flight deck nor mount an adequate defense of itself, and, most remarkable for an aircraft carrier, it can neither launch nor recover aircraft.
While You Were Out: Global trade numbers have been adjusted downward. What had been reported as 'recovery' had actually stalled out about two years ago. Trade volumes have been shrinking for the last two months. Go refigure.
The Base: On those rare occasions when The Donald talks about something other than his own greatness, he addresses the disastrous series of trade agreements that has gutted Main Street, the failed military adventures that have drained our treasury and filled our streets with homeless vets, and the vast gap between Americans and the rich. And each of these hold votes. Votes he will get in November. Votes from the people that both the Republicans and the Democrats have forgotten.
Rights, Right: The government says that there is no requirement that people be told when the government intercepts and reads their emails because it can do so without a warrant.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 6:37 AM
Monday, July 25, 2016
I find being satisfied unsatisfying...
Bouncing Ball: About 25% of all sea life depends on coral reefs, which will disappear within a couple of decades. Nearly 80% of Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been hit by the current worldwide bleaching event.
Military Math: The US says it will continue coalition airstrikes on the Syrian city of Manbij, even though they have killed over 160 civilians, because the number of collateral deaths is bound to decrease as we keep killing them off. Fewer bystanders, y'know. So far the US coalition has dropped 50,000 bombs on (or near, or in the general vicinity of) ISIS. If they'd been able to kill just one ISIS fighter per bomb, the entire movement would be... well, dead.
Wordsmithery: Remove the unnecessary words from the following: America Keeps Lethal Nukes All Over Europe for No Good Reason.
Humpty Dumpty: To Verizon, 'unlimited data' means less than 100GB a month. If you use more than that, your 'unlimited' plan becomes limited. Very.
Takeaway: In an article criticizing China for trying to strengthen its economy by moving from an industrial manufacturing base to one based on domestic services and consumption, there's this: “ service sector jobs, while in general more labor intensive, are less productive for the economy than jobs in the industrial and manufacturing sectors.” Just like here.
Leaderslip: Trump, in his first speech after the convention, displayed his statesmanship by accusing Ted Cruz's father of killing JFK. Again.
Can You Hear Me Now? The Rolling Stones say that they had “politely” asked Trump not to use their music, but he ignored their request. Ditto with Queen, Adele, REM and Earth, Wind and Fire, as well as George Harrison's estate complaining about the use of his 'Here Comes The Sun.”
In The Second Place: Since Trump's VP choice became Indiana's governor, the taxpayers have given over $800 million to companies and have asked the companies to chip in less than $400 million. It's called corporate welfare.
Point Made: Let's face it, Hillary's problem isn't that she's a lawyer and a professional politician, that she's in the pocket of the banks and big money, that she is at base a warmongerer, or that she is an unlikable scheming manipulative liar. We've had lots of those and survived; but she's a woman. That's the problem.
One, Two, Three: This week it reached 129.1°F in Basra, Iraq and 129.2°F in Mitribah, Kuwait – the highest temperatures ever recorded. It was unseasonably warm in parts of the US, too.
Structural Reform: After the IMF/EU got through improving the Greek economy, more than 120,000 employees are paid less than 100 euros a month. Progress.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:02 AM
Friday, July 22, 2016
Boring: Turkey this, Erdogan that. Purged 50,000, plans to kill rather than feed political prisoners, then deprive them of proper funerals. Nato ally, down the toilet.
Details, Details: The current Trump tax plan would cost the taxpayers about $10 trillion while giving him a bit over $7 billion in benefits.
Alahu Akbar: In Chicago, 7 dead 53 wounded at a house party is not terrorism unless someone praises God. It's not even worth national mention. It's just Chicago.
Tiny Coffins: TX Gov. Abbot has quietly proposed an executive regulation (no legislative action involved) requiring that aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated. Guess who will have to bear the cost....
Don't Try This At Home: A massive effort is underway to relocate 500 elephants to new homes, safe from possible extinction.
Nutshelled: “The real objective of free trade [is] to lower wages and crush organized labor in order to boost profits.” Any questions?
Time Out: The US is said to be considering a 'pause' is suppling arms and equipment to the Nureddin al-Zenki rebels in Syria following their beheading of a 12-year old boy accused of being a member of the Al-Quds Brigade, another rebel group competing for the spoils of war dished out by the Americans.
Compassion: In Houston, TX, a bipolar rape victim who broke down on the witness stand in has been put in jail by the prosecutor to make sure she shows up to testify against her rapist.
Details: The Miami cop who shot an unarmed black hospital worker as he lay on his back with his hands in the air says he shot the man because... well, “I don't know.” Just seemed like the thing to do. His union rep says the officer had to shoot the man in order to protect him, like that village in Vietnam.
Lost And Found: during the 20th Century, Greeenland lost about 90 billion tons of ice a year. Between 2011 and 2014 it lost a trillion tons, three times the previous rate. The South may not rise again, but the oceans certainly are going to.
Noted: Reports claim that 100 Indian tanks have been deployed along the Chinese border in easter Ladakh province.
Promises, Promises: The very basic promise at the base of NATO is that an attack on one will be treated as an attack on all and every member will come to the defense of any member that is attacked. There is not a footnote, Mr. Trump, that lets the US or any other member change this basic commitment. Either the US keeps it treaty agreements or it becomes an untrustworthy rouge state.
The Enforcer: Donald 'Little Donnie' Trump, Jr. told those RNC members who did not make the Hegira to Cleveland to kiss his father's ass that “your careers are finished.”
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:33 AM
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
Cleveland, where elephants go to die.
Entrails: After the stock market hit all-time highs in October 2007, the economy entered recession two months later. The market hit a new all-time highs last week...
Rush To Judgment: The attacker in Nice, like the one in Orlando, was an alienated, troubled man. What he did was a crime and a tragedy. Orlando was not an act of terrorism, and there seems little evidence so far that the tragedy in Nice was either. The knee-jerk reaction of politicians to seek a military resolution is neither helpful nor appropriate.
Willful Suspension of Belief: The UK's reality-challenged new PM has appointed a climate-change denier as her Climate Secretary. She is also intent on giving the
Home Secretary the power to ban
The Italian Job: Italy's banks hold about 360 billion euros in “non-performing loans” constituting 17% of all Italian bank loans and equal to about 20% of the nation's annual GDP. Further north in Europe this would be viewed as a problem.
Patience: Experts say that in two or three years – about the time the politicians stop posturing and authorize some money to fight the problem – the Zika outbreak will have infected so many of us that it will die off for lack of new victims.
Universal Solvent: While our corporate overlords and their owners have raked in the spoils of globalization, 70% of the people in developed countries have seen incomes stagnate.
The American Way: Newt I-wanna-be-important-again Gingrich wants all 3.3 million American Muslims to swear on a stack of Qurans that they reject the idea of Sharia Law, or be deported. More than that, really, for Newt said “of Muslim background” without defining how much Muslim blood despoils a true American.
Out Of Town Tryouts: A drone that resembles a bird has crashed in Somalia. No claim to ownership has been made
the US military.
Don't Hold Your Breath: Candidate Clinton, banking on the essential ignorance of the electorate, has pledged to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling. She cannot keep this promise. An amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress before it goes to the several states for their consideration and requires approval by three-quarters of the states.
Stary Stary Night: Exactly 48,741 out of 1,200,000 of 'em, sir. Galaxies that is. Or perhaps that should be 150,000,00.
Your Point Would Be? British MPs are claiming that previous PM David Cameron's Government had failed to curb international money launderers. This assumes that an attempt had been made.
Seems Like Old Times: South Korean President Park Geun-hye is squelching protests, suing journalists, and jailing opposition politicians. Not that any of this is unheard of in that bastion of well manipulated democracy.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:17 AM
Friday, July 15, 2016
If your beliefs do not inform your deeds, words do no good.
What Big Teeth You Have... FBI Director Comey, fresh from not being able to find evidence of Hillary's crimes, wants Congress to give his guys unfettered warrantless access to all of every American's Internet activity – searches, sites visited, emails. Because he wants to get the goods on you, just as the Bureau has on all those guys on The Hill. Remember J. Edgar? Yeah, he died. But his filing system didn't.
Readme: Why doesn't Neal Stephenson get at least an honorable mention for Pokémon GO's “augmented reality”? And why isn't it called Niantic?
Kentucky Windage: Judge Hollis Alexander of KY's Trigg County not only refuses to marry God damned gays, he also refuses to marry those who don't want to invite God into their marriages. 'Cause he follows a higher law than the Constitution.
Mum's The Word: FBI agents, who by the very nature of their employment are constrained from leaking information about investigations, were not trusted to keep their mouths shut about Hillary's Big Adventure and were forced to sign separate non-disclosure agreements specifically covering Ms Clinton's crimes.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:21 AM
Thursday, July 14, 2016
“Maximum sustainable debt” - an interesting concept.
Quoted: “I knew you weren’t going to answer our questions today and I apologize for wasting so much time here because it’s really not been very productive. It’s one of two things: Either you’re saying that to avoid the appearance of impropriety in which case you should have recused yourself, or you’re trying to protect Hillary Clinton.” Congressman David Trott to Attorney General Loretta Lynch after Lynch declined to answer over 70 questions about the FBI investigation of the Immaculate Deception.
New & Improved: The Republican platform says that coal is clean energy. Like a lot of things Republicans say, this is not true.
Lose Some Win Some: The 9th Circuit Court says it is a federal crime to visit a website after being told not to visit it. No, not if a court has told you not to visit – If I tell you I don't want you looking at SAR and you do, it's a crime. A Federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that using 'stingray' fake cell phones requires a specific warrant for each and every cell phone that the stingray sweep picks up.
Moral Builder: The new Chief Rabbi of the Israeli army says that the rape of the enemy's women during wartime is acceptable, as it tends to improve morale.
Playbook: Senate Leader Mitch McConnell used a whole lot of words to say that the Senate will not take up the TPP legislation until after the election, because neither party wants to take a stand for it until after the voters have been hoodwinked. It may have to wait until Hillary's inauguration.
Modesty: Clinton says Trump is most divisive candidate 'in our lifetimes'.
Slam Dunk: ExxonMobil, which is being sued in various courts for spending millions of shareholder dollars debunking global warming long after its own scientists had consistently warned of the dangers of burning fossil fuels since the 1970s, is still spending millions on pretend scientists, compliant think tanks and other scum to deny and delay public understanding of the dangers. Ought to make the trials rather brief.
Just Wondering: Will Bernie 'I'm An Insider Now' Sanders introduce Hillary 'The Revolution Dies With Me' Clinton at the Democratic Party/Wall Street joint board meeting in Philadelphia?
Once More, Without Feeling: Egypt's National Security Agency is regularly disappearing the regime's opponents – some as young as 14. Three or four people a day are scooped up, only to vanish without a trace.
Negative Rates Explained: The only reason anyone buys negative-yielding bonds is because they have to. One day there will come an end to this nonsense; try not to be caught in the stampede for the exits. “There's no doubt that there are and will continue to be unintended consequences...”
Square Dance: Quinnipiac University polls show Trump ahead of Clinton in Florida and Pennsylvania and tied in Ohio. These are the three swing states that will decide the November election.
Can She Bake A Cherry Pie? Germany's Frau Merkel has explained to the UK's New Broom Theresa May that the UK will not be allowed to cherry pick nor make unilateral demands in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. Especially, she promised, the UK cannot have access to the EU single market if it places restrictions on immigration. Once the EU submits its proposals, the remaining 27 member nations will have to review them with an eye to protecting individual state interests.
Porn O'Graph: Indoctrination works...
A Passing Shot: Pope Urban VIII be damned.
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:26 AM
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
What are we standing on when we lecture other countries? Or invade them...
Hidden In Pain Slight: Two Congressional committees have asked the Justice Department to determine if the lies Hillary told during her Congressional testimony over her emails rise to the level of perjury. Probably not, because she undoubtedly had no intent to mislead.
Good Idea: 'Don't be a part of problem. We're hiring.' Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
Everythings Bigger: Twenty of the world's biggest TBTF banks have lost half a trillion buckeroos in market value this year. Italy's Unicredit has dropped 64% in value,. In the UK, RBS is down 56% and giant HSBC is down 24%, Deutsche Bank has lost 47% of its appeal; even Goldman has lost 20% of its book value.
Envy: Politicians in several Nordic nations are debating making a return to school mandatory for senior citizens. If only...
All Hands Decked: Putin has cashiered all of the senior and mid-level officers assigned to the Russian Baltic Sea fleet, apparently for not enthusiastically provoking NATO forces to respond to Russian harassment.
The Way Things Are: “The U.S. continues to be in a post-credit-crisis recovery -- that means more deleveraging is to come and because of this, expect mediocre growth, job creation and retail sales for some time to come” Barry Ritholz
Gag Me: “Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here today.“ Bernie Sanders, in a flat emotionless voice, kissing the ring. My heroes would have done better, but they are imaginary.
Restrained Enthusiasm: “I would rather attend the public hanging of a good friend,” GOP digital strategist Will Ritter on going to the Trump convention.
Salting The Mine: The Democratic platform statement on trade agreements (dictated by Hillary and her staff) is that they should be judged on “whether they raise wages, create good-paying jobs, and enhance our national security.” And that last phrase is what HRC will use to ram TTP and TITP and all the rest down our throats after she's sworn in. She only came out against TPP to ward off Bernie Sanders, before that she viewed it as “the Gold Standard” and praised it publicly over 40 times.
Hero Whoreship: Depositions reveal that revered football coach Joe Paterno knew of Sandusky's abuse of children as far back as 1976.
Porn O'Graph: On the Up & Up.
A Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:48 AM
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Teen Angels: The economy is being saved by teenagers – the latest BLS data show that adults (25 to 54 years) lost 455,000 jobs while the kids (24 and under) gained 691,000 low-paying semi-skilled jobs scooping ice cream and emptying bedpans. Transportation jobs, dependent on real economic activity moving real goods around, disappeared by the thousands. Unemployment, including the “marginally attached” but not counting those who can no longer get unemployment payments, is now at 9.9%. Nevertheless, the headline number -287,000 jobs! - prompted a knee-jerk surge in US Stocks.
Terms of Endearment, Not: “Global excess industrial production capacity...” Echoed by ”Global economy 'grim'...”
Money Quote: Around the world, the message being sent to the average citizen is “the lifestyle you ordered is out of stock”. The promises of rising consumption, steady employment, secure pensions and guaranteed healthcare can no longer be kept in a world of limited resources, stagnant growth, negative demographics and rising income/wealth inequality. The “good old days” of cheap, abundant energy and steady expansion of consumption, jobs, profits and taxes are over.
Unclear on the Concept: The EU plans to give Ukraine's corrupt leadership 50 million euros to fight corruption in the Ukraine.
By The Pricking Of My Thumbs: Upwards of $10 trillion in US and EU government debt now trades at negative yields. And not just short-term safety plays – the negative interest rates include lots of 10-year bonds and the Swiss are offering to hold onto your money for 50 years and then give most of it back. It is a strange world where those with big bucks are willing to let the government – even the very iffy Spanish - hold their money for 10 to 50 years with the promise of losing only a little bit of their money. It is not just that no one expects any inflation or economic growth for a long, long time, lots of folks are hedging against outright deflation. This is not a good development.
Performance Play: Since Bill left the White House in 2000, he and Hillary have received ('earned' just didn't seem like the right word) over $150 million in speaking fees.
The 500 Pound Robot: No one seems eager to discuss the moral implications of the Dallas police using a robot to execute a man trapped in a parking garage. Sure, it put an end to the standoff, but was it the best way? Was this officially sanctioned murder socially or morally acceptable? Will the next one be? Or the one after that where they blow up the wrong guy or kill a bunch of collaterals?
Clipped & Saved: Wikileaks notes that the FBI did not ask them for their copies of Hillary's emails. That's okay – they'' ll publish them pretty soon anyway. The FBI could have gone up to Ft Meade and read the NSA's copies...
Projecting And Serving: Baton Rouge police in riot/combat gear raided a BLM protest party at a private residence, forcing the people to disperse. And when they stepped into the street, the cops arrested them for
being black in public
Precision Weapons: The US will be deploying 560 soldiers to help the Iraqi army retake Mosul. Exactly 560, 559 wouldn't do the trick and 561 would be overkill.
Just Said “No!”: Japan has told our next president that it will not renegotiate any part of the TTP pact. Hillary says the US should get a 'redo' if they do not benefit American workers, and none of them do.
Porn O'Graph: Reality, check.
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:10 AM
Monday, July 11, 2016
I am an old man
This is not the country I grew up in.
Nor is it the country I want my grandchildren to live in.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Killing Fields: Cellphone photography has become a survival skill, as the nation loses all perspective once again over a single-shooter massacre. This time it was cops and not children or gays, but the basic drama remains the same: Instant outpouring of concerned rhetoric, followed by NRA contributions to those who could do something. Ill-conceived acts by some mentally disturbed serve only to confuse the issue, which is too many guns too readily available, tacked onto our long and unresolved history of black enslavement and economic inequality. The Dallas 'death by robot' is a troubling development in hostage/standoff negotiations - R2D2 it ain't. Saddest commentary: Smith and Wesson stock reached record highs following the Dallas shooting, and foreign nations are warning their citizens about the risks of traveling in the US.
A Parting Shot: