Wednesday, August 31, 2016

SAR #16244

Politicians keep hitting the same nail over and over on the general theory that they are right and the damned nail doesn't know better.
Point Made: The knee jerks are complaining that Colin Kaepernick should be ashamed for exercising the rights our soldiers have died to give him, especially Mr. Trump who finds the exercise of our freedoms reprehensible.
Noted: Our energy grid is incredibly vulnerable to climate change. So are our coastlines, our food supply and, oh yes, our children.
Particularly Busy: Italy, which has sufficient problems of its own, dragged nearly 6,500 migrants from the Mediterranean in 40 separate rescue operations off Libya in a single day. We genuflect to the Stars and Stripes and pretend to care. The Italians show they care, then do, then go out and do it again.
Good Question:If Washington is willing to provide health insurance to many of your state’s residents — and in so doing pump dollars into your state’s economy — why wouldn’t you say yes?” Because you are a Republican running one of the 19 states that are still refusing free money, denying health care to millions. Just because they can.
Friends of Friends: Saudi Arabia, which has been sending large cargos of weaponry to al-Qaeda groups in southern Yemen, is now equipping 5,000 al-Qaeda fighters to do their dirty work in Yemen because the Yemeni rebels have been regularly defeating SA troops in the north.
Validation: The Clinton Foundation proves that anyone who figures out how the system works can work the system. The Clinton's single-minded pursuit of power and riches should serve as a bed-time story for all our children.
Porn O'Graph: Who's what.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

SAR #16243

Human progress is usually made one funeral at a time.
Doomed to Success: Obamacare's success will doom it. The idea was to provide health insurance to millions of Americans who could not afford commercial plans. And millions did sign up. And then they thought they were supposed to use the new policies, and they did. But insurance companies do not want to insure people who actually use their insurance, any more than auto insurance companies want people who have accidents. Aetna, Humanna, UnitedHealth, Cigna and their friends want only the medical version of the safe driver. Any insurer who takes on people who actually get sick is not going to make as much profit as it wants. And insurers know – thanks to all the data everyone has on everyone these days – exactly who to insure and who to avoid. And under Obamacare, the government is going to end up having to front the cost of all those people the private companies don't want. Eventually the government will have to move towards a single payer system where the relatively healthy (the young) pay more than they “use” so that the relatively unhealthy (mostly the older) can get decent treatment. This will be done with the promise that when the current young become older and sicker, they too will be taken care of. It will eventually become Medicare for all. What we're going through now is simply the bumpy road to a national health service. Either we'll get there, or we'll have the sick and maimed begging in the streets.
Yellen's Quiet Yelling: Fed Chair Janet Yellen's yawner at the Jackson Hole conference, carefully examined, confirms that the world's central bankers have no idea what they are doing or what might come next or what they might be able to do when another crash comes along. Obviously the 'new normal' is that the central banks will continue what was supposed to be – eight or nine years ago when it began – an emergency measure. Lost completely in the central banks' panic to support banks and stock markets have been various nations' economies and laboring classes.
Plundering 101: We are getting a refresher course in capitalism via the EpiPen epic. And it's not just Mylan, it's Gilead ($1,000 a pill hep C drug) and Valeant (Welbutin at $1,400 a month for life) and Pharma-Bro Martin Shkreli's Turing ($750 a tab for an AIDs medicine). All of these pharmaceutical companies were pricing their goods as high as they could to maximize their profits from people who then had to chose between paying up or dying. The real treat is that these companies find ways to transfer the cost to the taxpayers when the actual customers don't have the money. Along the way several of these exemplary capitalists have moved their putative headquarters overseas to avoid US taxation. All legal and all above board and I don't see what the problem is unless you want some sort of socialized medicine.
Third Place: The world has three ice caps – the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Himalaya. All three are melting, but the 46,000 glaciers covering 100,000 square kilometers of the Himalayas is likely to cause the most direct damage and quite soon, relatively. About1.3 billion people will be directly affected – along the major river systems flowing out the area; the Yellow and Yangtze, the Irrawaddy and Ganges and the Mekong. First they will flood and then they will fade.
A Parting Shot:

Monday, August 29, 2016

SAR #16242

Wearing a clown suit does not make you funny.
On The Record: Seven months ago a federal judge ordered the State Department to release Clinton's daily appointment schedules. They will be released in November. After the coronation election.
Slight Of Hand: Mylan's EpiPen discount card and patient payment assistance plan is an outright sham. Yes they will give you, providing you are poor enough to qualify and persistent enough to jump the paperwork hoops, help with your co-pay, but they intend to stick the insurance companies with the full price - $608. Sure they said they were cutting it by half; they lied were being frugal with the truth.
The Ultimate Device: The Apple watch has an app that reminds you to breathe, just in case...
Pesky Petitioners: A GOP-sponsored Arizona law requires that all of the people who gathered signatures for a citizen-based ballot initiative must be present in court for any and all the legal challenges that Republicans can come up with to prevent actual democracy from taking place. The AZ Secretary of State, Republican (surprise!) Michele Reagan, wants to change the law so as to shorten the time citizens have to file initiatives.
The Ultimate Device: The Apple watch has an app that reminds you to breathe, just in case...
Dixie, Deep In The Heart Of: At Cheatham Hill Elementary Schoold in Marietta, Georgia, a white teacher used a 'game' to illustrate the Underground Railroad. The only black child in the class, a 10-year old girl, was repeatedly made the role of an escaped slave who was caught, returned to the plantation and beaten. Educational, very educational.
Health Savings: Republican lawmakers claim to love unborn babies -- until saving actual fetuses starts costing actual money, then the mommies should love the microcephlic, knowing that they did their part to control spending and save money for war profiteers.
Revised Standard Edition: The only thing the Clintons have to fear are the FAQs.
Clip & Save: “‘The the Trans-Pacific [Partnership], which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Yoga Class: Clinton, or her surrogates, used BleachBit to wipe her personal server's hard drive, a product designed to make things you do not want anyone to see disappear completely. Not notes about cookie recipies or your yoga class.
Business Plain: "I know that when we look at the overall U.S. population, it seems like things are getting better. But when you start breaking it down and you look at that core consumer that we serve on the lower economic scale that's out there, things have not gotten any better for her, and arguably, they're worse because rents are accelerating, healthcare is accelerating." - Dollar General CEO, Todd Vasos
First Do Some Harm: A woman who was bleeding from a dislodged IUD was turned away from a Catholic because birth control devices are immoral and reprehensible and better she should bleed to death than they should be contaminated with a birth control device.
Odds Are: If Las Vegas citizens want a home-town pro football team they will have to come up with $750 million to bribe a bunch of billionaires to bring a team there to make outrageous profits while slowly killing their gladiators players. Seems like a good deal – for the owners, of course.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, August 26, 2016

SAR #16239

Aren't most religions based on faulty death perception?
Noted: While you are sputtering about Mylan's $600 EpiPens, consider this: The American taxpayer funded 100% of research used to develop this no longer affordable lifesaver.
Let's You and Him Fight: In Syria, Turkish-backed rebels are fighting US-backed rebels in Aleppo, and on the border, US-supplied Turkish tanks are attacking US-supplied Kurds.
Quick Draw: On the UT campus in Austin students are openly carrying holstered dildos, carrying signs that say “Cocks not Glocks.” It will turn out to be illegal to carry a dildo without a license.
Lowest Bidder: Thousands of helmets produced for the US military by federal prisoners turned out to be defective.
Clarification: The Clinton Foundation is not gag-me gross because it pressures domestic and foreign outfits to 'donate' in hopes of getting access, but rather because they call it a charity. It is not. It is a combination lobbying firm and an employment sinecure for their family and friends. What they are doing is at least marginally acceptable in Washington. What isn't is pretending it is a charity. It is not. What Jimmy Carter does is charitable.
Interesting: The GOPers are trying to make a big deal out of the US returning $1.3 billion that it had been holding for over 35 years after failing to deliver arms that Iran had paid for before they deposed our guy in 1979.
Either/Or: While armed French cops are forcing middle-aged Muslim ladies to remove their burkinis, the RCMP has unveiled a rather attractive hijab that makes up part of the official uniform for Canadian Muslim women who want to become police officers.
Empire: The US Treasury is telling the EU not to force Apple to comply with their tax laws, because they don't have to here in the US. But why should they pay US taxes? Apple is a Chinese manufacturing outfit with some design offices in California and sales worldwide. Apple pretty much doesn't pay taxes anywhere, certainly not in the US.
Headline:Turkey makes first major foray into Syria with assault on IS.” I'm sorry; going into the woods to pick blackberries is a 'foray', as is venturing into a mall on back to school weekend. Invading another country is not a 'foray'.
Bless 'em: The University of Chicago tells its incoming freshmen that the whole point of going to college is to be challenged, and that UC intends to do that – without much attention to “safe spaces” or political correctness. You want your mommy, stay home.
General Nonsense: A man, angered that a neighbor's tree was dropping sap on his car, grabbed his chain saw and felled the offending tree. Right onto his own house. A Swedish cop refused to investigate a case of alleged groping because the victim had “gigantic breasts.” Back in the US of A a homeowner called the police to report his car being stolen. The cops promptly responded and shot the homeowner; he was black. Some cops in Colorado have been reprimanded for playing Pokemon Go on duty. In Cormorant, MN, Doug has been reelected to a third term as mayor. Doug is a dog.
A Parting Shot:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

SAR #16238

Not everyone has your good taste.
Third Time's A Charm: There is a humongous crack spreading across the Larsen C ice shelf, leading to fears that it will break off like Larsen A (1995) and Larsen B (2002) did. The crevasse was first noticed in 2011 and by 2015 had grown to be about 600 feet wide and 18 miles. Now scientists report that the crack has grown another 13 miles in the last 4 months, reaching a total length of 80 miles and nearly 1,000 feet wide. The shelf will eventually fall off. Place your bets.
Inspiring, Very Inspiring: After Mrs. became Secretary of State, Mr. Clinton got $17.6 million from a for-profit university, for going around the world “inspiring people.”
One More Time: For all of you who are wondering why Mylan Drugs (formerly a US company) can sell 60 cents worth of epinephrine in a 27 cent dispenser for $608, repeat after me: Capitalism. There, feel better? Senator Manchin's daughter does, she's the CEO and makes $19 million a year – without a graduate degree.
For Your Enlightenment: “The broader national economy is in good shape: We’re at full employment, and inflation is well within sight of, and on track to reach, our target. Under these conditions, it makes sense for the Fed to gradually move interest rates toward more normal levels and begin throwing people out of work.” John C. Williams, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, ignoring the fact that central banks appear not to have the faintest clue about how the economy works. But they are pretty sure that the next crash – and thre is always next crash – will require another $4 trillion in Quantitative Easing – it worked so well the last time.
Dough Nation: About half of the people Secretary Clinton held private meetings with at the State Department had donated money to the family employment/retirement scheme.
Right Again: "It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history." Damn, Donald's nailed another one..
D'ya Want Fries With That? Hillary Leave-the-cash-on-the-Dresser Clinton held a person-to-person event for about 55 people at Justin Timberlakes's home. Only $33,400 per person, lunch included.
War, What War? US attack helicopters are providing close air support in battles against ISIS in Libya. Quite who we are rooting for isn't real clear, but there's always the oil.
The Headline: The Fed Is Now Hostage to Wall Street. Now? Really, just now?
A Parting Shot:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

SAR #16237

Under current rules, does the quo have to be synchronous with the quid?
Priorities: Obama has finally made the obligatory tour of the flooded areas in and around Baton Rouge, drawing withering criticism for not imposing the strains of a Presidential visit on the battered area earlier (and honoring the governor's request that he not visit earlier). Not that his presence did any actual good, FOX and company wanted the photo op. The people are a lot more interested in how well FEMA works, and it works a lot better than it did under George W.
Because They Can: The NJ cop who killed a black man who had his hands up will not face any charges, because... Because he's a cop?
Ducks: After years of claiming that the Clinton Foundation poses no ethical conflicts for Bill and Hillary or the U.S. government, Bill now says that if Mrs. Bill is elected it will immediately become an ethical albatross. Sorry Bill, it became one a long time ago.
Pogo's Place: The real enemy is not fossil fuels, it is the economic and political system that was made possible by fossil fuels – the extractive economy that depends on extracting and exploiting resources as fast as possible, tossing the depleted materials aside and going after more, more, more.
Life As It Is: about 90% of the people who live in San Francisco cannot afford to live in San Francisco.
Our Gang: Documents obtained from CIA files show that the United States, knowing that Saddam would use nerve gas on Iranian troops, provided him with targeting data. Because he was our guy, back then. Until he wasn't. There's a lesson there, for us and for our current friends here and there around the world.
Cooked Books: The US Army's financial accounting systems are so wildly inadequate that in a single quarter the Army made “adjustmentstotaling $2.8 trillion in order to give some semblance of balance. In that the Army's share of the defense budget is somewhat shy of $500 billion, that's a neat trick. It isn't that the money has been stolen or even misapplied – the truth is they just don't know where it is and what it was spent on. And while a lot of it was undoubtedly misspent or stolen, it's not the whole $2.8 billion – but it'd be nice to have at least a ballpark estimate of what they're doing with all our money.
Unanimity: 52% of Republicans call voter fraud major problem... and all 52% of 'em are wrong.
Headline: “Clinton Foundation Still Not Criminal.” Not non-criminal, either. It also suggests that it will be, soon.
Porn O'Graph: Global warming's front line, 2016 edition.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

SAR #16236

Slurpee: Between 2000 and 2013, about 8,000 beautiful blue lakes appeared on the surface of the Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica. There's not supposed to be liquid water in Antarctica. Remember the meltwater lakes that nearly covered the Greenland Ice cap? Remember that it was a sign of how fast the ice was melting? Same, same. And just like in Greenland the lakes are draining down into the glacier, weakening it and speeding up its demise. And ours.
Absolutely: Any Russian practicing female genital mutilation (FGM) could face ten years imprisonment under a new bill that says that FGM “has no place in a civilized society.” But the French are wrong about burkinis.
Yachts: According to the CEO of CareFirst, Baltimore, MD's version of BlueCross BlueShield, if you have to ask how much decent health insurance will cost, you can't afford it. CareFIrst, like all US private health insurance companies only wants to cover young, healthy individuals, not the older, sicker and poorer folks who actually need healthcare. Too bad all the public hospitals have been privatized...
Drumbeats: US jets intercepted Syrian SU-24s that were threatening US Special Forces troops who were on the ground in Syria helping the Kurds trying to overthrow the Syrian government. We have the right to overthrow governments without their trying to stop us, apparently. And we've told Russia to watch it, too. Russia has, for now, stopped using Iranian bases to strike Syria, but Turkey's Erdogan has offered Russia joint use of the US airbase at Incirlik “if necessary.” Elsewhere, the US has resumed using B-52s to bomb Afghanistan, while about 100 American soldiers have been deployed in the capital of Helmand province, former President Saleh has offered Russia “all of Yemen's facilities' and the Saudis have been bombing civilians rallying for the 'rebel-led' government.
Noted: The world's best and most expensive military has not won a war in 70 years. Except Grenada. Oh,and Gulf I, if you don't count that as just the opening salvo of the ongoing Iraq/ME adventure.
Efficiency: Since July, in the Philippines, the cops have killed 712 suspected drug dealers and vigilante groups (assuming there's a difference) have killed 1,067. No arrests. No evidence. No trial. Just kill 'em.
Porn O'Graph: Mostly true.

Monday, August 22, 2016

SAR #16235

When our myths collide with reality, we chose the myths.
Abnormally Normal: NASA says that the current low levels of Arctic sea ice coverage are not going to recover. Ten years ago this year's low levels of sea ice would have set a record, now it is business as usual. And that business will lead to the Arctic being essentially ice free – there will be pockets of ice here and there, but the greater part of the Arctic will be bare of ice. Bare of that white reflecting layer, and once the ice is gone and the sunlight is no longer reflected into the atmosphere but rather penetrates and warms the darker ocean waters, the rate of global warming will increase. And soon thereafter, methane releases will begin. And that will pretty much mark the end.
Quote: “Our federal disaster management system [FEMA] is simply not equipped to handle disasters.”
Shorter Version: Here's the complete case for private health insurance: ___________. Right, there isn't one. It takes your money and – when forced – gives you 80% of it back. Medicare takes your money and gives you back 98.6% of it. Go figure. No, really, go figure.
Popedsicle: The “Ice Wall” that was supposed to protect groundwater from entering the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex and becoming incredibly radioactive “has shown little or no success.”
Telling Phrase: “The new US commander in Iraq and Syria...” We have troops in Syria? Why? Enough to have a “commander”? What, exactly, threat to US national security does any of the the 6 or 17 or 43 sides to the Syrian civil war pose?
All You Need Know: Yes, it is possible to hack elections in the US. The use of computers and the internet nearly guarantees it will happen – not everywhere, but perhaps in a very few select pivotal places. With electronic voting there is no secret ballot and no guarantee whatsoever that the votes cast and the votes counted have any relationship.
On Closer Reading: “The supreme law in the US is the Constitution, which chiefly guarantees property rights and the rights of corporations but not necessarily the rights of human beings...”
The Message: A tattoo, no matter where or on whom, makes a statement: “I am trash, I do not respect myself, and I make poor decisions.”
Efficient Markets Aren't: Individuals acting in their own self-interest within a larger system always reduce that larger system's efficiency, thus rendering efficient markets a myth.
Truthiness: "Nothing terribly catastrophic has happened yet, so we have decided to continue screwing responsible savers with interest rates that are at 5,000 year lows so that this dangerous asset bubble can persist..." The latest FED minutes, ever so slightly paraphrased.
Porn O'Graph: Healthy returns.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, August 19, 2016

SAR #16232

Ownership is a zero sum game.
Either/Nor: Reports claim the US is transferring 50 nuclear weapons from the airbase at Incerlik, Turkey to Romania for safekeeping. Other Reports claim they are not.
Here And There: The differences between soldiers stationed in our various overseas territories and police patrolling our streets are becoming less and less. And who do you think the DA works for?
Reality Check: A small ice cream shop in Anacortes, WA was saved because multiple Pokéstops nearby drew a new customer base to the neighborhood. How long before buying Pokéstop placement becomes a routine business expense?
'H' Is For Hillary: As in “hawk.” Period.
Global Warning: While a very small portion of the world's population worries about global warming, Chinese airlines are seeking to hire about 100 pilots a week for the next 20 years to meet the nation's increased demand for air travel. Air travel spews more CO2 than any other way to travel.
Fingerprints: Apparently a quid pro quo must be explicit, timely and recorded before it rises to the level of corruption.
Switcheroo: Those who claimed Obama paid $400 million to Iran to ransom 4 Americans got it backwards; Obama held $400 million of Iranian money until Iran paid a 4 hostage ransom to get their money back.
Unintelligent Design: In the Dagestan region of Russia, which is mainly Muslim, both the Senior Orthodox Priest and the senior Muslim cleric are calling for all women to undergo Female Genital Mutilation because God created "woman so that she could give birth and bring up children" and mistakenly equipped them with the physical ability to actually enjoy sex. And their husbands – are scared silly that they won't measure up – and so criticize God for his handiwork.
Lifetime Award; Hillary has been lying to the US public for over 20 years, starting long before she blamed a “vast right-wing conspiracy” for getting Monica and Bill together and continuing thru last week when she repeatedly lied about lying to the FBI. Why all the lies? Because that is who she is.
Blackmail: Aetna is pretending that Obamacare is destroying its business, but managed to pay its CEO $27.9 million last year. And the threat to withdraw from offering individual ACA coverage turns out to be simply a negotiating position in Aetna's attempt to force the government into approving its merger with Humana.
Pretty Please: Cops in Cincinnati – where the police union wants extra pay to wear body cameras – and in Boston – where not a single officer volunteered to wear a body camera – seem to think we work for them.
Porn O'Graph: Can't get there from here... and won't.
The Parting Shot:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

SAR #16231

'Plausible' and 'true' are not the same things.
Ingrate: Just before receiving his first classified briefing from the government's intelligence community, Trump said it was no big deal because they were usually wrong and have consistently propped up bad decisions by the Executive Branch. Like invading Iraq.
And Then There Were None: Food Stamp rolls are declining rapidly across the country, especially in GOP controlled states where benefits are being abruptly cut even though federal funds are still available. It makes the people morally strong; hungry, but self sufficient.
Tilt: The legislation directing an audit of California's primary climate change agency was written by an oil industry lobbyist.
Choices: When do we get to have our American Spring? When do we get to gather in the streets and throw the bastards out? If we cannot stomach the consensus candidate of the American elite – the restoration of the Clinton clan by our corporate, cultural, political, and media nomenclura – and cannot embrace the cartoonish Mr. Trump, must we suffer in silence? The streets, the streets are calling …
Appealing: A federal appellate court has ruled that the DOJ cannot use federal funds to prosecute marijuana users who are complying with their states' laws. Now if we can get the same constraint placed on the DEA.
Fear Itself: “Americans are afraid of many threats to their lives – serial killers, crazed gunmen, gang bangers, and above all terrorists – but these threats are surprisingly unlikely. Approximately three-quarters of all homicide victims in America are killed by someone they know. And the real threat from strangers is quite different from what most fear: one-third of all Americans killed by strangers are killed by police.” In Albuquerque even the DA is “scared of her city's police department” which has threatened her family’s safety.
Sticks And Stones: Poland has made calling the Nazi death camps located in Poland “Polish death camps” a crime punishable by imprisonment in a Nazi Polish prison.
Words: “The provision of healthcare cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private insurance companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible. That is why we need to join every other major country on earth and guarantee health care to all as a right, not a privilege.” Bernie Sanders And he's not talking about a “public option”, but a true single payer system.
Making It Up As They Go Along: “Central bankers [are] continuing what is surely the greatest experiment in monetary policy in the history of the world. We are therefore in uncharted waters and it is impossible to predict the unintended consequences of very low interest rates, with some 30% of global government debt at negative yields, combined with quantitative easing on a massive scale." And whistling, past the graveyard.
A Parting Shot: