Thursday, May 12, 2011

SAR #11132

Those who do not put profit first frighten us.

Yes, But: Bank of America is paying $3.7 billion to end a probe into its mortgage wrongdoing, without admitting it did anything wrong. Those not wronged may eventually receive payments to redress the wrongs not done them.

Sound Familiar? Tokyo Electric Power Company, pleading poverty and innocence, has asked the Japanese government to compensate their victims.

Phoning It In: Which is scarier, that Apple and Google know where you are, or that no matter where you are you can be forced to listen to our Glorious Leader the President? The government has decreed that all new phones must carry a chip that will let the President (and various others) send you messages and instructions whenever they wish. Smartphones already have these chips. People will be able to opt out of receiving all but the Presidential messages.

Why?Republicans in South Carolina, New Hampshire and Missouri line up to attack working folks unions

It Can Happen Here: In light of John Boehner's plans to impose severe austerity on the US, let's check and see how things are going in Greece and the UK. Oh, better not.

How did we get here? "How did taking on debt become 'the American way' ?" That's easy: as industry could churn out more and more stuff and TV and the media made more and more stuff seem necessary, Americans were taught to want all this more and more stuff. But Americans were not making more and more money – in fact they haven't had a raise in over 30 years. So to keep industry running and profiting, Americans were taught to “buy on time” which quickly morphed into the debt slavery that is now the American way – it is our right to have more than we can pay for. In fact, it is our patriotic duty.

Pudding's Proof: Not everyone can export their way to prosperity – it's a zero sum game. And if you have to import most of your oil, you are playing with a handicap.

Shocking: Nine of out of ten climate-denying scientists have ties to money from ExxonMobile. Imagine.

Terms Of Endearment: Republicans hope to force huge cuts in Medicare/Medicaid which will lead to... well, huge cuts in health care with no reduction in the cost. Their plan has no savings built in, only a transfer of the cost to those least able to afford it. Essentially it shifts $6,000 a year to each senior on Medicare and transfers Medicaid's cost to the states, which will promptly defund the program. Their theory is that Americans get too much healthcare, which is not true. What is true is that we pay too much for what we get, and what we get isn't all that good.

Lessons Learned: Stock whiskey and cigarettes to use as exchange medium when all this wonderfulness comes crashing down.

Clip & Save: Here's a list that refutes the most common lies told about Social Security. Keep it handy as a cross-reference during the ongoing Republican attempt to privatize the program. Might want to laminate it.

More? You Want More?Florida, which is second only to Nevada in the percentage of vacant houses and condos, has just passed a law to make it easier for developers to build even more without bothering to consider anything but quick profits.

Emperor/Clothes: “Everyone knows that Greece won’t repay its debt in full.” Yes, but you are supposed to pretend.

Facts Not In Evidence: An interesting theorem has been advanced that our wages have fallen so low that in a few years China's rising labor costs will reverse the flow of manufacturing jobs and “Made in the USA” will become the hallmark of cheaply made stuff. Calls for a whole wagon-load of assumptions, few of which seem likely.

Un-Social: Experts fear we will all soon be totally naked in the data economy, largely thanks to our witting and unwitting contributions through our gadgets and social media. One, they are using the wrong tense and two, this is the antithesis of social, human interaction. We should stop pretending any of this is a Good Thing and rename it all the Unsocial Era.

Porn O'Graph: Perspective.

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