Wednesday, October 31, 2012

SAR #12304

US households are not deleveraging, they're defaulting.

Learning Something: Kenya's Kenyatta University, in cooperation with Borderless Higher Education for Refugees, a Canadian and Kenyan partnership, is planning to operate a 'wireless university' to serve the more than 500,000 refugees from war and starvation huddled in the tent city of Dadaab. The idea is very nice. A refugee camp with a half-million inhabitants isn't.

Being Prepared: Camp Lemonnier in Djbouti, home to over 1,666 drone and F-15E fighter jet flights a month, is just getting started. It now houses over 1,000 Special Ops troops, and is undergoing a $1.4 billion expansion to ready for even more expanded operations over the next 25 years. The future seems to be fated to be more of the same; we keep killing them and they keep coming.

Perhaps 'No' Means 'No': Apparently reacting to pressure to allow the US to use the UK as a staging ground for bombing Iran, Downing Street has now twice publicly emphasized that “military action” is not the “right course at this time”.

Introductory Basketweaving:How are Politics, Religion, Sports and Economics alike? There is a very minimum of knowledge necessary to have an opinion on the subject. A very strong, logic- and evidence-proof opinion. That's why such talk is popular and essentially worthless, no matter what the supposed credentials of the speaker. See also...

They Know Where You're Going: Your friends at the US government are funding development of an automatic video surveillance system – for both military and civil application - that will be able to predict what people will do in the future. Like escape to another country.

Word and Deed: Peter Lilley , vice-chairman of Tethys Petroleum Ltd, an oil and gas company with operations in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, has been appointed to the House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change. Ah, progress.

Behind the curtain: The recent “game-changing' boom in natural gas drilling via fracking is pretty much an illusion. The glut of recent gas production was initially driven not by new technologies or discoveries, but by high prices. But as prices dove from $13 per million BTU to the $3 range, frackers had to attract ever more investment capital in order to keep drilling in order to pump more gas – which only served to keep the price down. It was, and is, a Ponzi scheme.

Civics Lessen: A current AP poll shows that 56% of whites have anti-black prejudices and 57% of non-Hispanic whites have anti-Hispanic prejudices. Best I can tell, the whites don't like each other much, either.

Clarifications: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - 'Obamacare' – is not about healthcare, nor about making health care affordable, but is an effort to make healthcare insurance affordable. That's where the Republican resistance comes in, from the threat to the healthcare insurance industriy's profits. The people in the health insurance business are neither less nor more moral than people in other business; the problem is that health insurance is a business.

The Parting Shot:


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

SAR #12303

If you thought the US was a police state, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Yves Smith

Don't Bother: The election is apparently over everywhere but a few precincts in Ohio, Florida and Virginia. Right now the odds seem to favor Obama to remain in the White House, Democrats in control of the Senate, Republicans running the House, and not a damned thing getting done for another four years.

Out, Damned Spot: The Department of Health & Human services estimates that – so far this year – the Affordable Health Care Act has saved seniors nearly $5 billion. That's only $657, on average, for those caught in the infamous 'doughnut hole'. No wonder they hate Obamacare. 'They' being Big Pharma.

No Comment: Imran Khan, Pakistani cricket hero turned Pakistani politician (leader of the Movement for Justice party) and outspoken opponent of US drone strikes on his country was on his way from Canada to a fund-raising event in New York when the clever folks from Homeland Security detained him and interrogated him over his views on assassination by drone. He said he was against it and they let him go. After several hours. Just making sure.

Pot/Kettles: Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) says that things were better in the old days, when women stayed home. Things would be better if Roscoe had stayed home, too.

Picture/Words: Backing up their 2010 claim that the US government was suppressing information about the extent of the deaths of sea creatures caused by BP's Macondo oil disaster, Greenpeace has released photographs and emails detailing and depicting the extent of the damage. They obtained the material from the government under a FOI request – despite the government's denial at the time of having such evidence.

Proofread: Security experts say new electronic voting machines can be will be hacked. There, now it's accurate. Not a question if, but of how much, how blatant.

Informed Opinion: Former TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky notes that nothing has been done to curb the reach or the greed of the 'too big to fail' banks, that Washington has made the problem worse by letting the too big get too bigger, and that another bank-based financial crash is “inevitable”. As are the future bailouts of the few survivors.

Small Government: Put a pad and pencil by your chair, and over the next week write down the name of every Republican official who asks Washington for emergency assistance and support to deal with the aftermath of the Sandy storm. The Google them and see how vehemently they have spoken out against big government. For scoring purposes, Bobby Jindal is the current record holder.

For Example: The IMF says that Europe's banks need to dump $4.5 trillion in assets by the end of 2013. Call it deleveraging. History suggests this deflationary process is likely to go on for quite some time.

Rules of the Game:The US drone policy says that if you are in a 'target area' (we used to call them free-fire zones, back in the day), male, between 17 and 35 or 60 or so, and within a half-mile of someone else we suspect, you are a militant. If a drone kills you, you get promoted to terrorist. International law says killing you is a war crime, but you're still dead. And if you are one of the 15% or so of the dead who are acknowledged collaterally dead women or children, tough.

The Parting Shot:


Ah, fellow citizens!

Monday, October 29, 2012

SAR #12302

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Tic, Tic, Tic... Reports in Greece claim that the Troika gave Greece only to Sunday night (the 28th) to accept the demanded labor 'reforms', “or else...” Or else what? Angelika will throw a hissy?

Call Me Mister: Chevron Corporation gave $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a SuperPAC working to elect Republicans to the House and Senate. Mr. Chevron, an established person and public minded citizen, is in the oil business.

Business Is Business: The US wants to prevent companies (and countries) from buying oil from Iran or selling grain to Iran. Most such trade is – or was – conducted in dollars, flowing through international banks. The US told the banks to behave, or else. So they are, more or less. But nobody said that Shell couldn't barter Cargill grain for Iranian oil and then settle up with Cargill later. The US is not really going to be fooled by this.

Rocking The Boat: The Italians – tens of thousands of them on the streets of Rome – didn't get Tim Geithner's memo instructing the European protectorates to be quiet and unseen until after the election. Seems they are not best pleased with the austerity measures of the Prime Minister the EU appointed after kicking Berlusconi – who they elected – out. Seems he's making threatening noises again, too.

Metamorphosis: In one paragraph detailing a drone strike in Yemen, the three individuals who were obliterated went from being A l-Qaeda militants, to suspects, to just being dead. There's a lot of that going around.

Stirring The Pot: Former Italian prime minister Berlusconi – who was chucked out of his elected office by the EU/IMF/ECB and has been sentenced to 4 years in jail for tax fraud – is now threatening to join the people in the streets and topple the Monti government. Won't that be fun?

Seigniorage: In the bad old days, in tough times the king would shave a tad off the kingdom's coinage – a way of inflating the treasury. If you didn't have access to good scales, you got taken. In the bad new days, banks in Vietnam have been caught... well, not shaving the gold bars, but simply selling them when they weren't theirs to sell. Now they get a chance to buy them back for a lot more than they sold them for. Heck of a deal.

Data Dump: The possibly reliable Nate Silver is giving Obama a 74% chance of re-election, with 50.3% of the popular vote and 295 electoral votes. So cue the fat lady. No, no, the other one!

Rocking the Cradle: In the Greek Parliament, MP Ilias Kasidiaris read aloud a passage from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic propaganda piece circulated and mandated in classrooms by the Nazis in 1930s Germany and one of Hitler's "justifications" for the Holocaust. None of the other MPs complained. Kasidiaris is the spokesman for Golden Dawn, the Greek neo-Nazi party that has grown to be the nation's third largest party, under whose leadership the group has taken to the streets (with police consent), terrorizing immigrants, and the police are reportedly colluding with them.

Fat Finger: In LaPorte County Indiana, 13,000 voters were purged from the rolls. By the wife of the county's Republican Party chair, when only 800 were supposed to be. Oops. Well, 11,000 were reinstated, so that's okay.

Caligula & The Gang: Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel (no, I don't actually know or recognize either of those names, but read on) showed a video at their wedding of homeless folks in Los Angeles wishing them well. The wedding cost $6.5 million. Everyone had a good time.

The Parting Shot:



Saturday, October 27, 2012

SAR #12300

When the president kills you with a drone strike, it proves you were a terrorist.

Austerity Works: One out of four Spaniards is unemployed, and in eight regions the unemployment rates are higher – much higher. Nearly 2 million homes have no one employed and loan delinquencies are surging. Austerity in action.

The Gold Standard: Hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots, publicly counted at every polling place, with the physical ballots securely and publicly warehoused until the end of the longest term on the ballet. Then, and only then, can the public be sure the election was not stolen. Wonder why anyone would want it any other way...

Speaking Softly: Rather quietly, this week BP capped and plugged the latest leak from the Macondo (Deepwater Horizon) site. The company was quietly modest about the accomplishment.

Place Your Bets: US GDP for 3Q2012 increased at an annualized 2.0% rate, mostly due to a surge in government defense spending – which accounted for 0.64% of the total. This is the first guesstimate, it will be revised (downward) two more times before it reaches reality. 2Q2012 reached 1.7% at and ended up at 1.25%. Without the guns and after revisions, figure another 1.3% or less.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: On windy days the power grids in central and eastern Europe disconnect from Germany's network because the country's windmills generate too much power, and that has to go somewhere, threatening to collapse grids where-ever it surges. At times, the utilities pay consumers to take the power and get rid of it. Calm days present the opposite problem; an effective storage and retrieval system has yet to appear.

A Little Off The Top: UBS is cutting 10,000 from its payroll – one out of six of its current staff. This is after cutting 3,500 last year.

Along Came Mary: A report from Capital Economics says that Canada may be catching the sub-prime disease and that Canadian house prices will 'correct' by 25%, as “falling sales and rising new listings have already begun to cast doubt over the rose-colored consensus outlook."

Quoted: “We have made good progress on strengthening fiscal discipline with the fiscal pact but we are of the opinion, and I speak for the whole German government on this, that we could go a step further by giving Europe 'real rights of intervention in national budgets'. Frau Merkel, who went on to praise democracy. Not.

Porn O'Graph: Troika budgetary overseer.

The Parting Shot:



Friday, October 26, 2012

SAR #12299

To embrace a religion is to make oneself the center of creation.

What, Me Worry? There will be no paper trail of at least 45 million voters choices next month. If that doesn't worry you, you've wandered into this blog by accident and should leave now.

The Non-Issue: Despite its being the greatest threat to mankind and civilization since we started building nuclear bombs, neither Romney nor Obama have addressed climate change during the campaign. Romney because he has been told he doesn't believe it is happening, and Obama because he knows there's nothing he can do about it without Democratic control of both houses of the Congress, and that's not going to happen. The voters don't mind – they are willing to pretend it's not happening, it's not dangerous, it's just a couple of degrees...

Judge/Jury: A man suspected to have been involved in the Benghazi consulate attack “has been killed in Cairo,” unidentified officials say. Jaywalking, I'm sure.

Yes, But... Sales of new houses increased only 0.3% m/m in September. Gives 'barn burner' a new meaning. Even the NAR now admits "This means only minor movement is likely in near-term existing-home sales...” But the point to the (unseen but possibly there) “positive underlying market fundamentals.”

One Size Fits All: If re-elected, “Obama “isn’t planning to propose any new policies for _______ if they’ll just get rejected by Republicans in Congress.” Has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it?

The Enforcer: A German, naturally, will be the European Commission's Gaultier in Greece charged with enforcing the austerity measures demanded by the Troika in return for prolonging Greece's agony. He will have absolute control of the bailout monies, relieving Greek politicians of the burden of controlling their own budgets. The forward looking Germans also want to insure that if Greece ever returns to a budget surplus, that surplus flows directly to the ECB.

Motions, Going Through: The United Nations is going to investigate the legality of US drone attacks in which civilians are collaterally damaged.

Surrender As A Strategy: Obama says that he will give the R's $1.2 trillion in agency cuts, smaller cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients, and $250 billion in cuts to Medicare by raising the Medicare eligibility age and then hoping (against all previous experience) that the R's go along with $800 billion in new taxes. If there's only one party running for president, why are there two candidates? And when did “protect” come to mean “gut”?

Welcome to the Matrix: Obama's assassins have drawn up a “disposition matrix” listing all, most, some of the people the US wants to kill, specifically addressing those who are not conveniently placed to be droned. The murders – there have been more than 3,000 of them so far - are expected to continue for at least a decade – either because additions to the list keep coming, or because the targets are becoming a bit more wary. Probably the former. “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “But we're going to try... it’s a necessary part of what we do.” But they also understand that “We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ” You betcha'.

Future, Tense: Following Obama’s victory in the 2012 presidential election, Republican members of the House of Representatives signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to do nothing about anything, leading to four years of complete deadlock in Washington. Drone strikes here and there around the world will continue, but nothing else will get done.

The Parting Shot:


Thursday, October 25, 2012

SAR #12298

Americans still have situational freedom of speech.

"Sick and Twisted": Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for the US Senate from Indiana, says that pregnancy resulting from rape “is something that God intended to happen.” He went on to insist that this did not mean that rape was preordained – only those rapes that resulted in pregnancy are God's idea.

Oxymoron: Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, says that blowing up Iran's nuclear facilities would not be an act of war. I'm not sure about the oxy part, but I'm pretty sure about the moron.

Reduce to a Slow Simmer: The Mortgage Bankers Association expects there to be $1.7 trillion in mortgage originations this year, tapering off to $1.3 trillion next year and down to $1.1 trillion in 2014. Doesn't sound like a stampede, unlike the increase in renters.

Silly Season: AP energy writer Jonathan Fahey thinks “the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer.” You can stop reading right there, I did.

"L'état, c'est moi!" The PA legislature has passed a bill (as a favor to Oracle) that will let corporations that hire at least 250 new employees within the state keep 95% of the state income tax collected from these employees owe – passing only 5% on to the state. At year's end, will employees due refunds will have to file two tax returns, one with the state and one with the company?

Busy Bees: Hyatt Hotels puts electronic leashes on their housekeepers, to make sure they are keeping busy. Shake your head all you want, the future is here.

Another Bad Idea: The EPA, falling victim to the search for magic solutions, is about to approve growing Arundo donax and Pennisetum purpureum – two highly invasive, non-native grasses – as biofuel feedstocks. What could go wrong?

Misunderstanding the Problem: An article on liquid metal batteries asked “Can we invent our way out of climate trouble?”, which presumes there is an 'out'. Nope, we've already baked in about 4ºC, which is going to beat anybody's definition of 'climate trouble.'

White Noise: Another one of those liberal studies reports that federal employees, when compared to their private-sector counterparts in similar fields with similar education levels, showed that the public employees were “significantly” underpaid.

Step on the Scales: A new study reviewing the death rates of individuals getting or not getting routine physical exams showed that such exams had “no effect on the risk of death.” They did find an increase in diagnoses (for a variety of things) among those who had the physicals, but those additional diagnoses did not appear to have any impact on health outcomes. This – increased diagnoses and presumably treatment in the absence of improved longevity – would suggest that the main effect of physicals is over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

Accidentally on Purpose? In AZ, the Maricopa County Recorder's Office has twice used official documents to mislead Spanish-speaking voters about the date of the presidential election. Yes, they're Republicans – the Recorder's Office, silly, not the Spanish speakers.

The Parting Shot:


Streets paved with gold...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SAR #12297

“Tradeable pollution permits” are a symptom, not a cure.

En Passant: Russia sent two of its cosmonauts to the space station yesterday in a Soyuz rocket. Also aboard was an American astronaut who hitched a ride because his country can no longer afford to have its own space program.

Be Careful What You Wish For: In the face of increasing US sanctions, Iran says it will stop exporting oil if the sanctions become any more severe. Iran is OPEC's second largest oil producer and the world's third largest petroleum exporter. Sure hope our buddies in Saudi Arabia can pick up the slack.

Frequent Fleers: There are now 101,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, more than 100,000 in Turkey and another 100,000 in Jordan. Pretty soon this civil war thing is going to get serious.

Bath Time: After two years of shopping their bad credit card debt around, Target finally found a taker, getting $5.9 billion for it, which was described as “equal to the gross value of the outstanding receivables...” Value is an interesting word.

Heresy: Canada apparently didn't get the memo – the Bank of Canada says that they intend on keeping the bank overnight rate at 1% and contemplate “some modest withdrawal of monetary policy stimulus” in the near future. Don't tell Krugman.

Faithfully Yours:The Koch Brothers have put together a database that matches your on-line shopping history with your church records in order to better target those who might oppose anything the Kochs want to do to us.

Wells, Now: Geologists report that the earthquake in southeastern Spain in 2011 that killed 9 people and injured about 100 while leaving thousands homeless was caused by the massive extraction of groundwater. The massive injection of fracking wastewater reportedly has had the same effect.

Justification: Journalist, columnist, etc. Joe Kline, defending America's use of drones in Pakistan despite the large numbers of civilian casualties explained those deaths were acceptable because “the bottom line in the end is - whose 4-year-old get killed? What we're doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror” by the Pakistani children we kill.

Perspective: A new study predicts that the current drought is one of the worst in the last 600 years – if not longer. And they're not talking about 'the drought of 2012'. The current drought in the American Southwest “began in the late 1990s lasted through the following decade and could become one of the worst, if not the worst, in history." They expect that by 2050 “we will see worse drought and increased tree mortality than we've seen in the past 1,000 years."

Job Openings: In South Africa, gold miner Gold Fields has fired 8,500 striking workers at the KDC East mine after they refused to return to work. Some 11,000 miners at the KDC West mine caved in to the company's ultimatum and returned to work.

Deficit, Smeshimit: It's not the deficit, stupid! It has become abundantly clear that the adverse economic impacts of austerity in a depressed economy are so severe that austerity is self-defeating. Yet deficit fever demands for spending cuts has dominated policy discussion for almost three years, with all very few of Our Betters ignoring the evidence. It's the demand, and it needs stimulating.

The Parting Shot.


Cliff dwellers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

SAR #12296

If your lawyer doesn't believe the system is rigged, get another lawyer; ditto for your accountant.

Understandable confusion: "I thought they were going to debate about Energy Policy." "No, Foreign Policy." "That's what I said."

Performance Pay: The ECB/IMF/EU has fired all 2235 of Greece's tax investigators because they were not raking in enough shekels. Their replacements understand that collections must increase. Methodology was not discussed.

Regrouping: Tom Corbett, PA's Republican governor, has temporarily stopped pushing an ALEC-written law that would give the State the power to over-ride local school boards and force them to accept charter schools in their towns. After the election, when the people are once again powerless, they'll be back.

Getting Out The Vote: Sometimes putting barriers in the way of potential voters can seem like a good idea. Go ahead, go listen to the clip, then come back and argue with me.

Merchandising: After Greg Smith wrote his Op-Ed, Goldman Sachs examined its own navel and found no lint. Sure, they admit they screw their customers, but say that their customers know they're getting screwed and keep showing up anyway, so it's all good.

Ear Muffs for The Mitten: The Salt Lake Tribune has endorsed the Other Guy, saying that there were “too many Mitts”, with an agenda “bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust." They've also noticed that Romney will do whatever “shape-shifting (with breathtaking aplomb)” it takes to win.

Hazards of the Job: Six Italian seismologists have been jailed for three years on manslaughter charges for failing to predict the 2009 earthquake. Too bad that court doesn't have jurisdiction over BP.

Succinctly: Corporate profit margins are close to all time highs, as are the Federal deficit and Federal debt. Funny how that happens.

Follow The Money: The Deputy AG says the fed's do not care what the people want, marijuana will remain a serious crime with serious federal penalties as long as Wall Street continues to make billions laundering drug money.

The Plots: A study begun in 2003 compared the 'regular Midwestern' farming cycle of corn/soybeans grown with chemicals and pesticides with a corn/soybeans/oats cycle and a corn/soybeans/oats/alfalfa cycle combined with raising livestock on the land, using their manure as fertilizer. And you know the outcome, else I wouldn't cite the item, right? Right, they managed to reduce the nitrogen fertilizer and herbicide use by over 80%, reduced toxins in the groundwater and did not reduce profits by even a penny.

Liberal Bias: Only 5 of the 63 energy firms that received significant DOE funds for alternative energy projects have gone bankrupt. That's what all the noise has been about. That's 8%. That's Obama's big alternative energy failure.

Maybe, Maybe Not: Academic research is increasingly being published on-line in open-access format. The “good” is that this opens access to scientific research to all at no cost. The “bad” is the fear that less rigorous peer review will lead to even greater cases of shoddy and deceptive research being inflicted on the unwary. On balance, having experience with the Linux community, a couple of specialist websites and Wiki, of course, I'm for it.

The Parting Shot:


There's one in every crowd.

Monday, October 22, 2012

SAR #12295

Unemployment, poverty, homelessness and such are not unique to market capitalism.

The First Step Is The Hardest: Germany, among others, is suggesting that the EU/ECB/ESM/Somebody's Aunt loan Greece a bunch of money – say 10 billion euro – with which Greece could buy up about 40 billion euro of its outstanding but greatly devalued sovereign bonds. Of course this would require finding folks holding 40 billion in Greek bonds they want to realize 75% losses on.

Nothing Succeeds Like Success: The CIA wants more drones, so it can expand its winning strategy from Pakistan and Yemen to any number of "North African or other trouble spots..."

The Shadow Knows: Friday's existing home sales - down 1.7% - was boring, but the accompany 'collapse' in available housing inventory was remarkable, even as prices for existing houses crept upward 0.5%. Don't be fooled, the "available housing supply" (purportedly 2.32 million homes) doesn't count the millions of houses the banks refuse to list as REO (holding them off their books to avoid taking the loss and driving house prices down) nor does it count the millions of houses that your neighbors would sell if they weren't still way underwater - somewhere around 11 million of 'em.

Tea Leaves: JPMorgan says (1) the payroll tax holiday will not be extended, (2) that will reduce disposable income by $125 billion, which (3) will lower US GDP at least 0.5% in 1Q13 and 0.75% in 2Q13.

Confession Is Good For The Soul:Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admits that “Today, energy cuts across the entirety of U.S. foreign policy.” How this is different from yesterday and the day before was unclear.

Clarification: Netanyahu insists that Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem, including in the eastern part of the city that was taken as spoils to the victor after the 1967 War. The settlements are illegal under international law, and make a two-state solution impossible - which is the whole point.

Tinker-Evans-Chance: While you are standing in line waiting to vote, consider this: Hart Intercivic owns the (notoriously faulty) voting machines used in Ohio and elsewhere around the county. HIG Capital is the majority owner of Hart. The Mitten, and Mrs. Mitten and family, are major investors in HIG Capital. Oy, count the ways...

Anticlimax: Last week the Supreme Court squashed what little doubt there was about the 'legality' of retroactive immunity for aiding and abetting the government in its massive and massively illegal warrantless wiretaps (and other communications intercept invasions of privacy). Like the rest of the extra-juridical things the US government does, doing them makes them legal.

Bank On It: A survey found that 40% of Americans have “ready access” to less than $500 in savings. What's in your wallet?

Perspective: Munich Re, the giant re-insurance firm, says it regards the increase in weather related disasters, especially in North America, “as an initial climate-change footprint.” The increase in drought, heat, floods and such that have been experienced to date are just the beginning, they say, because the atmosphere has “only” warmed 1.4° F in the past century, a drop in the bucket compared the damage that will be done as the earth warms 5 times than during the rest of the century.

The Parting Shot:


A little light on the subject.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SAR #12293

Europe has come to believe its made-up facts.

Horror:  If Golden Dawn's attacks on immigrants throughout Greece reminds you of the Brownshirt attacks on Jews as Hitler rose to power, that's because money isn't the only thing that Greece has borrowed from Berlin.

Your Money or Your Life: Romney declared that nobody in America dies because he or she is uninsured. That's crap. Emergency rooms are not health care, they are... for emergencies. They do not treat chronic problems, the things people die from. The uninsured are stabilized and released. Repeatedly. Until they die of what often started as a treatable problem. The Romney/Ryan promise to take Obamacare/Medicaid/Medicare away from 45 million Americans guarantees a great increase in preventable deaths – supposedly because we cannot afford, as a country, to treat our elderly, our poor, our sick. Romney is promising unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy and unnecessary death for the uninsured.

Comparative Economics: According to the IMF, corruption siphons so much money from the Italian economy that it it were its own country it would be the world's 76th largest economy. And if US financial corruption were its own country... oh wait, it is.

Whether Report: The Commodity Weather Group says winter in the US this year will be cooler than last, causing the demand for heating fuels (and the price thereof) to rise. NOAA, on the other hand, not having any commodities to pimp for, says the warm trend from spring and summer will continue through the winter, as will the drought.

Early Warning System: McDonald's says its world-wide same-store sales are “trending negative.”

Perspective: As the Washingtonians plot to whittle away at Social Security - which is sound and does not need whittling for a couple of decades - keep in mind that more than 21 million Americans - mostly elderly, but including a million children and about 20 million disabled - would be living in poverty without the program.

Takes One To Know One: The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed that, following Graham's endorsement of Romney, it had removed all references to Mormonism as a “cult” from its website.

Snuggle Up: The EIA reports that distillate inventories (think 'heating oil') in the Northeast are 43% below their 5-year average. Stock up now, before it gets cold – and hope that it does not get cold, really, really expensively cold.

Fat Lady, Singing: Researchers say that the battle to stop global warming is lost, as is the struggle to keep global warming to 2ºC. In both cases the battle was lost before we got around to a single skirmish. Now is the time to begin figuring out how and if we can survive in the world we have created. And stopping burning fossil fuels should be the first stop, without which all the rest is wasted effort. What did you do in the war, daddy?

Republican Biology (Advanced): Joe Walsh (R-IL) claims that no exception to save the life of the mother is needed in abortion bans because science has advanced to the point that abortion is no longer medically necessary to save the life of the mother. A lot of ladies will be pleased to hear about this. So will a lot of doctors.

Democracy In-action: Kuwait's brief flirtation with democracy is over, with the Sheikh's police arresting three men who were silly enough to be members of the opposition - for undermining the status of Kuwait's ruler. More demonstrations - and the inevitable police riots - are expected.

The Old Ways Are Best: The IMF has already forgotten that just last week it warned the world that austerity measures were inappropriate and counterproductive in solving the problems of the euro, and has once more insisted that the Portuguese must suffer more.

Porn O'Graph: The 47%, one last time.

The Parting Shot:



Friday, October 19, 2012

SAR #12292

They will lie to get your vote.

Aye, There's The Rub: A German think tank concludes that if Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy left the euro, global GDP would drop by €17 trillion, plunge the entire world into a recession, increase social tensions, and threaten democracy. (It didn't make the last two claims, but as night must follow day...). Just a Greek departure would not be particularly upsetting, but the danger of it setting off a string of exits is too high to be tolerated. So Greece will be beaten into submission and the “snail's pace” at which the demanded reforms are being implemented will not be tolerated by Merkel and the troika.

Tightrope: Back in June, we now learn, The Mitten urged small business owners to tell their employees how to vote and to warn the what would happen if they didn't follow the suggestion. Another Republican, Joe Walsh (R-IL) told employers " Spread the word . . . if you run, own or manage a company, tell your employees . . . if Obama is re-elected, I may have to let all of you go..." There's a not particularly thin line between free speech and coeercion, and these guys crossed it.

Making the Point: Fighting back against the Kaiser study that showed 59% of seniors would pay more under a Medicare voucher program, some argue that the problem is that the elderly don't always choose what's best for them. It's not a problem, it's a feature – the private insurers are banking on being able to bilk them, that's where the profits are.

Smelling Salts: A touch of reality visited the unemployment claims number this week (388,000), with initial claims rising 46,000 – a 13.5% jump from last week's miraculous number. This is the highest number in three months and should put the conspiracy nuts to rest for a while, even in the absence of any explanation from the Labor Department.

Don't Try This At Home: JPMorgan has apologized to the feds for “submitting inaccurate information” in the investigation into their electricity trading in California. If you do it it's called perjury.

Pain/Spain: The loans on Spanish banks' books keep tumbling. Last month their bad loans stood at 10% of their portfolios; this month it climbed to 10.5%, while their deposit base continues to flee the country. How do you say 'insolvent' in Spanish?

What Could Go Wrong? The latest Good Idea from the folks who brought you synthetic CDOs comes the 16:1 leveraged version of an 8:1 leveraged MBS based, somewhere in the hazy distance, on REITs. It's a sure thing, unless interest rates rise, in which case the buyers will get their little bottoms whipped.

Conundrum: Europe's crisis is not about Greek deficits or German dominance, Europe's crisis is caused by the tension between democracy at the national level and autocracy at the supranational level. The EU has created the euro, but has been unable to forge a transnational constituency to make it viable. Essentially disenfranchised voters are not willing to accept the sacrifices necessary to make the euro-project succeed, even as Frau Merkel lectures them on the glories of giving the technocrats in Brussels veto power over national budgets. As long as the French are French, the Italians Italian, and the Germans want to run everything, the euro is doomed.

Point Of Order: There are 20.5 million people in the US who live in extreme poverty. Extreme. That's less than $10,000 a year for a family of four. And don't tell me about the fine care they get at the emergency room.

And The Winner Is: AG Holder has given Distinguished Service Awards to the people who decided not to prosecute torturers who killed their victims and to the guys who let banksters off with a slap on their secretaries' wrists for engaging in systemic mortgage fraud.

Damned Liberal Facts: Bill O'Reilly is upset over taxpayers funding 'lefty agitators like Bill Moyers'. The problem is, Moyers doesn't work for PBS or NPR and never has, and Moyers show, which is funded by donors, may well give its excess donations to PBS. Scott Brown, running for re-election to the US Senate against Elizabeth Warren", claimed that she had hired actors to pretend to be members of the families of asbestos victims. Too bad, Scott, they were family members. Apology accepted, in the same spirit it was offered.

The Parting Shot:


Thursday, October 18, 2012

SAR #12291

What if the environmental and health costs of burning coal had to be paid by the coal companies?

Limited Time Offer: The IMF wants both Spain and Italy to ask the EU (and presumably the ECB and the IMF) for bailouts now. Rome said no, and Spain said not quite yet. The IMF sees the problem and thinks the solution to too much debt is more debt, paid for by more austerity. Oh, wait. My bad. IMF imposed austerity is so last week. Meanwhile the usual suspects are gathering in Brussels to work towards “closer euro zone integration” before we get to “euro zone disintegration.” The German proposal for a über-commissioner with a veto over national budgets is a non-starter.

Bean Counters? Starbucks has paid no tax in the UK since 2009.

Free and Fair: Dr. Jill Stein was arrested Wednesday and handcuffed to a chair for eight hours. Who is Stein and why should you care? She is the Green Party candidate for the presidency and she was arrested while walking towards the televised debate between two of the other candidates - said debate being owned and operated by the two legacy political parties.

Bumpkins: Tinkering with the vote in swing state rural areas Courting rural swing state voters may lead to a Romney victory, because there are so many more of them than urban Democratic voters.

Long Way Home: An earnest economic treatise asks why private medicare plans don't cost less. What part of 'profits for insurance companies' don't you understand? It went on to ask if private insurance companies have a future role to play in Medicare, the answer to which is “No, not in an ideal world, but this is a long ways from being the ideal world.” Besides, If Romney gets in, this is all just academic.

Boom/Bubble? Single-family housing starts were up 11% m/m, and building permits for single-family dwellings were up 6.7% m/m.

A Two-'fer: Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies was awarded the Man Booker prize for fiction. Worth a mention for two reasons: She is the first author to win the Booker twice, having previously been honored for Wolf Hall. Secondly - the first paragraph of Bring up the Bodies killed any dream I might have had about being able to write... she is astonishing.

Waypoint: Over half of the earth's wetlands have been destroyed (by us) in the last 100 years. I bet Mother Nature wishes we'd kill ourselves off pretty soon, while there are a few other species left to start over with.

Extra! Extra! Someone finally noticed that Kurdistan will split with Iraq and take its oil and oil contracts with it. The Kurds have already won the struggle:   Oil majors like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total are willing to sign deals with the KRG at risk of losing contracts with Baghdad. Oil seeks its own level.

Backfield In Motion: Romney's campaign cites three studies that support the claim that his plan would create 12 million jobs. Too bad the studies don't do that. It's like the six studies they cite as supporting Romney's planned tax cuts; four are blog posts and one supports critics of the plan.

Call For Research Proposals: The Boy Scouts of America have nearly 100 years of files recording sexual predation by those in leadership positions on the boys - there are nearly 2000 covering the 20 years from 1970 to 1991.

Porn O'Graph: Tip-toeing past the graveyard.

The Parting Shot:


Maple Street.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SAR #12290

Compassion used to be a virtue.

Retroactively: The US Court of Appeals in Washington has ruled that even bin Laden's driver cannot be convicted under a law that was passed after he was 'detained', and that providing “material support for terrorism” has no standing in international law. 'Material support' is a common charge for US guests at Guantanamo.

Fortress America: Despite Republican theory, embassies and consulates cannot function housed in bomb- and mob-proof fortresses. It would be nice if every government in the world could guarantee absolute safety to diplomatic missions, but that world does not exist.

Blood/Turnip: Hostage negotiations in Athens between The Troika and Greece have been adjourned after breaking down twice during the day, citing "complete disagreement" between the two sides on key issues.

Fleeting Fame: Vikram Pandit, who was brought in to rescue Citi and did so, was paid $260 million over 5 years – including 2010 when he earned just $1.00. He has suddenly resigned (he says) or been fired (almost everyone else says). How soon they forget.

We Are Not Amused: Paul Ryan and his perfect little family showed up uninvited and unauthorized at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, OH, where Ryan grabbed a clean tray, pretended to clean it for benefit of the cameras he had brought along, then left. The soup kitchen was not amused, which is funny because the same pretense worked quite well for him when he played budget and tax guru.

Wait, Wait: President Vladimir Putin's party scored a big win in mayorial and regional elections, although independent observers said “the vote was openly rigged.” Smirking and the shaking of heads is not permitted until November 7th.

Cheer Up, Things Could Be Worse: Social Security checks will increase 1.7% come January. That's the cost of living adjustment. It averages out to be $21 a check – but will be reduced by an increase in the cost of Medicare. In real terms, over the last four years recipients have lost income. But the Scrooge folks in Washington want to change the formula so future COLAs are not so wildly generous. Of course the Romney/Ryan plan is a lot worse, so celebrate now.

Clarification: Economists Reinhart and Rogoff say that they “take issue with the gross misinterpretations of the facts” by Romney's economic advisers. Hey, it's only politics, lighten up.

Slowly, Slowly: Portugal's 2013 draft budget applies at least two more turns to the thumbscrews – a 35% increase in income tax and cutting 2% more public sector jobs.

Porn O'Graph: Ask Willard about the nursing homes...

The Parting Shot:



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SAR #12289

'When' is ever so much harder than 'what'.

Tick, Tock, Tick-tock: Adding to the propaganda noise urging war, we are now being told that Iran has “a secret plan” to create a vast oil spill in the Strait of Hormuz. Perhaps by sinking a supertanker? Perhaps as payback for the war on Iran's people being waged by the US and its dependencies. Perhaps its not true – we've been lied to before.

Meningitis: Tell me again about the dangers of government regulation and the benefits of the free market in health care.

Next Up: In case war the with Iran can't be quickly undertaken, the UN – what, is that the US's thumb on the scales? - passed a Security Council resolution, giving “regional leaders” 45 days to come up with a plan to “intervene militarily” to eradicate al-Qaeda-linked (tremble, tremble) rebels in northern Mali.

Prevailing Conditions: Someone asked if electronic voting machines owned by Romney's buddies would give him the election. Yes, if that's what it takes. And that's what it'll take.

Romneymath: The Joint Committee on Taxation reports that only 4% of Romney's 20% across the board tax cut can be paid for by eliminating deductions, credits and exemptions. No wonder Ryan has trouble explaining the math and Mitt just waves his hands and leaves the details up to some future congress. The takeaway: “Broadening the base as Republicans propose would not only fail to cut the deficit, it also fails to reduce rates much.”

No Means Shut Up and Go Away: Germany, in the persons of Chancellor Merkel and Finance Minister Schaeuble, have again made it very clear that there will not be a second writedown (haircut) of Greek debt. Merkel also maintains Greece should stay in the euro union. She should ask Romney for help with the math.

Fixing Medicare: According the the Kaiser Family Foundation, under Paul Ryan's proposal to turn Medicare into a privatized “premium support” voucher program, 60% of current Medicare recipients will pay at least $200 a month more just to maintain their current level of service. Because he cares.

Adventures In Marketing: The electric car Smart ED is possibly the best value yet among cars that displace their emissions to power plants so the owners can feel good zero emission cars.

Hunger Games:Greece is now letting merchants sell food products beyond their 'best by' dates. Some stuff gets another week, some a month. The rules say the stuff sold beyond the expiration date must be discounted. No, this is not part of the IMF/EU plan to cut pension costs.

Believe It Or Don't: Realtors in Florida claim that the increase in foreclosures is good for the housing market because it will make more houses available for sale. Not to the people who just lost their homes, of course, but a sale's a sale, a commission's a commission.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Defense Secretary Panetta wants you to talk with your family and make plans on what you will do when a “cyber Pearl Harbor” occurs, which is certain if we do not let the military undertake”preemptive attacks” with “overwhelming force” and surrender whatever bits of our privacy we have left.

If Only: Lithuanian voters, by a large margin, voted the right-wing austerity loving government out and elected a left-leaning slate, demonstrating why the EU keeps installing leaders rather than letting people elect their own.

Point of Order: America's 10 richest people made enough money last year to feed every hungry person on earth for a year.

Correction: In an article reporting how while Romney was bashing China, part of his “$450,000 a week” form Bain comes from dealing with China. This is not true. It should read “part of his $840,000 a week...”

Porn O'Graph: Then along came Reaganomics.

The Parting Shot:


Down by the old mill stream.

Monday, October 15, 2012

SAR #12288

Romney – at least he cares enough to fake it!

Opportunity: Turkey is continuing its push to become a major player in the Middle East by taking the lead in the anti-Assad effort. It has moved troops and aircraft into its border region with Syria, intercepted arms being flown into the country, and is loudly condemning the UN for its inaction. If this is all at or with US urging, we should be careful what we wish for.

No Place Like Home: Asked about the difference between visiting Athens and visiting Stuttgart, Frau Merkel mentioned that the 7000 Greek police kept the crowds far enough away so she couldn't hear them, whereas in Stuttgart they booed so loud and so long she gave up and went away. The Greeks should be so lucky.

GMO – Genetically Modifying Offspring: Australian scientists report that components of a new type of GMO wheat, when eaten, can enter humans and cause their offspring to “tend to die by the age of about five.” The research findings are “absolutely assured. There is no doubt...” except, of course, on the part of the companies who stand to profit from killing off their customers.

Being Prepared: There are a number of mobile apps that make it easy to record video and audio of your interactions with police, "to keep citizens safe from their local and federal governments.”

Democracy In The Streets: Pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators in Cairo exchanged views on the direction of the country, resulting in at least 100 being injured. Questionable decisions by the judiciary are at the base of the current demonstrations.

Choices: Tokyo Electric Power Company admits that it knew the power plants at Fukushima Daiichi were vulnerable and that they could have taken steps to prevent the disaster but management was afraid that averting the disaster would cut into their profits could have upset the people living near the power plants.

Another One Bites The Dust: Another senior Al-Qaeda operative has been killed this time in Algeria, bringing to 147 the number of senior Al-Qaeda lieutenants killed so far this year.

Fist Aid: Five Bahrainian medics who were thrown into dungeons for the crime of administering first aid to people injured during protests against the autocratic dictatorship of the tiny but rich US partner in defending access to Middle Eastern oil have begun a hunger strike, trying to shame the government into stopping their torture.

The Beatings Will Continue: Ms. Merkel says that there is no alternative to "arduous" overhaul of the Euro area. She didn't mention the Sudetenland. Citi has moved the date by which they expect Greece to exit the euro to 1H2014. and others suspect that Greece will be gone in six months, providing an object lesson pour encourager les autres.

Courage of Their Evictions: The increasing spread of the forced eviction of farmers and local rural residents from their lands and homes is giving rise to increasing protests by the dispossessed, who risk official violence and jail for complaining. This is "a serious threat to social and political stability."

No Means Yes: Senior EU/ECB/IMF officials – and their Greek lackeys – say that having the Greek authorities depopulate the smaller Greek islands to increase their attractiveness to rich investors was brought up “only at the technical level” and was never proposed at the ministerial level. . Mass relocation being, obviously, a technical matter.

Essay Assignment: For the usual prize, 10 words or less: What happens when the price of oil needed for marginal production exceeds the price the economy can afford to pay?

The Parting Shot:


A puff piece.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

SAR #12286

Don't confuse the stock market with reality.

The Way We Were: The countries that make up the European Union were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for managing not to start a war between themselves for a long time. Things change.

Contemptorary thought: If you think the country is in dire straits because teachers make too much money or cops make too much money or welfare families have destroyed this country or subprime borrowers ruined the economy, and you do not understand that behind each of these “causes” are public and private institutions that repeatedly committed frauds that make those of the little people pale by comparison, then you are part of the problem.

Chiller: "Gasoline at $2 gallon is nice, but you better hope you're still getting a paycheck to buy it with."

If, Then... German think tanks say the German economy will grow by only 1% next year – and that only if the eurozone crisis does not deteriorate.

Being Prepared: Defense Secretary Panetta, waving his hands and conjuring up dire images of a digital Armageddon says Congress must indemnify the military for whatever steps it takes to “move aggressively against digital attacks”. He also wants “legal protections” for all the illegal things companies do in providing information to the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, In the Pantry: The USDA has again lowered its prediction for the corn crop, this time by 16%. Globally, corn stocks are at their lowest level in 39 years.

Relatively: We all know that Romney/Ryan intend to do significant damage to Medicare, but not so much attention gets paid to their plans to eradicate Medicaid. After all, only poor people get covered by Medicaid, so we the middle class don't pay much attention. But we should, because about 65% of Medicaid expenses go to paying senior citizens in nursing homes. Folks who worked all their lives and now don't have the $70,000 a year or more it takes – which Medicare does not cover. Folks like my dad. And you mom, how's she fixed for cash?

The Nugget: In an article describing Wall Street compensation as “reaching near-record levels” is this: “Pay isn’t always linked to performance.”

Proud To Be An Empirian: The US lobbed four drone missiles into the most backward part of Pakistan yesterday, killing 16 and wounding at least 6 – all undoubtedly 'militants'. Remember last month's Stanford/NYU study that found drone attacks to be “counterproductive”, not to mention certain difficulties with international law?

Priorities: The progressively devastating mass extinction now underway could be greatly reduced at a cost of about $80 billion a year. That's about half of the amount that bankers take home in bonuses each year. Guess what we're not going to do.

Going Nowhere: The Producer Price Index, after pretending that energy is optional, rose exactly 0.0% last month. Those producers who use energy – you know, electricity, diesel fuel, JP4, gasoline and all – saw prices pop up 1.1%, “more than expected.”

Don't Look Now: During a national security hearing called to bash the administration over its reporting on the Benghazi consulate attack, Republicans managed to identify the location and function of a secret CIA installation.

The Parting Shot:


Sugar maples.

Friday, October 12, 2012

SAR #12285

“It is a scandal of modern American politics that a vital program presently needing no change at all, as far as solvency goes, is widely believed to be on a path to bankruptcy.” C. A. Rotwang

Earthquake: The IMF, having insisted for years that austerity was the True Path, now says that governments have underestimated the damage done the economy by austerity measures. Not to mention the damage done to society and to the well being of the governments that took the IMF's advice. Mirror? There's no mirror in here.

Now You Know: “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” Mitt Romney, a man for all the people -who make over $10 million a year – isn't aware of the Harvard study showing “that nearly 45,000 people died in the United States each year largely because they did not have insurance.”

Balloon Launch? Federal Reserve governor Daniel Tarullo says that the government should set a limit on banks' non-deposit liabilities, which is where Goldman and friends get most of their funding.

Rose/Rose: Congressional Budget Office data confirms that the current US budget deficits “stem overwhelmingly from the economic downturn, the tax cuts first enacted under President Bush, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," and that future budgetary shortfalls largely stem from the Bush-era tax cuts. So cutting Social Security and Medicare is inevitable.

When You're Right, You're Right: The plane Turkey forced down yesterday turned out to be carrying Russian-made military equipment.

Money Talks: Munich Re – the world's largest reinsurance firm – says that climate change is driving the increase in natural disasters, with the greatest increase occurring in North America. They predict you ain't seen nothing yet. These people may not know about the science but they certainly can count the costs.

Hobbies: “Eventually–in another two generations, perhaps–organized religion will wither down to a minority preference which is looked upon with mild embarrassment, like Civil War reenacting.”

Footnoted: The Labor Department reported that initial unemployment claims were down 30,000 from last week – nearly 10% ! However, they note, “one large state didn't report some quarterly figures.” Cue the conspiracy theorists.

It's Not Over 'til It's Over: An oil sheen, three miles long and a thousand yards, made up of oil that “correlates” in chemical signature to that from BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster, has been found in the Gulf. It does not pose a threat to US coastal areas. Yet.

Stirring the Pot: The St Louis Fed has put out a paper suggesting that patents be abolished altogether, arguing that the current system does more to hinder than to promote innovation – which was the whole point of the system to start with.

Irreversible: In the last couple of hundred years we have increased the acidity of the oceans by 30% as the seas absorbed 500 billion tons of CO2 that our fires threw into the atmosphere. Scientists fear that within the next 100 years “the oceans will become hot, sour, and breathless.”

Markdowns: Ireland, finally, is about to do something right after years of repeatedly doing the absolutely wrong thing about the financial crisis. They are going to legislate encouragement for their banks (and in Ireland, they are their banks) to “substantially cut the amount that borrowers owe on their mortgages”, thus preventing a massive wave of foreclosures and forcing banks to recognize their bad judgment losses.

The Parting Shot:


Weekend getaway.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

SAR #12284

Our Motto: Looking leads to finding, so don't look.

Motivation:The IMF says Europe's banks may have to sell off $4.5 trillion in assets in the next year if the eurozone mess doesn't get straightened out pretty damned soon. The odds of which are about a gadzillion to one against. Talk about your bargain hunting...

Being Prepared: The Swiss suspect that the crisis in Europe is getting worse, not better, and will – sooner than later – end up in a series of unpleasant political and social upheavals that will require armed troops to be deployed. Too that end, they are adding 4 new MP battalions to their army to deal with disorder and disruptions. Maybe they're on to something.

Victory: Iraq is quietly – very quietly – shipping oil to Assad's Syria. So much for US influence after another famous victory.

Scheduling: 12,000 striking South African mineworkers have been fired for their wildcat strikes, 20,000 truck drivers are on strike, and the 190,000 members of the South Africa Municipal Workers Union are threatening to strike within a few days. The revolution may well be telecast.

Pale Horse, Paler Rider:Non-financial US corporations are sitting on $1.4 trillion in cash. In real terms that's more than at any point since World War 2; nearly 9% of GDP. Corporations' unwillingness to invest their cash reflects their view that the risk of investing is far greater than any foreseeable reward. Bernanke's confidence fairy hasn't been making house calls.

Another One Bites The Dust: The implementation of South Carolina's voter suppression identification law has been put off until after the November election by a 3-judge federal court.

Payoffs: In the 2008 – 2010 period, some 30 Fortune 500 companies paid more to their lobbyists than they did in taxes. And it was a good investment; they made $164 billion in profits and paid... well, received $10.6 billion in rebates.

Simpleton Math: In 2011, Canada experienced its first ever ozone hole over the Arctic. In 2012, government budget cuts lead to closing the Canadian ozone science group.

Passing Fancy: For about 12 hours on Tuesday, The Mitten reverted back to his old, old pro choice stance, but by the end of the day was back to wanting to repeal Roe vs. Wade.

One For The Good Guys? The US Supreme Court refused to block an $18 billion judgment against Chevron in an Ecuadorian pollution case.

Contagion: The Walmart downtrodden who went on strike in California and Illinois seem to have started something. Workers in 28 stores in 12 states have walked out, demanding wage increases, better working conditions, and the right to exercise their right to unionize. Maybe the worm has begun to turn.

Thanks Giving: Turkey, suspecting that a Syrian passenger jet was carrying “non-civilian cargo”, forced it to land at Ankara airport. The cause for the suspicion was not given.

The Parting Shot:


Connect the dots.