Saturday, April 12, 2014

SAR #14102

I liked 'stagnation' better when' it was called 'the doldrums'.

Shocking, Really, Really Not: It turns out that after spending $40 million investigating the CIA's use of torture, the Senate found that CIA tortured people. Lots of them. Far more than they previously admitted. In lots of places. A lot more than they previously acknowledged. To far less benefit – namely none – than they previously pretended. All of it “far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.” In other words, a bunch of guys who had no compunction about torturing people for the fun of it were so morally corrupt that they lied about what they were doing to a bunch of political hacks who didn't want to know.. 
The Usual Suspects: Hewlett-Packard paid a $108 million bribe fine to the US to end an investigation into HP's bribing of officials in other countries; 
Return On Invasion: The West is scurrying around pretending it can supply Europe – including Ukraine – with natural gas and petroleum and thus thwart Putin's use of the energy supply card. Too bad it can't be done, which is why the EU, IMF and so on are going to give Ukraine about $15 billion in 'aid' which Ukraine, after skimming 10% off the top, will pass on to Gazprom, aka Vladimir Putin. Not bad for a hard day's work. 
Sore Losers: The US is refusing to give Iran's new Ambassador to the UN a visa to get to the UN, just because over 30 years ago he was involved in embarrassing the US by taking over its embassy in Tehran. 
Asked And Answered: “If the US job market were undergoing some sort of major, long-lasting transformation, how would we know?” Well, the data – unemployment, wages, investment - would start looking a lot like it looks lately. 
Tidy Wave: So far, five years into The RecoveryTM less than 20% of US metropolitan real estate markets have returned to 'normal', 2000 to 2003 being 'normal'. Many of the 'recovered' areas are associated with the magic of fracking.

Application: In the wake of the godawful predictions for our future that the climate scientists claim is the best we can expect if we don't Do Something, Archbishop Desmond Tutu says we have to stop pretending someone else is going to save us and start saving ourselves. If you are in the US, that means cutting you use of fossil fuels by at least 50%. That means cutting your driving in half. No more airplane flights – business or pleasure. Turning the heat down in winter to 66 or so and foregoing air conditioning. So, can we sign you up?

Vote Of Confidence: The NSA, which monitors the web 24/7 – it says – also says that it didn't know anything about the Heartbleed Bug before the story broke... on the internet news sites. The NSA didn't care about the Heartbleed Bug gobbling up everyone's passwords because they already had them all. How much money do these jokers waste every year? Keeping us safe from what, exactly? 
Fly/Ointment: Regarding QE etc, “We do not have a strong basis for supposing that reductions in interest rates from very low levels have a large impact on spending decisions.” In fact, five years into this experiment the results strongly suggest that demand is far more important than wads of uninvestible cash. 
Because We're US: The US is arguing that others, like Germany, can't have their own internet system because it would frustrate the NSA violate international trade agreements. You know, the ones where they agreed to trade their privacy in return for Macky Ds.

Porn O'Graph: On being afraid.

The Parting Shot:

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