Monday, December 29, 2014

SAR #14363

Empire Strikes Back: The US has been stockpiling military arms and equipment pulled from the failed war in Afghanistan in depots in Kuwait, in anticipation of an urgent need for the dogs of war in Iraq this spring. The US is also preparing to increase the number of mercenaries private contractors in Iraq as part of the same offensive. Most will be discharged from the US military before being shipped back to Baghdad.

Ledger: The US “war on terror” has cost over $1.6 trillion so far, including the $1 billion it has cost to kill “over 1,100 militants” in Syria. For extra credit, define “militants”.

Only Human: Along with acknowledging that the NSA had illegally spied on Americans for over a decade, it verified that its employees rather regularly spied on their spouses and girlfriends. And there is, it seems no way to get them to stop the spying. Ireland, rather optimistically, says that US courts must get Irish permission before viewing emails stored on servers in Dublin, even if the NSA has already stolen them. Facebook, too, has been reading your mail. And – best for last – it seems that hackers can take control of your car through all those lovely little computer thingies built into them these days. 
Modern World: Two Saudi women have been remanded to the nations terrorist court, charged with driving a vehicle. In Mauritania a man has been sentenced to death for apostasy after “speaking lightly of the Prophet.”

Aw, Shucks: Turns out that the dastardly North Koreans did not hack Sony to protect Kim's honor, rather a self-righteous bunch of blackmailers called The Lizard Squad most likely did the deed with info gathered from an insider. 

Coping Mechanism: Instead of quantitative easing to address Russia's flailing economy, Putin has put a cap on the price of vodka. It won't help the economy, but it'll give 'em something to do in the bread lines.

Handicapping: The German finance minister says that any new Greek government will have to abide by all the agreements the previous hand-picked bunch signed, and the current Greek Prime Minister thinks it would be “best for the country” to do away with democracy and elections and all that stuff that might get in the way of Berlin draining the last few ounces of ouzo from the country.

About Time: Iran has been field testing a “suicide drone”. A poor man's cruise missile, the drone is designed to plunge into its targets and explode. 
Brace Yourself: It seems that politicians do not always tell the truth, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pacts are not about free trade. They are secret pacts designed to neuter those pesky national and state-level laws that might inconvenience the looters.

Unclear On The Concept: The increasingly bizarre and out-of-touch President Recep Erdoğan claims that Turkey is the world leader in freedom of the press. Well, the world leader in incarcerating journalists anyway, including some who were jailed this week. He also wishes Europe would stop criticizing him. The school kid who was imprisoned for “insulting Erdoğan” has been released pending trial. On another day Erdogan described birth control use as ‘treason’ . The puppet parliament is considering a bill to let the government shut down the internet at will. 
Gross, Very Gross: Great Britain passed France to become the world's fifth largest economy by including the imputed earnings of prostitutes and drug dealers.

Headline Writers' Award:  "Baby Jesus stolen, replaced with real pig's head."

1 comment:

Blissex said...

«Great Britain passed France to become the world's fifth largest economy by including the imputed earnings of prostitutes and drug dealers.»

Many countries have been redefining GDP:

* So that it look bigger by double counting purchases that are not *final* consumption or are illegal consumption. As to this prostitution in the UK is (barely) legal, so it ought to be counted.

* Ensuring that the items added are those that in the short term at least are likely to grow faster than the others.

This is done to shrink the debt to GDP ratio and the market cap to GDP ratio, to justify keeping lending at 0% to "friends of friends", and thus boosting stock prices and other asset prices.

Some amusing details:

* Since a UK aircraft carrier is about to take service, the rules have been changed to count new weapon systems as final demand:

* Since many EU member states have been busy redefining their own GDP to make it look bigger in different ways, the EU have published a new set of rules that hopefully will make all of them happy, in order to have a level playing field:

One of the more amusing consequences has been that since the UK has been changing the GDP calculations most shamelessly, the UK now have to pay a larger share of the EU budget, because the share is proportional to GDP.