Wednesday, April 1, 2015

SAR #15091

Object Lesson: After Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown )(Actual Democrats, MA and OH) didn't follow explicit instructions from JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to back off explaining to the public why the big banks should be dismantled, the banks said they would no longer contribute to Senate Democrats. They weren't getting what they paid for, plain and simple.

States of the Nation: Connecticut, Washington, New York have all banned state-funded travel to Indiana, as have dozens of corporations and at least one college coach. Arkansas, to cement it's position as one of the most retarded of the states, rushed passage of a bigotry bill similar to Indiana's. Not to be outdone, NC legislators want to give hospitals the right to turn away gay patients.

Co-Conspirator: If you've been confused as to how the US could agree to a treaty that would let corporations sue cities, states or the federal government for possible profits that might have been prevented by health, environmental safety or social welfare laws, it might help if you knew that the chief US negotiator was from Citibank.

Good Old Days: Six years after the housing crisis, about a million homes remain lost in the foreclosure process even though the percentage of homeowners behind in their payments has declined by half. About 17% of houses with mortgages are underwater. Nearly 4 million other mortgages have been modified with low interest rates that will increase when interest rates increase (later this year?) or have balloon payments or ARM mortgages– which will increase the foreclosure rate again. 
Myth/Reality: The gospel according to GOP gurus is that social welfare programs encourage recipients to sit around drinking beer and playing the lottery. Actual research across 18 EU nations found little evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the more generous the welfare, the greater the commitment of recipients to seeking employment.

Teaching Point: Two out of three student loans are delinquent or in default. The Federal Reserve cites student debt levels as a significant contributor to the decline in homeownership rates and “the sharp increase in parental co-residence among millennials.” Mostly co-residing in the cellar or the garage apartment.

Not A Quote: “Democracy be damned, ship those weapons to the dictators!” Obama didn't say that, but could have as he lifted the arms freeze against the military junta that deposed the elected president of Egypt.

Faceoff: In Europe, Facebook tracks computers without their users' consent, even if they have explicitly opted out of being tracked. Here they are just one of many.

Danger Zone: The Powers That Be are becoming excited about the possibilities of a Value Added Tax as a replacement for income taxes. Sure it's regressive and hits the poor hardest. That's what TPTB like about it.

Porn O'Graph: Pin the tail on the Gulf Stream.

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