Friday, July 31, 2015

SAR #15212

What sort of idiot would sign an important deal if the details of the deal were secret until the deal is signed? Especially if part of the details included being able to secretly change the deal after it is signed?

Pig/Poke: When enacted – and it will be enacted – the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership and its companions the Trade in Services Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, will complete the Inclosure Act and the final destruction of the commons, turning most of the globe's economic activity over to the corporations involved and freeing them from the annoying regulations and oversight governments once had over things like safety, health, environment, wages, and pollution. These “partnerships” will also eliminate the very concept of privacy, for any barrier to the free flow of information – even or especially information about the citizenry – is counter to modern capitalism. The US wants this deal so badly that it is willing to overlook the human trafficking and sex slavery practices in Malaysia and Thailand, for why should a few tens of thousands of lives stand in the way of pharmaceutical profits and 70 more years of copyright protection for Disney?

Easy Doesn't It: Goldman Sach's Lloyd Blankfein notes that there is “no question that low interest rates have exacerbated the wealth gap between the poor and the rich because the rich have assets." And he is quite concerned that “people” will find it quite jarring when the Fed puts on the brakes.. 
America's Team: It's official, Tom Brady and the Patriots cheat. So?

Kill Bill: Mitch McConnell is resurrecting the once-defeated (56 to 40) Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), because his masters really, really want the bill. Supposedly the bill would prevent cyber-crimes by requiring the private sector give all of your data and information to the government for safekeeping. There's a joke there, but it's not very funny – the government can't keep its own personnel files secret and even promises to distribute the information it gets under CISA to any and all law enforcement agencies, from the FBI to Barney Fife. The bill is simply another grab by the government in its ongoing war against privacy, this time specifically exempting its snooping from any FOIA requests.
Misplaced Loyalties: Globally the fossil fuel industry reaps $550 billion in government support, while they proceed to fry us. Renewable energy, which could be our salvation if only, gets just over $100 billion. Even so, the situation is not totally hopeless; Germany got 78% of its energy from renewable sources in May.

Me-Tooism: Not to be left out, after hackers embarrassed Chrysler, now it's GM's turn in the barrel as its OnStar system lets hackers unlock the car and start the engine.

Talking Turkey: After quietly watching Turkey's would-be dictator for life and current President Rejip Erdoğan slowly transform Turkey from a modern democracy to a quasi religious dictatorship, Washington has now agreed to look the other way as he launches an all-out war on Kurds – Turkish Kurds, Iraqi Kurds, Pesmerga fighters who have regularly bested ISIS, any and all Kurds. The US is even willing to overlook the evidence a Special Forces raid uncovered of Turkish financial support for ISIS, just as it has over looked the hospital that Ankara operates for wounded ISIS fighters in southern Turkey and the free passage it gives to fighters on their way to join ISIS in Syria. But don't worry, the US has begun training 60 Syrian rebels to overthrow Assad while crushing ISIS. And for only $36 million. So far.

Lost My Vote: Chris Christie says that folks in Colorado should smoke 'em if they got 'em because if he gets to be the president he'll put 'em out. 
Expediency: Documents released in the UK show that the US pressured the UK into releasing hundreds of Nazi officers because the US wanted to suborn them to ensure that Germany was on its side facing the Russians. The more things change, the more...

Race To The Bottom: President Obama has initiated the “National Strategic Computing Initiative” with the goal of building computers 30 times faster than today's supercomputers, because it would be a waste to collect all our phone calls and emails and not get to read them.

Overly Candid: There are so many Republicans running for president that we've lost count of 'em, but now there’s another one.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

SAR #15211

We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary.” Microsoft

Spade, Spade: Huckabee is right, the reason Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls is because he is saying things a great number of delusional, ignorant, angry and irrational people feel to be true. He gives them permission to vent their hate and vote their insecurities. And if his popularity does not scare you, go back and study the rise of Hitler and Mussolini. A lot of smug Republicans think The Donald cannot be their candidate. They are wrong
Assigned Reading: “What Recovery?” in the July 28 Harper's. 
To Bed Without Suffer: JPMorgan has officially apologized for being a criminal enterprise, but in its defense points out that the $5.89 billion in fines the 5 too-big-to-flail banks are paying for cheating nearly everyone in the world only amounts to 3% of their annual earnings. If anyone seriously wanted to stop this sort of chicanery, all that would be required would be to send just one of these CEO's to jail. Ain't gonna happen.

Land Of Milk And Honey: In none of these United States can a single minimum wage earner afford a one-bedroom apartment. 
The Way We Were. And Are: White folks are beginning to realize that the criminal justice system isn’t broken. It is not broken, it is fixed. It's been fixed for generations. Against the poor and the black, which is nearly always redundant.

Pounds For Pounds: In Merrie Olde, PM David Cameron has decided that if you are obese and fail to lose weight at your weekly weigh-in in the public square, you will lose £100 from your public benefits that week. 
Suction: The super-rich have siphoned off at least $21 trillion and hidden it from the tax collector. That sum is larger than the entire American economy. Tell me again why we can't afford Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or decent infrastructure. No, we don't need reform. Think bigger.

Wrong Answer: Every time someone uses a gun to kill a bunch of people, more Americans think that more guns is the solution. 
Average Averages:The researchers used Bayesian statistical analyses of 354 dates taken from 30 sites on more than four continents. By using Bayesian analysis, the researchers were able to calculate more robust age models through multiple, progressive statistical iterations that consider all related age data.” 
Contemplation: The investment gurus are once again telling us that “gold is doomed,” because gold “is really a bet that the people in charge don't know what they are doing.” Mine's buried in the back yard.

Fire In A Crowded Theater: The American Beverage Association is suing San Francisco because the city requires a warning on soda pop that says it contributes to obesity, diabetes and death and prohibits ads for sugary drinks on city property because they have a First Amendment right to poison their customers. 
For Better Or For Worse: What happens in the fall of 2016 if the 20% of Republicans who are dumb, angry, racist or simply stupid prevail during the primaries – remember it's the crazies foaming at the mouth who show up at the primary polls – and The Donald is the GOP nominee? They can't kick him out and they can't let him stay. Stay tuned, this is going to get good before it gets to be very sad. Maybe we could have Trump-Palin.

Parasitism: One of the primary causes of wage stagnation in the United States is the huge amount of money the financial services (Wall Street) sector sucks out of the productive economy.

Long Story Short: After 50 years of imminent failure, Medicare and Medicaid are still “eminently sustainable” and are the biggest social policy successes in modern history. Jeb Bush is not just wrong, he is hopelessly wrong. Republicans hate any program that shows the government can successfully provide a universal safety net. They also hate the idea that the private insurance companies cannot get their hands on the program and make immense profits while denying claims. 

Instead of these trifles, I should be ranting about the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Act, the TPP and its associated cons, talking Turkey, and addressing our pending deflationary cycle. Tomorrow I'll try to do better.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SAR #15120

A $45 barrel of oil has the same amount of energy as a $110 one.

It's A Blast: A distinguished cast, headed by Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky and a thousand other scientists, academics and public figures is asking for a global ban on “autonomous weapons” - robotic weapons that operate without and beyond human control. They warn that a terrifying arms race will be inevitable (probably it is already underway in secret military labs) and will inevitably lead to “swarms of robot” weapons that will select, stalk and kill humans without any active human control. They will be cheap, ubiquitous and deadly. They will be sold on the black market and operated by terrorists, dictators and your local gun nut. They are “ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilising nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.” And inevitable, no matter who warns us not to let it happen. Sure,international agreements have successfully prohibited chemical and biological weapons, but killer robotic drones are simply too cheap and too easy. It is only a matter of time. 
The Ignorant And The Law: Georgia is suing a man for publishing all of Georgia's state laws on the internet. They claim that this infringes the states copyright on the laws. And they want citizens to have to pay the state to find out what the laws say. 
Greece II: Hedge funds that have scooped up Puerto Rico's debt at bargain basement prices are demanding that Puerto Rico raise taxes, sell off public buildings, close schools and fire teachers, and drastically cut all public spending on social services, so that they can reap enormous profits. Sounds familiar.

Mirage: Remember when Obama reassured us that under the TPP. TTIP and TiSA corporations really couldn't sue the government over regulations and laws by using the Investor-State Dispute Settlement process? He forgot to tell Philip Morris, which is suing the Australian government over its laws regulating tobacco. 
Job Insecurity: Malaysia's Prime Minister has fired the AG and the deputy PM for investigating the transfer of $700 million in government funds into the PM's personal account. 
Definition: When we think of militarism, Germans goose-stepping through Berlin comes to mind. But the F-35 is today's perfect picture of militarism run wild – the fruit of the military-industrial complex we were warned of 60 years ago. The F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in American history. It will cost us well over $1 trillion before we see the end of it. The military is already buying them – at about $300 million a copy – even though flight testing and development continue. It is not now known if they will ever work as promised, but we know they don't work now and we're buying them anyway. The engines only last about 25 hours. It is slow and ungainly and is easily shot down by aging F-15's, and not only because it cannot yet fire its guns nor drop bombs. But it brings money to nearly every Congressional district in the nation, so politicians love it.

Profile: A new study reports that bullies like Donald Trump have high self-esteem, social status and very low rates of depression. They're okay and are pretty damned sure you aren't.

Here No Evil: Canadian Conservatives have blocked the country's Finance Minister from testifying in public because he would have reported that the country was headed for a $1 billion deficit this year, not the $1.4-billion surplus they had projected, not even the balanced budget that is their holy grail. 
Masked Avenger: Sanders’ plan “would look like a tax on carbon; a massive investment in solar, wind, geothermal; it would be making sure that every home and building in this country is properly winterized; it would be putting substantial money into rail, both passenger and cargo, so we can move towards breaking our dependency on automobiles”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SAR #15209

Social mobility is a good idea, unless you are at the top of the heap.

Rinse And Repeat: If, and it is far from a done deal, Greece gets another €90 billion or so – bringing the bailouts to about €400 billion or so – most of which will immediately go back to the German, French and other northern European banks who stupidly lent Greece all that money in the first place. It is not Greece or the Greeks who are getting bailed out, it is, as always, the bankers. It's not about “the European project”, it is now, as it has always been, about profits.

Noted: Extreme drought in Mongolia this summer has decimated about 80% of the country's crops.

What's Wrong With The Economy? Wealth accumulation and efficiency and increased production worked so well for the American economy that as goals they have become outmoded. Today they are the wrong goals. We have enough. We need to figure out a new way of addressing our economic and social issues. It is time to declare the production competition over and begin working on distribution. Efficiency in production needs to be replaced by equality of distribution as the goal of our national efforts.

Motivation: A former AIPAC senior executive admits that their opposition to any Iranian deal has nothing to do with the merits of the treaty and everything to do with keeping their donor base in a supportive frame of mind. Crying wolf pays the bills.

Big Wheels Keep On Rolling: The US Senate, bending to the bottom line of America's giant transportation companies, are planning on letting 18-year olds drive the big rigs in interstate commerce. Sure the under-21 drivers are six times more likely to kill people on the highway, but the companies figure that the savings from paying the kids a lot less will more than offset the settlements to victims' families. 
Please Leave A Message: In 2000 the NSA intercepted a call from one of the 9/11 hijackers to al-Qadea operational headquarters in Yemen, and apparently failed to follow up on it. Or... ?

Tea Leavings: Durable goods orders are encouraging because they are a little higher than expectations, even though the factory sector is still depressed, the three month rolling average continues to decline, and data from previous months was revised downward. Pending orders are in an eight month decline and shipments declined for the sixth consecutive month. Bank loans continue to languish and everything is getting better, the government says.

Different Strokes: The Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Sewel, was filmed snorting cocaine with prostitutes at his London flat and has subsequently resigned. He departs with the coveted Wilbur Mills award.

Fluctuations: Despite two weeks of increasingly severe attempts by the Chinese government to stop the bleeding, Chinese shares continue to slide – down 8.5% on Monday and down 28% from their high in June. While the Chinese economy is not as tightly connected to the stock market as are western economies and stock exchanges, “the economic situation is deeply clouded.” 
All The News That Fits: The NYTimes acknowledges that its story on Clinton's supposed classified emails was “inaccurate”. As in made up out of whole cloth with apparently no fact checking. Corrections will be issued in tiny print on the bottom of page 34D. 
Money Back Guarantee: The government has become tired of Fiat/Chrysler's less than sterling record of hiding defects and not properly recalling and repairing defective vehicles, and has fined them $105 million and is requiring them to offer to buy back 500,000 pickups.

Monday, July 27, 2015

SAR #15208

Just being right isn’t enough to change the world. Paul Krugman

Foreshadowing: “Why have we not learned from our history? I still rub my eyes in amazement: I would have thought that the Great Depression was a salient enough event in European history that we would not be making the same mistakes, exactly, again--and right now it looks like in what will turn out to be a more extreme way.” Brad DeLong.

Friends: The US is selling 355 air to ground missiles to Saudi Arabia, for delivery to Yemen.

'Outrageous': No one selling coffee and making donuts is worth $15 an hour, says Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin' Donuts. He does support a “living wage” of $12 and hour, he says. Too bad a living wage for a two-worker family with two kids requires each make $18.30 and hour. For a single mom with a couple of kids, more like $30 an hour. Mr Travis makes $5,000 an hour.

Correlation/Causation: Recent analysis suggests that the lower cost of eating provided by superstores and warehouse clubs, along with increasing numbers of restaurants serving enormous quantities of cheap calories are “leading drivers of the rise in obesity occurring since the early 1980s.” Will power, nah. They made me eat all that stuff.

Marking Time: Despite there being a 75% chance that drilling in the Arctic will result in a major oil spill within ten years, the Obama administration has told Shell to go for it. Because with oil at $50 a barrel and far too many barrels on the market, we need to drill, baby, drill.

Take Two and Die: Regarding Ibuprofen, Celebrex and Aleve - in case you missed the FDA announcement - “We know that the risk of heart attack and stroke may occur early in treatment, even in the first week…. There is no period of use shown to be without risk.”

Infectious Disease: Great Britain will soon begin letting corporations pay their way out of prosecution for all sorts of wrongdoing, misdemeanors and crimes – just like in the US. The Not So Serious Fraud Office (NSSFO) has said it expects to sign its first deals by the end of the year.

Bill of Wrongs: The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Houston cannot ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity because in Texas fags don't got rights.

Reality Check: The US Secretary of State, a position still held by John Kerry despite Netinyahu's extreme displeasure, notes that if Israel blocks the Iran nuclear treaty in the US Senate, the world will rightly blame Israel. When did Israel get veto power in the Senate? How many generations of guilt does the US need to carry for something the Germans did?

Ignorance Is Bliss: There is no science (yet) that shows GMOs present any danger to the public, so the Republican-controlled House passed a bill preventing states from requiring products containing GMOs to say so on the label, because no Republican actually supports the idea of of an informed electorate. 
Double Date: Rick Perry says we should all be allowed to take our guns to the movies so we can take part in any shootout that might occur. 
Porn O'Graph: Energy in, prosperity out.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

SAR #15206

It is far easier to tell the truth 100% of the time than 98%.

Groundhog Day: Once again a US air strike has killed a top Al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan.

Free Markets: Citi, not to be outdone by HSBC (fined $1.9 billion for being the drug traffickers' bank of choice), stands accused of laundering drug money through its Banamex subsidiary. No one will go to jail. 
Take Home Pay: How much would you take home if you didn't have to pay taxes? Apple has $200 billion sitting overseas that would only be $130 billion or so if it did the right thing and brought it home and paid taxes on it. 
Grocery Bill: Economists claim that the $235 decrease in median household income “was not statistically significant.” Which tells you that these guys don't do the grocery shopping at their house.

We're Number One:America leads the world in treating working moms like crap.” 
Must Have: Now there's a “self-censoring font” that will redact the 'trigger' words NSA uses to screen your emails. Of course if you click on the link to the 370 words, a Person of Interest flag is automatically placed on your file.

Globalization: It's not just Big Macs and poor wages the US is exporting; the French Constitutional Council has ruled that their security services can eavesdrop on citizens and monitor their computers even if they are not suspected of any crime.

Why Not? After being caught manipulating the price of gold, oil, foreign exchange rates, the stock market in general, mortgage rates, LIBOR and babysitting rates in the Hamptons, BofA, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase – along with 18 smaller fish – have been caught manipulating US Treasury auctions. That is, they've been rigging how much the American taxpayer has to pay to borrow several trillion bucks. No one will go to jail.

Another Famous Victory: Opium production has once again reached record levels in Afghanistan. Remember the good old days when the Taliban had nearly eradicated poppy crops? Ah, then came Mr. Bush's friends...

Porn O'Graph: Guns make us safer!

Friday, July 24, 2015

SAR #15205

If life's value is obvious to you, you are not a philosopher.
Nirvana: The Labor Department reports that unemployment claims have hit a 42 year low. They didn't direct our attention to the fact that it would take a 4.1 million increase in the labor force participation rate to match 2000's. But adding those 4.1 million into the unemployed would spoil the fun. And the recovery. “The three mainstream employment statistics — unemployment, labor force participation and employment-to-population — all document an ongoing economic weakness far deeper than the result of a business cycle downturn.”

Business Is Business: A US appellate court has ruled that pharmacy owners are in the business of selling pills, not bibles.

Constitution, We don't need no constitution: The constitution says that if you are born here you are a citizen. End of requirement. Well, except in Texas, where you don't get a birth certificate saying you are a naturally born US citizen if your parents are not. The state says they can't be taken to court for this federal violation. Maybe that's why the legislators in Austin want people to be able to carry guns in hospitals – to help them get birth certificates.

Go Away: The army has told its recruiters to treat all the armed gun nuts who have shown up “to protect” recruiting stations as threats to their security. It's hard to tell a gun nut from a home-grown terrorist until it's too late.
The Joke's On Us: The drug traffickers' favorite money launderer, HSBC, has paid £28m to settle a Swiss money-laundering case – on the condition that no criminal prosecutions are pursued. This is another slap on the wrist, with yet again no admission of guilt on the part of HSBC, its officers or employees and no significant hit to their profits. 
Yellow Card: Caterpillar reports that its sales are down 14% y/y globally, 19% in Asia and a whopping 50% in Latin America. In that Cat sells the big equipment for mining and construction, this is not a confidence builder for the global economic outlook. 
Hot Springs: The lack of snow last winter has led to thousands of salmon dying in Oregon steams and hatcheries that are not being cooled by runoff this summer. Many are being trucked north into Washington state to be held until they can be returned to their natal waters for release. Yep, global warming.

The War Lover: Bomb'em Boehner has promised to do everything he can to make sure that the treaty preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons is defeated, so Israel can bomb them at will. With their nukes.

Friends In High Places: In order to avoid embarrassing Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, MI5 covered up the ongoing pedophilia of a senior Tory MP, Thatcher's Home Secretary, Parliamentary Private Secretary, Minister for Northern Ireland, and at least one titled diplomat. Those four were named because they are dead and no longer have immunity. Others? Are there others?

Vanishing Point: Based on published scientific studies, reports and comments, only 0.006% of climate scientists reject anthropogenic [human-caused] global warming.

Warm-Up Questions: As the nation's big five health insurance companies devour each other, will efficiencies of scale lower health insurance costs?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SAR #15204

Look! Over There! Bill Cosby's attorney is complaining that one of Cosby's victims is not honoring the terms of her confidentiality agreement. Seems fair, Cosby didn't honor her either.

Ladies And Gentlemen: Do not be misled, the inevitable drowning of Miami and New York and so on will be quite discomforting for millions of inconvenienced people, but it doesn't come close to the horror show that the continued absorption of carbon dioxide into the oceans of the world will produce. Acidification is the term. It leads to decalcification – as in oysters and shrimp and their cousins will not be able to build shells and dying. And corals. And lots of other things, including us.

Comply or Die; The New York police commissioner wants to make it a felony to resist arrest, even if the arrest itself is unwarranted or illegal resisting it makes it legal. And a felony.

Flagged: Belatedly, the Navy has acknowledged that three admirals have been “censured” in a hushed-up bribery... scandal. Certainly it's no crime, for two of the three were allowed to retire as admirals rather than go to jail, while one lost a star and was sent packing. All get to draw pensions, rather than serve time in the brig. Seven others have plead guilty of either offering or accepting bribes - envelopes of cash, high-end electronics, lavish travel and accommodations, and prostitutes – in exchange for Naval contracts. These guys were too dumb to do what Army generals have done for decadesrig contracts and then retire and then go to work for defense contractors they have given deals to while on active duty. 
Guest Services: Hackers have demonstrated that they can remotely take control of a vehicle while you are driving it. Today's special: About half a million Chryslers. I'm waiting for the app that lets them drive the car off somewhere and find place to park, then brings it back for a few bucks. Or a few hundred, whatever.

Civics Lesson: The first thing you have to understand about the American justice system is that there is no such thing. And there's damned little of that famed trial-by-jury stuff either. The way it works is that the cops decide you are guilty, arrest you and deliver you to the DA who meets with a public defender you've never heard of and only met once for about 12 seconds. There is none of the mythic “innocent until proven guilty.” You were arrested. They decide what you are guilty of and how much time you will do and then your lawyer tells you to take the deal or the DA will get mad and really slam it to you. Then you are led away, with the theme music playing over the credits. No trial. No defense. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. And most assuredly, no one in the whole system is innocent, except possibly you.

An Apple A Day: The rational and free stock market knocked $62 billion off Apple's market value in six minutes, even though it managed to sock more than $202 billion away for a rainy day. Go throw a dart.

Check's In The Mail: A major earthquake centered on San Francisco is overdue, is expected “any day now.” Has been. Will be.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SAR #15203

How is it Donald Trump knows it’s all about the voters and everybody inside the Beltway thinks it’s all about them? Maybe he’s on to something.” Barry Ritholtz

Deep And Deeper: Dr. James Hansen and friends – 17 of the world's most prominent climate scientists – have a new report being published this week that tells it the way they see it. And what they see is the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps melting 10 times faster than previously estimated, resulting in at least 10 feet of sea level rise in the next 50 years. And after that it will keep rising, for centuries. In their view, New York City, Miami, London—and every other coastal city on the planet—have only a few decades of habitability left. And that's without any big methane burps.

Recovery, Footnoted: One out of four children in Republican-controlled Tennessee now lives in poverty. Naturally it is Obama's fault, somehow.

Bricks Without Straw: The world's raw materials – as reflected in global commodity prices – are not in much demand... and the stock markets think this is a good thing. Well, except for the fracking sector where banks are getting nervous. But metals – from iron to silver and gold – nobody wants. Strange, we are happy not to be building stuff that requires any of that messy mining and refining and all... The message seems to be that the consumer isn't buying and thus commodities are not in demand and somehow this is a good thing
Inscrutable: Having got caught after cooking the books for eight years [more properly called accounting fraud on a massive scale by lying about the company's profitability], Toshiba's CEO is retiring. Full pension, etc. No jail, of course.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SAR #15202

The gap between what we know and what we should do about it is getting bigger and bigger.

Either/Nor: Demands for the government to do something – put more armed guards in shopping strips – to prevent deranged youth from doing incomprehensible things with guns are filling the airwaves following the Chattanooga killings. The death of two and wounding of three in Maine by a deranged ex-con hostage taker with a gun got the national attention it deserved.

Warm-ups: A massive new study on the state of the oceans reports that the oceans are in a sorry state and getting worse. Record warming continues on the surface in the upper levels of the oceans and continued warming due to climate change is “unstoppable.” Also unstoppable is the uptake of carbon dioxide by the oceans, and the acidification that that brings. So the death of the bottom of global food chain is also unstoppable. Even if we stopped all carbon emissions today– cars and planes and trucks and trains and burning coal and burning oil and burning natural gas - “the sea would actually continue to warm for centuries and millennia, and as they continue to warm and expand the sea levels will continue to rise.” Fun times.

Forgotten But Not Gone: Nuclear experts say that the catastrophe at Fukushima is not over. It is leaking cesium, strontium, and plutonium into the Pacific and will for years to come. The ice wall that was supposed to contain the radioactive water is a “complete failure” and radioactive material continues to infiltrate the ground water.

Small Victories: India has successfully blocked two patent claims of US consumer goods major Colgate-Palmolive, which wanted intellectual property right (IPR) cover on traditional two combinations of native Indian spices and other herbs used as medicines It's called biopiracy, when a giant corporation attempts to privatize and profiteer from traditional medicines. That's 2 down, 1,500 to go. 
Memory Lane: Two through efforts- one by the defense department and one by the CIA – failed to find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq. None were found because there never had been any and Bush/Cheney knew it and deliberately lied to you. Repeatedly. And you believed them. They used those lies to start a war and kill upwards of a million Iraqis and strip you your civil liberties. Half of you still think it was a Good Idea.

Drop In The Bucket: The California drought (which is worse than you think) is just the beginning for water problems, and it is not unique to the US. The UN reports that by 2030 global water demand will exceed supply by 40% and that 21 of the world’s 37 largest aquifers have passed their tipping points and are no longer sustainable. That means they are going to run out. And 'global' doesn't mean just in poor countries. The price of water in 30 major US cities is rising faster than most other household goods – it's up 40% in the last 5 years.

Monday, July 20, 2015

SAR #15201

A nation can only withstand so much economic pain before the political fallout becomes ugly. And that fallout can extend beyond the border of the problem nation.” Greg Mankiw

Puzzlement: We know that our entire culture, our economy, our industry and our political system are leading us to a disaster, yet the fruits of our culture, economy etc. make it impossible for us to avoid the inevitable. Or to even talk about it. Don't blame it on them, Pogo.

Echoes: For all the punditry trying to explain the Donald Trump phenomena, few seem to understand that Trump taps into the long cultivated slice of the Republican right that is permanently estranged, frustrated, mad-as-hell and, sadly, full of hate and anger. Political correctness keeps the media from acknowledging what The Donald knows is true – there is a large part of the electorate who want to hate and want to share their hatred. The elite want to pretend that he is a sideshow, a ridiculous egomaniac and a bully. So was Hitler, so was Mussolini.

The Map & The Territory: The EU was supposed to be the pat to a continent-wide blossoming of social, political and economic cohesion and peace. The smaller steps were reasonable, but the coming of the eurozone was the beginning of the end. Instead of sustainable prosperity and its bedmate peace, what we see now is the rise of unrest, unemployment, poverty and disappointment that is feeding a revival of racist, xenophobic, reactionary politics. Golden Dawn, France's National Front, the UKIP are the future. As are the wars that will come with them. 
Without Comprehension: China's burgeoning growth is leading to the rise of a new city, a megalopolis called Jing-Jin-Ji. Centered on Beijing it will cover as much area as the state of Kansas and is expected to be the home of 130 million people. Me, I'm glad I've got that cabin in Maine. 
The Competition: If you are still wondering what happened to all the good jobs in the US and have not quite understood what globalization and all that free trade horseshit is about, let me point out that the folks who actually make your clothing live in Myanmar (which you cannot even find on a map) and work for companies that refuse to pay their workers 40 cents an hour. 
Porn O'Graph: How deep is the ocean?