Tuesday, November 15, 2016


"That's all, folks!"

Monday, November 14, 2016

SAR #16319

Elections determine power, not truth.
First things first: Donald Pussygrabber Trump will become president in January. Between now and then the media will be full of frightening news stories and alarming analysis of what lies ahead -some of them will even be mostly true. But more won't be and most will overlook some basic principles that will moderate Trump's rush to ruin. A lot of his crap was just said to get attention, to get elected. What he does in office could be quite different. Not better, just different. Remember when hopey-changey Obama met the bankers and bondsmen? Winning the election isn't the same as governing.
Politicians' first job is to get re-elected. Thankfully most of the Republicans in Congress understand this. So there will be fiscal and legislative brakes on much of what Trump thinks he can do. Full repeal of the Affordable Care Act would result in at least 18 million Americans losing health care coverage. Republican lawmakers from states that have expanded Medicaid coverage will not vote to take that politically popular program away. Ditto Medicare and Social Security cannibalization, although there will be attempts to 'modernize' Medicare and “restore health care freedom to patients and doctors” while turning Medicaid into a block grant program for politicians to loot at the state level.
But Trump's range of options for executive action are sufficient to scare the sane. He remains a dangerous man, indifferent to facts, unbalanced, inexperienced and deeply racist. 60 million Americans have acted stupidly, siding with xenophobia, racism and nationalism, hoping to end equal rights for those they do not know or understand, urging a return to an imagined America unencumbered by treaties and no longer threatened by climate change.
He can, and most likely will, take some actions on immigration – but if he becomes too extreme (say by deporting 2 or 3 million people) the US economy will suffer. He can stop the current round of trade agreements – if the rich corporations will let him. Undoing NAFTA and NATO would take longer and be more complex – and again step on important industrial and Wall Street toes. And his transition team is full is of corporate lobbyists.
He will do the most harm – with the joyful support of the Republican Congress – in the energy/global warming area. (They are inseparable topics.) Trump will encourage oil and gas extraction, along with their pipelines. He will talk a good game about coal, but coal is not competitive with cheap oil and gas. He will repeal all of Obama's EPA regulations aimed at slowing our rush to hell on earth, repudiate the Paris Accord and welsh on the nation's commitment provide funds to help poor countries deal with their coming climate based disasters while withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (the organization behind the IPCC reports) and stopping all US funding for UN global warming programs.
Even if he were do abstain from all the other godawful things he has promised, denying global warming/climate change will secure his place in history as the worst leader in American history.

Friday, November 11, 2016

SAR #16316

'Now' is not permanent, we just think it is.
Last week's vacation found us in Philadelphia, at Independence Hall, on the first morning of the transit strike. We had tickets for the 10:40 entry and were disappointed when we arrived at 10:25 and found the group queuing up had 9:20 tickets.
An extremely helpful volunteer who was handling the head of the line recommended a couple of things we could profitably do and suggested we come back at our scheduled time. We did, amid a sea of middle schoolers with frantic teachers being assured by our helpful volunteer that all would be well, that there was enough slack in the schedule and enough people delayed by the strike that everyone would get in just fine.
So we stood there, a couple of old white folks among multi-colored, multi-cultural groups of middle-schoolers all anxious to learn about our nation's founding and the compromises that made it possible.. At first I thought 'this looks just like the UN,' and then my partner corrected me by pointing out that in fact those kids looked just like the real United States – the one Trump and his supporters do not like.
Drop by next week, we're working on an announcement.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

SAR 16314

No comment.

I am no longer amused.

The blog will remain open for a few days.

Relocation advice would be welcome.

           … and thanks for all the fish.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

SAR #16313

 Thank God it's almost over....

Monday, November 7, 2016

SAR #16312

Numbers are just numbers... except when they're not.
Faint Praise: I do not believe that most of the people who are thinking about voting for Mr. Trump are racist or sexist.” Bernie Sanders
Keeping Score: The average working-class US resident loses about $1,800 a year because sweatshops in Bangladesh and China pay so little so our global masters can make even more money. TPP is set to make this even worse, with Obama cheering the process on.
Illegal Alien: Records show that Melania Trump was paid over $20,000 for working in the US without a valid work visa – a violation of federal law.
Miraculous Conception: According to Gov. Christie, he is not guilty of anything, he knew nothing (and continues to know nothing) even though the man who claims to have masterminded the GW Bridge Backup claims that Christie laughed when he was told about the plan and participated in the cover-up that also involved NY Gov. Cuomo. Christie's man at the Port Authority and a top Christie aide have both been found guilty and face up to 20 years in prison. Christie faces life without politics.
Freedom Isn't Free: It costs $50 to ask the Baltimore PD for information under the Freedom of Information Act, only to discover that “BPD emailes have a limited retrieval time frame.” Leon Podestra they ain't gonna be, but if you are lucky and BPD has trashed the emails, then they will charge you more. And more and more, until you go away.
Surprise, Surprise: Beginning in August the US carried out 367 airstrikes in Libya, with no public notice, no briefings and no public accountability. Naturally the US is sorry if there were collateral casualties among civilians, but ISIS recruiting was down, so ... Note that US/NATO forces killed more than 30 civilians in a single airstrike in Afghanistan last week. Sha-zam!
The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth: According to Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and now some European friends, the future of the Euro will be – to use Hobbs' term - nasty, brutish and short. The violence of the dissolution will depend on the abundance of unicorns.
Ups and Downs: Half a million people stopped standing around on streetcorners last month, according to the BLS; 161,000 found new jobs and 425,000 left the labor force. So alrighty then.
Porn O'Graph: A dollar here, a dollar there...
A Parting Shot:

Monday, October 31, 2016

SAR 16305

In the silence there is peace.
In the silence there is unspoken joy.
In the silence there's release
from a world full of chaos & noise.
                                                                      Jack Fowler.

I'm on vacation this week, away from all the chaos & noise.

Friday, October 28, 2016

SAR #16302

Politics, like bullying, is a way of forcing conformity on others.
Surrender: After making it abundantly clear that these giganormous sovereignty renouncing trade deals are but window-dressing for the ISDS mechanism, the Walloons have reached a consensus in support of the CETA trade deal between the EU and Canada. Supposedly the Walloons are happy with a side deal to the Ceta agreement that would ask the European Court of Justice to clarify the ISDS. The addendum still needs the approval of Canada and other EU states. The concessions given to Wallonia may prompt other countries to take another look at the deal, then each of those demands will have to be met and approved before presenting the agreement to Canada. The mix of pressures,blackmail and bribes involved in the Wallonian deal were not made public.
The Story Of Us: Only 25% of Americans think the country is moving in the right direction, but 52% approve of the job Obama is doing.
Aggies: A Texas A&M coed got arrested after running into a cop car while taking a topless selfie to send her boyfriend.
Gone But Not Forgotten: Newly released FBI investigative notes indicate that most of Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails still exist and could be recovered, if an agent with a grand jury subpoena in hand showed up and asked for them. Or just ask the NSA for their copies.
Emetic: 'Bill Clinton Incorporated.' Do not read on a full stomach.
Primitive Laws: China is banning mortgage fraudsters from the banking industry for life; we can't even make them give back their bonuses.
Bye Wire Act: Google is severely cutting its Google Fiber high speed internet projects in Chicago, Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, and Tampa, and laying off an unspecified number of employees in that endeavor. In Nashville, where geology forced Google to seek above ground wiring, Comcast is suing to stop the implementation of a 'one-touch' rule that would helped Google's project. Analysts suspect Google will abandon the fiber-networks in favor of a wireless system.
Tail, Dog: The EPA hastily postponed a scheduled public meeting on the safety, if any, of glyphosate (Roundup) following “intense lobbying” by Monsanto and friends.
A Parting Shot:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

SAR #16301

Suspecting your vote will not count is not the same as suspecting your vote will not be counted.
Being Prepared: As US Marines are deployed to Norway and US troops are sent to Poland “to stand guard on Russia's border”, NATO is calling for even more troops to bolster the largest military confrontation on Russia's borders since the end (temporary suspension?) of the Cold War. Russia, rather prudently, is upgrading the Baltic Fleet to counter NATO's unrelenting build-up in the region. While NATO presses for greater confrontation, Radio Free Europe (yes, that old and creaky US propaganda outlet still exists) reports that those nasty Russians think nuclear war might be a Good Thing. And all this because Russia didn't like the US backing the overthrow of their hand-picked guy.
Say Goodnight, Gracie: The Philippines Rodrigo Duterte says he wants “all foreign troops” out of the country, specifically US troops.
Ecumenicalism: The Vatican’s Treasurer is under investigation by Australian police in connection with child sex abuse allegations. Iran's top Qur'an reciter is accused of abusing young children and is 'defending' himself by threatening “to leak the names of 100 of Iran’s high profile officials also implicated in raping and molesting children.” ISIS financier Abu Mu’taz Qahtani, who was also in charge of IS female suicide bombers, has taken millions of dollars from the group's treasury and disappeared from Mosul.
Legalities: Pope Francis notes that ‘God promised the land to the people of Israel’ and recommends the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians be referred to binding ISDS arbitration.
Free Ride: Obamacare premiums are rising dramatically because too many sick people signed up for health insurance and then went and got actual health care. Because 83% of Obamacare enrollees receive government help in paying their premiums, the US taxpayer will pay the majority of these increases. Which is why the insurance companies can confidently jack up the costs.
New and Improved: In place of sovereigns and national sovereignty, now we have”Corporate Sovereignty.”
Metastasizing: The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer has instructed academic experts on a panel reviewing the effects of glyphosate (Roundup) not to release documents that show the chemical to be “probably carcinogenic."
Surgically: US-led air strikes have killed “at least” 300 Syrian civilians in the latest round of carefully targeted pin-point attacks.
A Parting Shot:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SAR #16300

'Better' does not mean 'good'.
I voted yesterday. Against.
Have felt vaguely sick an depressed ever since.
I'll be back at the fruit stand tomorrow.
Porn O'Graph: We're making history.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SAR #16299

The Sausage Factory: Presidents do make a difference, but not nearly as much as you, or they, expect. There is an unelected government that does most of the governing, and the President is pretty much powerless to over-rule it. Sure, bankers and big business, but moreso the military and the national security apparatus. The Pentagon controls congress through immense military programs which let contracts for part of the system to every state and nearly every congressional district – and congressrcritters who don't play along don't get the jobs. The Intelligence and Surveillance squads control the information flow and use it to intimidate the elected government. And then there are those dossiers that they have had since Hoover's day. You think voting makes a difference? Well it does, but not near so much as it should – remember Barack Obama and all the stuff he sincerely hoped to change?
Priorities: Why are we talking about soda taxes and not carbon taxes?
If You Come, They Will Build It: You can count the number of scientific discoveries and technological advances that have not been used on a broken abacus. So don't be all that surprised when genetically engineered humans begin showing up in the neighborhood. They're possible and they're coming and we're not ready.
Half a Loaf: Spain aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy: "Enough wind energy is being generated in Spain to power more than 29 million homes every day, according to one of the country's biggest renewable energy companies." Now to address petroleum...
Lessons in Democracy: Citizens in the Belgian region of Wallonia believe that they have to right to make laws to govern themselves. They also believe that foreign corporations should not be able to effectively repeal those laws. So, being a democracy within the republic of Belgium, they refused to go along with a plan to take the power of self-government away from them.  That killed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada, which provides for Investor-State Dispute Settlement arbitration, in which corporations get to overrule national and local laws. Without Belgium's assent, the EU cannot proceed. Let's hope the Walloons feel the same way about the TTIP and TiSA.
American Roulette: Every day, on average, seven kids and teens are shot dead in America. Only places like Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and cities under ISIS control are children more regularly slaughtered. If this is a 'gang related' problem, then we are all part of the gang.
Noted: The United States is currently engaged in losing five wars – including Iraq and Afghanistan, where Americans are still dying. Don't expect it to get any better under Hillary; it'll probably get worse.
A Parting Shot:

Monday, October 24, 2016

SAR #16298

Unlike Christians, Muslim seem believe what they say they believe.
Out-Snowdening Snowden: An NSA contractor employed by the same firm that once employed Edward Snowden has stolen at least 50 terabytes of ultra secret material from the agency. A terabyte is a million million. Maybe the NSA ought to start contracting some security experts.
Growth Sputter: The NY Fed predicts that the US GDP will grow, if that's the word for it, a slender 1.4% in the fourth quarter.
Open Season: Federal election observers will monitor only the polls in five states in November. Because, the Supremes say, there's no racially based intimidation or harassment anywhere else anymore. Racially based districts, of course, but that's all legal. And the lack of reports because of the lack of monitors elsewhere will be used as proof that voter discrimination didn't happen.
Noted: “Finance is too important to leave to Larry Summers.”
17 To 1: William Binney, high-ranking NSA spook turned whistleblower, says that it is far more likely that a disgruntled NSA employee leaked the DNC files, not Russia. I've never understood why Congress and the FBI didn't just ask the NSA for Hillary's emails; they've got 'em all.
Feral Loathing: South Africa says it is pulling out of the international criminal court because they are afraid that they, too, may have to face the consequences of their actions. Henry Kissinger votes aye.
The Future Is Now: Finnish banker Björn Wahlroos says that as workers are replaced by robots the workers face the choice of poorly paid service jobs or living on the dole. He sees a basic universal income as the only viable solution. The so-called 'Sharing Economy' is not a solution; it is based on exploiting inefficiencies in various industries and finding ways around regulations so that the unemployed can be called contractors and exploited by working for low wages without benefits.
Once Around: When's the last time you heard a politician talk about global warming/climate change? Sure it's the most pressing problem we have, but no one knows how to save us, so why talk about it?
Another Brick In The Wall: Turkey's supreme leader and would be sultan Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is converting the stunning Hagia Sophia (built as an Orthodox Christian church in 537, converted to a mosque in 1453 when the Ottoman Turks came to town, and made into a revered museum in 1931 under Mustafa Atatürk) back into a mosque with prayers 5 times a day. Because he can. There's no need to use the building as a mosque because the beautiful Blue Mosque is only a 100 paces away.
Trigger Treat: Police departments around the country would like to have stun-gun equipped drones. Because they've been good and you haven't.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, October 21, 2016

SAR #16295

Caution enriches passion.
Protecting The Serving: The PA Senate has passed a bill that would let cops prevent the public from seeing body cam video without a court order.
Manufactured Manufacturing: Yes, US manufacturing is in the tank, except for computer and electronics stuff. Cars, trucks, appliances... not so much. But the government numbers show improvement because they count “vast improvements in quality” as a manufacturing gain, regardless of how few workers those improvements require.
Not Really, But: The US Chamber of Commerce says that the scare headlines about TPP undermining national, state and local laws and regulations simply are not true. Nothing in the TPP agreement gives the ISDS arbitrators the power to overturn laws or regulations. They can, however, make governments pay huge settlements, billions and billions. But the law(s) will not be overturned by the ISDS process.
Food For Thought: Does the US really need all those oversas bases? Yes, if it is to retain its empire. Are they cost effective? Probably not,but boy do they swell the prideful chests of the unemployed.
Damn Democrats: Illegal immigration is harder than it looks. In 2014 about 200,000 Central Americans tried to sneak in to the US; hardly a flood, but significant. But Obama, since 2009, has deported more than 2.5 million people, nearly 25% more than Bush. Another case where the facts have Democrat bias.
His Master's Voice: Trump's dog whistle refusal to commit to accepting the will of the electorate was pure red meat for that half of his voters whose grip on reality is slight and whose anger is barely under control. Has Trump tried to stoke fear among his more loosely wrapped followers? Yes, but to what end? Never mind what he says, pay attention to what his followers are hearing.
The Third Branch: In John Kische's Ohio a judge has restored the right to vote to thousands who were targeted by Kasich's administration on the suspicion they would vote Democrat.
Look Carefully: White collar crime is not necessarily different from other forms of criminality except 1) The perpetraors tend to wear suits, thus the white collars, 2) While they are often “caught” by the press, they are relatively immune to actual arrest and trial. 3) Very rarely does a white collar offender – say the head of Wells Fargo or any number of senior Goldman Sachs officers – stand trial. 4) They rarely serve actual jail time.
The Downward Spiral: Spoiled and ignorant white students at Texas State University in San Marcos walked out of their anthropology class when the professor told them that we are all of African descent. Which we are. A teacher in a Norman, OK high school pointed out to his class that being born white conferred immense privileges that are part of the birthright racism of being white in America. The students were deeply offended to learn the truth. At the University of Florida the school is offering counseling for over-protected brats who claim to be offended by Halloween costumes.
Family Stress: Spokesmen for Philippine President Duterte have announced that the Philippines and the US are undergoing a trial “separation”. Until this matter is resolved the family would like be allowed to quietly work out their problems.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

SAR #16294

For Want Of A Nail: Wallonia, one of Belgium's three regions (and having one of its five regional parliaments – don't ask) will not support the landmark EU-Canadian trade deal. No Wallonia, no Belgium. No Belgium, no EU deal – unanimous consent is required. Interesting times. If the EU can seal a deal with Canada, what chance do TiSA and TTIP have?
Clip & Post: A man called police seeking help for his distressed wife. The cops promptly showed up and killed her.
Boys & Their Toys: At least 500 US soldiers are taking part in the assault on Mosul. The Marines are sending a 300-man unit to Norway, mostly to annoy the Russians. Of late the US is taking direct pot-shots at the Houthis in Yemen while denying it wants to get involved there. The US is providing Iraq with anti-aircraft systems to counter ISIS drones(/). Watch this go bad quickly, come back to bite us. Qatar is buying F-15s from the US as part of a deal that lets them buy $19 billion worth of jetliners. No, Qatar doesn't have sufficient airspace to actually fly a F-15. The Pentagon warns that Russia is preparing for war while America sleeps.
Comes The Dawn: “Putting companies above national laws, and letting them sue governments in supranational tribunals, makes no sense at all” - well, except for the corporations.
Noted: The Affordable Care Act is ‘no longer affordable’.
Beware: US police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined. That they are disproportionately black adds to the disgrace. And then there's the racially lopsided use of warrantless Stingray surveillance and the nearly ubiquitous facial recognition databases.
Who Is This Masked Man? Larry Summers completes his transition, now urges that the US spend at least 1% of its GDP on infrastructure annually.
Cash & Carry: A Federal judge has ruled that saving hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives through cleaner air and slowing global warming is not as important as jobs for a handful of West Virginia coal miners and the profits of Murray Energy.
Odds: The American Psychiatric Association says that about 5% of American children suffer from ADHD. Why, then, do 15% of our kids take ADHD drugs? Not just Big Pharma profits; a lot of parents aren't up to being parents and embrace pharmacological excuses.
A Parting Shot: 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

SAR #16293

Grovel, Peasants! After several years of no increases, Social Security payments will be going up an average of $3.98 a month, which will pay for a small part of the increase on one RX for most of us.
Stoolies: Deutsche Bank is paying the US $38 million for its part in stealing billions from the gullible by illegally conspiring to manipulate and fix the price of silver. They got off with the token fine because they have agreed to rat out the other banks in the conspiracy. Certainly no honor among these theives.
Good Point: Perhaps this would be a good time to re-think the executive presidency and look for a little more popular control via Congress.
Game, Set... September was the hottest September on record, making 11 out of the last 12 months that have been record setters and guaranteeing that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, until next year.
Obvious, Clarified: Philippines President Donald Trump Rodrigo Duterte says he 'doesn't give a s*** about human rights'.
Day Late Department: Wall Street pundits are waking up to the fact that the tools central banks have tried to use to ameliorate the mess that Wall Street made of our economy haven't worked very well. Maybe several givens should be examined a bit more closely.
Trumped: At least 18 women have come forth with allegations of sexual harassment/assault by Mr. Trump, several with credible witnesses. There's a new video out that shows Trump bragging that the sexual assault allegations simply make him more attractive to his base,being the manly man and all. And Melania (the current Mrs. Trump) is doing a Hillary and standing by her man.
Rules Is Rules: In Ethiopia, under new “state of emergency” laws, posting anything on Facebook is a crime punishable by 5 years in jail.
Motivation: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange lost his access to the Internet in his sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London when Ecuador caved to appeals by the Obama regime, well known for detesting public access to the process of government. Define “appeals” and explain how it differs from “pressure” or “blackmail” in this instance.
Porn O'Graph: Home On The Range.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

SAR #16292

Need outweighs love every time.
Surrender: Janet Yellen on contemporary economic theory and practice: “a disaggregated approach seems needed to understand some key aspects of the Great Recession.” 'Disaggregated approach... as in take a bit from here and a bit from there and pretend you know what's going on.
Us vs Them: Cities take up about 4% of the US by area, but hold 62% percent of the population; the rest are for Trump.
Softly, Softly: Despite its innocuous name, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is the big one. Bigger than TPP and the rest, it covers services that make up 75% of the EU economy and at least 80% of the US economy (remember the US doesn't manufacture stuff anymore, it pimps sells financial services).
Freedom From The Press: In ND, a prosecutor has filed riot charges against a reporter (Amy Goodman) for filming an attack on Native American-led anti-pipeline protesters by out-of-control private security thugs employed by the pipeline. This charge comes after the prosecutor had to drop criminal trespassing charges because the reporter hadn't trespassed. Ditto for the inciting to riot.
Protecting The Serving: There's an effort underway in Pennsylvania to keep secret the identity of police who shoot people. Sort of an open-season bill.
Safety First: The DOJ is blocking requests for information on Stingray operations, which the police and FBI use to spy on you through your cell phone, in order to protect... well, mostly themselves.
Rigged? The supposed billionaire who claims he paid no taxes for 18 years complains about something being rigged? An electoral system that has had exactly 31 instances of voter fraud in over a billion votes. The specific type of fraud that voter ID requirements can prevent -- voter impersonation – actually never happens – well, okay, 0.000031% of the time.
Cost Savings: If government policymakers stopped subsidizing construction on seacoasts, beaches and barrier islands and – most essentially – rebuilding after a storm destroys the poorly placed buildings, we'd be saved lots of money and lots of rescue efforts.
Because Business: The European Commission is fighting in an EU court to keep secret what it knows about the effect of the controversial investor-state-dispute (ISDS) clause in draft trade deals with the USA and Canada and the basic illegality of same. That's not keeping the Commission from plowing ahead with planning to finalize the TiSA before Obama loses his chance to kiss Wall Street one more time.
Guidance Counseling: In a 2004 interview, Donld Trump said he thought Lindsay Lohan would be “great in bed” because she was “deeply troubled.”
A Parting Shot: