Tuesday, May 31, 2016

SAR #16152

An economic model that does not account for fraud is incomplete.
Crime Pays: Bradley Birkenfeld, onetime manager of UBS's Geneva based American Desk, went public with 19,000 illegal American accounts holding over $20 billion being hidden from the US tax collector. The US Justice Department imprisoned him for stealing the data. The US Treasury Department awarded him $104 million in finder's fees.
Cannon Fodder: Turkey's Erdogan, wanting a goodly supply of foot soldiers to build his new empire, says no Muslim family should use birth control and that having less than three children is “treason”. Unless you are a Kurd, of course.
Salty Grains: Michael Hayden former NSA director and head spook at the CIA claims that Facebook is a bigger threat to your privacy than the government – the government only wants to know where you are and what you're doing. Others think it is their right to join you in your doctor's office and preach to you.
See No Evil, Say No Evil: The Australian government tourist bureau says that the scientists who report that “a third of the central and northern Great Barrier Reef corals are dead” have been out in the sun too long. They also say that the UN report about the increasing damage to Tasmanian forests from global warming overstates things. And they don't want potential visitors to know that their biggest tourist attraction as become the poster child for global warming.
Pointed View: It is not Donald Trump that is destroying the Republican Party, the Republican Party self-destructed, he's just picking up the pieces.
A Parting Shot:

Monday, May 30, 2016

SAR #16151

There Is No Drought!Donald Trump, to Californians.
Eye Of The Beholder: The US has congratulated the leaders of the Brazilian coup for their support of democracy in overthrowing the democratically elected president.
Making Love to War: There are about 15,850 nuclear warheads in the world today. Russia and the US both have about 7,500 of them, leaving 300 for France, 250 for China, 215 to the UK and about 100 each for Pakistan, India and Israel. North Korea is thought to have a couple. Barack Obama, president of the only country to kill several hundred thousand civilians with atomic weapons, is proposing to spend $1 trillion on upgrading the US nuclear arsenal while hugging survivors in Hiroshima. I don't suppose this is the place to mention that more than 795 million people in the world do not have enough food.
Just In: Research shows that sharks have personalities. Sharks. The ones that live in the oceans. Not Donald.
The Check Cleared; Now that the Saudis have paid the US for all those cluster bombs they've been dropping on Yemeni civilians and those pesky Doctors Without Borders, the US isn't going to sell them any more. Don't worry, they won't go to waste.
That Hopey, Changey Thing: Various rather blind Democratic professionals keep licking their chops over Hillary as America's next president(R) entering the White House accompanied by massive 'down-ticket' victories on her coat-tails and banishing the R's to the back benches. Allow me to point out that Obama entered the White House with a 9 vote majority in the Senate, complete control of the House and promptly surrendered to Wall Street and the corporations and to the Republicans. And if you don't think Hillary and Bill are big money, did you and your spouse pile up $25 million a year lately? Besides...
She's Not Going To Win: Even if Secretary Clinton does not get indicted, which she should be because she obviously and admittedly has broken several sections of Title 18 of the US Code and then lied about it, she is unlikely to defeat Mr. Trump. Everybody keeps saying that Trump will not win. They've been saying that since the first primary. They kept saying it as he knocked 16 wanna-be's off the podium. People who say the Republicans will not unite behind Donald don't understand that they will unite under the ‘Never Hillary’ banner. Republicans will vote Republican – it's a tribal thing. Clinton does not enthuse - not those she considers hers already, and not those she thinks should support her, just because... Trump will inspire and motivate more first-time voters than any Republican in history. And he will win if she's the competition.
Stomp Out Food Stamps! Just as Republicans have feared, poor children who have access to food stamps become healthier and better off adults and may vote Democratic. We must act now to end this program and keep them in their place.
Reap/Sow: Airlines charge for bags, so shortsighted travelers opt to stand in line for a couple of hours so they can drag their luggage onto the plane with them instead of waiting 20 minutes at the end of the flight for their baggage. They'd rather make several hundred people wait in line than pay their own way. Don't blame TSA, blame the airlines and the cheap bastard with the roll-on bag.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, May 27, 2016

SAR #16148

Euphemisms don’t change reality.
Not only is this the Memorial Day weekend – although we've long since either forgotten or abandoned that which we were to remember – but I devoted yesterday to celebrating my granddaughters, the valedictorian and salutatorian of their high school class. And that was most memorable.
A Parting Shot:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

SAR #16147

Politicians believe that voters can be talked into ignoring their own experiences.
Confusion: Why is it that FOX can slant the news and promote conservative nonsense but Facebook can't? I thought freedom of the press belonged to the guy that owns the press. I'm a lot more offended that Facebook thinks it is alright to watch and listen to you over your cell phone.
Shame: Logging in Poland's Bialowieza forest has begun. This is the last large stand of primeval trees remaining in Europe and their destruction by Polish capitalists who want to turn the trees into euros is a dispicable as cutting down the Redwoods would be. Oh, wait...
Discuss: Do you want your wife and daughter to ride on a bus in India now that the government is going to install panic buttons “to curb sex attacks?”
Install Linux: If you are tired of Microsoft's “deceitful and nasty” bullying to force you to install yet another buggy version of Windows, why don't you get Linux – either the Ubuntu or Mint flavors of linux are pretty easy for those switching from Windows.
Free At Last: A US appellant court let BofA out of paying the $1.27 billion fraud penalty over Countrywide's defective mortgages because “"The trial evidence fails to demonstrate the contemporaneous fraudulent intent” necessary to prove that the fraud was intentional. Mind you the fraud occurred, several billion dollars worth of it, but it wasn't intentional. Citibank shouldn't rush to pay their $425 million fine for “blatant rigging” of interest rates. After all, it may be “blatant” but surely it wasn't “intentional.” Even though CFTC has imposed over $5.08 billion in penalties against banks and brokers to address rigging and manipulation various markets, no one has been charged with a crime, much less actually prosecuted or jailed.
Asked & Obvious: “Are investors idiots?” Yes.
Wordsmithery: Senator Elizabeth Warren sees Donald Trump as a “small, insecure moneygrubber.” He thought it was a compliment.
Safety First: Republicans have voted to void regulations that would require that financial advisers act in the best interest of their clients. They argued that if financial advisers have to act in the best interest of their clients there would not be enough profit in it to make it worthwhile.
Self-serving understatement: Shell's CEO warns that shifting to renewable energy sources too quickly might “imperil dividends.”
Porn O'Graph: Something's happening here...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SAR #16146

Suspension of disbelief should not be the basis of US foreign policy.
Once Upon A Time: Last week Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Bill would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy.” You can see why she might want to say that, since people think they remember that his time in the White House was all milk and honey, because of the economic boom, even though mostly it was just that “he had the good luck to hold office when good things were happening for reasons unrelated to politics.” At the time he was busy shipping millions of jobs overseas, building private prisons and filling them with young black men while kicking their mothers and sisters off welfare... things he had the bad luck to actually do. Will Bill Clinton play an important role if Mrs. Clinton wins? ... it will be important to remember what went right and why on Bill’s watch,” and what went very, very wrong.
Conspirators' Theory: The Saudis, who financed and most likely planned the 9/11 attacks now claim the US “blew up the World Trade Center in order to create the War On Terror.”
Huh? Under a new law, the US asserts the right to go anywhere in the world and arrest and whisk back to the US (or some convenient way-station) anyone who produces anything used in or resulting in the production of drugs – coca, opium, marijuana – if there is “probable cause to believe” they should have known we didn't want them doing this sort of thing.
Consumers: Switzerland is considering paying its citizens a basic $2,500 a month and two thirds of the British public support a universal basic income, as more and more people find the economy does not need their productive efforts but does need them as customers. Places like China, which has a shallow consumer basis is rapidly laying off workers -60,000 at a time - and replacing them with AI and automation. The number of “disposable” Americans continues to grow as the captains of industry ignore their role as consumers.
Follow The Money: The Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado where Robert Dear went on a killing rampage is being sued by one of his victims and the widow of another because Dear has no money and they think Planned Parenthood does.
Lost, If Found Please Return: Officials in charge of the Fukushima clean-up haave revealed that 600 tons of radioactive material melted through the pressure containment vessel and is missing. Gone. Ooops.
Telling The Truth: Mr Krugman has set out to paint Mr. Sanders – who according to The Oracle has a problem both in facing reality and in admitting mistakes - with the same tar and feathers he has spread on Donald Trump, pointing out that some “disaffected white men” back Bernie. Gasp! And the young? Well, “because they're very young...[they] dismiss practical arguments about why all their dreams can’t be accomplished.” Then there are Sandernistas who find “ fun and ego gratification of being part of The Movement,” whom Krugman dismisses because he found their parents to be distasteful when he was young and serious. Besides, the young haven't learned to remain quiet and respectful when their leaders act in deceitful and undemocratic ways. And some of Sander's supporters have been sucked in by the Fox news anti-Hillary campaign. And there are “policy intellectuals who have for whatever reason been excluded from the [Clinton's] inner circles” and are envious of Mr. Krugman, who knows the secret handshake. According to Mr. Krugman, who knows all these things, Mr. Sanders “is no longer helping the progressive cause,” a complaint that stems from Krugman mistaking Ms. Clinton for a progressive.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SAR #16145

Shame: The US has released an Afghan man who was captured in 2002 and suspected of making bombs. In 2008 he was charged with conspiracy to support terrorism and those charges were dismissed in 2011. So a man who was held without charges for 6 years and denied a trial for 3 more had to wait only 5 more years to be released. And we're the good guys, right?
Got A Match? After we burn all of the fossil fuels that are known to exist in the world, global temperatures will rise by another 20F, warming the arctic by perhaps 35F within 200 years.
If... Then: Hillary claims she is winning the popular vote, and the media elite echo the claim. It is not true. In states where there are primate votes, she has won a plurality. But this ignores the equivalent of the “popular vote” in caucus states, most of which Sanders has won. It is deceitful for Clinton to make this claim and despicable for the media to repeat it. Besides, it's the superdelegates that she and her consiglieres selected who will select her to be the candidate.
Sobering Data: The National Highway Traffic Safety folks say that drivers under the influence of marijuana were “no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.” Those on alcohol continue accumulate DUI/DWI tickets until they kill someone.
It's A SNAP: About all those folks living high on food stamps: A family on food stamps gets $253 a month in benefits, about $127 per month per person. Most food stamp recipients live in Republican controlled states (think on that for a bit). Half of us – those between 20 and 65 will need this sort of help at some time in their lives. The majority of SNAP recipients have jobs (but don't make enough to survive), or are over 65. One in five of the little leeches is a child. Let 'em eat cake.
Growth Spurt: The job news is happy, happy, happy . The economy is growing and everything is great. Except it isn't. The good news – that job openings are back to their 2001 peak is what gets the cheers. But the rate of hires is only back to the average of the previous expansion (2002-2007) and, worse, the higher rate of hires has not led to payroll growth. This is the first time since the 1930s that the working age population has grown faster than jobs. What we're seeing is just faster turnover of jobs. Hourly wages are growing even slower than they did in 2001-2007.
Just Asking: If we charted the rise of globalization, the increase in wealth at the top and the increase in destablization, political repression, refugee flight and conflicts, would we discover somehing?
A Parting Shot:

Monday, May 23, 2016

SAR #16144

Budgetary Save: Oklahoma's governor saved the state a lot of money by vetoing the legislatures bill that said it was perfectly acceptable for a woman to have an abortion but a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. Several million dollars would have gone into a doomed attempt to defend this idiocy up through the federal appellate courts.
Corrected Version: Creditors out to crush any trace of Syriza disobedience. What made them think it was limited to Greece?
Day Late...: It is claimed that “AI will create ‘useless class’ of humans”. We already have a “useless class” of humans, according to the capitalists - not needed for production and not wanted as customer. Look at it this way, if your job is not protected under the famous “free trade” agreements, you are part of the useless underclass.
Trust, But Verify: Taking a page from the auto industry and big banks, LinkedIn just revised its estimate of how many accounts were compromised by hackers back in 2012. It was over 100 million, not the 6.5 million they had previously admitted.
Ins and Outs: Donald Trump says “I'm not advocating guns in classrooms,” but maintains that “teachers should have guns in classrooms.”
This Doesn't End Well: Over any significant period of time rising house prices in the US cannot coexist with declining incomes.
Crime Marches On: If steps are not quickly taken, Australia's Great Barrier Reef will become “terminal” within five years. Steps will not be taken. If you are a Scuba diver, book your travel soon or it will look like the dead desert that the reefs off Florida have already become.
Big Gulp: The demand for food and water from ever swelling populations (especially in the world's megacities) will lead to exploding food prices, extreme water shortages, civil unrest and economic breakdown. As long expected and predicted.
If You Cannot Afford Your Prescription... Why is Big Pharma eager to help you pay for your medicine? Because they'll help cover your copay so the government will have to pony up the larger profits for them. You thought they had your interests at heart? Silly. Profits, thats the word.
Politically Incorrect: Someone finally got around to asking Native Americans what they thought of the Redskins. Pretty much they thought the name was fine, but a few winning seasons would make their approval of the team's name unanimous.
Merry Go Round: Five big banks and four traders have been sued for rigging worldwide prices of the $9 trillion market for government and government-linked agency bonds. It was a private lawsuit – obviously. The US Treasury (one of the victims) doesn't dare bring suit against Wall Street and will never actually name individuals as being crooks and thieves. .
Box Score: As of 5/21/16's Washington Post poll, it's Trump with 46% of the vote, Clinton 44%. In the “disliked” category they were tied, with 57% despising both.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, May 20, 2016

SAR #16141

Economics is a form of applied psychology.
Sadly True: America was, in fact, never great except for those at the top – or at the very most white male land owners - just occasionally above the average run of places and then only for the few at the top, no mater what we think we know. Which doesn't mean that Trump & Company can't make it worse. For example, Republicans block bill protecting LGBT federal workers and Oklahoma lawmakers just approved a shockingly ‘insane’ abortion ban that would make doctors felons, or the percentage of young blacks in for-profit prisons, and the poverty of the middle class.
Repeat After Me: Antibiotics will soon stop working and cause major health treatments from caesarean sections and joint replacements to chemotherapy and staying overnight in a hospital.
Smoke Among The Ashes: Former Senator Bob Graham, a member of the joint congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, has sought the release of the complete report – including the famous 28 pages – for over a decade. He suspects the redacted material would show that very senior members of the Saudi government provided support to the attackers and that the same people continue to provide Saudi government funding to terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS.
Late To The Dance: Hillary just remembered that between leaving the State Department and officially entering the presidential race she took in milions in speaking fees and book royalties while she and Bill sucked $100 million from Persian Gulf potentates.
Hand In Hand: Bayer, the aspirin people, want to buy Monsanto and create “the world’s largest seed-and-pesticide company”. “Seed and pesticide” tripping so easily off the tongue as you wash down two asprin with a glass of Roundup..
Grading On The Curves: Media expert Robert McChesney claims that this year's corporate media coverage of the Democratic primaries “has been an all-time low. “What we’ve seen is the Sanders campaign has been largely neglected … And the coverage and the framing of it has been largely through the eyes of the establishment for the Hillary Clinton campaign.”
A Parting Shot:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

SAR #16140

The world changes slowly, except when it doesn't.
Pot/Kettle: The mainstream media is all excited because Facebook is alleged to pander to its advertisers and manipulate its customers by slanting the news. Even Fox is offended.
This Isn't Going To End Well: The Philippines new president, Rodrigo Duterte, promises to kill 100,000 “crooks” in his first six months in office. Trials will apparently be unnecessary.
Let's Go To The Video: After the mass media went bonkers about those violent Sanders supporters throwing chairs around, it turns out that a video of the event shows that no chair throwing occurred. A little fact finding might be in order before the “reporters” report. These days there is always a video.
W/O Comment: Trump beats Clinton by 3 points in new FOX poll, 45/42, while Sanders beats Trump 46/42.
Costume Party: About 70% of the time the new FindFace app can identify you in a crowd. The end of anonymity is at hand; time to embrace red noses, putty ears, throwaway sunglasses and to ditch the phone. How long before trying to conceal your appearance in public will be a crime?
Definitions: The majority of Americans support a government-run, single-payer Medicare-For All health system. I guess they didn't ask Hillary.
Shipping Slipping: Moody's has downgraded its view of the North American rail industry to “negative,” as the long-lasting decline in freight volumes continues to worsen. But hey, The Recovery!, right?
Unicorns: "Nobody has a right to record everything we do and say online. Generation Internet has a right to access information online just as unmonitored and without inhibition as our parents read the paper.” Right on, anonymous.
Pattern Crimes: The richest families in Florence, Italy today are the same families who ran the place 700 years ago.
Progressively: American neocons – who've been remarkably quiet on the matter – must be delighted with their new Brazilian president; he chose a creationist to be his science minister, a man who deforested large tracts of the rainforest as agricultural minister and picked not a single woman for his cabinet.
Preventive Maintenance: Suzuki says it cheated on fuel economy tests even though it didn't need to do so.
A Parting Shot:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

SAR #16139

We will revolt... as soon as we figure out who “we” are.
Either/Or: Which is worse, that the Republican elite have lost control of their party, or that the Democrats haven't.
TSA Precheck: Whoever would have imagined that a program where citizens could pay for better treatment from “their” government would backfire? Who decided that forcing folks to wait three hours to get abused would encourage them to pay the government for the privilege of being searched?
Ooops: The CIA reports that their IG's office has “mistakenly” and “inadvertently” destroyed its copy of the Senate torture report at the same time the Justice Department was assuring a federal judge that copies were being preserved... somewhere. The Agency claims there's another copy somewhere at Langley, they think. But then, these are the same guys who destroyed hours of videotapes of the waterboarding torture of two “detainees”.
Friends: The US Senate has passed a bill that will permit September 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for damages. Think they know something we don't?
Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me: Congress insists that 42,525 TSA employees is sufficient, and, perhaps it is, but the TSA is between 4,000 and 6,000 screeners short. But don't worry, they're going to hire an extra 768 by June 15 – but they're losing 100 a week, so pack light and get there three hours early. Better yet, take the bus.
Recycling: In a preview – or warning – of things to come, the Clinton campaign has assembled a “massive brain trust” made up of most of the policy wonks responsible for the mess we're in, both domestically and in our foreign adventures.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SAR #16138

Capitalism's power seems insurmountable. So did the divine right of kings.
The Word: Responding to the complaints of those who miss their flights standing in line to be embarrassed by the crap that is supposed to make us feel safe on airplanes (while we pretend not to know that the TSA fails to find weapons 90% of the time), the TSA has come up with a solution: Get to the airport at least three hours before your flight and pay us extra money to skip most of the bullshit.
Sobering Data: The National Highway Traffic Safety folks say that drivers under the influence of marijuana were “no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.” Those on alcohol continue accumulate DUI/DWI tickets until they kill someone.
It's A SNAP: About all those folks living high on food stamps: A family on food stamps gets $253 a month in benefits, about $127 per month per person. Most food stamp recipients live in Republican controlled states (think on that for a bit). Half of us – those between 20 and 65 will need this sort of help at some time in their lives. The majority of SNAP recipients have jobs (but don't make enough to survive), or are over 65. One in five of the little leeches is a child. Let 'em eat cake.
If Only: For four consecutive days Portugal ran entirely on renewable energy, mostly from wind generators facing the ocean breezes. Bless 'em.
Nutshelled: Hillary's promise to put Bill “in charge of revitalizing the economy” is exactly what's wrong with her whole campaign. Been there, done that – and Bill's legacy is in all the jobs shipped overseas and all the young blacks incarcerated for profit in our prisons. She's saying “Don't vote for me, vote for Bill!” And that's a good thing because she is a lousy candidate. Sure, she may turn out to be good once in office, but she has no charisma and is not the natural politician Mr. Clinton is. Her handlers hope the voters will overlook her inherent inelectabilty in favor of her her résumé and policy-wonk reputation. Maybe. But it didn't work for Al Gore (he couldn't even persuade 5 out of 9 when it counted). If Hillary were clearly the choice of elected, pledged delegates then she would not need superdelegates. She does and therein lies her doom, and quite possibly ours.
Lay That Burden Down: In each year from 2006 to 2012, at least two-thirds of all active corporations had no federal income tax liability. Among large corporations (generally those with at least $10 million in assets), 42.3% paid no federal income tax in 2012.
We'll Always Have Chicago: After an audit of 5% of the votes in Chicago's Democratic primary showed that “the numbers didn't match”, the Chicago Board of Elections decided that the sample was just a sample and could not be used to challenge or change the results of the election. All it did was prove tht there was fraud, which everybody expects, Chicago being Chicago. Right Jack?
A Parting Shot:

Monday, May 16, 2016

SAR #16137

Wars are not won by imposing one’s delusions on the battlefield. The Archdruid.
Two For The Money: Brazil is dissolving into a complete cesspool of corruption and Venezuela is simply melting away and this observer suspects that in the end the tentacles of both Wall Street, Langley and the Pentagon will be glimpsed amid the ruins.
Sad But True: “Civil disobedience is the only way left to fight climate change.”
Oil And The Squeaky Wheel: To have a growing economy, wages of non-elite workers must grow, for if they are not paid to produce the goods they will not have the money to buy the goods. This simple fact seems very difficult for bankers and politicians to understand. The US economy is in trouble because the production/consumption cycle is broken. The global economy is in trouble because the productive workers in the developed world are not paid enough to replace the unemployed consumers in American and Europe. Rising consumer debt can be used to hide this problem for a while, but such a practices has an endpoint, which we seem to be close to reaching. Expanding dept require expanding energy supplies, but we can no longer afford the oil it would take to rescue us, or to pay the debt we must shoulder to generate the oil in the first place.
DIY Humor: A school district in NC is letting students carry pepper spray because it “"may be useful for students who encounter transgender classmates in the bathroom."
Wars of the World: America is a weapons factory and the White House a war room, exporting war and mass poverty as it attempts to colonize the planet. It is a continuation of the rapine on which the country was founded and prospered, first by civilizing the natives into irrelevance and then by spreading its messianic joy through an ever expanding empire of dependencies, trust territories and outright colonies. Once again American is out to civilize the world, spreading democracy a corpse at a time through a series of humanitarian wars, bombing hospitals to promote human rights and killing thousands to prevent genocide. And we're the Good Guys.
Clarification: You have no reasonable expectation of privacy anymore. Anywhere. Your TV listens in. Your smartphone is smarter than you think and is not on your side. The Yield sign by the bus stop listens to you, as do microphones the FBI has salted away in trees and rocks and trash cans. It happens all the time, and the FBI does not even need a warrant to do it.
Shut Up And Stay In Line: Homeland Security's boss says that the obscenely long lines at TSA checkpoints are not “a national crisis” and are not going to go away, because the exercise in daycare for adults is supposed to reassure the public that the government is doing something to make them feel safer. Not to make us safer, mind you, but to make us feel that way. “There’s no specific credible threat,” he acknowledged, but it is mandatory that “Americans will have to shut up and stand in line. Quietly, obediently, with your shoes off and pants slipping down your legs.”
Noted: Were you lucky?
Co-dependent: After 45 years and over $1 trillion wasted on The War On Drugs, America has such an extensive network of bureaucrats and cops and prisons dependent on the continuing flow of money (and the hapless bodies the process requires) that the political (and economic) will to end the useless exercise simply does not, and cannot, exist.
Just Say'n: The six-hour workday works quite well in Europe.
Over There Is Over Here: When the press and our politicians start going on about 'repatriating' the profits that companies like Microsoft, Apple and Facebook (and literally hundreds of others) have parked overseas, please remember that “bringing the profits home” will not affect the US economy very much at all – because the money is already invested here. It is not sitting in a suitcase in the Caymans, it is invested in US Treasuries, US corporate bonds and stocks and so on. So while it is officially not here, it is here and earning more money – tax free because i'ts not here even though it is. But the ownership is hidden through a longstanding series of legal fictions that the rich have no desire to see undone. So they won't be.
Porn O'Graph: This won't end well.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, May 13, 2016

SAR #16134

Don’t worry, the recession’s over and everything’s better now. They say.
Unsettling but not definitive: Unemployment claims increased 20,000 to 294,000 last week, after a 17,000 increase the week before. This is the highest rate since February 2015, and the steepest increase since 2005. Economists say this doesn't mean anything and is mostly due to spring break.
Globalization: It's not just in the US; a Catholic Diocese in India has reinstated a priest who has admitted to previously sexually abusing children.
Working, Or Not, On the Railroad: Freight shipments on US railroads continue to fall m/m, as they have been doing for well over a year. Sure the US doesn't make much anymore, but even the imports have to get to Walmart somehow.
Quota System: “Workers in plants run by the largest U.S. poultry producers are regularly being denied bathroom breaks and as a result some are reduced to wearing diapers while working.”
Over Here: About a third of the handful of manufacturing jobs that haven't been shipped to Bangladesh or Pakistan or such pay so little that the workers have to rely on welfare for food and healthcare. Freely traded, of course.
Pause: A US District Judge has ruled that Obama does not have the Constitutional authority to spend billions of dollars on ACA subsidies without the approval of Congress through the appropriations process. This would cripple the ACA if upheld on appeal.
The Quiet Misery of the Unnecessary: Americans are killing themselves in large numbers – an epidemic bigger than AIDS and just as deadly. In large measure it is middle-aged white Americans – once the most privileged group on the planet – are dying much sooner than they used to. Many are killing themselves, either directly and intentionally, or just a bit less intentionally and directly with booze and opioids and illegal drugs. They have no jobs and no future. They find themselves superfluous, unnecessary, unwanted and ignored by their government. America has become a place where a significant part of the population has been rendered unnecessary. And they know it. Unsurprisingly, those with the highest rates of drug overdose, suicide and alcoholism are also the most likely to be supporters of Donald Trump. These are the same people who, in another life, elected Adolf Hitler.
As Is: The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution reminding its members not to kill doctors or bomb hospitals.
A Parting Shot:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

SAR #16133

A politician must tell the lies the people want to hear.
Turkish Delight: Turkey's tyrant-in-waiting Recip Erdogan took time of from blackmailing Europe to assure the world that the presidential system he intends to install “won't be the same as that of the US – nor will it have anything in common with the dictatorships of Africa.” He's sure that once he becomes dictator for life by universal acclimation everyone will be happy, happy, happy. Well, almost everyone. Or else.
Graduation Advice: “The real secrets of creating a fortune are not genius, leadership, risking your own money, or lots of hard work. They’re chutzpah, who you know, and luck. And the greatest of these is plain old luck. Oh boy, is it luck.” Nike's Phil Knight.
Patriotism: Belgian-owned Budwiser is renaming its beer “America” and plans to adorn the cans with pictures of the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument and phrases from the Pledge of Allegiance, lyrics from The Star Spangled Banner and America The Beautiful. I don't buy Bud and am going to make a conscious effort to dedicate my non-beer buying to these folks from now on.
Bob And Weave: After insisting that the country had done all it could to make healthcare available and affordable, and that the fight for a universal single-payer system had already been lost, Hillary now wants to change the rules so that people 50 or 55 and up could “buy in” to Medicare – sort of Medicare For More. Not that this is in any way similar to Bernie Sanders' Medicare For All. Ms. Clinton was pretty vague about eligibility and costs and who would foot the bill and how much more insurance companies would drain from the Federal government. But, hey, she cares...
Hurdles: Before the Clinton team can comfortably tuck the election away, they will have to deal with the restive Sanders voters - half of whom, at least in West Virginia, say they would vote for Trump in the Fall if Clinton is the candidate.
Secret Votes: A lot of Trump support is not reflected in the polls because, quite simply, a lot of people who are going to end up voting for him are ashamed to admit it. For example, “A third of those who voted in West Virginia’s Democratic primary say they plan to back Trump in November. Sanders won those voters by a wide margin”.
A Parting Shot: