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:

Monday, October 17, 2016

SAR #16291

'Free markets' are like unicorns; no one has ever seen one but it doesn't stop the credulous from believing.
Big Whoop: The Nairobi agreement on hydrofluorocarbon emissions is garnering a lot of self-congratulatory praise by those involved. It's a joke. An unenforceable joke. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are widely used in fridges, air conditioning and aerosol sprays. They make up about 1% of greenhouse gases. But like CO2 they have an atmospheric lifetime of 100 years or more and are 10,000 to 20,000 times worse than CO2. The agreement calls on the richer countries (US, Canada, Europe) to “cut back within a few years” and reduce their emission of HFCs by 10% from the level reached in 2019. [See the problem? Add like crazy now so there's a high mark to cut from.] Developing countries are irsupposed to build like crazy now and freeze there use at 2024 levels. India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states will not freeze their use until 2028. China, the world's largest producer of HFCs, will not actually start to cut their production or use until 2029. A spokesman explained that the agreement followed the Pattern set in Paris and that “by agreeing to an early HFC phase down schedule, we've bought ourselves a bit more time to put off doing anything about global warming to shift to a global low carbon economy.” Actually cutting HFC's now and outlawing them within a decade would be worth all the hoopla. Freezing them for a decade or two and then cutting them by 10% is a PR gimmick. Letting China and India kill the rest of us is inexcusable.
Crass Act: Fox's Lou Dobbs, showing his usual good sense, tweeted the pone number and address of one of those accusing Trump of sexual assault. Makes you wonder why more women don't step forward.
The Important Stuff: A study by scientists from Cornell and Columbia Universities and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies [Jim Hansen's old home] published in Science Advances says that a megadrought lasting decades is 99% certain to hit California and the American Southwest this century. Historically, such megadroughts have occurred about once in a thousand years; now theyare expected to become “commonplace.” How sure are they this is going to happen? If you put “Major California Earthquake in next decade” at one end of the scale and “The Sun will rise tomorrow” at the other, the megadrought would be right up there next to the sun coming up.
Spot On: “The Cashless Society Is a Creepy Fantasy”
Clandestinely: The CIA put out a press release saying the Obama administration was “contemplating” “an all-out cyber war with Russia.” Not the NSA, whose field of expertise this is, but the CIA. Its aim will be to “embarrass the Kremlin leadership” more than it does ours. Anything, of course, to protect Hillary.
Win, Place and Show:, Most Americans (62%) think the economy is rigged in favor of the already rich, their bankers and their Wall Street lackeys. Trump supporters (by definition not “most Americans”) say it is rigged in favor of the poor who get government assistance. Go figure.
Boy Scout: Donald, preparing for the inevitable, says the election will be stolen from him, that he will not concede, and will never accept a Clinton victory. Neither Trump nor his supporters are going to go quietly – his advance troops are already garrisoning at Democrat offices. About 25% of the nation's electorate will have immense amounts of anger towards the elected government in particular and society in general. Big Fun.
Food For Thought: The German government has ruled out state support for Deutsche Bank. How do you say “not too big to fail” in German?
Two Pence Worth: The loyal Mike Pence says “I don’t understand” why Michelle Obama denounced Trump’s “sexually predatory behavior”.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, October 14, 2016

SAR #16288

They say poetry is truth; no wonder people hate poetry.
And the Last Shall Be First: Dmitri Orlov explains that there won't be a US/Russia nuclear war because “there isn't much reason to start one, assuming the US behaves rationally.” Assuming.
It's Just Different: A US State Department spokesperson was unable to explain the difference between Russian bombing in Syria, Saudi bombing in Yemen, and the US raining death randomly from the sky here and there as caprice dictates.
Assumptions: When economists talk about what the “new normal” growth for the US economy might be, do they ever consider that it might not grow?
Times Change: The Nobel Prize for Literature is going to Bob Dylan, as the Committee catches up with the grace, beauty and emotion expressed in lyrics, the current world's version of the poetry of the people. This was not an endorsement of his vocals.
Definition: Someone should explain to Donald just what “margin of error” means in the polls.
Too Little, Too Late: Reminder: the vast majority of Republican politicians are still on the Trump train. Republican voters, not so much. “Every Republican candidate should be walloped with the deranged nominee, every minute of every day.” Many Republicans seeking reelection are delighted with the sex scandals for giving them an honorable way out of their foolish commitments.
Cheers: A group of skateboarders in Vancouver held a birthday party for the woman who has gathered up their bottles and cans for 14 years. She brought the food.
Just Asking: What if better education and improved skills don't lead to increased productivity and higher living standards? What if it all just leads to unpayable debts?
Run/Hide: RNC spokesman Sean Spicer denies saying the exact things he said while defending Donald Trump’s sexual assault boast. Across the aisle, (temporary) DNC chair Donna Brazile, faced with an email that described a debate question for Hillary word for word, said that she never had access to the questions,that if she had had access to them she wouldn't have told Hillary, and besides, if she had had them and shared them she certainly would have had to deny the whole thing. Which she did.
They're All Lying: Dick Gregory Donald Trump insists that all of the allegations of his decades of sexual misconduct are a ‘Total Fabrication’.
Common Sense: Facing decades of rising sea levels, why is the government promoting and insuring coastal development? Why did it ever?
Nice To Know: Our chicken doesn't have maggots,” KFC explains.
A Parting Shot: