Thursday, March 31, 2016

SAR #16090

Self-deceit is a prerequisite for love.
Monday/Tuesday: Following her flat rejection of any more debates with that awfully mean Bernie Sanders unless he stopped “running a very negative campaign,” Hillary now says she is “perfectly willing” to debate him in NY. Providing the DNC can find a time-slot when no-one will be watching.
Briar Patch: FED chair Janet Yellen admitted that the global economy sucks, so naturally global stock markets immediately rose, many hitting new highs on the bad news.
Jobs Is Jobs: ADP claims that the US private sector added 200,000 jobs in the last month; too bad 191,000 of them were in service industries, not actually producing anything. Apparently we are going to get rich by taking in each other's laundry.
The Fix Is In: It does not matter who wins the Democratic primary in New York, the state's 44 superdelegates insist that they will vote for Hillary. End of story, end of pretense of democracy among the Democrats which will not be permitted “under any circumstance.”
Aid & Comfort: Most Americans support torturing dark-skinned Muslims who might be terrorists. Most Americans are idiots.
Hardship Tour: The Pentagon has ordered 90% of US military dependents to depart Turkey as soon as possible, for fear they may fall victim to “possible attacks”. The identity of possible attackers was not specified, but given recent events it could range from Erdogan's troops to ISIS fighters... if there's a difference.
Fairy Dust: A Minnesota Republican wants to mandate that gays “receive treatment” for their “unhealthy sexual addiction.”
Unclear On The Concept: Donald Trump claims he would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would investigate and convict Hillary Clinton over her emails. How soon does he think there will be 5 vacancies on the Court? And how will he ensure that he can find dupes to do what he instructs? Or that the Senate would confirm them? And since when does the Supreme Court investigate crimes? Or try and convict defendants? The only job the Supremes have is to decide whether a lower court ruling conforms to to the Constitution. Idiot.
Going Down! The Atlanta Fed now suspects that 1Q GDP growth will be 0.6%, down from the 1.4% they were touting just a week ago.
There There May Be Tygers: The Pentagon is planning to “defend Eastern European allies” with American troops, tanks, planes and dollars against Russian aggression. Sounds familiar, sort of an echo from my youth, long before you were born. How serious will this be? Well the Deputy Secretary of Defense says “there will be a division's worth of stuff there if something happens.” The first thing that would happen is that a division's worth of stuff would be vaporized.
A Parting Shot:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SAR #16089

Most people have to sell their labor to make their living; and then there those they sell it to.
Hum Along: Back in the battle again, out where a fiend is a friend, where the oil and money flow – quite why we'll never know - back in the deserts again.
Good Question:If the Economy Fell Into Recession, Would Anyone Notice?”
Rights? You Don't Got No Stinking Rights: Obama's Justice (sic) Department has restarted the program that lets cops steal your stuff... more or less legally, as long as they use the money and property to furnish their clubhouses, buy drugs and entertain whores.
Inflation Alert: The government's inflation measure, the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, fell 1% y/y as a result of the Fed's courageous inflation fighting.
Fats Of The Land: The restaurant and grocery industries have once again forced the government to delay implementing that part of Obamacare that requires restaurants to tell customers how many calories there are in menu items, for fear that the average American might cut back from the average 3,770 calories a day they now shove into their obese bodies.
Go Frack Yourself: Thanks to the oil business, Sooners are now more likely to suffer an earthquake than those liberals in San Francisco.
Moderation: Sweden, in an attempt to cool off their housing market, has cut the maximum length of a mortgage to a paltry 105 years.
Nicely Put: The big economic problem is not inequality, it is poverty. If we all had enough for a decent life, we would not much care how many bathrooms someone else had.
Don't Point That Data At Me: Every month 52 American women are shot to death by their husbands and boyfriends. Macho guys.
Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Bern? The Clinton campaign refuses to consider any future debates with Bernie Sanders unless he begins running all his advertising past Hillary for approval.
When He's Right: Donald Trump is right, Wisconsin has a lot of problems that have been caused and/or made worse because Scott Walker refuses to raise taxes.
Bailed In: Prominent hedge fund Luxor Capital ($3.8 billion under management) announced that it would "not be returning exiting investors cash in full...You can check out, but you can never leave...
Cruzing For A Bruising: Texas Republicans will allow people to openly carry guns at their state convention.
Porn O'Graph: And this little piggy stayed home.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SAR #16088

Choosing a leader is agreeing to be led.
Topper: "Media Unimpressed As Sanders Barely Gets Seventy Percent Of The Vote."    

Bad Movie: The son of a corrupt dictator (of a country much like Turkey), being held in an Italian jail for laundering the profits his father (played by Recep Erdoğan) got from a jihadist organization (based on ISIS) , escapes the jail and the country with the help of intelligence agents from a third country (much like Saudi Arabia) using the Mafia to bribe Italian cops and officials.
Reality Checked: US house prices increased 0.1% in January. Apparently the recovery has stopped recovering.
The Parting Line: The DNC insists that with less than half the state delegates in – and with most of those awarded to Clinton coming from states that are irrelevant for the Democratic Presidential candidate in the fall – it’s all over. If you don't support Hillary you are a sexist troglodyte. If Bernie doesn't quit he'll be responsible for Trump's win. Sander's sweep of the ex-pat, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii primaries by 20 – 30% is Not Important and certainly Not News.
As Bad As Bad Can Be: 95% of the northern Great Barrier Reef is severely bleached and half of its corals are expected to die. Far, far away, the extent of Arctic sea ice has reached a record low mark for wintertime.
Prime Time: Seven years into the recovery, 23% of prime working-age Americans are unemployed. And this may be as good as it gets before of the next major downturn.
Distribution: Recep Erdogan claims that in the last eight months Turkey has killed, wounded or captured over 5,000 Kurds and 27 ISIS jihadists.
In Recovery: The Atlanta Fed now expects first quarter 2016 GDP growth to top out at 0.6%, so obviously we need to raise interest rates dramatically to slow down the expansion.
This Just In: “Hillary Clinton Is Fundamentally Honest.” Fundamentally.
A Parting Shot:

Monday, March 28, 2016

SAR #16087

This notice of delinquency has been sent to you because the Republican Party has contacted you multiple times to ask for your support of our 2016 campaign … We need you to come forward today and send a contribution of $25 or more.” Republican National Committee dun notice.
Surely: The Catholic Church Insurance Company, Limited (Hey, I'm not making this up!) writes insurance policies to cover losses suffered by the Catholic Church Unlimited when its priests get caught diddling little kids. To protect themselves against unnecessary losses (and let's face it, with all the child molesters running around the Catholic Church, some losses are necessary...) the CCICL insists that they be informed when the Higher Ups in the CCU learn that a particular parish priest has been caught playing with the parishioners'' kids. They have files. Extensive files. But they are not going to let anybody see them.
The Beat Goes On: The US reports that it killed 73 'militants' in Brussels Helmand province, Afghanistan over the weekend. We know they were militants because they're dead.
Honey Combed: US Naval Captain Daniel Dusek, once the chief of Naval operations for the US Pacific Fleet, has been jailed for providing classified information to a Malaysian defense contractor (who passed it on to god knows who) in return for prostitutes.
Soup To Nuts: Hillary Clinton is holding a $175,000 a plate fundraiser in Hollywood. In the last two months Bernie Sanders has raised more than $140,000,000 from 2 million donors –that's $170 a plate.
Fails Smell Test: Obama explained to Argentina the CIA helped their generals overthrow a democratically elected government, ushering in a reign of terror that killed over 7,000 and “disappeared” tens of thousands in order to protect US corporate interests, but that it was just growing pains from the “early dark days” of the agency. Which was then only 25 years old. Anybody want to talk about Kissinger, Allende's overthrow and the Chicago School of exploitation Economics?
Our Master's Voice: The Netinyahu government has approved a bill mandating that children under 14 be punished as terrorists.
Self-Governing: The Brits have decided to repeal their animal welfare laws and let chicken farmers set the rules for chicken farmers, pig farmers regulate pig growing and the foxes will continue to oversee the hen house... what could go wrong?
Short, Sweet: US Marines Enter Ground Combat in Iraq to Defend Oil Fields”
Left And Rights: The same time a federal judge was ruling Alabama's abortion restrictions were unconstitutional, Florida's governor was signing a law that will keep poor women from having access to safe abortion procedures and Indiana passed a law requiring women carrying a fetus with Down syndrome carry it to term as punishment for getting pregnant.
Happy Daze: Saudi Arabia, which claims that democracy is not needed in the Kingdom because their subjects are happier “than almost any other people in the world.” Except, of course, for the guy they just sentenced to 5 years for tweeting something the Royals didn't like.
Batter Up: Is it reasonable to expect that the thaw of relations between Cuba and the US will lead to American and International companies raping the country in the name of democracy, capitalism and profit? How long before the Mob gets to run casinos and whore houses again?
Out Of Town Tryouts: The US will fund a multi-million dollar border surveillance system covering about half the Tunisian/Libyan border. Why only half? And why – are we trying out some new system that we don't dare use in Arizona?
Wilder West: In Idaho, everybody over 21 can now carry a concealed handgun, no permit or training required. Drive defensively.
Porn O'Graph: Down is down, up is up.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, March 25, 2016

SAR #16084

Love & War: Faced with an unacceptable prospect, the GOP has a simple solution: Change the rules. A week or so before the convention, Republican rules can be changed by the delegates by a simple vote, one which would allow many/most them to vote for whomever they wish, particularly if they no longer wished to vote for Donald Trump. Sounds crooked? Ha, not nearly as much so as the Democrats and their Father-Knows-Best superdelegates.
Once Upon A Time In The West: Voter suppression in Phoenix was apparently intentional and we know who benefited from the lower turnout.
Gotta Go: Within the structure of the TTIP, the US insists that the EU's Precautionary Principle must abandoned. The principle is enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon – the foundation document of the entire EU project – and holds that whenever there is even the possibility that a policy or action could harm humans or damage the environment, that policy or action is prohibited. Bunch'a tree huggers.
All Due Deliberation: Every analysis of American political history strongly suggests that rational deliberation has little to do with the political process. “People vote based on emotion. Period. … Psychology is the only necessary skill for running for president, and Trump knows psychology.” He knows that facts don't matter and never have, and that 90% of us will vote with our guts, not our brains.
Rats And The Sinking Ship: The Rockefeller Family Fund – whose money is based on Standard Oil and its many children – is divesting itself off all investment in fossil fuels, starting with Exxon. They'd like us to believe this is because of their deep and abiding love of the environment and fear of global warming, but these guys are making an investment decision. Makes y'wonder.
Benchmarks: Donald Trump, who goes around touting his business acumen, is actually not doing all that well lately. Never mind the endless string of bankruptcies, 18 out of 21 of his investments in hedge funds and mutual funds lost money last year and so far this year 17 of the 21 are further down.
Porn O'Graph: Leftovers.
A Parting Shot:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

SAR #16083

Just because Trump is a fake does not mean that the emotions he stirs up are.
Ready Or Not: Jim Hansen says that all the IPCC happy talk about 2ºC by 2100 and maybe 18 inches of sea level rise is a bunch of hooey. He and his friends think that we will see a 10 foot rise by 2050 – that's enough to drown every major seacoast city in the world. They also see a dramatic slowing, if not complete stoppage, of the Gulf Stream and a dramatic increase in super storms – all by mid century. +
Suppression: In Phoenix on primary day, the voters stood in line until midnight to vote, five hours after the polls officially closed. This was due to a 70% reduction in polling places since 2012, even though there was a 400% increase in voters. Whose fault was this? According to The County Recorder, Republican Helen Purcell – who says Florida's Katherrine Harris is her role model for suppressing the black and Latino vote - the blame belongs to “the voters for getting in line.”
Teaching Point: According to the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business “the United States has lost the will and ability to prosecute top corporate executives.” They own the banks and have Get Out of Jail Freecards.
Hope: “What makes Sanders special, what drives his huge surge of small donors far in excess of anything achieved by any other candidate of either party, is that he champions a progressive populism with an integrity and clarity that makes him the king of credibility in the campaign with numbers for honesty and trustworthiness that are unmatched by any other candidate in either party”. The question isn't 'will Bernie lose/', but will the movement live on?
The Way Things Are: The world's middle classes are getting poorer. US workers' share of income has dropped to near the lowest since World War II. The rich have gotten markedly richer. In Spain and Greece, unemployment among those under 25 is close to 40%.European countries are inundated with refugees, have little power to stop them, and have no means to integrate them economically or socially. Only 19% of Americans trust the government - down from 54% after the 9/11 attacks before Bush started lying to them and invading countries. In Europe as distrust of government has also surged; 84% of Spaniards don't trust Madrid, and Greeks get convulsed laughing over the question...
Money Talks: In February Bernie raised $43.5 million, Hillary only $29 million. For the year, February 2015 – February 2016, Hillary raised $229 million, Sanders only $140 million, but not one penny of his came from Superpacs or direct investment by Wall Street.
Indigestion: Only 60% of Democrats have a favorable view of Hillary, only half of Republicans can stomach Trump. Nationally 57% of voters can't stand The Donald and a few less – 53% - feel the same about Ms. Clinton. The latest polling suggests Trump would beat Clinton by 1% while Sanders would trounce Trump by 14% of the vote. So naturally the DNC wants Hillary as their candidate – it's her turn and she's bought and paid for.
A Parting Shot:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SAR #16082

Words Is Words: The TTIP, which is “a threat to democratic decision-making and regulation in the public interest,” includes references to ‘timely information’, ‘unnecessarily burdensome’ and ‘pre-normative research’. Please define each of these in a way that will be most profitable to large multi-nationals.
Sufficiency: Hillary 'Sounds Like Netanyahu' Clinton and Donald Trump gave nearly identical speeches at AIPAC, got standing ovations - even though Trump's comments do not agree with what he had said just the day before.
Our Size Fits All: Under the rules imposed by the US, the US Government will not ratify the TPP agreement until the laws and practices of all the other countries are consisten with the US interpretation of the agreement.
Shifty Politics: In February national polls showed Clinton leading Sanders 55/38, today it's 51/44. Looks like Bernie's been putting on weight.
Noted: The Republican elite fear that working class voters will finally realize that tax cuts for the wealthy and funding cuts to programs benefiting the working class has not brought them the promised prosperity and begin to understand that their future rests in taxing the rich.
Less Is Less, Much Less: The global dry-bulk fleet will “contract significantly” this year – for the first time since forever.
Opportunity Knocked: In the wake of the Brussels bombing, police agencies across the US are seizing the opportunity to “increase security” - even though it is still far safer to go to an airport in Europe than a wedding in Afghanistan or a hospital in Yemen.
Truthiness: Bill Clinton was caught complaining about “the awful legacy of the last 8 years.” Trying to make it better the Clinton campaign explained that “the last eight years” have nothing to do with Obama at all.
Porn O'Graph: The future is already here.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SAR #16081

Pawn To King's Pawn Four: Having shored up the Assad regime to the anoyance of the Turks, Russia has now started shipping weapons to Kurds in Iraq. Turkey has historically been the Tsars' enemy.
Emperor's Clothes: VP Biden is in trouble once more for pointing out the unmentionable obvious. This time Joe said that Israels continued annexation of Palestinian land to build housing for Israelis made it hard to believe anything Netinyahu says about working for a two-state solution. Obviously he, unlike Hillary, is not running for President.
Yes, But: While 60% of 18 to 29 year-olds support the idea of US conducting ground combat operations against ISIS, 60% of them would not go fight, even if they were needed.
Quoted: "True vulnerability is to put your family on a boat which you don't know if it's going to make it across the sea. True vulnerability is to flee even if you don't know where you're going, if you will get there, if you will even survive. But this is what it is when the alternative is impossible to live with. Therefore, you have to escape. That is vulnerability.” Fredrik Reinfeldt Former PM of Norway.
Indexes Indexed: The Chicago Fed's composite index of a whole bunch of other economic indexes showed US economic growth slowing in February.
Enough, Already: Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary in the Cameron government, has resigned in disgust over Cameron's intent to cut disability benefits in order to give the rich tax breaks. Cameron would not adress the charges but reiterated his support for “"a modern, compassionate Conservatism". Which is the same sort of mumbo-jumbo in London that it is in Washington.
Money/Mouth: In February Bernie Sanders raised $14 million more than Hillary Clinton and spent $9,4 million more – all without squillioniare Wall Street support.
Object Lesson: Republicans in the Knesset NY State Senate are cutting $485 million from the CUNY budget for allowing criticism of Israel which always constitutes anti-Semitism in US political circles [Note Joe Biden, above.].
Inside Job: Back in December, long before the poisoning of the residents of Flint became a national scandal, someone broke into the Flint city hall and made off with a files relating to the water system problems. The cops say it was an inside job, but whether the insider was protecting the politicians or the people remains a mystery.
A Parting Shot:

Monday, March 21, 2016

SAR #16081

Miracles: Florida Republicans insist that defunding Planned Parenthood will not inconvenience any women, because they could go to dentists, school nurses, optometrists, podiatrists,and correctional facilities to get their birth control prescriptions, pre-natal care and other pregnancy related healthcare. This will hurt poor women, of course – that's the whole point. But they're likely to vote for Hillary...
The Lesser of Two Evils: Mitt Romney says he will vote for Cruz over Trump not because he supports Cruz but because he is marginally less disgusting. Well, that's not what Mitt said, but that's what he meant.
Size Matters: A California real estate agent has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for $30 million in mortgage fraud, while not a single Wall Street banker has gotten anything except bonuses for the same crime.
The Easy Buttons: Ever use one of those tiny apps for your smartphone that let you send you pictures to your desktop computer without using a physical cable connection? That's exactly how difficult is is for any competent spy service – and despite being a government agency, the NSA is quite competent – to take control of your phone, turn on the mike and camera and use it to monitor you whenever they wish. Your smartphone is a surveillance device that happens to provide phone service and Internet access. And it's not just you - Hillary, for example, is wholly owned by the NSA.
Fair's Fair: The Canadian parents who 'treated' their child's bacterial meningitis and emphysema, conditions routinely cured with antibiotics, with herbal teas and withheld medical care while watching him die are now on trial for killing him.
Now It Can Be Told: It is finally dawning on economists that trade agreements as least since NAFTA have shipped jobs overseas to the detriment of US workers and that the lost manufacturing jobs are never coming back. Ooops.
Housekeeping: President Obama will name Air Force General Lori Robinson as then next head of Northern Command – that's the military designation for North America. Typical, they try to do good by naming a woman to head a combat command and then put her in charge of the homeland.
Take That: A bill pending in New Jersey would make texting while walking and chewing gum illegal, punishable by a fine and or 15 days in jail. Letting them walk blindly into traffic would teach better lessons.
Theory Of The Crime? A Massachusetts couple is being charged with “reckless endangerment of a fetus” for cultivating marijuana in their home. A bit further south, Tampa's city council has voted to decriminalize marijuana, even for the pregnant.
Seizing The Moment: Turkey has determined that the Istambul bombing was the work of ISIS, so Erdogan will punish them by attacking Kurds.
Humanitarianism: The US Army is setting up equipment depots in several Asian countries, including Cambodia and Vietnam. According to General Dennis Via of the US Army Material Command, these “ prepositioned stocks are go-to-war equipment.” but the Pentagon insists the supplies are “primarily for humanitarian disaster relief operations.” Primarily. Perhaps that also explains why the US is going to co-locate forces at five more Philippine Air and Naval bases. This is the second enlargement of the US force presence in the Philippines in the last year.
Rounding Down: The District of Columbia is suing Kraft Heinz for claiming that their “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” is 100% Parmesan cheese when it is generally 3.8% sawdust.
A Parting Shot:

Friday, March 18, 2016

SAR #16078

This isn't supposed to be a circus." Elizabeth Warren
Take the Money and ...: Marco Rubio, former Republican pin-up presidential candidate, says he will not be anybody's vice presidential running mate, will not run for re-election and will not seek to be Florida's next governor. Don't worry, something lucrative will turn up... or has already.
Clip And Save: Someday soon the Democratic elite will come to regret kicking Sanders to the curb and embracing Clinton. Most likely we all will.
Eeny Meeny Mine: Minneapolis prosecutor Mike Freeman said that he alone will decide whether to indict police officers who shoot blacks because grand juries don't always get the right answers.
Asked And Obvious: The NYTimes wonders if the experts have been wrong about the benefits of free trade agreements for the American economy? Depends if you're an owner or an ower.
Our Gang: The GOP-controlled KY senate has passed a bill that would encourage businesses to deny services to same-sex couples. Next door in TN a Republican bill would use $100,000 budgeted for school diversity programs at UT and use the money on 'In God We Trust” stickers. GOP officials in AL will require biology textbooks to include prominent disclaimers telling students to doubt evolution. Their counterparts in GA have passed a 'religious liberty' bill that encourages anti-LGBT hate crimes. AL Republicans intend to cut food stamp eligibility from five to three years in a lifetime, and only if the recipients do not own a car. If the poor own a car they will be ineligible for help. And this is pre-Trump.
Money's Worth: Research notes that doctors who get more cash from Big Pharma prescribe more of Big Pharma's drugs.
Porn O'Graph: Equality.
A Parting Shot:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

SAR #16077

Prayer is often simply an attempt to shift responsibility.
Entrails: The Republicans continue to insist that they will not meet, interview, interrogate, investigate, hold hearings on, or vote on any Supreme Court candidate nominated by Obama. (Fox says that being nominated by the President is the kiss of death.) Do they really, really think that Donald Trump's choices will make them happy? More to the point, will Hilary”s?
No Means No: Argentina told a Chinese ship to stop fishing in Argentinian waters. It did not so they sank it.
Baby, It's Coal Outside: Peabody Energy, the largest US coal miner says it may join its major rivals in seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after it “delayed” a $71 million interest payment that was due on March 15.
Gender Studies: Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer is urging Wall Street to “find a way to neuter” Senator Elizabeth Warren. At least he didn't say 'spayed'.
Agency: Pope Francis says that Mother Teressa will be made a saint next fall. Sorry, sir, but the best you can do is recognize sainthood, not “make” someone saintly – and most certainly not someone who wanted others to suffer so she could succor them.
Fair's Fair: FIFA says that the $190 million that had been forfeited by its officials who pled guilty to extorting bribes in return for their votes in selecting World Cup host cities should be returned to the organization. It was, after all, stolen fair and square by their officers in the ordinary course of business.
Boy Scouts: Donald Trump has told his supporters that they should be prepared to riot if he does not get the nomination.
Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny: Scientists have been able to delay the maturational effects of certain genes in chickens, creating embryos with dinosaur legs – essentially reversing evolutionary change. Interesting. But moreso, this: The gene they manipulated was “the Indian homolog gene common to all animals, including man.” Except, of course, in Kentucky and North Carolina.
Porn O'Graph: “Except for the names and few other changes the story's the same...”
A Parting Shot:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SAR #16076

The Republicans fear their base, the Democrats hate theirs.
Fairly Traded: On average, Americans without college educations – that's 70% of the work force – have lost and will continue to lose about $2,000 a year to low-wage workers in countries on the other end of those 'free-trade' agreements. Ask Mrs. Clinton about NAFTA. Or the Taking Profit Perpetually abomination. Trade agreements deliver cheap consumer goods to the US and profits to the corporations, not economic growth and not jobs.
History, Revised Standard Version: Madam Secretary assures us that “We didn't lose a single person in Libya.” Which suggests that Benghazi is in some other country.
Child's Play: In the US, you are in far more danger of being shot by a toddler than being harmed by a Muslim terrorist. You are probably in far more danger of being vaporized by a US drone than by a Muslim terrorist. Trump supporters? Toss a coin.
Citizen United: Donald Trump has been able to campaign on the cheap because to date he has gotten over $2 billion in free coverage from the media as it reports on his clown show. One black protester tripped and beaten is worth a day's headlines. Measuring his penis got him a lot more attention that the little fella is worth.
The Camel's Nose: Now it's not just the iPhone in California that the FBI wants Apple to unlock – there's this urgrent need to get into one in Boston. No, not a terrorist thing, just a gang thing. The Justice Department is threatening to seize Apple's iOS source code if they don't cave in to threats pretty soon. Elsewhere in Washington the FCC is preparing “strict rules” to protect your online privacy. Fun times.
Datapoints: In the US, real median household income last year was $4,000 below its 2000 level. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the proportion of Americans with jobs is a lot lower too.
Flying Start: In October 2016, some state's driver's licenses will not be accepted by TSA as identification permitting you to fly – but that deadline may be extended to 2018. Either way, by 2021 you will need to present your passport in order to board an aircraft. And before then the IRS will have the power to relieve you of your passport. Arrangements for issuing internal passports and travel permits are still pending.
Porn O'Graph: The fruit of their labors.
A Parting Shot:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

SAR #16075

The Illustrator: Donald Trump is rubbing our faces in the the fact that fascism is not an antique relic, that about 30% of US adults are racist, sexist, xenophobic, economically illiterate morons. Some of these yahoos are forming a 'militia' to protect their leader from those New York liberals who keep stepping in front of elbows and fists at Trump tent revivals.
Rights And Wrongs: Oklahoma Republicans are trying to pass a bill that would classify abortion as a first degree murder. Quite who would fry/get gassed/hang was unclear, but certainly the woman and probably the doctor and nurses and state and local Planned Parenthood administrators.
Uncommon Corps: The Mississippi House has passed a bill requiring that public school teachers issue grades to parents. Not that bad of an idea – as long as I get to set the standards.
Secret Handshake: According to Paul Krugman, much of economics dogma about markets and globalization consists simply of “guesses about such things,” often “based on loose historical reasoning.” He concluded by confessing that he and his fellow practitioners “should be cautious in our claims about the virtues of free trade.”
Progress: Apparently the internet has finally gotten to Salt Lake City; the Mormons are warning against an epidemic of pornography and the Utah House has declared it to be a public health crisis.
Private Profits: During her first year as Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton insisted that a company called Laureate Education be invited to an education policy dinner hosted at the U.S. Department of State. A few months later Mr. Clinton became “honorary chancellor” of Laureate, a position that paid him $16.5 million over the next four years. Laureate students, of course, are eligible for US-backed student loans...
Observed: "People are not voting for Trump (or Sanders). People are just voting, finally, to destroy the establishment." Nassim Taleb
Onward And Upward: Great Britain, which is less and less great the longer the current crop is in office, will reduce the tax rate on upper-middle class families and cover the budget shortfall by cutting the support currently given to 640,000 of the nation's disabled.
Without Comment: Following months of investigation, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission unanimously referred Robert Rubin to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation into “violations of the laws of the United States” committed by the former US Treasury Secretary in his positions with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. The DOJ immediately filed through the shredder. Nothing was done. Nothing will be.
An Explanation: Nationally 23% of the 25-to-54-year-old population is not working – either actively or passively unemployed, up from 18% in 2000.
A Parting Shot:

Monday, March 14, 2016

SAR #16074

Curiosity Shopping: A US judge has entered a summary judgement ordering Iran to pay $10.5 billion to the victims of the Saudi 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and their insurance companies, not because Iran had anything to do with it – it was mostly the work of Saudi-funded Saudis – but because the Iranians declined to dignify the charges by replying to them.
Theory And Practice: In theory, negative interest rates will encourage people to invest. In reality, it will encourage people to put money in mason jars and bury them in the back yard. Same with Draghi and his latest attempt to ward off the coming depression in Europe – make companies an offer they can't refuse – then stand back and watch them refuse. The public is nowhere near as stupid as economists and central bankers.
Bigger Brother: Obama, at the SXSW technology conference, tried out his new standup routine with a deadpan declaration that the government cannot allow you any privacy on your smartphones because you might someday be a terrorist. Or a Sandersnista. And besides, your insurance company needs to monitor your diet app and Fitbit data.
Chickens, Roosting: After Trump supporters (and the police, but that's redundant) began roughing up Trump protesters in Chicago and several other cities, Donald said that he did not condone the violence, that he was “just the messenger”, that police were not tough enough on “leftie protestors” and that he hoped his “tone is not that of causing violence,” as he and Fox blamed supporters of “our communist friend” Bernie Sanders. Trump then threatened to send some of his thugs to break up Sanders' events. He also justified a supporter who physically assaulted a black man as a way of making America great again – and promised to press charges against protesters in order to ruin their lives.
THINK: Okay, so the AlphaGo computer beat real world-class human Go players. Why's that a big deal? Because AlphaGo was not programeed to play Go, it was programed to learn how to play – and it did. Quickly. Well enough to imply it can learn lots of other games, like investing... or living. AlphaGo uses a generic technique for learning, one that can master all sorts of things that humans in offices get paid to do today. And the things that soldiers get paid to do, too.
An Open Records Record: If you would like to have copies – electronic copies, push a button copies, no paper involved, no printer, no labor – of the emails showing how city employees dealt with the lead poisoning, it'll cost you $172,203. Which may go a long way toward explaining how the city ended up in so much trouble in the first place.
Tribulations: Mr. Krugman has been ranting on about how globalization is the work of gods and kings and omniscient economists while justifying the harm various free-looting agreements have done to the US by ignoring the lost jobs, the lost manufacturing plants, the lost tax base, and the lost stature of economists who support looting on a global scale. Then he turns to Trump and Sanders and claims they would “rip up America's international agreements” and damage “our credibility and standing in the world.” What credibility? And our main “standing in the world” is that of a serial invader and overthrower of governments; one which routinely creates a fine mist out of random Muslims in the service of international capitalism. Ah, but I drone on...
Half-Measure: California will soon permit “medically assisted suicide”, assuming you can find a doctor brave enough to let you die.
Matchmakers: Doctors have managed to fool a patient's immune system into accepting a kidney transplant from a donor who is not a biological “match”.
Government Math: Canada spends $2.5 million overseeing the half-million dollar seal harvest. Be a lot cheaper to stop clubbing the little fellas and just give the couple of million to the “hunters.”
A Parting Shot: