Saturday, May 13, 2017

Today’s US Contribution toward World Peace


US nears $100bn arms deal for Saudi Arabia in time for Trump's visit.

Well what a wonderful headline, appearing on a weekend as such things do when the attention of the world is elsewhere.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity (don’t they all?), said the arms package could end up surpassing more than $300bn over a decade to help Saudi Arabia boost its defensive capabilities while still maintaining US ally Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors.”

Aha! Israel will maintain a ‘qualitative’ edge while all this shit goes down. Well, thank god for that. Not so sure how Saudi will feel about laying out that kind of cash and still finding themselves on the qualitative short end, but that’s what we’re supposed to believe as we fret about paying our mortgage and being stripped of our health care.
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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Austerity, for Whom?


The headlines are dire across Britain; England’s finest cathedrals battle financial crisis, National Health Service in dire need of funding, forced cutbacks on social services while rentals become unaffordable for the young. And yet the world is awash in money.

High-end flats in London stand empty while the city is in a housing crisis, bought by foreign investors as simply a vehicle in which to safely store their money. Kensington, Chelsea and Notting Hill have become warehouses for cash rather than lovely neighborhoods in which to live, while Theresa May, the vicar’s daughter, blathers on, “You have a job but you don't always have job security, you have your own home but you worry about mortgage rates going up, you can just about manage but you worry about the cost of living and the quality of the local school because there is no other choice for you. Frankly, not everybody in Westminster understands what it's like to live like this and some need to be told that it isn't a game.”
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Another Take on Vladimir Putin



Ah yes, here we go again with another attack on Vladimir Putin, this time from the pen of Joseph Stiglitz and I am a great admirer of his economic writing. But it’s fashionable once again to bash Russia and after watching too many decades of Cold War, I’m a bit fed up. This, from a recent Guardian UK article:

In terms of per capita income, Russia ranks 73rd (in terms of purchasing power parity) – well below the Soviet Union’s former satellites in central and eastern Europe. The country has de-industrialized: the vast majority of its exports now come from natural resources. It has not evolved into a “normal” market economy, but rather into a peculiar form of crony-state capitalism.”

Well Joe, Russia is de-industrialized because we gave it no choice. The majority of its exports come from natural resources because we blockaded all other options. Sanctions, as you so wisely admit, never work and we chose to sanction Russia to the limit.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Never Has a Nation So Willingly Been Walked off a Cliff



With the true conviction of a vicar’s daughter, Theresa May triggered Article 50 and marched Britain off a cliff named Brexit. No bands played, the Queen did not attend, no cannons fired a salute and no one knows what the hell will happen, but the deed is done.

A pitifully feeble Parliament gazed at its hands in its lap and allowed a fatally flawed referendum to change the course of British history. Without so much as a whimper, they nit-picked the choice of their Prime Minister’s leather trousers as Great Britain became less great on their watch.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

There Will Be Consequences—There Always Are



According to yesterday’s (Mar 17) article about Bernie Sanders in the Guardian UK newspaper, “a new poll found he is the most popular politician in America. But instead of embracing his message, establishment Democrats continue to resist him.”

Well, there’s nothing new in that, Senator Sanders was never taken seriously in the American media during the primary campaign and when he was mentioned it was usually with the disclaimer that ‘of course, he has no chance at the nomination.’

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

While I Wasn’t Looking, Someone Privatized My Senator




It’s no surprise our private health care system is by far the most expensive system in the developed world, anywhere from three to ten times higher in the U.S. than in Great Britain, Canada, France, or Germany. That suits insurance companies—although they wouldn’t even exist under universal single-payer care—and it’s a gravy-train for pharmaceutical companies.

But privatizing a Senator? My Senator? That’s a bit of a stretch.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

‘Guided Democracy,’ Governed by Those Who Can Manufacture Consent



Cambridge Analytica is said to be negotiating “two potentially lucrative new contracts, one to boost the incoming Trump White House's policy messaging and the other to help the Trump Organization expand its sales.” Those who question President Trump’s conflict of interest in maintaining control of the Trump Brand may find that rumor worth chasing down. Not so sure I want a ‘guided’ democracy.

Cambridge Analytica's web site says
“We bring together a 25 year experience in behavioral change, pioneering data science, and cutting-edge technology to offer unparalleled audience insight and engagement services and products … We collect up to 5,000 data points on over 220 million Americans, and use it to model target audience groups and predict the behavior of like-minded people.”

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