Friday, August 30, 2013
Getting serious about Syria.
I've been scanning news reports on the situation in Syria from an up close and personal perspective. I like to dig through on the ground interviews from people who were actually there to piece together the facts. One man reported hearing the artillery shells at about 3 AM. I've watched these myself via Livestream one night last year. You hear the shot go off followed by the whiz of it traveling through the air then the explosion and smoke. In this man's case there was no explosion after hearing the shells. He reported smelling something like rotten eggs and said he ran with his family to a basement. He was one of the lucky ones and was later able to get away from the carnage that ensued. Such is the nature of chemical weapons and hazardous chemicals. It's a matter of how near you are to them and the space around you.
So from what I've read and my knowledge of such things (I am trained for such an attack believe it or not) I surmise that the weapons used were a combination. First there was the mustard gas which can produce a rotten egg smell. Also used was phosgene. I can't speculate on Sarin even though many of the symptoms were there. The reasoning behind these first two are that they are easily produced and therefore it would be easy to blame the other side. Do I think the rebels used the gas? No. It wouldn't make sense. The rebels were ill equipped to protect themselves having a limited supply of gas masks and very little in the way of protection. You will note the photo of the "cache" of chemical weapons discovered by the Syrian Army showed mostly gas masks and atropine which is an antidote to a chemical attack.
How will this end? That's anyone's guess. To attempt a strike on Syrian targets would do little to deter Assad and like striking a hornets nest could do more harm. Like or not we'll have to live with the current situation until a later time. There's too many players in this game with Russia China Iran and the U.S. playing the proxy war. Until all sides come to meet nothing will change. The only winners in this game at the moment are the arms dealers and even they will have a tough time when most of their customers are dead.
Bank fails later.
Update: No fails this week
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The slow motion train wreck we call the worlds economy took another leap forward. With bent tracks and a very large curve ahead you'd better hold on to your hats and wallets too.
India's rupee sank yet again. Just announced today that it's near to impossible to get a business loan in the euro zone. Oil has shot through the roof while investors have sought the safety of gold. Only problem there boys and girls is that you can't eat gold and most stores don't take it as tender.
The lame stream media continues it's drum beat to the build up of the attack on Syria. Geez you'd think Evil Knevil had come back from the dead and was about to jump the empire state building. All they need now is a sponsor. How about Smith & Wesson that might be fitting? This is all dick waving so just don't get caught on the backswing. There's enough lies and half truths flying about out there to make a conspiracy theorist's head explode. So what's this really about? It's about money oil and power plain and simple. But for the media it's all about the show and how many bodies they can present on the nightly news because after all like a good action movie it's not over until the hero has gunned down an entire regiment of baddies. As the expression goes "if it bleeds it leads". In this case they have plenty of time to hype it and no one will really see who did what to whom until the dust clears.
Checking the trends you'd think that the biggest focus was about the latest indiscretion of the trending entertainer. After all they make a career out of it. Bad publicity is better than none in that business, but you'd be wrong. Not about the entertainers but about the trends. Latest I'm hearing facebook and twitter (although I use neither) is more about fears of an animal attack than any dress malfunction or bawdy performance. A gator attack in Florida and a wild big cat in Detroit seem to be making the top of the list. Syria is in there but it's nowhere near the top. But hen again our priorities shift as we get older.
But this whole post was supposed to be about the economy. You can just about take any city state or country and plug it into the latest economic disaster report. If a city state or country says it's doing well they're lying. The only ones making it are those who have their money stashed in Switzerland Luxembourg or the Caymans. That's a fact you can take to the bank.
For me it's just about making it to the finish line before I take a dirt nap.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Is it my imagination or is the news getting recycled?
Suddenly missing Nixon tapes surface. Former president recalling an assassination attempt that happened nearly 40 years ago. Civil rights marches that haven't been seen since the 60s. Did somebody reset the Delorian time settings Marty?
Good is becoming bad and bad good. Hannah Montana doing a dirty dancing bit. Enough to have old Walt Disney spinning in his grave. But then again who didn't have the hots for Annette, but I digress.
Where was I? Back to the regurgitated news that's been chewed up swallowed and analyzed to death only to be served up on our viewing plates cold. Tell us something we don't know. Area 51 again? Yeah yeah we know and there wasn't any aliens mucking about, but where else are you going to test planes at mock 1 or 2 without the Ruskies snooping? Finally fess up to the fact that we overthrew the elected leader of Iran back in the 50s because he was leaning socialist and just might have nationalized the oil fields?
Next thing you know they'll have found the whereabouts of Judge Crater or the body of Jimmy Hoffa. Seems anything is fair game as long as it detracts from the fact that our government is doing absolutely nothing about anything. Naming a post office or installing another federal judge may sound like you did something but to us it doesn't really count. Nothing on the event calendar you say then just throw in another awards ceremony. That's good for at least a day and a half's news cycle. And not to dishonor our military folk but have you ever noticed that so many receive a metal for screwing up? They get captured by the enemy after making a wrong turn on the road, have to be rescued and they're considered a hero? No I'll tell you who the real heros are. They're the ones who did their jobs and came home who are now jobless and without a home and who can't medical help when they need it. These are the guys who did three four and even five tours of duty in a god forsaken desert yet their reward is little more than lip service and not a bright future.
But yet again I digress. Let's have another round. Beers? No talks. Talks about what to do about Syria. Let's get this right. (Wait for it this gets snarkier). We'll hold high level talks with our allies where we can discuss our options. All options are on the table and a plan of action must be forged out. Alternative plans must be taken into consideration and additional channels of communication must be kept open. All resources must be put in play. A coalition must be formed and consensus reached. No clear evidence has been established. High ranking members of an international team are set to hold talks yet that has been delayed. The current situation has caused the markets to tumble (hope you bought your hedge insurance) and crude prices to skyrocket (so much for the long labor day outings) .
Okay okay I'll step off the ivory flakes box. You can get back to shopping. Nothing to see here.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Get ready for the manure storm about to hit the financial markets. Can you say fan meet poop? Thought you could.
Where to begin on this three hour tour of the funny money trail of sleuthing. Guess Greece is as good a place to start. After cutting corporate taxes to the bone and letting the 1% off shore their treasures for the last many years it's finally caught up to that nation's economy. Got to pay the piper eventually. But fearful that they'll lose their golden goodies nestled comfortably in the Caymans the well to do has held their government hostage. " You'll take this loan and like it" says the gangster class. And whom did they expect to pay back such a loan when incomes were less than world average even in good times? "Not to fret we'll just loan ya the money when the payment is due" was the mantra. All well and good until they realized that there weren't anymore belt loops left to tighten and who wants to buy some old ruins at a garage sale? So with no other option Greece took the deal but I'm sure didn't like it. And when the payment came due again it was a repeat scenario. Just how do you squeeze blood out of a turnip?
Bounce across the waves to China that once bastion of communist capitalism they looked like they'd cornered the market on cheap chotskies that the world could not do without. Where else could you get a hand painted back scratcher in solid wood for under a buck? But let's face facts, the world only needs so many lead laced toys and plastic gadgets. So they diversified and started building apartment buildings. Build it and they will come was the thinking. Must have seen that Costner movie way back when. Only thing was they didn't come and now whole cities sit empty rotting away. Must have missed the part about putting the cart before the horse. And like all bad leaders they lied about the growth figures because to do otherwise might get ya killed there.
Now on to another giant in the world economic game, India. The headline reads "India 'vexed' by accounting gap". Sounds almost quaint doesn't it? Vexed implies a trivial matter like a mosquito buzzing around your head. Did they ever stop to consider that maybe we caught on to their customer no service call centers and are now relying on the internet for our answers? You'll have better luck calling the local TV consumer reporter problem solver if the problem is more complex. Their currency by the way has dumped 44% of it's value in the last two years or so I'm told.
What's the matter financial wizards no more bubbles left to inflate? You've squeezed the last remaining pennies from grandma's purse so what's left to steal? We now sit in a Ponzi economy where debt is bought and sold. Take a cruise around the neighborhood and note the for sale signs or better yet check out the foreclosures that you won't see. They're neatly hidden from view in the back pages of the newspaper that is if you still read one. Think they're online too but be prepared to dig. They wouldn't want to cause a panic.
Lastly they've lied about the unemployment figures. It may be true that some folks have gone back to work but the jobs offered after having worked a few decades would be not much over minimum wage at best. Hours have been cut and it's no easy task to pay bills with promises. But fear not the gurus of the financial markets predict global growth which may be true if you have your stock fund full and the insurance to cover it when it crashes. They wouldn't lie to us now would they?
Bank fails later.
UPDATE: One bank failed in Az.
Bank fails later.
UPDATE: One bank failed in Az.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Laughable - that would be what I call the government's feeble attempt to distract from the impact and ramifications of the Snowden leaks. And while the powers that be and may soon not be have done everything but tap dance naked to divert your attention, they have irritated the one person they should have left alone. That would be Glenn Greenwald who holds enough information on them that they should be running scared. Arrest warrants and bully tactics is not helping their case.
The latest in this misadventure is the governments demand to have hard drives at the offices of the Guardian newspaper destroyed. First off I'll bet the UK meanies didn't even bother checking the information. Secondly it shows how ignorant those trying to cover their misdeeds really are. Didn't they realize that there would be other copies of this information which by the way has now been spread all over the internet now. If you don't believe me I think if you'd give me a minute I could get you a copy. Be forewarned though, what the Guardian holds is close to a terra bit of information or so I'm told, it could be more.
You will note the latest attempt to fess up when the CIA revealed that yes they did indeed play a part in overthrowing a democratically elected leader and installing their guy as leader of Iran back in the 50s. Oh give me a break! Fessing up to the fact that there's an area 51 the best known secret is not something I'd call an earth shattering confession. Sorry but the priest is busy groping the alter boy to hear matters this trivial. Next they'll be telling us they helped overthrow the elected government in Guatemala with a fake uprising in the 50s, (yawn).
Tell us what you've been up to lately. You must have the goods on Eric Holder cause none of the wall street bankers has yet to see the inside of a jail cell. And maybe you've nudged Assad to take on the common folk in that country because it sure would make things difficult for Russia and stymie their plans. Then there's Egypt with it's rotating dictators, but all in all these are just guesses as to your misdeeds. Can't wait to read the book and the movie should be a blockbuster if it doesn't turn into a Russian novel. Maybe a miniseries is in order.
Sorry guys you have besmirched the reputation of a nation all in the name of truth justice and the American way. Which has now becomes lies injustice and for most of us Un American. Slapping a label on somebody no longer works when information travels at the speed of light. Facts can be checked and events recorded or viewed in real time. Come clean before it's too late.
Friday, August 16, 2013
"It's okay little fella I'm from the NSA and this won't hurt a bit."
We thought the days of the Stosi and KGB interrogations were a thing of the past. Forget having your door kicked in at 2 am and your papers examined and seized. This is far more sinister. Without so much as a writ or even a "how do you do" our government has taken upon itself to be judge jury and executioner. You think I kid? Not only did our government have a completely flawed program but they set about to cover up their lies and mistakes as shown below.
"The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence."
"In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff."
It's understandable that no system is perfect but this was flat out incompetent. It's a safe bet that this information gathered is the basis of the "no fly" list and we've seen how well that's worked out. Six month old babies pulled from line because they had the same name as some suspect. Or worse when the person is older and has no recourse to get their name taken off the list.
James R. Clapper Jr head of our intelligence acknowledged that the NSA violated the 4th amendment but Obama blocked any FOI request for that information. He (Clapper) later lied to congress saying that there was no breach of the amendment.
The sheer volume of calls intercepted in the last few years is cause for concern and no computer program could cull accurate information on a regular basis. You know as well as I trying to do what a google search comes up with when trying to find a precise name or specific item. The end result is almost never of great value and usually results in millions of irrelevant hits. The following being an example:
In dozens of cases, NSA personnel made careless use of the agency’s extraordinary powers, according to individual auditing reports. One team of analysts in Hawaii, for example, asked a system called DISHFIRE to find any communications that mentioned both the Swedish manufacturer Ericsson and “radio” or “radar” — a query that could just as easily have collected on people in the United States as on their Pakistani military target.
As this may seem like a minor inconvenience to some, after all what do you have to hide, the potential for error and the ramifications are immense. Just because your name may be John Smith would be of no consequence should you somehow be tied to an overseas call of less than honorable intention.
Bank fails later
No fails this week guess everybody is on vacation.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Voter suppression law passed in North Carolina
Nothing says democracy like preventing people from voting. Cutting the days and hours one can vote will do wonders. And don't forget the birth certificate (that is if they even trust it) a government issued photo ID and what's next a DNA sample?
Stocks open lower on weak outlook
Hey wasn't it just yesterday that everything was peaches and cream? Corporations see their profits slid. Why? Because nobody has any money left to steal (er finagle). And corporations are sitting on over a trillion dollars since the bailout. A vicious cycle there. Can't make a profit unless somebody buys something and people can't buy anything unless they're working. Most jobs now are either part time or temporary and only pay minimum wage. Try supporting a family on that Sam Walton.
Containers of alcohol found in fatality accident that killed 5 in Texas
Someone once told me that it's not against the law to drink a beer and drive in Texas. That makes sense if you're asking for trouble and it looks like those kids found it. There's enough idiots on the road gabbin on their cell phones or worse trying to text. It's okay it won't happen to me is their thinking. Famous last words. So while a bottle of Jack or an open can of Bud may be okay in Austin just don't get caught with a sex toy cause then they'll come down hard on you :-)
Air force nuke program gets in trouble for failing inspection
Somebody forget where they left the president's phone number? And isn't this where the air force sends all it screw ups and under achievers? Something akin to the foreign legion of the military. Those guys must feel like the wall flower at the school prom.
A bank hostage taker claiming a device was implanted in his head was shot and killed by police.
What's that you say Mr. Reagan? You'll open the doors to the mental hospitals and let people out and nothing will happen. Seems a lot of those folks made it to congress.
Lastly someone wrote a blog post touting the wonderful aspects of GMO foods but not exactly. Actually they proceeded to rip anyone who just might think GMOs were a bad thing. GMOs by the way are the genetically modified foods engineered to withstand a plague of locusts or a draught.
Sorry but I don't buy the arguments. They've been messing with our food for the past few decades and it now tastes like shit. Yes I said it. Sorry but I haven't had a "real" tomato in years. The shit, and I'll call it that, you get in stores here would make a great item for the Toronto Blue Jay's batting practice. And if you're looking for flavor you'd better eat the shipping carton it came in. It will have more flavor.
If we let corporations take it to it's logical end we'll land up with square fruit and vegetables that have a shelf life of a twinkie. No one will know the exact health effects of this engineered food for another generation or so. But hey they touted asbestos as being a great thing for years right?
Okay okay you got me it's been a slow news week/month.
Friday, August 9, 2013
Why there can never be a victory in a war on terror. First off terror is a state of mind and not a concrete thing. If you wanted to fight terror there may be a drug for the malady but not a strategic military plan. No amount of bombs or guns or ammunition will end it. Another issue is that we keep hitting "suspected" terror targets with missiles fired from drones. A suspect is just that a suspect. There is no reason to believe they are guilty of anything until some evidence is produced and even then a person has a right to some sort of judicial process. I believe that's part of international law if I'm not mistaken.
And why all the sudden terror terror terror alerts? Why because it's to take our focus off the fact that the stock market is over inflated just like the housing bubble. The prices are not based in reality but some ill perceived notion that prices will go up for ever just as people thought their cracker box homes could shoot to over a million bucks or more if they played their cards right. Didn't happen did it? At some point the money ran out, the bubble burst and prices fell like a stone. There was a time when 15 rail cranes graced the skyline of Seattle building more office space and condos than one could imagine. In just a few short months they were all gone. At present I saw 3 putting up a few more buildings but for the most part the condos sit empty and banks aren't financing unless you're prepared for an extensive cavity search of you financial records. Who's the terrorist now when banks won't finance and basically got away with fraud the last time around?
Are oil and gas prices realistic? Of course not. And if you'd like to know who controls a lions share of that market just look up a company called KK&R and dig through their tentacles of commerce. So who needs terrorists when we have bankers and corporations who would suck the marrow out of our bones and watch our children starve to death and not give a care.
Bank fails this week - There was one in Wisconsin.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Fast food workers walk out to protest for higher wages.
When two of these jobs combined won't support a family you know something's wrong. And what do you think they'll get should the minimum wage be raised? Maybe a quarter an hour which won't cut it either. Owners rail against such increases but the truth is it's the taxpayer who have to cover the tab when a worker needs food stamps and medicaid just to get by. So that burger or pizza isn't so cheap after all.
Milk products from New Zealand tainted - Russia and China stop imports.
Okay China can just drink their own milk laced with plastic (melamaine - remember that?) that killed six babies not that long ago. But if you think that was bad I've noticed stores here trying to sell products past their pull date. Check your expiration dates folks.
Syrian rebels take four villages in a fight against Assad's army.
An interesting and seemingly smart military maneuver when you stop to consider these were Alawite areas, that's the people who make up the ruling party. However rather than hold off on any air attacks (This is a densely populated area), Assad's forces went right ahead and bombed these areas. Russia obviously doesn't care what happens to the country, they're only waiting for everything to collapse to go in and get after the oil and gas resources. The U.S. won't go in because to do so would be like diving into a hornets nest.
Lab made burgers?
This could be a paradigm shift in the way food is produced. A hamburger made from cloned stem cells was presented today in London by Mark Post its developer. Still needs a little work as the beef made from the stem cells of an organically grown cow had no fat content. Don't expect these burgers to show up on the value menu any time soon as this burger cost $330,000 to produce. Another thought comes to mind here too. Let's not let Monsanto get it's grubby mitts on this idea. We saw what they did to corn and other produce. Yum! an artificially made hamburger made and delivered by robots. For some reason a coffee vending machine comes to mind... yuck! never mind.
Let's not forget sports in this news cast
A-Rod gets caught cheating, lies about it then wants another chance.
This wasn't a one time deal where he greased a ball or something like that it was basically an entire career that's an outright lie. Maybe they could have an unlimited or ultimate baseball league where anything goes but until that happens my set will be turned off. And how do they expect any team loyalty with free agency where players are shuffled like a penuckle deck. The team with the lowest funds or cheap owners get stuck with minor leaguers or wash ups. The paint is almost dry now how exciting. I'll let you know when it is dry. I have my eye on it.
It's okay here. A bit drier than normal. But with the recent heat waves in the east expect some more violent weather to follow. But then that's just a guess because you have a 50/50 chance in any weather prediction. Either it rains or it doesn't.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Whyz it that somebody dies and they were always looked on with kind words and flowery orations? Usually should this happen at the prime of life there's nearly always a candle light vigil complete with stuffed animals and balloons or a road side marker. There was the exception of Ms. Thatcher who upon her death would cause that noted Wizard of Oz ditty "Ding dong the witch is dead" to rise to the top of the download charts.
Some of these folks slid on out of their earthly coil somewhat forgotten by all but their colleagues. Sorry but does anybody really remember John Palmer? No? "Okay then it's back to you Chet and David" would be all I could remember. Another passing of late is Michael Ansara and all I can remember of him was he usually played the part of an indian in most TV westerns in the 50s shaved head and all.
In other useless news we have the Powerball jackpot at $400 million. Bet you 20 bucks you don't win it!
Then there is the obligatory blurb of the latest celeb getting picked up on a DUI charge, sometimes with an ugly altercation sometimes not but we won't got there because who really cares? Geez you'd think these people could afford a chauffeur.
So what remnants of the news does that leave us with? Another stolen election in a country that no high school student today could find on a map? Sorry babe Africa isn't a country. Perhaps another car plowing into innocent bystanders on the LA boardwalk would be up your alley (pun intended) but that would be right up there with a high speed chase (yawn). What no puppy trapped in the well to divert our attention? But he was so cute when they pulled him out all dirty and whimpering. It takes the mind off the 100+ men women and children being bombed to death on a daily basis in Syria.
Okay you want mayhem? How about an implosion gone wrong with a guy losing one leg and maybe the other too? Boys went cheap and forgot the blast defectors on that one. Idiots! You're supposed to put sand bags around the explosives.
In sports we have the new American wasteland complete with steroidal touch downs/homeruns and bike race antics. Come on fess up, anymore sheep hormones in your system and you'd bleat.
That just leaves weather and there doesn't look like anything's going to happen in the near future here. But cheer up hurricane season is approaching and with any luck we'll have devastation and destruction to talk about for weeks. Just don't try to catch that on CBS if you have Time Warner.Okay one more for the road:
Friday, August 2, 2013
While the rest of the world moves from crisis to crises our friendly beaver goes about his business building his dam and prepares for winter. It's what beavers do you know. In the mean time the world heals worry upon worry and scare upon scare. What no impending tornado bearing down on us or killer heat wave to worry about? Just have to slide some more terrorists under the bed to keep the masses in line.
Distractions? Hum? How about a man standing on his head on the back of a tiger riding an elephant while the elephant walks a tight rope. Now that just might make the 11 o'clock news. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain pulling levers causing the sirens of panic and boogyman alerts, his assistant is busy robbing the coffers of world governments. It was after all their nefarious plan all along. If you think for a minute that you'll make it anywhere near the top of this monetary dung heap think again. Only a percentage of a percent make it to that club and you aren't in it. Their minions are busy scaring the poop out of the peonage™. Just how are the Hamptons this year Buffy?
Wow it's now about 8:30 AM here and the news feed goes on and on and on, post after post after post about the boogyman (Al-Qaida) just itching to get his hooks in us. First off I haven't been out of this country but maybe 3 times in my life. And I seriously doubt we'll see bands of bare footed dark robed foreigners roaming our streets complete with an AK-47 in one hand and a pressure cooker in the other. Be very afraid they tell us. Sorry ain't buying it. You cried wolf once to many times. And this being a Friday I'd bet a weeks wages (that is if I had a job) that the latest scam is neatly being swept under the rug as we speak. It's how they roll and we're on to the game now.
So go about your business there's nothing to see here and oh yes...
Bank fails later
UPDATE: One bank in FL failed this week.
UPDATE: One bank in FL failed this week.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Now that we've been Zimmered and Snowdened half to death there's not a lot to write about. Sure Fukushima is still leaking and congress is all but doing nothing, those are a given. Nothing with any meat to write about. Come on fate throw me a bone would ya? But then again why bother? Seems it isn't news unless it's bad news and the spigot is running dry. Standoffs are so common in the country they've become about as exciting as an La. car chase. Spare me the film at 11 would you? Two common endings include the suspect crashing the stolen vehicle into (pick one) light pole, mail box, van turning or the obligatory leap off the highway and down a ravine at least 100 feet. Yawn.
Must cheer up, there's always hurricane season to look forward to. But I guess with life if you live it long enough you've seen just about everything and more than once. Can't think of much I haven't seen or been surprised about. Come on fickle finger of fate wage it around and let's see what you can come up with. Sorry but I just couldn't take another reality show involving such mundane tasks as ironing (does anybody still do that?) or watching paint dry. Oh that's a disheartening thought, competitive paint drying contests complete with cheating because you know everybody cheats nowadays.
Must be something to do while I sit here listening to my arteries harden. Come on amuse me with your snark you know you want to....