Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dog Days Edition

When I woke up way too early this morning, the first thing I noticed was that alpha dog Sirius had beaten me to it, even getting out ahead of Old Sol in the rising department. Some might call this presumptuous. But if Jeb Bush's Billionaire Job Creators have the Right to Rise before everybody else, why not Sirius?

The Dog Days are upon us, spelling all manner of catastrophe and general misery. Or, so the ancients cheerfully believed. Not like us moderns, who live under the false impression that the Dog Days have something to do with panting dogs lying around in the heat because it's too hot to move. That is what they want you to think, because in America, we must always look toward the cruel, big, bright sun with the happy face as we sweat and weep and gnash our teeth. That twinkling little dead dawn-star named after a dog? You can wish upon it all you want, but contrary to what Jiminy Cricket sang in Pinocchio, it absolutely does make a difference who you are in whether your dreams come true in the 21st century.

Therefore, I leave you with a fair and balanced Panglossian approach today -- equal parts joy and misery.

First, the cheer. One of the pillars of Barack Obama's presidency has developed a possibly lethal crack, as the latest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations broke down last night. Reps for the American plutocracy apparently had a hard time convincing such nations as Chile and Australia that sky-high drug prices to replace reasonable ones was a good idea, in the best interests of sick people. This is really strange, since they were doing the deal-making in mellow Maui. I guess either the Maui Wowie was cheap skunk, or the negotiators refused to smoke it, because they also balked at jeopardizing such nationalistic munchables as sugar, rice and cheese. And this, after the Obama administration promised to protect sea turtles as well as protecting the Malaysian slave trade!


 Obama should take heart, though, because there is still misery aplenty in Precariatland. As the New York Times' Gretchen Morgenson lays out, the HAMP program designed to protect homeowners from foreclosure has ended up protecting the big bank predators instead. The banks have thrown 72% of distressed homeowners requesting loan modifications under the bus, and then they have the nerve to blame their "irresponsible" victims for having the poor taste to get old, lose a job, or become disabled.More than six years after the economic meltdown caused by the Too Big To Fails, the Obama administration is still foaming the runway for the Too Big To Jails. Tiny Tim is still telling Citigroup and Bank of America: "Mammon Bless Us Everyone!"

But here's some good news, Evictees of America. Big Poultry is removing antibiotics from the feed it gives the chickens it crams into those filthy, inhumane cages. The birds will now have the Freedom to spread their diseases to you while Perdue and Chick Fil-A and their partners in pharmaceutical crime insist that overpriced, patent-protected meds to treat those diseases are no longer strain-resistant! Of course, this altruism will give drug companies an excuse to charge consumers even more. They still have to feather their own nests, y'know.

We Are So Clucked


Since the Dog Days are upon us, Prime Minister David Cameron is literally calling out the dogs to prevent African and Middle Eastern refugees from tunneling their way over from France to his blessed plot, his earth, his realm, his England. No word yet as to his breed of choice, but I would assume that pit bulls are about to be drafted into the Royal Canine Corps. After all, since Cameron's whole neoliberal governing philosophy (austerity) is both bull and the pits, why not put some teeth in it? 

Austirius Rises: "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Tunneled Masses."

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Thom Hartman has a really good observation that Trump and Bernie are doing well in the polls because they are both against TPP and the Free/Faux Trade model. Trump acknowledges that we probably have 20% real unemployment - which most people in the middle class sense but keep being told is not true - and Trump puts it down to our "insane" trade policies. Well, normally I think Trump is a horse's ass but he has this one right -

Hartman maintains that the Middle Class is finally seeing through the free trade myth which is why they aren't buying into the Hillary / Jeb choice and are giving support to anti-free trade candidates. I am hopeful that this might have a cooling effect on the TPP. I can tell you that my two senators and House member all wrote me long letters explaining why they felt it was in the best interest of small businesses and all Washitonians that they voted to fast track the TPP. They usually ignore my criticisms so they clearly have gotten a lot of grief from their constituencies about they yea votes.

If the middle class has finally had enough of Free Trade and pressures their Congressional members to vote against it, Organised Labour might finally re-gain some ground. Now THAT might be a tide that lifts all boats if the poor exploited people in the Developing World can be safe to organize against the appalling working conditions that allow Americans to have $50 microwaves and $3 t-shirts.

I love the idea that now the TPP isn't "done and dusted" in Hawaii and is expected to drag into 2016, Hillary will have to commit herself one way or the other. If she is for the TPP (which we all know she is) and the middle class is cooling to faux/free trade, she might be in a pickle with her candidacy - hooray.

BTW - the sugar industry in Australia is having kittens over the fact that Obama is being so protective of U.S. sugar in a FREE TRADE agreement. It is all over the ABC (our Public Radio) and there is enough public outcry everywhere against the pharmaceutical patents being extended - in and out of Australia. The last time Australia had a free trade agreement with the U.S. our pharmaceuticals went way up in price.

Bless him, Jimmy Carter - at age 90 - is still speaking out and saying our government is an oligarchy where the rich buy off our politicians. Of course, they will try to marginalise him, but Thom Hartman has a nice little piece on him