This Chart Answers The Musical Question, "What Percentage Of
All U.S. Corporate Profits Is Generated By The Financial
Sector?" Answer? "Their Satanic Majesties Request", Or 26%
...And This One Tracks Financial 'Industry' Profit As Percentage
Of Overall GDP. (Source: Arbor Research, via Big Picture)
Tonight at sundown (aside from its being the second night of Hanukkah), the Winter Solstice will begin. This is physically the longest night of the solar year, the Nadir, the lowest point in a cycle of one orbit of the planet around the sun.
As a result, you'd expect the kind of mutant freakshow we're seeing these days.
- Republicans Continue Countdown To Self-Detonation: Bob Schaeffer, CBS News Washington correspondent since the Late Cretaceous Period, noted in last night's CBS Evening News that the current (i.e., most recent) impasse in Congress is a result of "both sides trying to undermine each other". On the BBC's American version of the evening news, Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich (and
former BFFprior associate of Citicorp) commented in a segment on the effect to those living on unemployment of having benefits suddenly removed or slashed, "I try hard not to be partisan, but the Republican party seems to be the one" creating the current deadlock.
Some Left Blogistan sites (e.g., TPM) report that, as a result of the refusal of the Rethug-dominated House to pass a Senate bill that would extend (by two months) both a Social Security payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, President Obama's job approval ratings have become more positive. TPM reported 46.6% Approval vs. 48% Disapproval -- "There’s now a lot of evidence that the President’s approval numbers are rising after bottoming out at the end of the summer after the debt deal debacle," Josh Marshall wrote. "But they’re rising toward an almost total polarization. 50% for, 50% against. Very little middle ground."
Your New Stratoliner: The One Per Cent, And Their Hats
One interesting note: Little Rupert's Wall Street Journal, the "Tits 'n Tattle" scandal sheet of Rupert's empire for the financial class, ran an editorial criticizing Republicans for blocking the two-month extension in the House -- and mostly criticizing it as a poor tactic, rather than for the effect it would have on taxpayers and unemployed Americans.
Heaven forbid that Little Rupert or Fat Roger would give a damn about the people they treat with such barely-disguised contempt.
Rupert, that crafty ol' Aussie, is sending America's Rightist politicians a message: I Am Not Amused. Get Your Shit Together. But as much as he criticizes them, he has to support the Rethugs, and his NewsCorp will have to get behind whichever candidate, drooling, brain-dead and barking, it hoists for president in 2012.
So, whatever scribbles are published on the editorial page of the WSJ tabloid don't really matter. Little Rupert is as much a hostage of a self-destructing political party as the Rethugs are hostage to their addictive love for Little Rupert's propaganda.
MEHR: Not that long ago, the House Minority Whip, Stenny Hoyer walked to the floor of the House Of Representatives, and asked the Speaker Pro Temp, Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania (standing in for President Boner), to grant "unanimous consent" for an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill the Rethugs deep-sixed yesterday.
House Republicans on the Hill were with Speaker Boner at a photo-op. Meanwhile, as Hoyer made his request to the Speaker's chair on the House floor, Fitzpatrick simply ignored Hoyer and walked away... all broadcast on CSPAN.
"As you walk off the floor, Mr. Speaker," Hoyer said to Fitzgerald's back, "You’re walking away, just as so many Republicans have walked away from middle-class tax payers, the unemployed, and very frankly as well from those who will be seeking medical assistance from their doctors — 48 million senior citizens.”
In and of itself, business as usual in the United States Congress. But, providing the Democratic party with a telling image of Rethugs who don't give two hoots about The People, and which can be rebroadcast over and over and over? Priceless.
- Global Banking Structure Aims Free Money Nozzle At European Banks: The European Central Bank has loaned a massive 489 billion Euros ($639 billion US) to over five hundred European banks, at one per cent interest, for what the War Criminal Post reported as "an exceptionally long period of three years" in the ongoing attempt to keep the EU from dissolving into a bad fusion between "Apocalypse Now" and "Mr. Hulot Opens A Hedge Fund".
It was the biggest infusion of credit by the European Central Bank in the 13-year history of the Euro; in a response I think is best termed 'irrational exuberance', the DJIA rose over 330 points. The ECB's move allows its client banks to borrow money, essentially, for free: 1 Billion Euros borrowed can become loans, and any interest charged on those loans above one per cent is pure profit.
The problem is, these loans will act as life support for some financial players whose books are sagging with toxic debts that these ECB credit lines can't repair; the amounts of debt are too huge. It's just another means of postponing the Day O' Reckoning, kicking the can down a road paved with good intentions.
But, hey; Little Angela's happy. So, s'all good. Right?
- Rethugs Say, VOTE FOR PLAYER TO BE NAMED LATER! Replicating the internal epic battles within the Rethug, Red-State World (something like Rodan vs. Monster Zero), it appears that Thugs will nominate
Mitzy Perry Grand TurtleBear Ru Paul Mitzy Randyman Perry Ru Paul"Somebody Else" as their candidate for president in 2012.
No kidding; a poll recently reported by CBS showed Republicans pretty evenly split between three potential candidates, so far: Romney and Gingrich, and "Somebody Else". It's a ringing, star-spangled endorsement of -- well, somebody. A write-in candidate who embodies true, conservative principles, like Lil' Bernie Madoff, or William Stafford, or the Zombified Ronald Wilson Rayguns-ah.
The ever-tasteful Alicublog reports that the Special Bus Kidz at RedState are enthusiastically arguing in favor of... a Rick Perry candidacy.
Fellas, there's probably a robot somewhere that would govern in the most consistently conservative fashion -- it wouldn't be hard to program; just get it to yell "More tax breaks for the wealthy!" and "I hates me a faggot!" at intervals, and to fart loudly when France or higher education is mentioned -- but it doesn't mean anything unless you can get people to vote for it.I enjoy flailing, particularly when it reinforces stereotypes I have of conservatives as retrograde, Troglodyte morons, beating each other bloody with Wal-Mart shopping bags filled with The Collected Works Of Ronald Rayguns: "They fought so fiercely because the stakes were so small". Keep it up!
...Perry makes George W. Bush look like Pericles. Nobody, but nobody, is praying, "Oh Lord, send us someone just like George W. Bush, only stupider." Just the other day... Perry misread Kim Jong Il as "Kim Jong the Second". That's like something out of a Cheech and Chong movie. Most observers... have moved on to wondering if Perry can tie a shoelace without coaching.
- Tubby Twentysomething Becomes New Leader Of Starving, Heavily Armed North Korea: A few days ago, this short, pudgy guy with weird hair and glasses died -- some say on a train: Kim Jong Il, ruler of the upper half of the Korean peninsula and a leader of a totalitarian, repressive state... and was reportedly someone who loved dogs and western porn, and really in his heart was kinda, sort of, a good guy. "The Kim Nobody Knew".
His twenty-something son, Kim Jong Well, a short, pudgy guy with a very bad haircut who reportedly likes dogs, food and western porn, and in his heart is kind a good guy, replaced him. The CIA apparently had no idea that Kim Jong 2 had passed away until it was announced by North Korea's official media (there is no other kind).
There immediately commenced massive (and in the last Stalinst, cult-of-personality culture on the planet, we mean massive) shows of public grieving. Thousands gathered publicly to cry and cry and rend their hair and fall weeping on the pavement, each attempting to outdo everyone else to show how sad they are that a totalitarian freak, who wore shoes with three-inch lifts and created policies resulting in starvation of his people and nuclear weapons, was dead.
Kim Jong Well went to see his father lying in state, bowed without much expression, then reportedly went for pizza and some XBox action.
There's one other thing about The Winter solstice to keep in mind. This is the last of the old solar year, the bottom of the wheel, the Appogeian farthest point out in Earth's orbital motion. The planetary pole is tilted back; this is the longest period of darkness in a full turn around the sun.
And from midnight tonight, the Days will become incrementally longer, the nights shorter. From this long night we will all enter what I like to think of as The Season Of Rising Light -- from one point of view, the darkness being reduced a degree at a time, each day forward, until the top of the wheel, the Apex, next June.
And while waiting for someone to start singing "Here Comes The Sun", in the meantime, we'll still have the unfolding, everlasting clown show to watch.