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Fatster’s Roundup

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Good morning, all!

International Developments

? Targeted killings issues: 1) The number of civilian casualties is unknown since the administration “cannot give its side of the story in any credible way”; 2) There is not “a single report of a drone strike actually halting a truly imminent attack” on the US; 3) Due to secrecy, we don’t know if drone strikes are being used against “enemies of states with which we are seeking to curry favor” (Pakistan, Yemen); 4) Why are so-called “signature strikes” (slippery to define in any case) being used in Yemen? Biggest issue of all: How do we “hold our leaders accountable to the laws they claim to be following in secret”?

? This’ll knock the breath out of you: “The US Military Approves Bombing Children“. The author quotes an Army Lt. Colonel: “It kind of opens our aperture. In addition to looking for military-age males, it’s looking for children with potential hostile intent.”

? Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have “clashed” in Cairo. Apparently, a sit-in by about 300 Morsi opponents was interrupted by Muslm Brotherhood members.

? Good grief! Serbian ambassador to NATO, Branislav Milinkovic “was chatting and joking with colleagues in a multistory parking garage at Brussels Airport” when he turned, flung himself over a barrier and plunged to his death on the ground below.

International Finance

? UK firm Tesco is pulling out of the US supermarket business after 30 years. No word yet on what will happen to its US Fresh & Easy stores.

Money Matters, USA

? US households’ median net worth fell a whopping 47% between 2007-2010, with the middle class hit disproportionately hard. Why? The “economic crisis was first and foremost a housing crisis” and houses “are by far the biggest store of wealth” for the middle class. Second, the middle class had amassed “loads and loads of debt . . .to cover everyday expenses”–a debt burden that escalated from 41% in 2001 to 61% in 2007.

? “Tax the Traders! It Would Solve Economic Crisis and Stop Reckless Activity: A tax on financial transactions will give us gobs of revenue.” So says Eliot Spitzer–to big applause.

? Poor things, they’re really having to scramble, given uncertainties associated with the “fiscal cliff” drama. Larry Ellison of Oracle gets $198.9 million in dividend payout at year’s end, Sheldon Adelson $1.2 billion, etc. All total, about $22 billion in dividends from 110 companies–$3.3 billion to be paid in taxes.

? US home prices went up 6.3% in October–the most since July 2006.

? Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale. [cont’d.]

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