Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Erickson Report, Page 1: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages - the Clowns

Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages - the Clowns

We're going to start the show with one of our frequent features, called Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages and this time we're going to start with the Clowns.

Our first clown is the Department of Energy. I’ll note that this is from a little more than two weeks back but it's too good to let pass.

1. In an otherwise mundane press release on May 28 announcing approval of more exports by a Freeport LNG terminal off the coast of Texas, the DOE declared the expansion of exports to be "critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world" and that more such exports will allow for "molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world.”

So it’s kind of like freebasing but without the kick.

2. Next up is the news that the Wicked Witch of the Desk and Clown Lady Supreme Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving us. She’s going home to spend more time lying to her family.

Actually, since there hasn't been a press briefing for about three months, I thought she left some time ago.

My favorite memory of her infamous career is when she told the press after Tweetie-pie fired James Comey that the White House had heard from “countless” - that was her word - “countless” FBI agents that they has lost faith in him only to have to tell investigators for Robert Mueller - a moment when there might be actual consequences for lying - that those comments were based on "nothing."

3. Our next clown is Sinclair Broadcasting, infamous for top-down corporate control of the well over 200 local TV stations it owns,control including distributing "must-run" segments touting the corporation's right-wing blather, including sometimes having it included in news shows as if it were a real news item.

One demand was that local stations use a huge "code red day" graphic any time there was a prediction of severe weather. Joe Crain, a meteorologist at WICS-TV in Springfield, Illinois, complained about the system on-air, noting that the dramatic, one-size fits all style is not nearly as informative as the more graded system used by the National Weather Service system and adding that many viewers had complained about it before calling it "a corporate initiative."

A day later, Crain disappeared from the air and a job listing for a meteorologist at WICS appeared - interestingly, not on WICS’s website, but on Sinclair's.

Robert Samuelson
4. Finally on this, Robert Samuelson, a Washington Post columnist who several years ago wished the Internet would just go away, well deserves his red nose.

In a column on June 12, he bemoaned the fact that the population of Japan is shrinking a little, predicting all sorts of dramatic, hideous outcomes as a result: Labor shortages! Deficits! Crushing debt burdens!

Of course, Japan is ten times as densely populated as the United States, so it would seem it could use a little more room.

Oh, but it's debt has ballooned! Well, yes it has, so much so that its debt service burden - which is the real measure of the “burden” of a debt, not how big it is but how much it costs to service it - its debt service burden will be about 0.1% of GDP, which in the US, allowing for the differences in the sizes of the two economies, would be about $20 billion. Utterly crushing.

But you know what makes it really bad in Samuelson's eyes? According to him, “Half of Japanese children born in 2007 are expected to live to 107.” The utter horror.

By the way, why is this a problem to him? Because capitalism is based on growth. There always has to be more: more people, more stuff, more production, more waste, more resource extraction, more more more. Without a constant flow of more, capitalism falters and ultimately fails.

Which means the dire future he sees for Japan is not dire for the Japanese but for capitalism.

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