Israel attacks Lebanon
Lots of worries on my mind today:
Israel is bombing the sh*t out of Lebanon in retaliation for two of its soldiers being kidnapped by Hezbollah. They’ve been attacking Gaza in retaliation for the kidnapping of another soldier.
The Middle East is about to flare like drought-dry timber in the West when an idiot tosses a cigarette butt out the window rather than stubbing it out in the ashtray.
While everyone else is telling Israel they’re overreating just a little,
Nitwit…. The Decidererer…President Bush says Israel “has the right to defend itself.” Uh, hello?? If there were actually air and rocket attacks on Israel, I could see this as being a defense. (UPDATE: Seems I read the report at MSNBC wrong. Hezbollah did fire rockets into Israel.) But Israel’s response is still more like someone pulling an Uzi and shooting up the neighborhood just because someone put a dent in their car – and the Army telling the victims that it was done in self-defense.
Not to mention that Bush immediately blows right past the people actually responsible and threatens Iran and Syria. More at The Left Coaster.
Also making me worry: Unemployment rolls increased by 19,000 last week. Oil went over $76/barrel, before lowering slightly, but it wasn’t enough to calm Wall Street. White House staffers (not the ones on the low end of the totem pole, naturally) got a $4200 cost-of-living increase in their salaries. Meanwhile, wages for actual working Americans remain stagnant, prices have increased on everything – most especially gasoline – so we’re working harder but buying less.
As a result, working Americans struggle to provide the basics while the bottom line for the richest and their corporations is increasing exponentially.
From 2003 to 2004, the average incomes of the bottom 99 percent of households grew by less than 3 percent, after adjusting for inflation. In contrast, the average incomes of the top one percent of households experienced a jump of almost 17 percent, after adjusting for inflation. (Census data show that real median income fell between 2003 and 2004. Average income is pulled up by gains at the top of the income spectrum; the 3 percent rise among the bottom 99 percent seems to largely reflect gains by households in the top quintile of the income spectrum. In contrast, trends in median income capture the experience of households in the middle of the income spectrum.)
Income gains were even more pronounced among those with the very highest incomes. The incomes of the top one-tenth of one percent of households grew more rapidly than the incomes of the top one percent of households. The share of the national income received by the top one tenth of one percent of households increased by 1.3 percentage points from 2003 to 2004; in other words, more than half of the increased share of income going to the top one percent of households actually went to the top one-tenth of one percent of households.
It should be noted that wage and salary growth has been unusually weak during this recovery, while the growth of corporate profits has been exceptionally strong. This contributes to growing income inequality, since high-income households own a highly disproportionate share of corporate assets and derive significant income from those assets. With weaker-than-normal wage growth and stronger-than-normal growth in corporate profits having continued into the first part of 2006, it is likely that the increase in income inequality that Piketty and Saez have documented through 2004 has continued since that time and that the nation’s already-large disparities in income are growing yet wider.
As you can see from the chart above, the last time we saw income share disparity like this, we were heading into the Great Depression.
At this point, and considering the Imbecile-in-Chief and his band of Merry Minions who are in charge, I don’t know what to fear more: a second Great Depression, or a third World War.