Measles Outbreak Should Lead to Criminal Consequences -- The recent outbreak of measles in the United States is, like the Iraq War and the Great Recession were, a completely preventable situation. A small amount of thought and reason could have ensured that the disease (which should have been on the ash-heap of history by now) never spread. Exemptions from otherwise mandatory vaccinations because of personal beliefs has no place in a world of Al Qaeda and ISIS and genetic engineering. Doctors who argue against vaccinations should lose their licenses, and parents who decline to vaccinate their children should face criminal prosecution. [30 January]
German Prices Fall, Europe is Deflating -- The economic policies of the conservative German government of Angela Merkel have been wrong from the beginning of the global financial crisis. However, Germany has escaped from the folly thus far because the Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians and Irish have born the financial pain. Since Germany depends heavily on exports and because its markets are wallowing in recession or worse the chickens have come home to roost. Prices in Germany are falling, and the nation has imported deflation. The European Central Bank will be hard put to fix things if Dr. Merkel and company don't change their tune. [29 January]
Boehner Pulls Immigration Bill from House Floor -- If one needed further proof that the new Congress is an ill-organized mob, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) had to pull an immigration bill from the floor of the chamber today because he didn't have the votes to pass it. The Republican leadership tried to blame the move on the bad weather in New England, but they have not rescheduled the vote. It appears that the House GOP is not as centrist as many thought. [28 January]
Anti-Austerity Syriza Party Wins Greek Election -- After years of European-enforced austerity and depression, the Greek electorate finally had enough. Sunday's voting put the anti-austerity Syriza Party within a seat or two of an absolute majority. Thanks to the 50 bonus seats the largest party receives and the support of the right-wing Independent Greeks, Alexander Tsirpas is the new boss in Greece. This means a paradigm shift in dealing with Greece within the EU. One hopes Dr. Merkel, et.al., are ready to be told off. [27 January]
Salman Succeeds Abdullah as Saudi King -- Saudi Arabia's aged King Abdullah passed away yesterday, and succeeding him is his half-brother Salman. The oil markets rallied $1 a barrel on the news, which only goes to show how little oil traders understand the local politics. King Salman ibn Abdul Aziz is known as a mediator among the Saudi royal family members, which boasts of 4,000 princes. His health is not great, and at 79, his reign is likely to be short. Given the way Saudi Arabia is governed, the policies and practices will continue as they did under Abdullah. [23 January]
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