By Dan Taylor
In March of 2013 – several months prior to the Syrian gas attacks that helped spark the current mid-east unrest – Intelligence Chief James Clapper testified to Congress that Al-Qaeda was no longer a major threat to the United States. Clapper told Congress that Al-Qaeda was unlikely to carry out “complex, large-scale attacks in the West” because the terrorist group was severely weakened.
Now, Al-Qaeda has again emerged as a bogey man, due mostly to western influence. According to CIA director John Brennan, Syria and surrounding regions have become a training ground for terrorists. “We are concerned about the use of Syrian territory by the Al Qaeda organization to recruit individuals and develop the capability to be able not just to carry out attacks inside of Syria, but also to use Syria as a launching pad” Brennan told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence….READ
On Wednesday, July 2nd, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko resumed unlimited war against the residents of southeastern Ukraine, whom he calls “terrorists” for their wanting not to be killed by his troops. European leaders (especially Merkel of Germany, Hollande of France, and Putin of Russia) urged him not to resume his bombing campaign against the southeast, but the U.S. (specifically President Obama) supports the bombings, and that’s enough for Poroshenko; so, he did it. As the U.S. State Department said, “he has a right to defend his country.” Reuters reports that Poroshenko gave as his reason for the resumption, “to rid Ukraine of ‘parasites’.” Adolf Hitler had given the same reason for ethnically cleansing his country.
Here are videos and photos of the Obama Administration’s sponsored ethnic cleansing to reduce the population in the areas of Ukraine that had voted overwhelmingly “the wrong way” in Ukraine’s final nationwide election, in 2010: the areas of Ukraine that overwhelmingly chose as Ukraine’s President the man whom Obama’s coup overthrew in February 2014. After this ethnic cleansing, maybe Ukraine can have another nationwide election, which will produce the type of outcome that the U.S. Government likes. But on 25 May 2014, we held in Ukraine an election where people voted only in the pro-American portion of Ukraine, and only leaders who were acceptable to the U.S. White House were allowed onto the ballot.
America’s “news” media are not reporting on America’s ethnic-cleansing program in Ukraine. It’s happening in the dark, as far as the American public are concerned: they don’t know about it. But, here it is: this, is what they are hiding from you….READ
The bottom line is the Fed can only keep the machine duct-taped together by suppressing the market’s pricing of risk.
One of the Grand Narratives of our era is the substitution of debt for income: as earned income and disposable income have stagnated for 40 years, the gap between the rising cost of living and stagnant household income has been filled by borrowed money.
Money has been borrowed to replace income everywhere: consumers have borrowed money to buy things they otherwise couldn’t afford, students have borrowed over $1 trillion to attend college, governments have borrowed money to fund wars and social spending, corporations have borrowed money to buy back their own shares, pushing stock prices higher.
There’s one little problem with debt: interest must be paid on debt. Let’s focus for a second on the difference between cash income and borrowing money. Cash doesn’t cost money to maintain; debt does. In a functioning economy (as opposed to the dysfunctional mess we have now), cash would earn income from interest paid by borrowers.
If cash income is saved, the cash can buy stuff without debt or interest payments. That is a powerful advantage over debt.
How powerful is the advantage of cash over debt? It’s literally life-changing. Take a look at your credit card statements, which now include an estimate of interest you will pay and how long it will take to pay off the balance at a given monthly payment.
Those making minimal payments will end up paying 100% or more of the balance due in interest.
The phenomenally high accrued costs of interest is true of mortgages, student loans, auto loans, corporate debt and government debt: eventually, current spending is crimped as more and more net income is devoted to paying interest….READ
The battle for favoritism among the ‘apparent’ leaders in Iraq continues. Russia just delivered the second batch of Sukhoi fighter jets (which will be flown by Iraqi pilots and “are ready to provide air support to the armed forces”), and the US unloaded 4,000 additional Hellfire missiles to support Iraq’s fight against the Islamist insurgents. While this morning the intelligentsia of mainstream media proclaimed “the situation in Iraq is calming down” predicated on the fact that oil prices were lower and stocks at record highs, we suspect the additional war material to Iraq will do nothing but increase the determination of the “Islamic State” to increase its Caliphate…READ
(Reuters) – Ukrainian forces struck at pro-Russian separatist bases in eastern regions with air and artillery strikes on Tuesday after President Petro Poroshenko announced he would not renew a ceasefire but go on the offensive to rid Ukraine of “parasites”.
His decision quickly drew fire from Russian President Vladimir Putin who said Poroshenko had disregarded the advice of himself and German and French leaders. Putin said Poroshenko would now have to bear full responsibility for veering off the road to peace…READ
In 1905, a team of construction workers in the small village of Shoreham, New York labored to erect a truly extraordinary structure. Over a period of several years the men had managed to assemble the framework and wiring for the 187-foot-tall Wardenclyffe Tower, in spite of severe budget shortfalls and a few engineering snags. The project was overseen by its designer, the eccentric-yet-ingenious inventor Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943). Atop his tower was perched a fifty-five ton dome of conductive metals, and beneath it stretched an iron root system that penetrated more than 300 feet into the Earth’s crust. “In this system that I have invented, it is necessary for the machine to get a grip of the earth,” he explained, “otherwise it cannot shake the earth. It has to have a grip… so that the whole of this globe can quiver.”…READ
CARACAS (Reuters) – A blackout cut power to much of Venezuela on Friday, snarling traffic in the capital Caracas and other major cities as authorities scrambled to restore electricity after the outage, which twice interrupted a presidential broadcast.
Pedestrians streamed into the streets of Caracas as the blackout shuttered the underground metro trains and left frustrated drivers honking in the chaos without stoplights.
Government ministers in the late afternoon said they expected power would be restored shortly. It was the second nationwide major electricity outage in less than a year.
“How am I going to get to my house? By the grace of God,” said Pedro Mayora, 58, an accountant who was waiting outside the Metro to see how he would reach his home on the poor west end of the city…READ
An Egyptian man was convicted and sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison along with a fine of $840 dollars for violating Egypt’s blasphemy laws, which make illegal any criticism of the Islamic religion.
The International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that Kerolos Shawky, a Christian man living in southern Egypt, was initially accused of violating the Islamic blasphemy laws in article 98 of the Egyptian penal code, which prohibits “ridiculing or insulting heavenly religions or inciting sectarian strife”, but as the ICC notes, the law is almost always used to go after religious minorities...READ
Two retirees from the Pennsylvania Department of Health say its employees were silenced on the issue of Marcellus Shale drilling.
One veteran employee says she was instructed not to return phone calls from residents who expressed health concerns about natural gas development.
“We were absolutely not allowed to talk to them,” said Tammi Stuck, who worked as a community health nurse in Fayette County for nearly 36 years.
Another retired employee, Marshall P. Deasy III, confirmed that.
Deasy, a former program specialist with the Bureau of Epidemiology, said the department also began requiring field staff to get permission to attend any meetings outside the department. This happened, he said, after an agency consultant made comments about drilling at a community meeting….READ
A natural gas well site operated by Statoil in Monroe County has been on fire since at least 9 a.m. today, and at least some nearby residents have been evacuated.
Statoil USA Onshore Properties, Inc. said in a news release that the fire at the Eisenbarth well pad in Ohio Township in that county — in eastern Ohio along the West Virginia border — is limited to the surface and is not burning in any actual wells. The wells on the site either have been, or are expected to be, hydraulically fractured, or fracked.
The company said in the news release that no one was injured, but residents close to the well site have been evacuated. It isn’t clear how many were told to leave their homes or how far the evacuation zone extends. The Monroe County sheriff’s office would not comment.
Personnel from several agencies are assisting…read
Two weeks back, Forbes and CNBC reported that President Obama plans to nominate Stanley Fischer to be the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve if the current vice chair, Janet Yellen, is confirmed by the Senate as Fed chairwoman in the new year.
This would be a giant sop for the Israel lobby: Fischer is the former head of the Bank of Israel.
Fischer, a dual-citizen of the U.S. and Israel, served as the head of Israel’s central bank for eight-years before stepping down on June 30 of this year.
Fischer is disliked on the left because of his ruthless neoliberalism, as shown in this documentary about the International Monetary Fund, where he was once an exec. But the dual nationality question is also in play. Matthew Yglesias deemed Fischer extraordinarily well-qualified, but did arch an eyebrow:
This is a bit of a surprising development if only because Fischer didn’t seem to be seriously considered as a contender for the top Fed job. I figured that was either because Fischer wasn’t interested in a government job or because the White House deemed him insufficiently American. If either of those were the case, it would seem to disqualify him for the vice chairmanship too…..Read
(CNSNews.com) – A new analysis by the Employment Policy Institute (EPI) shows that unemployment among teens without a high school diploma is more than 50 percent in two of the largest U.S. cities.Using U.S. Census Bureau data from May 2013 to April 2014, the analysis reveals that in Riverside-San Bernardino area of Southern California, the unemployment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 years old who don’t have a high school diploma is 54.2 percent. In the Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore., metropolitan area, the unemployment rate from that population is 53.8 percent. “These numbers are staggering,” Michael Saltsman, director of research at EPI told CNSNews.com. “Teens across the country this summer are missing out on valuable work experience as they continue to suffer through an extended period of high unemployment and difficult job prospects.” Three other California metropolitan areas round out the Top 5 cities with the highest unemployment for the least skilled young people – Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana (39 percent), San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos (37.5 percent) and San Francisco-Oakland-Freemont (35.2 percent). READ
Bright Food Group Co, the Chinese owner of British cereal maker Weetabix Ltd, said it is seeking acquisitions and has the ability to pay as much as 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) for a target.
Bright Food is open to buying domestic and overseas companies and it isn’t interested in deals that are “too small” and prefers to work on one acquisition at a time, Chairman Lyu Yongjie said in an interview on June 18, without providing further details. The company is also preparing an initial public offering for its Australian unit Manassen Foods, he said.
Bright Food has joined Chinese companies including WH Group Ltd, Fosun International Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in pursuing assets overseas. The Shanghai-based company, which has interests that span food and beverages, farming and retailing, bought Israel’s Tnuva Food Industries Ltd last month following Weetabix, as rising incomes in China spur demand for consumer goods.
“Chinese food firms seek overseas deals to acquire product research capabilities and better resources,” said Todd Yang, Shenzhen-based analyst at Guosen Securities Co. “Imported foods are also growing in popularity in China and they may also be seeking foreign food brands to address the trend.”...Read
An indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI index is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment. A PMI of more than 50 represents expansion of the manufacturing sector, compared to the previous month. A reading under 50 represents a contraction, while a reading at 50 indicates no change. Prior to September 1, 2001, the acronym (PMI) stood for Purchasing Managers’ Index. The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) now uses only the acronym, PMI. Although the ISM publishes several indexes, the PMI is the most widely followed and is sometimes referred to as the ISM index. Read
Kevin O’Connor, Neil Zimmer honored at ADL banquet
David Perry — Furniture Today, June 20, 2014
NEW YORK — The National Home Furnishings Industry’s chapter of the Anti-Defamation League raised more than $700,000 at a dinner here that honored home furnishings veterans Kevin O’Connor and Neil Zimmer…more
The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday shed light on the depth of the VA scheduling scandal and substantiated claims that rank-and-file employees were directed to manipulate records.
The agency said more than 57,000 new patients have waited at least 90 days for their first appointments and that about 13 percent of VA schedulers indicated they were told to falsify appointment-request dates to give the impression that wait times were shorter than they really were.
The information comes from the agency’s internal audit of 731 VA medical centers, which the VA released Monday…more
Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, an Indian-born entrepreneur, and entities linked to Saeed Bin Butti Al Qubaisi’s Abu Dhabi-based Centurion Investments will buy London-based Apax’s stake in the chain of retail currency exchanges, the London-based buyout firm said in an e-mailed statement today. The price wasn’t disclosed
Lloyd Dorfman, who founded Travelex 38 years ago, will remain a shareholder and the company’s president. Apax, which had been poised to take Travelex public in an initial public offering, bought control of the chain in 2005 in a deal that valued the company at about 1.1 billion pounds ($1.85 billion). Read
The Community Faith Partners (CFP) has invested in the Second Wind Cottages (SWC) project which is a village of tiny houses built for the homeless in Newfield, New York.
With the cost of each home being $10,000, this project has become part of a national movement to offer an alternative to apartment building living.
SWC is currently open to homeless men only; however the non-profit is “exploring how to help women in similar circumstances”.
Services to help these homeless occupants will be provided by “private and governmental agencies” as well as “Christian fellowship and support”.
In Olympia, Washington, Quixote Village has been operational since late 2013 with “30 free-standing cottages and a community center. It was born out of the homeless encampment.”
The 30 cottages on the property are 114 square feet….READ
The battles usually give investors a choice between pocketing the money on offer or gambling on a firm’s prospects. As the deadline for Pfizer to table a formal bid for AstraZeneca nears, we look at how investors have fared over the years in companies that successfully saw off unwelcome approaches. Is there any company with more deals that never were than the London Stock Exchange? In May 2000 the LSE announced plans to merge with Germany’s Deutsche Börse to create iX. The deal collapsed under its own weight after igniting a storm of controversy, but the end of the affair triggered a decade in which the LSE batted away bid after bid. The Nordic exchange operator OM Gruppen, the Australian bank Macquarie, the Paris-based Euronext and Deutsche Börse (again) all made formal or informal approaches…here
Recently, the Bank of England (BoE) released a report entitled “Money Creation in the Modern Economy” which outlines that most people do not understand how banking works and the populist ideology regarding financial business is correct.
Through fractional reserve banking (FRB), technocrats are able to get away with dangerous lending practices; however the central banks continuously feed printed fiat into the system at the request of smaller banks.
Recently, the Bank of England (BoE) released a report entitled “Money Creation in the Modern Economy” which outlines that most people do not understand how banking works and the populist ideology regarding financial business is correct. Through fractional reserve banking (FRB), technocrats are able to get away with dangerous lending practices; however the central banks continuously feed printed fiat into the system at the request of smaller banks. Central banks were intended to regulate fiat supplies within nations and control inflation, as the story goes. Printing fiat and not printing too much is the oversight role of the central bank. They are supposed to fund private economic trends and not governments through purchasing treasury bonds. In 2012, quantitative easing round 3 turned into QE Infinity because the Federal Reserve Bank under former chair Ben Bernanke purchased mortgage-backed securities (MBS) at $85 billion per month which is now being tapered back. The report reads: “Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits. In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money ‘multiplied up’ into more loans and deposits.”
Corrupt British Banking And The Global Drug Trade
Death penalty doesn’t mean anything unless you use it on people who are afraid to die. Like… the bankers who launder the drug money. The bankers, who launder, the drug money. Forget the dealers, you want to slow down that drug traffic, you got to start executing a few of these fucking bankers. White, middle class Republican bankers. — George Carlin, ‘Back in Town Special,’ 1996
In a recent investigation I presented the case that British banking and financial giant HSBC conspired with banking institutions with documented links to terrorist financing, including those responsible for helping bankroll the 9/11 attacks.
Drawing upon evidence published by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in their mammoth report, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History,” we learned that senior HSBC officers, despite misgivings voiced by staff in internal correspondence, choose to continue profitable relations with Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank, described by U.S. law enforcement agencies as moneymen for the CIA’s false flag specialists, Al Qaeda…more
Beginning August 1st of this year, JP Morgan & Chase Co. will charge their customers for depositing cash into their accounts. According to an internal document sent to account holders, in less than a month from now “the fee for all types of Cash Deposit Processing (CDP) will be $0.25 per $100 [deposited]. The CDP fee will only apply after you exceed your account’s cash deposit limit.” One reason for Chase to charge their customers a fee on cash deposits may reside in the fact that the major banks are “charging customers who deposit lots of cash.” Wherein Chase is charging customers for every $100 in cash deposited, other banks are charging on every cash deposit of $10,000; or $0.20 on every $100 deposited...more
In President Obama’s speeches this year, a steady theme has been creating jobs and economic opportunity for Americans. In his State of the Union address in January he said that “what I believe unites the people of this nation . . . is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all—the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.” And in his weekly address on Saturday, he repeated his strong appeal to young people: “As long as I hold this office, I’ll keep fighting to give more young people the chance to earn their own piece of the American Dream.”
Yet during the more than five years Mr. Obama has been in office, young people have been especially hard-hit by the slow and virtually jobless recovery. Given the destructive effect this has on individual initiative and the prospects of a productive and rewarding working life, the continuing struggle of young Americans to find jobs, start building families and contribute to society is no longer simply a matter of politics or policy. On a deeply human level, it’s profoundly sad.
Consider these grim employment numbers:
• In February the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded the lowest percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds working or actively looking for work (32.9%) since the bureau started tracking the data in 1948. The BLS recorded the second-lowest labor-participation rate for this group in April (33.2%) and the third-lowest in January (33.3%). May’s rate was the sixth lowest (33.8%).
- • Over the past two years, the BLS has recorded some of the worst labor participation rates for 20- to 24-year-olds since 1973, when the Vietnam War was beginning to wind down. In August 2012, the 69.7% rate was the lowest since ’73. The second-lowest (70%) came in March last year. This year, the third-lowest rate came in April (70.2%). May’s rate was a still-miserable 71%
- • Looking at the seasonally unadjusted data—which is what the BLS makes publicly available—for 25- to 29-year-olds, the April 2014 labor-participation rate was the lowest the BLS has recorded since it started tracking the data in 1982 (79.8%). May’s rate was the second-lowest (79.9%). January, February and March tied with the fourth-lowest (80.3%).
These disturbing numbers raise a simple question: Where are the entry-level jobs?Five years of 2% average yearly GDP growth simply doesn’t produce enough jobs to absorb the natural increase in the labor force, and over the past eight quarters GDP growth has averaged only 1.7%. Between May 2008 and May 2014, BLS data show that the employable population increased by 14,217,000 while the number of people employed actually decreased by 94,000 and the number of people unemployed increased by 1,404,000. It remains a bad time for young people to be looking for jobs.
Nonetheless, various states and municipalities have increased their minimum wage, thereby increasing the cost of employing inexperienced workers. Minimum-wage jobs have always been a gateway to better opportunities. In making hiring decisions, businesses must weigh the quality and value of work that entry-level employees produce against the cost of employing them. For many businesses in high-minimum-wage states or municipalities—Seattle leads the list, having approved a move to a $15 minimum wage—that trade-off is no longer working…..Read Here
Idiotic U.S. Policy Is Making Al Qaeda Stronger Than Ever
The U.S. “war on terror” has increased terrorism. Here are the number of terror attacks in Iraq between 1979 and 2011 courtesy of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism Global Terrorism Database (part of a joint government-university program on terrorism, is hosted at the University of Maryland) :::
Al Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until the U.S. invaded that country. And U.S. policy in Libya is partly responsibl for sending an influx of Al Qaeda terrorists – and heavy weapons – into Iraq. And now things are getting a whole lot worse …You may not have heard, but Al Qaeda allies took over the Iraqi city of Fallujah 6 months ago. And today, Al Qaeda-linked extremists in Iraq captured Iraq’s second-biggest city, the major oil center of Mosul. (The jihadis call themselves “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”. The fact that the U.S. is backing Al Qaeda in Syria is probably a continuing factor). To make matters worse, the army fled, so the militants seized huge caches of U.S. supplied weapons, including humvees:
Have you heard the one about the “economic recovery” in the United States? It’s quite funny, but it is not actually true. Every day, the establishment media points to the fact that global stock markets have soared to unprecedented heights as evidence that the economy is improving. But just because a bunch of wealthy people have gotten temporarily even richer on paper does not mean that the real economy is in good shape. In fact, as you will see below, things just continue to get even tougher for the poor and the middle class. Retail stores are closing at the fastest pace since the fall of Lehman Brothers, the rate of homeownership in this country is the lowest that it has been in 19 years, one out of every five families do not have a single member that is employed, and one out of every five children is living in poverty. We are working harder, earning less and going into more debt. With each passing day, the middle class gets a little bit smaller and the ranks of the poor get a little bit larger. But at least the stock market is doing great, eh? Read more
Sunni insurgents advancing on Baghdad after taking Mosul have captured the city of Tikrit, the home town of Saddam Hussein, as government forces disintegrate and fail to offer resistance. Iraqi soldiers and police are reported to have discarded their uniforms, changed into civilian clothes and fled after firing only a few shots. The offensive led by the fundamentalist Islamist group Isis appears to be turning into a general uprising by Iraq’s Sunni Arab community that lost power when Iraq was invaded by the US and its allies in 2003. Militants from Isis have taken the refinery town of Baiji on the Tigris, which is also the site of a power station supplying Baghdad. Some 250 guards protecting the refinery withdrew after militant fighters asked local sheikhs by mobile phone to tell them to pull out or face a fight to the death…more
LOS ANGELES — A California judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprived students of their right to an education under the State Constitution and violated their civil rights. The decision hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case, one that could radically alter how California teachers are hired and fired and prompt challenges to tenure laws in other states.
“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles Superior Court wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
The decision, which was enthusiastically endorsed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, brings a close to the first chapter of the case, Vergara v. California, in which a group of student plaintiffs backed by a Silicon Valley millionaire argued that state tenure laws had deprived them of a decent education by leaving bad teachers in place…more
(Reuters) – The German government is extremely concerned about Israeli plans to build more settlements in occupied territory in response to the inauguration of a Palestinian unity government backed by Hamas Islamists opposed to the Jewish state’s existence. “The German government is very worried about this report because this step poses the threat of making efforts to continue peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestines even harder,” German government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said. She called on both sides to avoid provocative steps and said the German government urged the Israeli government to refrain from inviting bids to construct homes…more
The numbers are in at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), revealing just how many veterans have endured long waits to get medical care.
Those waiting more than three months for a doctor’s appointment: 57,000. Those left off waiting lists, leaving them completely out of the loop: 64,000.
A VA audit (pdf) exposed the startling figures that have turned the agency into a political punching bag, with Democrats and Republicans excoriating its leadership.
With the resignation of secretary Eric Shinseki, the acting man in charge, Sloan Gibson, has promised to take immediate action to help reduce the backlog and get more veterans in to see physicians...more
Earlier this year, a select group of Wall Street Insiders were surveyed, and the results were ominous. These financial experts and fund managers predicted a 98% chance a stock market crash will happen in the next six months.
Gary Shilling, one of Wall Street’s top economists, says the S&P Index could drop as low as 800, a 42% decline.
Jeffrey Gundlach, one of the world’s biggest bond fund managers and CEO of DoubleLine Capital, says the real damage is yet to come and an “ominous third phase” will “far exceed the damage of 2008.”
And Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, author of “The Real Crash: American’s Coming Bankruptcy,” warns, “I am 100% confident the crisis that we’re going to have will be much worse than the one we had in 2008.”…more
There is a cruel economic hoax being played on millions of American workers, a hoax that unfortunately is being promoted by too many Democrats. The hoax is this: that workers who lose their jobs to so-called “free trade” can simply be retrained to do something else that will be a good substitute for what they have lost. This is a lie.
Right now, there is a bill moving through Congress to expand the so-called Trade Adjustment Assistant program (TAA), a program that I have found distasteful from its inception. Basically, the concept is this: if you lose your job because of trade, the government will spend money to retrain you. Rep. Charles Rangel is pushing a bill (approved last week by the House Ways and Means Committee) that would expand TAA to cover workers in services industries and allow the government to certify entire industries as eligible for TAA money (right now, the certification is done company by company); Sen. Max Baucus is working on a companion Senate version of Rangel’s proposal.
There is a cruel economic hoax being played on millions of American workers, a hoax that unfortunately is being promoted by too many Democrats. The hoax is this: that workers who lose their jobs to so-called “free trade” can simply be retrained to do something else that will be a good substitute for what they have lost. This is a lie. Right now, there is a bill moving through Congress to expand the so-called Trade Adjustment Assistant program (TAA), a program that I have found distasteful from its inception. Basically, the concept is this: if you lose your job because of trade, the government will spend money to retrain you. Rep. Charles Rangel is pushing a bill (approved last week by the House Ways and Means Committee) that would expand TAA to cover workers in services industries and allow the government to certify entire industries as eligible for TAA money (right now, the certification is done company by company); Sen. Max Baucus is working on a companion Senate version of Rangel’s proposal.
In our unstable economic times, there are few employees who feel absolutely sure their job will still be here tomorrow. But it’s not productive to be distracted by needless worry every day. So how do we know when to relax and when to worry (and start polishing up that resume?) Pay attention to true warning signals, but don’t get too caught up in office gossip. It can lead to low morale. Just keep your eyes open for these signs that your job may be on its way to the downsize dump…more
Vice Media, the digital group which has mounted an aggressive assault on traditional news providers, is in talks to sell a major stake in itself to Time Warner.
Sky News has learnt that the two companies have been holding detailed negotiations about a deal.
One potential structure under discussion would see Time Warner injecting HLN, a news platform owned by its Cable operations, into Vice in return for roughly half the enlarged company.
A deal is expected to value Vice at roughly $2.2bn, about 50% more than last year’s sale of a stake in the mini-conglomerate.
Sources said on Monday that talks between Time Warner and Vice were at an advanced stage but that some final details had yet to be agreed.
A deal could still fall apart, however, or assume a radically different structure, they added.
Founded in 1994 as a “punk zine” for music enthusiasts in Montreal, Vice has attracted huge attention from the global media industry with its provocative mix of content and rapid diversification: it now houses an advertising agency, a record label and a television show…more
The arrival of a Liberian-flagged freighter with Ukrainian, Arab and Filipino sailors spells one thing for Elena — dollars. And greenbacks are king in Venezuela, the 32-year-old prostitute says.
Within hours of hearing of the ship’s imminent arrival, she has packed her bags and is heading to the crumbling city of Puerto Cabello. It is a 450-kilometer (280-mile) journey from her home in the Western state of Zulia that Elena finds herself doing more often now as Venezuela’s economy contracts, the bolivar slumps and prices soar….more
By Dr Gary North
My friend Murray Rothbard was a great economist. He did not do it for money. He did his greatest work when he was a teacher at a school that did not pay him well, and which offered no economics major: Brooklyn Polytechnic. It put food on his table. He created a movement in his spare time. His disciples were not paying students.
The same was true of Rothbard’s mentor, Ludwig von Mises. He was an unpaid “visiting” professor at New York University. Donors raised all of his salary. Mises was not in it for the money. He taught Rothbard, who was not a paying student. Rothbard sat in Mises’ graduate seminar as an auditor. Mises had taught a generation of disciples this way, in the 1920′s, in an unpaid seminar in Vienna. He did it in his spare time.
For things that matter most, a large salary is rarely the motivating factor. The sense of accomplishment is.
There is your job. It puts food on your table. Then there is your calling: the most important thing you can do in which you would be most difficult to replace. Your calling is more important than your job. I hope you have identified it. I hope you are working on it daily.
Here is a TED lecture by Dan Pink on motivation. It shows that bonuses don’t work. The management guru W. Edwards Deming had discovered this a generation earlier, but Pink does not mention this.
When companies find ways to fuse a person’s job and calling, they become highly profitable. It’s not based on bonuses.
Creativity is unpredictable. This was Mises’ insight on entrepreneurship. Better to pay a salary for predictable work, and offer a share of ownership for breakthroughs. Pay with salary; reward with equity. The lecturer ignored this two-part strategy. But it’s still a good lecture. Here: http://teapartyeconomist.com/2014/06/09/capture-creativity-reward-equity/#FJGITMZYqZcZxkUm.99
In a bid to counter weak growth and prevent deflation, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has lowered main interest rates. Specifically, the ECB cut the deposit rate to -0.1%, from 0.0%, effective June 11. This is a historic development, as it’s the first time a major central bank has cut any main interest rate to negative in a bid to spur lending and spending. The idea is that if banks aren’t being rewarded with a good deposit rate by parking their reserves at the central bank, then they will be more likely to lend it to households and businesses. READ
Rodney Johnson, Senior Editor, Survive & Prosper
Europeans are struggling with a problem. Their banks are stuffed to the gills with cash.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, there aren’t many borrowers, or at least, qualified borrowers, just aching to take on more debt.
This has left banks with wads of idle euros lying around, which they’re putting on deposit at the European Central Bank (ECB).
At first this suited everyone just fine. The ECB even paid the banks interest on their deposits of excess reserves, which kept the money close at hand instead of potentially fueling runaway inflation as all of those euros got lent out.
But now things aren’t so rosy…
For the last year and a half, the euro zone’s inflation rate has fallen. Now it’s approaching zero. This is the twilight zone for bankers.
As we’ve said for many years, inflation doesn’t really scare central bankers. They believe they know how to fight it. It’s deflation that keeps them up at night.
What do you do when consumers and businesses refuse to spend at the rate you want them to? You can make loans cheaper through lower interest rates, but after that there aren’t many options.
Looking at fat (digital) stacks of euros, the ECB decided they needed to act, so they recently cut interest rates… to negative 0.1%. That’s right, now the central bank charges member banks to hold their cash.
The ECB did this hoping it would motivate banks to remove their excess deposits and use the funds to provide loans to businesses and consumers. The thought was that more lending would lead to more cash flowing through the economies of European countries, which would mean more euros chasing goods, and therefore rising inflation.
There’s only one problem: Charging banks to hold their excess cash does nothing to motivate consumers and businesses to borrow more money.
When it comes to credit, Europe is not facing a supply problem. There’s plenty of cash and credit available for qualified borrowers. Instead, it’s facing a demand problem. People aren’t motivated to borrow at a higher level.
To prod borrowers, the ECB would have to improve the confidence among Europeans that their businesses will receive more orders, their workers will receive higher pay, and their citizens — particularly the youth — will actually gain employment. Without these critical factors, making more funds available for lending is like putting more fuel in the tank of a car with no engine.
So what is a bank in the euro zone to do?
If making more loans is a non-starter, then European banks will have to decide what to do with their extra cash. They can keep the funds at the ECB and pay the penalty, but banks aren’t making a lot of profit these days, so ponying up for a penalty seems unlikely.
The most probable outcome is that banks will use the funds to buy securities, particularly bonds issued by euro zone countries. These bonds would require the smallest reserve requirement against loss so that banks could invest the most money.
It wouldn’t make sense to buy German bonds, which pay almost no interest. Instead, the banks will probably buy short maturity bonds of peripheral countries, particularly those that have struggled in recent years, because that’s where the yield is.
This will cause the interest rate paid on Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian bonds to drop dramatically as banks pile into the bonds issued by these countries.
What is not likely to happen is that the euro zone countries get any respite from their steady march toward outright deflation.
This trend is occurring because many countries are still dealing with the debt hangover from the financial crisis, their populations are aging and therefore want to save more not spend more, and wide swaths of European youths have no income, so can’t spend at all.
At the end of the day, negative interest rates on excess reserves held at the ECB does nothing to change any of this.
Definition of ‘Baltic Dry Index – BDI’
A shipping and trade index created by the London-based Baltic Exchange that measures changes in the cost to transport raw materials such as metals, grains and fossil fuels by sea. The Baltic Exchange directly contacts shipping brokers to assess price levels for a given route, product to transport and time to delivery (speed). The Baltic Dry Index is a composite of three sub-indexes that measure different sizes of dry bulk carriers (merchant ships) – Capesize, Supramax and Panamax. Multiple geographic routes are evaluated for each index to give depth to the index’s composite measurement. It is also known as the “Dry Bulk Index”. Changes in the Baltic Dry Index can give investors insight into global supply and demand trends. This change is often considered a leading indicator of future economic growth (if the index is rising) or contraction (index is falling) because the goods shipped are raw, pre-production material, which is typically an area with very low levels of speculation. Because the supply of large carriers tends to remain very tight, with long lead times and high production costs, the index can experience high levels of volatility if global demand increases or drops off suddenly. The Baltic Exchange also operates as a maker of markets in freight derivatives, a type of forward contract known as FFAs (forward freight agreements) that are traded over-the-counter…more
The American Dream is impossible to achieve in this country.
So say nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. They feel the dream — however they define it — is out of reach. Young adults, age 18 to 34, are most likely to feel the dream is unattainable, with 63% saying it’s impossible. This age group has suffered in the wake of the Great Recession, finding it hard to get good jobs. Younger Americans are a cause of great concern. Many respondents said they are worried about the next generation’s ability to prosper. Some 63% of all Americans said most children in the U.S. won’t be better off than their parents. This dour view comes despite most respondents, 54%, feeling they are better off than their own parents. The downbeat mood is not surprising, say economic mobility experts. “The pessimism is reflective of the financial realities a lot of families are facing,” said Erin Currier, the director of the Economic Mobility Project at Pew Charitable Trusts. “They are treading water, but their income is not translating into solid financial security.”…more
SPIEGEL: Ms. Le Pen, having won 25 percent of the French vote, your Front National party stands as one of the primary beneficiaries of the May 25 European Parliament election. How could such a thing come to pass?
Le Pen: The French want to regain control of their own country. They want to determine the course of their own economy and their immigration policies. They want their own laws to take precedence over those of the European Union. The French have understood that the EU does not live up to the utopia they were sold. It has distanced itself significantly from a democratic mode of operation.
SPIEGEL: Yet, prior to the election, it was said that the establishment of lead candidates for the two biggest groups–Jean-Claude Juncker for the center-right and Martin Schulz for the center-left–would strengthen democracy in the EU….more
The European Central Bank has become the first of the world’s monetary superpowers to cut its deposit rate below zero, taking a leap into the unknown as it tries to drive down the euro and head off deflation.
The bank opened the door to direct purchases of private assets or quantitative easing, and announced a €400bn blast of long-term lending at cheap rates for banks.
The benchmark interest rate was cut to a record low of 0.15pc, tantamount to zero. The revolutionary move was to lower the deposit rate to -0.1pc, forcing banks to pay a charge if they continue to park money for safe-keeping in Frankfurt.
“Are we finished? The answer is no,” said Mario Draghi, the ECB’s president. “If required, we will act swiftly with further monetary policy easing. The Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using unconventional instruments within its mandate should it become necessary to further address risks of prolonged low inflation.”….more
Stocks fell Tuesday as the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 pulled back from record closing highs in the previous session.
The Dow fell 21.29 points, or 0.1%, to 16,722.34 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 0.73, or less than 0.1%, to 1924.24. The Nasdaq composite index fell 3.12 points, or 0.1%, to 4234.08. The Nasdaq was down for a third straight day.
STOCKS: USA TODAY’s live markets blog
Ostensible good news on the factory front didn’t lift investor spirits. Orders to U.S. factories rose for a third consecutive month in April, adding to evidence that manufacturing is regaining momentum after a harsh winter.
Orders increased 0.7% in April, pushed higher by a surge in demand for military hardware, the Commerce Department reported. That followed a 1.5% increase in March and a 1.7% climb in February.
The bidding war for Hillshire Brands and its Jimmy Dean sausages sizzled anew Tuesday when Pilgrim’s Pride upped its bid for the food giant by $10 a share to $55, topping last week’s $50-a-share offer from chicken giant Tyson Foods.
Hillshire shares jumped 9.5% to $58.65 on the news. Pilgrim’s Pride shares slid 2.2%to $25.34 and Tyson shares were off 3% to $42.08.
DENVER — Five months after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, the battle over legalization is still raging.
Law enforcement officers in Colorado and neighboring states, emergency room doctors and legalization opponents increasingly are highlighting a series of recent problems as cautionary lessons for other states flirting with loosening marijuana laws.
There is the Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana shops, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife, the authorities say. Some hospital officials say they are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana. Sheriffs in neighboring states complain about stoned drivers streaming out of Colorado and through their towns. Read Here
Anti-monarchist protesters across Spain have taken to the streets calling for a referendum on the future of the monarchy in the wake of King Juan Carlos I’s decision to abdicate. Tens of thousands took part in demonstrations in towns and cities demanding a vote – and some even the immediate proclamation of a republic. “I came here because I believe we should at least vote in a referendum,” said Hector Munoz, a 25-year-old student demonstrating in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square. “Three out of four Spaniards have not decided to have this (political) system so I think it would be fair.”...Read Here
General Motors has recalled nearly 13.8 million vehicles in the U.S. this year. That’s a lot, obviously. For example, it blows past GM’s previous annual recall record of 10.75 million vehicles, set in 2004. And it means GM is responsible for more than half of the total number of vehicles recalled in the U.S. so far this year. But if you’re looking for one statistic that really drives home just how cataclysmic the whole episode has been for GM, it’s this one: In just this year alone, GM has recalled more vehicles in the U.S. than it sold between 2009 and 2013. And it’s only May. Read Here