Ellipses and Splines to Lines and Arcs   

I know there is a lot of posts out there of people trying to convert splines and ellipses in inventor to lines and arc's to be compatible with CNC machines.  There have been solutions as far as using AutoCAD commands to retracing geometry. 

 

As anyone found a different, possibly within Inventor process for this?  Or something that is what they feel a viable solution? 

 

We typically start by having views of the part on a drawing file and then export that into a DXF.  If the pieces aren't modeled flat/aka curved surface projecting up the result is typically a spline. 

 

Retracing over these manually is not an option for us as we have 1,000's of custom ones a year. 

 

What we are trying to come up with is a work flow:

1.  If it's possible in inventor somehow to clean this up prior to exporting and being able to programmatically follow an existing curved surface if we have to retrace it with lines and arcs,

2.  Is the best solution to post process with auto cad commands, flatten, etc...

3.  Do we combine our process with a 3rd party app, or

4.  Is there a really good command in another more cam software (NX, MasterCam, Rhino, Spaceclaim, etc...)

 

If we convert items into polylines from splines/ellipses we can't have a trillion points along that polyline.  Saw will not be happy and process inefficiently.

 

Thoughts?  There something that has been developed in the past few years maybe we are missing?

Is this programmatically possible via the API?

 

We know we can create a sketch, project the geometry of the spline and start placing lines, arcs but can't find a way to know programmatically if we are following the original geometry close enough.  We also couldn't see that there where any type of control points in and inventor spline object other than the start and end point.

 


          India launches new economic era with sales tax reform   

By Rajesh Kumar Singh

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India early on Saturday introduced its biggest tax reform in the 70 years since independence from British colonial rule.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) replaces more than a dozen federal and state levies and unifying a $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into one of the world's biggest common markets.

The measure is expected to make it easier to do business by simplifying the tax structure and ensuring greater compliance, boosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic credentials before a planned re-election bid in 2019.

At a midnight ceremony in parliament's central hall Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee together launched the new tax by pressing a button.

"With GST, the dream of 'One India, Great India' will come true," Modi said.

For the first midnight ceremony in the central hall in two decades, Modi was joined by his cabinet colleagues, India's central bank chief, a former prime minister and major company executives including Ratan Tata.

The launch, however, was boycotted by several opposition parties including the Congress Party, which first proposed the tax reform before it fell from power three years ago.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - the architect of India's economic reforms - also gave it a miss.

COMPLEX STRUCTURE

It has taken 14 years for the new sales tax to come into being. But horse trading to get recalcitrant Indian states on board has left Asia's third-largest economy with a complex tax structure.

In contrast to simpler sales taxes in other countries, India's GST has four rates and numerous exemptions.

The official schedule of rates runs to 213 pages and has undergone repeated changes, some taking place as late as on Friday evening.

Many businesses are nervous about how the changes will unfold, with smaller ones saying they will get hit by higher tax rates.

Adding to the complexity, businesses with pan-India operations face filing over 1,000 digital returns a year.

While higher tax rates for services and non-food items are expected to fuel price pressures, compliance is feared to be a major challenge in a country where many entrepreneurs are not computer literate and rely on handwritten ledgers.

"We have jumped into a river but don't know its depth," said A. Subba Rao, an executive director at power firm CLP India.

'ONE TAX, ONE MARKET, ONE NATION'

Poor implementation would deal a blow to an economy that is still recovering from Modi's decision late last year to outlaw 86 percent of the currency in circulation.

In a bid to mitigate the impact on the farm sector, the GST rates for tractors and fertiliser were slashed on Friday to 18 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

HSBC estimates the reform, despite its flaws, could add 0.4 percentage points to economic growth.

An end of tax arbitrage under the GST is estimated to save companies $14 billion in reduced logistics costs and efficiency gains.

As the GST is a value added tax, firms will have an incentive to comply in order to avail credit for taxes already paid. This should widen the tax net, shoring up public finances.

"The old India was economically fragmented," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. "The new India will create one tax, one market for one nation."

(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and John Stonestreet)


          Analysis: "Bad" foreign firms drive U.S. manufacturing jobs revival   

By Lesley Wroughton and Howard Schneider

SPARTANBURG/CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Years before Donald Trump began promising to bring back good manufacturing jobs by getting tough with U.S. trade partners, such jobs have already been on the rise, largely thanks to foreign companies now cast as villains in Trump's narrative.

Reuters analysis of federal jobs data shows that out of 656,000 new manufacturing jobs created between 2010 and 2014, two thirds can be attributed to foreign direct investment.

More recent jobs numbers are not yet available, but over $700 billion in foreign capital has poured in over the last two years bringing total foreign investment to $3.7 trillion at the end of 2016, a world record. (Graphic: http://tmsnrt.rs/2sWkzTB)

Now foreign companies that have spent billions of dollars on U.S. factories and local leaders who host them worry that global supply networks that back those investments will fray if Trump makes good on his pledge to roll back trade liberalization.

The U.S. president has threatened to tear up North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico and slap higher tariffs on nations that run trade surpluses with the United States, such as Germany or China. The administration is also discussing tighter immigration rules and more security screening of investment.

The tough message helped sway swing northeastern and Midwestern Rust Belt states Trump's way in the 2016 election, but puts him at odds with companies and local leaders in the south, which has driven the recent growth in manufacturing jobs.

The southern states have voted for Trump, but have also spent decades wooing foreign companies with flexible labor laws, financial incentives and investment in ports, roads and other infrastructure.

POSTER CHILD AND WHIPPING BOY

The courtship has spawned new auto plants from Kentucky to Georgia, and a new Airbus plant in Mobile, Alabama.

Few places highlight the gap between Trump's rhetoric and local aspirations better than Spartanburg in South Carolina.

German carmaker BMW has invested here $8 billion in a 1.2 million square foot (11.15 hectares) assembly plant, which has become the largest single exporter of cars by value from the United States.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, a Republican and Trump supporter, credits the German automaker for putting his state on the global investment map.

"The presence of this company changed everything in the trajectory of our state," McMaster said on Monday at an event unveiling BMW's newest X3 sports utility vehicle.

Its Chief Executive Harald Krueger said the carmaker would invest additional $600 million in Spartanburg over the next four years, adding 1,000 jobs to the 9,000-strong workforce, and spend further $200 million on employee training and education.

But the poster child of South Carolina's success also doubles as a whipping boy. In January, BMW's plans to build a plant in Mexico drew Trump's ire and last month the U.S. president was quoted as saying Germany was "very bad" on trade and selling too many cars in the United States.

And even as the company highlights its contribution to the U.S. economy and the benefits of free trade, it is hedging its bets by preparing for a possible protectionist backlash.

Outside of the spotlight, BMW is retooling factories in South Africa and China to build volume models like the X3 SUV, reducing its dependence on Spartanburg.

“We have a big footprint here, and we are flexible enough," Oliver Zipse, BMW's board member responsible for manufacturing, told Reuters. "We will build the X3 not only in Spartanburg, we will split it into South Africa and then to China, so we will have some flexibility to produce cars somewhere else,” he said.

“If something happens at the political level - which we don’t know yet - we are able to have a flexible response.”

The Trump administration has said it welcomes foreign investment and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who spoke at an opening of a new Samsung Electronics <005930.KS> plant in South Carolina, said such projects showed that "America is becoming an even stronger destination for global businesses looking to grow.”

The southern U.S. states owe much of their success to coastal port authorities and cities that have invested heavily to make their channels and docks fit for shipments to and from China and Mexico.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has often clashed with Trump, said protectionism would undermine those accomplishments and hurt American workers.

DOOMSDAY SCENARIO

"Negotiate a trade agreement with Europe, modernize NAFTA, don't tear it up," Graham told Reuters at the BMW factory. "We're going in the wrong direction. We need more trade agreements, not less."

Graham noted how low-cost competition from China and Mexico destroyed South Carolina's once thriving textile industry and how the state reinvented itself as a manufacturing hub, bringing the likes of BMW or French tire maker Michelin .

The now humming port city of Charleston has a similar story to tell. When a major navy base shut down in the 1990s wiping out 20,000 jobs, local officials worked to bring foreign manufacturers, which now employ around 10,000 in the three counties around the city and more is set to come.

Mercedes-Benz, part of Daimler AG , is adding 1,300 jobs so it can make its Sprinter van here rather than merely assemble it with imported parts, which also means more business for local suppliers.

Up the road, Volvo Car Group, part of Chinese conglomerate Geely, is due to open its first North American plant next year with a target workforce of 2,000.

Local development officials expect more jobs and investment to come, but worry that some steps discussed by the Trump administration could have a chilling effect.

Claire Gibbons, director of global marketing at the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, said the proposed new tariffs, tougher immigration rules and stricter reviews of foreign investment projects would amount to a "doomsday scenario" for the region.

"This is an education opportunity for us all, for the people making the decisions that don't understand the ramifications."

(1 euro = $1.1350)

(Additional reporting by Edward Taylor in Munich. Editing by David Chance and Tomasz Janowski)


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          Ciena teams with University of Waterloo   
Ciena announced that it is working with engineering researchers at the University of Waterloo to develop solutions to help network operators and Internet providers address to the ever increasing demand for faster data transmission over the Internet.

The partners stated that the research relationship has received funding support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

A key area of the University of Waterloo's partnership with Ciena focuses on realising the maximum possible capacity from the optical cables that run under the oceans and which handle around 95% of intercontinental communications, including an estimated $10 trillion per day in financial transactions. Ciena noted that the reliable, high-speed transmission of huge amounts of data over undersea cables is increasingly important in fields including healthcare and academic research.

For the research program, Amir Khandani, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Waterloo, is leading a team of post-doctoral fellows and graduate students that are developing algorithms designed to efficiently and rapidly correct errors, including lost or dropped bits of data, that occur during extremely high-speed, long-distance optical transmission.

When incorporated on the electronic chips that are built into equipment for receiving and transmitting data, the algorithms developed by the Waterloo team can free up cable capacity, while also enabling the faster correction of errors in line with other technological advances in optical communications.


Under the three-year partnership, announced at an event at the University of Waterloo, Mr. Khandani holds the position of Ciena/NSERC Industrial Research Chair on Network Information Theory of Optical Channels. Ciena noted that the relationship between Waterloo Engineering and Ciena has already produced seven U.S. patents, with additional patents pending.



          Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 1   
Alibaba's Jack Ma made headlines across the world last week by laying out a plan for rapid global expansion of China's e-commerce behemoth. In an Investor Conference held at the company's Xixi headquarters in Hangzhou, China, Ma made the bold claim that Alibaba could reach $1 trillion in gross merchandise value by 2021 by becoming the primary online store for 2 billion people, as well as by expanding into new areas, one of which is the international public cloud services business. While Alibaba's investor event was overshadowed somewhat by the news that Amazon will spend $13.7 billion in cash to acquire Whole Foods, the premium U.S. grocery store chain, Jack Ma unveiled a strategy with clear potential to disrupt the cloud market.

Meanwhile, business at Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) is 'fantastic' and is only going to get better this year, according to the company CFO. For the most recent fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2017, the company reported revenue of RMB 38,579 million ($5,605 million), an increase of 60% year-over-year, including:

•   Revenue from core commerce of RMB31,570 million ($4,587 million), up 47% year-over-year.

•   Revenue from cloud computing of RMB 2,163 million ($314 million), up 103% year-over-year.

•   Revenue from digital media and entertainment of RMB 3,927 million ($571 million), up 234% year-over-year.

Growth at the parent company is primarily being driven by the steady increase in active buyers on its ecommerce platforms, both in numbers and in the value of goods and services being transacted. Annual active buyers reached 454 million, an increase of 31 million from the 12-month period ended on March 31, 2016. Mobile monthly active users (MAUs) on Alibaba Group’s China retail marketplaces reached 507 million in March, up 97 million over March 2016. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) transacted on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces in fiscal year 2017 was RMB 3,767 billion ($547 billion), up 22% compared to RMB 3,092 billion in fiscal year 2016.

Alibaba Cloud, or Aliyun as it is known in Chinese, is firmly established as the leading infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud in mainland China and is moving rapidly to become a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider and a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) retailer. Some important Aliyun metrics emerged from the Investor presentation, including (with additional commentary):

·         Public cloud is growing: based on Gartner's figures from March 2017, Aliyun estimates the global public cloud market will amount to $245 billion in 2017, growing to $436 billion in 2021, a 15.9% CAGR.

·         China’s public cloud market is growing even faster, with Gartner figures showing China’s public cloud market, valued at $14 billion this year, growing to $25 billion in 2021, a 17.2% CAGR; by 2021, China’s share of the global public cloud market would still be under 6%, which seems odd given the country's share of global GDP is much higher and that ecommerce, social media and mobile technologies are booming in China - why so low versus the U.S. market?

·         Aliyun cited figures from IDC Tracker 2016 H1/H2 Global Cloud Market (IaaS), indicating it currently is the No.4 player in public cloud services worldwide, but with only a 3.2% share; No.1 was AWS, $8.4 billion, 46.1% share; No. 2 Microsoft, $1.4 billion, 7.6% share; No.3 IBM, $1.0 billion, 5.8% share; No.4 Alibaba, $0.57 billion, 3.2% share; No.5 Google, $0.519 billion, 2.9% share.

Clearly, AWS is dominating the public cloud market, especially in the U.S. The other U.S. public cloud players are investing aggressively to catch up and they too seem to have ambitions that reach to the sky. Alibaba's Jack Ma has previously been quoted in the press as saying that Alibaba would catch and surpass Amazon. When it comes to cloud services at least, this will be extremely difficult given its current 3.2% share versus AWS’ 46.1% share, and a capex budget that appears decisively smaller.

In its home market of China, Aliyun's IaaS revenue is equivalent to the next seven players combined. The numbers cited in IDC Tracker 2016 H1/H2 Global Cloud Market are as follows:

·         No.1 – Alibaba Group, $587 million, 40.7% market share

·         No.2 - China Telecom, $123 million, 8.5%

·         No.3 – Tencent, $106 million, 7.3%

·         No.4 – Kingsoft, $87 million, 6.0%

·         No.5 – Ucloud, $79 million, 5.5%

·         No.6 – Microsoft, $72 million, 5.0%

·         No.7 – China Unicom, $67 million, 4.6%

·         No.8 – AWS, $55 million, 3.8%

In addition, as of March 31, 2017 Aliyun had 874,000 paying customers, had 15 data centres worldwide and had 186 cloud service offers. It also claims a 96.7% retention rate amongst its top paying customers in Q1 2017 compared to a year earlier.

Over one-third of China’s Top 500 companies are on Alibaba Cloud, including China's Public Safety Bureau (PSB), CCTV, Sinopec, Sina Weibo, Xinhua News Agency,Toutiao, Geely, Mango TV, CEA, Quanmin Live, Panda TV and DJI, while two-thirds of Chinese Unicorn companies are on Alibaba Cloud. Global Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) now available on Aliyun include Accenture, SAP, Docker, here, SUSE, Haivision, Wowza, AppScale, AppEX, Hillstone, Checkpoint Software Technologies, Hitachi Data Systems and Red Hat.


Aliyun’s Computing Conference 2016 was attended by over 40,000 developers in person, with more than 7 million viewers online. At its investor conference, Aliyun also disclosed a number of major international brands that are now using its services, including Schneider Electric, Shisheido, Philips, Nestle and Vodafone, which is a good start. Nevertheless, attracting international companies will be harder, first, because Alibaba has only just recently begun building data centres outside of China, and two, they will be much less known and trusted than established brands such as IBM.


          IoT forecasts come into focus   
For years now there has been forecast after forecast predicting the size of the IoT market by the end of the decade or ten years hence. There is always a big number of connected things and impressive valuation for the sum of the whole market, and with the large mobile operators such as AT&T and Verizon now including connected things in their quarterly reports there is hard data to back up the rosy forecasts. At an editorial briefing in San Jose last month, Qualcomm executives said it is now shipping one million wireless connections per day - this certainly gives a perspective on how fast IoT can grow. The company has hundreds of OEM design wins for its MDM9206 LTE modem for IoT.

As of June 15th, the GSMA Intelligence services says there are 8,132,111,132 mobile connections, including M2M. The GSMA's online tracker further reports 5,016,263,289 unique mobile subscribers, which are assumed to mean people with at least one mobile phone and SIM card. By subtraction, this means 3.1 billion M2M connections tracked by the GSMA via their mobile operator members.

This piece collects newly published data from several sources. First, IDC recently reported that worldwide spending on the IoT will reach nearly $1.4 trillion in 2021. Second, the Cisco Visual Network Index (VNI) found that M2M connections globally will grow from 780 million in 2016 to 3.3 billion by 2021, a 34% CAGR or fourfold growth. Third, the newly published Ericsson Mobility Study finds that 70% of wide-areas IoT devices will use cellular technology in 2022. While studies from different authors will never precisely line up, this collection of data agrees that real and significant revenue from IoT for carriers has started to materialize and will grow quickly in the near term.

Highlights from IDC’s Worldwide Semi-annual IoT spending guide

The first big finding to notice in IDC's report is that worldwide spending on IoT will reach $800 billion this year, up 16.7% year over year, which means that the market this month must be worth tens of millions of dollars. These numbers are spread out amongst the hardware, software, services and connectivity that enable the IoT. This means splitting the pot between vendors such as Qualcomm, Sierra Wireless, Cisco Jasper, integration specialists, and of course carriers such as AT&T, Orange and Vodafone. There are many others that could be included on this list, especially when considering the global market.  In that sense, the $800 billion is just a starting point. IDC's forecast says that by 2021, global IoT spending will total nearly $1.4 trillion. In a press release announcing the study, IDC's Carrie MacGillivray, vice president, Internet of Things and Mobility, stated that the true value of IoT is realised when the software and services come together to enable the capture, interpretation, and action on data produced by IoT endpoints.

IDC breaks down 2017 investments in IoT as follows: manufacturing operations ($105 billion), freight monitoring ($50 billion), and production asset management ($45 billion), smart grid technologies for electricity, gas and water and smart building technologies ($56 billion and $40 billion, respectively). Looking to 2021, IDC expects these use cases will remain the largest areas of IoT spending. Smart home technologies are forecast to experience strong growth (19.8% CAGR) over the five-year forecast. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth are airport facilities automation (33.4% CAGR), electric vehicle charging (21.1% CAGR), and in-store contextual marketing (20.2% CAGR).

IDC sees hardware as the largest IoT spending category to 2021, the last year of the forecast, when it is overtaken by the services category. This is to be expected as the various physical sensors and connectivity units must be deployed first before a service can be offered. IDC says hardware spending will be dominated by modules and sensors that connect end points to networks, while software spending will be similarly dominated by applications software. In addition, IDC says services spending will be about evenly split between ongoing and content services and IT and installation services. The fastest growing areas of technology spending are in the software category, where horizontal software and analytics software will have five-year CAGRs of 29.0% and 20.5%, respectively. Security hardware and software will also see increased investment, growing at 15.1% and 16.6% CAGRs, respectively.

Regional highlights:

•   Asia Pacific (excluding Japan, APeJ) will be the IoT investment leader throughout the forecast with spending expected to reach $455 billion in 2021.

•   The U.S. will be the second largest region with IoT spending reaching $421 billion in 2021.

•   Western Europe will reach $274 billion in 2021.

The IDC Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide is quite comprehensive, covering IoT spending for 12 technologies and 54 use cases across 20 vertical industries in eight regions and 52 countries (for more details see here: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS42799917).

Cisco looks wide with its VNI forecast

Generally speaking, Cisco's forecasts have tended to be the most optimistic. This year’s Cisco VNI indicates that its IoT coverage includes both M2M and emerging category of wearable IoT devices. M2M connections, which Cisco defines as home and office security and automation, smart metering and utilities, maintenance, building automation, automotive, healthcare and consumer electronics, are predicted to grow from 780 million in 2016 to 3.3 billion by 2021, a 34% CAGR or fourfold growth.

Wearable devices, which Cisco notes could connect and communicate to the network either directly through embedded cellular connectivity or through another device (primarily a smartphone) using WiFi, Bluetooth, or another technology, include such things as smart watches, smart glasses, heads-up displays (HUDs), health and fitness trackers, health monitors, wearable scanners and navigation devices and smart clothing. The Cisco VNI predicts that by 2021 there will be 929 million wearable devices globally, growing nearly threefold from 325 million in 2016 at a CAGR of 23%. By 2021, Cisco expects that 7% will have embedded cellular connectivity, up from 3% in 2016. As AR/VR headsets enter the market, they could start to have a tangible impact on mobile traffic.

Ericsson looks to short-range and wide-range IoT connectivity

The newly published Ericsson Mobility Report finds that at the end of 2016 there were around 0.4 billion IoT devices with cellular connections. Ericsson's study divides IoT into short-range and wide-area segments, and it provides some guidance as to how IoT is impacting the network. For instance, the report says use cases with VoLTE calls for IoT (Cat-M1) are starting to emerge. This could extend mobile voice service to IoT devices, an interesting possibility.

By 2021, Ericsson expects there will be 2.1 billion devices connected via LTE-M and NB-IoT networks, roughly a 30% CAGR from today. This trend has already started. This year, several prominent mobile operators have rolled out commercial LTE-M networks. For instance, in March, Verizon announced the commercial launch of its nationwide 4G LTE Category M1 (or Cat M1) network. The coverage spans 2.4 million square miles. Verizon will introduce low rate, multi-year plans to match the longer useful life of Cat M1 devices, including data plans that start at $2 per month per device, with customised options available for bulk activations and volume purchases. In May, AT&T followed suit by announcing the deployment of its nationwide LTE-M network ahead of schedule.


          Decent Launches Global Media Distribution Platform   
Decent Launch

Free and open communication has long been an essential component of a successful democracy. Unfortunately, money, power and influence over time have stifled today’s media environment adversely impacting both content producers and consumers alike.

In an effort to democratize creative content, DECENT has officially launched its blockchain-based, global media distribution platform. The name is an acronym for Decentralized Network; Encrypted & Secure; Content Distribution System; Elimination of 3rd Parties; New Way of Online Publishing; Timestamped Data Records.

Designed to bring more transparency and fairness to the media industry, DECENT allows artists to seamlessly distribute digital content for immediate payment and without hefty fees. Peer-to-peer in its orientation, consumers decide the merits of a certain piece of content posted through a Yelp-like community rating system. The content, however, cannot be censored or removed.

This blockchain initiative endeavors to disrupt the legacy world of media distribution by allowing artists more freedom and control over the ownership and distribution of their content, all without compromising on security. It represents a potential gamechanger for the massive global media and content distribution industry — one that’s estimated to grow from $1.7 trillion in 2016 to over $2 trillion in 2019.

DECENT was founded in 2016 by two friends, Matej Michalko and Matej Boda, from Slovakia. It sprouted from a shared vision that blockchain technology could fuel a coordinated system of digital content publishing and sharing throughout the world.

Funding for DECENT was fueled by an ICO campaign last summer, which raised more than 5,881 BTC, at that time valued at $4.2 million USD. There were 4,300 ICO participants in total and no other key funding partners.

Michalko recounted the journey leading up to his own personal discovery of blockchain technology and its potential uses for the content distribution space. “I’ve been extensively involved in Bitcoin since 2011, even mining it from my own laptop at the beginning. I quickly realized that the innovative technology behind Bitcoin had the potential to change the modern world.”

When Michalko started to delve further into blockchain technology, he found a seemingly endless list of use cases the new technology could support. “I became determined to use blockchain technology to create something revolutionary that would be beneficial for people on a global scale. A short time later ongoing discussions between myself and our future co-founder Matej Boda quickly led to DECENT being born.”

He says that DECENT Network is a reaction to the issues that the majority of content producers face nowadays in the entertainment and media industry. “There is too much artificial complexity and too many barriers in the industry affecting both the access to market and income of the content owners.”

DECENT’S digital model allows artists to distribute any form of content, including written, music, videos, ebooks and pictures. These distribution channels are free of third-party influence, meaning that artists can also manage their intellectual property rights and set their own pricing.

One of the innovative adaptations that distinguishes DECENT from other blockchain platforms is the network’s reputation management system. This allows content creators who share their digital work on the platform to build a lifetime reputation, based on ratings from those who purchase content on the platform. DECENT Network also allows content creators to instantly receive payment when someone downloads their content, without any middleman interference.

Michalko believes that DECENT can break the trajectory in which a majority of power is concentrated in the hands of a few players controlling the industry. “Artists, filmmakers and writers lose control over their work and depend on the mercy of the ‘big guys.’ We designed DECENT Network to do away with all that and bring more transparency and fairness to the digital content industry.”

DECENT estimates that writers, for example, lose a healthy 30–75 percent chunk of their earnings when publishing with Amazon. Similarly, musicians, through licensing agreements, lose around 30 percent when selling a track on iTunes. Blockchain technology therefore serves as a mechanism that helps writers and musicians keep more money, while connecting with their audiences directly.

Michalko says that artists will be paid for their downloaded content through DECENT’s own cryptocurrency called “DCT,” which will be launched together with DECENT Network. Other payment options, he says, will be available in the future. “Artists will no longer have to wait months before seeing a penny from their work. And at the time of launch, DECENT Network will be a completely free-of-charge service for artists.”

Michalko hopes that by  2020, DECENT Network will have become the number one worldwide media sharing platform. “We hope to bring more transparency and fairness to the digital content industry for both creators and consumers. I hope that with our launch people will realize the advantage of DECENT Network over other content distribution platforms.”

The post Decent Launches Global Media Distribution Platform appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.


          Ready or not, Indian businesses brace for biggest-ever tax reform   

MEERUT, India: Businessman Pankaj Jain is so worried about the impending launch of a new sales tax in India that he is thinking of shutting down his tiny textile factory for a month to give himself time to adjust. Jain is one of millions of small business owners who face wrenching change from India's biggest tax reform since independence that will unify the country's $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market.


          Trumpcare Trades Women’s Lives for Tax Cuts to the Super Rich and Business Interests   
  For Immediate Release: June 23, 2017 Contact: Megan Connor / meganconnor@feministmajority.org / 703 973 6469 Feminist Majority today joined with Feminist Majority, National Organization for Women, In Our Own Voice, and the National Women’s Law Center in opposition to Trumpcare, which will have a catastrophic effect on many women’s lives. Watch the press conference here.  Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a draft of the Senate’s healthcare bill that shamelessly targets women: pregnant women trying to access maternal and per-natal healthcare; the women who make up nearly 70% of all adult Medicaid enrollees; young women trying to access reproductive healthcare; and elderly women who make up over two-thirds of nursing home patients. Just like the House version, the Senate bill is not about providing healthcare services but rather about taking them away from millions of people—mostly women. It takes nearly a trillion dollars away from Medicaid to give massive tax cuts to the super rich and benefits to insurance providers and drug companies. This bill disgracefully takes from Medicaid nearly a trillion dollars and would deny life-saving services to the 74 million people who rely on Medicaid for care. Medicaid pays for nearly half of all births in the United States. […]
          Washington Has Been At War For 16 Years: Why?   
For sixteen years the US has been at war in the Middle East and North Africa, running up trillions of dollars in expenses, committing untold war crimes, and sending millions of war refugees to burden Europe, while simultaneously claiming that Washington cannot afford its Social Security and Medicare obligations or to fund a national health More
          Ready or not, India awaits introduction of GST   
India is to hold a special midnight session of parliament to mark the launch of its new national Goods and Services Tax, a sign of how much significance it's attaching to what's billed as the biggest fiscal reforms in decades. As Kate King reports, the GST will replace about 20 federal and state taxes while unifying a $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market.

          Investments in Renewable Energy to Top US$7 Trillion by 2040   
The 2017 edition of Bloomberg's 'New Energy Outlook' estimates that through 2040, US$10.2 trillion will be invested in electric power generation, 7.4 trillion of which will go to renewable energy. While falling costs of solar and wind power will accelerate a global energy transition, an additional US$5.3 trillion is required to put the power sector on a trajectory to limit global warming to 2ºC, according to the report. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank have undertaken renewable energy projects in Turkey, China and Solomon Islands, respectively.
          Comment on Debunking Myths that Fuel Irresponsible U.S. Defense Policy by James Canning   
Trump is a fool if he thinks the US will be stronger if it wastes tens of billions more dollars on unnecessary weapons. The US has squandered trillions of dollars on unnecessary weapons in recent decades.
          Comment on National Assembly Passes N7.44tn 2017 Budget by Buhari Still Has Time To Sign 2017 Budget - Lawmaker   
[…] The National Assembly had on the 11th of April passed the 2017 budget in the tune of  N7.44tn 2017, after president Muhammadu Buhari presented 7.298 trillion naira Appropriation NBill. […]
          Child Marriage Will Cost Developing Countries Trillions of Dollars by 2030, Says World Bank/ICRW Report   

HIGHLIGHTS

The new report finds that ending child marriage:

English

          Graphics: Stocks fly in first half but oil and dollar big losers   

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks were on track for their best start to a year since 2003 while oil and the dollar were facing their biggest first-half drop for years.

The early months of 2017 were marked by the so-called Trump trades premised on U.S. President Donald Trump's pledges of multi-trillion dollar spending and by a change in Europe's political and growth outlook that has lured back investors.

But arguably the most significant shift for investors came in the last week of the second quarter when, in what looked like a concerted move, central bank policymakers appeared to signal it would soon be time to wind back the monetary stimulus that has buoyed markets for much of this decade.

As this graphic http://reut.rs/2sxO66c shows the dollar index, already down 4.5 percent for 2017 a week ago, was down 6.5 percent at Thursday's close and on track for its worst quarter in seven years and worst first half since 2003.

This despite the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates twice this year.

The euro, boosted by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinting on Wednesday at tweaks to the bank's ultra-loose monetary policy stance, is up more than 8 percent year-to-date and heading for its best quarter in seven.

Dollar weakness has helped lift emerging equities, as measured by MSCI's main index almost 18 percent in dollar terms so far this year.

World stocks have gained more than 10 percent in dollar terms, their best first half since 2003.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index gained 9.6 percent, just ahead of the S&P 500 on 9.2 percent.

Stuck at the bottom of the performance league table, down 16.5 percent in dollar terms year-to-date is Brent crude oil, hit by a perception that output cuts agreed by OPEC producers and others will not be enough to stem the glut of oil.

It was on track for its worst first six months of any year since 1998.

In Brexit-bound Britain, which has just been through a messy election, the pound has dropped 3 percent against the euro. The weaker currency has been a boost for exporters, lifting the country's main FTSE 100 stock index 8.2 percent.

Emerging markets have shrugged off the U.S. rate rises and the oil and tech tumbles. Bonds in emerging market currencies have returned almost 10 percent in dollar terms, while hard currency sovereign debt is up 6 percent.

But within emerging markets there are losers as well as winners. (See graphic, http://tmsnrt.rs/2dZbdP5)

Russian equities, heavily oil-reliant and a star of late 2016, have lost 17 percent but energy importer Turkey's stock index has risen 30 percent, despite inflation, domestic political risks and policy wobbles.

The Mexican peso is the world's top performing currency, up 15 percent on the dollar, as faith wanes in Trump's ability to implement anti-trade and anti-immigration pledges. (See graphic, http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh)

Perhaps the biggest surprise has been Poland's zloty which has surged 13 percent against the dollar.

Brazil's real has been one of the worst-performing currencies, down 4 percent in 2017 due to fresh corruption scandals that have hit the country.

(Reporting by Marc Jones, Sujata Rao, Dhara Ranasinghe and Nigel Stephenson; Editing by Toby Chopra)


          The National Debt: What The Left And Right Agree On   
The congressional supercommittee announced Monday that it failed to come to an agreement on reducing the deficit. After three months of negotiating, the Democrats and Republicans just couldn't agree on how much spending to cut or how high to raise taxes. But this is not a story about how the left and right disagree with each other. In fact, they actually largely agree. Alison Fraser , director of economic policy studies at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, says this: We are on the wave, of the leading edge of 78 million baby boomers retiring into entitlement programs. So going forward, spending in the future is unsustainable. Bob Greenstein , president of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says this: Over the course of a few decades, the debt would rise to over 100% and then over 200% of GDP and then keep rising. That's not sustainable. Everyone agrees that our nation is pretty deep in debt — about $10 trillion in debt. And they agree that within a decade or
          Student Loan Defaults: An Economic Train Wreck For Taxpayers – America’s Lawyer   

To learn more about this topic, visit AL.Law Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio talks to Adam Minsky, an attorney specializing in student loans, to discuss why student loan debt has reached nearly $1.5 trillion. Transcript of the above video: Papantonio: More than one million people defaulted on their student loans last year, compared to just

The post Student Loan Defaults: An Economic Train Wreck For Taxpayers – America’s Lawyer appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.


          Bank of Singapore sees only moderate upside potential for USD   

Bank of Singapore says the US dollar has only moderate upside potential as “the US is no longer exceptional” considering that other major central banks are also tightening their monetary policies. Three rounds of quantitative easing have caused the Fed’s balance sheet to swell to US$4.5 trillion, from less than US$1 trillion before the global […]

The post Bank of Singapore sees only moderate upside potential for USD appeared first on APB Mandate.


          Health official calls on neuroscience to fight mental illness    

New clues to autism, schizophrenia emerge from studies of synapses

Context
dendritic spines

Branches called dendrites extending from a nerve cell (green) receive messages from other neurons at tiny protrusions called dendritic spines. A faulty protein in the spines may be related to a wide range of mental disorders.

SAN DIEGO — Society’s record for protecting public health has been pretty good in the developed world, not so much in developing countries. That disparity has long been recognized.

But there’s another disparity in society’s approach to public health — the divide between attention to traditional diseases and the resources devoted to mental disorders.

“When it comes to mental health, all countries are developing countries,” says Shekhar Saxena, director of the World Health Organization’s department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Despite a breadth of scope and depth of impact exceeding that of many more highly publicized diseases, mental illness has long been regarded as a second-class medical concern. And modern medicine’s success at diagnosing, treating and curing many other diseases has not been duplicated for major mental disorders.

Saxena thinks that neuroscience research can help. He sees an opportunity for progress through increased interdisciplinary collaboration between neuroscience and mental health researchers.

“The collaboration seems to be improving, but much more is needed and not only in a few countries, but all countries,” he said November 12 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

By almost any measure, mental health disorders impose an enormous societal burden. Worldwide, direct and indirect costs of mental disorders exceed $2.5 trillion yearly, Saxena said — projected to reach $6 trillion by 2030. Mental illnesses also disable and kill in large numbers: Global suicides per year total over 800,000. “Indeed, it is a hidden epidemic,” Saxena said. That’s more deaths than from breast cancer and probably more from malaria, according to a new comprehensive analysis of global mortality.

Mental illnesses encompass a wide range of disorders, from autism and Alzheimer’s disease to substance abuse and schizophrenia. Saxena acknowledged that there have been advances in the scientific understanding of these diseases, but not nearly enough. No easily used diagnostic test is available for most of them. And no new class of drugs for treating major mental disorders has appeared in the last 20 years, with the possible exception of dementia.

“We need increased investment in research, increased public, private and philanthropic investments,” Saxena said. “We need increased connection of research with public health gains.”

He called on the community of neuroscientists to establish a “grand challenge” to researchers to address these concerns.

“There have been many grand challenges in neurosciences — perhaps we need one for finding out mental health interventions,” he said.

Many neuroscientists are, of course, aware of the important link between their research and mental health. Some progress is being made. One promising avenue of work focuses on synapses, the junctures through which nerve cells in the brain communicate. Typically synapses form where axons, the long neuronal extensions that transmit signals, connect with dendrites, the neurons’ message-receiving branches. Most of the axon-dendrite connections occur at small growths called dendritic spines that protrude from the dendrite surface.

Several sessions at the neuroscience meeting described new work showing ways in which dendritic spines may be involved in mental disorders. One session focused on the protein actin, a prime structural component of the spines.

Actin activity depends on a complicated chain of chemical reactions inside a cell. In mice, blocking a key link in that chain reduces the number of spines in the front part of the brain, Scott Soderling of Duke University School of Medicine reported. Those mice then exhibited symptoms reminiscent of schizophrenia in people.

It seems that losing spines in the frontal cortex alters nerve cell connections there; with spine shortages, some axons link directly to the dendrite shaft. Bypassing spines, which play a filtering role, can intensify signals sent to the ventral tegmental area, which in turn may send signals that increase production of the chemical messenger dopamine in another brain region, the striatum. “We think that this is actually what is driving the elevated dopamine levels” in disorders such as schizophrenia, Soderling said.

Some antipsychotic drugs (known as neuroleptics) for treating schizophrenia work by blocking sites of dopamine action in the striatum. But such drugs do nothing about the loss of spines that initiated the problem.

“These neuroleptics largely treat these symptoms, but they’re not a cure,” Soderling said. “We think that this is good evidence … for the idea that these drugs are treating a downstream consequence of a primary insult that’s occurring elsewhere in the brain.”

This insight from neuroscience — that antipsychotics treat downstream symptoms, not the problem at its source — may help the search for better treatments.

Soderling suggests that many other mental disorders may have their roots in problems with actin in dendritic spines. Another speaker at the neuroscience meeting, Haruo Kasai of the University of Tokyo, emphasized how fluctuations in the numbers of spines, related to actin activity, could play a role in autism.

Such results from neuroscience should be of great value to fighting mental disorders. But science alone won’t enable the discovery of effective treatments without a broader scope of scientific investigation of mental illness as a global problem. Too much of research to date focuses on too small a portion of the worldwide population. As Saxena noted, more than 90 percent of scientific studies on mental illness are from — and about — high-income countries.

“We are ignoring a very large number of people living in this world,” he said. “And this can be, and is, a real impediment to science. If we don’t know what is happening in the brains of the majority of the people living in this world, can we really advance science in the best possible manner? Can we still say that we know the human brain? And at least my answer would be: No.”

Follow me on Twitter: @tom_siegfried


          North Korea is sitting on a stockpile of minerals worth trillions   
Source: AOL North Korea is notorious for its totalitarian regime and human rights violations. Fewer people may realize the secretive country is also sitting on trillions in untapped wealth. Embedded deep beneath the country’s mountainous zones...
          Morning Joe and the Media Bubble   

There are two Americas.

In one America, the real one, people are worried about their jobs, their retirement, their kids, being able to buy a home, getting health care. 

In the other America, the one that is relentlessly splashed across cable news, vomited across the front pages of major newspapers and shrilled across media Twitter, there is fury and outrage that President Trump made fun of a media personality.

The average American has no idea who Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. And doesn't care what's said about them on Twitter. But the media lives in its own bubble. And so it obsessively provides coverage of what is, to most people, a baffling non-issue.

But the media and America have two very different sets of priorities. And what the media coverage reveals is that it's the media's cultural priorities that dominate its own coverage.

The media doesn't care about Americans. It doesn't care about the issues that matter most to Americans. It cares about its own narcissistic obsession with itself.

That is why the media won't shut up about Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. In the media's much smaller world, there is nothing more meaningful than its own small and incestuous world of ego. And a baffled nation is treated to roughly three trillion stories and non-stop coverage of the hurt feelings of the media.

Again.


          The World Is Now $217,000,000,000,000 In Debt And The Global Elite Like It That Way   

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

The borrower is the servant of the lender, and through the mechanism of government debt virtually the entire planet has become the servants of the global money changers.  Politicians love to borrow money, but over time government debt slowly but surely impoverishes a nation.  As the elite get governments around the globe in increasing amounts of debt, those governments must raise taxes in order to keep servicing those debts.  In the end, it is all about taking money from us and transferring it into government pockets, and then taking money from government pockets and transferring it into the hands of the elite.  It is a game that has been going on for generations, and it is time for humanity to say that enough is enough.

According to the Institute of International Finance, global debt has now reached a new all-time record high of 217 trillion dollars

Global debt levels have surged to a record $217 trillion in the first quarter of the year. This is 327 percent of the world’s annual economic output (GDP), reports the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

 

The surging debt was driven by emerging economies, which have increased borrowing by $3 trillion to $56 trillion. This amounts to 218 percent of their combined economic output, five percentage points greater year on year.

Never before in human history has our world been so saturated with debt.

And what all of this debt does is that it funnels wealth to the very top of the global wealth pyramid.  In other words, it makes global wealth inequality far worse because this system is designed to make the rich even richer and the poor even poorer.

Every year the gap between the wealthy and the poor grows, and it has gotten to the point that eight men have as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people on this planet combined

Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam today to mark the annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos.

This didn’t happen by accident.  Sadly, most people don’t even understand that this is literally what our system was designed to do.

Today, more than 99 percent of the population of the planet lives in a country that has a central bank.  And debt-based central banking is designed to get national governments trapped in endless debt spirals from which they can never possibly escape.

For example, just consider the Federal Reserve.  During the four decades before the Federal Reserve was created, our country enjoyed the best period of economic growth in U.S. history.  But since the Fed was established in 1913, the value of the U.S. dollar has fallen by approximately 98 percent and the size of our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.

It isn’t an accident that we are 20 trillion dollars in debt.  The truth is that the debt-based Federal Reserve is doing exactly what it was originally designed to do.  And no matter what politicians will tell you, we will never have a permanent solution to our debt problem until we get rid of the Federal Reserve.

In 2017, interest on the national debt will be nearly half a trillion dollars.

That means that close to 500 billion of our tax dollars will go out the door before our government spends a single penny on the military, on roads, on health care or on anything else.

And we continue to pile up debt at a rate of more than 100 million dollars an hour.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government will add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt once again in 2018…

Unless current laws are changed, federal individual income tax collections will increase by 9.5 percent in fiscal 2018, which begins on Oct. 1, according to data released today by the Congressional Budget Office.

 

At the same time, however, the federal debt will increase by more than $1 trillion.

We shouldn’t be doing this, but we just can’t seem to stop.

Let me try to put this into perspective.  If you could somehow borrow a million dollars today and obligate your children to pay it off for you, would you do it?

Maybe if you really hate your children you would, but most loving parents would never do such a thing.

But that is precisely what we are doing on a national level.

Thomas Jefferson was strongly against government debt because he believed that it was a way for one generation to steal from another generation.  And he actually wished that he could have added another amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would have banned government borrowing…

“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.”

And the really big secret that none of us are supposed to know is that governments don’t actually have to borrow money.

But if we start saying that too loudly the people that are making trillions of dollars from the current system are going to get very, very upset with us.

Today, we are living in the terminal phase of the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet.  Every debt bubble eventually ends tragically, and this one will too.

Bill Gross recently noted that “our highly levered financial system is like a truckload of nitro glycerin on a bumpy road”.  One wrong move and the whole thing could blow sky high.

When everything comes crashing down and a great crisis happens, we are going to have a choice.

We could try to rebuild the fundamentally flawed old system, or we could scrap it and start over with something much better.

My hope is that we will finally learn our lesson and discard the debt-based central banking model for good.

The reason why I am writing about this so much ahead of time is so that people will actually understand why the coming crisis is happening as it unfolds.

If we can get everyone to understand how we are being systematically robbed and cheated, perhaps people will finally get mad enough to do something about it.


          "We're All A 'Walking Illinois' Now"   

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Who needs Russia when the Tweety-Bird-in-Chief is hacking his own presidency into a global joke? Or at least it might be a joke if the USA weren’t such a menace to international order, and to itself, by the way. Interestingly, the 25th amendment allows for the removal of a president from office on account of incompetence or disability, but not for being an embarrassment to the nation.

They may come after him anyway with the 25th, especially as the financial system unravels later this year, because this time, unlike 2008-9, central bank interventions will not avail to rescue the faltering money system from nine years of previous central bank interventions. All it takes is for the “liquidity” flows to seize up and before you know it, there’s no food in the supermarkets because everything in our just-in-time economy is exquisitely calibrated to the sure expectation of getting paid, and when that goes, it all goes.

Then the question arises: well, can’t you just re-start the liquidity flows? Not when the process requires another abracadabra magic act of summoning X-trillions of dollars out of absolutely nothing when the previous X-trillions created out of absolutely nothing are rushing at warp speed into the black hole of deleveraging because it has been discovered that the “loans” they were based on can never be paid back, not in this universe or any number of universes like it. In a word, they’re worthless.

Deleveraging is the polite term economists give to your net worth rapidly evaporating. Liquidity is the polite term for cash money and things denominated in them that can readily be converted into cash money. The problem with the kind of liquidity-creation solution to deleveraging is that it rapidly leads to money itself becoming worthless.

The preview of coming attractions is currently playing out in Illinois — soon to be joined by Connecticut, California, Kentucky, and many other bankrupt states. Illinois is dead broke. It can’t pay the contractors who fix things like roads and storm drains, and supply food to its prisons. It’s over $200-billion deep in pension obligations that will never be honored. Its Medicaid system is a shambles. It doesn’t even have the cash-on-hand to pay lottery winners (what happened to all the cash paid into the lottery by the suckers who didn’t win, which is supposed to pay off the winners?). The state legislature hasn’t passed a budget in three years.

The governor and the mayor of Chicago and everybody else nominally in charge have no idea what they’re going to do about it. Think the federal government is going to just step in and save the day there? They’d have to bail out every other foundering state and that’s just not going to happen, especially with that same federal government about to run out of cash money itself, with no resolution of the debt ceiling controversy that might allow it to even pretend to borrow more money by issuing treasury bonds that are instantly bought by the Federal Reserve — which, of course, is not an official government agency but a private banking consortium contracted to manage the nation’s money.

Do you begin to see the outlines of the clusterfuck rising like a bad moon over the harvest season of 2017? The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the re-po squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford-F150. We’re just doing what we always do: gittin’ our summer on. Breaking out the potato salad and the Bud Lites — at least those who have enough mojo left in their MasterCards to charge the party supplies.

An awful lot of Americans must be maxed out, though, people who actually used to work at things and get paid for it. Each one of them is a walking Illinois now, facing each dawning day with a bigger load of problems, more things they can’t pay for, and moving closer to the dreadful day when everything is gone, every chattel, every knickknack, the very roof over their head, and most particularly the belief that they live in a fair and decent society.

So, I wonder what we’re going to do with a Tweety-Bird-in-Chief in the White House when this deal goes down. Stresses and tensions are out there a’buildin’ and the time for being a nation of feckless idiots is drawing to a close. The sad thing is: it wasn’t even fun while it lasted.


          Pensions Timebomb In America – "Global Crisis” Cometh   

Pensions Timebomb - Pensions "Are Going To Be A National Crisis"

- America’s underfunded pension system is “not a distant concern but a system already in crisis”...

- Tax may explode as governments seek to bail out insolvent pension plans

- Illinois, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kentucky and eight other states vulnerable

- The simple mathematical mismatch at the heart of the pension crisis...

- Why the pension crisis really is “America’s silent crisis”...

- Pensions timebomb confronts Ireland, UK and most EU countries


By Brian Maher, Managing editor, The Daily Reckoning

"This is going to be a national crisis..."

“This” being America’s woefully underfunded pension liabilities, according to Karen Friedman. She’s the executive vice president of the Pension Rights Center.

(A place called the Pension Rights Center does in fact exist. We checked.)

MarketWatch columnist Jeff Reeves howls in confirmation that “collapsing pensions will fuel America’s next financial crisis.”

“This is not a distant concern,” warns he, “but a system already in crisis.”

According to data supplied by the Federal Reserve, pensions — public and private combined — were roughly 27% underfunded at the end of last year.

By some estimates, America’s public pensions alone are sunk in a $6 trillion abyss.

The issue, approached from any direction, is an impossible knot… a tar pit… a minotaur’s maze of blind alleys and dead ends.

How has the American pension come to such an estate?

Most public pension systems were built upon the sunny assumption that their investments will yield a handsome 7.5% annual return.

But consider…

The average public pension plan returned just 1.5% last year.

Last year marked the second consecutive year that plans undershot the 7.5% return rate, according to Governing magazine.

The same plans worked an average gain of 2–4% in 2015.

A highly technical term describes the foregoing if it goes on long enough... and we apologize if it sends you to the dictionary:

Insolvency.

Briefly turn your attention to the Golden State, for example. California.

State pensions are only in funds to meet 65% of their promised benefits.

And California pins its hopes on that golden annual 7.5% return to make the shortage good.

But it’s in a devil of a fine fix if the average public pension plan only returns 1.5%.

The math is the math.

California essentially depends on returns 400% above the norm, according to financial analyst Larry Edelson.

But California is by no means alone.

We won’t run the entire roll call of shame.

But the great state of Illinois, for one, risks sinking into a $130 billion "death spiral" from its unfunded pension liabilities, as Ted Dabrowski of the Illinois Policy Institute described it.

S&P Global Ratings has even threatened to downgrade the state's credit score to "junk" status.

New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Kentucky are also among the worst deadbeats.

But the problems run from ocean to ocean and south to north.

A report from Moody’s reads thus:

For many states and municipalities, exposure to unfunded pension liabilities is already at or near all-time highs. Since cost burdens are already expected to further increase, pension fund investment performance is critical for the credit quality of many governments.

Not even a "best case" cumulative 25% investment return on public pension plans would stanch the blood flow, according to Moody’s.

They say that best-case 25% would merely reduce pension liabilities a slender 1% through 2019 due to weak contributions and poor past investment returns.

“But I don’t have a pension,” comes your response. “This doesn’t concern me.”

Ah, but have another guess — at least if you swear off your taxes in these United States.

Is it your belief that governments will let their prized public pension plans flop?

There are votes to consider, after all.

Jilted pensioners are capable of generating a good deal of hullabaloo, hullabaloo to which the official ear is exquisitely attuned.

Besides, do you think kind Uncle Samuel will turn the politically strategic states of California and Illinois out on their ears?

As our resident income specialist Zach Scheidt argues:

Your tax bill could explode as governments around the country seek to bail out insolvent pension plans. And you know how much politicians like to use your tax money to bail out some constituent. They like to prove their “compassion” with your money!

“Expect to pay higher state and local taxes for fewer services in the years to come,” adds Larry Edelson, before mentioned.

And:

“Don’t be surprised if authorities of all shapes and sizes — from local governments to national agencies — up the ante to get ahold of your assets any way they can.”

We would have to agree. You shouldn’t be surprised in the least.

And we can scarcely imagine the holy hell that would follow another financial crisis.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner warns the state’s pension crisis is driving his beloved Land of Lincoln into "banana republic" territory.

But we suspect the good governor’s mouth ran away with him here...

Can you imagine comparing the venerable, eminently worthy banana republic... to Illinois?

The pension crisis is truly “America’s silent crisis” and indeed the world's silent crisis.

From The Daily Reckoning newsletter


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Gold steady on easing dollar, stocks amid hawkish central banks (Reuters)

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Tech Spoils Bank Party as Stocks, Dollar Slide: Markets Wrap (Bloomberg)

The Yellowstone Supervolcano Has Just Seen 878 Earthquakes in Two Weeks (Science Alert)

Source: Cape Shiller via ZeroHedge

Source: Cape Shiller via ZeroHedge

Robert Shiller: "The Index I Invented Is At Levels Last Seen In 1929 And 2000" (Zerohedge)

How owning a home in Britain became a luxury (Moneyweek)

Petrodollar wars - Gold in your custody cannot be hacked, erased, or frozen (Zerohedge)

Should you own bitcoin or gold?  That’s easy (SCH)

Lessons from ten of the greatest trades of all time (Moneyweek)

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

30 Jun: USD 1,243.25, GBP 957.43 & EUR 1,090.83 per ounce
29 Jun: USD 1,246.60, GBP 959.88 & EUR 1,093.14 per ounce
28 Jun: USD 1,251.60, GBP 976.25 & EUR 1,101.91 per ounce
27 Jun: USD 1,250.40, GBP 980.31 & EUR 1,111.36 per ounce
26 Jun: USD 1,240.85, GBP 975.56 & EUR 1,109.32 per ounce
23 Jun: USD 1,256.30, GBP 987.70 & EUR 1,125.27 per ounce
22 Jun: USD 1,251.40, GBP 988.36 & EUR 1,120.13 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

Silver Prices (LBMA)

30 Jun: USD 16.47, GBP 12.69 & EUR 14.44 per ounce
29 Jun: USD 16.83, GBP 12.98 & EUR 14.76 per ounce
28 Jun: USD 16.78, GBP 13.08 & EUR 14.78 per ounce
27 Jun: USD 16.66, GBP 13.07 & EUR 14.79 per ounce
26 Jun: USD 16.53, GBP 12.98 & EUR 14.79 per ounce
23 Jun: USD 16.71, GBP 13.12 & EUR 14.97 per ounce
22 Jun: USD 16.58, GBP 13.09 & EUR 14.85 per ounce


Recent Market Updates

- London Property Bubble Bursting? UK In Unchartered Territory On Brexit and Election Mess
- Shrinkflation – Real Inflation Much Higher Than Reported
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Important Guides

For your perusal, below are our most popular guides in 2017:

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Switzerland

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Singapore

Essential Guide to Tax Free Gold Sovereigns (UK)

Please share our research with family, friends and colleagues who you think would benefit from being informed by it.


          FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE MARKETS? MAYBE YOU SHOULDN´T READ THIS / THE NEW YORK TIMES   

Feel Good About the Markets? Maybe You Shouldn’t Read This

By JAMES B. STEWART
.

Traders outside the New York Stock Exchange. Investors have seemed oblivious to claims of Russian interference in the election, the firing of the F.B.I. director and other political turmoil. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times        


Throughout the turbulence of his first months in office, President Trump has been able to point to one bastion of support: the stock market. Earlier this month he tweeted the “great economic news” he thinks the mainstream media has been ignoring: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 16 percent and the Nasdaq up 19.5 percent since his election. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross maintained that the Trump administration had bestowed $4 trillion in gains on investors.
 
Investors have seemingly been oblivious to claims of Russian interference in the election, the firing of a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the appointment of a special prosecutor. As the second quarter ends this week, 2017 has so far been a banner year, with major indexes hitting records.
 
But as the bull market rolls on, some see storm clouds on the horizon. “Valuations are high and it’s one of the longest and largest bull markets in history,” said James Stack, president of InvesTech Research. “Bull markets don’t last forever. So the question is, when will the music stop?”
 
Investors “are on a knife’s edge,” said Michael J. Kelly, global head of asset allocation for PineBridge Investments. With many still scarred by the financial crisis, “they see a potential disaster around every corner.”

This month the so-called Faang stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, which have led the market’s rally — faced a sudden downdraft, which many market watchers called a warning of turbulent times to come.
 
On June 14, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the second time this year, a move that was widely expected and barely caused a market ripple. But more ominously for stock investors, the Fed also said it would reduce its $4.2 trillion balance sheet and taper its purchases of longer-term government bonds (though it didn’t say how fast), bringing to an end the quantitative easing it undertook after the financial crisis.
 
And then there’s Mr. Trump himself, whose unpredictability and erratic behavior still have the potential to rattle markets.
 
So I asked some prominent investors and market analysts whether they were pulling back from stocks, and how they viewed these latest developments.
 
A Crack in the Faang Stocks
 
After some of the Faang stocks plunged over 3 percent on June 9, Goldman Sachs compared them to the leading stocks of the tech bubble. But by the end of the month they’d recovered and were again approaching all-time highs.
 
There’s no question that these market darlings, which together have accounted for a disproportionate percentage of the market’s gains, are expensive, and getting more so. Price-to-earnings ratios range from 39 (Facebook) to 187 (Amazon). Their market caps are so huge they dominate the indexes.
 
They show up not only in so-called growth funds, but also in value and low-volatility funds. Should they embark on a sustained plunge, a bear market could quickly follow.
 
The tremor in June was “a warning shot across the bow,” said Bill Smead, the founder of Smead Capital Management in Seattle. The Faang stocks “are showing all the classic signs of being overcooked,” he added. “What magazine hasn’t had Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg on the cover?
 
There’s no question this can end very badly. But the market can stay irrational for a very long time.
 
My sense is that there’s one big blowout rally left in these stocks.”


Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this month as Janet Yellen announced the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images       
 
 
Mr. Stack noted that the Faang stocks had brief sell-offs last June and October, only to rebound. Still, he said, “the Faang stocks will be among the hardest hit in the next bear market due to the amount of money that flowed into them and the high expectations that have driven them higher.”
 
But like Mr. Smead, he doesn’t expect that to be imminent. “We’re not buying them, but we’re not necessarily saying sell,” Mr. Stack said. He urged investors to rebalance portfolios that have become too heavily weighted in these stocks.
 
A Tightening Federal Reserve
 
Everyone I interviewed agreed that the Fed is the most likely catalyst for the next bear market, but that may still be years away.

“Historically it’s difficult to find a bear market that wasn’t triggered to some extent by the Fed,” Mr. Smead said. “But I don’t think unwinding the long bond position as gradually as they’re going to will have a significant impact. What would have an impact is if the Fed is forced to raise rates faster than everyone anticipates. The Fed has prepared investors for one more rate hike this year. That’s where the potential surprise could come. If we see two or three by year’s end, we’re going to see definite headwinds and maybe a market top of some significance.”
 
Mr. Kelly said the Fed had plenty of room to maneuver before stocks start to be affected. “We just had a once-in-70-year crisis that left very long scars. Businesses basically didn’t invest for eight years. In tightening, the Fed is acknowledging that a monetary policy built on a very fragile economic backdrop is no longer appropriate. But we’re just getting to the point now where people are crawling out of their shells and we’re seeing more normal economic activity.”
 
Mr. Kelly said bull markets typically last another three to four years after such a point in the economic cycle, and can even go another eight or nine. “Bull markets die from excess, not old age,” he said.
 
Mr. Smead agreed. “There’s no question we’re getting closer to normal rates,” he said. “That will be difficult for the stock market when it happens. People will be less willing to be adventurous. But that’s still years away.”
 
Over at InvesTech Research, “we’re still quite bullish,” Mr. Stack said. “We’re not increasing cash reserves. We are rebalancing towards more defensive and out-of-favor sectors, like consumer staples and health care.”
 
‘I Wouldn’t Call It a Trump Rally’
 
“The risks don’t lie with potential charges of obstruction of justice or even impeachment,” Mr. Stack said. “For political mayhem to upset the economic apple cart, it has to irreparably damage confidence at the consumer and business level. So far we don’t see that happening. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment measures are at 16-year highs, and C.E.O. confidence in April was the highest since 2004.”
 
Nor have investors given up hope that a Republican Congress will still deliver business-friendly corporate tax reform and a pro-growth overhaul of the tax code, despite the president’s troubles.
At the same time, “Trump shouldn’t be looking to the market for vindication,” Mr. Smead said. “I wouldn’t call it a Trump rally. He’s basically riding on the Obama years. “
 
His bottom line: “We don’t pay much attention to politics, and that’s been a good thing.”

          ALL IN TIL IT DROPS, FORGET ALL WARNINGS; THE ULTIMATE HIGH RISK GAME / SAFE HAVEN   

All In Til It Drops, Forget All Warnings; The Ultimate High Risk Game

By: Doug Wakefield


I have not posted to the blog recently since week by week equity markets continue to reflect "perfect calm". Don't get me wrong, banana peels and trends are building that could shift the landscape quickly.

Yet today, what we are watching is not only "perfection" in the S&P 500 and Dow, but in South Korea's Kospi Index, India's Nifty 50, and in Argentina's MelVal Index.

Do global headlines support a time of world peace and booming economic prosperity worldwide? Do they support a "perfect calm" in global stocks?

Think with me. Don't fall asleep from the continued drone of algorithmic calm.

Look at these four charts, developed by UBS and Citigroup found in two recent articles on Zero Hedge.

The Global Credit Impulse


Credit growth has fallen off a cliff. The "perfect" stock market view is not supported by "perfect" credit growth.

Is the solution even MORE debt? The Keynesian central bankers seem determined to outrun the largest stock bubble on record by printing their way out of this conundrum.

Central Banks Buy 1.5 Trillion in Assets YTD, ValueWalk, June 10, 2017

After 8 years and over 12 trillion in asset purchases between 2009 and 2016, central banking actions continue telling the crowd, "we have your back". Yet the reality of 2000-2002 and 2007-2009 make it clear there is no such thing as a permanent bailout.

These charts by Citigroup make it clear that the era of the "assisted" stock investor is facing the reality of a severe credit contraction.

Central Banks' Response to Lack of Inflation
Credit Fuelled Asset Price Inflation
China House Prices and European Equities


There is no "the market feels"; only "the computers reacted". Without someone's computers preset to trade at specific technical lines over and over again, the "perfect calm" would not exist. A crowd of humans worldwide could never be this precise.

June 9th was a yet another major warning to global equity investors. Ignoring so many fundamental and technical warnings is only increasing more system-wide risk. When the patterns change due to extreme crowding, the big shift will not present investors with much time to mentally and financially adjust.


G3 Central Bank Balance Sheet

For 6 weeks I have been adding to my longest newsletter since starting The Investor's Mind in 2006.

It is called "Ten 'Little' Dominoes". We finished domino #8 last week, with #9 being released next week. Click here to join those reading The Investor's Mind as we monitor these world trends, and seek to prepare for what lies ahead, rather than hope in more "assistance",


Dow Weekly Chart

          IS AMAZON/WHOLE FOODS THIS CYCLE´S AOL/TIME WARNER - A SIGN THAT THE PARTY IS OVER? / DOLLAR COLLAPSE   
 Is Amazon/Whole Foods This Cycle’s AOL/Time Warner – A Sign That The Party’s Over?  
Towards the end of the 1990s tech stock bubble, “new media” – i.e., the Internet — was ascendant and old media like magazines, newspapers and broadcast TV were yesterday’s news.

This was reflected in relative stock valuations, which gave Internet pioneer AOL the ability to buy venerable media giant Time Warner for what looked (accurately in retrospect) like an insane amount of money.

Now fast forward to 2017. Online retailing is crushing bricks-and-mortar, giving Amazon all the high-powered stock it needs to do whatever it wants. And what does it want? Apparently to run grocery stores and pharmacies via the acquisition of Whole Foods, the iconic upscale-healthy food chain.

The two deals’ similarities are striking, but before considering them here’s a quick AOL/Time Warner post-mortem:

15 years later, lessons from the failed AOL-Time Warner merger
(Fortune) – The landscape of mergers and acquisitions is littered with business flops, some catastrophic, highly visible disasters that were often hugely hyped before their eventual doom. Today marks the 15th anniversary of one such calamity when media giants AOL and Time Warner combined their businesses in what is usually described as the worst merger of all time. But what happened then will happen again, and ironically for the exact same reasons. 
A lot of people thought that the merger was a brilliant move and worried that their own companies would be left behind. At the time, the dot-coms could do no wrong, and AOL (AOL) was at the head of the pack as the ‘dominant’ player. Its sky-high stock market valuation, bid up by investors looking for a windfall, made the young company more valuable in market cap terms than many blue chips. Then CEO Steve Case was already shopping around before the Time Warner opportunity came up. 
On the other side, Time Warner anxiously tried, and failed, to establish an online presence before the merger. And here, in one fell swoop, was a solution. The strategy sounded compelling. Time Warner (TWC), via AOL, would now have a footprint of tens of millions of new subscribers. AOL, in turn, would benefit from access to Time Warner’s cable network as well as to the content, adding its layer of so-called ‘user friendly’ interfaces on top of the pipes. The whole thing was “transformative” (a word that gets really old really fast when reading about this period). Had these initial assumptions been borne out, we might be talking today about what a visionary deal it was. 
Merging the cultures of the combined companies was problematic from the get go. Certainly the lawyers and professionals involved with the merger did the conventional due diligence on the numbers. What also needed to happen, and evidently didn’t, was due diligence on the culture. The aggressive and, many said, arrogant AOL people “horrified” the more staid and corporate Time Warner side. Cooperation and promised synergies failed to materialize as mutual disrespect came to color their relationships. 

A few scant months after the deal closed, the dot com bubble burst and the economy went into recession. Advertising dollars evaporated, and AOL was forced to take a goodwill write-off of nearly $99 billion in 2002, an astonishing sum that shook even the business-hardened writers of the Wall Street Journal. AOL was also losing subscribers and subscription revenue. The total value of AOL stock subsequently went from $226 billion to about $20 billion.

Now back to Amazon/Whole Foods. Amazon is going to apply its advanced technology – online ordering, fast delivery, drones, autonomous cars, whatever – to the quintessentially meatspace business of selling groceries. And it’s paying $13 billion to find out if this is a good idea.

Whether it is or isn’t is less important than what this type of M&A says about the mindset of a given cycle’s favored companies. When undreamed-of amounts of money start pouring in (as with the dot-coms of old and today’s Big Tech) it changes the perception of risk. $13 billion is a terrifying amount of money to bet on a new and untested idea – except in the context of a near-trillion dollar market cap, where it seems downright modest.

When the next bear market hits, though, that kind of money might seem a bit hubristic.

As with so many other extraordinary recent market events (record-high stock prices combined with record-low volatility, negative yields on government bonds, soaring debt/GDP combined with falling inflation), Amazon/Whole Foods might or might not be the bell that rings at the top. But when the history of this time is written, there’s a good chance that it will be somewhere on the list.

          Imagine   

It’s being a tragic day. Let’s play a popular game I just invented called Fantasy Headlines.

Trump Dragged Away Screaming by Federal Marshalls

Trump Extradited to ICC for Crimes Against Humanity

Trump Convicted on Multiple Counts of Fraud, Corruption, Perjury, Witness Tampering

Sentenced to 375 years

Rape Victim Wins Case Against Trump

Awarded 7 billion dollars in damages, vows to share with Trump’s other victims

Trump’s Hair Sculpture Blown Off in Sudden Unexpected Gale

Trump Addresses Rally in Omaha

Crowd laughs, heckles, throws popcorn

Trump Found to Owe the US Public 3 Trillion Dollars

Judge draws up payment plan

Trump Tower on the market for 600k

Mar-a-Lago Alligator Attacks Trump

Nothing left but the red baseball cap

Read the rest

          China’s Foreign Debt Posts 4th Quarterly Gain in Row: SAFE: MNI   

BEIJING (MNI) – China’s collective debt and other financial obligations owed to foreign sources rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, even as the domestic economy and cross-border capital flows improved, a unit of the People’s Bank of China. China’s so-called comprehensive foreign debt stood at USD1.44 trillion at the end of March, a gain of […]

The post China’s Foreign Debt Posts 4th Quarterly Gain in Row: SAFE: MNI appeared first on Forexsites.


          House Budget Committee takes step to restoring fiscal sanity with $200 billion of real cuts to so-called ‘mandatory’ spending over next decade   

By Robert Romano 69 percent of the $3.8 trillion federal budget consists of so-called “mandatory” spending. That is, $2.7 trillion of spending that occurs automatically whether or not Congress votes to adopt a budget or even pass a single appropriations bill — a constitutionally dubious process, but there it is. Much of it includes things like Social Security ($910.2 billion), […]

The post House Budget Committee takes step to restoring fiscal sanity with $200 billion of real cuts to so-called ‘mandatory’ spending over next decade appeared first on NetRight Daily.


          Keeping a Promise to the Polish People   

President Trump has a chance to set things right with America's most faithful ally.

 

It's unsurprising that the White House recently scheduled a presidential visit to Poland in conjunction with the upcoming G-20 Summit. The U.S. State Department describes this Central European country of 38.6 million people as a stalwart ally and "one of the United States' strongest partners on the continent in fostering transatlantic security and prosperity regionally, throughout Europe, and the world."

What is surprising is that, despite historical ties dating back to the American Revolutionary War, the strong alliance, and a robust domestic Polish-American population of about 10 million, the U.S. government hasn't found a way to treat Polish citizens the same way as it does those living in most other European countries when it comes to visiting the United States. Since it shed communism in 1989 after 42 years of domination and became a free and democratic state, Poland has unsuccessfully tried to gain entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

The U.S. failure to grant VWP status to Poland is an embarrassment to many Americans as well as a major disappointment and irritant to Poles and a succession of its leaders. Poland's former president and Nobel Laureate Lech Walesa described VWP entry as a "matter of honor" for Poland.

In a speech before the Polish American Congress in September 2016, Candidate Trump promised to remedy this problem by making it possible for Poland to become part of the VWP. His promise echoes that of his presidential predecessor, Barack Obama, who promised to do the same several years earlier but didn't deliver. Several previous attempts by U.S. Congress members to legislate a fix to bring Poland into the program have also failed. Congress is now considering The Poland Waiver Act of 2017 (H.R. 2388).

What is the VWP? The U.S. established the VWP in 1986 primarily to facilitate commerce and tourism between friendly nations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security administers the program in consultation with the State Department. Since its inception, the program has evolved into a security partnership with special passport and security upgrades to detect and prevent terrorists, criminals, and other mala fide actors from entering each country. There are presently 38 countries in VWP, 29 of them European. The program features reciprocal agreements allowing citizens to travel on business or pleasure without visas and no application fees between member countries for up to 90 days.

What has Poland done to gain VWP entry? Three important ingredients for gaining VWP status are national wealth, a high Human Development Index, and a low-security risk. Poland scores well on each count. It has seen its economy dramatically grow to 25th in the world at $1.1 trillion. The 2017 United Nations Development Report classified Poland as a "very high" Human Development Index country with its 78 years average life expectancy, 99.8 percent literacy rate for males and females, and $27,700 plus average annual income. And with its strong American ties, NATO membership, participation in the Afghanistan and Iraq military coalitions, and the general absence of radical Islamic terror attacks on its soil Poland clearly isn't a security threat. Moreover, it has implemented and adopted VWP-related security measures and information-sharing protocols asked of them by the U.S. government.

What is preventing Poland's VWP entry? A provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act which requires a visa refusal rate of 3 percent or less to qualify for the program - and Poland's FY 2016 visa refusal rate according to the State Department is 5.7 percent, which although is a dramatic drop from previous years still doesn't pass the congressionally-mandated program muster. The State Department reported that 186,555 Polish citizens applied for nonimmigrant visas to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure. Each paid a non-fundable fee of $160. Of the applicants, U.S. consular officers refused to approve visas for 10,060 of them.

However, using the visa refusal rate alone to exclude a country from the program can be somewhat misleading. For example, the prime concern for U.S. immigration officials is not necessarily the percentage of visa refusals by U.S. consular officers, but the actual number of nonimmigrants from VWP and other countries who overstay their 90-day visit. DHS's FY 2016 Overstay Report reveals that VWP members United Kingdom had 20,670 suspected overstays; Germany had 18,780; Italy had 14,896; Spain had 11,716; and France had 10,358 compared to non-VWP Poland's 2,787 suspected overstays!

President Trump can take the following actions to facilitate Poland's VWP entry and/or make it easier for Polish citizens to visit the United States. One, he can urge Congress to pass the Poland Waiver Act of 2017; two, he can ask the DHS and State Department secretaries to determine the reasons why Poles are being refused visas at a greater percentage than INA requires and to determine if any legal and administrative remedies are available for Poland to achieve a lower rate; and three, ask the Secretary of State to determine if the $160 visa application fee for Polish citizens can be legally waived - as it has been for VWP member countries and like the Polish government has already done for U.S. citizens traveling to Poland.

One is hard-pressed to find a better friend and more loyal U.S. ally than Poland. For that reason, President Trump should keep his promise and use his leadership ability and/or executive power to ensure this matter doesn't languish in the Federal bureaucracy or Congress any longer. Making it easier for the Poland's citizens to visit the U.S. on business and pleasure would further cement the bilateral relationship and surely please millions of them and their American cousins.

donate button pub dom ok

A version of this piece also appeared on https://spectator.org/


          Fed Chairman ‘Forgets’ Banks He Loaned Half Trillion $   
News Item...
          Chinese telecom firm ZTE to double 5G research spending   
HONG KONG - Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp will double its research spending on fifth-generation mobile network (5G) from this year, the company said, as China steps up the push to build the world's largest 5G network.

ZTE said it would invest 2 billion yuan ($295.5 million) in 5G research and development every year starting this year, up from 1 billion yuan invested last year. The budget could rise further as China aims to roll out 5G by 2020, the company said.

China and the United States are racing to lead the development of 5G technology, which will be significantly faster than the current 4G network. International standards for 5G are yet to be finalised.

China's cumulative 5G capital spending is expected to rise to 1.65 trillion yuan by 2025, a recent research paper from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology forecast, with equipment makers such as ZTE and Huawei Technologies set to be major beneficiaries.

China Mobile, the country's largest state-owned telecom operator, started field tests of China's first 5G base station in the southern city of Guangzhou last week.

ZTE said it currently employed 3,000 people engaged in research and development for 5G. A spokeswoman for the company declined to say if it planned to increase that headcount.


          In China, A Cashless Trend Is Taking Hold With Mobile Payments   
People in China have been paying cash for things for thousands of years, long before other civilizations. Now, increasingly, they're paying with their cellphones. So while the Trump administration hailed a bilateral deal in May, that would allow U.S. credit card firms including Visa and Mastercard access to the China market, it may not be the coup those firms hoped. Chinese consumers are essentially leapfrogging plastic, and going straight from cash to mobile payments. Chinese spent $5.5 trillion through mobile payment platforms last year, about 50 times the amount in the U.S., according to reports . Nowhere is the cashless trend more obvious than in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, which is home to Alibaba, the world's largest online shopping platform. Its mobile payment app, Alipay, and WeChat Pay, which belongs to the country's leading social messaging platform, together hold a commanding 90 percent of the market, leaving Apple Pay struggling to make inroads . I recently spent
          Comment on Should we attempt to set up a self-sustaining city of a million people on Mars? by Charles Poynton   
There are places on Earth that are too hostile for most humans, even though they have an atmosphere with oxygen, are warm enough for comfort and have access to food and water. Before spending trillions on getting a settlement established in the infinitely more hostile environment of Mars, I suggest Musk et al spend some years in the Taklamakan in China, Gibson Desert in Australia or even Death Valley. They might then understand why humans prefer living in green and temperate places like the USA, Europe or even New Zealand.
          Comment on The World Is Now $217,000,000,000,000 In Debt And The Global Elite Like It That Way by SoCalBeachDude   
<b>There most certainly are Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds and they hold (own) about $5.5 trillion of the outstanding $20 trillion in US Treasuries as required by law passed by Congress. Each year the US Treasury issues more than $7 trillion in US Treasuries which are sold through auctions held by the 20 or so primary dealers of US Treasuries. About $6 trillion of those proceeds are used to repay in full the owners of matured US Treasuries with about $1 trillion in net new US Treasury borrowing each year. The reason that yields (interest rates) on US Treasuries are so low is because the DEMAND FOR US TREASURIES IS NOW QT RECORD HIGH LEVELS and the highest bids in prices win at auctions and prices of US Treasuries are INVERSE TO YIELDS. There are about 3 bids for every US Treasury sold which is why the yield on 10 year US Treasuries is around 2.20%. US Treasuries are owned by MILLIONS OF DIVERSE PEOPLE AND ENTITIES in the US and globally. There is no such thing at all as the "petrodollar" as oil accounts for less than 7% of the annual global use of the US dollar which is used in around 83% of all global transactions for all sorts of goods and services around the world The US made no such deal as you assert at all with Saudi Arabia which is just one of the world's many oil producers. The 3 largest oil producers are the US, Saudi Arabia, and Russia and Russia doesn't even price oil in dollars nor does Iran. Saudi Arabia has never owned much in the way of US Treasuries at any time. In fact, Saudi Arabia holds (owns) practically NONE OF THE OUTSTANDING $20 TRILLION in US Treasuries. Treasury Says Saudis Hold $117B of US Debt... http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-16/u-s-discloses-saudi-arabia-s-treasuries-holdings-for-first-time The more commodities prices collapse the higher the value of the US dollar will rise axiomatically. Oil has plummeted from $114 per barrel in June 2014 and is now about 60% lower in June 2017 at around $45 per barrel which represents a 120% increase in the purchasing value of the dollar against oil. I would suggest you learn about the US Treasuries (bills, bonds, notes, and TIPS) markets at: http://www.TreasuryDirect.gov
          'One nation one tax' is finally a reality   
The one national GST unifies the country's $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market, an exercise that took 17 tumultuous years....
          Global Debt Hits A New Record High Of $217 Trillion; 327% Of GDP   
Found via galacticconnection.com/



by Tyler Durden
The Institute of International Finance is perhaps best known for its periodic – and concerning – reports summarizing global leverage statistics, and its latest Q1 report was the most troubling yet, because what it found was that in a period of so-called “coordinated growth”, global debt hit a new all time high of $217 trillion, or over 327% of global GDP, up $50 trillion over the past decade. So much for Ray Dalio’s beautiful deleveraging, oh and for those economists who are still confused why r-star remains near 0%, the chart  below has all the answers.



Not surprisingly, China continues to be the biggest source of global debt growth, with the country’s total debt load now surpassing 300%.




While much of the debt issuance at the financial sector level has moderated in recent years, supplanted by outside money created by central banks, debt in the non-financial sector has continued to grow, and as of Q1 2017, hit an all time high of 242% of GDP.



An interesting observation by the IIF: despite the recent dollar strength (if not so much in the past quarter), dollar bond issuance in Emerging Markets has been on a tear over the past year.



Another notable observation: while the EM bond universe has increased by $2.5 trillion to $18.4 trillion since 2016, only 25% of this debt is tradeable via benchmark bond indices.



What is more troubling, however, is the IIF’s observation that despite the relentless foreign portfolio inflows into EM, the credit quality of many emerging markets has deteriored rapidly in the past year.



This is an especially acute problem because there is over $1.9 trillion in EM bonds and loans coming due by the end of 2018. Should the EM sector fall out of favor with investors, and if the debt can not be rolled over, it could result in substantial liquidity events across the EM space.



Finally, here is perhaps the most troubling chart of all: for all those wondering how oil-exporters in the Gulf region have funded their budgets, and maintained their economies from sliding into recession or social disorder, the answer is shown below: a dramatic increase in new debt issuance.



So what is the policymakers’ response as global debt hits new all time highs? To raise interest rates.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-29/global-debt-hits-new-record-high-217-trillion-327-gdp

          The True Cost Of Presidential Jet Parked In UK For Buhari - Presidency   
By Dansu Peter

Muhammadu Buhari
The ripples generated over the cost of parking the Presidential Jet in the United Kingdom where President Muhammadu Buhari is currently receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment has attracted the attention of the Presidency.

The Presidency, yesterday, described as untrue, claims that the Presidential Aircraft, NAF 001, parked in a London hanger was costing the nation a daily parking fee of £4,000.

According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the amount was outrageous and the allegations untrue, adding that Aircraft conveying heads of state all over the world usually enjoy waivers even where payments for parking were differentiated by aircraft categories.

“We have been assured that where the waiver is not granted, payment will not exceed £1,000, which is a quarter of the amount being peddled,” Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba, said in the statement.

The jet is parked in a London facility while President Muhammadu Buhari undergoes treatment in an undisclosed hospital in the UK.


Garba described those behind the criticisms over the parking of the aircraft in the Uk, as lacking understanding of protocol of trips by heads of states all over the world.

He also said it was against protocol to leave the president on a foreign trip without planes for immediate return or evacuation.

A post by a Facebook user Retty Susie on Wednesday drew attention to the Nigerian presidential aircraft in London.

“Today, it would be 50 days it has stayed idle and if you multiply that by N400/1pounds for 50 days it will amount to N80,000,000 doing nothing but waiting for the president to get well. This is not a government but a mistake Why not return the aircraft to Nigeria till he is ready to return. If the plane is here where is the crew?”

Shehu, however, insisted that NAF 001 was at the service of the president.

The statement read: “The Presidency is constrained to decry criticisms, mostly on social media, on the retention in London of the Presidential Aircraft, NAF 001 as mostly informed by lack of understanding of protocol around foreign trips by Heads of State all over the world.

“It is important to state that for reasons of protocol, national security, diplomacy and prestige, there is no world leader who travels abroad and is left without plans for immediate return or possible evacuation.

“From operational point of view, this country’s Armed Forces as represented by the Nigeria Air Force are not to abandon their Commander-in-Chief in whichever circumstance he is. This is a standard operating procedure.

“We have also read claims about outrageous fees allegedly paid by Nigeria. The published amounts are totally untrue. Aircraft conveying heads of state all over the world usually enjoy waivers even where payments for parking are differentiated by aircraft categories.

“We have been assured that where the waiver is not granted, payment will not exceed £1,000, which is a quarter of the amount being peddled.

“For the avoidance of doubt, this president is not the first to have a presidential aircraft standing by for him, as he will certainly not be the last.  All past Heads of this country have had this privilege, and the part that surprises the most is that leaders who in the past travelled with three Nigerian aircraft did not suffer this trenchant criticism.

“We appeal to Nigerians to ignore opposition campaign aimed at derailing this administration’s big plans for the country.

“This is a government that is constructing the Second Niger Bridge, the Mambila Power Plant, the East-West and the North-South standard gauge railway lines.

“We are a government that has saved this country an annual loss of two trillion Naira from fraudulent petroleum subsidy schemes by influential citizens and their children, and rid the public service of about 50,000 ghost workers.

“The Buhari administration certainly deserves a chance.”

          AI Could Add $15 Trillion to Global Economy by 2030   
Amid warnings of the economic disruption that robots and automation could unleash, researchers are finding that new technologies will help fuel global growth as productivity and consumption soar.

read more


          Trump-diculous and Hill/Hell-arious: tragic-comic ‘leadership’ killing millions, harming billions, looting trillions. Will ‘We the People’ demand .01% arrests for Wars of Aggression/Crimes Against Humanity, or enable WW3 on Syria, Iran, Russia?   

“Claim everything. Explain nothing. Deny everything.”  ~ Prescott Bush, 1966 (oligarch, father and grandfather of US Presidents) “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating … Continue reading

Trump-diculous and Hill/Hell-arious: tragic-comic ‘leadership’ killing millions, harming billions, looting trillions. Will ‘We the People’ demand .01% arrests for Wars of Aggression/Crimes Against Humanity, or enable WW3 on Syria, Iran, Russia? was originally published on Washington's Blog


          INDIANS’ MONEY IN SWISS BANKS HIT RECORD LOW OF 676 MILLION FRANCS   
ZURICH/NEW DELHI (TIP): Money parked by Indians in Switzerland’s banks nearly halved to 676 Swiss francs (about Rs 4,500 crore) in 2016 to hit a record low amid a continuing clampdown on the suspected black money stashed behind their famed secrecy walls. In comparison, the total funds held by all foreign clients of Swiss banks somewhat rose to CHF 1.42 trillion or about […]
          Tokyo Election Comes at a Rough Time for Abe   

Tired of the seemingly endless political drama in the US and Europe?  Try Japan.  Tokyo's metropolitan 127-seat Assembly is up for election on July 2. 

 It could not come at a worse time for Prime Minister Abe and his Liberal Democrat Party.  In some ways, Abe and the LDP are victims of their own success.  Recall that previously, there had seemed to be an almost revolving door at the head of government when the DPJ held the reins.  Abe is completing his second term, and the price of such political stability is corruption--several scandals and accusations of misconduct. 

On top of this, there has been some backlash against the way that the LDP has pushed through legislation.  Some of the legislation is controversial, as the recent conspiracy measure, and the method of passage was critical for being harsh.     The net result has been an erosion of support for the LDP-led government. 

Tokyo is such a large and important city; it has a governor rather than a mayor.  The current governor of Tokyo is a Yuriko Koike, who previously in the LDP, though not part of the inner clique, and recently bolted to taking the helm of a new Japanese political party, Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First), is popular and is seenas a potential successor of Abe.  Although her handling of the fish market (Tsukiji) relocation disappointed many, according to reports, her popularity remains strong.   The mayoral candidate she backed in Chiyoda won recently.  Currently, the party has six seats in the assembly and is projected to increase its representation toward 40-45 seats. 

Governor Koike's power base will grow not only because her party will be more represented, but also because it has peeled off the Komeito Party that is in a coalition with the LDP in the national government. 
Komeito has 22 seats in the current AssemblyTomin First, Komeito, and a handful of independents may be sufficient to provide a slim majority in the assembly. 

The big losers may be the LDP (57 seats in current assembly) and the DPJ (7 seats).  Reports suggest that after the Tokyo election, the DPJ may shuffle its leadership. However, it is the LDP that appears most at risk.  A reformist party governs Osaka, and a victory for Tomin First in Tokyo would be a significant blow for the LDP and Abe.     A defeat for the LDP could have far-reaching implications for policy going forward, ahead of the national parliamentary election late next year.

A loss of Tokyo for the LDP could initially weigh on Japanese equities and lift the yen.  Equity losses may be modest and short-lived as the BOJ may have pulled back on its purchases of JGBs, but it continues to buy ETFs apparently on weakness.  On the other hand,  Prime Minister Abe has demonstrated a willingness to increase fiscal stimulus. Japan.'s budget deficit last year was 5.7% of GDP.  This year's shortfall is expected to be 4.8% of GDP.  Sagging support a year ago appeared to encourage Abe to announce a JPY28 trillion economic package.  Lo and behold, Abe's approval rating recovered. 

However, the BOJ has moved away from buying JPY80 trillion of government bonds a year and now targets the 10-year yield (+/- 10 bp on either side of zero).  Fiscal stimulus may make the BOJ's strategy more difficult to implement.   Abe has taken advantage of the better growth Japan is enjoying to push for his political agenda which includes changes to the pacifist constitution to complement the recent reinterpretation.

Last year, the LDP changed their rules to allow a candidate (Abe) to head the party for three terms rather than two.  As head of the LDP, Abe would remain prime minister after next year's election, assuming the LDP wins.   There does not appear to be another candidate in the LDP that is positioning to challenge Abe next year.  And, frankly, there does not seem to be an alternative economic program to "Abenomics" which seems like the same traditional LDP medicine (but on steroids).  It includes fiscal and monetary expansion, desire for a weaker yen, and some reforms that at the end of the day (or term) have not changed the macro-fundamentals very much.  





Disclaimer








          2017 3.11 Events in Boston   
If you are aware of a 3.11 event that I have not listed, please post a comment with a link to the event or details if the info isn't on a public webpage. I will update this post if I learn of any other events.

This year is the sixth anniversary of the tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear disaster that happened in Japan on March 11, 2011. Fukushima continues to face challenges in the massive clean up at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant which "the Japanese government estimates will take four decades and cost 8 trillion yen ($70.6 billion)". Some people in Tohoku are still living in "temporary housing". Communities have shrunk due to people moving away for jobs and housing and the likelihood of being able to repopulate grows smaller with every passing year.

Although the world's attention has moved on to other disasters, some groups in Boston continue to be involved in educating the public and supporting Japan through this crisis. If you are interested in learning more, please consider attending one of these events. Events are listed in chronological order.

I'm sorry I didn't get this post up soon enough to help publicize The Japan Society of Boston's event, Research and Reflections on Fukushima Today: Recovery Progress Since the Triple Disaster of 03.11.11, which was held on February 21, 2017.

Update 3/1/17: I just learned that MIT Japanese Tea Ceremony will not hold their annual 3.11 Japan Memorial Charity remembrance and fundraising event this year.


3.11 Memorial Event


Tewassa, a Cambridge-based volunteer group that produces "message quilts" for schools and organizations in the Tōhoku region, will be holding a memorial event.

Date & Time
Saturday, March 4, 2017
4:00 - 6:00pm

Location
GrayMist Studio & Shop
364 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Public Transit & Parking
GrayMist is accessible by the 72 and 75 buses from Harvard Square. There is free on-street parking along Huron Ave. and neighboring streets.


Children of the Tsunami Screening & Fundraiser for Ashinaga



 
Children of the Tsunami (watch for free on vimeo)
Directed & written by Dan Reed
2012 | Japan | 59 mins | Documentary  
On March 11th 2011 Japan was hit by the greatest tsunami in a thousand years. Through compelling testimony from 7-10 year-old survivors, this film reveals how the deadly wave and the Fukushima nuclear accident have changed children's lives forever. The story unfolds at two key locations: a primary school where 74 children were killed by the tsunami; and a school close to the Fukushima nuclear plant, attended by children evacuated from the nuclear exclusion zone.

The Tufts Japanese Culture Club's event is a fundraiser to benefit Ashinaga, a Japan-based non-profit that provides financial, educational, and emotional support to children worldwide "who have lost one or both parents as a result of illness, accident/disaster, or suicide, as well as children who have a parent with a disability that prevents them from working". Since 2011, the Tufts JCC* has been very active in fundraising and educating the Tufts community on the ongoing post-3.11 challenges.

Snack Sale & Crane Folding

Stop by the Mayer Campus Center to purchase mochi, cookies and rice crackers! JCC* students will also be folding origami cranes for a senbazuru (one thousand origami cranes) which will be installed later in the Tisch Library.

Date & Time
Thursday, March 9, 2017
noon - 3:00pm

Location
Tufts University
Mayer Campus Center
44 Professors Row, Medford, MA 02155


Children of the Tsunami Film Screening

Date & Time
Thursday, March 9, 2017
8:00pm

Location
Tufts University
Aidekman Arts Center
Alumnae Lounge
40 Talbot Ave., Medford, MA 02155
Directions & Parking

Admission
Free, but donations for Ashinaga gratefully accepted.


Voices from the Waves (Nami no Koe) | Shinchimachi


Screening will be followed by Q&A with Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Film Director and Reischauer Institute Resident Fellow.

Moderator: Alexander Zahlten, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

Voices from the Waves (Nami no Koe) | Shinchimachi
Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi & Ko Sakai
2013 | Japan | 103 mins | Documentary

From 2011 to 2013, RYUSUKE HAMAGUCHI and Ko Sakai conducted a series of interviews with residents in the Tohoku region of northern Japan, an area heavily hit by both the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Their research resulted in three films which have since come to be known as the Tohoku Trilogy: The Sound of the Waves (Nami no oto 2011), Voices from the Waves (Nami no koe 2013), and Storytellers (Utau hito, 2013). In Voices from the Waves, residents from the region face the camera in close-up view to deliver recollections of the earthquake and tsunami. Centering on the rich regional folk tradition of storytelling, the film explores the experience of discovery in the encounter between speaker and listener. Through Hamaguchi’s lens, Voices from the Waves poignantly showcases how a single event may live a thousand lives through the act of telling and how different voices can render that one event into similar yet unique pieces of storytelling. This interaction between speaker and listener becomes an empowering and transformative process, an affirmation of human resilience, and provides hope for recovery and a return to normalcy in the region. (Screening time: 103 minutes, Japanese with English subtitles)

Reischauer Institute Japan Forum special film presentation

Date & Time
Friday, March 10, 2017
4:00 - 6:15pm

Location
Harvard University
Kang Room (S050), Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South Bldg., 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138


トレイン トレイン 

TRAIN TRAIN


Students from Tohoku University of Art and Design are coming to Boston Children's Museum for the fifth year to mark the anniversary of 3.11. For the third year the students will have an art and friendship exhibit. The public is invited to attend the exhibit opening. The exhibit is open through Monday, September 30, 2017. Children can meet the artists from Japan and engage in a hands-on activity. See photos from 2014 (here and here) when they had fun making monsters. The exhibit is brought to the museum by artist Minatsu Ariga and her “ART THINKING” project team at the university.

Exploring trains as a symbol of determination and kindness carrying HOPE to our Future!
This art exhibition “トレイン トレイン TRAIN TRAIN” invites visitors on an imaginary adventure to our future.

Trains are not quitters. They just keep moving forward every day whether in the rain, in the wind, against the summer heat, or against the winter snow. Trains often remind us of the importance of hard work, patience, tenacity, and willpower.

Trains carry many things and people, and trains help them reach to their destinations. Trains remind us of the importance of kindness, generosity, and compassion for all humanities and the earth we live in.

In this art exhibition, artists use “trains” as their storytellers and welcome us to reflect our lives through exploring those stories. Where is your train going? Between a station and a station, trains connect us together and lead us to our tomorrow with hopes and dreams.... Please also tell us your train stories. What is your train story like? Is it romantic, dynamic, soulful, gentle...?

The artworks in this exhibition are created by the members of the “ART THINKING” project team at Tohoku University of Art & Design in Japan. After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in their hometown in March 2011, they decided to use the special power of ART to make the world a better place and connect with many friends like you! So they bought this exhibition to Boston as their fourth annual international friendship making project.

Our hope is that this exhibition also brings opportunities for the visitors to peek into today’s youth culture and children’s experience in Japan. Visitors are encouraged to make connections and share their own stories. Through this cross-cultural experience in this art exhibition “トレイン トレイン TRAIN TRAIN”, we hope to engage visitors in joyful discovery of learning and foster their appreciation of the world.

Date & Time
Friday, March 10, 2017
6:00 - 8:00pm

Saturday, March 11, 2017
12:00 - 3:00pm


Location
Boston Children's Museum, Japanese House Gallery 
308 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210

Admission
Please see the museum's website for admission details.
Please note that "Adults unaccompanied by children must leave proper photo identification at the Admissions Desk. Examples: State Driver’s License or Passport."


Cranes on the Square


Cranes on the Square 2016
This year is the fifth annual Cranes on the Square event organized by local Japanese language teacher Timothy Nagaoka. Volunteers will teach people how to fold origami cranes which will form a temporary public art piece in Copley Square then be collected and delivered to people in the disaster area. See photos from last year's event here.

Date & Time
Sunday, March 12, 2017
11:30am - 4:30pm

Location
Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116

          'One nation one tax' is finally a reality   
The one national GST unifies the country's $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market, an exercise that took 17 tumultuous years.
          Chronology: GST's 17-year roller coaster ride   
After 17 tumultuous years, a nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) will rollout from midnight of June 30, overhauling India's convoluted indirect taxation system and unifying the $2 trillion economy with 1.3 billion people into a single market.
          It’s a lottery: Out of $32 trillion wealth generated in 90 years, more than half came from just 86 stocks   
The odds are not in your favor.
          Stress Test Charades!   
Excuse me, but I can’t stop laughing at the latest round of central banker charades!


Central banker charades, of course, were created in the year 1913, but they have been improving, and improving the game ever since.  So much so, that today’s central banker charades are the funniest version yet – I don’t see how anyone can stop laughing!

Here are a couple of Janet Yellen quotes from her game of charades:
"I want to be completely clear that I strongly oppose ‘Audit the Fed.’"
And my favorite for a hysterical laugh:
 "I Don't Believe We Will See Another Crisis In Our Lifetime."
Pick me up off the floor, my stomach hurts!  Of course her puppet masters already have the next crisis in motion.  LOL, this is fun!

Stress Test Charades were created circa 2009 following the initial panic stage created by the central banks themselves.  People in general were losing confidence in the con, so the charade leaders decided to prove that they were not insolvent, that they had real assets!

Of course they have assets!  We all know that they own computers and with only a little bit of electricity combined with only half a wit, they are able to generate assets at will!  Just look at their own balance sheet charade!  Nearly $5 trillion worth of charades that was used to provide “assets” to the banks at no interest so that they could speculate/derivatize/manipulate every former “free market” on the planet!

Of course this charade was so popular in the United States that central bankers around the globe now love to play Stress Test Charades too!

This came after “Indebt Poor Nations Charades” – a very fun and entertaining game where central bankers power up their computers to create unlimited quantities of “money” from nothing, and “lend” it to poor countries who then tax the productive efforts of the poorest of the poor, convert said taxes into gold, and repay said charade “loans” with the gold as spelled out in the central banker charade rule book!  What fun!

This all brings me to my newest personal favorite game – Self Finances Stress Test Charades!

Wait… I’m giving my own finances the self stress test…

No really... carry the one, add in accounts receivables, subtract accounts payable, turn on money printing computer, change the rules to the game...

YES!!  I PASS!  Congratulations to me!  Anyone want to buy stock in Economic Edge Blog, Inc.?


          An American Boycott   
I thought about this for a long time and all the supports and friends within our Network agrees...it is past time for a boycott against China Products, The Arabic Nations Oil, The United Nations Funding Needs, and any other country that has moved to replace the American Currency as the World Currency.
 The Name George Soros seems to turn up in places you it would not seem to think he was there. This video..
 Now no one stated this will happen but its better to be safe then sorry....
Publisher, S&A Research
From  Stansberry & Associates Investment Research has released a News Update...
http://pro.stansberryresearch.com/1304PWAUP2YR/LPSIP822/?h=true
 ....talked about the riches men in the USA...as soon as he said George Soros....at the very same time my mind was searching for his name, because this is his kind of work...To force the American People into some sorted New World Order Concept. George Soros must be using Pharmaceutical Narcotics...because he is full of himself.
 Supporting News:
By Marin Katusa, Casey Research
There's a major shift under way, one the US mainstream media has left largely untouched even though it will send the United States into an economic maelstrom and dramatically reduce the country's importance in the world: the demise of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency.
For decades the US dollar has been absolutely dominant in international trade, especially in the oil markets. This role has created immense demand for US dollars, and that international demand constitutes a huge part of the dollar's valuation. Not only did the global-currency role add massive value to the dollar, it also created an almost endless pool of demand for US Treasuries as countries around the world sought to maintain stores of petrodollars. The availability of all this credit, denominated in a dollar supported by nothing less than the entirety of global trade, enabled the American federal government to borrow without limit and spend with abandon.
The dominance of the dollar gave the United States incredible power and influence around the world… but the times they are a-changing. As the world's emerging economies gain ever more prominence, the US is losing hold of its position as the world's superpower. Many on the long list of nations that dislike America are pondering ways to reduce American influence in their affairs. Ditching the dollar is a very good start.
and in Canada a few weeks ago and there were places that did not accept US dollars...found in comment page:
Economist Paul Samuelson and others (including, at his death, Milton Friedman) have maintained that the overseas demand for dollars allows the United States to maintain persistent trade deficits without causing the value of the currency to depreciate or the flow of trade to readjust. But Samuelson stated in 2005 that at some uncertain future period these pressures would precipitate a run against the U.S. dollar with serious global financial consequences.[1]
China and Japan Abandon U.S. Dollar as a Means of Trade 

9 foreign countries where you can use U.S. dollars

British Virgin Islands
Much like neighboring U.S.V.I., the British Virgin Islands employ the U.S. dollar as their official currency. This connection makes travel between the two island groups especially seamless—and gives the B.V.I. its reputation as a well-established tax haven. Don't have millions in corporate profits to shore up? You can still find a haven of sorts at the Baths on Virgin Gorda; this unusual rock formation is one of our favorite secret Caribbean attractions (and, aside from the swaying palms, it's a lot less shady).
I am still troubled over the amount of spending at around $109 Trillion Dollars
Spending per year best guess at numbers...
09/30/2001
5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2002
6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2003
6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2004
7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2005
7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2006
8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2007
9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2008
10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2009
11,909,829,003,511.75
09/30/2010
13,561,623,030,891.79
09/30/2011
14,790,340,328,557.15
according to statements by Political Officials they bring in only $3 Trillion Tax Dollars Per Year at around $33 Trillion in 11 years..
   $109 Trillion
-   $33 Trillion
_____________
  $73 Trillion - in the negative...as far as we know
 The News is spreading fast...
Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM
7:24 PM
I do not have the money to buy gold, and even if I did I would not buy the gold this Government has bought up. Odds are the market value will not go up, and you will lose money.
 Simple things to do, save up you coins... the value of the coin will grow or stay the same.
 from the half dollar to the penny
  
 collect old coins
 
 now this if things go bad will make good wiping paper or to start up your fire place.
 Now to make it clear, no one said this will happen, its more a 50% - 50% per cent chance we will see something take place.
 
Also buy seeds for food, grow your own....because I went into BiLo and  I was charged $3.09 for a Loaf of Bread,,,I said no...a gallon of milk was close to $4 to $6.00 per gallon.... depending on which brand.
 Just say no and let the stuff rot on the shelf......
 Buy only American Gas...
 Buy only American Made Items.....
 In one month you will see a change...in six months....you will see a concern....in one year you will see these countries back paddle.....
 The Health Care Bill...just say no. I stand against it because of Abortion and Pharmaceutical Narcotics is paid for with the system...
This is not a Tea Party Boycott, Democrat Boycott, or Republican Boycott....it is by all means An American Boycott.
 I for one will make a stand you have the right to do as you please....
This is only  a few ideas, more will be most welcome...
 I must be off to other site I have over 136 to up date....this posting may be shared...there is no copy right for doing the right thing...
 One last note...if we do not boycott these countries this good old USA could fall into this area of Civil War that so may War Mongers want, and millions of people will die....

          Sarah Palin First Tea Party President   
The 2016 Elections is off to a early start. Some people feel that the building block for the Tea Party Independent Forum within the Independent Voting Floor will separate the power of the Republican Party. I am sorry but this is not true. The Foundation of this forum is to bring in new officials as well as a Independent Tea Party Officials. As States move to file for Independence and to form their own Government, this is by all mean a mistake, The Separation of the States will break the Foundation Of The Constitution. Then the United Nations will be in a far better position to apply their New World Order Laws.
 It would seem, that most people are concerned about the economy and other issues, people are in dis-trust of Officials in Government from both parties. There are some of us who feel it is time for the Tea Party to take its right-full place in office under the Independent Forum.

I am sorry but most people feel its time to vote out those who did not do their job and vote in new people with no political connections. This political battle for a seat to control a power that is not real, its the Voice Of the People that is the power and the posting of, Under The Cover Of Winter Storm Nemo, this posting does not hold all the information you seek, but I can tell you this that a data search for Political Official who hide their money investments over-seas in Pharmaceutical Narcotics. You may say so what....then why hide the money....?
 No my friends this will not separate nothing at all because as time goes forward we are being lost in a connection of United We Stand.
 . No matter how many seats get controlled, the job of the balance of the Fiscal Cliff, has not been done, and in the last 11 years over $109 trillion Dollars spent, and according to Officials on TV they only bring in $3 trillion per year...that around $76 trillion spent....so where is the money..? I can show you but not now....
 
09/30/2001
$5,807,463,412,200.06
 to
09/30/2012
16,066,241,407,385.89
FEDERAL INVESTMENT PROGRAM CUSTOMERS
As of December 31, 2012

read more: 
http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_his...
 I still have not found a way to tell my twins that they are in debit for $37,000 to balance the budget. I mean how do you tell a 7 year child that they are broke....this gives a whole new meaning to kicking the can down the road....
Then you have Obama Care crammed down our throats  by both Republicans and Democrats in Office.
 Abortion paid for in the Health Care Bill
 Narcotics paid for in the Bill
Gun Rights  Under Fire


We may not be able to bring in a Tea Party Official in The 2014 Senate Race for the seats at hand, but to share a 2016 Campaign.....

Sarah Palin, do you want to make history and become the next Tea Party President Of The United States of America...? 
 This is not about winning its about opening the door to a whole new way of thinking...

          GOP Wants To Keep The Obama Health Care Bill   

GOP Wants To Keep The Obama Health Care Bill

     

A long time ago I posted that the Health Care Bill is a $100 Trillion Dollar system Per year that our Government Official wish to Tax and at the same time a force pay into that system with a 10% Tax against your yearly income. I hate to say it but I did say, "I Told You So."

 The Federal System wants that Tax Dollar so Government can grow.

   

On behalf of Tea Party Patriots. 100% Grassroots, 100% of the Time.

     
   

   
   
 

 

This week:
Insisting Republicans keep their promises to REPEAL ObamaCare!

PASSION: For more than 2 years now the majority of Americans have been in opposition to ObamaCare and we have been fighting the fight at every turn. For the last few months the Republicans have been trying to pass legislation to repeal the most egregious parts of the law. While this seems like a good thing and appears to be the direction that they should be moving, there have been talks that the GOP leadership thinks that if they succeed in repealing the WORST parts of ObamaCare, then they can get away with not repealing the entire thing if they end controlling all three branches of government come 2013.

ACTION: Today's passion to action focuses on reminding the Republicans and their leadership that we will not accept anything other than FULL REPEAL of OBAMACARE. Call your Representative and Senators today, and while you're at it call Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor and remind them that America cannot afford to retain any part of this law and that they must continue pushing until we have FULL REPEAL.

Click Here to Call Now!

 
 
   
 
   

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          7/1/2017: THE NATION: Export push into Latin America, talks to progress at quite a peso   
Australia will become the first country to pursue a trade agreement with the exclusive Pacific Alliance bloc of Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia, whose combined economies total almost $2 trillion, as other nations compete to salvage new trade deals...
          Beacon Power and Atlanta Sprinkler Repair (Conserving Water and Power)   

We at Atlanta Sprinkler Repair have much in common with Beacon Power. One of our goals at Atlanta Irrigation and Lawn Sprinkler Repair is to teach our customers how to conserve water, electricity, and save MONEY. The worlds current electrical grids are so inefficient that they waste trillions of dollars a year, Yes, I said TRILLIONS. […]

The post Beacon Power and Atlanta Sprinkler Repair (Conserving Water and Power) appeared first on Atlanta Sprinklers 770-900-9862.


          A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’   
Exclusive: Annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021, far outstripping recycling efforts and jeopardising oceans, coastlines and other environments Source: A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’
          Build the Enterprise   
One week ago, anonymous engineer "BTE Dan" put up a website called Build the Enterprise. He envisions a $1 trillion spaceship modeled on the USS Enterprise. There are highly detailed plans for constructing and funding it. It quickly spread all over the news to GizMag, DailyMail and other places. The BTE website is slow to load, while waiting why not Build the Starship Enterprise from useless office supplies.
          Yu Yongding says China is confronting the macroeconomic challenge of over-capacity deflation. Curbing excessive government and corporate debt which brought a credit rating downgrade is a second-rank problem deflected by a very high savings rate   

By Yu Yongding*

China’s mounting debt problem recently moved into the spotlight when Moody’s downgraded the country’s sovereign rating. But was the downgrade really warranted?

Though China’s overall debt-to-GDP ratio is not an outlier among emerging-market economies, and its levels of household and government debt are moderate, its corporate debt-to-GDP ratio, at 170%, is the highest in the world, twice as large as that of the United States. China’s corporate leverage (debt-to-equity) ratio is also very high, and rising.

A high and rising debt-to-GDP ratio, which goes hand in hand with a high and rising leverage ratio, can lead to financial crisis through three channels. The first is the deterioration of the quality of financial institutions’ assets, and the decline in the price of those assets. With institutions forced by mark-to-market accounting to write off an equal amount of equity, the leverage ratio rises, leading to a further deterioration in asset quality and decline in asset prices.

The second channel is refusal by investors, concerned about the rising leverage ratio, to roll over short-term debt. This causes the money market to seize up, forcing banks and other financial institutions to tighten credit and raise interest rates, thereby further weakening borrowers’ debt-service capacity. Defaults proliferate and the volume of nonperforming loans rises.

The third way a high debt-to-GDP ratio can lead to crisis is by driving banks and nonbank financial institutions, unable to secure sufficient capital, into bankruptcy. In this case, the public could panic and withdraw their cash, fueling a run on deposits that could lead to the collapse of the entire financial system.

But none of these scenarios seems like a real risk for China, at least not in the foreseeable future. China is, after all, a highly frugal country, with gross savings totaling 48% of GDP. As a result, loanable funds are abundant, and funding costs can be kept low. Therefore, China has more scope than other countries to maintain a high debt-to-GDP ratio.

Moreover, because China’s debt consists overwhelmingly of loans by state-owned banks to state-owned enterprises, depositors and investors feel confident (rightly or wrongly) that their assets carry an implicit government guarantee. And not only is the government’s fiscal position relatively strong; it also has $3 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves – a sum that far exceeds China’s overseas debts. China’s government could, if it so chose, bail out banks in trouble, preventing contagious bankruptcies.

Mitigating the debt risk further, China’s capital account remains largely closed, enabling the government to block capital flight and gain sufficient time to deal with unexpected financial events. It helps, too, that the People’s Bank of China stands ready to inject liquidity into the money market whenever necessary.

None of this is to say that China’s high level of corporate debt is not a cause for concern. But it does imply that deleveraging may not be as urgent as many seem to think, especially at a time when China has another, more pressing policy imperative to pursue – one that could be undermined by rapid deleveraging.

For years, China has been in the grips of overcapacity-driven deflation. The producer-price index (PPI) has declined in year-on-year terms for 54 consecutive months, while the annual rise in the consumer-price index (CPI) is hovering around 1.5%. In October 2016, PPI growth turned positive, suggesting that the debt-deflationary spiral may have been broken. But, after a few good months, the sequential growth rate of PPI has turned negative again, suggesting that now is no time to test fate on deflation.

This is all the more true at a time when the government is clamping down on runaway real-estate prices – an effort that is likely to deter investment, thereby weakening economic growth in the next six months. In this context, a wrong move could tip China back into a debt-deflationary spiral – which would pose a more acute threat to China’s economic stability than the risks stemming from the debt-to-GDP ratio.

Still, Moody’s points out, China’s debt-to-GDP ratio is a serious problem. Moreover, to justify its downgrade, it argues that the government’s efforts to maintain robust growth will result in sustained policy stimulus, which will contribute to even higher debt throughout the economy.

But this reading fails to distinguish between the long-term trend of the debt-to-GDP ratio when the economy grows at its potential rate and the real-time debt-to-GDP ratio when the economy grows at a below-potential rate. When an economy is growing at roughly its potential rate, as China’s is today, it makes no sense to lower the growth target below that rate.

To be sure, China does have reason to implement economic stimulus. The overcapacity that, until recently, dominated the Chinese economy was rooted partly in a lack of aggregate demand (and partly in wasteful overinvestment).

In an ideal world, China’s government could respond by stimulating household consumption. But, in the absence of further reforms in areas like social security, growth in consumer spending is bound to be slow. In the meantime, the government must rely on an expansionary fiscal policy to encourage infrastructure investment, even if it means raising the debt-to-GDP ratio.

Such an initiative should also entail improved financing opportunities – including lower borrowing costs – for small and medium-size enterprises. Meanwhile, the rise in the corporate debt-to-GDP ratio could be stemmed by efforts to improve capital efficiency, boost enterprise profitability, narrow the difference between credit flows and credit-financed investment, increase the share of equity finance, and align the real interest rate with the natural interest rate.

There is no doubt that China’s debts – especially its corporate debts – are a serious problem, and must be curbed. But China must balance that imperative with the more urgent need to maintain a growth rate more or less in line with potential, and prevent the economy from being tipped back into a debt-deflationary spiral. So far, China has managed to juggle these two imperatives. One hopes that it has time to address the challenges before it drops a ball.


Yu Yongding, a former president of the China Society of World Economics and director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, served on the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China from 2004 to 2006. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2017, and published here with permission.


          ‘We will be dominant,’ Trump tells DOE gathering   
President Trump outlined a multipronged effort today to boost nuclear power, export more gas and coal, and expand oil and gas drilling offshore and on public lands. Speaking to a packed room in the Department of Energy's Washington headquarters, Trump blasted notions of the need for regulations as "fake" and said his new policies would usher in "millions and millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in wealth" that had been hamstrung by "massive" regulatory overreach during the Obama administration.
          Nigeria inches closer to 40 billion barrels oil reserve target – NNPC   
Nigeria inches closer to 40 billion barrels oil reserve target – NNPC
Under the agreement, Schlumberger would provide the over $700 million development cost of the Anyala and Madu fields which would generate 193 million barrels of crude oil into the current reserves of 37.2billion barrels and an additional 800 billion cubic feet of gas into the nation’s proven gas reserves which currently stand at 197 Trillion Cubic feet of gas .
          GST LIVE Updates: Rahul Gandhi calls today’s event a ‘tamasha’   
After 17 tumultuous years, a nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) will rollout from midnight tonight, overhauling India’s convoluted indirect taxation system and unifying the $2 trillion economy with 1.3 billion people into a single market. GST, which will replace more than a dozen central...
          Social Security Generates Nearly $1.4 Trillion in Economic Activity   
Social Security Generates Nearly $1.4 Trillion in Economic Activity, Supports More Than Nine Million Jobs

A new study from AARP’s Public Policy Institute calculates that each dollar paid to Social Security beneficiaries generates nearly two dollars in spending by individuals and businesses, adding about $1.4 trillion in total economic output to the U.S. economy in 2012. 

Social Security Generates Nearly $1.4 Trillion in Economic Activity

The report also finds the $762 billion paid in Social Security benefits in 2012 helped Americans keep or find more than nine million jobs.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy details the powerful multiplier effect created when Social Security recipients spend their benefits and the companies which receive those dollars spend their profits and pay their employees, who in turn spend their wages. The report provides both national and state-level data.

AARP volunteers and staff are visiting Capitol Hill offices today to deliver the report to their Members of Congress and voice their concerns about the chained CPI, a change proposed in budget negotiations that would cut Social Security benefits.

“This report tells us that any adjustments Washington makes to Social Security will have a profound effect on individuals of all ages, businesses and our economy as a whole,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “That’s why AARP is fighting the chained CPI and calling for a national conversation about the future of Social Security – so those who paid into the system can have a voice in the debate and so future generations get the benefits they’ve earned.”

Social Security benefit payments in 2012 supported more than $370 billion in salaries, wages and compensation for workers. Of the more than nine million jobs supported by Social Security spending, about four million were in just ten industries. Nationally, the largest employment impacts were seen in the food services, real estate, health care and retail industries.

In addition to illustrating Social Security’s vital role in supporting national and local economies, jobs and workers’ incomes, this report reiterates the importance of Social Security as a vital source of income for millions of Americans. Social Security benefits keep 22 million people out of poverty, including more than 15 million older Americans, and serve as the foundation of a secure retirement for millions more.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy uses an economic modeling system known as IMPLAN to calculate the multiplier effect and trace the impact of Social Security spending through the national and state economies. View the full report and details on methodology here:

http://www.aarp.org/work/social-security/info-09-2013/social-security-impact-on-the-national-economy-AARP-ppi-econ-sec.html

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. Learn more at www.aarp.org.


+Bob DeMarco  is a citizen journalist and twenty year Wall Street veteran.

          "China Faces Its Comeuppance" - Kyle Bass Warns Of "Tectonic Shift" In US Relationship   

Hayman Capital's Kyle Bass ventured on to CNBC this morning to drop some painful truth bombs about Trump's "drastically changed Chinese diplomacy" and China's looming "come-uppance."

Bass began by highlighting what he calls a "tectonic shift" in US-China relations in the last few days, pointing to two crucial events...

1. Things changed drastically when US launched unilateral sanctions on China over North Korea...

"Xi is a control freak and he absolutely doesn't appreciate the United States acting unilaterally"

2. Things escalated when Trump sold $1.4bn in weapons to Taiwan, angering Beijing more as Bass notes:

"Taiwan was the one area which Beijing has asked Trump to stay away from during his meeting at Mar-a-Lago."

 

"Since the death of Otto Warmbier, any chance of meetings with North Korea are now off.. and our diplomatic relationship with China took a major step for the worse yesterday."

Bass notes that "China is trying to make marginal changes in its balance of trade with US - buying beef once again and importing a lot more crude oil from the US."

But then Bass shifts to the potentially even more precarious situation under the hood of China's economy. As Reuters reports, China's leaders want the restructuring of their massive non-performing loans problem to address financial risks while avoiding big employee lay-offs, and have instigated 'cure by committee'...

"The solution for zombie firms isn't just bankruptcy," a Shandong-based banking official told Reuters. "The impact of bankruptcy is just too big. Just think about the thousands of workers. Social stability is key."

 

Stability is always uppermost in the minds of Chinese leaders, and even more so this year, ahead of the five-yearly party congress this autumn, when a new generation of senior leaders will be selected.

 

"China is avoiding the crisis of calling in loans that can't be repaid anyway," said Paul Gillis, professor of accounting at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management. "This buys time to do things in an orderly way."

But Bass makes the crucial point that there are over 12,800 credit committees in China right now - overseeing CNY 14.5 trillion in debt for equity swaps - which is 8% of China's total non financial debt, and is over 3x the official NPL figure of 1.6%-1.9% of GDP.

His final blow to any hopes that this solution will work...

"This exceeds all the equity in the entire Chinese banking system."

However, Bass's final warning of the endgame of this credit bubble is far more ominous, because all of the new-found economic confidence and military condidence is "based upon a massive credit expansion and they're going to have a comeuppance..."


          A $1.2 Trillion Opportunity: The Rise of Insight-Driven Businesses   
Download this free Forrester report to learn:
  • How insight-driven businesses are built differently, and why they outgrow the market
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Companies like Google, Netflix, Alaska Airlines, The Washington Post and Tesla Motors are already leveraging agile customer insight to outpace their competition. Discover what it takes to join this extraordinary league of insight-led enterprises.

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          Trump’s Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Promise Has Broad Appeal And Big Challenges   
A cornerstone of President Trump’s campaign and presidency is a $1 trillion proposal to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. The promise is a popular one, and could find bipartisan support across the country and in Congress. The infrastructure needs in Oklahoma illustrate why this issue is so appealing — and challenging. The word “infrastructure” is most commonly [...]
          Global mobile app market to reach $6.3 trillion by 2021   
A new study by analyst firm App Annie suggests the global mobile app economy was worth $1.3 trillion last year and is poised to skyrocket to $6.3 trillion by 2021 as users spend more money on apps, in-app purchases, and mobile commerce. According to the report, consumer spending across all mobile app stores will reach […]

          IIF: World’s debt over three times greater than economic output   
Global debt levels have surged to a record $217 trillion in the first quarter of the year. This is 327 percent of the world’s annual economic output (GDP), reports the Institute of International Finance (IIF). The surging debt was driven by emerging economies, which have increased borrowing by $3 trillion to $56 trillion. This amounts […]

          In China, A Cashless Trend Is Taking Hold With Mobile Payments   
Consumers there are finding convenience and security in using smartphones to pay. An estimated $5.5 trillion was spent through mobile platforms in 2016, about 50 times the amount in the U.S.
          Artificial Synapses Could Lead to Smarter AI   
By replicating the function of the human brain's 100 trillion synapses, scientists hope to boost the versatility of artificial neural networks.
          Медведев: Дефицит бюджета в 2018 году составит 1,5 триллиона рублей   
Дефицит бюджета в 2018 году сократится почти вдвое и составит около 1,5 триллиона рублей. Об этом на заседании правительства заявил премьер-министр России Дмитрий Медведев. «Доходы запланированы на уровне 14,7 триллиона рублей, расходы — 16,2 триллиона рублей, соответственно, дефицит — порядка 1,5 триллиона рублей» , — сказал он. Премьер-министр отметил,... Читать далее
          Is Western Intervention Warranted if UN Confirms Syria Used Chemical Weapons?   

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

MARGARET WARNER: To debate that, I’m joined by Robert Zarate, policy director of the Foreign Policy Initiative, and Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Welcome.

Robert Zarate, let’s start with, given the scale of the human suffering in Syria, whoever is proven to be behind yesterday’s attack, does the West have an obligation to intervene militarily?

ROBERT ZARATE, The Foreign Policy Initiative: Yes, I think the West has an obligation — the United States in particular has an obligation to intervene militarily, and not just because of what happened in the suburbs of Damascus, but because of what has happened over the last two-and-a-half years, since the Assad regime began its conflict with the Syrian people.

Over 100,000 people have died. Upwards near — approaching a million people are now displaced internally, and it’s destabilizing the entire region.

MARGARET WARNER: Joshua Landis, how do you see it? Is there a — almost a moral duty to intervene at this point?

JOSHUA LANDIS, University of Oklahoma: The international community has a responsibility in this situation to do something to alleviate human suffering.

A third of Syrians are displaced, two million outside the country, five million inside the country. It’s a country of about 22 million to 24 million people. The problem, as Dempsey has outlined, is that we don’t have a partner in this. The Syrian opposition is dominated by Islamists.

And that makes it very difficult for us to jump in, because the last response that was given to this situation was to arm and to send lethal weapons to the opposition. If we send more lethal weapons, we’re going to destroy what remains of the Syrian state. And there are 1,000-some-odd militias running around Syria.

This situation could become a lot worse.

MARGARET WARNER: Let me ask you this.

ROBERT ZARATE: So, now an occupation force of over 100,000 people in order to freeze the situation and begin to supply food and aid to people, we’re only going to make the situation worse.

MARGARET WARNER: What I’m asking is, is there a sort of moral dimension to this, that at some point — I think that’s what you’re saying — maybe come back to you, Mr. Zarate.

You’re saying, at some point, the West has to sort of stand up and do something militarily for moral reasons.

ROBERT ZARATE: Not — both for moral and — reasons and for reasons of national security interests.

Look, what we’re seeing right now in Syria is a rogue regime that has used weapons of mass destruction. We’re seeing the creation of safe havens within Syria for terrorists. And, last, we’re seeing terrorists within grasp of getting chemical weapons. It’s quite possible that the Assad regime could lose control of these things.

This is the very sort of thing that the United States for decades has fought to prevent. And in that argument for further action is both an argument that stands on national security interests and on moral humanitarian leadership.

MARGARET WARNER: And, Joshua Landis, we’re having a little trouble with your audio, but weigh in here.

What do you think just in general — at what point do moral considerations or the duty to sort of stand up against atrocities counterbalance or even outweigh the practical obstacles, which, of course, we heard General Dempsey and many others have laid out? Or does that never — is that never the case?

JOSHUA LANDIS: Of course it’s the case.

I mean, you have to be able to make the situation better. And in order to do that — Syria is a failed nation. We have two sectarian groups who are fighting each other, the Sunni Arabs and the Alawites and other minorities, along with the many rich Sunnis who are still clinging to this regime.

And if America goes in and helps one side conquer the other, things could become — it’s not going to solve the problem. We did that in Iraq. We gave the Shiites a total win against the Sunnis, and now the Sunnis are all radicalized and they’re joining al-Qaida.

We cannot rebuild — if we go in, we have to either rebuild Syria or we have to divide it up into three states, like we did in Yugoslavia. And America doesn’t have — the problem is, today, Americans don’t want to do it. They don’t want to spend the money. This would be an extremely expensive endeavor.

Should the world do it? Yes, absolutely. The suffering is enormous in Syria, and it’s going to get a lot worse. Agriculture has collapsed, and this winter, we’re going to see many, many more refugees and people starving.

MARGARET WARNER: And that raises an important point about public opinion, Mr. Zarate. Where is the outrage when you see the kind of things we have seen for two-and-a-half years, yet the public has consistently — it’s a 2-1, 60 percent, 65 percent say shouldn’t intervene militarily. What do you think explains that?

ROBERT ZARATE: Well, I think one of the biggest factors that explains public indifference is the absence of the commander in chief taking his — the stage to explain what’s going on.

You know, over the last few months, we have seen the White House issue statements after the use of chemical weapons, but these statements have not come from the president himself. They come from his advisers. And the fact is, if the president prioritizes this issue, if he believes it’s important, he needs to go out there and explain it to the American people. And that’s just something we haven’t seen him do.

MARGARET WARNER: And you think that presidential — the president taking the lead can overcome this antipathy that we’re now seeing to really any kind of involvement overseas militarily?

ROBERT ZARATE: Absolutely.

This is what — this is the essence of presidential leadership. And there are times when the president must persuade the American people, explain to them what’s at stake. And make no mistake, there’s a lot at stake in Syria right now.

MARGARET WARNER: Joshua Landis, what do you think…

JOSHUA LANDIS: I think that’s wrong.

MARGARET WARNER: Go.

JOSHUA LANDIS: I think that’s wrong.

We had strong presidential leadership when we invaded Iraq, and it turned out disastrously. And we spent $1 trillion. And we have gained very little in terms of our national interests, if anything at all.

It’s not clear that strong leadership by America is going to solve the Syrian problem. We have a country that is falling apart. And in many ways, the Syrians are going to have to come to a new balance of power within their country. Trying to figure out what that balance of power is between Shiites, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds is something that nobody has an answer to today.

In the United States, in our civil war, 750,000 people were killed, and, in 1860, we had a census of 30,000 people. Syria is about 24,000 — 100,000 and a little bit more having killed so far. Syria is nowhere near up to the American Civil War.

Now, should any international force through the British or the French have intervened and stopped Americans from killing each other? Probably, they should have. But would it have made America a better place? I’m not sure it would have.

MARGARET WARNER: On that note, we will leave it there.

Joshua Landis and Robert Zarate, thank you.

 

 

The post Is Western Intervention Warranted if UN Confirms Syria Used Chemical Weapons? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          Solar Storm Could Do $2 Trillion in Damage   
I read an interesting article from NASA recently, Near Miss: The Solar Superstorm of July 2012 According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the … Continue reading
          The Myth of “a System of White Supremacy”   

Last week, Johnny Eric Williams, a professor of sociology at Trinity College, gained national notoriety.    

Williams, who is black, posted some racially incendiary remarks on his Facebook wall.  They were conjoined with the hashtag, “LetThemFuckingDie.”   

The hashtag Williams borrowed from an article published at The Medium and written in response to the recent mass shooting of Republican congressmen in Alexandria, Virginia.  The essay’s author, “Son of Baldwin,” expressed regret that a black police officer risked her life to save the lives of “white bigots” and urged other blacks who are in positions to do the same to refrain from indulging the impulse.

Instead, they should: “Let.Them.Fucking.Die.” 

The backlash against Williams and his employer was massive and sudden.  Two Connecticut congressmen, Trinity College alumni, issued a statement imploring Trinity to terminate Williams immediately. Supposedly, the now infamous professor went into hiding because of death threats that he received. 

Williams and his supporters among Trinity faculty and students insist that he meant to call for the death of, not white people, but “a system of white supremacy.” 

I wrote a full analysis of this situation here.  For now, I’d like to focus on this idea of “a system of white supremacy.”

“White supremacy” and like terms have ominous connotations associated with them; everyone knows that they are really, really bad. However, when push comes to shove, they prove awfully difficult to define.  In fact, few people, least of all those who constantly invoke these terms, even bother to try to define them

The truth is, when it comes to charges of “white supremacy,” “racism,” and so forth, the Johnny Williams of the world would prefer to avoid doing the hard work of defining, or trying to define, their terms of choice. This is because it is infinitely easier for them to continually move the proverbial goalpost so as to satisfy their political needs of the moment. 

The great 18th century philosopher David Hume made this point: “It is easy for a false hypothesis to maintain some appearance of truth, while it keeps wholly in generals” and “makes use of undefined terms [.]”  Hume also said that “ideas, especially abstract ones, are naturally faint and obscure: the mind has but a slender hold of them: they are apt to be confounded with other resembling ideas; and when we have often employed any term, though without a distinct meaning, we are apt to imagine it has a determinate idea annexed to it.”

“Systems of white supremacy,” “institutional racism,” and “white privilege” are abstractions.  They are valued and tirelessly trotted out precisely because they are abstractions.  The truth is that concrete individual white “racists,” i.e. those who harass, intimidate, and attack blacks, simply aren’t in large enough supply to sustain the narrative of perpetual White-on-Black-Oppression that is the lifeblood of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC). 

Indeed, flesh and blood white “racists” or “supremacists” are all too rare. The proof of this is not only in the data—which shows that, overwhelmingly, blacks tend to be perpetrators of interracial attacks while whites are just as overwhelmingly the victims—but in three other facts. 

That RIC sales agents long ago shifted their focus from individual and overt “racism” to “covert,” “subconscious,” and/or “institutional racism”; regularly trade in hoaxes; and continually make “honorary whites” of those people of color who have had altercations with black criminal suspects (who these same RIC merchants then elevate into national martyrs) definitively establish the scarcity of real-life “white supremacists.”

These considerations also prove that RIC agents know that there is a scarcity of “white supremacists.”

Thus, it is this reality and this knowledge of the reality that gives rise to the need on the part of those who depend on keeping the Big Lie alive to retreat from the real world and take refuge behind abstractions like “systems of white supremacy.”

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that, for over 50 years, has restricted immigration to America from European, i.e. white, countries while encouraging immigration from non-white ones.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that, annually, attracts millions of non-white peoples to leave their homelands, risking life and limb, to come and live under it.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” to which African blacks fled, voluntarily, in greater numbers over a mere 15 year period (1990-2005) than were brought to America as slaves.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that makes it possible for its black citizens to live at a standard of living not only higher than that at which blacks live anywhere else in the world, especially in Africa, but a standard of living higher than that at which whites live in other parts of the world.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that has expended trillions of dollars since the 1960s on countless social programs aimed at combatting “white supremacy” or “racism” and uplifting blacks.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that spawns numerous race-based preferential treatment policies (“affirmative action,” “diversity,” etc.) meant to privilege blacks over their white counterparts.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” whose architects allow for the election and re-election to office of the Presidency of, not just a black man, but a black man with an Arabic-sounding name.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that allows for blacks to occupy such powerful and nation-shaping positions as those of Supreme Court Justice, Attorney General, National Security Adviser, Secretary of State, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that allows blacks (and other nonwhites) to become multimillionaires and celebrities as athletes, entertainers, media personalities, politicians, and in business.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” under which Nigerians in America have a higher annual household income than do whites.

It is a strange system of “white supremacy” under which Asians, i.e. nonwhites, earn more than every other ethnic group. Asians in “white supremacist” America also have lower rates of criminality, illegitimacy, drug use, unemployment, and suicide than every other group—including whites.

What a strange system of “white supremacy” this is!

I could continue in this same repetitive vein.  The case, I believe, has been made amply:

There is no system of white supremacy.

However, Johnny Williams and his ilk must insist that there is, for they are race pimps, forever sucking at the nipple of the Racism-Industrial-Complex.  


          Urban America's Underclass: More Money Won't Solve the Problems   

PBS NewsHour aired a story last year about Milwaukee, saying many residents call the city "the worst place to be a black man in America." It talked about last year's riots in the city after a cop shot a black man. One black Milwaukee resident explained that this is "what happens when you inflict poverty" on poor black residents. "Inflict poverty"?

In the 50 years following President Lyndon Johnson's launch of the "war on poverty" in 1964, government spent over $22 trillion on welfare and various anti-poverty programs. The problem in our nation's inner cities is not a lack of money — it is a moral and spiritual problem largely created by our welfare state. The welfare system encourages women to marry the government and allows men to abandon their financial and moral responsibilities. The problem is fatherlessness.

In a documentary called "Resurrection," rapper Tupac Shakur, who said, "I never knew where my father was or who my father was for sure," actually admitted: "I know for a fact that had I had a father, I'd have some discipline. I'd have more confidence. Your mother cannot calm you down the way a man can. Your mother can't reassure you the way a man can. My mother couldn't show me where my manhood was. You need a man to teach you how to be a man."

In 1995, President Bill Clinton, who pledged to end "welfare as we know it," gave a speech described by a Los Angeles Times writer as "the most sweeping analysis of racial issues of his presidency." On the day of the "March on Washington," Clinton said black men must take more responsibility for their behavior: "Today's march is ... also about black men taking renewed responsibility for themselves, their families and their communities. It's about saying no to crime and drugs and violence. It's about standing up for atonement and reconciliation. It's about insisting that others do the same and offering to help them. It's about the frank admission that unless black men shoulder their load, no one else can help them or their brothers, their sisters and their children escape the hard, bleak lives that too many of them still face. ... It's not racist for whites to assert that the culture of welfare dependency, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and absent fatherhood cannot be broken by social programs, unless there is first more personal responsibility."

In my book, "The Ten Things You Can't Say In America," I wrote about a wealthy, idealistic Philadelphia philanthropist. Committed, concerned and worried about the future of urban — primarily black — kids, he "adopted" 112 inner-city sixth-graders, most of whom were products of broken homes. He promised these students that if they met minimal requirements, including graduating from high school and not getting pregnant or impregnating somebody — he'd pay for all their education, including college tuition.

He provided tutors, workshops, after-school programs and summer programs, as well as counselors to be available when trouble arose, whether personal or otherwise.

Thirteen years later, the Philadelphia Inquirer followed up on the 112 kids and analyzed the results. The percentage of kids going to college was no greater than percentage of kids from similar backgrounds without prepaid educations. The money was wasted.

Forty-five never made it through high school. Of these, 35 dropped out, one died while in school, four died after dropping out, four were working on a GED and one graduated from trade school.

Of the high school graduates, 13 were four-year college graduates, 11 were enrolled in four-year college, five were enrolled in two-year college, 12 had dropped out of two- and four-year colleges, seven graduated trade school, eight were enrolled in trade school, six dropped out of trade school and five got no further education.

Of the 67 boys, 19 grew into adult felons. Among the 45 girls, they had 63 children, and more than half had babies before age 18.

What do we make of this? The answer is simple: It's not about money. It's about values. It's about discipline and application. It's about character — about working hard when you don't want to. And these values are instilled in the home.

The first step is the truth. 

As long as blacks feel and act oppressed, as if they are under siege and behind enemy lines, little will change. The formula is simple, but it requires effort: hard work wins; you get out of life what you put into it; you cannot control the outcome, but you are 100 percent in control of the effort. Go to school, study, work hard, arrive early, stay late, pay attention to detail and be honest. That is the best "anti-poverty program" ever conceived.


          In China, A Cashless Trend Is Taking Hold With Mobile Payments   
People in China have been paying cash for things for thousands of years, long before other civilizations. Now, increasingly, they're paying with their cellphones. So while the Trump administration hailed a bilateral deal in May, that would allow U.S. credit card firms including Visa and Mastercard access to the China market, it may not be the coup those firms hoped. Chinese consumers are essentially leapfrogging plastic, and going straight from cash to mobile payments. Chinese spent $5.5 trillion through mobile payment platforms last year, about 50 times the amount in the U.S., according to reports . Nowhere is the cashless trend more obvious than in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, which is home to Alibaba, the world's largest online shopping platform. Its mobile payment app, Alipay, and WeChat Pay, which belongs to the country's leading social messaging platform, together hold a commanding 90 percent of the market, leaving Apple Pay struggling to make inroads . I recently spent
          In China, A Cashless Trend Is Taking Hold With Mobile Payments   
Consumers there are finding convenience and security in using smartphones to pay. An estimated $5.5 trillion was spent through mobile platforms in 2016, about 50 times the amount in the U.S.
          Driverless Tech Startups Are Driving Past a Trillion-Dollar Opportunity   
Millions of conventional cars rolling off assembly lines today could benefit from automated driving technologies. But where are the startups to build those systems?
          High-Grade Bonds Enter a Summer of Discontent   
It looks as if the $5.8 trillion market has moved past its peak.
          A $1.2 Trillion Opportunity: The Rise of Insight-Driven Businesses   
Download this free Forrester report to learn:
  • How insight-driven businesses are built differently, and why they outgrow the market
  • Which companies and startups effectively use customer insight for growth
  • Four actionable steps to creating a high-growth, insight-driven culture
Companies like Google, Netflix, Alaska Airlines, The Washington Post and Tesla Motors are already leveraging agile customer insight to outpace their competition. Discover what it takes to join this extraordinary league of insight-led enterprises.

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          Hispanic Buying Power Is Strong, Growing   
thinkstock.com/Creatas collection

Nielsen, a global consumer-insights firm, recently released The State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative report, which indicates a projected Hispanic buying power of $1 trillion in 2010 that is expected to grow 50% to $1.5 trillion in 2015. Nielsen further notes that the population of Hispanics exceeds 52 million and represents the majority of population growth over the next five years.

“The Hispanic community in the United States is large and growing, and businesses must make strides to understand and engage these consumers,” said Susan Whiting, vice chair of Nielsen. “Due to the general youth of this segment, family focus, strong culture and prevalent Spanish-language use, Hispanic consumers are impacting all areas of work and play and helping to redefine American culture in the 21st century.”

Highlights of the report include the following:

  • Rapid Latino population growth will persist; the median age of the segment is 28 years old, nearly 10 years younger than the total market median age of 37.
  • Hispanics are the largest immigrant group to exhibit significant culture sustainability, with nine out of 10 Hispanic parents and parents-to-be wanting their children to speak Spanish, but also be fluent in English.
  • Technology and media use do not mirror the general market, but have distinct patterns due to language, culture and ownership dynamics. For example, Hispanics spend 68% more time watching video on the Internet and 20% more time watching video on their mobile phones than non-Hispanic Whites.
  • Latinos exhibit product-consumption patterns distinct from the broader market. Hispanics make fewer shopping trips per household than non-Hispanics, for instance, and spend more per trip.

[Image: thinkstock.com/Creatas collection]


          What Happened to America’s Wealth?    

What Happened to America’s Wealth? The Rich Hid It

Photo by Cuyahoga jco | CC BY 2.0
If you find yourself traveling this summer, take a closer look at America’s deteriorating infrastructure — our crumbling roads, sidewalks, public parks, and train and bus stations.
Government officials will tell us “there’s no money” to repair or properly maintain our tired infrastructure. Nor do we want to raise taxes, they say.
But what if billions of dollars in tax revenue have gone missing?
New research suggests that the super-rich are hiding their money at alarming rates. A study by economists Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman reports that households with wealth over $40 million evade 25 to 30 percent of personal income and wealth taxes.
These stunning numbers have two troubling implications.
First, we’re missing billions in taxes each year. That’s partly why our roads and transit systems are falling apart.
Second, wealth inequality may be even worse than we thought. Economic surveys estimate that roughly 85 percent of income and wealth gains in the last decade have gone to the wealthiest one-tenth of the top 1 percent.
That’s bad enough. But what if the concentration is even greater?
Visualize the nation’s wealth as an expansive and deep reservoir of fresh water. A small portion of this water provides sustenance to fields and villages downstream, in the form of tax dollars for public services.
In recent years, the water level has declined to a trickle, and the villages below are suffering from water shortages. Everyone is told to tighten their belts and make sacrifices.
Deep below the water surface, however, is a hidden pipe, siphoning vast amounts of water — as much as a third of the whole reservoir — off to a secret pool in the forest.
The rich are swimming while the villagers go thirsty and the fields dry up.
Yes, there are vast pools of privately owned wealth, mostly held by a small segment of super-rich Americans. The wealthiest 400 billionaires have at least as much wealth as 62 percent of the U.S. population — that’s nearly 200 million of us.
Don’t taxpayers of all incomes under-report their incomes? Maybe here and there.
But these aren’t folks making a few dollars “under the table.” These are billionaires stashing away trillions of the world’s wealth. The latest study underscores that tax evasion by the super-rich is at least 10 times greater — and in some nations 250 times more likely — than by everyone else.
How is that possible? After all, most of us have our taxes taken out of our paychecks and pay sales taxes at the register. Homeowners get their house assessed and pay a property tax.
But the wealthy have the resources to hire the services of what’s called the “wealth defense industry.” These aren’t your “mom and pop” financial advisers that sell life insurance or help folks plan for retirement.
The wealth defenders of the super-rich — including tax lawyers, estate planners, accountants, and other financial professionals — are accomplices in the heist. They drive the getaway cars, by designing complex trusts, shell companies, and offshore accounts to hide money.
These managers help the private jet set avoid paying their fair share of taxes, even as they disproportionately benefit from living in a country with the rule of law, property rights protections, and public infrastructure the rest of us pay for.
Not all wealthy are tax dodgers. A group called the Patriotic Millionaires advocates for eliminating loopholes and building a fair and transparent tax system. They’re pressing Congress to crack down on tax evasion by the superrich.
Their message: Bring the wealth home! Stop hiding the wealth in offshore accounts and complicated trusts. Pay your fair share to the support the public services and protections that we all enjoy.
Distributed by OtherWords.
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          (USA-DE-Dover) Financial Advisor Development Program   
**Job Description:** Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is a leading provider of comprehensive wealth management and investment products and services for individuals and businesses. With 10,869 Financial Advisors and $1.9 trillion in client balances as of December 31, 2015, Merrill Lynch is among the largest businesses of its kind in the world. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management specializes in goals-based wealth management, including planning for retirement, education, legacy, and other life goals through investment advice and guidance. Merrill Lynch’s financial advisors help clients pursue the life they envision through a one-on-one relationship with a financial advisor committed to their needs — an advisor with access to the investment insights of Merrill Lynch and the banking convenience of Bank of America. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is part of Bank of America Corporation. The Practice Management Development (PMD) Associate role is a 43 month development program for professionals who wish to build a wealth management business and become a full-fledged Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor (FA). PMD is a structured and disciplined program that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the growth and progress of our Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors. PMD offers new advisors the most professional and client focused sales, investment, and business management training in the industry. PMD Associates will build upon their knowledge of these topics throughout the duration of the program, while focusing on developing client relationships. With the assistance of mentors and managers, our PMD Associates will learn to develop a pipeline of affluent clients, identify client needs, develop relationships with existing and prospective clients, review investment goals, prepare investment recommendations that align with client goals, and the business management skills needed to operate an optimal practice model. The Practice Management Development Associate engages in: + Developing a book of business in order to meet and exceed the required performance hurdles + Effectively sourcing prospective clients, capitalizing on referrals, assessing customer needs, through collaboration, delivering the full resources of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch to the client, and delivering highly customized solutions to meet client needs + Recommending investment products and services that are suitable for prospects and clients based on their objectives, resources, time horizon, risk profile and preferences + Balancing investment management, sales activities, customer service, new client development, administrative, compliance and personal growth and development according to both a day-to-day and longer-term plan + Planning and managing resources (time, people, budget) to run an optimal practice + Seeking the expertise of specialists, where appropriate, to identify, banking, lending, planning and investment solutions for a client + Establishing and maintaining relationship with the management team and informing them of any circumstances that require supervisory attention/review/approval per compliance guidelines and policies + Completing required training, obtaining industry licenses (Series 7 & 66), mastering assessments, maintaining continuing education requirements and meeting minimum performance standards Pursuant to the SAFE Act requirements, all employees engaged in residential loan mortgage originations must register with the federal registry system and remain in good standing. If your position requires SAFE Act registration, you will be required to register and to submit to the required SAFE Act background check and registration process. Failure to obtain and/or maintain SAFE Act registration may result in your immediate termination. Legal authorization to work in the US now and in the future without sponsorship is required. The Practice Management Development Associate receives: + A base salary through the full 43 months in the PMD program along with bonus potential. Upon completion of the PMD program, the candidate will be compensated in accordance with the Financial Advisor Incentive Compensation Plan. + The strength and name recognition of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America + World class investment, sales, and business management training throughout their career + Cutting edge Technology and industry leading platform to leverage for success + Access to a full array of investment and banking solutions for your clients + Mentors and Managers located within your local office to work with you towards your success + PMD Curriculum that includes CFP course work, wealth management curriculum, licensing and essential skills training from Managers and Mentors The Practice Management Development program is designed for professionals who are ready to make a career transition and follow their passion of becoming a Financial Advisor. **Candidate Qualifications** **:** **Experience** Candidates for this role will have a history of high achievement demonstrated by a proven record of rapid advancement in exceeding goals and outperforming peers. The _ideal candidate_ has applicable sales experience or has worked in a professional or entrepreneurial setting. **Success Skills and Attributes** The _ideal candidate_ will bring to the role a broad network of contacts and relationships along with the ability to develop a strong sales pipeline through prospecting, telemarketing and relationship building skills. Other success attributes candidates possess are: + Ability to influence people + Entrepreneurial and self motivated to succeed + Perseverance and resilience + Confident and engaging presence + Concise, inspiring communication + Client focus mentality + High professional standards and integrity **Education/Licenses** The _ideal candidate_ will have at minimum a Bachelors degree. The following licenses/designations are preferred: + Series 7 and 66 licensed - The PMD curriculum assists candidates from outside the wealth management industry to prepare for and complete licensing requirements for both + Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) + Certified Financial Planner (CFP) **Posting Date** : 06/29/2017 **Location** : US-DE-Dover, US-DE-Wilmington, US-DE-Rehoboth Beach, US-NJ-Vineland, US-NJ-Egg Harbor Township, US-NJ-Mount Laurel, US-NJ-Woodbury **Travel** : Yes, 5% of the time **Full / Part-time** : Full time **Hours Per Week** : 37.5 **Shift** : 1st shift **Assistance for Applicants with Disabilities** Bank of America is committed to ensuring that our online application process provides an equal employment opportunity to all job seekers, including individuals with disabilities. If you believe you need a reasonable accommodation in order to search for a job opening or to submit an application, please visit the Applicants with Disabilities page at http://careers.bankofamerica.com/us/applicants-with-disabilities . **Diversity & Inclusion** At Bank of America, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is helping us to create not only a great place to work, but also an environment where our employees, our customers and our communities around the world can reach their goals and connect with each other. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. **Frequently Asked Questions** Need to know how to apply online, view a list of your submitted job applications or reset your password? Visit our FAQ at http://careers.bankofamerica.com/us/faq section for answers to these questions and more.
          How To Deal With The $1 Trillion Student Loan Crisis   
Want to go to college? Prove it: Make a business plan.
          Hedge Funds: How They Invest Their $2.4 Trillion War Chest   
Decoding a mysterious and not entirely magical asset class.
          A trillion dollars in debt, but no 'banana republic'   
Three decades ago, Treasurer Paul Keating, warned Australia may become a “banana republic”. Today we are far from it.
          Washington Has Been At War For 16 Years: Why?   

Washington Has Been At War For 16 Years: Why? Paul Craig Roberts For sixteen years the US has been at war in the Middle East and North Africa, running up trillions of dollars in expenses, committing untold war crimes, and sending millions of war refugees to burden Europe, while simultaneously claiming that Washington cannot afford…

The post Washington Has Been At War For 16 Years: Why? appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.


          Nearly doomed by too little CO2   
Aside from protests by Al Gore, Leonardo Di Caprio, and friends, the public didn’t seem to raise its carbon dioxide (CO2) anguish much above the Russians-election frenzy when Trump exited the Paris Climate Accords. Statistician Bjorn Lomborg had already pointed out that the Paris CO2 emission promises would cost one hundred trillion dollars ($100 trillion) […]
          Former UN climate chief: Only three years left to save the planet   
And it will only cost $1.3 trillion per year.
          The Musclehead From Brussels   
 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
It should've been written into the script: The Big Bully arrives in town, starts throwing his weight around, then Jean-Claude Van Damme leaps to save the day and kicks the bad guy senseless. Alas, that did not happen any more than a Batman will come to save Gotham City (formerly known as the United States).
     Any dead-end Trumper hoping against hope, reason and basic sanity that our Chief Executive would go on his first Big Boy Trip and not embarrass us should be bitterly disappointed. And if they're not, then they deserve to have their mental health care taken from them if Sauron gets his way and passes the AHCA, It all started, not so innocently enough, in Saudi Arabia.
     The tone for dysfunction was set when Trump reached for Melania's hand as they were leaving Air Force One and she rejected it by putting her left hand to her hair. Needing a consolation, Trump then patted the First Lady's ass. (Melania would do it again a couple days later in Israel.) Then, after agreeing, through a Jared Kushner-brokered deal to sell $110 billion in arms to the Saudis (in exchange for a $100,000,000 bribe to Ivanka's proposed foundation), Trump, the King of Saudi Arabia and Egypt's dictator held a glowing orb ceremony that looked as if it came out of a bad Roger Corman movie.

     Whether they were attempting to reach the blubbery spirit of Roger Ailes, the Dark Prince or Sauron himself, they reached someone- The very next day a 4x4 sinkhole opened up right in front of Mar-a-Lago (aka the Panhandle Kremlin). Then co-First Ladies Ivanka and Melania decided to opt out of wearing head scarves, something for which Trump himself raked Michelle Obama over the coals when she'd done the same (something for which even Ted Cruz had cheered her).
     Then after three of the world's biggest dictators and perpetrators of state-sponsored terrorism had their creepy seance pledging to end non state-sponsored terrorism, it was off to Israel, then the Vatican. And in the theological trifecta, Trump managed to thoroughly humiliate us in all three religions.

The Stupidest Person on the Face of the Earth

No, the Israelis didn't shoot Trump, even though he'd given away their secrets to the Russians, but they must've surely thought about it. As usual, it all started right out of the gate, literally, when Melania again swatted away Trump's hand on the red carpet in Tel Aviv. Then, as if the world's media wasn't already giving his itinerary and every detail within it enough press, he then announced to Israeli officials, in Israel, "I've just left the Middle East."
     
     It kinda went downhill from that point on.
     The Israeli visit at least held the faintest hope for Trump to acquit himself as something more than the mentally-challenged misfit he's proved to be on the world stage. After all, since Trump was on the campaign trail in 2015-6, he's been calling consistently for a two state solution between Israel and Palestine. Alas, it was not to be.
     When he left 28 hours later, he had not given one shred of evidence he'd thought this peace thingie through despite all the time he'd had to develop a peace plan during his campaign, his transition, and during the 120+ days he's been in the White House (aka Kremlin-on-the-Potomac). But there was one bright takeaway from Trump's visit- He'd told Netanyahu that when he was talking to the Russians in the Oval Office, he "never mentioned Israel."
     Which I'm sure came as a great relief to the Israelis even though their code-word protected intelligence about ISIS was given to a nation with whom they'd pointedly not shared said intelligence. And speaking of which, after Trump's visit, Israel has also decided not to share some of their classified intelligence with us. Yeah, maybe that's for the best.
     For any American President making an official state visit to Israel, a stop at the Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem is a must. There's a guestbook for heads of state to sign. And Donald Trump's bizarre note in the Yad Vashem guestbook reads like something someone would write of their Disneyland vacation on Yelp.com. To say the least, it stands in stark contrast to the much lengthier, more comprehensive note left by President Obama. It essentially was all about him and what a great tourist stop was the memorial erected to remember the 6,000,000 victims of the Holocaust who were never mentioned in Trump's jaunty tourist memorandum. One can only wonder if Trump left an invoice to Mexico inside the Wailing Wall.
     Then it was on to the Vatican and beyond...

No Weddings But a Funeral For Democracxy
Pope Francis is certainly the most popular pontiff since at least Pope John XXIII. He seems to genuinely love his role as the Vicar of Christ as much as he relishes ministering to the poor. He seems like a nice, folksy head of state who has a ready smile for anyone he may meet... uh, with certain exceptions.
     It can't be said the two First Ladies didn't play their part. In stark contrast to their refusal to wear head scarves in Saudi Arabia, Ivanka and Melania, in keeping with papal tradition, wore black dresses and veils (and giving the photo op something of a creepy Diane Arbus ambiance to the whole thing.).
     I'll just gloss over the creepiness, the countless embarrassments Trump caused us in Vatican City and the two leader's prior barbs at each other over Trump's wall and just let the awkward pictures do the talking.

     Trump left the Vatican, saying he was more determined than ever to pursue peace in the world. Meanwhile, before he even got to the Vatican, this little tidbit about a certain Navy SEAL raid in Yemen somehow got pushed off the MSM's radar. I'm sure Trump felt real bad about it afterwards once he met with the Pope. Sure.

National Lampoon's Belgian Vacation
If anyone had any illusions that President Griswold wouldn't embarrass the United States at the dedication of the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, they were sadly misinformed. If there's anything else that Trump shares with the establishment GOP besides killing the poor and middle class, tax cuts for his billionaire buddies and deregulating every industry under the sun, it's his ignorant hatred of the United Nations and NATO's mission.
     At this point, it's difficult if not outright impossible to determine if Trump even knows what Article 5 in Chapter II of the UN charter is, much less remember that it was invoked only once by the UN- For our benefit right after the 9/11 attacks. But Trump today mentioned Article 5 in vague terms, preferring, instead, to focus on his moth-eaten lie of 23 of 28 NATO member nations not kicking in their fair share to fight terrorism (in reality, they'd paid more than mere money to that end- To date, over 1000 non-American NATO troops have lost their lives in Afghanistan alone). Ironically, standing next to Trump was a sculpture made of twisted metal found at Ground Zero.
     What Trump either doesn't remember or care to learn is that each nation pledges their support and pays for it out of their respective defense budgets. It's difficult to believe that one of Trump's more pragmatic and knowledgeable aides hasn't taken him aside and informed him of this simple fact.
     Perhaps it's that rampant ignorance that accounted for the faces and body language of the world leaders who had to listen to this drivel. Afterwards, Trump pushed Montenegro's Prime Minister aside so he could be front and center for the photo op, then refused to shake the hand of the lady who'd offered hers.
     It's that arrogant, right wing ignorance and hostility toward NATO (As well as the United Nations) that makes observers who actually have a functional cerebrum to wonder if he'll just as impetuously pull out of the 195 nation Paris Climate Accord. In light of his rolling back all the Obama regulations on polluting industries, a reasonable person would have cause to suspect it.
     So, let's sum up our Big Boy's First Big Boy Trip:
     He'd cozied up to dictators from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, had a creepy glowing orb ceremony, thought he was out of the Middle East once he landed in Israel and made an Israeli diplomat publicly face palm himself, left no evidence he has a peace plan for Israel and Palestine to follow, screwed the pooch as far as Israeli intelligence-sharing goes, left a chipper Yelp review of Yad Vashem, successfully wrestled the perpetual smile off Pope Francis's face, praised dictators while insulting our NATO allies, and managed to kill some Yemeni elders while preaching vapidly about peace.
     And if that doesn't sufficiently scare you, he found time to submit to Congress while abroad a budget with a two trillion dollar error.

          Artificial Intelligence to Create Trillions in Economic Growth by 2035   

HR officials of the future will have to take up the responsibility of managing AI resources just the same way they manage human employees.

The post Artificial Intelligence to Create Trillions in Economic Growth by 2035 appeared first on Nearshore Americas.


          Comment on Trump Says Gold Standard Could Make America Great Again by Ronald West   
Trump is serious about returning to gold but the traitorous globalists in his administration aren't. Secondly, there probably is not much of any gold left in Fort Knox. The Chinese have been mopping it up cheap for years. Thirdly, I keep hearing about there not being enough gold to back the highly inflated monetary and financial system. This of course, is ridiculous. There is plenty of gold, some $185,000 tons of it. The only thing that is in the way is the price. In order to adjust for all the massive money-printing going on for the past century, a gold price of at least $10,000 is necessary. Some say as high as $50,000 an ounce. Neither price or anything in between, is out of line. The current price today June 17 of $1255, is far too low because the gold-haters keep punching the price down. With all the money-printing since 1971, the gold price should already be around $9500 because the Fed is holding $2.6 trillion in Treasuries that they bought during QE and with 180,000 tons of gold, the per ounce price comes out around $9800 an ounce. Trump is serious but it's highly unlikely that the globalists will go along with his plan. But you can go on your own gold standard. Gold and silver reigns supreme as non inflatable money.
          7 smart student loan repayment strategies to use when you're in your 20s   

happy woman smiling listening

Student loans are no joke.

In 2017, student loan debt has swelled into a $1.3 trillion crisis in the US, according to Forbes.

An estimated 44 million borrowers shoulder this financial burden. The blog Make Lemonade estimates that the average Class of 2016 grad owes $37,172.

So, what are some coping strategies for recent grads entering the workplace owing thousands of dollars in debt?

First things first, it's not a problem that will go away overnight.

"I really wish there was a magic bullet that could just make them all go away, but there isn't," John Foley, a CFP and VP at online lending website SoFi, tells Business Insider. "All my 'tips' still involve paying off your loans. However, there are a few strategies you can employ to make the process less painful."

Here are some smart student loan repayment strategies for new grads:

1. Get organized

Foley recommends keeping records of all your loans — along with their amount, terms, payments, and interest rates — in a safe place.

"This sounds obvious, but if you're like most people, you borrowed every semester — as you needed it," Foley says. "This means you have a hodge-podge of loans of different amounts, under different programs, at different rates, from different lenders. It means you'll now be making multiple payments to multiple loan servicers. This is a recipe for trouble. You forget a payment and boom — you're credit score takes a hit."

Avoid getting into trouble by automating your payments in bill pay.

2. Seek forgiveness through government programs

Foley describes this tactic as a bit of a "magic bullet" for anyone with an interest in teaching or public service.

"There are a few federal programs that can get part of your debt forgiven," Foley says. "This involves working as a teacher at certain schools, or working for the government or a non-profit organization."

For example, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program will forgive up to $17,500 of loans, or even cancel your Perkins loans if you teach for five years at a school that qualifies, while the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will forgive the balance of your direct loan after 120 qualifying payments. This option will require you to work for the government or a 501(c)(3) non-profit. If you spring for one of these loan forgiveness options, you'll have to follow the specific program's rules.

"It's the government — so the rules are kind of complicated, but it's worth the trouble to figure them out if either of these careers are in your future," Foley says.

3. Look into income-driven repayment plans

For recent grads struggling with a low income, income-driven repayment plans are an option.

"These are plans that let you make lower payments based on your income," Foley says. "In some of the plans, however, you pay for a longer period of time and end up making higher total payments. Some of these plans include partial loan forgiveness if you qualify."

4. Remember that waiting will cost you

Don't be fooled by the six month "grace period" you get before you have to start making payments.

"You are accruing interest during this period, so it's adding to the amount you'll have to pay over the length of your loan," Foley says. "Take advantage of it if you haven't found a job, but if you have — get started paying. It will reduce your final, total bill."

5. Refinance and consolidate

"Investigate consolidating your loans and refinancing them," Foley says. "Consolidating can make your life simpler by reducing the number of payments you need to send each month. You might be able to get a lower rate or longer term — either of which could result in lower monthly payments."

Just remember, your chances of refinancing will improve if you pay off your outstanding credit card balances first. Also, refinancing generally makes you ineligible for income-driven repayment plans and may flout the rules of teacher and public service loan forgiveness programs.

"If you are doing either forgiveness or income-driven repayment, don't refinance or consolidate until you are certain that it won't hurt your eligibility," Foley says.

6. Accelerate your payoff

"Once you've organized, reduced, refinanced, and consolidated — start paying them off," Foley says. "You are paying interest on the amount you borrowed over the length of your loan. The more you owe and the longer you owe it, the more interest you'll pay."

You can speed things up by dedicating a small amount — $10 a month is fine, to start — as an additional payment.

"Be sure to inform your servicer that this is to be applied to the loan's principal — not to your next payment," Foley says. "Increase the extra amount slowly over time. Pay more if you get a bonus or a tax refund."

When money is tight, you can nix the additional payment. But otherwise, try to stick with it.

"You'll be surprised how much you save over the years," says Foley.

7. It pays to be a pack rat

"Over the years I was paying off my student loan, it was sold several times and I had to change the servicer I paid each time," Foley says. "After I made my last payment, my servicer came back to me and claimed I'd missed a payment. I had not. When they were switching servicing firms on me, the old firm did not forward my payment to the new firm properly."

To prove he had already paid back his debt, Foley was able to send the servicer a copy of the check he had made his payment with.

"If I had not been such a pack rat I'd have had to pay that one twice," he says. "Nobody writes checks anymore, but be sure to keep good records. You might need them."

SEE ALSO: A man who left finance for tech explains the difference between interviewing at JPMorgan and Google

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Only a small percentage of law school graduates actually make big money — here's a simple way to tell if you'll be one of them


          America is hooked on credit cards — and it's pretty clear why (JPM, TSYS)   

shopping

Americans have racked up $1.01 trillion in revolving debt — primarily credit card debt — according to the Federal Reserve. That's the highest tally since the financial crisis in 2008. 

The credit card is now the preferred method of payment among Americans, edging out debit cards and cash, according to the 2016 US Payment Study by payment processing company Total Systems Services, or TSYS.

It's the first time credit cards claimed the top spot in the six years TSYS has been conducting the study, which surveys 1,000 consumers who hold at least one debt card and one credit card (you can read more about their methodology on page four of the study).

Why have credit cards grown more popular? The study offers some insights as to why: 

Forty percent of respondents from the TSYS study picked credit cards as their favorite form of payment, followed by debit cards (35%), and cash (11%). Credit cards have been gaining on debit cards for several years now.



TSYS found that credit cards aren't universally loved, currying the most favor from older millennials.



Credit card love also skewed toward high-income households. The more money a household earns, the more they prefer credit cards.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
          Global Elite Easily Enslaving You With This All-Too-Common Trap   

The borrower is the servant of the lender, and through the mechanism of government debt, virtually the entire planet has become the servants of the global moneychangers. Politicians love to borrow money, but over time, government debt slowly but surely impoverishes a nation. As the elite get governments around the globe in increasing amounts of debt, those governments must raise taxes in order to keep servicing those debts. In the end, it is all about taking money from us and transferring it into government pockets, and then taking money from government pockets and transferring it into the hands of the elite. It is a game that has been going on for generations, and it is time for humanity to say that enough is enough.

According to the Institute of International Finance, global debt has now reached a new all-time record high of $217 trillion:

Global debt levels have surged to a record $217 trillion in the first quarter of the year. This is 327 percent of the world's annual economic output (GDP), reports the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

The surging debt was driven by emerging economies, which have increased borrowing by $3 trillion to $56 trillion. This amounts to 218 percent of their combined economic output, five percentage points greater year on year.

Never before in human history has our world been so saturated with debt.

And what all of this debt does is that it funnels wealth to the very top of the global wealth pyramid. In other words, it makes global wealth inequality far worse because this system is designed to make the rich even richer and the poor even poorer.

Every year, the gap between the wealthy and the poor grows, and it has gotten to the point that eight men have as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people on this planet combined:

Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam today to mark the annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos.

This didn't happen by accident. Sadly, most people don't even understand that this is literally what our system was designed to do.

Today, more than 99 percent of the population of the planet lives in a country that has a central bank. And debt-based central banking is designed to get national governments trapped in endless debt spirals from which they can never possibly escape.

For example, just consider the Federal Reserve. During the four decades before the Federal Reserve was created, our country enjoyed the best period of economic growth in U.S. history. But since the Fed was established in 1913, the value of the U.S. dollar has fallen by approximately 98 percent and the size of our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.

It isn't an accident that we are $20 trillion in debt. The truth is that the debt-based Federal Reserve is doing exactly what it was originally designed to do. And no matter what politicians will tell you, we will never have a permanent solution to our debt problem until we get rid of the Federal Reserve.

In 2017, interest on the national debt will be nearly half a trillion dollars.

That means that close to 500 billion of our tax dollars will go out the door before our government spends a single penny on the military, on roads, on health care or on anything else.

And we continue to pile up debt at a rate of more than 100 million dollars an hour. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government will add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt once again in 2018:

Unless current laws are changed, federal individual income tax collections will increase by 9.5 percent in fiscal 2018, which begins on October 1, according to data released today by the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, however, the federal debt will increase by more than $1 trillion.

We shouldn't be doing this, but we just can't seem to stop.

Let me try to put this into perspective. If you could somehow borrow a million dollars today and obligate your children to pay it off for you, would you do it?

Maybe if you really hate your children you would, but most loving parents would never do such a thing.

But that is precisely what we are doing on a national level.

Thomas Jefferson was strongly against government debt because he believed that it was a way for one generation to steal from another generation. And he actually wished that he could have added another amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would have banned government borrowing...

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.

And the really big secret that none of us are supposed to know is that governments don't actually have to borrow money.

But if we start saying that too loudly the people that are making trillions of dollars from the current system are going to get very, very upset with us.

Today, we are living in the terminal phase of the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet. Every debt bubble eventually ends tragically, and this one will too.

Bill Gross recently noted that "our highly levered financial system is like a truckload of nitroglycerin on a bumpy road." One wrong move and the whole thing could blow sky-high.

When everything comes crashing down and a great crisis happens, we are going to have a choice.

We could try to rebuild the fundamentally flawed old system, or we could scrap it and start over with something much better.

My hope is that we will finally learn our lesson and discard the debt-based central banking model for good.

The reason I am writing about this so much ahead of time is so that people will actually understand why the coming crisis is happening as it unfolds.

If we can get everyone to understand how we are being systematically robbed and cheated, perhaps people will finally get mad enough to do something about it. {eoa}


          Energy Week Continues: President Trump Wants to Unlock 'Trillions of Dollars of Wealth'   

President Donald Trump visited the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt at his side to announce a new national energy policy.

"We're here today to usher in a new American energy policy—one that unlocks million and millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in wealth," he said. "For over 40 years, America was vulnerable to foreign regimes that used energy as an economic weapon. Americans' quality of life was diminished by the idea that energy resources were too scarce to support our people. We always thought that, and actually at the time it was right to think. We didn't think we had this tremendous wealth under our feet. Many of us remember the long gas lines and the constant claims that the world was running out of oil and natural gas.

"Americans were told that our nation could only solve this energy crisis by imposing draconian restrictions on energy production. But we now know that was all a big, beautiful myth. It was fake."

That led to short ribbing of CNN, during which the president suggested the network's producers turned their cameras off. He returned to his speech with a promise he wouldn't say anything else about the news organization.

"The truth is that we have near-limitless supplies of energy in our country. Powered by new innovation and technology, we are now on the cusp of a true energy revolution.

"Our country is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance, which we didn't know of, even five years ago and certainly 10 years ago. We have nearly 100 years' worth of natural gas and more than 250 years' worth of clean, beautiful coal.

"We are a top producer of petroleum and the number-one producer of natural gas. We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driving seat. And you know what? We don't want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it. That's not going to happen. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we've been looking for so long, but American energy dominance."

You can watch the president's entire speech in the video clip above. {eoa}


          Ready or not, India awaits introduction of GST   
India is to hold a special midnight session of parliament to mark the launch of its new national Goods and Services Tax, a sign of how much significance it's attaching to what's billed as the biggest fiscal reforms in decades. As Kate King reports, the GST will replace about 20 federal and state taxes while unifying a $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market.

           FCA to introduce standardised investment levy    
Britain's £7trillion asset management industry is in line for a seismic shake-up after the City watchdog unveiled strict new rules last week, designed to lift the fog around the cost of investing.
          MSNBC Host Actually Talks to Trump Supporters, Viewers Lose It   

Much to the outrage of her left-wing viewers, on Wednesday and Thursday, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle actually sat down with five doctors who voted for Donald Trump to talk about the Republican health care reform plan. As Ruhle posted clips of the exchange on Twitter, liberals came out of the woodwork to condemn the discussion. On Thursday, the host was forced to rebuke critics.

“We have been getting a ton of reaction, that’s good and bad, to the special roundtable I conducted with five physicians, all who voted for President Trump,” Ruhle explained as she introduced the second portion of the segment during the 9 a.m. ET hour Thursday morning. After hearing the doctors voice support for the GOP plan, the anchor scolded her audience: “I know people are so fired up they don’t want to hear someone with another opinion. But guess what? We need to hear other opinions and other viewpoints in order to get to a place of compromise and working together.”

She concluded: “If you don’t understand that what they’re thinking, how are you going to find the middle? Stop being mad, let’s find a solution.”

Ruhle was referring to an avalanche of criticism she received on Twitter from left-wing snowflakes who were upset that they actually had to hear from people with different political views for a few minutes on MSNBC before the network returned to its regularly scheduled Democratic Party propaganda.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Here is just a sample of the social media meltdown:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a full transcript of the June 29 segment:

9:38 AM ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: We have been getting a ton of reaction, that’s good and bad, to the special roundtable I conducted with five physicians, all who voted for President Trump. We discussed several crucial aspects of the GOP’s health care plan in parts one and two, and we're reposting all of it on Twitter right now for you. Let us know what you think. And today, in part three, we talk about the price of health care and what needs to be done to bring it down.

President Trump looks – has looked at this and said this bill needs more heart. And across the board, we’re hearing people say “this bill is heartless, this bill heartless.”

DR. ANISH KOKA [CARDIOLOGIST, PENNSYLVANIA]: The more heart has to do with benefits that have been added for folks that are high-risk uninsurables, so for these high-risk pools, right? So I think it’s $50 billion over four years, plus an additional $60 billion, just for folks that are too-high risk to be insured by – in the regular individual market.

DR. NICOLE SAPHIER [RADIOLOGIST, NEW YORK]: A lot of people – there are people that cannot afford insurance without the subsidies because the premiums have skyrocketed. What we’re not accounting for are the people that are saying, “I’m really healthy, I live healthily, I do all the right things, these insurance premiums, why don’t I just save and pay for insurance – or pay for my health care with the dollars that I’ve saved.”

DR. JANE HUGHES [OPHTHALMOLOGIST, TEXAS]: We are not going to end up with a perfect bill here. This is a start and it has to go through this reconciliation process with the Senate.

RUHLE: Dr. Koka, what do you say to those who say, “Well, how is this going to help the poorest people? You’re just giving a tax break to the rich.”

KOKA: It does make for very bad optics. The problem is, is that, you know –

RUHLE: Take me past the optics.

KOKA: I mean, the problem is you’re trying to get health care legislation passed, you have 53 Republican senators [sic], you can’t get to 60 to actually write legislation like you did for ObamaCare.

RUHLE: Why are people dropping out of the exchanges? Why are insurance companies leaving ObamaCare?

KOKA: They’re still making a phenomenal amount of money.

DR. KEVIN CAMPBELL [CARDIOLOGIST, NORTH CAROLINA]: A lot of them have left.

RUHLE: But I’m saying, if it was such a blank check, if ObamaCare is the holy grail for insurance companies, why would so many drop out?

CAMPBELL: It’s also really good for hospitals.

RUHLE: How come in the medical arena nothing gets less expensive?

DR. ALIETA ECK [INTERNIST, NEW JERSEY]: Because government got involved. In 1965, we spent $210 a year per capita on health care. In 1965, Medicare and Medicaid started and a huge infusion of tax dollars just started to cause all kinds of excesses in the cost. And it’s never gone down.

KOKA: The pharmaceutical companies, you know, that’s 12% of the total budget. A full 33% of the total federal budget, $1 trillion, is spent on hospitals, right? Hospitals, large, nonprofit academic medical centers are the folks that are making – you know, when you get a bag of saltwater, saline, in the ER, that costs a thousand dollars.

CAMPBELL: Or a $10 Tylenol.

RUHLE: What gives you confidence that this bill is the start to help getting pharmaceutical costs down?

CAMPBELL: No one’s addressed the cost of pharmaceuticals. No one’s addressed regulating insurers and saying, “You know what? If you say you’re going to provide a service, you have to provide that service.”

RUHLE: This bill doesn’t either.

CAMPBELL: Exactly.

RUHLE: And if the biggest issue that we face is the influence lobbyists are having in the health care industry, how does this bill make it better for patients in America? Dr. Eck?

ECK: I always like to say that the Medicaid system spends billions of dollars and it makes millionaires out of hospital and insurance company executives, while it gives very poor care to the poor. The lobbyists are those executives and all those administrators. That’s gone up 3,000% while doctors have doubled in the same amount of time. The administrators are giving big bucks to the legislators who are then writing the laws.

RUHLE: Interesting conversation. I want to point out a lot of people asked me on Twitter Medicaid, do these doctors accept it? Well, of the five, three accept Medicaid and two do not.

And also, I know people are so fired up they don’t want to hear someone with another opinion. But guess what? We need to hear other opinions and other viewpoints in order to get to a place of compromise and working together. If you don’t understand that what they’re thinking, how are you going to find the middle? Stop being mad, let’s find a solution.


          From toxic prisons to sand's scarcity, good reads for the holiday weekend   

As we head into the holiday weekend it occurs to me to offer for your attention some of the better long reads I’ve enjoyed lately on environmental topics.

So here are four standouts on subjects ranging from environmental health hazards in U.S. prisons to the looming world shortage of sand, from the biodiversity in your gut to how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave Monsanto a pass on studying probable links between Roundup and cancer in mice. All were freely available Wednesday and should be still.

* * *

At the crossroads of mass incarceration and environmental injustice — the practice of burdening poorer and/or nonwhite communities with a disproportionate share of pollution — sits much of America’s prison system, whose population has grown more than sevenfold since the 1970s.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that prison administrators sometimes turn a blind eye to environmental conditions in and around their facilities. But the findings of a new investigation by Earth Island Journal and Truthout suggest that the health-threatening exposures are neither occasional nor unusual.

In Toxic Prisons, writers Candice Bernd, Zoe Loftus-Farren and Maureen Nandini Mitra report that “at least 589 federal and state prisons are located within three miles of a Superfund cleanup site on the National Priorities List, with 134 of those prisons located within just one mile.”

Many were simply built in a hurry on sites nobody else wanted, like the medium-security prison in Pennsylvania whose proximity to a massive coal-ash dump has tainted inmates’ air and water with heavy metals and other toxins.

In Texas, arsenic contamination prompted a federal court order directing a prison to provide inmates with safe drinking water. And at prisons across California, the soil-borne fungal disease known as valley fever has been a chronic problem:

In the past decade, more than 3,500 California prisoners have become sick from valley fever and more than 50 have died from it. Though infection rates decreased significantly after 2011, to fewer than 100 cases each in 2014 and 2015, last year saw another spike with 267 prisoners infected.

In 2011, a particularly bad year, infection rates for the highest risk California state prisons were dozens of times above those in nearby communities, according to Centers for Disease Control data. Although the fungus is poorly understood, researchers suspect that out-of-town prisoners bused to the Central Valley are especially susceptible because they are not native to the region. Locals may develop some kind of immunity that shields them from the worst valley fever symptoms.

California now offers to test prisoners for immunity and to transfer vulnerable inmates to lower-risk facilities. Like most official responses noted in the article, this one was ordered by the courts. Much less has happened to safeguard the population of the SCI Fayette prison at LaBelle, Pennsylvania:

The 237-acre men’s prison began operating in 2003 on one corner of what, in the 1940s through the 1970s, was one of the largest coal preparation plants in the world, where coal from nearby mines was washed and graded. The “cleaned” coal was then shipped off to power plants and other markets, while the remaining coal refuse was dumped on and around the hilly, 1,357-acre site. By the mid-1990s, when its owners filed for bankruptcy and abandoned the site, an estimated 40 million tons of coal refuse had been dumped there. At some places the waste piled up some 150 feet.

An inmate survey conducted by a Pittsburgh prisoner advocacy group called the Abolitionist Law Center ask about their health problems and found that:

Eighty-one percent of the 75 prisoners who responded … claimed to suffer from respiratory, throat, and sinus conditions; 68 percent experienced gastrointestinal problems; 52 percent reported adverse skin conditions; and 12 percent said they were diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. The report also noted 11 of the 17 prisoners who died at SCI Fayette between 2010 and 2013 had died of cancer.

Contacted by the reporters for comment, prison officials said the facility meets OSHA-type safety standards, without providing data to back that up.

* * *

David Owen’s gift for juxtaposing the odd little detail with the stunningly large issue, while maintaining tone of bemused fascination, are on ample display in his New Yorker piece, “The World Is Running Out of Sand.”

He begins with the logistically massive if socially trivial effort to obtain appropriate sand for internationally regulated beach-volleyball competitions, for which ordinary beach sand is rarely sufficient (too large and variable in grain size).

An event in Toronto last year required 1,360 tons of sand to be delivered in 35 semitrailer loads. But at least it came from a few hours away. Sand for the first European Games, held in Azerbaijan two years ago, was brought by sea from southern Turkey because moving it by road would have meant crossing potential combat zones in Syria and Iraq.

Elsewhere in the world, sand is moved much greater distances at much greater cost for the construction of nearly everything that uses concrete or asphalt and, with increasing frequency, to rebuild storm-ravaged coastlines and levees.

Sand covers so much of the earth’s surface that shipping it across borders—even uncontested ones—seems extreme. But sand isn’t just sand, it turns out. In the industrial world, it’s “aggregate,” a category that includes gravel, crushed stone, and various recycled materials. Natural aggregate is the world’s second most heavily exploited natural resource, after water, and for many uses the right kind is scarce or inaccessible. In 2014, the United Nations Environment Programme published a report titled “Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks,” which concluded that the mining of sand and gravel “greatly exceeds natural renewal rates” and that “the amount being mined is increasing exponentially, mainly as a result of rapid economic growth in Asia.”

Pascal Peduzzi, a Swiss scientist and the director of one of the U.N.’s environmental groups, told the BBC last May that China’s swift development had consumed more sand in the previous four years than the United States used in the past century. In India, commercially useful sand is now so scarce that markets for it are dominated by “sand mafias” — criminal enterprises that sell material taken illegally from rivers and other sources, sometimes killing to safeguard their deposits. In the United States, the fastest-growing uses include the fortification of shorelines eroded by rising sea levels and more and more powerful ocean storms — efforts that, like many attempts to address environmental challenges, create environmental challenges of their own.

Aggregate is the main constituent of concrete (eighty per cent) and asphalt (ninety-four per cent), and it’s also the primary base material that concrete and asphalt are placed on during the building of roads, buildings, parking lots, runways, and many other structures. A report published in 2004 by the American Geological Institute said that a typical American house requires more than a hundred tons of sand, gravel, and crushed stone for the foundation, basement, garage, and driveway, and more than two hundred tons if you include its share of the street that runs in front of it. A mile-long section of a single lane of an American interstate highway requires thirty-eight thousand tons. The most dramatic global increase in aggregate consumption is occurring in parts of the world where people who build roads are trying to keep pace with people who buy cars. Chinese officials have said that by 2030 they hope to have completed a hundred and sixty-five thousand miles of roads — a national network nearly three and a half times as long as the American interstate system.

Windowpanes, wineglasses, and cell-phone screens are made from melted sand. Sand is used for filtration in water-treatment facilities, septic systems, and swimming pools. Oil and gas drillers inject large quantities of hard, round sand into fracked rock formations in order to hold the cracks open, like shoving a foot in the door. Railroad locomotives drop angular sand onto the rails in front of their wheels as they brake, to improve traction. Australia and India are major exporters of garnet sand, which is crushed to make an abrasive material used in sandblasting and by water-jet cutters. Foundries use sand to form the molds for iron bolts, manhole covers, engine blocks, and other cast-metal objects. I once visited a foundry in Arizona whose products included parts for airplanes, cruise missiles, and artificial hip joints, and I watched a worker pouring molten stainless steel into a mold that had been made by repeatedly dipping a wax pattern into a ceramic slurry and then into sand. The work area was so hot that I nervously checked my arm, because I thought my shirt was on fire. Factories that produce plate glass — by pouring thin layers of molten silica onto baths of molten tin — can be hotter.

* * *

Moving from global geology to the body’s internal flora, I commend Kyle Frischkorn’s tour of the microbiome in the human gut, “You Are What You Eat, And What You Eat Is Millions of Microbes,” published in Smithsonian magazine.

“Poop is nothing short of a scientific miracle,” he begins, then makes his case with a quick survey of all we’ve learned by studying fresh human samples of same. I highlight that right away because this particular article might not be the one you save to read over lunch.

Much of it deals with Rob Knight, founder of the American Gut Project, which in the last five years has enlisted 9,000 volunteers to send cash and/or fecal samples to a research team which has now used DNA analysis to “create the first census of the 40 trillion or so bacteria that call our guts their home.”

The origins of those bacteria are well understood — we’re ingesting them all day long via food and all the other things we put into our mouths, not always with full awareness. What interests the researchers is understanding what drives an amazing diversity in gut microbiomes from one belly to the next.

For the study, volunteers had self-reported their diets, with the vast majority following omnivorous diets, and less than 3 percent each identifying as "vegetarian" or "vegan." When researchers crunched the numbers, however, they found no discernible correlations between gut communities and those with seemingly similar diets. 

In other words, the bacteria in poop were telling a different dietary story than the people making that poop. “You can be a vegan who mostly eats kale, or you can be a vegan who mostly eats fries,” Knight explains. “Those have totally different consequences for your microbiome.” Anyone can claim to be a die-hard adherent to the Paleo Diet, it seems, but the data suggested that the microbiome remembers all those midnight ice cream transgressions.

Every time you ingest, you change the interior landscape of you. Because the bulk of bacteria in the microbiome live in the gut, when we feed ourselves, we feed them too. The chemistry of what we eat, be it fries or kale, alters the chemical landscape of the gut, making it more cozy for some and less hospitable for others. 

It gets livelier. Because microbes are everywhere — on the table, in the air, on the surface of the muffin you left out on the counter — you’re also adding new microbes to the mix. Some stroll through your body like polite tourists. Others stick around and interact with the locals. Every bite has the potential to alter the microbiome, and subsequently human health. But researchers have yet to figure out how.

Ultimately the goal is to develop scientific understanding that will help people plan the best diets to fight disease and promote higher levels of health. In the meantime, it’s an exercise in pure science that is fundamentally redefining how we think of food and bacteria:

It’s not that all food has some bacteria on it, it’s that bacteria themselves are intrinsically and unavoidably a major component of food, inseparable from proteins and vitamins, micronutrients and fat.

* * *

For all those who still believe the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency engages in needless regulatory nitpicking and anti-business obstructionism, please have a look at Carey Gillam’s article for Environmental Health News, “Of mice, Monsanto and a mysterious tumor.”

Over the next year or so, U.S. courts will begin to wade through heaps of lawsuits challenging Monsanto Co.’s position that glyphosate, aka Roundup, poses no human health risk if used correctly.

Which is important, considering the glyphosate’s No. 1 ranking for decades now among herbicides favored by farmers, public land managers and residential applicators. Also, considering that glyphosate routinely turns up in food and in human urine samples.

Gillam’s is a history piece and its focus is on research conducted in 1983 that proved inconvenient for Monsanto, and became the focus of a concerted effort by the company and like-minded EPA regulators to minimize its significance:

The two-year study ran from 1980-1982 and involved 400 mice divided into groups of 50 males and 50 females that were administered three different doses of the weed killer or received no glyphosate at all for observation as a control group. The study was conducted for Monsanto to submit to regulators. But unfortunately for Monsanto, some mice exposed to glyphosate developed tumors at statistically significant rates, with no tumors at all in non-dosed mice.

A February 1984 memo from Environmental Protection Agency toxicologist William Dykstra stated the findings definitively: “Review of the mouse oncogenicity study indicates that glyphosate is oncogenic, producing renal tubule adenomas, a rare tumor, in a dose-related manner.” Researchers found these increased incidences of the kidney tumors in mice exposed to glyphosate worrisome because while adenomas are generally benign, they have the potential to become malignant, and even in noncancerous stages they have the potential to be harmful to other organs. Monsanto discounted the findings, arguing that the tumors were “unrelated to treatment” and showing false positives, and the company provided additional data to try to convince the EPA to discount the tumors.

But EPA toxicology experts were unconvinced. EPA statistician and toxicology branch member Herbert Lacayo authored a February 1985 memo outlining disagreement with Monsanto’s position. A “prudent person would reject the Monsanto assumption that Glyphosate dosing has no effect on kidney tumor production,” Lacayo wrote. ”Glyphosate is suspect. Monsanto’s argument is unacceptable.”

Eight members of the EPA’s toxicology branch, including Lacayo and Dykstra, were worried enough by the kidney tumors in mice that they signed a consensus review of glyphosate in March 1985 stating they were classifying glyphosate as a Category C oncogen, a substance “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Monsanto then found scientists willing to re-examine the results and conclude, essentially, that the tumors occurred for reasons other than glyphosate exposure. The company also resisted EPA’s call for a repeat of the mouse study, and the regulators’ enthusiasm for the fight began to fade.

The discussions between Monsanto and the EPA dragged on until the two sides met in November 1988 to discuss the agency’s request for a second mouse study and Monsanto’s reluctance to do so. Members of the EPA’s toxicology branch continued to express doubts about the validity of Monsanto’s data, but by June of 1989, EPA officials conceded, stating that they would drop the requirement for a repeated mouse study.

By the time an EPA review committee met on June 26, 1991, to again discuss and evaluate glyphosate research, the mouse study was so discounted that the group decided that there was a “lack of convincing carcinogenicity evidence” in relevant animal studies. The group concluded that the herbicide should be classified far more lightly than the initial 1985 classification or even the 1986 classification proposed by the advisory panel. This time, the EPA scientists dubbed the herbicide a Group E chemical, a classification that meant “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.”


          Trump: We've Learned A Lot About Fake Lately; "Fake News. CNN. Fake."    
At a speech about the future of American energy policy delivered at the Department of Energy today, President Trump talked about what he called "fake" outrage about solutions to the oil crisis in the late 20th century. "We're here today to usher in a new American energy policy, one that unlocks millions and millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in wealth," Trump said. "For over 40 years, America was vulnerable to foreign regimes that used energy as an economic weapon. Americans' quality of life was diminished by the idea that energy resources were too scarce to support our people. We always thought that. And actually, at the time, it was right to think, we didn't think we had this tremendous wealth under our feet. Many of us remember the long gas lines and the constant claims that the world was running out of oil and natural gas." The president said we have learned a lot about "fake" lately. He then mentioned "fake news" and specifically pointed out CNN. He then joked that the camera just went off. "Americans were told that our nation could only solve this energy crisis by imposing draconian restrictions on energy production. But we now know that was all a big, beautiful myth. It was fake. Don't we love that term? Fake. What we've learned about fake over the last little while. Fake news. CNN. Fake. Whoops, that camera just went off," Trump said. "Okay, you can come back... I promise I won't say anything more about you. I see that red light go off, I say, whoa," Trump said to someone not seen on camera.
          President Obama, Congressional Leaders Reach Debt Deal, Plan to Face Vote   
President Barack Obama said Sunday night that he and Congressional leaders had reached a debt deal that cuts trillions in federal spending. The debt ceiling plan was set to face a vote on Monday in hopes of enacting it before a Tuesday deadline, thus averting default, The New York Times reported. Continue reading…
          Donald Trump Has Finally Done Something: He’s Increased the Deficit By a Trillion Dollars   
Kevin Drum points out a significant and even important accomplishment for which Donald Trump can take credit—or, rather, debit. This is pretty amazing. Donald Trump hasn’t actually done much of anything in the past five months except flap his jaws. But it’s been some pretty expensive flapping. CBO’s last projection of the federal deficit was […]
          Final Friday of the First Half of 2017   

Poof!

Just like that, half a year has gone by.  Who'd have thought, just 6 months ago, that the World would still be here with Donald Trump as President?  Given how bad we thought things were going to be, they are actually not so bad.  Yes, of course the President's Team is doing everything they can to bring about the Apocalypse but, so far, they've been generally ineffective at, well, everything: "Republicans frustrated as their to-do list grows."

So here we are, closing out the 2nd Quarter with the market near record-highs, despite yesterday's pullback, though we find it hard to trust anything that happens pre-market after yesterday's obviously fake prop-job.  It is the last day of the quarter and windows do need to be dressed but, as I predicted in Wednesday's Live Trading Webinar, the sellers took full advantage of the pumpers yesterday and sold into everything they had – giving us the biggest volume day of the month as declining shares and volume overwhelmed advancers 2:1.

The VIX briefly spiked up 50% as the market plunged and that sent SVXY (we're short on them) plunging back down but a long way to go to our $105 target in September so we're expecting to see a general up-trend in volatility over the summer – but let's not get ahead of ourselves and see how the quarter ends first. 

Though the Nasdaq is poised to finishe the month down about 1%, that's nothing compared to the amazing run it's had all year and, as evidenced by the chart below, literally nothing else seems to matter as EVERY OTHER INDICATOR has been falling while the Nasdaq has climbed 15% in the past 6 months.  We have been using the Nasdaq as one of our primary hedges (SQQQ) and they paid off in spades yesterday but that's nothing to get excited about as these dips don't tend to last long (so far).

More of a concern than macro indicators, however, is how much money it's been costing the G20 to prop up the markets for the past decade as Golbal Debt just hit $217 TRILLION
continue reading


          Thrilling Thursday – Banks Pass Stress Tests (after being given $3.5Tn)   

The banks all passed!  

After being handed $3.5Tn in various forms of relief by the Federal Reserve (and we already forgot another Trillion from TARP), our friendly Banksters were all given the go-ahead from the Fed (a cartel of Banksters that is NOT a Government Agency) to beign transferring that wealth (through dividends and stock buybacks) to the Top 1% while the losses from those bailed-out assets will be taken on by the Bottom 99% as additional Federal Debt.  

Image result for top 10% 75% of wealthSeems like business as usual in America to me where the Top 10% of the population (30M) hold 75% of the nation's wealth AND make 50% of the income – yet they need tax breaks to get by….  

As you can see from this distribution chart, no, this is not normal – the US has the worst wealth distribution in the developed world, you have to go to Oilgarchys like Russia or Dictatorships to find another country where the Top 10% takes more of the pie away from the Bottom 90% than they do in the US.  That's why our own Oligarchs rigged an election to install a more Russia-like system (where the top 10% have 85% of the wealth) – at some point they need to worry about the rubes realizing how much they are being screwed and rising up against them so the time to install an authoritarian regime is now – you have to nip dissent in the bud before it spreads.  

That's why the "Fake (non-Fox) News Media" is under attack, ideas cannot be spread to the masses unless they are the State's ideas – all other opinions must be squashed or invalidated.  Just the fact that I'm saying this here will cause this post to be censored at Seeking Alpha and several other places that usually syndicate our Morning Report.  

And it's not really about the Top 10%, they are generally poor compared to the Top 1% but they do go along (like any good party Member) because what's good for the Top 1% is usually good for the Top 10% as…
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          IT Outsourcing to Boost Amidst Digital Wave – ePLDT   
Amidst the digital wave, more  companies are now evolving to match the demands of tomorrow. As revealed in the latest Worldwide Digital Transformation Spending Guide released by International Data Corporation (IDC), global spending on digital transformation technologies are expected to rise to USD 2.0 trillion by the year 2020. IT outsourcing has been a common
          Change Healthcare analysis shows $262 billion in medical claims initially denied, meaning billions in administrative costs   
A new analysis by Change Healthcare released at the 2017 Healthcare Financial Management Association's ANI revealed compelling statistics about claims denials and their financial impact on hospitals. The finding showed that out of roughly $3 trillion in medical claims submitted by hospitals in the United States last year, around nine percent of charges were initially denied. That comes out to about $262 billion.
          Jack Dorsey Goes After Max Levchin’s Consumer Lending Business   

Square’s Affirm-like installment loans are designed to help its merchants get paid—fast.

Shoppers love to browse online, but somewhere between filling up their cart and checkout, they change their minds. In 2016 alone, consumers left $4.6 trillion of merchandise abandoned in their carts, according to Business Insider.

Read Full Story


          Over $13 billion spent on agriculture restructuring   
The agriculture restructuring programme is implemented from 2016 to 2020 with a total capital of VND306.66 trillion (US$13.5 billion). — Photo gaohoasen.com Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a target programme to restructure the agricultural economy, prevent natural disasters and stabilise people’s lives with total capital of VND306.66 trillion […]
          GST to roll out tonight, Read how it will affect you from 1 July   

After 17 tumultuous years, a nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) will rollout from midnight tonight, overhauling India’s convoluted indirect taxation system and unifying the USD 2 trillion economy with 1.3 billion people into a single market. GST, which will replace more than a dozen central and state levies like factory-gate, excise duty, service tax […]

GST to roll out tonight, Read how it will affect you from 1 July


          Al Hodges Intel Update - June 30, 2017   
AscensionWithEarth.Com
6/30/2017

If you are new to this and do not know who Al Hodges is and his relevance to the Global Currency Reset, World Global Settlements, CMKX, and the new currencies backed by gold, well let me give you a short intro.  Al is a White Hat attorney for Michael C. Cottrell whom is responsible for the US Dollar Refunding Project.  Al is also an attorney for the largest fraud case in WORLD HISTORY!  Al Hodges represents a group of shareholders (CMKX) who is suing the S.E.C. for $3.87 Trillion Dollars. What is the relationship between this CMKX case and the Global Currency Reset?  It is said that both the CMKX shareholders and GCR currency holders are waiting for the new financial system to go public.  Al Hodges gives much credibility to the entire process because it has been proven that he is an attorney for an actual lawsuit against the S.E.C. In fact the largest case in world history.  Main stream media has swept this story under the rug and is a total media blackout.  Except it did get public attention over 6 years ago on RT News and New York Times.   Here is the broadcast for your reference.

https://youtu.be/Xoglm_HcPzs?list=PLBDF55BC3E4A94979




Thanks to toproc25 for sharing with the world community .......
 

Al Hodges says......



Gentle people –

http://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Al-Hodges.jpgAs we contemplate various chores and other anticipated activities over this Holiday weekend, I want to remind each of you to save some time to think about the significance of next Tuesday’s celebration, and all that means for us all.

I was ruminating somewhat last night as I half watched the LA Dodgers beating up on the LA Angels; the thought that kept running through my brain was something my paternal grandfather used to preach to me as a small boy – he always reminded me that ‘you can't always control the situation you find yourself in, but you can control how you react to it.' I understood then that it was his way of getting me to appreciate the need for me to take responsibility for my actions and behavior vis-a-vis whatever the circumstances were. I assure you that, although it sounds simple, it is just not that easy. Why, you immediately ask, is that the case; I believe it’s because our ego is culturally indoctrinated to instantly compete with all in our environment, to win at any cost, and to be in such fear at all times that our first reaction is to strike out in an attempt to ‘save’ ourselves.

This is probably where you consider not reading the balance of this message, wondering why I’m wasting your time with my ruminations. Please bear with me a few moments more. I thought for most of my life that my Grandfather, a not-well-educated working man was an unsophisticated boob – the opinion obviously of someone not as smart as he believed. It was not until I listened and analyzed some of JFK’s writings and speeches, and began to hear words that said “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer], "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"[Martin L. King], and "All that is required for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing" [E. Burke] that I truly began to understand how smart my Grandfather really was. What he was saying to a very young boy/man is YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR EXISTENCE.

How this relates to this weekend is obvious to all of you I certainly hope. Simply stated, I solicit you to join me in the celebration of our efforts to demonstrate to the universe our sense of responsibility. Many of us have been actively involved for 15+ years in seeking to right, first the small financial world of CMKX, and then the larger financial structure of the Earth. During this journey we have happily found allies and fellow travelers to join forces with and have now arrived at the culmination of our initial effort. Not only are we to receive our financial reward, but, much more importantly, we are to shortly witness return of this country to a Constitutional Republic for the first time since 1871; we are also to observe all of the ‘miscreants’ receive their just due.


The Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776 is truly one of the most important documents of the entirety of human-kind. Not only did it publicize to the universe the reasons for separation, but it itemized the most organic reasons why it had to be – that man was here in this world, and came into it, with certain ‘inalienable rights.’ This was a concept that had not truly ever before been publicly embraced as having any relevance to the foundational basis of “government.”

As this holiday weekend goes on, save a moment or two to consider that the men who signed that document were not only risking certain death, they were being RESPONSIBLE for their own existence and circumstance in which they lived; they, like many of you, were doing what needed to be done. They were willing to do what needed to be done, notwithstanding any danger real or imagined, present or future, BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

I have appended a copy of the Declaration below. Please join with me Tuesday in reading it out loud and discussing it with your friends and loved ones; you may well be surprised by how many people are truly interested, and are willing to act after receiving a slight nudge – after all, it is their responsibility. This is truly a time of celebration and joy; we are returning to that which resonates within each of us – HALLELUJAH!


<<...>> <<...>> <<...>>

Love and blessings,

Al


AscensionWithEarth.Com
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          S.1318, The Retirement Security Act of 2017 introduced by Sen. Susan Collins Would Modify Safe Harbor Requirements for Automatic Contributions and Allow Saver Credit on 1040-EZ   

Susan M. Collins, R. Main, has introduced S.1383, The Retirement Security Act of 2017, which would modify safe harbor requirements for automatic contribution arrangements, allow taxpayers to claim the savers credit on Form 1040-EZ, and reform other retirement savings incentives.

“The bill aims to reduce the $7.7 trillion gap the Center

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          Ready or not, India awaits introduction of GST   
India is to hold a special midnight session of parliament to mark the launch of its new national Goods and Services Tax, a sign of how much significance it's attaching to what's billed as the biggest fiscal reforms in decades. As Kate King reports, the GST will replace about 20 federal and state taxes while unifying a $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market.
          The disconnect between the movie reviewer and the one review is for   
I just watched "The Tree of Life." I think I was supposed to really like it. That's what the movie reviewers say. I wanted to like it. It had artists shots of nature and lots of classical music and Brad Pitt, and I'm a Brad Pitt fan, who is, strangely, an underrated actor because of his looks and ability to date the world's most beautiful women.
But I have a confession. I didn't get "The Tree of Life." In fact, I think I hated it.
I was supposed to like it because movie reviewers told me I should. If you go by Rotten Tomatoes, 85 percent of the critics liked it. It was on the Top 10 lists of many critics I trust, including my favorite, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. He even makes fun of people like me, apparently, who want silly things like some semblance of a story or dialogue that isn't whispered like I'm engaged in some sort of creepy pillow talk with the actors.
"Artistic ambition is a bitch," Travers writes in his three-and-a-half-stars review of the movie. "Mainstream audiences yawn you off."
OK, so reviewers liked a movie and I didn't. It happens. But then I watched "The Future" yesterday. This movie wasn't as highly praised as "The Tree of Life." I don't think it made many top-10 lists. Yet more than 70 percent liked it. Many top critics liked it too. And that movie SUCKED. It was bizzare for all the wrong reasons, and by the end, I hated the characters so much, I was rooting for zombies to attack them, and that reminded me of the second season of "The Walking Dead," and then I became angry and folded laundry. Folding laundry when you're angry is never a good idea. You get a little too pissed off when you can't find a matching sock.
And it hit me that movie reviewers never seem to review movies for their readers. They seem to review them for other reviewers.
I believe I can say this because I am a movie snob. I'm not, as Travers seems to think, "the mainstream audience." In fact, I think I probably watch movies in the same way reviewers watch them. I look for depth of story, originality, real characters, great dialogue and writing and artistic, inventive direction. I try to watch all the movies on reviewers' top-10 lists. I usually like them.
I hate the Twilight movies without even watching them and any Michael Bay movie. My soul weeps when Transformers makes trillions of dollars. I, like most critics, believe a lot of mainstream movies suck.
I watch well-reviewed movies almost exclusively and prefer deep, thought-provoking ones the most.
I've had this conversation with my wife many times:
"Hey, do you want to watch this movie with me?"
"Is it one of your weird movies?"
"Um....maybe."
"No."
So why am I writing this screed because I didn't like a couple of experimental films? Isn't that a bit much? No. It's actually a symptom of a much larger problem.
I rely on movie reviewers to tell me what's good. I have three small kids. I have lots of other things to do. I run. I work. Sometimes I play with the kids and the dog. I can't just "go to a movie" most of the time. So when I see something like "The Future," I've not only seen a bad movie, I've lost two, precious, jewel-encrusted hours of free time.
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has a busy life. I'm pretty sure, in fact, others get angry too when they see a lousy movie.
Now I don't always need reviewers to pick my movies for me. I knew I'd love "The Descendants." Alexander Payne? Sold. I'll watch anything by Pixar. The new Batman movie? I'm there. I'll see "The Artist" because it won Best Picture, and if I hate it, I can blame the Academy, which is cool by me.
And in fairness to reviewers, my trust in them is well put. I put "Take Shelter" in my Netflix cue because it got great ratings, and I loved it. I saw "Phoebe in Wonderland" and wound up buying it as an all-time favorite. I discovered Payne this way. I doubt I would have heard of any of those movies otherwise.
Lately, though, my trust seems misplaced. I was on the fence about "Tree of Life." I'm not a Terrence Malick fan after the disaster that was "The Thin Red Line." But so many critics raved about it. Travers, for instance. So, OK. I rented it.
Movie reviewers, in other words, are getting it wrong perhaps more than they should, at least this year and last. And I think I know why.
It's their job to sit through movies all week, every week. They don't get to avoid the Twilight films like I do. They have to see them. They have to see Transformers. They have to watch all those horrible romances and torture-porn flicks and reboots and remakes and mindless children's crap like "Happy Feet Two."
Last year, sequels made up one-fifth of the nationwide releases, according to Box Office Mojo. That doesn't include reboots, remakes or swill like "Jack and Jill." Not all sequels are bad. But even Pixar made "Cars II," and that was Pixar's only bad movie ever. When Pixar can't deliver, you know you're having a bad year.
Eddie Murphy once joked about sex and how a woman controls our minds with it. She will make us wait forever, he said, until she finally gives in, and you think it's the best ever.
If you're starving, Murphy said, in a paraphrase here, and someone gives you a Saltine, you're going to think it's a Ritz.
If I were a movie critic, in other words, I'd like "The Tree of Life" too. In fact, I'd LOVE it. A movie with its own artistic vision? One that doesn't have vampires that look like GQ cover models who just gave a pint too much of blood? One that has some semblance of originality? Something different from most of the crap being shoveled my way? And it isn't a sequel, and it's ambitious? Sold. Three-and-a-half stars.
I'd probably even somehow like "The Future." The movie was awful, but at least it was an attempt to be original.
I probably wouldn't even care that those movies were difficult to watch, weren't enjoyable or actually kind of sucked too. They were different, didn't feature aliens blowing something up and had some decent acting. They were original. They were ambitious, even if those ambitions fell short. Sold.
So why don't I follow the same theory? I don't have to sit through movies all day. I don't have the time for it either. I get to watch what I consider the good stuff. When a movie sucks, then, it stands out even more. Critics are far too used to sitting through swill, and it's clouding their vision for the rest of us.
I kind wanted to be a movie critic, but lately I've reconsidered that job. Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe just won a Pulitzer for his movie reviews. In one of his essays that won, he reviewed "The Tree of Life." He wrote that the vision was lovely but not easy to understand. He sort of liked it for its originality but also seemed to wonder if it really was a good movie.
Morris earned that damned prize.





          Bears Need to Beware of Saudi Aramco IPO’s $2 Trillion Price Tag   

The Saudi Aramco IPO is worth a reported $2 trillion, which will make it the biggest IPO ever once the company goes public.

The post Bears Need to Beware of Saudi Aramco IPO’s $2 Trillion Price Tag was originally published at The Wall Street Examiner. Follow the money!


          IT Support Data Center DE   
DE-Newark, About Randstad: Randstad is responsible for the entire day to day management of state of the art data center operations throughout the United States for a multinational banking and financial services holding company. It is the largest of its kind in the United States with total worldwide assets in excess of US$2 trillion. Primary Duties within client: We are responsible for the day to day manageme
          Are you a property boom winner…or did you lose out?   
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          Washington Has Been At War For 16 Years: Why?   
For sixteen years the US has been at war in the Middle East and North Africa, running up trillions of dollars in expenses, committing untold war crimes, and sending millions of war refugees to burden Europe, while simultaneously claiming that Washington cannot afford its Social Security and Medicare obligations or to fund a national health […]
          WikiLeaks Emails: Cronyism And Pay-To-Play In Hillary's Inner Circle   

Henry I. Miller and Julie Kelly

The recent WikiLeaks release of hacked emails among Hillary Clinton’s advisers revealed not just a peek into the daily machinations of a presidential campaign but the pay-to-play expectations of special interests.

One of those special interests exposed was Gary Hirshberg, the wealthy founder of Stonyfield Farm, maker of organic yogurt, who has been monomaniacal in his opposition to modern genetic engineering applied to agriculture. Like many fellow travelers, he is trying to use mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, or so-called “GMOs” (genetically modified organisms), as a Trojan horse–a first step toward eliminating such products entirely, which would make over-priced organic food products more competitive in the marketplace.

[tweet_quote display=”The released #WikiLeaks emails expose #Hirshberg’s hypocrisy and his relentless, self-serving trashing of #GMOs.”]The released emails not only expose Hirshberg’s hypocrisy but also demonstrate that he will stop at nothing[/tweet_quote] , even exploiting mothers who want to provide the most healthful foods for their kids. Hirshberg targets and uses them to push his agenda. He invited actress Gwyneth Paltrow to a press conference on Capitol Hill in August 2015 where she spoke “as a mom who honestly believes I have the right to know what’s in the food I feed my family.” He produced a video featuring several B-list celebrity mothers who supporting labels on genetically engineered foods.

But while Hirshberg was using moms as useful props, a January 2016 email to John Podesta, the chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, reveals what he really thinks about them: “…this is in fact one of those topics that is on many women’s minds, not because they know anything about GMOs, but because GMOs are symbolic of the bigger narrative of our foods being produced by people who care only about profits and not really about what is best for our families.”

In other words, he tells Podesta, attacks on GMOs are just a rallying cry, a stalking horse for “Big Ag,” which cares “only about profits and not really about what is best for our families,” but which has managed to produce the most diverse, cheapest and safest food supply in human history.

That’s not the only time Hirshberg’s private comments betray his public narrative. He portrays himself as a champion of consumers’ rights, claiming GMO labels are all about transparency, mocking any lawmaker or company that objects to labels as wanting to “keep consumers in the dark.” But Hirshberg’s real reason for pushing GMO labels is to use them to disparage the modern genetic engineering techniques that are unavailable to the organic industry. In a June 2015 email to Podesta, Hirshberg lays out a number of falsehoods to convince Podesta why Clinton should support his cause:

…there is very clear and compelling USDA and USGS [U.S. Geological Survey] data demonstrating a strong likelihood of serious health and environmental threats due to the skyrocketing increases in herbicides associated with GMO usage. Leading agronomists and public health scientists are extremely concerned that these trends are rapidly increasing. To me, this is the key reason why citizens need the right to know and therefore [to] choose…

Reality is very different from the propaganda on Planet Hirshberg. The herbicide that been used in greater amounts in conjunction with genetically engineered plants is glyphosate, a non-selective, broad-spectrum herbicide that targets an enzyme in plants not found in humans. It binds to soils, which prevents it from leaching into ground water, and when it unbinds, it is degraded by soil microbes. Because of its extremely benign safety profile and value to farmers, it has become the most popular herbicide worldwide.

Hirshberg’s claims that government agencies have found “a strong likelihood of serious health and environmental threats” is a complete fabrication. These were the findings of the USGS study, which collected water samples from 51 streams in the Midwest and measured levels of various herbicides: “Glyphosate was detected in 36 percent of the samples,” and “the highest measured concentration of glyphosate was 8.7 micrograms per liter, well below the MCL [Maximum Contaminant Level] (700 micrograms per liter).” In other words, the highest concentration found was about one percent of the level that could conceivably be harmful.

Back to labeling… President Obama signed a mandatory GMO labeling bill in July, and the USDA has two years to figure out the details. Although the law allows for information to be provided via QR codes and websites, that doesn’t satisfy Hirshberg and his pro-labeling allies. They will continue to work behind the scenes in a Clinton Administration to get mandatory, on-package GMO labels that incorporate a skull-and-crossbones.

An article published by the Genetic Literacy Project collected some revealing quotes from some of the other heavyweights in the anti-genetic engineering, pro-labeling movement:

We are going to force them to label this food. If we force them to label it, then we can organize people not to buy it. –Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety

Personally, I believe [genetically modified] foods must be banned entirely, but labeling is the most efficient way to achieve this. Since 85 percent of the public will refuse to buy foods they know to be genetically modified, this will effectively eliminate them from the market just the way it was done in Europe.Joseph Mercola, activist and hawker of various kinds of snake oil 

The burning question for us all then becomes how–and how quickly–can we move healthy, organic products from a 4.2% market niche, to the dominant force in American food and farming? The first step is to change our labeling laws. –Ronnie Cummins, Director, Organic Consumers Association

Those intentions make sense only in the context of anti-social self-interest, not unlike the relentless lobbying of the tobacco industry. A broad scientific consensus holds that the modern techniques of genetic engineering are essentially an extension, or refinement, of the methods of genetic modification that have long been used to enhance the foods we eat. Except for wild berries and wild mushrooms, virtually all the fruits, vegetables and grains in our diet have been genetically improved by one technique or another–often as a result of seeds being irradiated, or by “wide crosses,” which involve the movement of genes from one species or genus to another in ways that do not occur in nature. But because molecular genetic engineering is more precise and predictable, the technology is at least as safe as–and often safer than–the modification of food products in cruder, “conventional” ways.

The safety record of genetically engineered plants and foods derived from them is extraordinary. Even after the cultivation worldwide of more than 5 billion acres of genetically engineered crops (by more than 18 million farmers in about three dozen countries) and the consumption of more than 4 trillion servings of food by inhabitants of North America alone, there has not been a single ecosystem disrupted or a single confirmed tummy ache.

The economic, health and environmental benefits are also remarkable. Every year, farmers planting genetically engineered varieties spray millions fewer gallons of chemical insecticides and substantially reduce topsoil erosion and CO2 released into the atmosphere.

Those unequivocal benefits, which have been demonstrated repeatedly, are the real motivation for the relentless opposition to modern agricultural practices—the fear by Hirshberg and others in the organic industry that the current gap between organic and conventional agriculture will become a chasm, as technologies and products that are unavailable to organic farmers become ever more efficient and productive.

Moreover, for a large segment of the population, negative attitudes towards foods produced with molecular genetic engineering techniques them are not strongly held, and “willingness to pay” studies by economists suggest that a majority of consumers would buy genetically engineered foods if they were cheaper than alternative choices (organic, for example). Therefore, it serves the self-interest of the organic lobby to keep such products out of the marketplace.

[tweet_quote display=”Hirshberg’s is a honcho in the #organic industry’s black marketing, incl. the pseudo-controversy over #GMO labeling.”]Hirshberg’s fingerprints are all over the organic industry’s black marketing, including the pseudo-controversy over “GMO” labeling.[/tweet_quote] He knows how to manipulate both public sentiment and the levers of political power. He has enlisted naive celebrities to make videos and attend Capitol Hill press conferences to push his cynical agenda. As a major Democratic Party donor, Hirshberg and his wife have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawmakers. They were bundlers for President Obama and were invited to a 2012 State Dinner at the White House to show the president’s gratitude. Several weeks before a key Senate vote on labeling legislation, Hirshberg hosted a fundraiser for Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow (D), who then became his water-carrier on mandatory labels. And the hacked emails show that he enjoys entrée into Hillary Clinton’s inner circle and exhibits a sense of entitlement there.

Over the last several years, Hirshberg has set up pro-labeling front groups to promote his agenda (Just Label It, Only Organic, Conceal or Reveal) and his company partners with other radical non-profits (Environmental Working GroupCenter for Food Safety) that oppose genetically engineered crops. The media has unwittingly–or otherwise–referred to these as “consumer advocacy” groups, providing cover to the real agendas.

Modern genetic engineering has brought tremendous benefits to farmers, food producers and consumers. If those contributions are to continue and expand, the defenders of science and evidence-based public policy will need to organize and make their presence felt.  The war against manipulation, mendacity, cynical self-interest and faux-consumer advocacy is far from over. 

Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology. Follow him on Twitter at @henryimiler. Julie Kelly is a food writer and National Review Online contributor. Follow her on Twitter at @julie_kelly2


          The Dr. Roni Show - Miracles of Holistic Health and Wellness: Encore: with guest host Dr. Makeba: Solutions and Remedies to the 21 Top Chronic Diseases, and How to be Hopeful, Happy, and Healthier   
GuestThis show will feature How to be hopeful, happy, and healthier with holistic solutions and remedies when diagnosed with one of the top 21 Chronic illnesses. Over 100 million people living with Chronic Disease and they spend over a trillion dollars. Chronic disease is out of control but Dr. Roni says there is new hope for chronic disease today. She talks about the newest trends in taking care of your Self, Body, Mind and Spirit. Remedies that our Grandmother did 100 years ago and we frown and ...
             
SACP General Secretary Cde Blade Nzimnade: Address to the 11th National Congress of NEHAWU - Defend, Advance and Deepen the NDR: Strengthen Workplace Organisation, Deepen Class Consciousness and Advance Internationalism!
26 June 2017

Allow me on behalf of our SACP Central Committee and membership as a whole to express our sincere gratitude, for this opportunity to address your very important 11th National Congress. The importance of your congress theme cannot be overemphasised: Strengthen workplace organisation, deepen class consciousness and advance internationalism.

Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate your President, Comrade Makwayiba for having been elected the first African to hold the position of President of the World Federation of Trade Unions, the WFTU. This is an honour to you Cde President, but it is also something that Nehawu must be proud of, and indeed for the entire working class, including its vanguard Party, the SACP.

Together let us intensify international solidarity and comprehensively advance internationalism!!

The clarion call in your congress theme to advance internationalism requires that we underline that this year is the year of the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which occurred in Russia in 1917. This was an epoch-making event, with long-term and deep-going significance in the recorded history of human society, the history of class struggle as Marx and Engels state in the Communist Manifesto. The Soviet Union, which was established following the Great October Socialist Revolution, supported national liberation struggles. These struggles were largely taking place in the colonised global South.

The history of the liberation breakthroughs that took place in our own region, Southern Africa, will be incomplete without recognising the international solidarity support offered overwhelmingly unconditionally by the Soviet Union. The Communist Party played a major role in this regard as a Party of both national liberation and socialism, a Party of internationalism, and as part and parcel of the international communist movement. This is the context in which the massive material, financial and training support offered by, and our struggle received from the Soviet Union, was located!!

We have reasonable expectations that this important Nehawu 11th National Congress will discuss a programme of activities to celebrate both the Great October Socialist Revolution and its contribution to our democratic breakthrough. In addition, we are looking forward to the outcome of this congress in strengthening international solidarity with other people of the world who are facing capitalist exploitation, its highest stage of imperialism and political forms of domination.

The measures recently adopted by the United States President Donald Trump toughening his imperialist dictatorship regime's oppression of the Cuban people must not go unchallenged. The SACP reiterates its call for the United States to unconditionally lift its inhuman political-economic embargo against Cuba, and to withdraw its occupation of the Cuban territory of Guantanamo Bay. In the same vein, the SACP expresses its message of democratic revolutionary solidarity with the people of Western Sahara and Palestine, among others whose land is occupied by oppressor regimes.

Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, in its neo-liberal model is facing a crisis. It has no clear alternative to this. Such situations present possibilities and dangers as well. Crises in the capitalist system always open prospects for progressive and Left revolutionary advances. As we have seen there were some important advances for the Left in places like Latin America, with the emergence of Left governments over the last ten years or so, as well as in places like Greece. However, imperialism is fighting hard to reverse some of these gains. That is why, amongst other things, we must also intensify solidarity with the people of Venezuela.

However, on the other hand, capitalist crises also pose dangers for the emergence of Right-wing populism and neo-fascist forces, as we see in parts of Europe and in the United States. The rise of Donald Trump and the racist or xenophobic aspects that were associated with Brexit represent some of these dangers that as the Left we need to roll back. That is why deepening Left solidarity across the globe is an absolute imperative, both in the immediate and the overall struggle for socialism.

Let us intensify the struggle against imperialism on our shores, together let us defend, advance and deepen our national democratic revolution!!

Your congress is separated only by one week from our Party's 14th Congress, which will take place from 10 to 15 July. Following both our congresses, on 30 July the SACP will be celebrating the 96th anniversary of its founding. The Party will be four years away from celebrating its centenary in 2021. Related to these major Party events, is the question of the Party's Political Programme and what the Party would like to see our society achieve.

Our Congress will therefore discuss the context, content, strategic tasks and take resolutions to update our Party Programme.

Our focus will be on the five years from July 2017 to July 2022 when the programme will be reviewed again. This task will be based on the immediate objective to complete the national democratic revolution and aim to secure a socialist transition to the ultimate goal of communism. The Congress will be convening under the theme: Defend, Advance, Deepen the National Democratic Revolution - The Vanguard Role of the SACP.

The congress discussion documents and position papers, as well as the declarations and resolutions from our last Party Congress held in 2012 and the Special Congress and Media Transformation Summit respectively held in 2015, place emphasis on the important question of moving our national democratic revolution on to a second, more radical phase. This includes deepening democratisation in all spheres of societal activity and advancing real radical economic transformation - as opposed to corporate state capture, corruption, rent-seeking and enriching a few simply because they are black at the expense of the immense majority of our people who remain sandwiched between the hard-pressed vice grips of economic exploitation, persisting high levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty.

Related to these questions are the imperatives of strengthening organisation, unity and cohesion of the motive forces of our revolution. In this context the congress will discuss the necessity to advance the reconfiguration of the alliance. Linked directly with this question is the fundamental issue to any revolutionary party. That is the whole question of state power.

Rather than narrow the issue of state power to party political power, our stance at present is that the SACP seeks to establish democratic working class power and hegemony over the state and all other key centres of power in particular and society in general. It is in this context that the relationship of the Party to state power must be firmly anchored. This is why we have correctly expanded the issue of state power in relation to the Party to include popular power.

The Alliance must be reconfigured!

In the coming period the ANC-headed alliance will be and must be reconfigured. Our view as the SACP is that while the alliance remains both important and strategically relevant, its workings are outdated and must be changed to move with the times. The style of work whereby certain leaders in the ANC or leading structures of the ANC alone take decisions on policy, legislation, regulations and key deployments as if there is no alliance will not hold the alliance together. The rise of factionalism and its entrenchment at all levels has resulted in a situation where there is no consultation on certain decisions even within the ANC, let alone consultation with other alliance partners. The last Cabinet reshuffle glaringly exposed this weakness. And there are other decisions taken even thereafter both at national and sub-national levels without consultation with the alliance.

If we are an alliance we must work together and consult on all major policies, decisions and deployment concerning our revolution. Otherwise there will be no justification why we are in an alliance without a material effect. One thing is certain, the national democratic revolution belongs to all of us, and so is the government. Without making SACP and COSATU decisions ANC decisions, we must, working together as the alliance, inform the direction of our shared revolution - especially what must happen in parliament, government and other state organs. In other words, in the same way as we should not impose SACP and COSATU decisions on the ANC, the ANC should not impose its decisions on the SACP, COSATU and the Alliance (including SANCO). The ANC-led electoral platform is not exclusively an ANC affair, which is why we have opted for a single electoral platform since our country's first democratic elections in 1994. This is an alliance platform. It is a platform for the whole of the historical support base of our struggle. This is why the alliance must function democratically and build an inviolable contact with the masses to express their will in decision-making, legislation and public policies.

However, comrades, we must bear in mind that reconfiguring the Alliance is not a boardroom exercise. It is a function of, and is determined by the balance of forces on the ground. If we as the socialist axis of the Alliance, the SACP and COSATU, are weak, we will not be able to drive the reconfiguration of the Alliance. Related to this is the need to ensure that we remain in an Alliance with the ANC and not with the Guptas or some faction of the ANC associated with them or not!

Build the broadest possible patriotic, popular front of progressive forces!

Related to the reconfiguration of the alliance is therefore the crucial imperative of building the broadest possible patriotic and popular front to defend, advance and deepen our democracy and national sovereignty, to fight corporate state capture, corruption, rent-seeking and all forms of manipulation of our national wealth and public resources by sections of individuals and elitist groupings - regardless of whether they are black or white. This must go hand-in-hand with forging a common, widely-accepted programme to radically reduce, towards eventually resolving, the problems of inequality, unemployment and poverty. This is where real economic transformation to eliminate the colonial features of our country's economy and place our national wealth and public resources at the disposal of the people as a whole will be crucial.

If we allow the state to be captured, we will not be able to roll back, let alone defeat, monopoly capital. If we have a weak state, including the very government departments that you, comrades, work for, as well as state owned enterprises to be captured by and to serve private interests, our capacity to build a democratic developmental state will be severely weakened. That is why the SACP and the working class need to properly characterise corporate state capture as part of a counter-revolution! Put differently, monopoly capital and parasitic networks seeking to capture the state and sections of our movement are two sides of the same coin. Both want to accumulate on a capitalist private basis, the former through a rules-based exploitative regime, the latter through both that and the theft and looting of public resources!

The defenders of the Gupta-centred brazen smash and grab private wealth accumulation, and the exploitation of our national assets, are accusing us of focusing only on tackling the Guptas and leaving the rest of private monopoly capital untouched. They must have been fast asleep when the SACP almost single-handedly initiated and consistently driven the financial sector campaign to tackle finance monopoly capital. COSATU and other progressive formations correctly backed the campaign. The campaign has been going on for over 17 years now. It has scored notable achievements, such as the National Credit Act, the National Credit Regulator and the low banking transactional account, the Mzansi Account.

There is still more work to be done to overhaul our country's financial architecture and make it serve our people, their economic and social needs. This is one of the reasons why we maintained financial sector transformation at the centre of our Red October Campaign. This is the reason why we have been pushing for the convening of the second national financial sector summit under the auspices of the National Economic and Labour Council (NEDLAC). It is for the same reason why we are linking financial sector transformation with the imperative of developing national production through manufacturing expansion and diversification.

It is exactly for these reasons that we have been pushing for policies that will direct investment to the productive sector of the economy to create jobs and reduce unemployment, as opposed to the speculative, gambling-type economy dominant in the financial and capital markets. It is for the same reason that we have been pushing for an end to the ongoing capital investment strike.

Our programme of financial sector transformation is fundamentally different from the agendas of those who just woke up recently after the banks cut their long standing, mutually beneficial ties with the Guptas. They woke up solely to defend the Guptas and divert attention from the rot associated with their brazen smash and grab private wealth accumulation. They must have also been fast asleep when the SACP almost single-handedly initiated our ongoing campaign on transformation of the media. The campaign correctly received support from COSATU and other progressive formations.

Our media and communications paces are under the yoke of the private monopoly of the colonial era Naspers, which was the mouthpiece of the Broederbond, the ideological vanguard of apartheid. The defenders of the Guptas must have been fast asleep to notice our campaign for the transformation of the media. It is none other the SACP that has consistently taken up, as part of our media transformation campaign, campaigning against the unfair deal conveying SABC archives, our national heritage and associated programming control to a private company, Naspers' subsidiary, MultiChoice. We remain firm that the exploitative deal must be terminated.

If we are to save the SABC, we must bring to an end its hollowing out. We must restore its public broadcasting operations and related support functions back to the SABC. The recent termination by the interim SABC board, of the parasitic Business Breakfast show by the Gupta-owned New Age Media must have woken up the defenders of the Guptas. The SABC can run that show without the Gupta's New Age Media.

There are many self-explanatory examples of the struggles the SACP has waged and continues to wage against monopoly capital.

This includes the struggles we have waged, together with COSATU, as far back as 1996 against the neoliberal Growth, Employment and Redistribution (Gear) economic policy. The defenders of the Guptas do not obviously care about the people as a whole. They simply buried their heads in the sand so they could not notice these struggles.

Let us intensify the struggle against the parasitic networks and build a democratic developmental state!

Let us intensify the struggle against parasites, including the parasitic bourgeoisie. Unless we dislodge parasites from their capture of key levers of power and decision making in our movement and the state, we will not succeed in tackling monopoly capital, the main adversary of our revolution. This is because parasites, as we already can see, will weaken the strategic
capacity and discipline within the ranks of our movement, divide and destroy it. But first they will render it paralysed.

Comrades, what is being revealed by the current emails that the media is releasing bit by bit and on a weekly basis, may actually be the biggest scandal and crisis facing our country and movement since the 1994 democratic breakthrough! The veracity of the content in these emails is being proven as the truth almost every time there are new revelations.

The SACP has called for the establishment of a judicial commission into corporate state capture. We are happy that the ANC national executive committee has now agreed, and government has also accepted the idea. We now call upon this commission, which must be independent, to be established without any further delay. Whilst those who have applied for a review of the Public Protector's findings and remedies, have the right to do so, but in the meantime a credible and quicker way of establishing the judicial commission must be found as a matter of urgency, and without any further delays!

Whilst a judicial commission will hopefully help us to expose and understand the depth of the problem we face, state corporate capture will only be defeated through organised mass power of the progressive trade union movement, working in tandem with a broad patriotic and popular front of forces.

It is for the above reasons that the SACP is concerned that the labour movement is too inactive in the wake of corporate state capture. If truth be told, unless workers stand up to fight corporate state capture, our country and our revolution will be gone. NEHAWU, as the largest union in the public service, has a leading responsibility and role to play, in rolling back and defeating the corporate capture of the state. The SACP calls upon NEHAWU to play its role. The SACP will support you. We need working class action, across COSATU and beyond! Sukumani Maqabane!

In fact, this Congress is correctly calling for deepening class consciousness. But how do you deepen class consciousness? It is through a combination of at least three deeply interrelated and often mutually reinforcing processes: strong organisation, activism and mass action, as well as political education. Political education is not only theoretical classes. It is also requires active participation in class struggle. Intensification of class struggles is absolutely necessary to build organisation. But as Lenin correctly said, Theory without practice is sterile, just as practice without theory is blind! Put differently, the struggle against parasites is an important site of struggle and education for workers to clearly understand the different class forces that are contesting the state. Wage the struggle against parasites to educate workers, and educate workers by intensifying the struggle against parasites!

However, the struggle against monopoly capital and parasitic networks must be subjected to our overall goal of building a democratic developmental state and intensifying the struggle for socialism. Again, NEHAWU has an important role to play in this regard, given its structural location in the public service. NEHAWU has an important role to play in the building of a patriotic and professional cadre of civil servants and public sector managers dedicated to serving the people. In fact our revolution will not advance, unless we develop such a cadre. For instance, NEHAWU must also have an interest in workers, but also beyond workers so that we ensure that there are indeed professional managers.

One of the biggest challenges we face in our public service is forever tempting especially senior managers with BEE and tender opportunities, including the dangers of such managers becoming corruptible or outright being bought. This has unsettled and compromised a number of our public sector managers, as well as other public servants. NEHAWU must assist in this regard.

The SACP also calls upon NEHAWU to build its capacity to be able to play a much more prominent role especially in higher education. Much as today we hear about all sorts of concepts about the transformation of higher education, NEHAWU must help to ensure that these struggles are grounded in the struggle to realise people's education for people's power.

Strengthen workplace organisation through a united NEHAWU!

Comrades, the SACP welcomes the focus of your Congress theme, also on strengthening workplace organisation. Make sure that you come out of this Congress with a very specific programme of action to do so. The SACP supports your struggles for a comprehensive social security. But, also, and please, comrades, come closer to the Public Investment Corporation. Ensure that you have an effective say in how your pension moneys are invested. You must know that to you, those are your retirement investments, but to parasites, that is loot worth more than R1.7-trillion! Pay attention to workers' concerns in the workplace, whilst at the same time not allowing NEHAWU to be used as a refuge for delinquent workers and managers.

Dear comrades, please do not forget that your capacity to strengthen workplace organisation principally depends on unity. A divided NEHAWU will never be able to be strong in the workplace. This is not the time for divisions. The time for divisions must actually not find any space in the ranks of the working class and its formations, now and going forward. This is why we are advising you, comrades, and comradely, to stand united. There is no reason in principle why you should not engage with one another on any question to reach consensus and preserve unity within the ranks of the union, if you can negotiate with the employers to reach consensus in the form of bargaining agreements. Principled and programmatic unity builds. Divisions destroy.

It is easy to destroy. But it is not easy to build, especially a high quality and long-lasting formation. Let us build strong organisation at the workplace. Let us pay undivided attention on the plight of the workers at work, in politics, in the community and everywhere they are affected anything whatsoever.

Use this Congress to unite yourselves! This is the simplest, but perhaps most important, message from the SACP to this Congress!
The SACP wishes you all the success your congress needs!

Thank you.

          The Dr. Roni Show - Miracles of Holistic Health and Wellness: with guest host Dr. Makeba: Part II - Solutions and Remedies to the 21 Top Chronic Diseases, and How to be Hopeful, Happy, and Healthier   
GuestThis show is Part II to last weeks show on How to be hopeful, happy, and healthier with holistic solutions and remedies when diagnosed with one of the top 21 Chronic illnesses. Over 100 million people are living with chronic disease and they spend over a trillion dollars. Chronic disease is out of control but Dr. Roni says there is new hope for chronic disease today. She talks about the newest trends in taking care of your self, body, mind and spirit. Remedies that our Grandmother did 100 ye ...
          The Dr. Roni Show - Miracles of Holistic Health and Wellness: with guest host Dr. Makeba: Solutions and Remedies to the 21 Top Chronic Diseases, and How to be Hopeful, Happy, and Healthier   
GuestThis show will feature How to be hopeful, happy, and healthier with holistic solutions and remedies when diagnosed with one of the top 21 Chronic illnesses. Over 100 million people living with Chronic Disease and they spend over a trillion dollars. Chronic disease is out of control but Dr. Roni says there is new hope for chronic disease today. She talks about the newest trends in taking care of your Self, Body, Mind and Spirit. Remedies that our Grandmother did 100 years ago and we frown and ...
          Re: The World Is Now $217,000,000,000,000 In Debt And The Global Elite Like It That Way   

A trillion here, a trillion there. Soon all the fake trillions will become real. Or is it the other way around. I am sure you know the answer.


          Re: The World Is Now $217,000,000,000,000 In Debt And The Global Elite Like It That Way   

There most certainly are Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds and they hold (own) about $5.5 trillion of the outstanding $20 trillion in US Treasuries as required by law passed by Congress.

Each year the US Treasury issues more than $7 trillion in US Treasuries which are sold through auctions held by the 20 or so primary dealers of US Treasuries. About $6 trillion of those proceeds are used to repay in full the owners of matured US Treasuries with about $1 trillion in net new US Treasury borrowing each year.

The reason that yields (interest rates) on US Treasuries are so low is because the DEMAND FOR US TREASURIES IS NOW QT RECORD HIGH LEVELS and the highest bids in prices win at auctions and prices of US Treasuries are INVERSE TO YIELDS. There are about 3 bids for every US Treasury sold which is why the yield on 10 year US Treasuries is around 2.20%.

US Treasuries are owned by MILLIONS OF DIVERSE PEOPLE AND ENTITIES in the US and globally.

There is no such thing at all as the "petrodollar" as oil accounts for less than 7% of the annual global use of the US dollar which is used in around 83% of all global transactions for all sorts of goods and services around the world

The US made no such deal as you assert at all with Saudi Arabia which is just one of the world's many oil producers. The 3 largest oil producers are the US, Saudi Arabia, and Russia and Russia doesn't even price oil in dollars nor does Iran. Saudi Arabia has never owned much in the way of US Treasuries at any time. In fact, Saudi Arabia holds (owns) practically NONE OF THE OUTSTANDING $20 TRILLION in US Treasuries.

Treasury Says Saudis Hold $117B of US Debt...

http://www.bloomberg.com/ne...

The more commodities prices collapse the higher the value of the US dollar will rise axiomatically. Oil has plummeted from $114 per barrel in June 2014 and is now about 60% lower in June 2017 at around $45 per barrel which represents a 120% increase in the purchasing value of the dollar against oil.

I would suggest you learn about the US Treasuries (bills, bonds, notes, and TIPS) markets at:

http://www.TreasuryDirect.gov


          Trillian to respond to damning state capture report   
Nonexecutive chair Tokyo Sexwale released the report on, among other things, claims that Trillion irregularly scored millions from state contracts.
          What Happened To America’s Wealth? The Rich Hid It   
Above Photo: Jeff Smallwood/Flickr There’s actually trillions that could be used to fix our roads and schools. The wealthy just don’t want you to know where it is. If you find yourself traveling this summer, take a closer look at America’s deteriorating infrastructure — our crumbling roads, sidewalks, public parks, and train and bus stations. Government officials will tell us “there’s no money” to repair or properly maintain our tired infrastructure. Nor do we want to raise taxes, they say. But what if billions of dollars in tax revenue have gone missing? New research suggests that the super-rich are hiding their money at alarming rates. A study by economists Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman reports that households with wealth over $40 million evade 25 to 30 percent of personal income and wealth taxes. These stunning numbers have two troubling implications. First, we’re missing billions in taxes each year. That’s partly why our roads and transit systems are falling apart. Second, wealth inequality may be even worse than we thought. Economic surveys estimate that roughly 85 percent of income and wealth gains in the last decade have gone to the wealthiest one-tenth of the top 1 percent. That’s bad enough. But what if the concentration is even greater? Visualize the nation’s wealth as an expansive and deep reservoir of fresh water. A small portion of this water provides sustenance to fields and villages downstream, in the form of tax dollars for public services. In recent years, the water level has declined to a trickle, and the villages below are suffering from water shortages. Everyone is told to tighten their belts and make sacrifices. Deep below the water surface, however, is a hidden pipe, siphoning vast amounts of water — as much as a third of the whole reservoir — off to a secret pool in the forest. The rich are swimming while the villagers go thirsty and the fields dry up. Yes, there are vast pools of privately owned wealth, mostly held by a small segment of super-rich Americans. The wealthiest 400 billionaires have at least as much wealth as 62 percent of the U.S. population — that’s nearly 200 million of us. Don’t taxpayers of all incomes under-report their incomes? Maybe here and there. But these aren’t folks making a few dollars “under the table.” These are billionaires stashing away trillions of the world’s wealth. The latest study underscores that tax evasion by the super-rich is at least 10 times greater — and in some nations 250 times more likely — than by everyone else. How is that possible? After all, most of us have our taxes taken out of our paychecks and pay sales taxes at the register. Homeowners get their house assessed and pay a property tax. But the wealthy have the resources to hire the services of what’s called the “wealth defense industry.” These aren’t your “mom and pop” financial advisers that sell life insurance or help folks plan for retirement. The wealth defenders of the super-rich — including tax lawyers, estate planners, accountants, and other financial professionals — are accomplices in the heist. They drive the getaway cars, by designing complex trusts, shell companies, and offshore accounts to hide money. These managers help the private jet set avoid paying their fair share of taxes, even as they disproportionately benefit from living in a country with the rule of law, property rights protections, and public infrastructure the rest of us pay for. Not all wealthy are tax dodgers. A group called the Patriotic Millionaires advocates for eliminating loopholes and building a fair and transparent tax system. They’re pressing Congress to crack down on tax evasion by the superrich. Their message: Bring the wealth home! Stop hiding the wealth in offshore accounts and complicated trusts. Pay your fair share to the support the public services and protections that we all enjoy.  
          Student Debt Means Fewer Public Servants — And More Bankers   
Above Photo: Flickr/Donkeyhotey Indebted students trained for public service are instead cutting bait and heading for Wall Street. Cum laude, my diploma reads — “with honor.” But cum debitum, “with debt,” is a bit more accurate. Collectively, America’s student borrowers owe $1.7 trillion. On average, each graduating senior this year is beginning their life around $37,000 in the hole. That looks like a lot, but when you’re living with student debt, you look at that number and don’t even flinch. The debt is so normal it’s like an inside joke for pretty much everyone in my generation. Except we’re the punch line. I graduated class of 2015 from a private, liberal arts college — a “most selective” one, U.S. News and World Report assures me. It was also an expensive degree, Sallie Mae reminds me. Monthly.   Yes, I chose to go to a private, expensive college. There was a calculus there, and one part of it was “I liked the feeling of it.” I know, this type of sentimental idealism is a privilege. It’s no surprise I came out with the equally sentimental notion that I wanted to do non-profit work — which makes it that much harder to pay those loan bills. It’s baffling to my Filipino parents. They didn’t cross the ocean and consign themselves to discrimination and demeaning jobs because they liked the “feel of it” — or even on the promise that their lives would be better. They did it on the promise that my life would be better. And that I wouldn’t owe anyone anything. They could live underwater, they decided — but they at least expected their children to take a breath of fresh air. Well, sometimes it feels like the air is polluted. And the water is teeming with loan sharks. So much so that some companies — among them many banks, financial institutions, and other large for-profit businesses — have begun including student loan repayment assistance in their salary packages. I have to admit it’s tempting, especially since the Trump administration wants to end a federal program that would forgive the student loans of people who commit to public service work. What’s the alternative, after all? Having a non-profit career in something you care about can require years of barely remunerated labor: an unpaid internship, volunteer work, a minimum-wage second job, or a salary that barely meets the threshold for a living wage. Prioritizing a career in something you care about, in addition to paying rent and groceries, requires consigning yourself to a debt you’ll live with until you have children. That is, if you have children — since you don’t want to deal with their student debt either. It’s not surprising to me that some of my classmates decide to return to school — maybe if they add more letters to their degree they’ll magically land a job they’re passionate about with a salary that can pay the bills. It’s also not surprising that some of my peers decide to join the other side, cashing in on connections and scooping up those high-paying corporate jobs. But what happens when you have a generation of people trained to enter the public service entering Wall Street instead? What a loss. This is just one facet of the student debt crisis — others include putting off starting a family or buying a home. Too many of us are saddled with debt, and too many of us are structuring our lives around this ledger.  
          From What Direction is the Next Recession Coming?    
If you were learning about the causes of post-World War II US recessions 20 years ago, the standard chain of events went like this: As the economy goes into an upswing, wage and price inflation starts to rise. The Federal Reserve recognizes that rising inflation isn't a sign of healthy growth, and raises interest rates. In often-used phrase, it's the job of the Federal Reserve to order that "the punch bowl removed just when the party was really warming up." The higher interest rates dampen inflation, but also lead to recession. The clear implication from this earlier line of thought is that recessions don't die of old age; instead, they are murdered by the Fed. For example, here's eminent economist Rudiger Dornbusch (and co-author of one of the preeminent macroeconomics textbooks of the time) writing back in 1997:
"No postwar recovery has died in bed of old age--the Federal Reserve has murdered every one of them. The typical pattern is that a few years into a recovery, as unemployment drops and the labor and product markets tighten, wage and price inflation picks up, the wage-price spiral gets moving, and soon the Fed steps in to douse wage demands with a good old-fashioned recession. And the whole cycle starts all over again."
But the last few recessions haven't really followed this narrative. Sure, you can see just a little belch of inflation circa 2007, but the Great Recession was at its root a financial crises tracing back to financialization of mortgage securities and a boom-and-bust in housing prices. Similarly, you can see a little burp of inflation back around 2000, but the recession of 2000-2001 was about the end of the dot-com boom, with a drop in the stock market and an accompanying fall in real investment. Even going back to the 1990-91 recession, there is again a small hop in inflation beforehand, that recession was also related to a boom-and-bust in certain regional housing markets and linked to the widespread failures across the saving-and-loan industry.

In short, the old story of recessions caused by fighting back against a rise in inflation seems outdated. Instead, a number of recent recessions seem to be more fundamentally caused by financial crises. A similar point can be made about other recessions around the world: for example, the recessions in the east Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 or the recession across the euro area in 2011-12 were driven by interactions between exchange rates, international capital movements, and the financial sector, not by fighting off inflation.  I found myself mulling over this shift while reading the 87th Annual Report of the Bank of International Statistics (released June 25, 2017).

As the report spends a couple of chapters discussing, the current and near-term prospects for the global economy are the best they have been for at least a decade. For example, the US unemployment rate had fallen to  4.3% in May, and has now been 5% or lower since September 2015. Thus, the report looks to the middle-term risks:
"The Report evaluates four risks – geopolitical ones aside – that could undermine the sustainability of the upswing. First, a significant rise in inflation could choke the expansion by forcing central banks to tighten policy more than expected. This typical postwar scenario moved into focus last year, even in the absence of any evidence of a resurgence of inflation. Second, and less appreciated, serious financial stress could materialise as financial cycles mature if their contraction phase were to turn into a more serious bust. This is what happened most spectacularly with the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). Third, short of serious financial stress, consumption might weaken under the weight of debt, and investment might fail to take over as the main growth engine. There is evidence that consumption-led growth is less durable, not least because it fails to generate sufficient increases in productive capital. Finally, a rise in protectionism could challenge the open global economic order. History shows that trade tensions can sap the global economy’s strength." 
But inflation in the US and other high-income countries has been so quiet for the last 25 years that it has puzzled economists, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen.  The BIS report notes (references to chapters and graphs omitted):

"[A] substantial and lasting flare-up of inflation does not seem likely. The link between economic slack and price inflation has proved rather elusive for quite some time now. To be sure, the corresponding link between labour market slack and wage inflation appears to be more reliable. Even so, there is evidence that its strength has declined over time, consistent with the loss of labour’s “pricing” power captured by labour market indicators. And, in turn, the link between increases in unit labour costs and price inflation has been surprisingly weak. The deeper reasons for these developments are not well understood. One possibility is that they reflect central banks’ greater inflation-fighting credibility. Another is that they mainly mirror more secular disinflationary pressures associated with globalisation and the entry of low-cost producers into the global trading system, not least China and former communist countries. Alongside technological pressures, these developments have arguably sapped both the bargaining power of labour and the pricing power of firms, making the wage-price spirals of the past less likely. These arguments suggest that, while an inflation spurt cannot be excluded, it may not be the main factor threatening the expansion, at least in the near term. Judging from what is priced in financial assets, also financial market participants appear to hold this view."
Given the good news of weak inflation, it seems plausible that the next recession will arise out during the next financial crisis. At least right now, such a crisis seems most likely to arise outside of the US and European economies. Instead, there are some troubling signs of excessive debt and financial strain in some emerging market economies, as well as in Canada. The BIS report notes:
"The main cause of the next recession will perhaps resemble more closely that of the latest one – a financial cycle bust. In fact, the recessions in the early 1990s in a number of advanced economies, without approaching the depth and breadth of the latest one, had already begun to exhibit similar features: they had been preceded by outsize increases in credit and property prices, which collapsed once monetary policy started to tighten, leading to financial and banking strains. And for EMEs [emerging market economies], financial crises linked to financial cycle busts have been quite prominent, often triggered or amplified by the loss of external funding; recall, for instance, the Asian crisis some 20 years ago. ...
"Admittedly, such risks are not apparent in the countries at the core of the GFC [global financial crisis], where domestic financial booms collapsed, such as the United States, the United Kingdom or Spain. ... Rather, the classical signs of financial cycle risks are apparent in several countries largely spared by the GFC, which saw financial expansions gather pace in its aftermath. ...
"Financial cycles have been a key determinant of macroeconomic dynamics and financial stability. Peaks in the financial cycle have tended to signal subsequent periods of banking or financial stress. From this perspective, ongoing or prospective financial cycle downturns in some EMEs and smaller advanced economies pose a risk to the outlook. Such risks can be assessed through early warning indicators of financial distress. One such indicator is the credit-to-GDP gap, defined as the deviation of the private non-financial sector credit-to-GDP ratio from its long-term trend. Another is the debt service ratio (DSR), ie the same sector’s principal and interest payments in relation to income, measured as deviation from the historical average. These indicators have often successfully captured financial overheating and signalled banking distress over medium-term horizons in the past. ... 
"Standard metrics, such as credit-to-GDP gaps, signal financial stability risks in a number of EMEs, including China and other parts of emerging Asia. Gaps are also elevated in some advanced economies, such as Canada, where problems at a large mortgage lender and the credit rating downgrade of six of the country’s major banks highlighted risks related to rising consumer debt and high property valuations. ... Financial cycles in this group are at different stages. In some cases, such as China, the booms are continuing and maturing; in others, such as Brazil, they have already turned to bust and recessions have occurred, although without ushering in a full-blown financial crisis." 

An interrelated problem here is that a lot of the borrowing in the world happens with financial instruments that involve US dollars. When an economy outside the US has large US-dollar denominated debts (whether these debts are private or public sector), that economy is vulnerable to a shift in exchange rates that make it harder to repay such debts, or to a change in financial conditions that makes it harder or more costly to roll over the US-dollar denominated debt.  The BIS writes:
"EMEs face an additional challenge: the comparatively large amount of FX [foreign exchange] debt, mainly in US dollars. Dollar debt has typically played a critical role in EME financial crises in the past, either as a trigger, such as when gross dollar-denominated capital flows reversed, or as an amplifier. The conjunction of a domestic currency depreciation and higher US dollar interest rates can be poisonous in the presence of large currency mismatches. From 2009 to end-2016, US dollar credit to non-banks located outside the United States – a bellwether BIS indicator of global liquidity – soared by around 50% to some $10.5 trillion; for those in EMEs alone, it more than doubled, to $3.6 trillion. ...

"The patterns highlighted above suggest that global US dollar funding markets are likely to be a key pressure point during any future market stress episode. Non-US entities’ US dollar funding needs remain large, posing potentially sizeable rollover risks. They are also concentrated on a rather limited number of major banks. Interconnectedness is another important factor, as dollar funds are sourced from a variety of bank and non-bank counterparties to support both outright US dollar lending and various types of market-based dollar intermediation. In this context, counterparties such as MMMFs [money market mutual funds], insurance companies and large corporates interact with banks in a range of markets, including those for repos and FX swaps. In addition, many of the same banks provide services to entities such as CCPs [central counterparties], which – under stress – can be a source of large liquidity demands."
Of course, pointing to some potential economic danger signs a few years off in the future is not a forecast that another crisis will actually occur. My point is that when we worry about potential causes of the next recession and changes in central bank policy, including Federal Reserve policy, we should be paying a lot less attention to risks of inflation--which seems to be in a coma, if not actually dead and buried--and a lot more attention to risks of financial overheating as they arise around the world.

          IT Support Data Center DE   
DE-Newark, About Randstad: Randstad is responsible for the entire day to day management of state of the art data center operations throughout the United States for a multinational banking and financial services holding company. It is the largest of its kind in the United States with total worldwide assets in excess of US$2 trillion. Primary Duties within client: We are responsible for the day to day manageme
          With GST, India takes a leap towards 'one nation one tax'   
GST unifies the country's USD 2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market, an exercise that took 17 tumultuous years.
          DeVos Appoints CEO Of A Student Loan Company To Head Federal Aid Agency   
Welcome to this week's edition of our national education news roundup. DeVos appoints current student loan company CEO to head student loan agency Wayne A. Johnson will be the new head of Office of Federal Student Aid after James Runcie abruptly resigned last month, the U.S. Department of Education announced this week. FSA is the agency responsible for administering $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loans from 42 million borrowers, plus other aid programs for millions of college students. As not mentioned in the department's press release, and first reported by BuzzFeed, Johnson is currently the CEO of Reunion Financial Services Corporation, a private student loan company. Liz Hill, press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, provided NPR with a statement that read in part: "Dr. Johnson has 30 years of experience in the private sector and is going to be a tremendous asset to the Department and to FSA's customers [...] Wayne knows this industry inside and out and has seen
          Freire ALAGO 2017-06-21   

Natural gas hydrates are solids formed by the combination of water and gases, which may be hydrocarbons or not. It has the appearance of snow or dry ice and crystallizes in the form of nodules, layers or within faults and in the porous space of marine sediments. They are distributed along the continental margins around the world or in permafrost zones, located in the polar circles. Hydrates originate through the movement of gaseous molecules during migration within the sedimentary column or in the water, through an exothermic reaction that freezes the water immediately surrounding each gas molecule. This molecule, usually methane, is then trapped within a crystalline structure composed of a trap of water molecules. For this reason, hydrates are also known as methane clathrates. However, other natural components such as ethane, propane and carbon dioxide can be observed in this form. The maximum temperature for this structure to be stable depends on the combination of temperature and pressure in the gas hydrate stability zone and, secondarily, on the composition of the gas and the salinity of the water contained in the pores of marine sediment. Methane, trapped as a hydrate, may be biogenic or thermogenic. Experimental studies indicate that 1 m3 of methane hydrate, dissociated under pressure and atmospheric temperature, releases 164 m3 of natural methane, in addition to 0.8 m3 of fresh water. For this reason, estimates of the amount of natural gas contained in hydrates far exceed the known reserves of natural gas in the world, ranging from 105 trillion cubic feet (TCF) to more than 3x109 TCF. The volume of carbon contained in this form is estimated to be twice the total amount of all the earth’s fossil organic carbon, including oil, gas, and coal. Gas hydrates have been attracting interest as a potential energy resource, in addition to being considered as a possible cause of greenhouse effect and of instability of marine slopes. However, little is known about the factors controlling the formation and stability of hydrates on the marine seafloor, although significant advances have been achieved thanks to the continued study of the subject by academies and research institutions. The interaction between gas hydrates dissociation and methane plumes at the seawater column is a natural phenomenon that modifies seafloor scenario, transforming the landscape by the precipitation of carbonates and pyrite on the shallow sedimentary pores, resulting in nucleous of hardgrounds for living benthic organisms, known as chemosynthetic communities. For this reason, methane seeps related with gas hydrates dissociation creates a micro environment for living species, important for the marine ecosystem. This is an open and exciting study field for geologists, geochemical researchers and biologists.
          Ep 214 – Congress Doesn’t Care About the Unborn   

Tim tells the harsh truth about Congress – if Republicans really cared about the unborn (they are “pro-life”, aren’t they?) why do they continue to saddle trillions of dollars of debt on the credit cards of people who haven’t been born yet? They don’t care! Republicans are not fiscal conservatives, which means that they aren’t conservatives […]

The post Ep 214 – Congress Doesn’t Care About the Unborn appeared first on The Tim Preuss Podcast.


          Ep 196 – Is $100 Trillion Enough?   

Tim and Ande discuss the upcoming debate over a government budget and how neither party will focus on the main drivers of the national debt. The two also talk about Tinder and a man who gambled away $420,000 stolen from the government. Will Republicans Kick the Can Down the Road Again? Airman’s 6-year Sentence for […]

The post Ep 196 – Is $100 Trillion Enough? appeared first on The Tim Preuss Podcast.


          Ep 144 – Can Trump Be Controlled?   

Recorded Sunday, August 21st Meghan finally returns to the studio and is welcomed back with conversation about her [least] favorite person – Donald Trump, and the wreck that is his campaign lately. The trio also chats about Black Lives Matter, transgender bathrooms, and the Pentagon losing $6.5 trillion. Paul Manafort Quits Donald Trump’s Campaign After […]

The post Ep 144 – Can Trump Be Controlled? appeared first on The Tim Preuss Podcast.


          LAW IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET   
Law is a system of rules, usually enforced through a set of institutions. Laws can shape or reflect politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a primary social mediator of relations between people.

Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading on derivatives markets. Property law defines rights and obligations related to the transfer and title of personal (often referred to as chattel) and real property. Trust law applies to assets held for investment and financial security, while tort law allows claims for compensation if a person's rights or property are harmed.

If the harm is criminalised in a statute, criminal law offers means by which the state can prosecute the perpetrator. Constitutional law provides a framework for the creation of law, the protection of human rights and the election of political representatives. Administrative law is used to review the decisions of government agencies, while international law governs affairs between sovereign nation states in activities ranging from trade to environmental regulation or military action. Writing in 350 BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, "The rule of law is better than the rule of any individual.

Legal systems elaborate rights and responsibilities in a variety of ways. A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, which codify their laws, and common law systems, where judge made law is not consolidated. In some countries, religion informs the law. Law provides a rich source of scholarly inquiry, into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis or sociology. Law also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness and justice. "In its majestic equality", said the author Anatole France in 1894, "the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

In a typical democracy, the central institutions for interpreting and creating law are the three main branches of government, namely an impartial judiciary, a democratic legislature, and an accountable executive. To implement and enforce the law and provide services to the public, a government's bureaucracy, the military and police are vital. While all these organs of the state are creatures created and bound by law, an independent legal profession and a vibrant civil society inform and support their progress.

In The foreign exchange market (forex, FX, or currency market) is a worldwide decentralized over-the-counter financial market for the trading of currencies. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of different types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. The foreign exchange market determines the relative values of different currencies.

The primary purpose of the foreign exchange market is to assist international trade and investment, by allowing businesses to convert one currency to another currency. For example, it permits a US business to import British goods and pay Pound Sterling, even though the business's income is in US dollars. It also supports speculation, and facilitates the carry trade, in which investors borrow low-yielding currencies and lend (invest in) high-yielding currencies, and which (it has been claimed) may lead to loss of competitiveness in some countries.

In a typical foreign exchange transaction a party purchases a quantity of one currency by paying a quantity of another currency. The modern foreign exchange market started forming during the 1970s when countries gradually switched to floating exchange rates from the previous exchange rate regime, which remained fixed as per the Bretton Woods system.

In The Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), 7 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., prohibits fraudulent conduct in the trading of futures contracts. In 1974, Congress amended the Act to create a more comprehensive regulatory framework for the trading of futures contracts and created the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, replacing the Commodity Exchange Authority. The stated mission of the CFTC is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to the sale of commodity and financial futures and options, and to foster open, competitive, and financially sound futures and option markets.

Congress created the CFTC in 1974 as an independent agency with the mandate to regulate commodity futures and option markets in the United States. The agency's mandate has been renewed and expanded several times since then, most recently in December 2000 when Congress passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which instructed the Securities & Exchange Commission and the CFTC to develop a joint regulatory regime for single-stock futures, and the products subsequently began trading in November 2002. Today, the CFTC assures the economic utility of the futures markets by encouraging their competitiveness and efficiency, ensuring their integrity, protecting market participants against manipulation, abusive trading practices, and fraud, and ensuring the financial integrity of the clearing process. Through effective oversight, the CFTC enables the futures markets to serve the important function of providing a means for price discovery and offsetting price risk.

From the outset, the CFTC has been plagued by limited budgets and manpower. In addition, it has faced numerous efforts by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to usurp its regulatory jurisdiction. For example, the current Chairperson of the SEC, Mary Schapiro, was previously Chairperson of the CFTC. When she assumed the Commission's top position, Schapiro recruited several former SEC staffers and gave them prominent roles within the agency. Her plan was to reshape the Commission into a mini-SEC with an eventual goal of folding the CFTC into the SEC. Her plan failed to bear fruit because her term in office was relatively brief. It was cut short by her decision to leave the agency for a more lucrative position with a securities self-regulatory agency. President Obama's effort to reorganize the regulation of entities such as hedge funds and products such as derivative contracts will provide Chairperson Schapiro with another opportunity to attempt to expand SEC jurisdiction at the expense of the CFTC.

The Commission consists of five Commissioners appointed by the President to serve staggered five-year terms. The President, with the consent of the United States Senate, designates one of the Commissioners to serve as Chairman. No more than three Commissioners at any one time may be from the same political party.

The foreign exchange market is the largest and most liquid financial market in the world. Traders include large banks, central banks, currency speculators, corporations, governments, and other financial institutions. The average daily volume in the global foreign exchange and related markets is continuously growing. Daily turnover was reported to be over US$3.2 trillion in April 2007 by the Bank for International Settlements. Since then, the market has continued to grow. According to Euromoney's annual FX Poll, volumes grew a further 41% between 2007 and 2008.

Of the $3.98 trillion daily global turnover, trading in London accounted for around $1.36 trillion, or 34.1% of the total, making London by far the global center for foreign exchange. In second and third places respectively, trading in New York City accounted for 16.6%, and Tokyo accounted for 6.0%. In addition to "traditional" turnover, $2.1 trillion was traded in derivatives.
Exchange-traded FX futures contracts were introduced in 1972 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and are actively traded relative to most other futures contracts.

Several other developed countries also permit the trading of FX derivative products (like currency futures and options on currency futures) on their exchanges. All these developed countries already have fully convertible capital accounts. Most emerging countries do not permit FX derivative products on their exchanges in view of prevalent controls on the capital accounts. However, a few select emerging countries (e.g., Korea, South Africa, India) have already successfully experimented with the currency futures exchanges, despite having some controls on the capital account.

FX futures volume has grown rapidly in recent years, and accounts for about 7% of the total foreign exchange market volume, according to The Wall Street Journal Europe . Foreign exchange trading increased by 38% between April 2005 and April 2006 and has more than doubled since 2001. This is largely due to the growing importance of foreign exchange as an asset class and an increase in fund management assets, particularly of hedge funds and pension funds. The diverse selection of execution venues have made it easier for retail traders to trade in the foreign exchange market. In 2006, retail traders constituted over 2% of the whole FX market volumes with an average daily trade volume of over US$50-60 billion (see retail trading platforms).

Because foreign exchange is an OTC market where brokers/dealers negotiate directly with one another, there is no central exchange or clearing house. The biggest geographic trading centre is the UK, primarily London, which according to IFSL estimates has increased its share of global turnover in traditional transactions from 31.3% in April 2004 to 34.1% in April 2007. Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price. For instance, when the IMF calculates the value of its SDRs every day, they use the London market prices at noon that day.

The ten most active traders account for 77% of trading volume, according to the 2010 Euromoney FX survey. These large international banks continually provide the market with both bid (buy) and ask (sell) prices. The bid/ask spread is the difference between the price at which a bank or market maker will sell ("ask", or "offer") and the price at which a market taker will buy ("bid") from a wholesale or retail customer. The customer will buy from the market-maker at the higher "ask" price, and will sell at the lower "bid" price, thus giving up the "spread" as the cost of completing the trade. This spread is minimal for actively traded pairs of currencies, usually 0–3 pips. For example, the bid/ask quote of EURUSD might be 1.2200/1.2203 on a wholesale broker. Minimum trading size for most deals is usually 100,000 units of base currency, which is a standard "lot".

These spreads might not apply to retail customers at banks, which will routinely mark up the difference to say 1.2100/1.2300 for transfers, or say 1.2000/1.2400 for banknotes or travelers' checks. Spot prices at market makers vary, but on EURUSD are usually no more than 3 pips wide (i.e., 0.0003). Competition is greatly increased with larger transactions, and pip spreads shrink on the major pairs to as little as 1 to 2 pips.

Unlike a stock market, the foreign exchange market is divided into levels of access. At the top is the inter-bank market, which is made up of the largest commercial banks and securities dealers. Within the inter-bank market, spreads, which are the difference between the bid and ask prices, are razor sharp and usually unavailable, and not known to players outside the inner circle. The difference between the bid and ask prices widens (from 0-1 pip to 1-2 pips for some currencies such as the EUR). This is due to volume. If a trader can guarantee large numbers of transactions for large amounts, they can demand a smaller difference between the bid and ask price, which is referred to as a better spread. The levels of access that make up the foreign exchange market are determined by the size of the "line" (the amount of money with which they are trading). The top-tier inter-bank market accounts for 53% of all transactions. After that there are usually smaller banks, followed by large multi-national corporations (which need to hedge risk and pay employees in different countries), large hedge funds, and even some of the retail FX-metal market makers. According to Galati and Melvin, “Pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and other institutional investors have played an increasingly important role in financial markets in general, and in FX markets in particular, since the early 2000s.” (2004) In addition, he notes, “Hedge funds have grown markedly over the 2001–2004 period in terms of both number and overall size” Central banks also participate in the foreign exchange market to align currencies to their economic needs.

The interbank market caters for both the majority of commercial turnover and large amounts of speculative trading every day. A large bank may trade billions of dollars daily. Some of this trading is undertaken on behalf of customers, but much is conducted by proprietary desks, trading for the bank's own account. Until recently, foreign exchange brokers did large amounts of business, facilitating interbank trading and matching anonymous counterparts for small fees. Today, however, much of this business has moved on to more efficient electronic systems. The broker squawk box lets traders listen in on ongoing interbank trading and is heard in most trading rooms, but turnover is noticeably smaller than just a few years ago.

All legal systems deal with the same basic issues, but each country categorises and identifies its legal subjects in different ways. A common distinction is that between "public law" (a term related closely to the state, and including constitutional, administrative and criminal law), and "private law" (which covers contract, tort and property). In civil law systems, contract and tort fall under a general law of obligations, while trusts law is dealt with under statutory regimes or international conventions. International, constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, contract, tort, property law and trusts are regarded as the "traditional core subjects , although there are many further disciplines which may be of greater practical importance.
          NON-BANKING FINANCIAL, INVESTMENT, AND INSURANCE   
APPLICATIONS STILL FACE OBSTACLES SJSN
National Social Security System (National Social Security System), it seems, can not be rolling in the near future. Because, so far, there are no guarantees about the sustainability of this program.

Kabiro Insurance Capital Market Supervisory Agency and Financial Institution (Bapepam-LK) Rachmatawarta Jesus said, National Social Security System should be able to ensure the program can survive. It should be clear 10 years from now if the costs can still be borne by our economy,

Understandably, the Ministry of Health predicts, for the National Social Security System program, the government must provide a budget of Rp 20 trillion a year to pay the premiums. Jesus warned, pattern of premium calculation is not to burden the budget. Should be compared with the gross domestic product (GDP). Suppose now 5% of GDP. Five years from now so what percentage of GDP. Do not ride too fast.

Another obstacle is about the same service guarantee for all citizens (deliverable). The program must be able to ensure policyholders get their rights. That is, if say there is no guarantee of heart surgery by a specialist, so everyone should be able to get it to Merauke. Not until there is a reason there are no specialist doctors there, then replaced the money.

Another matter is the matter of rights and obligations. If premiums pegged to a percentage of salary to get the same service, this will cause problems. Therefore, the salary of each person is different, therefore the premium paid is ultimately different. There must be no larger pay participants think he contributed so much to other people

In fact, social insurance does contain equality because there are subsidies. If the gap is too wide, a greater premium payers can no longer willing to join the program. They can think better just take out private health insurance.

Thus, the National Social Security System could not be considered simple. We also can not assess all health problems can be finished with this program. Do not let the system drop in a matter of years or as the Greek social security system was too over and it was hard for the economy,

Director of Social Security Sinaga Hotbonar same opinion. He said, the challenge is the financial capacity of State National Social Security System, harmonization of regulations, the scope of protection, and legal adjustments to the Social Security Agency Providers (BPJS).
Now, there are four companies designated as BPJS. Ie Social Security, Taspen Asabri, and Indonesia Health Insurance. All four were under the National Social Security Council (DJSN). The authority board must be greater. Do not let no one is watching BPJS.

DJSN not only coordinate and synchronize the program, but perform functions such as capital market regulator. If social insurance off the capital market regulator, there should be provisions unclear who would social insurance.


ALLIANZ INSURANCE ACCIDENT RELEASE GEEZER
PT Asuransi Allianz Utama Indonesia, late last month, launched a personal accident insurance product (PA) or a special accident insurance for customers aged or elderly. Insurance companies that have the parent in Germany this product Senior PA is entitled to meet market demand.

SVP Chief Agency Officer of Allianz Utama Indonesia Banua Sianturi said this during an accident insurance products for customers aged 60 years and over has not been provided by other insurance companies. In fact, accidents can happen anywhere, anytime, and to anyone.

During this time, most insurance companies limit the age of buyers of protection for accident only 16 years of age-60 years. Even if there is more protection than that typically only form of extension and up to the age of 65 years only

In fact, many people over the age of 60 years of age still actively running the business and travel. This product provides peace of mind to them. Many parents who had to retire, we work on this market.

Banua disclose, Senior PA products provided to the insured aged above 60 years to 80 years. With the record, if he was more than 75 years, there should be an underwriter approval. Understandably, the guarantee sum which can be obtained quite large, starting from U.S. $ 100,000 or USD $ 1 billion.
Benefits provided by Allianz is FINANCIAL reimbursement if the insured had an accident resulting in death or total permanent disability. This product can also be extended with the replacement of medical costs in the accident. Senior PA product is also equipped with compensation for funeral expenses up to U.S. $ 1,000.

Allianz offers premiums ranging from U.S. $ 150 according to the amount of money insured. This new product will be marketed in all areas of the sales of Allianz.

Despite great potential, Allianz did not set high goals for this product. Until the end of this year 2010, Allianz hopes to sell as many as 1,000 policyholders. The reason is because the risk of a Senior PA products is higher than other products.

Surely we apply the underwriting process more stringent. In the underwriting process, Allianz will see a prospective client's health history. They are also more selective to receive coverage.


RESULTS LOW, DAPEN WILL NOT SIGN KIK-EBA

Despite a year away, the pension fund industry (Dapen) has not been much looked at portfolios of collective investment contract of INVESMENT in asset-backed securities (KIK-EBA). They think the product is not very profitable INVESTMENT.

Dapen rather than dodge, but wait and see. It takes time, because this new product. This year, it seems not many people there, said Executive Director of Indonesian Pension Fund Association (ADPI) HMDaryono.

ADPI Chairman Djony Rolindrawan added, KIK-EBA portfolio valued not yield desired by the pension fund. Most pension funds tend to choose a portfolio such as corporate BONDS, and debentures (SUN), which gives higher yields.

We have not included in eg the KIK-EBA because of its risk premium is too small. Also yields only about 1% above the GS with the same tenor.
President Director of BANK MANDIRI Gatut Dapen Subadio revealed, his party had not yet decided whether the year 2010 will begin exploring the KIK-EBA or not. KIK-EBA market liquidity have not spelled out. Intention to go there, but of course, risk, yield, and market into consideration.

BANK MANDIRI Dapen more interested to invest in bonds. Year 2009 and then, BANK MANDIRI Dapen bond portfolio reached USD 660 billion, equivalent to 30% of the total INVESTMENT.

For the year 2010, the Gatut project, will add to their bond portfolio to 32%. Gatut not tell you how the total value of their investments this year 2010.

Dapen who had gone into investment, KIK EBA is Dapen of BTN. Despite double-entry, Dapen BTN Membership Director Sukiswanto said, his party had not yet decided whether to add to their portfolio KIK-EBA this year 2010, which is currently portions are still no more than 10%.

There are still factors to consider to raise the composition. Can we raise, but will also depend on the interest, deception Sukiswanto.



SHARIA UNIT REVERSE, JAPRO NOT REVISED TARGET

Although no one has also obtained permission for the establishment of sharia unit, PT Asuransi Jaya Protection (JaPro) does not intend to change the target year 2010 was the acquisition premium. Director JaPro Prawiro Nicolaus said it was preparing another strategy to achieve these targets.

JaPro will boost health insurance premiums and adding branches. So we are not revising the target premium of Rp 800 billion in 2010, the

Problem establishing sharia units, Nico says, launching just waiting out the permission of the Capital Market Supervisory Agency and Financial Institution (Bapepam-LK). Management of all affairs are ready. Board of Directors and commissioners already fit and proper test. His office is also already there. Stay green light from regulators wait for it.


At first, optimistic JaPro can launch sharia unit last April 2010. Sharia unit will later be known as PT Jaya Takaful Protection. Now, JaPro not dare set a target when his company could enliven the Islamic insurance industry.

About health insurance business, this 2010 JaPro choose to focus on the consumptive nature of insurance business. If previously we were more often working on vehicles and property insurance, we try another business. We already cover the risk stuff, why not cover people with health insurance risk. Although the focus of work on health insurance business, Nico admit, this product will not give the dominant contribution to the target acquisition premiums in 2010. JaPro only target premium of Rp 50 billion from health insurance until the end of the year. While for most large portion of vehicle insurance reached 40%, followed by property insurance contributing 30% of total premiums and the rest from others.

Year 2010, JaPro also expands to add new branches. Recently, JaPro inaugurated an office in Kilkenny. The next expansion to Pontianak, Purwokerto, Solo, Tegal, Jember, and Manado. Only, JaPro management can not ensure the number of new offices will they wake up in the year 2010. Currently, JaPro has branch offices in Bogor, Kediri, Cirebon, Makassar, Samarinda, and Lampung.
          BANKING AND REFINANCING WITH POOR CREDIT   
NO GUARANTEE AT USD 100 MILLION MORE

The threat of the crisis on the Indonesian economy has passed. Macroeconomic policy stakeholders were central review several post-crisis policy. One of them, a matter of policy the deposit guarantee limit on bank customers. Reduce the value of the guarantee policy is under review, said Firdaus Djaelani, Chief Executive of the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA).

However, the decision in the hands of the government and have consulted with the Parliament, so that provisions guaranteeing maximum customer funds up to USD 2 billion.

LPS see the current condition of Indonesia's economy has been far more peaceful, stable, and relatively far from the threat of the crisis, despite the economic uncertainty in Europe in recent years had sparked unrest in the global market. Needs assessment from the Ministry of Finance and Bank Indonesia (BI) prior to changing the boundaries of the guarantee, said Firdaus.

Post-crisis policies are also being reviewed is the BI policy matter of statutory reserves and short-term funding facility for banks. Given the many policies that should be reviewed, Firdaus guarantee limit is difficult to predict the changes made this year.

Before the global financial crisis burst in 2008, LPS only guarantee funds in banks under the USD 100 million. However, when the financial crisis of 2008 exploded and Singapore implemented a full guarantee, the government decided to raise the guarantee limit to $ 2 billion.

Although the discourse of decline now appears that the guarantee limit, Paradise explained, most likely will not return to the original boundary, ie USD 100 million.

There are provisions which became ancar-ancar determination of collateral value in many developing countries, amounting to five to six times income per capita. If our current per capita income of U.S. $ 3,000 per year, the maximum value of approximately USD 200 million guarantee, it is clear Firdaus.

Banking circles a little worried to hear that plans to change the guarantee limit. Vice President Director of Bank Panin Roosniati Salihin hope that the stakeholders be careful issued a policy. Do not to cause unnecessary shocks.
According Roosniati, too drastic if the guarantee numbers down from USD 2 billion to USD 100 million. Need to transition to industry and society are ready. Our economy is far from crisis, but such a policy can not be drastic.

Bank BRI President Director Sofyan Basir added LPS suggests growth in third party funds (TPF) as the considerations set a limit on the guarantee. To get a clear picture of the banking risks in collecting deposits.


TOM CHANCE Aaker still hang, BI WAIT TEST RESULTS

A series of names of prospective chief executive of banking is still awaiting the results of the fit and proper test of the Bank Indonesia (BI). One of them was a candidate for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Standard Chartered Bank (Standard Chartered), Indonesia, Tom Aaker.

As planned, Aaker will replace the old CEO of Standard Chartered, Simon Morris. Name Aaker, he holds an MBA from the Kellogg School, Nortwestern University in Chicago, United States, have entered into the BI since November 2009. Yet, somehow, even though six months had passed, until now Aaker not being obtained results are fit and proper test.

Senior Manager Public Affairs Amirnarno Kemaputra Standard Chartered said, until now it was still awaiting the results of the fit and proper test by Tom Aaker. We still have not received test results from the BI, he said.

BI recognizes Aaker selection was considered long. Director of Licensing and Banking Information BI Joni Swastanto revealed, it should check and double cross-check in advance with the bank authorities in the State Tom Aaker had served previously. Now we just wait for the approval of the BI alone, said Joni.

Joni said, the actual process does not only happen to Aaker, but also applies to other foreign bankers. That's because I have to ask the bank supervisory authorities in the State was the last person on duty, obviously Joni.

Aaker is the banker of U.S. citizens (U.S.). Aaker himself began his career at Standard Chartered in 1993. During his career, Tom has held several important positions in Standard Chartered Hong Kong, UK and U.S.. Prior to Indonesia, Aaker served in Zambia, Africa, as managing director and served as CEO of Standard Chartered Qatar, the Middle East.

Just infirmasi, the performance of Standard Chartered in Indonesia counted fairly. Last year, net income reached USD 605.9 billion, Standard Chartered. This figure is greater than their net profit in 2008 amounted to Rp 551.9 billion.


INCREASED FUNDING, FUNDS ON SHARIA BANKS BI to shrink

Piggy bank Bank Indonesia Wadiah sharia (SWBI) or SBI Syariah increasingly shrinking. Citing BI data at the end of March 2010 and, in SWBI funds remaining in the USD 2.42 trillion, down 27.27% from the end position in December 2009 which amounted to Rp 3.08 trillion.

Director of Bank Syariah Mega Indonesia Beny Witjaksono said there were two things that cause a decrease in funds SWBI. First, the upward trend of Islamic banking financing. This year's average of Islamic bank financing is targeted to grow 30%, said Beny, who is also Treasurer of the Association of Indonesian Islamic Banking (Asbisindo) this.

In late March, the total funding that has been distributed by the Islamic banking to reach Rp 50.21 trillion. That is, within three months managed to record growth of Islamic banking financing amounted to 7.13%. In late December 2009, total Islamic banking financing recorded Rp 46.87 trillion.

The height distribution of financing by the end of March 2010 and indicated by the increase financing to deposit ratio (FDR) to 95.07%. In fact, in December 2009 and FDR Islamic banking is still 89.7%.

The second factor, this transfer of funds from SWBI to the sukuk. The reason, for Islamic banking can get higher yields on the sukuk than in SWBI aka SBI Syariah.

Understandably, coupons provided by the sukuk reached 10% while SBI Syariah coupon is only 6.5%. However, Islamic banks still need this because the highly liquid instruments and short tenornya so well suited to manage liquidity, said Beny. While the sukuk investment choice because tenornya longer and greater the yield.

Director of Syariah Bukopin Riyanto added, SWBI this downward trend is already visible in the mid-year 2009. The reason Islamic banks rarely have liquidity problems. Islamic banks prefer to channel financing. This year 2010, Bukopin Sharia finance growth target to reach 30% -40%. Year 2009 and then, Bukopin Sharia financing channeled Rp 1.28 trillion.

Beny added, the decrease in SWBI Islamic bank funds is not related to space BI policy SBI and SBI auction schedule Sharia.


REVISED GOVERNMENT SO KUR Rp 13.5 TRILLION

The government decided to revise the target distribution of the People's Business Credit (KUR) in 2010 from Rp 20 trillion to Rp 13.5 trillion. The reason, KUR policy changes that became effective from the end of February 2010 must be followed by adjustments of the banking circles.

According to the logic grants, Deputy Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance Macro, one of the policy change is an adjustment KUR assurance requirements, payment of underwriting fees, and reporting. This rule is amended through Regulation of the Minister of Finance (PMK) Number 22/PMK. 05/2010 concerning the Second Amendment Number 135/PMK PMK. 05/2008 on Guarantee Facility KUR.

To KUR, the government actually has set aside Rp 2 trillion of investment in the State capital (PMN) in this 2010. Of those funds, Rp 1.85 trillion was allocated to the underwriting fees. If the gearing ratio of 10 times, is expected to ensure the disbursement of Rp 18.5 trillion KUR, clearly grants.

Previously, banks were targeted delivery to dealers KUR Rp 18.2 trillion, in 2010 this year. Take the example of PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Tbk (BRI) which target the distribution of KUR worth Rp 11.76 trillion. Details, or disbursement of microcredit loans berplafon KUR Rp 5 million, amounting to Rp 8.09 trillion, and retail credit or credit KUR worth more than Rp 5 million, amounting to Rp 3.67 trillion.

PT Bank Mandiri Tbk target the distribution of KUR Rp 1.25 trillion and PT Bank BNI Tbk (BNI) Rp 1 trillion. While the State Savings Bank (BTN), PT Bank Syariah Mandiri and PT Bank Bukopin each target of Rp 316 billion, USD 115 billion and Rp 350 billion. The rest, distributed by the 13 Regional Development Bank (BPD), which became the new executive of Bank KUR program amounted to Rp 3.5 trillion.

Erlangga said, channeling KUR in April 2010 reached Rp 1.35 trillion. Currently, the total outstanding KUR distribution since the program was rolled in the year 2007, had reached Rp 19.2 trillion. BRI is still the most widely distributed KUR bank. At the end of March 2010, BRI has been disbursed to the Rp 13.73 trillion KUR. These funds are provided to more than 2.52 million customers across Indonesia, said Abdul Salam, Director of Finance BRI.


FOREX INCOME tumbled BCA

Weakening United States dollar exchange rate (U.S.) during the first quarter 2010 impact on the decrease of foreign exchange earnings of PT Bank Central Asia Tbk (BCA). Deputy Director John Setiaatmadja BCA disclose, in the first quarter of 2010, foreign exchange earnings BCA only Rp 45 billion.

Though in the same period in 2009, revenues in the post has reached USD 210 billion. Our position so long as the dollar exchange rate dropped, revenues related to foreign currency also decreased. BCA gains from the spot and derivative transactions also fell. During the first quarter of 2009, BCA, foreign exchange and derivative gain of Rp 279 billion. Year 2010 was only Rp 267 billion.
          INVEST IN THE GOOD STOCK   
This year, the Total Dividend Group Reached Rp 7.68 trillion
Invest in shares of PT Astra International Tbk (ASII) and the kids very profitable business. Besides the high price rises, issuers in the group is diligent efforts to spread the dividends. As a parent of, at a general meeting of shareholders (AGM) May 25, 2010, ASII will propose an additional dividend of Rp 830 per share.

We have proposed a dividend of 45% of income in 2009 was Rp 10 trillion, it is clear Prijono Sugiarto, President ASII.
If the proposal is approved, this 2010 ASII shareholders will enjoy a total dividend of USD 1120 per share. Because the end of the year 2009 and then ASII already declared an interim dividend amounting to Rp 290 per share.

So, as the holder of 50% shares ASII, Jardin Cycle and Carriage is entitled to dividends of Rp 2.27 trillion. This value is increased by 28.97% than those enjoyed Jardine dividend last year amounted to Rp 1.76 trillion.

ASII business children also do not want to lose in giving dividends. Take for instance, PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk (AALI). Although net income in 2009 decreased 36.9% to USD 1.7 trillion, AALI will give an additional dividend of Rp 465 per share on June 11, 2010.

Plus the interim dividend of Rp 220 per share, which is given at the end of 2009 then, the total dividend AALI Rp 685 per share. This means that, despite declining profit, dividends AALI investors enjoyed it rose 35.64% compared to 2009 last year, which amounted to Rp 505 per share.

PT United Tractors Tbk (UNTR) will also distribute an additional dividend of Rp 360 per share. Bringing the total dividend of heavy equipment and mining companies reached USD 490 per share. The number was up 53.1% than the year 2009 dividend of Rp 320 per share. Given an additional dividend on July 1, 2010, Finance Director UNTR clear, Gidion Hasan.

In 2010, PT Federal (AUTO) increase the value of dividends to 103.4% to Rp 598 per share. However, the remaining dividend to be enjoyed by investors is only Rp 478 per share. November 2009 AUTO has declared an interim dividend of Rp 120 per share.
Meanwhile, the value of dividends PT Astra Graphia (ASGR) smallest. Year 2010 ASGR distribute a dividend of Rp 20 per share. Distribution date of July 1, 2010, clearly Company Secretary ASGR Susy Widjaja.

So, the total dividend Astra Group in 2010 reached Rp 7.68 trillion, up 47.7% compared to the year 2009 which is only Rp 5.2 trillion.

CTRA After Reading Fate Broken Stocks
Analysts assess, plan PT Ciputra Development Tbk (CTRA) to do a stock split (stock split) in June 2010 as a good step. This plan will create more agile CTRA stock trading in the market.

Bhakti Securities analyst Reza Nugraha assess, plans stock split will make stock prices more affordable CTRA. Because, he evaluates the average price of property stocks are still below Rp 500 per share. CTRA own price was at the level of Rp 700 per share at the end of the market close on May 24, 2010.

Likewise Bahana Securities analyst estimates Natalia Susanto. He considered that this stock split will make the frequency the higher the stock trading CTRA because an increasing number. Now these stocks are illiquid property may only PT Bakrieland Development Tbk (ELTY) alone.

Now, the total number of shares which are held by retail investors CTRA reached 61.31% or about 4.65 billion shares. The rest is held by PT Pioneers were 30.63% and Credit Suisse Singapore as much as 8.06%.

According to EGM's decision last May 18, 2010, CTRA will hold a stock split, the process began on June 14 until June 18, 2010. Stock split ratio was 1:2. This means that the nominal value of new stock will come down from USD 500 per share to Rp 250 per share.

Besides the positive effect of stock split, analysts predict, CTRA business prospects will be bright. CIMB Securities analyst Lydia Toisuta estimates, CTRA revenue will increase to Rp 1.88 trillion, with net profit of Rp 312 billion in 2010 this. Just a comparison, in 2009, CTRA reap revenue of Rp 1.33 trillion and net profit of Rp 136.33 billion.
CTRA revenue in the first quarter of 2010 it had risen to three-fold compared to the same period in 2009, namely from Rp 306.02 billion to Rp 918.06 billion.

Real estate became the main pillar of the performance of the year 2010. Nearly 60% of their revenues derived from residential sales.
CTRA revenue increases when the construction of a hospital in Tangerang, Banten, is completed. Construction of the hospital will be completed in the second semester-2011.

Looking at the bright business prospects, Lydia and Natalia compact CTRA recommend buying the stock with a target price of Rp 1,000 per share. Reza is also still recommend the purchase. However, he set a lower target price, amounting to Rp 890 per share.

CMNP Will Repay Bonds USD 100 Billion
PT Citra Marga Nusaplaha Persada Tbk (CMNP) plans to redeem its debt letter amounted to Rp 100 billion. The plan, buy back bonds CMNP III in 2005 it will be held on June 8, 2010.

CMNP has submitted the plan to the Indonesian Stock Exchange (BEI). We present this case to meet the obligations of individuals, as stated Article 5 Amendment of the Trusteeship Agreement III, the director said CMNP Hudaya Arryanto in IDX information disclosure.

This settlement does not make performance CMNP changed. Chandra Pasaribu Danareksa analysts say, toll-controlled CMNP is still small. In addition, the Waru-Juanda toll it operates, was not successful. The target is 50 000 vehicles, but its realization is only 20,000.

          INVESTMENT AND SHARE   
WIKA Attract U.S. $ 314 Million Project
PT Wijaya Karya Tbk (WIKA) have finally succeeded in winning the tender for the development of Chemical Grade Alumina (CGA) is owned by PT Indonesia Chemical Alumina (ICA), a subsidiary of PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (ANTM). WIKA Tsukishima Kikai Co. along with. Ltd., and PT Nusea has been appointed to work on the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC).

Bimo Budi Satriyo, ANTM Corporate Secretary, said that with this appointment, and a consortium currently WIKA ICA Group, will begin negotiating the terms and conditions of the EPC project. Ben hopes this project can commence construction in 2010 and begin commercial operations in 2014. This project is planned to produce 300,000 tons per year CGA.

After winning the tender was announced, the next ANTM live thinking of financing the project. They were trying to get funding from the Japan Bank For International Cooperation (JBIC). If JBIC is not capable of providing maximum funds, ANTM will try to get it from another commercial bank.

Construction is expected to be carried out in the fourth quarter of 2010 was, according to Alwin Syah Loebis, Director of ANTM.

CGA in project development, ANTM collaboration with two Japanese companies, namely Showa Denco KK (SDK) and Marubeni Corporation. ANTM project will finance 35% from 65% internal cash and bank loans.

Company Secretary Argawan Christmas WIKA WIKA confirmed the news that the consortium had won the tender with such ANTM. Project value of around U.S. $ 314 million, said Christmas.
Christmas added, this time his side were discussing how many servings of each company in this project. WIKA portion of the project, hopes to get about Rp 1.3 trillion.

To fund the 30% requirement of this project cost, WIKA will use internally generated cash. The rest is a combination of advances, loan payments and continued to third parties. We are still counting his cash flow, added Christmas.

In the first quarter-2010, at WIKA available cash funds amounting to Rp 997.69 billion. This company has a bank loan amounting to Rp 122 billion. Currently WIKA still bagging facilities from several banks, such as a bank guarantee from BRI worth Rp 1.5 trillion and DBS Bank of Rp 175 billion. WIKA facility could be used to supplement working capital projects. In January-March period, the net profit grew 40% WIKA to Rp 64.27 billion.

Bhakti Securities analyst Reza Nugraha rate, to be fair if the winning bidder WIKA Tayan project. As a fellow state-owned, very disadvantaged position and WIKA WIKA also has good credibility, said Reza.

He noticed, during this approximately 60% -70% WIKA projects comes from the government. Hence, Reza rate in 2010 and 2011, WIKA very good prospects as the number of government infrastructure projects. Conditions that would automatically push up revenues WIKA.

Projections No Makers
Fluctuations Composite Stock Price Index (CSPI) on May 24, 2010 was not predictable. At the first session of trading, the index is still likely to rise after last week continued to weaken. However, at the second session until the close of trading, the index fell and ended at 2609.61 level, 0.52% lower than the closing position, dated May 22, 2010.

JCI decline in the second session is due to collapse of stock prices of seven issuers in Bakrie Group, which is popular among investors as The Seven Brothers. Look at the price of shares of PT Bumi Resources Tbk (BUMI) tumbled 16.24% to 1780 per-share position.

Ironic, though the regional indices are generally green. JCI failed to take advantage of the momentum from the strengthening of Down Jones index at the weekend and regional indices. We expect the index will still be under pressure for the short term, said Purwoko Sartono, Panin Securities analyst.

Likewise, Tasrul Tanar, analyst with OSK Nusadana, see, JCI will move is uncertain. According to him, the index will try to 2584-2680 levels. To date May 26, 2010, I recommended shares of banks such as BMRI, BBCA and BBRI.

Purwoko actually recommend avoiding shares of consumer goods and commodities stocks are still volatile. JCI, according to him, dated May 25, 2010 will move in the range 2575-2630.

Prone Prediction Correction
Unlike the Composite Stock Price Index (CSPI), which is still anemic, the exchange rate on May 24, 2010 again showed tajinya. Based on the middle rate of Bank Indonesia (BI), exchange rates are in Red and White is the level of USD 9269 per dollar, the United States (U.S.), or 0.71% higher than the previous day's closing. In the spot market, until around 16:59 pm, the rupiah also gained 0.13% to a level of Rp 9268 per U.S. dollar.

The strengthening of rupiah time is actually much underpinned by the strengthening of the index in the first session. In addition, regional currency carried sentiment that also experienced a strengthening against the U.S. dollar.
However, the possibility of triumph rupiah will not survive on this date May 25, 2010. Understandably, each toward the end of the month, the U.S. dollar tends to increase demand. Therefore, money market watchers predict Nurbaeti Nurul ETI, the rupiah will weaken again.

Another effect, according to Vice President Valbury Asia Futures Nico Omer Jonckheere is because the index in the country is still vulnerable to landslides. Typically, the index and the rupiah has a positive correlation.

Therefore, Nico suspect rupiah to the date of May 25, 2010 will move in the range of Rp 9240 to Rp 9325 per U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, Nurul predicted, the rupiah still tend to weaken the movement range between Rp 9,200 to Rp 9,300 per U.S. dollar.

          A "Five Star" mystery: Saudi Arabia, Brexit, Trump and election fraud. Plus: The Comey "tape"   
This investigation in the Irish Times examines a very strange affair involving Northern Ireland and Saudi Arabia. The author of that piece, Fintan O'Toole, probably doesn't know that his research links up to a mystery which captured my attention some twelve years ago, when this humble blog focused on the possibility of fraud in the 2004 presidential election.

Before we get to the US connection, we must summarize the Irish Times story.

In recent days, you may have read about the far-right Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, because that's the group with which Theresa May must strike a deal if she wants to stay in power. (Her chances are starting to look bleak.) The DUP is pretty obnoxious, as this site makes clear: They are pro-creationism, anti-abortion, and very anti-gay.

The DUP is also also very, very pro-Brexit. In fact, they funded a pricey ad campaign in favor of Brexit. Strangely, those ads appeared in publications outside of Northern Ireland.

That campaign cost a lot of money, leading Fintan O'Toole to ask: Where did the DUP get the funds?

It turns out that the money came from a strange Scottish group called the Constitutional Research Council, headed by one Richard Cook. But that organization seems to have been a cut-out (as was the DUP itself).

The real funders were Saudis.
What they found is that Richard Cook has a history of involvement with a very senior and powerful member of the Saudi royal family, who also happens to have been a former director of the Saudi intelligence agency. In April 2013, Cook jointly founded a company called Five Star Investments with Prince Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz al Saud. The prince, whose address is given as a royal palace in Jeddah, is listed on the company’s initial registration as the holder of 75 per cent of the shares.
Prince Nawwaf, who died in 2015, was no casual investor. He had been Saudi minister for finance, government spokesman and diplomatic fixer before becoming head of intelligence. His son, Mohammed bin Nawwaf, has, moreover, been the Saudi ambassador to both the UK and Ireland since 2005. When Five Star was set up in 2013, Prince Nawwaf was 80, had suffered a stroke and used a wheelchair. It seems rather remarkable that he was going into business with a very minor and obscure Scottish conservative activist.
"Five Star"...! That name rang a bell. Where had I heard it before? Suddenly, it all came back...

2004 and all that. Unless you've been reading this blog for a very long time, you may not know that I was once transfixed by the allegations of election fraud in the 2004 election. Like many others, I became convinced that electoral hugger-mugger occurred in Ohio.

In a series of posts published in late 2004 and early 2005, I looked into some rather bizarre claims concerning an entity called "Five Star Trust," which allegedly played a role in swinging the election to Dubya. The Trust, it was said, was funded by the Saudis, who (as most people know) had deep connections to Bush.

I'll soon give links to those old pieces on the Five Star Trust. First, a word of warning: My posts linked to the work of a writer named Wayne Madsen, toward whom I once had a very naive and trusting attitude. In 2004, his reputation was not so reeky as it later became; Madsen was a former NSA employee who had appeared on ABC's Nightline, Marketplace and 60 Minutes. Why shouldn't I quote a man with such an impressive resume?

Unfortunately, Madsen made increasingly wild accusations without bothering to cite evidence. Behind the scenes, Madsen proved to be an opaque and bizarre individual.

Fellow blogger Brad Friedman (who has led the fight against computerized voting) was also intrigued -- for a very brief period -- by Madsen's "Five Star" claims. Brad soon became so infuriated with the way Madsen did business that he decided never to say another good word about the man. Other semi-mainstream publications developed a similar "hands off" attitude.

For years, my standard line on Madsen was this: "He's right about half the time, and I'm never sure which half is which." After a while, even that assessment began to seem too generous.

In 2008, I wrote a series of posts which argued (based on public sources) that Barack Obama may have been on "Company" business during his mysterious 1981 trip to Pakistan. (Here, here and here.) Madsen pilfered my work without crediting me. He then sensationalized the evidence and jammed it into a rather terrible book called The Manufacturing of a President, 90 percent of which is paranoid flotsam and jetsam unrelated to the work's ostensible subject.

As you might imagine, I now have little reason to speak well of Wayne Madsen, whose claims have grown ever more inane: He says that Obama is both gay and Kenyan-born, and that Israel attacked the USS Cole. Naturally, he has found a home on Alex Jones's radio show. From ABC News to Infowars: A sad trajectory indeed.

(A sudden thought just hit me. Do you think that former NSA man Wayne Madsen could be one of Louise Mensch's "sources" within the intelligence community? Boy, that would explain a lot.)

Have I given enough caveats and apologies? I believe I have. Here, then, are the links to my previous "Five Star" posts dealing with the mysteries of the 2004 election. Start here, then go here, then go here. Although my posts quote Madsen, I also offer some original research.

From the first post (November 26, 2004):
Madsen goes on to say that money for the operations was funneled through a Saudi-linked financial entity based in Houston called Five Star Trust, which was also apparently used to fund both Bush and Bin Laden.

Other monies came from carefully-hidden Enron loot stashed away in the Cook Islands...
I've tried some preliminary Googling on Five Star Trust (which is also spelled "5 Star Trust"). One citation goes to a court case listed here, involving one Marion Horn, Jr., a.k.a. "J.R. Horn," a one-time Republican candidate in Kentucky later convicted of wire fraud. (Also see here and here.) From what I can tell, the guy received a ridiculously attentuated sentence -- 18 months -- for a serious crime (one commentator mentioned the figure of "$1B") committed while on parole for a similar offense.

Much of the above information came by way of the Diligizer Board, which seems to be a clearinghouse for information about shady operators in the financial world. On one page they take a brief look at an accused security fraudster named Howard E. Liner -- and just look at what pops up:
He claims to be directly involved with VP Chaney and running actually the FED program. Mr. Liner pretends to be a former JAG and Military attorney. They are connected to Noir Intertrade, who shall be the commitment holder! They also mentioned the 5-Star Trust, the worlds richest trust with TRILLIONS (sorry forgot to ask the currency!!) on the account in Credit Suisse and UBS.
Hmm. Did he just say trillions? It that's true, the allegation of Saudi involvement may well have substance.
By the time I wrote my final post in this series (January 4, 2005), I had already become disenchanted with Madsen. He connected the Five Star Trust to a DC-based Christian cult called The Fellowship, the subject of a famous book by Jeffrey Sharlet. The "Fellowship" angle has no discernible evidence to back it.

That said, I can't help but wonder what happened to Marion Horn. His 2004 connection to the Five Star Trust parallels, in some ways, the later linkage between Scotland's Richard Cook and the current incarnation of Five Star.

While traipsing through my earlier pieces, I stumbled across this 2005 post, which quotes some work done by Daniel Hopsicker on a firm called Triad, which was run by Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi (whose recent death I should have noted in these pages.) The following quotation from the Hopsicker story may seem to take us far from the Five Star mystery, but bear with me: I promise to bring us back on course.
Was Adnan Khashoggi a principal in a company which has been counting the votes of American servicemen overseas? Answer: highly likely.

Both Election.com, and Triad, the election company cited for causing most of the problems in Ohio, should receive close scrutiny for evidence of Khashoggi involvement.

While there has been no suggestion of it anywhere in the media, the name "Triad" was used extensively by Khashoggi at exactly the same time (the early 80's) and in exactly the same place (Palm Beach, Florida) as the "Triad Governmental Systems" involved in Ohio's current election "difficulties."
There's much of else of interest in that 2005 piece. For current purposes, let's focus on the following:
Election.com should be examined for the invisible hand of the Saudi financier and CIA “fixer.”

News reports stated Election.com was owned by an offshore Saudi front company in Bermuda consisting of five unnamed Saudi billionaires, until scrutiny forced a sale to Accenture, the remnants of the disgraced and disbanded Arthur Anderson, the accounting firm which made Enron possible.
Five unnamed Saudi billionaires...?

Could that be the origin of the "Five Star" nomenclature? I can't prove it, but the idea makes a lot of sense.

The obvious questions: Why would five Saudi billionaires surreptitiously involve themselves with the 2004 American election (and perhaps earlier elections)? Why would the same Saudi interests care about promoting Brexit in 2016? What's in it for them?

The Prince. The Irish Times story quoted above connects the current "Five Star Investments" to Prince Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, the former head of Saudi intelligence. That name has appeared in these pages before. From a post published on August 26, 2016:
Now let's turn to a little-noticed piece titled "Wealthy Muslims helped Donald Trump build his empire":
Saudi princes: Prince Mutaib bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former minister in the Saudi government, and member of the Saudi royal family, reportedly lives in a floor-through Trump Tower apartment. Other former Trump property tenants include Prince Nawaf bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, a Saudi royal family member who owned a 10,500 sq. foot (975 sq. meter) condo at the Heritage at Trump Place that went on sale this year for $48.5 million.
Trump has long had strong connections to Saudi Arabia. Most people forget that the Saudis were the ones who bailed out Donald Trump when he nearly went under.
Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal said he twice saved US presidential candidate Donald Trump from bankruptcy, describing him as a “bad and ungrateful person”.

In an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, the prince said he bought Trump’s hotels after they were acquired by the banks which demanded he repay his debts.

The yacht he used to come to Antalya, southwest of Turkey, is one he bought from Trump when he was threatened with bankruptcy.
That yacht, by the way, is the one made famous by previous owner Adnan Khashoggi, and by the movie Never Say Never Again.

Now let's visit this New Yorker piece for more on the Trump/bin Talal relationship:
This latest tweet battle with Trump refers to the Prince’s investments in troubled Trump properties. The first of these transactions took place in 1991, when, according to Businessweek, bin Talal bought Trump’s huge yacht the Trump Princess from creditors, for eighteen million dollars. At the time, Trump’s Atlantic City casinos were heavily indebted; he also put his airline, the Trump Shuttle, up for sale.

The second deal came in 1995, when bin Talal and a partner, a Singapore hotels company, paid hundreds of millions of dollars to take control of The Plaza, on Fifth Avenue, from Trump. A Times story at the time said that the buyers had agreed to “pay part, or all, of Mr. Trump’s $300 million mortgage on the hotel, guarantee interest payments on Mr. Trump’s Plaza debt and spend $28 million to renovate part of the hotel.” Trump, the article said, was “under heavy pressure because of more than $115 million of guarantees he has given on the Trump Organization’s debt, and because of his recently announced attempt to raise $250 million to expand his casino investments.”
The prince is not just any Saudi oligarch: He was the finance minister of that nation and is rumored to represent other Saudi business interests. He is the second biggest investor in Fox News.
Interestingly, Saudi princes were investing in Trump at the same time they were (allegedly) throwing money at a fellow named Osama Bin Laden. Why were the Saudis dealing with a guy like Trump? And why did they treat him as a demi-deity during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia?

Here's the final paragraph from my 2016 post:
Yes, Saudis have donated to the Clinton Foundation -- but the Foundation is a charity, from which the Clintons derive no profit. Trump's hotels in Jeddah are serious business. Talk about a conflict of interest! Most Americans are not even aware that Trump has substantial investments in Saudi Arabia. You know damned well that if the Clintons had made such investments, our news media would remind you of that fact every single day.
Congress and the mainstream media have spent a great deal of time and effort trying to uncover Trump's strange relationship with Putin's Russia -- and properly so. On June 16, 2016, this humble blog was the first online publication to outline a "Putin-Trump" theory.

But Russia is not the full story. We also have to look at Saudi Arabia. Evidence suggests that Saudis have meddled in Brexit. Moreover, evidence suggests a consortium of five Saudi billionaires have played a very covert role in certain American elections -- and they may even have started as early as the 1980s. Strangest of all, they came to the rescue of Donald J. Trump in the 1990s. Why? You got me!

You can't dismiss this post as a "conspiracy theory," for one simple reason: I don't pretend to have anything like a proper theory. At this stage, I'm just trying to formulate the right questions.

Elsewhere: In previous posts, I have sided with those who argue that Trump probably does have "tapes" of his conversations with James Comey. My argument is based on a photo of Trump in the Oval Office with a digital voice recorder on his desk, and on the fact that Trump has been known to record surreptitiously his business meetings. Besides, NSA head Mike Rogers is clearly in Trump's corner, and the NSA scoops up everything.

However, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien says that Trump has falsely claimed to record conversations...
“He’s said this over the years to reporters when they go into the Trump organization, ‘I just want to let you know that I’m taping you right now,'” O’Brien noted. “And he said it multiple times during my interviews with him. He said that into my own tape recorder when I recorded our interviews.”

“But when he sat down for the deposition, my attorney said, ‘Mr. Trump, do you have a taping system?'” he recalled. “And he said no. And [my attorney] said, ‘Why did you say this to Mr. O’Brien.’ And he essentially said, ‘I wanted to intimidate him.'”
Perhaps. But one should also keep in mind that Trump may have been in a state in which it is illegal to tape someone without his permission.
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 19582961)   
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          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 1137378)   
NO WAY is gold going down. America is $17 TRILLION in debt. The annual budget is 130% of GDP -- it will NEVER EVER be paid off. The DOLLAR IS SHIT PAPER. Get real money. Get tangible REAL money. Get SILVER, get GOLD! Take possession of it. HOLD IT. You will find gold...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 1823993) (OP)   
NO WAY is gold going down. America is $17 TRILLION in debt. The annual budget is 130% of GDP -- it will NEVER EVER be paid off. The DOLLAR IS SHIT PAPER. Get real money. Get tangible REAL money. Get SILVER, get GOLD! Take possession of it. HOLD IT. You will find gold...
          Cybersecurity job market to suffer severe workforce shortage   

The global cybercrime epidemic - predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021 - is creating an unprecedented shortage of cybersecurity workers.

These 10 facts, figures, statistics, and observations sum up the employment crisis - and offer a few ideas and programs that may help solve the problem:

  • The 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report ventured what became a widely popular cybersecurity jobs forecast over the past three years, originally stating “It’s estimated that by 2014, the industry will still be short more than a million security professionals across the globe.”
  • Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions globally by 2021. Every IT position is also a cybersecurity position now. Every IT worker, every technology worker, needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure, and people. If that is true, then the cybersecurity workforce shortage is even greater than what the numbers suggest.
  • The cybersecurity unemployment rate was zero percent in 2016, and it's expected to remain there from 2017 to 2021. “The field of cyber security is the least populated of any field of technology," according to John McAfee. "There are two job openings for every qualified candidate."
  • In 2017 the U.S. employs nearly 780,000 people in cybersecurity positions, with approximately 350,000 current cybersecurity openings, according to CyberSeek, a project supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • The current number of U.S. cybersecurity job openings is up from 209,000 in 2015. At that time, job postings were already up 74 percent over the previous five years, according to a Peninsula Press analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) recently estimated that India alone will need 1 million cybersecurity professionals by 2020 to meet the demands of its rapidly growing economy. Despite having the largest information technology talent pool in the world, India is highly unlikely to produce an adequate number of professionals to close the cybersecurity skills gap.
  • The Palo Alto Research Center and Symantec have both projected the demand for cybersecurity talent would rise to 6 million jobs (total jobs, filled and unfilled) globally by 2019.
  • Right now, about 65 percent of large U.S. companies have a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) position, up from 50 percent in 2016, according to ISACA, an independent, nonprofit, global association. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that 100 percent of large companies globally will have a CISO position by 2021. The cybercrime and related workforce shortage is severe – and organizations need security leadership with a solid or dotted line to the CEO in order to remedy the problem.
  • The cybersecurity industry has a gender problem. Women hold only 11 percent of cybersecurity positions globally. Yet, they hold 25 percent of tech jobs, and they make up 50 percent of the population. Palo Alto Networks has identified the Girl Scouts of USA, with 1.8 million girls, as a potential source of future women in cyber. A new program will enable K-12 Girls Scouts to earn a series of 18 cybersecurity badges.
  • Two out of three high schoolers say the idea of a career in cybersecurity had never been mentioned to them by a teacher, guidance or career counselor, according to Raytheon. IBM is sponsoring alternative education models such as Hacker Highschool and Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), while defining new workforce approaches to reach a broader pipeline of employees based on skills, experience and aptitudes as opposed to traditional hiring models which focus on degrees alone.

Stay tuned to the Cybersecurity Business Report for continued coverage on the cybersecurity labor crisis.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


          Cisco and IBM announce historic cybersecurity partnership   

Two years ago, Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO at IBM Corp., said, “We believe that data is the phenomenon of our time. It is the world’s new natural resource. It is the new basis of competitive advantage, and it is transforming every profession and industry. If all of this is true—even inevitable—then cyber crime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world."

Rometty was right on the money. Cyber criminals are expected to cost the world $6 trillion in damages by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015—when she prophesied the hacker threat to CISOs, CIOs, and CEOs from 123 companies in 24 industries at an IBM Security Summit in New York City.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


          Paul Craig Roberts Asks "Why Has Washington Been At War For 16 Years?"   

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

For sixteen years the US has been at war in the Middle East and North Africa, running up trillions of dollars in expenses, committing untold war crimes, and sending millions of war refugees to burden Europe, while simultaneously claiming that Washington cannot afford its Social Security and Medicare obligations or to fund a national health service like every civilized country has.

Considering the enormous social needs that cannot be met because of the massive cost of these orchestrated wars, one would think that the American people would be asking questions about the purpose of these wars. What is being achieved at such enormous costs? Domestic needs are neglected so that the military/security complex can grow fat on war profits.

The lack of curiousity on the part of the American people, the media, and Congress about the purpose of these wars, which have been proven to be based entirely on lies, is extraordinary. What explains this conspiracy of silence, this amazing disinterest in the squandering of money and lives?

Most Americans seem to vaguely accept these orchestrated wars as the government’s response to 9/11. This adds to the mystery as it is a fact that Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iran (Iran not yet attacked except with threats and sanctions) had nothing to do with 9/11. But these countries have Muslim populations, and the Bush regime and presstitute media succeeded in associating 9/11 with Muslims in general.

Perhaps if Americans and their “representatives” in Congress understood what the wars are about, they would rouse themselves to make objections. So, I will tell you what Washington’s war on Syria and Washington’s intended war on Iran are about. Ready?

There are three reasons for Washington’s war, not America’s war as Washington is not America, on Syria.

The first reason has to do with the profits of the military/security complex. The military/security complex is a combination of powerful private and governmental interests that need a threat to justify an annual budget that exceeds the GDP of many countries. War gives this combination of private and governmental interests a justification for its massive budget, a budget whose burden falls on American taxpayers whose real median family income has not risen for a couple of decades while their debt burden to support their living standard has risen.

 

The second reason has to do with the Neoconservative ideology of American world hegemony. According to the Neoconservatives, who most certainly are not conservative of any description, the collapse of communism and socialism means that History has chosen “Democratic Capitalism,” which is neither democratic nor capitalist, as the World’s Socio-Economic-Political system and it is Washington’s responsibility to impose Americanism on the entire world. Countries such as Russia, China, Syria, and Iran, who reject American hegemony must be destabilized and desroyed as they stand in the way of American unilateralism.

 

The Third reason has to do with Israel’s need for the water resources of Southern Lebanon. Twice Israel has sent the vaunted Israeli Army to occupy Southern Lebanon, and twice the vaunted Israeli Army was driven out by Hezbollah, a militia supported by Syria and Iran. To be frank, Israel is using America to eliminate the Syrian and Iranian governments that provide military and economic support to Hezbollah. If Hezbollah’s suppliers can be eliminated by the Americans, Israel’s army can steal Southern Lebanon, just as it has stolen Palestine and parts of Syria.

Here are the facts: For 16 years the insouciant American population has permitted a corrupt government in Washington to squander trillions of dollars needed domestically but instead allocated to the profits of the military/security complex, to the service of the Neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony, and to the service of Israel.

Clearly, Amerian democracy is a fraud. It serves everyone but Americans.

What is the likely consequence of the US government serving non-American interests?

The best positive outcome is poverty for the 99 percent. The worst outcome is nuclear armageddon.

Washington’s service to the military/security complex, to the Neoconservative ideology, and to Israel completely neglects over-powering facts.

Israel’s interest to overthrow Syria and Iran is totally inconsistant with Russia’s interest to prevent the import of jihadism into the Russian Federation and Central Asia. Therefore, Israel has put the US into direct military conflict with Russia.

The US military/security complex’s financial interests to surround Russia with missile sites is inconsistent with Russian sovereignty as is the Neoconservatives’ emphasis on US world hegemony.

President Trump does not control Washington. Washington is controlled by the military/security complex (watch on youtube President Eisenhower’s description of the military/security complex as a threat to American democracy), by the Israel Lobby, and by the Neoconservatives. These three organized interest groups have pre-empted the Amercan people, who are powerless and are uninvolved in the decisions about their future.

Every US Representative and US Senator who stood up to Israel was defeated by Israel in their re-election campaign. This is the reason that when Israel wants something it passes both houses of Congress unanimously. As Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said publicly, “No American President can stand up to Israel.” Israel gets what it wants no matter what the consequences are for America.

Adm. Moorer was right. The US gives Israel every year enough money to purchase our government. And Israel does purchase our government. The US government is far more accountable to Israel than to the American people. The votes of the House and Senate prove this.

Unable to stand up to tiny Israel, Washington thinks it can buffalo Russia and China. For Washington to continue to provoke Russia and China is a sign of insantity. In the place of intelligence we see hubris and arrogance, the hallmarks of fools.

What Planet Earth, and the creatures thereon, need more than anything is leaders in the West who are intelligent, who have a moral conscience, who respect truth, and who are are capable of understanding the limits to their power.

But the Western World has no such people.


          NYC Pension Non-Crisis: Compare Liability to GDP   

The NYT ran yet another piece highlighting the "crisis" in public pensions. This time the story is that pensions are in worse shape in New York City than they were in 1975 when the city faced bankruptcy. The way it gets this conclusion is by showing that pension payments and liabilities are larger, even after adjusting for inflation, than they were in the mid-1970s.

While this is true, it ignores the fact that New York's gross domestic product is close to three times as large today as it was in the mid-1970s. This means that the $5 billion contribution to pensions that the article shows was made in the mid-1970s (in 2017 dollars) was a considerably larger burden on the city's economy at the time than the projected payment of $10 billion in 2020. 

The article points out that the unfunded liability of the city's pensions, as conventionally measured, is $65 billion. While this sounds ominous, the discounted value of the city's GDP over the next three decades will be more than $20 trillion, making the liability equal to roughly 0.3 percent of projected GDP. That is far from trivial, but also not an unbearable burden if the city's economy remains healthy.

There is one very important point in this article. It notes a big expansion of pensions in 2000 at the peak of the stock bubble. Many other public pension funds also raised their commitments as a result of this bubble, with the expectation that markets would give their historic rates of return even though price-to-earnings ratios were at unprecedented highs.

Other governments stopped contributing to their pensions during this period with the idea that the market would contribute for them. This led to a situation where they suddenly were forced to ramp up contributions sharply when the bubble burst and threw the economy into recession in 2001. Some, like Chicago under Mayor Richard Daley, found this shift too difficult to manage and simply allowed the unfunded liability to grow.

In short, the stock bubble created serious problems for public pension funds. It also created problems for tens of millions of workers planning for retirement. This is worth noting because the conventional view among economists of the stock bubble is that it was just a lot of good fun with no major economic consequences. 

This is close to mind-boggling. Many of the same economists who see the growing and bursting of a huge bubble as no big deal think all hell would break loose if the inflation rate were 3.0 percent instead of the 2.0 percent rate currently targeted by the Fed. There may be a world where this inconsistency makes sense, but it's not the one we live in.


          BEA Revises 1st Quarter 2017 GDP Growth Upward To 1.42%   
(If the tables or charts in this report do not seem to be presented correctly, please click here or navagate to http://www.consumerindexes.com/2017-06-29_commentary.html to see this commentary as a Web Page.)

In their third and final estimate of the US GDP for the first quarter of 2017, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) revised the growth of the US economy upward to a +1.42% annual rate, up +0.26% from their previous estimate for the first quarter but still down over a half percent (-0.66%) from the +2.08% reported for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Weak consumer spending grew at a meager +0.75% annualized rate during the quarter, up +0.31 from the previous estimate but still down a significant -1.65% from the prior quarter. The previously reported inventory contraction worsened slightly to a -1.11% annual pace (a swing of -2.12% from the prior quarter). Although government spending was revised upward +0.04%, it still contracted during the quarter, removing -0.16% from the headline.

The good news continued to be commercial fixed investment, which although revised downward -0.14% is still now adding +1.71% to the headline. Foreign trade was also revised upward slightly (+0.09%) to a +0.23% contribution to the headline number, up some +2.05% from the prior quarter.

The BEA's "bottom line" (their "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product", which excludes the contracting inventories) was more than a full percent better than the headline at +2.53%, up +1.46% from the 1.07% rate recorded 4Q-2016.

Real annualized household disposable income was essentially unchanged at an annualized $39,360 (in 2009 dollars). The household savings rate was revised -0.1% lower to 5.1%.

For the fourth quarter the BEA assumed an effective annualized deflator of 1.94%. During the same quarter (January 2017 through March 2017) the inflation recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in their CPI-U index was lower at 1.54%. Over estimating inflation results in pessimistic growth rates, and if the BEA's "nominal" data was deflated using CPI-U inflation information the headline growth number would have been somewhat higher at a +1.84% annualized growth rate.

Among the notable items in the report :

-- The headline contribution from consumer expenditures for goods was still a miniscule +0.11% growth rate (down -1.18% from the prior quarter).

-- The contribution to the headline from consumer spending on services strengthened as it was revised upward +0.27% to +0.64% (although that was down -0.47% from the prior quarter). The entirety of the increase came in upward revisions to the costs of healthcare and insurance (+0.38%). The combined consumer contribution to the headline number was +0.75%, down -1.65% from 4Q-2016.

-- The headline contribution from commercial private fixed investments was revised downward -0.14% to +1.71%, although that remained +1.25% higher than the prior quarter. That growth was primarily in non-residential construction.

-- Inventory contraction deducted -1.11% from the headline number, a downward revision of -0.04% from the previous estimate and down -2.12% from the prior quarter. It is important to remember that the BEA's inventory numbers are exceptionally noisy (and susceptible to significant distortions/anomalies caused by commodity price or currency swings) while ultimately representing a zero reverting (and long term essentially zero sum) series.

-- Governmental spending was still reported to be contracting, although at a revised lower annual rate (at -0.16%, down -0.19% from the prior quarter).

-- Exports were revised upward +0.13% to a +0.82% contribution to the headline, a +1.37% improvement from the prior quarter.

-- Imports were revised downward (-0.04%), and they subtracted -0.59% from the headline number (up +0.68% from the prior quarter). In aggregate, foreign trade added +0.23% to the headline number after subtracting -1.82% during the prior quarter.

-- The "real final sales of domestic product" grew at an annualized 2.53%, up +0.30% from the previous estimate and up +1.46% from the prior quarter. This is the BEA's "bottom line" measurement of the economy and it excludes the reported inventory contraction.

-- As mentioned above, real per-capita annual disposable income was essentially unchanged. At the same time the household savings rate was revised downward again by -0.1%. It is important to keep this line item in perspective: real per-capita annual disposable income is up only +7.32% in aggregate since the second quarter of 2008 -- a meager annualized +0.81% growth rate over the past 35 quarters.




The Numbers, As Revised

As a quick reminder, the classic definition of the GDP can be summarized with the following equation :

GDP = private consumption + gross private investment + government spending + (exports - imports)


or, as it is commonly expressed in algebraic shorthand :

GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)


In the new report the values for that equation (total dollars, percentage of the total GDP, and contribution to the final percentage growth number) are as follows :

GDP Components Table

Total GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)
Annual $ (trillions) $19.0 = $13.1 + $3.1 + $3.3 + $-0.6
% of GDP 100.00% = 68.96% + 16.50% + 17.50% + -2.96%
Contribution to GDP Growth % 1.42% = 0.75% + 0.60% + -0.16% + 0.23%


The quarter-to-quarter changes in the contributions that various components make to the overall GDP can be best understood from the table below, which breaks out the component contributions in more detail and over time. In the table below we have split the "C" component into goods and services, split the "I" component into fixed investment and inventories, separated exports from imports, added a line for the BEA's "Real Final Sales of Domestic Product" and listed the quarters in columns with the most current to the left :

Quarterly Changes in % Contributions to GDP

1Q-2017 4Q-2016 3Q-2016 2Q-2016 1Q-2016 4Q-2015 3Q-2015 2Q-2015 1Q-2015 4Q-2014 3Q-2014 2Q-2014 1Q-2014
Total GDP Growth 1.42% 2.08% 3.53% 1.42% 0.83% 0.88% 1.98% 2.62% 2.05% 2.31% 4.96% 3.96% -1.18%
Consumer Goods 0.11% 1.29% 0.77% 1.51% 0.25% 0.47% 0.92% 0.94% 0.59% 1.14% 0.98% 1.50% 0.54%
Consumer Services 0.64% 1.11% 1.26% 1.37% 0.86% 1.07% 0.89% 1.00% 1.04% 1.93% 1.54% 1.06% 0.73%
Fixed Investment 1.71% 0.46% 0.02% -0.18% -0.15% -0.03% 0.92% 0.70% 0.61% 0.22% 1.16% 1.12% 0.79%
Inventories -1.11% 1.01% 0.49% -1.16% -0.41% -0.36% -0.57% -0.52% 1.01% 0.23% 0.32% 0.67% -1.89%
Government -0.16% 0.03% 0.14% -0.30% 0.28% 0.18% 0.34% 0.57% 0.45% -0.07% 0.46% 0.02% -0.19%
Exports 0.82% -0.55% 1.16% 0.21% -0.09% -0.34% -0.36% 0.37% -0.78% 0.60% 0.29% 1.16% -0.39%
Imports -0.59% -1.27% -0.31% -0.03% 0.09% -0.11% -0.16% -0.44% -0.87% -1.74% 0.21% -1.57% -0.77%
Real Final Sales 2.53% 1.07% 3.04% 2.58% 1.24% 1.24% 2.55% 3.14% 1.04% 2.08% 4.64% 3.29% 0.71%





Summary and Commentary

This revision boosts the headline growth about a quarter percent to +1.42% -- better but still tepid. The notable takeaways from this report are :

-- The largest upward revision was in consumer spending for healthcare and insurance.

-- The growth rate for consumer spending on goods remains anemic.

-- The inventory contraction worsened, possibly in anticipation of softer future consumer spending.

-- Foreign trade remained a bright spot and is not a drag on the headline number.

The US consumer may be spending more, but that increased spending is not on discretionary "life-style" goods. And as per usual, the Fed is once again projecting a return to "normalcy" in the form of 3% growth in future quarters -- with consumer spending leading the way. But if this past quarter's pattern persists those consumers may continue to face a toxic mix of stagnant disposable income, rising insurance costs and shrinking savings -- not exactly a formula for happy campers.

          Forex Course Forex Trading market An Overview   
The Forex trading market is an incredible opportunity to earn a full time or second income from the comforts of your home by taking calculated risks and well informed decisions. And yet, there are people who are not even aware that the Forex market exists. It has not yet gained as much popularity as the stock, futures and commodities markets have.



It has been put on record that the Forex trading market is one of the biggest financial markets in the world today with daily turn over exceeding USD3.2trillion. The internet revolution has changed the face of Forex trading and has given birth to online currency trading which is considered as one of the biggest and fastest growing investment opportunities online.



The Forex exchange market is best alternative for building and increasing one"??s wealth and is currently booming. The fact that there is a certain degree of risk involved, the profit margins are comparatively very high and people are learning the skill to make the most out of it.



Forex trading, also known as "FX," by brokers and inventors is the practice of trading currencies in FX market to earn profit. A Forex trader buys one currency and simultaneously sells another, with an intention to book profit from any variation in valuation between those two specific currencies.



Have you ever wondered how the Forex market works? Would you like earn a piece of profit too from the largest market in the world? Would you like to know how do you get started with it?



To start trading Forex one of the first things you will need to commence is select a forex broker. Or if you wish to trade yourself learn the strategies and everything about Forex trading. It's quite easy to find information and start on the Forex trading journey and you don't even need any money to get started. Demo accounts are offered to trainees where in they can trade in real market without involving real money.



If you are learning about Forex trading, amongst the first things that you will be introduced to will be developing a profitable Forex trading strategy which will help you to learn about market volatility. While learning Forex trading you will come across Fundamental Analysis and Technical Analysis.



Fundamental analysts will concentrate on the underlying causes of price movements, whereas as technical chartist studies the actual price movement. Together they will help you understand the market and book take decisions to make profits.



As part of your Forex trading strategy, you must be able to manage the money that you invest in trades and determine when it is advantageous to enter or exit a trade. So go ahead and take a plunge. If your approach is right you will be a winner! Earning your profits from trading Forex from the comfort of your home!


And if you want to register with a broker, choosing a good FX currency broker can be as complex as Forex trading. You have to exercise due diligence while choosing a Forex broker that is right for your specific needs and budget.

Copyright 2009 - Vahid is a forex trader and forex market analyst. His website is the most reliable reference for advanced, intermediate and beginner forex traders: http://www.forexoma.com/

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Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com


          A $1.2 Trillion Opportunity: The Rise of Insight-Driven Businesses   
Download this free Forrester report to learn:
  • How insight-driven businesses are built differently, and why they outgrow the market
  • Which companies and startups effectively use customer insight for growth
  • Four actionable steps to creating a high-growth, insight-driven culture
Companies like Google, Netflix, Alaska Airlines, The Washington Post and Tesla Motors are already leveraging agile customer insight to outpace their competition. Discover what it takes to join this extraordinary league of insight-led enterprises.

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          Stock Market closes month bearish   
Activities on the floor of the Nigerian stock exchange have closed for the week on a negative note. Today’s activities also marked the end of trading for the month of June. The market capitalization and the All Share Index closed today at 11,452 trillion Naira as compared to Thursday’s closing of  11,505 trillion Naira and 33,117.48 […]
          AI Could Add $15 Trillion to Global Economy by 2030   
Amid warnings of the economic disruption that robots and automation could unleash, researchers are finding that new technologies will help fuel global growth as productivity and consumption soar.

read more


          Freightos Is Poised to Transform the Trillion-Dollar Freight Industry   
With its routing algorithms and transparently priced marketplace, Freightos is revolutionizing the way people move freight.
          DSME Selling USD 1.14 Bn Convertible Bonds   
Cash-strapped South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) has decided to proceed with the issue of convertible bonds into stocks within its economic bailout plan. Under the plan agreed in March with its creditors, the company will sell KRW 1.3 trillion (USD 1.14 billion) to the Export Import Bank of Korea, DSME said in a […]
          Let's Enjoy Walking for the Benefits of Better Health -- Smart Wellness Point Project   

JFS Newsletter No.178 (June 2017)

Photo
Image by Tsippendale.

Japan leads the world in terms of longevity. It is also the fastest aging country in the world. According to data from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the proportion of elderly aged 65 or over among the overall population was 26.7 percent in 2015, and has been increasing each year. In line with this trend, national medical expenditures have been rising year by year as well, reaching 40.807 trillion yen (about US$364.35 billion) in FY 2014.

Under these circumstances, Japan is seeing a movement to create a sustainable, prevention-oriented society in which people can lead happy and healthy lives regardless of the population's advancing age. The aim is to build Smart Wellness Cities where residents are encouraged to walk voluntarily. Local governments together with industry and academia have established "Smart Wellness City Comprehensive Special Zones to Achieve Health and Longevity." By doing so, they aim to facilitate behavioral changes among residents, including those indifferent to health promotion.

In this newsletter, we introduce the Smart Point Project in which even people who are not interested in health can have fun participating by walking to promote health. This was conducted as an experimental project in the comprehensive special zones.


          Federal Student Loan Interest Rates to Rise this Weekend   

ANAHEIM HILLS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / June 30, 2017 / Beginning this Saturday, July 1st, college students and their families can expect to pay more for their loans this upcoming fall semester. Interest rates will be rising on federal student loans for the 2017-2018 school year.

This year's undergraduate rate of 3.76 percent will increase to 4.45 percent for new loans distributed from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The U.S. Treasury Department set these rates based on the May 10 auction of 10 year notes.

Undergrads are not the only students to be impacted by this rate increase. Graduate students will also be paying higher financing costs after this weekend. The 5.31 percent they were paying for a direct unsubsidized loan this past school year will increase to 6 percent. These loans begin accruing interest as soon as the borrower takes them out.

Find out in Minutes if you qualify for Federal Student Loan Forgiveness at www.studentdocsolutions.com

Direct PLUS loan rates are also expected to rise. These are loans that both the parents of undergrads and graduate students can use. The interest rate for PLUS federal student loans is currently 6.31 percent, but this rate will rise to 7 percent this Saturday. None of these increases will apply to student loans obtained through private entities.

In 2016, college graduates owed about $37,000 on average. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, this statistic is up 6 percent from 2015 reports.

The total amount of student debt in the U.S. is now over $1.4 trillion- the majority being from federal loans. According to a recent survey of over 1,000 undergraduates, current college students have estimated that they will owe a median of $30,000 to $39,000 by the time of their graduation.

As reported by Forbes, an undergrad student borrowing $25,000 at the current rate of 3.76 percent would pay just over $5,000 in interest over the next 10 years. With a 4.45 percent interest rate, this same student can expect to pay close to $1,000 more in interest over the same span of time.

Mark Kantrowitz, strategy for college and scholarship search expert, stated, "The financial impact of this increase is on the order of a few dollars a month on a 10-year repayment plan for every $10,000 borrowed."

Rates may be up for undergrads and graduate students alike, but the increase will not affect existing loans. This change will only affect loans disbursed July 1 and beyond.

Student Doc Solutions provides qualifying individuals with student loan forgiveness options. If you have Federal Student Loans you may be eligible for loan forgiveness, principal reduction, or complete loan forgiveness.

Apply for Federal Student Loan Forgiveness now at www.studentdocsolutions.com

SOURCE: Student Doc Solutions

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          Obama renews his commitment to equality in education   

[Watch Video]
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that he is pulling together a new coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists who will work to help families access high-quality pre-K education. He also pledged to make higher education within reach for middle class students.

President Obama reiterated his commitment to a range of education issues in his 2014 State of the Union on Tuesday, from early childhood education to training high schools in the technical fields to affordable college tuition.

“Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculum and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test,” the president said. “But it’s worth it — and it’s working.”

Obama cautioned, “the problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.”

The president also spoke about the importance of education to America’s growing and recovering economy. “It’s not enough to train today’s workforce,” he said. “We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.”

In the 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama argued further cuts to education funding would be harmful to America’s future and end up costing more in the future. The president spoke to the vital importance of providing early childhood education, teaching children technical skills in addition to a regular curriculum and making higher education more affordable.

He challenged secondary schools and universities to form partnerships with each other to help high school students develop technical skills that are desired by employers. In an effort to help college students make more cost-effective choices, Obama announced the creation of the “College Scorecard,” which compares schools based on their costs, graduation rates, loan default rates and other factors.

“It’s a simple fact the more education you’ve got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class,” the president said in 2013. “But today, skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt.”

Throughout 2013, more strides were made to improve education on the state level than at the federal level. On average, states’ higher education funding increased by 5 percent, and colleges and universities in 13 states participated in tuition freezes. These factors led to the lowest average tuition increase since the early 1980s. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown granted more funding to schools with large populations of low-income students. A few states have passed legislation to improve the quality of aid information, loan repayment programs and college savings plans.

Although the Obama administration created the “College Scorecard,” much of the data is outdated or missing. In addition, student loan debt hit $1 trillion this year, making it the second largest cost for households, just behind mortgages.

On the federal level, there was little to no education reform in 2013.

The Senate did not pass a single education measure.

The House of Representatives only sent through two bills, which have yet to be brought up by the Senate. On May 22, 2013, the House passed the Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act. If approved by the Senate, the act would improve transparency of information about higher education institutions. On July 19, the House approved the Student Success Act, which would give states more control over their education systems, forbid the federal government from imposing new requirements on states and promote charter schools, among other things.

The post Obama renews his commitment to equality in education appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          If history repeats, Obama’s State of the Union won’t compel Congress to act   
Giving the State of the Union

When President Barack Obama delivered his 2013 State of the Union, he asked Congress to tackle many issues, including immigration reform, a minimum wage hike and gun legislation. But one year later, little progress has been made on the presidential agenda. Pool Photo by Charles Dharapak/Reuters

Here’s a little secret about the State of the Union address that President Barack Obama will deliver next week: He’ll give Congress a long list of requests but few likely will be approved. That’s just the reality of a politically divided government.

Take a look at what happened after last year’s speech.

Congress was not in a giving mood, stalling or downright ignoring Obama legislative priorities such as gun legislation, immigration, a minimum wage hike and universal preschool. The president did better with his own to-do list, but even there the administration was still wrapping up some of his pledges just days before his 2014 State of the Union address.

Indeed, when Obama delivers his speech Tuesday before a joint session of Congress, it might sound familiar. Heavy on economic themes, the address will again appeal for action on immigration and the minimum wage, and in the event Congress once again balks, he’ll offer narrower programs that he could initiate on his own.

“There is always potential for new energy behind older ideas so that they can move forward,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, suggesting that State of the Union addresses are more an exercise in patience than in action.

So here’s an annotated look at the president’s 2013 State of Union. Use it for keeping score or as a guide for his coming address.

$9 snubbed? Try $10.10

In 2013 Obama told Congress: “Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour… let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.”

Congress didn’t act. Instead, Democratic lawmakers upped the ante. A Senate bill, now endorsed by the White House, would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 and then adjust future increases to inflation. Obama is expected to make raising the minimum wage much more central to his agenda this year than last.

“You’re going to see a big push in Congress to get it done,” said Jason Furman, the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. “With each passing year it’s increasingly overdue.”

Falling on deaf ears

In 2013 Obama told Congress: “Let’s agree right here, right now to keep the people’s government open, and pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America.”

Instead, a budget impasse triggered a 16-day partial government shutdown in September and the administration and congressional Republicans went to the brink before agreeing to increase the nation’s borrowing authority and thus avoid a default.

It appears to have taken that experience, however, to change behavior.

Congress last week approved a $1 trillion spending plan for 2014 without the drama of past budget fights. Another debt ceiling looms in late February or March. Republican leaders have said they won’t allow the nation’s credit to be threatened again.

Failed but still alive

In 2013, Obama told Congress: “Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.”

The Senate last year passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that addressed border security, provided enforcement measures and offered a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally. In the House, the move stalled as Republican leaders, pressed by tea party conservatives, demanded a more limited and piecemeal approach.

Recent signs have raised expectations, however. House Speaker John Boehner plans to issue a statement of principles summing up still-undefined goals for changing immigration laws. Some Democrats appear willing to accept legislation that gives immigrant workers in the U.S. illegally official status to remain in the country, even if it doesn’t specify a path to citizenship.

Failed, has no chance

In 2013 Obama told Congress: “Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence -they deserve a simple vote.”

Following the December 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Ct., Obama proposed sweeping gun control measures. But the toughest proposals, including stricter background checks, failed in the Senate. The House did not even take them up.

Eventually, Obama took executive action to strengthen federal background checks for gun purchasers, with a focus on limiting people with mental health issues from getting access to firearms.

Fine, then I’ll do it

In 2013, Obama told Congress: “I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”

He did.

Obama launched a major second-term drive to combat climate change, bypassing Congress as he imposed first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants. The plan aims to help move the United States from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy such as wind and solar power, nuclear energy and natural gas.

Obama also has ordered the federal government to use renewable sources for 20 percent of its electricity by 2020 – nearly triple the current level.

Moreover, the White House announced in December that John Podesta, a former chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, will join Obama’s inner circle, focusing on energy and climate change policies that Obama can advance on his own.

Getting in under the wire

In 2013 Obama told Congress he would launch three manufacturing hubs, where businesses would partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to crate global centers of high-tech jobs. “And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America,” he added.

While there is bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate that embraces Obama’s proposal, Congress has yet to deliver.

Obama also pledged to identify five communities that would be targeted for tax incentives and federal grants under a government “Promise Zone” program. And it was only this month that the Obama administration named the five communities that qualified for “Promise Zone” designation.

This week, Obama announced that North Carolina State University had been selected to lead one of the three manufacturing hubs that he promised to launch in his State of the Union speech.

The other two are still in the selection process.

Didn’t see that coming

In his 2013 address, Obama told Congress: “I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

Then in June, a 29-year-old, bespectacled former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, emerged as the leaker of reports that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans. Subsequent newspaper stories contained further surveillance revelations.

Obama’s pledges of transparency were put to the test as Snowden’s secrets were unfurled in news report after news report.

On Friday, pressed by the attention generated by Snowden’s leaks, Obama proposed new measures aimed at overhauling the government’s sweeping surveillance program.

This story was written by Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn. Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

The post If history repeats, Obama’s State of the Union won’t compel Congress to act appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          Trump Aims to End America’s “Global Mission” Says Cato Institute’s Chris Preble   
America has unofficially been tasked with the defense of its allies for nearly seven decades. Despite blowing it big with the debacle that became of Vietnam, and barely making due in Korea, and more recently spending trillions in the Middle East with little to show for it, America has maintained its place as the world’s […]
          (USA-NJ-Warren) Senior Marketing Specialist   
Position Description **About our Business:** * *Investment Services** (IS) is a division of Fiserv, (NASD: FISV). Our Investment Services division makes it easy to invest and manage money. For over 30 years, we have served the wealth management industry by providing solutions that enable Banks, Brokerage firms, Money Managers and Financial Advisors to connect and manage investment portfolios and better serve their investors. There are over 4 million investment portfolios and $1.3 trillion in assets managed on our unified wealth platform. The platform includes configurable modules for financial planning, proposal generation, model management, trading, reporting and analytics. Our Wealth Management Network seamlessly connects over 350 managers, broker dealers, banks and advisors to help them manage investments. **Reporting Relationships**: Reports To: Director of Product Marketing **Essential Job Responsibilities**: * Assist in outbound or inbound marketing activities by demonstrating expertise in various areas (content development and optimization, advertising, events planning etc.) * Brainstorm and develop ideas for creative marketing campaigns. * Plan and execute initiatives to reach the target audience through appropriate channels (social media, e-mail, webinars etc.) * Assist in analyzing marketing data (campaign results, conversion rates, traffic etc.) to help shape future marketing strategies * Maintain and update corporate collateral materials including power point templates, product literature, and event properties such as tradeshow booths. * Ensure that all creative marketing materials undergo brand review and adhere to strict brand guidelines. * Liaise with external vendors to execute promotional events and campaigns. * Undertake individual tasks of a marketing plan as assigned. **Required Qualifications:** * Proven experience as marketing specialist or similar role with a minimum of 4 years’ experience * Strong understanding of marketing methods and elements (including traditional and digital marketing such as SEO/Social media etc.) and market research methods. * Demonstrable experience in marketing data analytics and tools. * Solid computer skills, including MS Office, marketing software (Adobe Creative Suite & CRM) and applications (Web analytics, Google Adwords etc.). * Well-organized and detail oriented. * Exceptional communication and writing skills. * Commercial awareness partnered with a creative mind. * BS/BA in marketing, communications or equivalent. **Travel Required**: * up to 15% Fiserv is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Vet. Visit http://www.careers.fiserv.com/eeo for more information.
          (USA-NJ-Warren) Client Management Operations Analyst III   
Position Description *About the Company:* *Investment Services* (IS) is a division of Fiserv, (NASD: FISV). Our Investment Services division makes it easy to invest and manage money. For over 30 years, we have served the wealth management industry by providing solutions that enable Banks, Brokerage firms, Money Managers and Financial Advisors to connect and manage investment portfolios and better serve their investors. There are over 4 million investment portfolios and $1.3 trillion in assets managed on our unified wealth platform. The platform includes configurable modules for financial planning, proposal generation, model management, trading, reporting and analytics. Our Wealth Management Network seamlessly connects over 350 managers, broker dealers, banks and advisors to help them manage investments. *About the Role:* The Client Management Operations Analyst is responsible to the team for support functions essential to the client executive team’s productivity and day-to-day operations. You will work closely with Account Management, Sales, Finance, and Operations and play a critical role in ensuring smooth processes and accurate data. You will be responsible for fielding CRM support requests, managing the integrity of pipeline, opportunity and customer data. *Job Responsibilities:* * Ensure CRM data accuracy and integrity * Monitoring opportunity creation and reorganizing within CRM * Supporting the client executive team with their day to day CRM needs * Maintain and ensure field compliance of sales policies, procedures, and rules of engagement related to all aspects of Client Management Operations including approval requirements, escalation processes, and compliance with standard guidelines. * Analyze sales data and provide timely, accurate reporting, including sales pipeline, and other key metrics within CRM * Updating management reports for Operating Reviews and weekly status updates (senior Management updates) * Maintain team calendar listing client meetings and events * Ability to directly interface with Fiserv senior management * Ability to become a Salesforce expert *Qualifications:* *Education:* * Bachelor’s Degree is required. * Experience utilizing CRM systems preferred. * 4years + experience supporting a sales/relationship management role or team. *Additional Skills and Experiences:* * Advanced Microsoft Excel skills. * Consistently takes initiative and displays a high sense of urgency/ownership. * Exceptional oral and written communication skills. * Problem solver. * Excellent analysis and problem solving abilities. * Strong project management and organization skills. * Outstanding attention to detail and understanding of complex processes. * A collaborative personality, enjoy working with a team-oriented environment. *Travel Required:* * Up to 15% between office locations Fiserv is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Vet. Visit http://www.careers.fiserv.com/eeo for more information.
          If GOP Can't Repeal Obamacare, How Can They Overhaul Taxes?   
News
Republicans are counting on nearly $1 trillion in tax cuts in the health bill to help them write a new tax code.
Contributed Author: 
Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press
Topics: 

          Peak community services body describes record levels of wealth in Australia as 'disturbing'   
Official data show Australians, on the whole, have never been wealthier. Figures from the Bureau of Statistics show total household wealth stood at a record $9.6 trillion at the end of March. But with nearly 3 million people still living below the poverty line, the nation's peak body for community services says it just highlights a 'disturbing growing divide in Australian society'.
          Petition for Nuclear Disarmament   
I encourage everyone to sign this important petition and circulate it among family, neighbors and people you work with.



TO: Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations

We wish to add our voices to the global campaign for an end to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. We believe that the world needs to take urgent action to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and to make the world free of nuclear weapons, as part of the overall drive for worldwide peace and the transfer of military spending to socially-useful ends. The international treaties concerning nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear weapons test-ban and fissile material cut-off are essential to achieving this goal.

In May 2010 the United Nations will meet to review the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Trade unionists from around the world are urging that meeting to make a clear path towards abolition of nuclear weapons in the shortest possible time. We ask that:

those countries which have not joined the NPT do so, and for all countries to comply with it in full;

the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty enter into force as soon as possible;
there be an immediate start to and rapid progress on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty; and

we ask for international agreements to support nuclear-weapon-free zones.

We support the actions of the “Mayors for Peace”, headed by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in calling for abolition of all nuclear weapons by 2020.

Production and maintenance of nuclear weapons, and military expenditure overall, cost more than one trillion dollars each year. We call for major reductions in military expenditure, to allow this money to be spent on social and economic development and fighting poverty. We further ask that this transformation from military to peaceful expenditure be done in a way which protects the livelihoods of those who would be affected by it.

We support the actions of the “Mayors for Peace”, headed by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in calling for abolition of all nuclear weapons by 2020.

Production and maintenance of nuclear weapons, and military expenditure overall, cost more than one trillion dollars each year. We call for major reductions in military expenditure, to allow this money to be spent on social and economic development and fighting poverty. We further ask that this transformation from military to peaceful expenditure be done in a way which protects the livelihoods of those who would be affected by it.


Go here to sign the petition---

http://www.breakingthroughforpeace.org/


Or do like I have done. Print off the Petition and circulate it yourself among people you meet during the course of the day. In the few days I have been circulating this Petition lots of people asked me for a copy to circulate so I just went to the library and photocopied 50 copies; I included my name and contact info on the Petition then I check off who signed the Petition I gave a copy to so I can gather them all up.

Just copy and paste this Petition and print it.

Take a few minutes a day to work for peace.

Rita
          Building and re-building CPUSA Party Clubs through the struggle to defeat Obama's "public option" with a proposal for socialized health care   
As the District Organizer of the Minnesota/Dakotas District of the Communist Party USA, I would like to point out that in our recent meeting based upon deep discussion with our Club chairs, we decided to make plans to do just what Alan Maki is suggesting here because the Clubs that are engaged in doing this already are growing in influence among working people.

We view these kinds of initiatives in building a stronger movement for real health care reforms as perfect opportunity for the growth of the CPUSA.

There are no obstacles we have found in bringing forward socialized health care as the solution.

We welcome anyone interested in joining the CPUSA and building new Party Clubs to contact us.

Rita Polewski


From an e-mail distributed by Alan Maki and shared with his permission.

The time has come to rebuild the CPUSA around support for a socialized health care plan.

As Barack Obama’s popularity continues to go down, now is the time for Communists to act by giving Obama and his faltering Wall Street schemes some good kicks aimed at killing this “public option” just like Obama and the Democrats killed single-payer universal health care.

Communist Party Clubs of the Marxist-Leninist type can be built around the popular support that exists among working people for socialized health care.

Now is the time to get into the action full throttle around an issue--- socialized health care--- that is made to order for Communists. We should stop being so timid when it is easier to advocate expanding the two socialized health care programs that work just fine when properly funded: VA and Indian Health Service instead of advocating something new to the American people like single-payer was.

Obama’s own words: The American people want something they are familiar with that has a proven track record.

This is welcome news that the American people, unlike Sam Webb and his revisionist colleagues, are not buying into Obama’s Wall Street schemes once the facts come out.

It is pathetic that just as the American people get the opportunity to discuss real health care reform, Obama and his revisionist friends at the helm in the CPUSA want to end dialog, discussion and debate about such a fundamental issue because a continuation of this discussion could mess up the plans of the Democrats for 2010 and Obama’s chances for re-election in 2012… the truth is finally coming out--- Democrats opportunistically place winning their political game above the health care--- and many other--- needs of working people, and the revisionists think this is just fine as they play right into the hands of Wall Street profiteers while lecturing us about what “marginalizes the left.”

We all know Barack Obama’s popularity is going to continue to slip simply because his Wall Street agenda keeps coming into conflict with the requirements of working people seeking a better life… who in their right minds would continue to cling to an opportunist, bourgeois politician like Barack Obama going down?

Sam Webb thinks the left should use the “public option” to come out of its marginalized state… I agree; but, we should do so by bringing forward socialized health care… after all, we are for socialism, right?

Alan L. Maki

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090720/pl_nm/us_usa_healthcare_poll

Support for Obama on healthcare slips: poll

From Reuters News Service

Mon Jul 20, 6:46 am ET


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Public support for President Barack Obama's handling of healthcare reform, the pillar of his legislative agenda, has fallen below 50 percent for the first time, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Monday said.

Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress have run into stiff opposition this month as they try to pass legislation to restructure the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry through the creation of a government-run health insurance program.

Republicans and some fiscally conservative Democrats argue the plan, with an estimated cost of more than $1 trillion, could hurt small businesses, add to budget deficits and reduce the quality of medical care for many Americans.

Those concerns may be having an impact on the public, according to the poll, which showed 49 percent of respondents approving of Obama's stand on the issue compared to 57 percent in April.

Those saying they disapproved rose to 44 percent from 29 percent during the same period.

Obama and the White House have gone on the offensive to drum up support for the plan, which would compete with private insurers, provide cover to many of the 46 million uninsured and try to stem runaway medical costs.

With time running out to pass a bill in Congress this year, the battle is shaping up as a major test of Obama's presidency.

Delaying legislation until 2010, a congressional election year, could give Republicans and critics in the healthcare sector more time to galvanize opposition to the plan.

But Obama remains more trusted than Republicans in Congress to do a better job on healthcare reform, the poll showed, with 54 percent of respondents putting their faith in the U.S. leader versus 34 percent in favor of Republican lawmakers.

His overall approval rating also remains high at 59 percent despite some slippage in approval ratings for his handling of the economy, the federal budget deficit and other leading domestic issues, according to the poll.

It surveyed 1,001 adults randomly by telephone between July 15-18, 2009. The results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus/minus three percentage points.

(Writing by Paul Simao; Editing by Louise Ireland)





Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net



Check out my blog:



Thoughts From Podunk



http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

          India Launches New Economic Era With Sales Tax Reform - New York Times   

Hindustan Times

India Launches New Economic Era With Sales Tax Reform
New York Times
NEW DELHI — India early on Saturday introduced its biggest tax reform in the 70 years since independence from British colonial rule. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) replaces more than a dozen federal and state levies and unifying a $2 trillion (1.53 ...
India launches new single nationwide tax - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.comKHQ Right Now
Will you get the GST benefits? Depends on the state you live inEconomic Times
GST has anti-profiteering provisions built-inTimes of India
Financial Express -India Today -YourStory.com -Business Standard
all 1,900 news articles »

           Reliance Jio impact to linger on; pretax net to fall 28% this financial year: Icra   
Battered telcos are staring at another difficult year with domestic rating agency Icra estimating an additional 6 percent dip in growth and a massive 28 percent shave-off in pre-tax profit this financial year. This is over and above the 5 percent decline in revenue to Rs 2.56 trillion in FY17, which pulled down their pre-tax profit by 10 percent to Rs 64,000 crore. “Competition has impacted revenue generation and profitability of all the players in H2 of FY2017, after Rjio launch…we have a negative outlook on the sector,” the agency’s sector head Harsh Jagnani told reporters over a conference call. Even as the RBI has asked banks to increase provisions on telco exposures fearing asset quality issues, Icra said the total debt of
          Amfi sees MF industry's AUM crossing Rs 94 trillion by 2025   
The mutual fund industry is likely to grow by almost five fold to sniff past Rs 94 trillion by 2025 from the current level of over Rs 20 trillion.
          Amfi sees AUM crossing Rs 94 trillion by 2025   
The industry lobby Amfi has pointed out that to achieve this, the industry needs to increase their distributor strength to over 6 lakh from the present 86,000.
          This is One High-Tech Tree [Video]   

This “tree” is a super cleaner. It can clean as much pollution as 275 trees! Related on EcoSalon New Forest Ecosystem Map Counts 3 Trillion Trees on Earth There’s a Global Database of Trees, and It’s Shrinking All-Natural Soap Does, In Fact, Grow on Trees (Soapberry Trees, That Is)

The post This is One High-Tech Tree [Video] appeared first on EcoSalon.


          Stock market disconnect.   
The stock market appears to reflect only the froth of our political and economic distortions.
Central banks once bought assets such as bonds and futures as a temporary plunge protection team tactic to stop a downturn from accelerating into a rout or crash. Now they are buying trillions of dollars in bonds and stocks during so-called "good times" to keep the market lofting higher even as growth slows.

This permanent intervention via buying stocks has distorted what the market can tell us. Rather than communicate a sense of how the real economy is doing, the market now reflects the will of central banks to keep the market lofting ever higher on the back of central bank purchases and liquidity.

"Market Musings: What Does the Stock Market Tell Us about Economic 'Reality'?" By Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds subscriber newsletter, June 2017.
          The Week with IPS 6/30/2017   
2017/6/30 Click here for the online version of this IPS newsletter  

Ending Child Marriage Could Add Trillions to World Economy
Roshni Majumdar
The benefits of ending child marriage are many—boosting a young girl’s morale and increasing her chances of education and work, and by that virtue, curbing high population rates in developing economies and boosting growth. Still, more than 15 million children, under 18 years of age, are ... MORE > >

Southeast Asia: From Miracle To Debacle
Jomo Kwame Sundaram
The World Bank and other influential international financial institutions and development agencies have been touting Southeast Asian (SEA) newly industrializing countries as models for emulation, especially by African developing countries seeking to accelerate their development transformations. But ... MORE > >

Insurance: A Valuable Incentive for Small Farmers’ Climate Resilience
Friday Phiri
Frequent extreme weather and climate shifts pose a challenge to already vulnerable groups such as smallholder farmers in the developing world. Between 2004 and 2014, farmers are said to have endured the brunt of the 100-billion-dollar cost of climate-related disasters. With traditional insurance ... MORE > >

Education, a Building Block for Sustainable Peace
Tharanga Yakupitiyage
Millions lack access to quality education around the world—but how can the international community change this? Two years into the adoption of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which includes a goal to provide inclusive, equitable, and quality education and lifelong ... MORE > >

Chilean President’s Apology to the Mapuche People Considered “Insufficient”
Orlando Milesi
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s formal apology to the country’s Mapuche Indians, for the “mistakes and atrocities” committed against them by the Chilean state, is seen by indigenous and social activists in the central region of Araucanía – the heartland of the Mapuche people - as falling ... MORE > >

Did Arab Coalition Threaten to Pull Out of UN in Protest?
Thalif Deen
When Saudi Arabia – which has been spearheading a coalition of Arab states in a devastating war against Yemen since 2015 – was accused of bombing civilians, and particularly children caught up in the conflict, the government in Riyadh threatened to cut off humanitarian funding to the world ... MORE > >

China Drives Nuclear Expansion in Argentina, but with Strings Attached
Daniel Gutman
Two new nuclear power plants, to cost 14 billion dollars, will give a new impetus to Argentina’s relation with atomic energy, which began over 60 years ago. President Mauricio Macri made the announcement from China, the country that is to finance 85 per cent of the works. But besides the fact ... MORE > >

Any Way to Help Slow Down Climate Change... Individually?
IPS World Desk
It is no secret that the biggest responsible for climate change is greed. The greed of the world’s largest private corporations, which blindly seek unlimited high financial benefits. And the greed of those politicians who are also blindly keen about holding their temporary power at any cost, thus ... MORE > >

Europe Stands by Caribbean on Climate Funding
Desmond Brown
A senior European Union (EU) official in the Caribbean said Europe is ready to continue the global leadership on the fight against climate change, including helping the poor and vulnerable countries in the region. Underlining the challenges posed by climate change, Head of the European Union ... MORE > >

Putting the Spotlight on Women Migrant Workers
Roshni Majumdar
Migrant workers, and their economic contribution to the development of both the country of origin and the host country, have caught the eye of governments and policymakers worldwide. But the hardships faced by women migrants, who disproportionately bear the brunt of discrimination at work, are ... MORE > >

Global Devaluation of Work Drives Up Unemployment in Brazil
Mario Osava
In addition to driving up the number of unemployed people to 14.2 million, the severe recession of the last two years led Brazil to join the global trend of flexibilisation of labour laws in order to further reduce labour costs. Creating more jobs without affecting rights is the basic argument ... MORE > >

The World Is Burning
IPS World Desk
Record high temperatures are gripping much of the globe and more hot weather are to come. This implies more drought, more food insecurity, more famine and more massive human displacements. In fact, extremely high May and June temperatures have broken records in parts of Europe, the Middle ... MORE > >


          Oh My!   

In reply to Perceptions

Slick isn't it funny how those little ones can whip us into shape without even trying! LOL I am sure the loss of sleep paid off a trillion times. Glad you enjoyed the silliness of my grandchildren, they bring me a more joy then I deserve.

RE


          Money supply growth loses steam as lending eases   

Money supply grew only slightly in May amid slower bank lending as loans for production activities and households moderated, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday. Domestic liquidity, or M3, rose by 11.3 percent to P9.6 trillion in May, from 11.2 percent in April. Month-on-month, M3 grew by a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent. [...]

The post Money supply growth loses steam as lending eases appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


          Will Super Mario save Europe’s bacon?   
Traders watch the news conference held by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, during a trading session at the Frankfurt stock exchange Jan. 22, 2015. The European Central Bank agreed on Thursday to embark on a quantitative easing (QE) program. Photo by REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski.

Traders watch the news conference held by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, during a trading session at the Frankfurt stock exchange Jan. 22, 2015. The European Central Bank agreed on Thursday to embark on a quantitative easing (QE) program. Photo by REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski.

The European Central Bank announced on Thursday that starting in March it will purchase 60 billion euros a month until at least September 2016, and that purchases of sovereign debt will be based on national shares of ECB capital.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced the measure, which is intended to boost growth and inflation, at a press conference in Frankfurt.

The ECB is adding 1 trillion euros to its balance sheet, in a process known as quantitative easing, just after the Federal Reserve wound down six years of bond buying in the United States. England and Japan have experimented with versions of QE in the past, too. But the ECB isn’t entirely new to the bond-buying scene. The bank has already been buying up private securities. The difference is that now the ECB is going after sovereign (i.e. government) debt, and they’re printing money to do it.

What Is QE?

QE works, in theory, like a chain intended to pass on reduced borrowing costs: Central banks print money to buy other institutions’ debt. That cash infusion cheapens the cost of credit for those institutions, allowing them to lend to businesses and consumers, who hopefully will invest, produce and hire more. It’s all in the name of stimulation; get the economy going by passing a (newly minted) buck (or euro) on to other lenders. QE also further weakens the euro, making European businesses more competitive outside the eurozone. Already Thursday, the euro fell more than 1 percent against the dollar to $1.1453.

For the ECB, QE is a measure of last resort. It has already tried the other instrument in the standard-issue central bank toolbox: cutting interest rates. The ECB slashed rates to below zero, lower even than the Fed Funds rate. But whereas the Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to stabilize prices and maximize employment, the European Central Bank has only one mandate. And on that, they’re failing.

The Threat of Deflation

The bank’s sole job is to keep inflation at roughly 2 percent — about the same as the Fed’s target in the U.S. In December 2014, inflation in the eurozone was -0.2 percent. Cue deflationary worries.

Deflation is bad for businesses because falling prices don’t incentivize companies to produce. It’s bad for banks, too, because borrowers with falling incomes are more likely to default since the real interest rate they’re paying goes up as deflation takes hold and the value of money actually increases. (Paying back an 8 percent auto loan is a lot easier when you’re paying back in dollars or euros that are worth less and less.)

Deflation may be worse still, as Benn Steil, director of International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations explained: falling prices seep into consumers’ psyches. In other words, if consumers are so accustomed to sinking prices that they expect prices to drop even more, they’re going to hold off on buying. “This is why Draghi has a real sense of urgency to act,” said Steil, “before deflationary psychology sets in.”

Getting to this point has been a slow road for Draghi. In 2012, his comments that he would “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro” — without actually ever acting — were enough to buoy markets, and earned him the nickname “Super Mario.” Although he hinted last June that he was interested in expanding purchases beyond private assets, he’s had to be careful, said Steil, to placate the Germans, whose cooperation is essential to the sustainability of the eurozone.

A Delicate Political Balance

The Germans have reason to be concerned for the simple reason that, unlike the Federal Reserve, the eurozone does not issue its own bonds. Instead, it must deal in the sovereign debt of 19 different national banks. That means that when the ECB takes on government debt, especially from countries like Spain, Italy and Portugal, there’s a risk of default. Germany wants nothing to do with other countries’ debt, Steil said.

Therefore, under the compromise approved by the ECB governing council, the national central banks of the eurozone countries will undertake 80 percent of the risk of the bonds that they and the ECB buy.

While that decentralized approach to QE may send mixed signals about eurozone unity, Steil said, it’s worth it if it precludes Germany from mounting some bigger challenge to QE. “It’s the best Draghi could do,” he added.

Will It Work?

The best won’t necessarily work, however. In fact, Steil predicted QE may be less effective in Europe than in the U.S. Selling bonds to the market, Steil said, is how U.S. companies borrow. But in Europe, traditional bank lending is a much bigger source of commercial financing, and given all that the banks have endured during the financial crisis, they’re not all eager to expand their balance sheets by passing the new money on to borrowers.

So even with lower borrowing costs, banks and companies — if they don’t feel the demand — might not lend. “You can lead a horse to water,” he reminded us, “but you can’t make it drink.”

But suppose the banks do drink. Because some of the investments resulting from reduced borrowing costs will end up in the stock market, QE will be accused, especially in the Piketty era, Steil said, of exacerbating inequality. That’s the reality of a stimulatory tool that works through capital markets, he said. In the long-run, though, the hope is that everyone — the rich and the poor — will be better off if deflation is averted.

Just how much it can be averted is up for debate, though. “If people believe prices will be lower in the future, then the ECB has a real problem,” Steil said.

“What the ECB would really like to do,” he added, “is encourage banks to make loans to companies and for companies to borrow more money and hire more people.” An indirect way of doing that — cutting interest rates on loans to commercials banks that promise to lend to companies and individuals — is included in Thursday’s policy announcement.

But getting companies to borrow and hire is easier said than done within the confines of the ECB’s toolbox, especially now that rates are already at the zero lower bound and inflation is so low. “We’re all experimenting,” Steil concluded, “in unfamiliar territory.”

The post Will Super Mario save Europe’s bacon? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          Taxed Enough Already (TEA): Let’s Not Find New and Exciting Ways to Tax the Internet   
The federal government each year now takes from us record tallies of tax dollars. Yet the Feds have accrued nearly $19 trillion in debt – and that ridiculous number keeps hurtling skyward.
          How Do You Value What Didn’t Happen?   
Karen Starko writes: When the “financial crisis” started and the news media started throwing around numbers in the trillions and projected fixes in the billions, I realized I just didn’t get it. So I got a little yellow post-it, labeled it “understanding trillions,” and started a list of examples. And when I learned that the…
          A Mystery Unraveled   
Gordon Seckenheim dedicated his post-doctoral research to insect behavior. Specifically, he wanted to learn why moths are attracted to a flame. His work determined that the moths killed in this way are suicidal. As corroborating evidence, he cited the global human suicide rate of .0074 percent. When you figure there are an estimated 200 trillion […]
          India's PM Modi Takes Leap with Biggest-Ever Tax Overhaul   
After Killing Currency, Modi Takes a Leap With India’s Biggest-Ever Tax Overhaul

By GEETA ANAND
JUNE 30, 2017



Textile traders protested in Bangalore, India, on Friday against the new goods and services tax. | Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times

MUMBAI, India — For the second time in less than a year, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is putting India through a revolution in the way the country does business.

In the fall, the government imposed one of the most radical monetary experiments ever, abruptly banning most of the country’s currency notes in an effort to stem corruption.

Now, it is instituting the country’s biggest tax overhaul since independence. On Saturday, a nationwide sales tax replaces the current hodgepodge of business taxes that vary from state to state and are seen as an impediment to growth. It is expected to unify in a single market 1.3 billion people spread over 29 states and seven union territories in India’s $2 trillion economy.

India, long one of the fastest growing economies in the world, has begun to lag in recent years. Mr. Modi came to office in 2014 with a promise to recharge the economy with the same business-friendly policies he introduced so successfully as the leader of Gujarat State. But he has been increasingly criticized for falling short, taking half-measures and shying away from the tough issues of overhauls to labor and land.

Even the prime minister’s ban on India’s largest currency notes, while a daring step, has come under criticism as growth has slowed to 6.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, down from 7.9 percent a year earlier.

With the introduction of the new goods and services tax, the government is hoping not just to streamline the myriad levies on businesses but to quiet the critics who say Mr. Modi has failed to deliver on his policy promises.

“This would be almost a test for Modi himself,” Harsh Pant, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi think tank, said of the new sales tax. “If it goes really badly, he’ll be in for trouble” in national elections in 2019.

Mr. Modi survived the chaos caused by his currency move last year by convincing the poor that cash shortages and lost wages were worth enduring in the fight against India’s endemic corruption. He also argued that the rich were hit the hardest as holders of most of the illicit cash, known as “black money,” that his currency ban aimed to render worthless.

Now, with the new tax system about to take effect, some are questioning whether it will live up to its billing as a radical simplifier of business taxes that will spur growth, or whether it will turn out to be just as complex as the one it is supposed to be simplifying.

In a possible sign of Modi government concern about how the public will accept the new tax rules, a Bollywood superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, has been enlisted for promotional videos in which he appears with the colors of the Indian flag on his face and proclaims, “One nation, one tax, one market.”

India has been discussing the idea of substituting a broad sales tax for the jumble of federal and state levies for much of the past decade. The previous, Congress Party-led government supported the idea, and Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party made the new sales tax part of its manifesto.



Textile traders at Mangaldas Market in Mumbai kept their shops closed in protest leading up to the introduction of the new tax. | Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times

In many ways, the idea makes perfect sense. Facing an array of taxes from the central government and states, Indian businesses have a hard time building a nationwide business. Almost everyone seemed to agree that these taxes — excise, value added, sales and service levies, among others — should be replaced with a single sales tax.

Experts estimated that moving to a single tax would add a hefty two percentage points to India’s growth rate.

But in practice, getting the goods and services tax adopted proved a dizzying challenge. It required not only a constitutional amendment in Parliament but also approvals from India’s 29 states and seven union territories, many ruled by political parties with widely divergent interests.

To win approval, the central government assured the states that it would make up any deficit in tax revenue they experienced for the next five years. The government also pledged to keep new tax rates as close as possible to existing rates, but that seemingly simple objective presented a host of obstacles.

So instead of a single flat rate, in the new system, laid out in meticulous detail in a 213-page guide, there are rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent. There are also many exceptions.

Take wood, for instance. In its various manifestations, wood finds its way into every tax bracket. There is a 5 percent tax on wood chips and particles, for example, while the rate is 18 percent on sawed lumber.

Tax rates can also vary depending upon the wholesale price. For example, the kurta shirts at Rizwan Siddique’s air-conditioned store in Crawford Market in Mumbai are to be taxed at 5 percent if their price is under 1,000 rupees, or $16, and 12 percent if they are priced higher.

Add to that a requirement that businesses make 37 online filings a year, and it is not hard to see why some businesses are complaining.

Santosh Dalvi, a partner at KPMG India, an accounting firm, said confusion was widespread. “Things have become very unmanageable, everywhere,” he said, adding: “There are a lot of open areas, a lot of gray areas. From a business perspective, people need to take a decision. It’s becoming quite challenging.”

Others say that in a country as complex as India, it is unrealistic to expect a simple tax system.

“If we came out with one flat tax on everything, there would have been protests in the streets,” said Archit Gupta, founder and chief executive of ClearTax, one of India’s biggest companies selling software to file tax returns online. “We’re such a complex country.”

Given the stark inequality in India, taxes on items used by the poor need to be lower than luxury items, Mr. Dalvi said. So carbonated drinks that only the middle and upper classes can afford are taxed at 28 percent under the new system, with an additional 12 percent levy. Tea and coffee, consumed by rich and poor alike, are taxed at 5 percent.

The new tax code applies to businesses with annual revenue above 2 million rupees, or about $31,000. And in a country legendary for tax avoidance, the system encourages compliance by reducing taxes for businesses if they can show taxes were paid earlier in the production or selling chain.



The ClearTax office staff in Bangalore. The goods and services tax is being introduced on Saturday. | Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times

“I have strong incentive to buy from G.S.T.-compliant companies,” Mr. Gupta said, referring to the goods and services tax. Companies that do so can pay less money in taxes by claiming credit for taxes paid along the production process, he said.

In the short term, at least, most agree that the new system will impose a hardship on small businesses, many of whose owners have never operated a computer and will have trouble complying with the requirement to file 37 times a year online.

In Chandni Chowk, one of the biggest markets in New Delhi, traders held three days of protests this week over the new system.

“G.S.T. is like a mountain of sorrows for us,” said Mukesh Sachdeva, 61, the third generation in his family in the fabric business.

“There are not many educated people in this trade,” Mr. Sachdeva said. “In our shops, we don’t have space to keep a computer and computer operator.”

At Crawford Market, one of Mumbai’s largest, Subash Jain, 62, was similarly concerned.

“I’m fully convinced that I’ll be facing difficulties in billing, sales and paperwork,” he said, chatting in a friend’s store a few doors down from his shop, previously run by his father, which sells fabric for suits and shirts.

“I have to hire an accountant plus a tax advocate and a computer,” Mr. Jain said. “I have to hire a computer operator who will take a salary.”

There is one business that is booming, and that is India’s online tax filing companies. ClearTax, for one, has developed software for filing the new sales tax paperwork and is holding 11 training sessions daily that are attended by roughly 2,000 people, Mr. Gupta said.

Many attendees are accountants who are desperately trying to understand the new code.

All of the change is likely to slow down business and add to costs, at least in the short run, many experts say. But they say that if it all goes well, businesses, and India, stand to grow in the medium and long term.

Nobody has more riding on this than Mr. Modi. Small-business owners, who formed his political base in the last election, are already upset by the hit their largely cash-based businesses took during the currency ban last year.

The government, said Mr. Pant, the Observer Research Foundation fellow, may be relying too heavily “on the prime minister’s popularity.”

“I’m quite confident it’s not going to be seamless,” he said.

Source: NY Times

          Scandal That Cost Barclays Chairman His Job Threatens To Spread   
Every day at 11 a.m., a few big banks tell the British Bankers' Association what it costs them to borrow. Out of that comes LIBOR — the London Interbank Offered Rate, a dull but vital interest rate that underpins trillions of dollars of transactions globally, from home mortgages and personal credit cards to major corporate lending. Now it turns out that at least some of those same banks may have been trying to manipulate the numbers to gain a small edge in the market — an edge that might win them a few tens of thousands of dollars, while driving up borrowing costs by billions for consumers and businesses around the world. Marcus Agius, the chairman of British banking giant Barclays, announced his resignation Monday over the scandal, and the bank paid a $453 million fine. Barclays emails show traders agreeing to manipulate the numbers they reported almost casually. The United Kingdom is launching an investigation, and regulators elsewhere in Europe and in the United States have
          Presidency Explains Why Presidential Jet Will Remain With Buhari In London At The Cost Of £4000 Per Day For Over 55 Days Now   
The Presidency is constrained to decry criticisms, mostly on social media, on the retention in London of the Presidential Aircraft, NAF 001 as mostly informed by lack of understanding of protocol around foreign trips by Heads of State all over the world.

It is important to state that for reasons of protocol, national security, diplomacy and prestige, there is no world leader who travels abroad and is left without plans for immediate return or possible evacuation.

From operational point of view, this country’s Armed Forces as represented by the Nigeria Air Force are not to abandon their Commander-In-Chief in whichever circumstance he is. This is a standard operating procedure.

We have also read claims about outrageous fees allegedly paid by Nigeria. The published amounts are totally untrue. Aircraft conveying heads of state all over the world usually enjoy waivers even where payments for parking are differentiated by aircraft categories.


We been assured that where the waiver is not granted, payment will not exceed £1,000, which is a quarter of the amount being peddled.
For the avoidance of doubt, this President is not the first to have a presidential aircraft standing by for him, as he will certainly not be the last. All past Heads of this country have had this privilege, and the part that surprises the most is that leaders who in the past travelled with three Nigerian aircraft did not suffer this trenchant criticism.

We appeal to Nigerians to ignore opposition campaign aimed at derailing this administration's big plans for the country. This is a government that is constructing the Second Niger Bridge, the Mambila Power Plant, the East-West and the North-South standard gauge railway lines.

We are a government that has saved this country an annual loss of two trillion Naira from fraudulent petroleum subsidy schemes by influential citizens and their children, and rid the public service of about 50,000 ghost workers.

The Buhari administration certainly deserves a chance.

GARBA SHEHU
Special Senior Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
June 29, 2017.


          Data Center Technician MI   
MI-Belleville, About Randstad: Randstad is responsible for the entire day to day management of state of the art data center operations throughout the United States for a multinational banking and financial services holding company. It is the largest of its kind in the United States with total worldwide assets in excess of US$2 trillion. Primary Duties within client: We are responsible for the day to day manageme
          $9.2 Billion Cut in Education Funding – White House Proposes.   
(ThyBlackMan.com) No one ever said that higher education wouldn’t cost money. Across the country, tuition is steadily rising and students are taking longer to pay off their student loans. Today, 44 million consumers share $1.4 trillion in borrowed student debt – more than double what it was in 2008. On average, graduating seniors with a bachelor’s […]
          Trump’s Infrastructure Plan: A Turning Point for the Smart-City Movement?   
President Trump’s plan to invest more than $1 trillion to modernize America’s infrastructure might bring business opportunities to the smart-city movement.
          Forbes 2017 Billionaires List: Meet The Richest People On The Planet   
On the 30th anniversary of Forbes' guide to the world's richest, we found a record 2,043 billionaires - 233 more than a year ago. In total, they are worth $7.7 trillion.
          U.S.-E.U.: WTO rules Boeing got $5B in illegal US subsidies   
The World Trade Organization ruled that U.S. planemaker Boeing received $5.3 billion in illegal government subsidies over a quarter-century. Airbus and Boeing have both complained to the WTO that the other is receiving state aid. They are locked in a long-running trade dispute over a market believed to be worth more than $3 trillion over the next decade.

          U.S.: Will Wall Street Ever Face Justice?   
Four years after the disintegration of the financial system, 24 million people jobless or underemployed. Yet claims of financial fraud against companies like Citigroup and Bank of America have been settled for pennies on the dollar, with no admission of wrongdoing. Executives who ran companies that made, packaged and sold trillions of dollars in toxic mortgages and mortgage-backed securities remain largely unscathed.

          Trump Administration to Kill Fracking Rule on Public Lands   
Trump disagrees with majority of Americans, who are opposed to fracking and drilling on public lands.

The Trump administration intends to scrap and rewrite an Obama-era rule designed to make fracking on federal lands safer.

Drilling has taken place on federal lands for years, with more than 100,000 wells in existence. In 2015, the Interior Dept. issued new standards aimed at making the process safer, including stricter and higher design standards for wells and waste fluid storage facilities to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife. Companies would also be required to publicly disclose chemicals used in fracking.

However, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl blocked the Obama rule in June after accepting the argument from energy companies and several states that federal regulators lack congressional authority to set rules for fracking.

The Obama administration appealed the decision to the 10th Circuit, but the rule could be killed for good. The Trump administration said in court filings Wednesday it is withdrawing from the lawsuit.

Justice Dept. lawyers representing Interior and the Bureau of Land Management asked the court to "continue the oral argument and hold these appeals in abeyance pending a new rulemaking" on the issue.

"As part of this process, the Department has begun reviewing the 2015 Final Rule (and all guidance issued pursuant thereto) for consistency with the policies and priorities of the new Administration," the motion reads. "This initial review has revealed that the 2015 Final Rule does not reflect those policies and priorities."

A spokeswoman for Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke confirmed with the Associated Press that the administration intends to submit a new rule.

Neal Kirby of the Independent Petroleum Association of America praised the withdrawal of the rule, calling it "unnecessary, duplicative and would further drive away independent producers from federal lands."

"Every energy-producing area has different needs and requirements, which is why the states are far more effective at regulating hydraulic fracturing than the federal government," he said.

Many environmental advocates felt that the 2015 rule was already too lenient, but the Trump administration's latest action could be even more worrisome to fracking opponents.

"This disturbing decision highlights Trump's desire to leave our beautiful public lands utterly unprotected from oil industry exploitation," said Michael Saul, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Backing away from these modest rules is doubly dangerous given the administration's reckless plans to ramp up fracking and drilling on public lands across America."

Other environmental organizations spoke out against the announcement.

"Today's news demonstrates the degree to which Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration are in the pocket of the oil and gas industry," said Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman. 

Earthworks policy director Lauren Page said: "By moving to overturn these common-sense protections, the Trump administration is positioning itself against the disclosure of toxic chemicals, protecting clean water and preserving our public land."

Groundwater contamination is one of the biggest concerns about unconventional oil and natural gas production. While the industry maintains the safety of the process, in December the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its highly anticipated final report identifying cases of impacts on drinking water at each stage in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle.

The disposal of fracking wastewater into underground wells has also been linked to the alarming increase in seismic activity in states such as Oklahoma and Kansas.

"With [Wednesday's] decision, Trump is making it clear that he thinks we need more fracking operations contaminating our drinking water, causing earthquakes and polluting our environment, not less," Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director Lena Moffitt said. "The Sierra Club will continue to defend this rule, ensuring that our publicly-owned lands remain protected from fracking and Donald Trump."

President Trump has plans to open up federal lands for more energy development. As a candidate, Trump campaigned on a promise to "unleash America's $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves."

He accused President Obama of "denying millions of Americans access to the energy wealth sitting under our feet" by restricting leasing and banning new coal extraction.

Incidentally, the actions of the current administration go against the sentiments of the majority of Americans, who are opposed to fracking and drilling of public lands, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll, released on Tuesday, determined that 53 percent of Americans oppose fracking as a means of increasing the production of natural gas and oil in the U.S. Only 46 percent support for opening up federal lands for oil exploration, compared to 65 percent who favored it in 2014.

"Americans Tilt Toward Protecting Environment, Alternative Fuels" Gallup

The Gallup poll found that 72 percent of Americans support spending more government money on energy alternatives such as solar and wind power. About two-thirds of Americans favor more strongly enforcing federal environmental regulations and setting higher emissions standards for business and energy.

Public opposition to fracking has grown in recent years, as counties and cities across the country are passing resolutions and ordinances to ban the practice. 

Even states are getting behind the action. The Maryland House of Delegates passed a milestone bill earlier this month that would ban fracking statewide.

Fracking opponents are now urging the Maryland Senate to pass the same legislation. On Thursday morning, a group of protesters‚ including including faith leaders and western Maryland residents, barred the entrance to the State House in a peaceful act of civil disobedience. Thirteen were arrested.

"As stewards of God's creation, United Methodists are opposed to hydraulic fracturing because of the serious consequences for the environment, including damage to water and geological stability," said Rev. Julie Wilson, chair for the Board of Church and Society for the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. "We support a ban on fracking."

Garrett County in western Maryland is likely to be the first area targeted if fracking is allowed. The demonstrators say that fracking would threaten the area's local economy, which relies heavily on tourism and agriculture.

"Western Maryland would be targeted first by fracking, and western Marylanders overwhelmingly know that we can never allow it to take place," said Ann Bristow, Garrett County resident and member of Gov. O'Malley's Marcellus shale advisory commission.

"The more we learn about fracking, the more we know we need a ban. Our water, health and climate are far more important than short term gain for the natural gas industry. Once free of worrying about fracking in Maryland, we can all turn our attention to a renewable and sustainable future."

     

          The 15 Most Ridiculous Things That Media Figures Said About Environmental Issues in 2016   
Climate denialism. Conspiracy theories. Trump apologism. This year had a little bit of everything.

Donald Trump and the presidential election dominated news coverage in 2016. But talking heads still found plenty of time to make jaw-dropping comments about climate change, energy, and the environment. This year’s list of ridiculous claims includes a dangerous conspiracy theory about Hurricane Matthew, over-the-top worship of fracking and coal, and absurd victim-blaming around the Flint water crisis. Here is our list of the 15 most ridiculous things that media figures said about climate, energy, and environmental issues in 2016.

1. Rush Limbaugh And Matt Drudge Peddled A Reckless Conspiracy Theory Downplaying The Threat From Hurricane Matthew. Shortly before Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the U.S., Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge concocted a conspiracy theory that the federal government was overstating the hurricane’s severity in order to manufacture concern about climate change. On The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh accused the National Hurricane Center of "playing games" with hurricane forecasting and added, “It's in the interest of the left to have destructive hurricanes because then they can blame it on climate change, which they can desperately continue trying to sell.”

Limbaugh doubled down on this theory the next day, telling his audience, “There’s politics in the forecasting of hurricanes because there are votes.”

Drudge, the curator of the widely read Drudge Report website, promoted the conspiracy as well, suggesting that federal officials were exaggerating the danger posed by Hurricane Matthew “to make [an] exaggerated point on climate.”

[Twitter, 10/6/16]

[Twitter, 10/6/16]

Drudge also used his website to persuade Southeast residents not to take the storm seriously, with a banner “STORM FIZZLE? MATTHEW LOOKS RAGGED!” and additional headlines “IT’S A 4?” and “RESIDENTS NOT TAKING SERIOUSLY...”.

Climate scientist Michael Mann explained that people "could die because of the misinformation that folks like Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge are putting out there," and two actual hurricane experts provided a point-by-point rebuttal of Drudge’s claims. But that did nothing to dissuade Drudge, who refused to give up on the conspiracy theory.

2. Fox News Blamed The Flint Water Crisis On Climate Change Policies, "PC Stuff,” And Even Flint Residents Themselves. National media outlets largely ignored the water crisis in Flint, MI, as it unfolded over almost two years, but when the story did finally make national headlines, Fox News pundits were quick to pin the blame on anyone and anything other than the Republican governor of Michigan.

On Fox & Friends, host Heather Nauert and guest Mark Aesch suggested that “misplaced priorities,” including climate change and “PC stuff,” allowed the water crisis to happen:

And on The Kelly File, Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt placed blame on Flint residents themselves, saying that the "people of Flint should have been protesting in the streets" after noticing that their water was poisoned. Stirewalt also blamed Flint parents for giving their children contaminated water, declaring: "If you were pouring water into a cup for your child and it stunk and it smelled like sulfur and it was rotten, would you give that to your child? No, you'd revolt, you'd march in the street." In addition to being offensive, Stirewalt’s comments were premised on a falsehood; Flint residents did in fact repeatedly protest throughout the year to demand safe drinking water for their families.

3. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Claimed Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt “Hasn’t Denied Global Warming.” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is a climate science denier who has refused to accept the clear consensus of the scientific community that human activities such as burning fossil fuels are primarily responsible for global warming. Yet according to CNN New Day anchor Alisyn Camerota, Pruitt simply “sees nuance” and “hasn’t denied global warming.” Camerota falsely claimed that Pruitt only disputes climate “predictions” and “forecasts,” when in fact he has also denied that global warming is human-caused, and even Camerota's premise that climate models are unreliable is incorrect. As Camerota wrongly absolved Pruitt of climate denial, CNN’s on-screen text read: “Climate Change Denier Scott Pruitt To Lead EPA.” Co-anchor Chris Cuomo also pushed back on Camerota, stating that Pruitt “says it’s ‘far from settled.’ That means he’s not accepting the science.”

Camerota badly butchered climate science, but it's noteworthy she was even discussing the issue given CNN’s spotty track record. In April, a Media Matters analysis found that CNN aired almost five times as much oil industry advertising as climate change-related coverage in the one-week periods following the announcements that 2015 was the hottest year on record and February 2016 was the most abnormally hot month on record. And in one segment later in the year where CNN did cover climate change, CNN Newsroom host Carol Costello speculated, “Are we just talking about this and people's eyes are glazing over?”

4. MSNBC's Mike Barnicle: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson "Is A Huge Green Guy.” Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies. Exxon is currently under investigation in several states for possibly violating state laws by deceiving shareholders and the public about climate change, while Tillerson himself has misinformed about climate science and mocked renewable energy. Yet according to Mike Barnicle, a regular on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “Rex Tillerson is a huge green guy.” And alas, no, we don't think he was comparing Tillerson to the Jolly Green Giant or the Incredible Hulk.

5. Disregarding Everything Trump Has Said And Done On The Subject, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough Claimed “I Just Know” Trump Believes In Climate Science. On Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough defended Trump after it was announced he had selected Pruitt, a climate science denier, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Scarborough -- who along with co-host Mika Brzezinski has repeatedly carried water for Trump -- insisted, “I just know” that Trump “has to believe” in climate science.

Scarborough’s comments followed a wave of TV coverage about how Trump had supposedly “reversed course” on climate change, which was based on a New York Times interview in which Trump said he has an “open mind” about the Paris climate agreement and that “there is some connectivity” between human activities and climate change. But few of these reports addressed any of the substantive reasons that such a reversal was highly unlikely, such as his transition team’s plan to abandon the Obama administration’s landmark climate policy, indications that he will dismantle NASA’s climate research program, and his appointment of fossil fuel industry allies as transition team advisers -- not to mention the full context of Trump’s remarks to the Times.

6. Trump Adviser Stephen Moore: Being Against Fracking “Is Like Being Against A Cure For Cancer.” While discussing his new book Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy on C-SPAN2's Book TV, conservative economist and Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore stated that opposing fracking “is like being against a cure for cancer” because it is “one of the great seismic technological breakthroughs” that is “giving us huge amounts of energy at very low prices.” Never mind that many of the chemicals involved in fracking have actually been linked to cancer. 

7. Stephen Moore: “We Have The Cleanest Coal In The World.” Moore’s preposterous praise for fossil fuels wasn’t just confined to fracking. On Fox Business’ Varney & Co., he declared that the U.S. has “the cleanest coal in the world.” That statement is quite difficult to square with the fact that “Coal combustion contributes to four of the top five leading causes of death in the U.S.—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases—according to Physicians for Social Responsibility,” as Climate Nexus has noted.

Pro-coal propaganda also found a home on Fox Business’ sister network, Fox News, where The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld asserted that “coal is a moral substance. Where coal reaches, people live longer, happier lives.”

8. Breitbart’s James Delingpole: Climate Change Is “The Greatest-Ever Conspiracy Against The Taxpayer.” In an article promoting a speech he gave to the World Taxpayers’ Associations in Berlin, Breitbart’s James Delingpole wrote: “Climate change is the biggest scam in the history of the world – a $1.5 trillion-a-year conspiracy against the taxpayer, every cent, penny and centime of which ends in the pockets of the wrong kind of people.” In the speech itself, Delingpole similarly claimed that “the global warming industry” is “a fraud; a sham; a conspiracy against the taxpayer.”

Breitbart, which was until recent months run by Trump’s chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon, has frequently denied climate change and viciously attacked climate scientists. Delingpole, in particular, has described climate scientists as “talentless lowlifes” and referred to climate advocates as “eco Nazis,” “eco fascists,” and “scum-sucking slime balls.” Bannon has criticized Pope Francis for succumbing to “hysteria” about climate change; The Washington Post has written about how Bannon influenced Trump’s views on the issue during his time at Breitbart.

9. Fox Report On Law Gas Prices: “Put The Tesla In The Garage And Break Out The Hummer.” Just 10 days after Trump was elected president, Fox News began giving him credit for low gas prices, the latest proof of the network’s blatant double standard when it comes to covering gas prices under Republican and Democratic presidents. But simply shilling for Trump was apparently not enough for Fox Business reporter Jeff Flock, who provided the slanted gas prices report on Fox News’ America’s News Headquarters. At the conclusion of the reportFlock also displayed a brazen lack of concern about climate change, declaring: “I would say put the Tesla in the garage and break out the Hummer.”

10. Wall Street Journal’s Mary Kissel Instructed Viewers To “Trust” A Climate Science-Denying Fossil Fuel Front Group. In a video interview posted on The Wall Street Journal’s website, Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel instructed viewers who are “confused about the science surrounding climate change” to “trust” Rod Nichols, chairman of a climate science-denying fossil fuel front group known as the CO2 Coalition. During the interview, Nichols denied that human activities such as burning oil and coal are responsible for recent global warming, claiming that “climate change has been going on for hundreds of millions of years,” “there is not going to be any catastrophic climate change,” and “CO2 will be good for the world.” Kissel asked Nichols, “Why don't we hear more viewpoints like the ones that your coalition represents,” and concluded that the CO2 Coalition’s research papers are “terrific.”

The Wall Street Journal has made a habit of “trusting” climate science deniers like Nichols -- or at least repeating their false claims about climate science. A recent Media Matters analysis of climate-related opinion pieces found that the Journal far outpaced other major newspapers in climate science misinformation, publishing 31 opinion pieces that featured climate denial or other scientifically inaccurate claims about climate change over a year-and-a-half period.

11. Fox Host Clayton Morris: Rubio's Climate Science Denial At Presidential Debate Was An "Articulate Moment.” During a Fox News discussion of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s performance at a CNN presidential debate, Fox and Friends co-host Clayton Morris described Rubio’s claim that the climate is “always” changing -- a common talking point among climate science deniers -- as “a really articulate moment.” 

While Morris’ endorsement of Rubio’s climate denial as “articulate” is particularly striking, a 2015 Media Matters analysis found that media frequently failed to fact-check GOP presidential candidates’ climate change denial.

12. Fox Hosts Mocked Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar Speech On Climate Change: "Focus On Something Else Other Than The Weather.” When actor Leonardo DiCaprio took home the Oscar for best actor for his role in The Revenant, the hosts of Fox News’ The Five and Fox and Friends mocked DiCaprio for devoting much of his acceptance speech to making the case for climate change action. On The Five, co-host Jesse Watters declared, “So the guy finally gets an Academy Award and he's talking about the weather. What's going on here?” Co-host Eric Bolling helpfully added, “Focus on something else other than the weather.”

That wasn’t the only time in 2016 that DiCaprio was caught in Fox News’ crosshairs for having the nerve to talk about climate change. Later in the year, The Five aired footage from an event in which President Obama criticized congressional climate deniers and DiCaprio said, “The scientific consensus is in, and the argument is now over. If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts, or in science, or empirical truths, and therefore in my humble opinion should not be allowed to hold public office.” The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld then responded by likening criticism of climate science deniers to religious extremism, saying: “You have to wonder about a belief system that doesn't want any challenges, that doesn't want any of their theories to be questioned. This -- what he is talking about is radical Islam of science. He is actually turning science into a religion.”

13. Fox’s Meghan McCain: "The Liberal Hysteria Over Climate Change Was So Overblown That Now People Have A Hard Time Even Believing It.” Rather than criticize conservatives or Republicans who frequently deny climate science, Fox News host Meghan Mccain blamed liberals for public confusion about climate change, declaring on Fox News' Outnumbered that “the liberal hysteria over climate change was so overblown that now people have a hard time even believing it and believing that it's something that's justified.” McCain, who also mocked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for campaigning on the issue with Al Gore, added, “I do think there are signs we should look at, but if Al Gore, if you take his word for it, there's a big flood that's going to come in and wipe us all away in five minutes.”

McCain is the daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who notoriously flip-flopped on climate change legislation in 2009, undercutting congressional efforts to address the issue.

14. Fox’s Steve Doocy: Obama’s Monument Designation Was Done To “Appease Environmental Terrorists.” On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy declared that President Obama’s designation of the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean was “done to appease environmental terrorists.” Not so shockingly, Doocy and his co-hosts did not comment when their guest, Deadliest Catch’s Keith Colburn, acknowledged that "increased water temperatures" from climate change are impacting fisheries across the United States.

15. Fox Hosts Flipped Out About Portland Public Schools Decision To Stop Teaching Climate Denial To Children. In May, the Portland Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution “aimed at eliminating doubt of climate change and its causes in schools.” But while climate science denial may no longer be taught in Portland public schools, it still has a place on Fox News, as the hosts of Outnumbered demonstrated in their flippant response to the resolution.

Co-host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery said the Portland schools decision is “so anti-scientific,” adding, “There are still scientists, believe it or not, out there who say, ‘No, we still have to look at the data.’ And it's impossible to predict how the climate is going to change over hundreds or thousands of years.” Co-host Jesse Waters remarked, “So getting out of the ice age, how did the Earth warm up after the ice age? There were no humans there with cars and factories.” He also stated, “It gets hot, it gets cold, this spring has been freezing. It's not getting warmer, it seems like it's getting colder. Am I wrong?”

But Fox News pundits aren’t just defenders of teaching climate science denial; they’re also partially to blame for it, according to researchers at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Last year, the SMU researchers released a study that found some children's textbooks that depict the reality of human-caused climate change with uncertainty are influenced by a climate science knowledge gap that finds its roots partly in conservative media misinformation. In particular, the SMU researchers pointed to previous research that showed Fox has disproportionately interviewed climate science deniers and that its viewers are more likely to be climate science deniers themselves.

     

          Donald Trump's 'Carbon Bubble' Economy Is Bound to Pop—the Only Question Is How Bad It Will Be   
Trump's economic policies are built on many flawed assumptions, especially a fossil-fuel boom that won't end well.

Donald Trump’s “policies” don’t really exist in any conventional or coherent sense, but his promises, pledges and appointments so far tell us enough to know that he’s devoted to the kind of bubble economics that ultimately can only burst. First, there’s the “carbon bubble,” pursuing economic growth through fossil fuel investments that can never pay off because 80 percent of the fuel can never be burned. (Sean McElwee wrote about it here three years ago.) Second, there’s Trump’s reliance on vastly accelerated economic growth to wave away budget concerns and other reality-based question about what he wants to do on multiple policy fronts. Third is a more fantastical bubble — the imagined resurgence of traditional working-class jobs in mining and manufacturing, at a time when even China is losing manufacturing jobs to cheaper labor markets.

Each of these bubbles just might expand for a while in the short run — which so-called balanced and objective journalists will report as signs that Trump’s policies are “working.” But they’ll have to join with Trump in denying reality in order to do so. Let’s examine each of these bubbles to see why.

The most troubling aspect is Trump’s commitment to the “carbon bubble,” a commitment to expanding the production of fossil fuels, despite the fact that 80 percent of existing reserves are unrecoverable or unusable —worth absolutely nothing — if we’re to survive as a civilization. Treating those reserves as if they will actually be used vastly overvalues them, creating a carbon asset bubble, just as multiple factors overvalued housing in the Bush years, in turn creating strong incentives for a wide range of foolish, destructive and even criminal acts.

The carbon bubble does exactly the same thing. It’s not just fossil fuel reserves that are overvalued by the bubble, but everything associated with the sector — pipelines, power plants, refineries, etc. — as well as assets at risk from climate change, such as waterfront property (see Miami Beach, still in deep denial).

The carbon bubble risk is only made worse by the fact that renewable energy costs have dropped dramatically in recent years, and become increasingly competitive. Thus, even if those reserves were not unburnable because of their potential impact on climate change, they will become so for economic reasons in the next few decades. For example, the World Economic Forum’s recently released “Renewable Infrastructure Investment Handbook: A Guide for Institutional Investors” reported:

[T]he unsubsidized, levellized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility scale solar photovoltaic, which was highly uncompetitive only five years ago, has declined at a 20% compounded annual rate, making it not only viable but also more attractive than coal in a wide range of countries. By 2020, solar photovoltaic is projected to have a lower LCOE than coal or natural gas-fired generation throughout the world.

Add to this the fact that renewable energy — particularly solar and wind — is a new technology sector, in which large efficiency gains are to be expected. That’s quite unlike the fossil fuel industry, whose costs are increasing because the cheap, easy-to-get fuel has already been burned. By 2030, renewables could well leave fossil fuels in the dust. Which is why Trump’s embrace of the carbon bubble is particularly foolish.

There’s also the rapidly-growing carbon divestment movement, intensifying pressure on the bubble. One year after the Paris climate accords, a new report found that “the value of assets represented by institutions and individuals committing to some sort of divestment from fossil fuel companies has reached $5 trillion. To date, 688 institutions and 58,399 individuals across 76 countries have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies, doubling the value of assets represented in the last 15 months.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a strongly positive response. “One year after the adoption of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, it’s clear the transition to a clean energy future is inevitable, beneficial and well underway, and that investors have a key role to play,” he said. “I commend today’s announcement that a growing number of investors are backing a shift away from the most carbon intensive energy sources and into safe, sustainable energy.”

Divestment makes even more sense to the wider business world, given how much climate change costs them already. The reinsurance giant Swiss Re issued its first pamphlet on climate change in 1994, perhaps the first sign of an emerging alliance with environmentalists, which Ross Gelbspan wrote about in 1997, in “The Heat Is On.” Three years later, he wrote:

During the 1980s those insurance losses to extreme weather events averaged $2 billion a year; in the 1990s they are averaging $12 billion a year. Since 1980, the US has absorbed more than a billion dollars in losses from each 42 separate weather events. And the $89 billion in losses to extreme events just in 1998 exceeds the total of all such losses for the entire decade of the 1980s.

The losses have been mounting ever since, with reinsurers keeping careful track. The more they rise, the more other businesses have reason to ally with renewable energy, and invest in it. 

What’s more, the broad-based disinvestment movement dovetails with activism focused on dangerous major projects, such as the Dakota Access pipeline, which has seen a pair of major investors — Enbridge Energy Partners and Marathon Petroleum — hold back on a $2 billion stake in the project. This reflects economic pressures felt within the fossil fuel energy sector itself. Energy analyst and author Antonia Juhasz (“The Tyranny of Oil") pointed out, “If Enbridge and Marathon thought that completion of the pipeline was a done deal, the money would have been a done deal too. This means they are worried and are not feeling secure enough to turn over their cash, putting even more financial pressure on Energy Transfer Partners.”

Futurist Alex Steffen summed up the situation recently in “Trump, Putin and the Pipelines to Nowhere.

There is no long game in high-carbon industries. Their owners know this. They don’t need a long game, though. … All they need is the perception of the inevitability of future profit, today. That’s what keeps valuations high. … The Carbon Bubble will pop not when high-carbon practices become impossible, but when their profits cease to be seen as reliable.

That’s where Trump and his announced administration comes in. “For high-carbon industries to continue to be attractive investments, they must spin a tale of future growth,” Steffen writes. No one is spinning that tale harder than Trump, with “a cabinet and chief advisors in which nearly every member is a climate denialist with ties to the Carbon Lobby.” No one except, of course, Vladimir Putin. Italy is one of Europe’s troubled southern economies, but its 2015 GDP was almost 40 percent more than Russia’s. Without oil and gas, the Russian economy would collapse altogether. Hence, perhaps, the most fundamental reason for the Trump-Putin bromance.

But the carbon bubble isn’t alone. Trump’s economic plan, with its extravagant claims of producing 4 percent growth — or, a bit more conservatively, 3.5 percent growth for more than a decade — is both wildly unrealistic and ultimately bubble-based. The plan’s lack of realism was neatly summarized by Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, in a September blog post, “Trump’s Unrealistic Expectations for Economic Growth.” Except for short-term bursts after a recession, actual GDP (demand for goods and services) is limited by potential GDP (the goods and services the economy could supply with full employment and all businesses at full capacity). The Great Recession not only sharply dropped actual GDP, it permanently lowered the growth path of potential GDP, as determined by the Congressional Budget Office.

“The Congressional Budget Office could be wrong,” Stone noted, “but if it’s right about the potential growth path, we don’t have much room for rapid growth over the next decade.” Trump has offered no argument as to why the CBO might be mistaken, and until he does so, his plan is starkly unrealistic — especially with an aging population and restricted immigration slowing the growth of the labor force. As Stone explained:

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that potential GDP rose at a 4 percent annual rate from 1950-1973, with labor force growth of 1.6 percent and labor productivity growth of 2.4 percent (the highest on a sustained basis in the whole postwar period). Its estimate for 2016-26 is 1.8 percent, with 0.5 percent coming from labor force growth and the rest from productivity. To achieve 4 percent growth without immigration, productivity would have to grow at 3.5 percent — almost 50 percent faster than its record-setting 1950-73 rate.

But Trump’s prospects look even worse when one considers how poorly the economy does under Republicans compared to Democrats over time. The only presidents to manage 3.5 percent growth or better since the Great Depression were Franklin D. Roosevelt (three complete terms), Harry Truman (one term), John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (one combined term and one that was LBJ’s alone), Ronald Reagan (one term) and Bill Clinton (one term). Clinton came within a whisker of doing it twice, while Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter both topped 3.4 percent within one term.

Thus, the only Democrats to preside over less than 3.4 percent growth were Truman, during the post-WWII recession, and Obama, during and after the Great Recession, whereas the only Republican presidents to reach that level were Reagan and Eisenhower, both in their second terms.

Reagan was the only Republican to top 4 percent growth, but only with the help of significant growth in the female labor force — which ran counter to his social agenda far more than it was a product of his economic policies. What Reagan did do, economically, was to increase demand by running massive federal deficits, which another form of unsustainable bubble economics. It isn’t unsustainable because the federal government can’t run such deficits — the British government ran larger deficits for centuries — but because sooner or later, Republicans won’t allow it. Clinton managed significantly stronger growth (4.73 percent, vs 4.08 percent for Reagan), while piling up a budget surplus.

Finally, Trump’s promise to restore mining and manufacturing jobs represents an even more fantastical bubble. In response to a New York Times article on support for Trump in West Virginia, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center on Economic Policy Research asked “How Far Back Does He Want to Take West Virginia?” The mining jobs there have been gone for a very long time:

Employment in coal mining had fallen from a peak of more than 130,000 in 1940 to just over 21,000 in 2000, roughly its current level. Employment did rise somewhat in the last decade, reaching 35,700 in December of 2011. (This was a bit less than 5.0 percent of total employment in the state.) However, it began to decline back to its current level the following year, largely due to the availability of cheap natural gas from fracking.

There are two fundamental truths here: first, coal is a sector in long-term decline, and second, Trump’s bubble enthusiasm for fossil fuels isn’t even likely to help people who work in fossil fuel industries. His over-enthusiasm for blindly pushing competition helped to destroy the United States Football League (a 1980s rival of the NFL), as well as his New Jersey casino holdings. The same sort of blindness is at work here. Unregulated fracking has only made matters worse for coal generally and coal miners in particular. Blaming Obama is just fanciful scapegoating.

Things are more complicated in manufacturing, though it helps to remember how bitterly Obama was attacked for saving millions of auto-industry jobs, while Trump breaks his arm patting himself on the back over a few hundred at Carrier. Obama’s example shows that job-protection policies are possible on a significant scale. At the same time, manufacturing jobs have been declining across the developed world for some time — and China faces similar pressures in the near future — even as productivity increases. It’s difficult to draw a bright line defining the limits of economic possibility. But it’s not difficult to say that a bigger share of a declining global pie can only be a bubble at best, and is more likely an out-and-out fantasy.

In fact, Trump’s prospective boom can be thought of as another sort of capital asset bubble, where the asset is white working-class masculine identity. Trump the pseudo-billionaire pretending to be the great champion of that asset is the stuff of which bubbles are made. It’s only a question of how soon it bursts, and who gets hurt when that happens.

 

     

          Fantastic News For Rich Assholes.   
Morgan Stanley put you on the hook to cover a potential $52 trillion in losses: Then yesterday’s Financial Times brought even worse news. To help save some cash in the event of a downgrade, Morgan Stanley was hoping to park a big portion of its $52 trillion derivatives portfolio inside its bank subsidiary—the portion of […]
          Paul Craig Roberts Asks "Why Has Washington Been At War For 16 Years?"   

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

For sixteen years the US has been at war in the Middle East and North Africa, running up trillions of dollars in expenses, committing untold war crimes, and sending millions of war refugees to burden Europe, while simultaneously claiming that Washington cannot afford its Social Security and Medicare obligations or to fund a national health service like every civilized country has.

Considering the enormous social needs that cannot be met because of the massive cost of these orchestrated wars, one would think that the American people would be asking questions about the purpose of these wars. What is being achieved at such enormous costs? Domestic needs are neglected so that the military/security complex can grow fat on war profits.

The lack of curiousity on the part of the American people, the media, and Congress about the purpose of these wars, which have been proven to be based entirely on lies, is extraordinary. What explains this conspiracy of silence, this amazing disinterest in the squandering of money and lives?

Most Americans seem to vaguely accept these orchestrated wars as the government’s response to 9/11. This adds to the mystery as it is a fact that Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iran (Iran not yet attacked except with threats and sanctions) had nothing to do with 9/11. But these countries have Muslim populations, and the Bush regime and presstitute media succeeded in associating 9/11 with Muslims in general.

Perhaps if Americans and their “representatives” in Congress understood what the wars are about, they would rouse themselves to make objections. So, I will tell you what Washington’s war on Syria and Washington’s intended war on Iran are about. Ready?

There are three reasons for Washington’s war, not America’s war as Washington is not America, on Syria.

The first reason has to do with the profits of the military/security complex. The military/security complex is a combination of powerful private and governmental interests that need a threat to justify an annual budget that exceeds the GDP of many countries. War gives this combination of private and governmental interests a justification for its massive budget, a budget whose burden falls on American taxpayers whose real median family income has not risen for a couple of decades while their debt burden to support their living standard has risen.

 

The second reason has to do with the Neoconservative ideology of American world hegemony. According to the Neoconservatives, who most certainly are not conservative of any description, the collapse of communism and socialism means that History has chosen “Democratic Capitalism,” which is neither democratic nor capitalist, as the World’s Socio-Economic-Political system and it is Washington’s responsibility to impose Americanism on the entire world. Countries such as Russia, China, Syria, and Iran, who reject American hegemony must be destabilized and desroyed as they stand in the way of American unilateralism.

 

The Third reason has to do with Israel’s need for the water resources of Southern Lebanon. Twice Israel has sent the vaunted Israeli Army to occupy Southern Lebanon, and twice the vaunted Israeli Army was driven out by Hezbollah, a militia supported by Syria and Iran. To be frank, Israel is using America to eliminate the Syrian and Iranian governments that provide military and economic support to Hezbollah. If Hezbollah’s suppliers can be eliminated by the Americans, Israel’s army can steal Southern Lebanon, just as it has stolen Palestine and parts of Syria.

Here are the facts: For 16 years the insouciant American population has permitted a corrupt government in Washington to squander trillions of dollars needed domestically but instead allocated to the profits of the military/security complex, to the service of the Neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony, and to the service of Israel.

Clearly, Amerian democracy is a fraud. It serves everyone but Americans.

What is the likely consequence of the US government serving non-American interests?

The best positive outcome is poverty for the 99 percent. The worst outcome is nuclear armageddon.

Washington’s service to the military/security complex, to the Neoconservative ideology, and to Israel completely neglects over-powering facts.

Israel’s interest to overthrow Syria and Iran is totally inconsistant with Russia’s interest to prevent the import of jihadism into the Russian Federation and Central Asia. Therefore, Israel has put the US into direct military conflict with Russia.

The US military/security complex’s financial interests to surround Russia with missile sites is inconsistent with Russian sovereignty as is the Neoconservatives’ emphasis on US world hegemony.

President Trump does not control Washington. Washington is controlled by the military/security complex (watch on youtube President Eisenhower’s description of the military/security complex as a threat to American democracy), by the Israel Lobby, and by the Neoconservatives. These three organized interest groups have pre-empted the Amercan people, who are powerless and are uninvolved in the decisions about their future.

Every US Representative and US Senator who stood up to Israel was defeated by Israel in their re-election campaign. This is the reason that when Israel wants something it passes both houses of Congress unanimously. As Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said publicly, “No American President can stand up to Israel.” Israel gets what it wants no matter what the consequences are for America.

Adm. Moorer was right. The US gives Israel every year enough money to purchase our government. And Israel does purchase our government. The US government is far more accountable to Israel than to the American people. The votes of the House and Senate prove this.

Unable to stand up to tiny Israel, Washington thinks it can buffalo Russia and China. For Washington to continue to provoke Russia and China is a sign of insantity. In the place of intelligence we see hubris and arrogance, the hallmarks of fools.

What Planet Earth, and the creatures thereon, need more than anything is leaders in the West who are intelligent, who have a moral conscience, who respect truth, and who are are capable of understanding the limits to their power.

But the Western World has no such people.


          Senior Audit Manager - Private Banking   
NY-New York, Global investment bank with assets above $2.7 trillion The appropriate candidate will come from a background with subject matter expertise in the private banking / wealth management space Client Details Global investment bank of the forefront of regulatory change and reform Allow flexibility for high performers to work remotely when necessary Vacancy due to growth Description Facing off to regulat
          CEI Supports Senate Consideration of Neomi Rao as OIRA Administrator   

Today, the U.S. Senate voted to advance the nomination of Neomi Rao as the Trump administration’s pick to serve as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget.

Competitive Enterprise Institute President Kent Lassman released the following statement about the vote:

“CEI applauds the choice of Neomi Rao as the next Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Administrator Rao brings years of respected scholarship on the regulatory process and a principled perspective to one of the most important jobs in Washington. She combines strong scholarly credentials with success as a policy entrepreneur,” said Lassman. “Her leadership at OIRA comes at a time when concern about the nearly $2 trillion costs of regulation are at an all-time high among policy makers and job creators alike. Now is the time to bring the regulatory state to heel, back to reason, and under the law. Neomi Rao is the right woman for the job.”

Correction: This statement has been updated to reflect that the final vote on Rao’s confirmation was postponed.

Date: 
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Referenced experts: 
Kent Lassman
Media appearance type: 

          Can This Berniecrat Congressman Win Silicon Valley Over to His Progressive Agenda?   

On an unseasonably warm day in June, Silicon Valley’s newest member of Congress held a town hall meeting in the gym of Milpitas High School — home of the Trojans. It was an apt venue for US Rep. Ro Khanna, a Berniecrat of recent vintage who’d pulled his own daring Trojan horse maneuver: He’d established a reputation in his district as a business-friendly centrist, ousted liberal incumbent Rep. Mike Honda in the state’s top-two election system in November with the backing of wealthy techies, and then quickly repositioned himself to Honda’s left. “If Donald Trump thinks we can explore a $3 trillion tax cut for the investor class, we can certainly afford a trillion-dollar raise for the working class,” Khanna proclaimed, drawing hearty applause from a crowd of 150, including a former Honda voter and a Republican wearing a “Ro Khanna” polo. Continue reading

The post Can This Berniecrat Congressman Win Silicon Valley Over to His Progressive Agenda? appeared first on BillMoyers.com.


          Comment on The Next Great Currency Scam by Ken Meyer   
My neighbor (we live in the Los Angeles area) told me that she has been investing in Zimbabwe currency for the past several years. She claims that she is sworn to secrecy. Consequently, I don't have a lot of details, but my understanding of the information she mentioned includes the following: The Chinese government is buying up large amounts of Zimbabwe currency. The size of her investment group is probably about 5 people. One member of her group is a man that she has known for many years. She believes that upwards of a million people in the United States have invested in Zimbabwe currency and are about to become wealthy. Many congressional members are reportedly also involved as investors in Zimbabwe currency and when her group participates in telephone conference calls, the calls have included a member of Congress (or con) who has a southern accent. Her group is in the process of receiving a payout for the sale/exchange of their Zimbabwe currency... the transaction will begin today and she will receive her payout on the 28th of June. She believes that the value of her investment is many hundreds of thousands of dollars... and her plan is to buy a house. At the end of last month she pleaded with me to loan her $2,500 to pay her rent... she promised to repay me in two weeks when she received her Zimbabwe currency cashout. As that deadline approached she said that she had miscalculated and that her money wouldn't be in her hands until June 28... and, I said OK. Then, yesterday she said that I didn't have a written loan agreement with her, so she was planning to pay me back $100 a month and wasn't going to pay interest Isn't she a sweetheart? When I pointed out to her that would take almost two years (I'm 79 years old and I may not live that long) an argument ensued and she finally agreed to repay me in three months and with interest of $25 a month (that made me feel that I too was about to become wealthy). Of course I was beaming because I could tell that I was dealing with a truly honorable person. So.... when the 28th comes and goes what do you think my neighbor will say to me? Uh huh..... the best answer is surely worth a 10 trillion Zimbabwe banknote? Will someone donate one as a prize? (OMG! A contest like this could cause a run on 10 trillion Zimbabwe banknotes.)
          80% Items Within 18% Rate, GST To Benefit Honest People, Says Revenue Secretary   

NEW DELHI -- The landmark Goods and Services Tax will not alter the prices of essentials and daily use items like salt and soaps as they have either been exempt or tax on them has been kept at the current level.

Unbranded food staples including vegetables, milk, eggs and flour will be exempt from GST along with health and education services.

Tea, edible oils, sugar, textiles and baby formula will attract only 5 per cent tax.

These essential and daily use items make up for about 80 per cent of the goods used. Luxury items including motorcycles, perfume and shampoo, which account for about 19 per cent of all taxable items, will be taxed at 18 per cent or higher.

GST, the biggest tax reform since Independence, will unify 16 different central and state taxes like excise, service tax and VAT, to create a uniform rate of tax across the country from midnight tonight.

The tax department has been working overtime to inform people about GST, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said, adding that the new regime "will bring in transparency, help cut tax evasion and benefit honest taxpayers".

Earlier, traders with turnover of above Rs 10 lakh were paying VAT at full rate, but they were exempt from excise. But now, a trader with turnover of Rs 20-75 lakh will have to pay 2.5 per cent tax. Businesses with turnover of Rs 20 lakh will be exempt.

"For small businesses, we have composition scheme. It is very simple," Adhia said.

Under the composition scheme where the turnover does not exceed Rs 75 lakh, manufacturers will have to pay 1 per cent of turnover as GST, traders - 2.5 per cent and 0.5 per cent of turnover in state in case of other suppliers.

CBEC in advertisements said single tax GST will bring down prices for most household. "GST a boon for households. 81 per cent of items to fall below or in 18 per cent GST slab," it said.

Butter, ghee, almonds, fruit juice, mobiles and umbrella have been placed in 12 per cent tax bracket while 18 per cent rate would be levied on hair oil, toothpaste, soap, ice cream, and printers.

The highest tax of 28 per cent will be levied on chewing gum, chocolates, custard powder and waffles containing chocolate. Besides, cars, aerated drinks, AC, refrigerators and capital goods and all industrial intermediaries will attract the highest rate.

The new tax regime, to be effective midnight tonight, will replaces the messy mix of more than a dozen state and central levies built up over seven decades, with a one national GST unifying the country's USD 2 trillion economy with 1.3 billion people into a common market.

GST will require businesses to file their returns online, for which the company providing the IT backbone GST Network has been working on the modalities.

The returns are to be uploaded once a month by retailers following which the return form are to be matched for availing input credit and thereafter the computer will generate the tax liability.

"Today Income Tax returns are also filed online, so nothing is impossible, it is easy," Adhia said.

Also on HuffPost India


          How GST, India's Biggest Tax Reform Since Independence, Made It Till Here   

NEW DELHI -- After 17 tumultuous years, a nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) will roll out from midnight tonight, overhauling India's convoluted indirect taxation system and unifying the USD 2 trillion economy with 1.3 billion people into a single market.

GST, which will replace more than a dozen central and state levies like factory-gate, excise duty, service tax and local sales tax or VAT, is India's biggest tax reform in the 70 years of independence and will help modernise Asia's third largest economy.

Here is a look at the timelines that shaped 'one nation, one tax' system:

  • February 1986: Finance Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh proposes a major overhaul of the excise taxation structure in the budget for 1986-87.
  • 2000: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpyee introduces the concept, sets up a committee headed by the then West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta to design a GST model.
  • 2003: The Vajpayee government forms a task force under Vijay Kelkar to recommend tax reforms.
  • 2004: Vijay Kelkar, then advisor to the Finance Ministry, recommends GST to replace the existing tax regime.
  • February 28, 2006:GST appears in the Budget speech for the first time; Finance Minister P Chidambaram sets an ambitious April 1, 2010 as deadline for GST implementation. He says the Empowered Committee of finance ministers will prepare a road map for GST.
  • 2008: Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers constituted.

INDIA-TAX/REFORMS

  • April 30, 2008: The Empowered Committee submits a report titled 'A Model and Roadmap Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India' to the government.
  • November 10, 2009: Empowered Committee submits a discussion paper in the public domain on GST welcoming debate.
  • 2009: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announces basic structure of GST as designed by Dasgupta committee; retains 2010 deadline.
  • BJP opposes GST basic structure.
  • February 2010: Finance Ministry starts mission-mode computerisation of commercial taxes in states, to lay the foundation for GST rollout.
  • Pranab Mukherjee defers GST to April 1, 2011.
  • March 22, 2011: UPA-II tables 115th Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha for bringing GST.

Indian Parliament Monsoon Session 2016

  • March 29, 2011: GST Bill referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance led by Yashwant Sinha.
  • Asim Dasgupta resigns, replaced by the then Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani.
  • November 2012: Finance Minister P Chidambaram holds meetings with state finance ministers; decides to resolve all issues by December 31, 2012 for GST rollout.
  • February 2013: Declaring UPA government's resolve to introducing GST, Chidambaram in his Budget speech makes provision for Rs 9,000 crore to compensate states for losses incurred because of GST.
  • August 2013: Parliamentary standing committee submits report to Parliament suggesting improvements on GST. GST Bill gets ready for introduction in Parliament.

INDIA-TAX/

  • October 2013:Gujarat Chief Minister Narnedra Modi opposes GST Bill saying state would incur losses worth Rs 14,000 crore every year due to GST.
  • 2014: GST Bill cleared by Standing Committee lapses as Lok Sabha dissolves; BJP-led NDA government comes to power.
  • December 18, 2014:Cabinet approves 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill to GST.
  • December 19, 2014: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduces the Constitution (122nd) Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha; Congress objects.
  • February 2015: Jaitley sets April 1, 2016 as deadline for GST rollout.
  • May 6, 2015: Lok Sabha passes GST Constitutional Amendment Bill.
  • May 12, 2015: The Amendment Bill presented in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Congress demands the Bill be sent to Select Committee of Rajya Sabha; demands capping GST rate at 18 per cent.
  • May 14, 2015: The GST Bill forwarded to joint committee of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
  • August 2015: Government fails to win the support of Opposition to pass the bill in the Rajya Sabha where it lacks sufficient number.

Protest Against GST In Kolkata

  • July 2016: Centre opposes capping GST rate at 18%; gets states around.
  • August 2016: Congress, BJP agree to pass the Constitution Amendment Bill.
  • August 3, 2016: Rajya Sabha passes the Constitution Amendment Bill by two-thirds majority.
  • September 2, 2016:16 states ratify GST Bill; President Pranab Mukherjee gives assent to the Bill.
  • September 12: Union Cabinet clears formation of GST Council.
  • September 22-23: Council meets for first time.
  • November 3: GST Council agrees on four slab tax structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28% along with an additional cess on luxury and sin goods.
  • January 16, 2017:Jaitley announces July 1 as GST rollout deadline. Centre, states agree on contentious issue of dual control and taxing rights on goods at high sea.

INDIA-BUDGET/

  • February 18: GST Council finalises draft compensation bill providing to make good any revenue loss to states in first five years of GST rollout.
  • March 4: GST Council approves CGST and Integrated-GST bills.
  • March 20: Cabinet approved CGST, IGST and UT GST and Compensation bills.
  • March 27: Jaitley tables CGST, IGST, UT GST and Compensation bills in Parliament. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha pass all the four key GST Bills - Central GST (CGST), Integrated GST (IGST), State GST (SGST) and Union Territory GST (UTGST).

INDIA-TAX/

  • May 18: GST Council fits over 1,200 goods in one of the four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28%. Over 80% of goods of mass consumption either exempted or taxed under 5% slab.
  • GST Council fixes cess on luxury and sin goods to create kitty for compensating states.
  • May 19: GST Council decides on 5, 12, 18 and 28% as service tax slabs.
  • Jun 21: All states except Jammu and Kashmir pass SGST law.
  • June 28: Mamata Banerjee announces her party's decision to skip midnight launch of GST.
  • June 29: Congress, Left too decide to skip launch.

Also on HuffPost India


          We Have Three Years To Act On Climate Change Before It's Too Late, Say Researchers   

We have just three years to turn the tide on climate change and safeguard the future of our planet, according to a group of scientists.

According to a Carbon Tracker report, should emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, or even remain level, the temperature goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement, and the 2015 UN Sustainable Development goals, would become unattainable.

The good news is that it is still possible to meet the Paris temperature goals if emissions begin to fall in the next three years.

But not acting before 2020, would see us resign ourselves to the equivalent of a 'crash diet' forcing the global economy to adapt instantly, rather than following a smoother transition.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation and a signatory on the article, said: "2020 is a hard deadline. There's no turning back if we don't bend the emissions curve within three years...there are no jobs on a dead planet."

Greenhouse-gas emissions are already decoupling from production and consumption; in the past three years, global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have levelled after rising for decades, as HuffPost UK reported, 2016 was the first time that renewable energy overtook fossil fuels.

Accounting for more than half of the world's electrical capacity, according to a report from the International Energy Agency, renewables are also being adopted faster than ever before.

And the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that renewable sources could deliver 26–27% of the world's electricity needs by the three-year deadline if action is taken.

But this is no time to rest on our achievements, as there is still a long way to go, especially as President Donald Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris agreement when it is legally able to do so, in November 2020.

Instead the team of scientists on the report, published in Nature journal, have set out six goals that are integral to meeting the 2020 goal, saying: "These goals may be idealistic at best, unrealistic at worst. However, we are in the age of exponential transformation and think that such a focus will unleash ingenuity. By 2020, [this is] where the world needs to be."

Renewables need to make up at least 30% of the world's electricity supply and electric vehicles need to make up 15% of new car sales.

We need to reduce deforestation, and half emissions from carbon-intensive industries by 2050, as well as fully decarbonising all buildings and infrastructure.

And the financial sector needs to mobilise and ringfence at least $1 trillion a year for climate action.

The authors of the paper include a number of researchers, state and local government officials (including the governor of California), and heads of climate change focused organisations.


          With Amitabh Bachchan And Lata Mangeshkar As Guests, Modi Govt Is Planning A Gala Event For GST Launch   

NEW DELHI -- It will be a starry midnight in the historic Central Hall on 30 June that will have from megastar Amitabh Bachchan to industry doyen Ratan Tata in attendance at the launch of India's most sweeping tax reform, GST.

Unlike the last midnight event held in 1997 on the occasion of golden jubilee of the Independence at a special session of Parliament, it will be a gala event at the circular -shaped hall that has been loaned for the launch of the historic reform.

Reminiscent of India's tryst with destiny on the midnight of 15 August, 1947, the event will be graced by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deva Gowda too have been invited to launch a new taxation system that is set to dramatically re-shape the over USD 2 trillion economy.

Congress party has however decided to boycott the event apparently to protest against hardship being caused to small and medium enterprises and traders. Left and TMC too are boycotting the event.

The launch event will start at 11 pm on 30 June and extend into the midnight, coinciding with the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, official sources said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Vice President Hamid Ansari will also be on the dias along with the President, Modi and former prime ministers.

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar will be among the attendees, which also includes BJP president Amit Shah and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha.

As if giving representation to regional political parties, former Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal and National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather too have been invited.

Former GST Council chairman Sushil Kumar Modi, former finance ministers of West Bengal and Kerala Asim Dasgupta and K K Mani too have been invited.

RBI Governor Urjit Patel and his predecessors Bimal Jalan, Y V Reddy and D Subbaroa too figure in the list. However, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan is not on the list.

CAG Shashi Kant Sharma and his predecessors Vinod Rai and TN Chaturvedi, CVC K V Chowdary, three Election Commissioners including CEC Nasim Zaidi, Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya, Metro man E Sreedharan, editor S Gurumurthy, agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan, UPSC Chairman David R Syiemlieh, CBEC chairman Vanaja N Sarna and CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra have also been invited.

Senior lawyers Soli Sorabjee, KK Venugopal and Harish Salve as also heads of industry chambers - Pankaj Patel of Ficci, Shobana Kamineni of CII and Sunil Kanoria of Assocham too are on the list of invitees.

Sources said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar has written a letter to all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs requesting for their presence.

Members of GST Council too have been invited.

A gong will be sounded at midnight to signify that GST has arrived.

The GST Bill was originally piloted by Mukherjee when he was the Finance Minister in the previous UPA regime.

The GST Council, that brings together the central and state governments, has met 17 times to thrash out how the tax will work.

Originally, the launch of GST which had been in the works for over a decade, was to be done from Vigyan Bhawan -- the largest convention centre in the national capital that has hosted majority of the meetings of the GST Council.

But the historic Central Hall was thought to be a better choice considering the importance of the new indirect tax code that unifies more than a dozen separate levies to create a single market with a population greater than the US, Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan put together.

GST will simplify a web of taxes, regulations and border levies by subsuming an array of central and state levies including excise duty, service tax and VAT.

It is expected to gradually re-shape India's business landscape, making the world's fastest-growing major economy an easier place to do business.

GST has been dubbed as the most significant economic reform since BJP government came to power in 2014 and is expected to add as much as 2 percentage points to the GDP growth rate besides raising government revenues by widening the tax net.

A four-rate structure that exempts or imposes a low rate of tax of 5 per cent on essential items and top rate of 28 per cent on cars and consumer durables has been finalised. The other slabs of tax are 12 and 18 per cent.

Also on HuffPost India


          Left Parties Join Congress And TMC, Decide To Boycott Midnight Meeting For GST   

NEW DELHI -- The Left parties will not take part in the special midnight meeting on 30 June convened by the government to launch the Goods and Services Tax (GST), CPI leader D Raja said today.

He said the parties will not take part in the meeting in view of protest by small and medium scale entrepreneurs, traders, weavers and informal sector workers on the way the GST is being implemented.

"The Left will not be participating in the midnight GST meeting. People are agitating across the county. There are serious apprehensions in the minds of people over GST's implementation. We cannot be celebrating when people are agitating," the Rajya Sabha member said.

Raja claimed that the informal sector, which creates 80 per cent of the jobs in the country, will be affected by the way the GST is being rolled out, allegedly without preparation.

Raising concerns over the way rates under the new tax regime have been fixed, he said the GST for gold is 3 per cent, whereas that for the essential commodities which people use ranges between 18 per cent and 28 per cent.

"Small and medium scale entrepreneurs are complaining that Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is still not in place. The government will have to address these issues before the launch," Raja said.

The GSTN is a section 8 (under new Companies Act, not for profit companies are governed under section 8), non- government, private limited company set up to provide the front-end and back-end IT and infrastructural support for the working of GST.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said he will not attend the midnight meeting.

He, however, claimed that his party is not boycotting the meeting, but has also not issued a whip in the matter.

When a party issues a whip, its MPs have to obey the party position or face disciplinary action. So, the CPI(M) not issuing a whip indicates that there will be no action if the party's MPs chose to not attend the meeting.

Yechury has been critical of the "hurried manner" in which the government is launching the GST.

The Congress and the TMC have already declared they will not take part in the meeting.

The government will use the circular-shaped Central Hall to launch the new taxation system that is set to dramatically re-shape the over USD 2 trillion economy.

A gong will be sounded at midnight to usher in the GST.

Modi will be the key speaker at the function.

President Pranab Mukherjee is also likely to attend the function, where former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda have been invited too.

Also on HuffPost India


          Congress Not To Attend Special Midnight Meeting On GST Implementation   

NEW DELHI -- The Congress today decided to keep away from the special midnight 30 June meeting convened by the government on GST implementation.

Party's senior spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi said "the Congress will not attend the special GST meeting on GST implementation."

The decision came after Congress President Sonia Gandhi met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with other leaders today.

The party has been in a dilemma over attending the special midnight event in Parliament on 30 June to mark the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and has had wide-ranging discussions with other parties also, which are likely to follow suit.

Trinamool Congress has already announced its decision to boycott the event.

Sources said Congress leaders weighed its options as a group within the party felt that the GST was the party's brainchild that has been now taken over by the ruling BJP, and thus favoured attending the special meeting.

However, some leaders opposing it feel that the GST is being implemented in a haste and all aspects have not been taken into consideration leading to harassment of small traders and businessmen and thus, the party should abstain.

Sources also say that the Congress was apparently irked with Modi trying to emulate India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's midnight "tryst with destiny" speech on the eve of Independence.

The Left leaders are also not inclined to attend the special GST meeting and are set to skip it, along with some other opposition parties.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has already questioned the government on "hurrying" into introducing GST and recalled that the ruling BJP had opposed the system when it was in the opposition.

The government will use the circular-shaped Central Hall to launch the new taxation system that is set to dramatically re-shape the over USD 2 trillion economy.

A gong will be sounded at midnight to usher in the GST. Modi will be the key speaker at the function.

President Pranab Mukherjee is also likely to attend the function, where former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda have been invited too.

Also on HuffPost India


          More Than Seven Months After Demonetisation, The RBI Has Started Printing ₹200 Notes: Report   

More than seven months after the ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes were scrapped in a demonetisation exercise aimed at cracking down on black and counterfeit money, the Reserve Bank of India has started printing ₹200 bills in order to plug the persisting cash crunch.

The Economic Timesreported today that the RBI had placed an order for ₹200 notes, a few weeks earlier, and the notes are being printed at a government-owned facility. The central bank expects the new currency note to make easier consumer transactions. The bills will reportedly carry advanced security features to prevent counterfeiting.

The ₹200 currency note would be the third new bill to be printed following demonetisation. The ₹500 note was replaced by a new bill of the same denomination, last year. And the ₹1000 note was replaced with a ₹2000 bill. With the scrapping of the old notes, an estimated 86% of the cash in the country or ₹17.9 trillion was put out of circulation. In April, Livemintreported that as on 24 March, currency in circulation was ₹13.12 trillion, still around 27% off pre-demonetization levels.

The RBI board in March had cleared a proposal to introduce the ₹200 notes to make up for the shortfall in lower denomination notes.

The ET, however, reported that the Centre was planning to introduce the ₹200 notes even before it executed its demonetisation exercise. As thing stands today, the new bills will help fill the void that exists after an estimated 1,650 crore pieces of ₹500 notes were taken out of circulation.

Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economist at the SBI Group, told the newspaper, "The introduction of 200 rupee notes will replenish the missing middle, triggered by the withdrawal of the old series of 500 rupee notes."

Earlier this year, the Hindustan Timesreported that RBI did not want to circulate the ₹200 notes through ATMS in order to avoid the headache of recalibrating the machines. Instead, the central bank planned to circulate the notes through bank branches.

At the time, the newspaper quoted a RBI official who said, "The idea is not to disturb the system once again, there has been disruption for more than four weeks between November and December and it is advisable to circulate these notes through the bank branches, though at present these are just proposals."

Meanwhile, there has also been speculation over whether the Modi government plans to eventually scrap the ₹2000 note. Given that the Centre scrapped the ₹1000 note to prevent huge amounts of cash to stashed away, introducing an even larger denomination bill had defied logic. Some believe that scrapping the bill in the next few years could act as a deterrent against hoarding.

Also on HuffPost India:


          "When the Deal Goes Down"   
"When the Deal Goes Down"
by Jim Kunstler

"Who needs Russia when the Tweety-Bird-in-Chief is hacking his own presidency into a global joke? Or at least it might be a joke if the USA weren’t such a menace to international order, and to itself, by the way. Interestingly, the 25th amendment allows for the removal of a president from office on account of incompetence or disability, but not for being an embarrassment to the nation.

They may come after him anyway with the 25th, especially as the financial system unravels later this year, because this time, unlike 2008-9, central bank interventions will not avail to rescue the faltering money system from nine years of previous central bank interventions. All it takes is for the “liquidity” flows to seize up and before you know it, there’s no food in the supermarkets because everything in our just-in-time economy is exquisitely calibrated to the sure expectation of getting paid, and when that goes, it all goes.

Then the question arises: well, can’t you just re-start the liquidity flows? Not when the process requires another abracadabra magic act of summoning X-trillions of dollars out of absolutely nothing when the previous X-trillions created out of absolutely nothing are rushing at warp speed into the black hole of deleveraging because it has been discovered that the “loans” they were based on can never be paid back, not in this universe or any number of universes like it. In a word, they’re worthless.

Deleveraging is the polite term economists give to your net worth rapidly evaporating. Liquidity is the polite term for cash money and things denominated in them that can readily be converted into cash money. The problem with the kind of liquidity-creation solution to deleveraging is that it rapidly leads to money itself becoming worthless.

The preview of coming attractions is currently playing out in Illinois - soon to be joined by Connecticut, California, Kentucky, and many other bankrupt states. Illinois is dead broke. It can’t pay the contractors who fix things like roads and storm drains, and supply food to its prisons. It’s over $200-billion deep in pension obligations that will never be honored. It’s Medicaid system is a shambles. It doesn’t even have the cash-on-hand to pay lottery winners (what happened to all the cash paid into the lottery by the suckers who didn’t win, which is supposed to pay off the winners?). The state legislature hasn’t passed a budget in three years.

The governor and the mayor of Chicago and everybody else nominally in charge have no idea what they’re going to do about it. Think the federal government is going to just step in and save the day there? They’d have to bail out every other foundering state and that’s just not going to happen, especially with that same federal government about to run out of cash money itself, with no resolution of the debt ceiling controversy that might allow it to even pretend to borrow more money by issuing treasury bonds that are instantly bought by the Federal Reserve - which, of course, is not an official government agency but a private banking consortium contracted to manage the nation’s money.

Do you begin to see the outlines of the clusterf**k rising like a bad moon over the harvest season of 2017? The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the re-po squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford-F150. We’re just doing what we always do: gittin’ our summer on. Breaking out the potato salad and the Bud Lites - at least those who have enough mojo left in their MasterCards to charge the party supplies.
An awful lot of Americans must be maxed out, though, people who actually used to work at things and get paid for it. Each one of them is a walking Illinois now, facing each dawning day with a bigger load of problems, more things they can’t pay for, and moving closer to the dreadful day when everything is gone, every chattel, every knickknack, the very roof over their head, and most particularly the belief that they live in a fair and decent society.

So, I wonder what we’re going to do with a Tweety-Bird-in-Chief in the White House when this deal goes down. Stresses and tensions are out there a’buildin’ and the time for being a nation of feckless idiots is drawing to a close. The sad thing is: it wasn’t even fun while it lasted.”

          “The Latest Economic Numbers Scream Civil War and World War III”   
“The Latest Economic Numbers Scream Civil War and World War III”
by Common Sense

“The news headline should be, today, that Senator Dick Durbin and Bernie Sanders had direct contact with Hodgkinson prior to his assassination attempt upon the Republican congressman at the Congressional baseball team practice according to the AP. Durbin is refusing to make his email contacts with Hodgkinson public. However, as dramatic as is this information is, the real news is the economy.

Global debt levels have surged to an insurmountable level.  For the only time in human history, the planet has recorded a whopping  $217 trillion in the first quarter of the year. Since these are raw numbers, most will not appreciate the gravity of the world’s economic situation. The adding of $217 trillion dollars of debt in the first 90 days of 2017, represents  327% of the world’s annual economic output, otherwise known as the GDP. These figures represent the economic research of the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

The Path to Civil War: If one is a DUD (i.e. Dumb Until Death as Steve Quayle puts it), please allow me to present this very bleak picture in another light. If you make $100,000 per year, but you are acquiring debt that equals $327,000 in the same year, what will happen to your family economically? It is safe to say that your first casualty would be your house and the second would be your car. The new bankruptcy laws would prevent you from erasing your debt and you would be put on a permanent repayment plan. In other words, extreme austerity would be imposed upon you.

Let’s take that surging debt and apply it to your state, say the state of Illinois which is totally insolvent. I recently interviewed economist Robert Kudla about this dire situation, if the $327% debt to income ratio visits your state, which it is beginning to. The state would default on its obligations and stop paying. In the meantime, under the new bankruptcy laws, a judge could order the citizens of that state, say Illinois, to be put on a payment plan. This would represent permanent serfdom because there is absolutely no hope of repaying the debt. This scenario would represent permanent financial enslavement and could accurately be said to represent the biggest financial bailout of all the bailouts in history.

I asked Bob Kudla, with regard to his example, why would someone not just leave Illinois and go to a state that is not as debt ridden? He replied that by this time, Illinois would likely have reciprocity agreements with every other state. Let’s reduce this scenario to the lowest common denominator. When this 327% bto income ratio is fully realized, every welfare payment, pension, 401K, state-owed debt and virtually every source of income would be subject to partial or full confiscation. And the people would say “It’s time for a revolution!” Exactly, that is the point, and this would be the goal of a Deep State that has nowhere to run and nowhere to hide because of its exposed criminality.

Implications for the Emerging Economies Are Devastating: In a desperate attempt by emerging economies to keep up with the Jones’, these countries have increased their borrowing by $3 trillion to $56 trillion according to the IIF. This equals a staggering 218% of their combined economic output and this debt is being added to by 5% per year, meaning that in 10 years, the economic value of these countries would have declined by 50% due to this one condition and this does not account for the great wealth destroyer, the inflation rate.

China Pushed to Hyperinflation, Will War Follow? The biggest contributor to the world’ debt to income figure is undoubtedly China. According to the IIF, China has added $2 trillion in debt over the first quarter of 2017. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) told China to control its ballooning debt, describing it as unusually high for a developing economy. China’s debt now represents 260% of its GDP.

According to the IIF, European economies have cut debt levels by $2 trillion in the past 12 months and many economic leaders accepted this as good news and our economic problems are in the past. Not so, says the experts. And if you are an American, the news is not good for the you as the US is approaching $20 trillion, which represents 10% of all global debt.

At least the Chinese are trying to do something about their situation. They are getting their people to invest in commodities and not in currency based instruments. I joked with Kudla that the Chinese should just sell their people gold. He wasn’t laughing at that comment. The sad part of the comment is that there is not enough gold to cover this massive and continually growing debt. I have concluded that those who are in gold can somewhat sidestep the coming freight train. However, you will, at some point have to fight to keep your gold from your neighbors as well as your government.

The US Is No Longer Immune to Its Bad Decision Making: If you, as an American worker are solvent today and feel as if you are cheating the downward economic trend, your day of reckoning is soon approaching as the IIF came to the following conclusions:

“Rising debt may create headwinds for long-term growth and eventually pose risks for financial stability…”

“In some cases, this sharp debt build-up has already started to become a drag on sovereign credit profiles, including in countries such as China and Canada…”

By the way, 70% of the debt is in dollars. This may prove comforting in that when the US and its state government’s default on its debt obligations, the rest of the world has already crashed. In my humble opinion, the world will be embroiled in civil war or world war, or both.

The US and the EU could increase interest rates in the near future in a futile effort to cover the debt, in fact, the Federal Reserve is doing just that. However, borrowers will have a hard time repaying debt because it is a bottomless pit. What debt you ask? How about the student loan debt of $1 trillion dollars which is crippling the young generation. How about the car loan debt which extends loan payments out to seven years with almost no credit checks (do you remember the housing bubble of 2007?). And then of course, there is the monster we know as hyperinflation as the world’s fiat currencies begin to explode. thus making it more expensive for borrowers to repay.

Conclusion: As you read the following please keep in mind that the entire estimated GDP of the planet is less than $70 trillion.

The United States government takes in about $2 trillion dollars per year. However, we have a national deficit of $20 trillion per year and that is the good news. We have an unfunded liability of $240 trillion dollars (i.e. Medicare, Social Security, etc) and the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the credit swap derivatives debt of $1.5 quadrillion dollars with an annual interest rate of $505 trillion per year. You do not need a calculator to tell you what is coming.

How will you survive? There is no guarantee. However, one can increase their chances by acquiring food, water filtration, guns, ammunition, gold and medicine.”

           The Economy: "We Are Witnessing The Development Of A Perfect Storm"   
 "We Are Witnessing The Development Of A Perfect Storm"
by Robert Huebscher 

"Robert L. Rodriguez was the former portfolio manager of the small/mid-cap absolute-value strategy (including FPA Capital Fund, Inc.) and the absolute-fixed-income strategy (including FPA New Income, Inc.) and a former managing partner at FPA, a Los Angeles-based asset manager. He retired at the end of 2016, following more than 33 years of service. He won many awards during his tenure. He was the only fund manager in the United States to win the Morningstar Manager of the Year award for both an equity and a fixed income fund and is tied with one other portfolio manager as having won the most awards. In 1994 Bob won for both FPA Capital and FPA New Income, and in 2001 and 2008 for FPA New Income. The opinions expressed reflect Mr. Rodriguez’ personal views only and not those of FPA. I spoke with Bob on June 22:

RB: "In a recent quarterly market commentary Jeremy Grantham posited that reversion to the mean may not be working as it has in the past. What are your thoughts on mean reversion?

RLR: There will be a reversion to the mean. We are in a very difficult and challenging time for active managers, and in particular, value style managers. Many of these managers are fighting for their economic lives. Given that I am no longer involved professionally in managing money, I believe the standards in the industry are being compromised; monetary policy has so totally distorted the capital markets. You are now into the eighth year of a period that is unprecedented in the likes of human history.

The closest policy period to what we have now would have been between 1942 and 1951, when the Fed and Treasury had an accord to keep interest rates low. Interest rates were artificially held lower to help finance the World War II effort. With the renewal of inflation after the war, a policy war developed between the Treasury and the Fed on the continuation of a low interest rate policy. The Treasury-Fed of 1951 brought this period to a close. But that is the only time we’ve had a period of nine years of manipulated, price-controlled interest rates.

This was a historical policy I discussed with my colleagues upon my return from sabbatical in 2011: what could unfold were controlled, manipulated and distorted pricing that could disrupt the normal functioning of the capital markets. The historical cycles that Jeremy would be referring to that entailed a reversion to the mean could be distorted, for a period of time, by this type of monetary policy action. But I do not believe the economic laws of gravity have been permanently changed.

RB: At a Grant’s Conference last year Steven Bregman asserted that indexation in general and ETFs in particular were factors in the under-performance of active managers and are potentially a bubble. Are you familiar with his work and what are your thoughts on ETFs? What is driving the flow of mutual fund assets to passive strategies and what can or should fund companies do in the face of this trend?

RLR: I go back to a speech I gave in 2009, 'Reflections and Outrage,' and buried within that speech is a section that said that if active managers did not get their act together then the likelihood would be that passive strategies would continue to take market share. When you have a market that is distorted by zero interest rate policy, David Tepper said it very well many years ago, “Well, you’ve got to ride it.”

It’s a rocket ship that’s going up. If you are fully invested in the right areas, you have a shot at out-performing. However, if you are an active manager who has a valuation discipline, given the valuation excesses in the capital markets now and that have been developing for the past several years, then an elevated level of liquidity would be held, if you were allowed to do so. As such, you will likely underperform the market.

Active managers have not demonstrated a value-add to an appreciable extent over the last 20 years. When I look back at what happened prior to 2000, if an active growth stock manager could not see the most extraordinary distortion and elevated, speculative market in history, when will they? In the lead up to the 2007-2009 financial crisis, many value-style managers did not cover themselves in glory either. If you looked at what their major stock ownership concentrations were, they were very much in large banks and various types of financial institutions that were going to get crushed in the credit downturn. If they couldn’t acknowledge or identify the greatest credit excess in history, when will they?

I’m picking on both growth- and value-style managers for missing two of the great bubbles in history. This miss led to capital destruction. Now we have a clueless Fed, in my opinion, that has never known what a bubble is beforehand. It is accentuating one that has been developing as a result of its policy insanity of QE. Markets are going straight up predicated on it.

The public looks at these outcomes and says, “Why should I pay higher fees to managers who can’t outperform or can’t even identify a major speculative blow off. I might as well be fully invested. I might as well be in an ETF or index fund.”

Thus, since 2007, indexing or passive activities have risen from approximately 7% to 9% of total managed assets to almost 40%. As you shift assets from active managers to passive managers, they buy an index. The index is capital weighed, which means more and more money is going into fewer and fewer stocks.

We’ve seen this act before. If you didn’t own the nifty 50 stocks in the early 1970s, you underperformed and, thus, money continued to go into them. If you were a growth stock manager in 1998-1999 and you were not buying “net” stocks, you underperformed and were fired. More and more money went into fewer and fewer stocks. Today you have a similar case with the FANG stocks. More and more money is being deployed into a narrower and narrower area. In each case, this trend did not ended well.

When the markets finally do break, as they always have historically, ETFs and index funds will be destabilizing influences, because fear will enter the marketplace. A higher percentage of assets will be in indexed funds and ETFs. Investors will hit the “sell” button. All you have to ask is two words, “To whom?” To whom do I sell? Index funds and ETFs don’t carry any cash reserves. The active managers have been diminished in size, and most of them aren’t carrying high levels of liquidity for fear of business risk.

We are witnessing the development of a “perfect storm.”

RB: The Wall Street Journal has reported that central banks from Switzerland to South Africa are investing their reserves in equities. How should investors respond to the participation in the price discovery system by players that can print money and may not be performance-driven?

RLR: The last thing I ever wanted to do as a professional was allocate capital to areas that government was buying. With governmental-driven decisions there are virtually no penalties for bad decision making. Look at the rank stupidity of Dodd-Frank, or Paulson, Bernanke, and Greenspan. They were clueless before each of the last crises. They helped drive a system off the tracks. What penalty have they paid? None! They get to keep their pensions. But when you have central banks deploying capital and their cost of money is zero, they destroy the capital-asset pricing mechanism; they destroy comparability; the distortions continue. As a dedicated contrarian, the last place I want to invest money is where governments are deploying the capital because they are so totally distorting the market.

RB: How did the discipline of value investing as you practiced it at FPA, change over the course of your career, particularly since the financial crisis?

RLR: It’s an interesting question and I’ve asked myself that many times. The markets moved more slowly prior to this century – the ebbs and flows, the decision-making and the conveyance of information. With the advance of electronics and the internet, the speed of dissemination of news accelerated. I don’t believe that judgments have improved; just the speed has accelerated and the time frames of patience have shortened.

I bet my entire business in the spring of 1998 when for the prior 11 or 12 years I ran my mutual fund, the FPA Capital Fund, on fumes, with 1% to 2% cash and sometimes even less than 1%. Had you held liquidity, with short-term bond yields in the high-single to double-digits, you would have underperformed the stock market by anywhere from 900 to 1,100 basis points. By 1998 the consultant’s mantra was to be “fully invested.”

I went out in the spring of 1998 arguing that the equity market was becoming excessively priced, and it continued to do so. I sought permission to move my liquidity limits from 7% to 10% which were the typical maximums, to upward of 30%. I had to fight every client on that. By the spring of 2000, without losing any money and avoiding the carnage, I took a little bit over a 50% reduction in my assets under management. I got fired. In 2007-2009, I did far more preparation and communication prior to that crisis and entered it with 45% cash.

In the first phase of a debacle like what went on in the financial crisis, it doesn’t matter whether you are a virgin or are the opposite. When they raid the entertainment house and you happen to be a person walking by, just out of the church right next door, you get caught with all of the people there.

In the aftermath the police discover, “Oh, you shouldn’t be here.” Well, it’s the same way in a crash; virtually everything gets hit. Then in the second and third stages, the real values start to unfold and you get a greater differentiation. That is what happened with my fund between 2007 and 2009 and subsequently.

A cash level of 45% was a real tough strategy for clients to handle. I had one client say, “Please stay fully invested for my account and just do your thing with the others.” I said, “No, the price you ask me to pay is too high. By being fully invested managing your money, I will contaminate my thinking, which will negatively affect my other clients. I’m sorry, that’s a price too high to pay.” I said, “Where do you want me to return the money?” He said, “Let me think about it.” The next day his response was, “Okay, you’ve got flexibility.” But I still took over a 50% hit in redemptions during that crisis.

Looking back at these two prior major cycles, it is far more difficult for a value manager to hold liquidity today in light of the policies that are being deployed. These are the worst fiscal and monetary policies in human history. If I were still professionally managing money, despite my background of pain-and-suffering from being redeemed, my liquidity allocation would be north of 60% today.

RB: So-called “smart-beta” products have become very popular, particularly those that incorporate a quantitatively-driven value strategy based on the Fama-French factor models. For investors that want a value-oriented portfolio, what concerns should they have with these strategies?

RLR: I have never seen a quantitative strategy succeed longer term. They are predicated on models. The models are predicated on history. When history changes, they have to develop a new factor model.

We witnessed this in the last cycle. There was an article in the WSJ quoting a quant manager who said on a Wednesday, we had experienced a 1-in-10,000 year event. On Thursday, we had a 1-in-10,000 year event. On Friday we had a 1-in-10,000 year event. A former colleague wrote an email that weekend that said, “I have a quick question to ask. On Monday, are we safe for the next 30,000 years?”

All of these strategies are meant to enhance or give an essence of how you are going to try and minimize risk and enhance return. When you are in an environment where the lead entity, the Federal Reserve, has its foot on the scale and is distorting the information coming out of the capital markets, where interest rates can go to zero, what is the proper hurdle rate for budgetary or capital allocation decisions? These actions distort the price comparison or discovery process in the capital asset-pricing model. This is highly disturbing.

By the way, I wrote a piece in 2008 before the Fed even knew they were going to balloon their balance sheet. It said they would have to increase the balance sheet by at least a trillion to a trillion and a half. They hadn’t got to that realization yet.

After 45 years of watching the Fed, the only Fed chairman that was worth spit was Paul Volcker. The last great central banker that we had in the last 110 years other than Volcker was J.P. Morgan. The difference is, when Morgan tried to contain the 1907 crisis, he wasn’t using zeros and ones of imaginary computer money; he was using his own capital. As long as you have anointed centralized bureaucratic decision makers like the Federal Reserve, that in many ways is similar to the concentrated decision making structure of the former Soviet Union, decisions will be late and generally wrong. The Fed is a large organization and like all large organizations, there are internal pressures where they try to come to a consensus, and so they do. This is not how you make your greatest decisions.

RB: If there is one piece of investment advice you would offer to a young professional embarking on a career now, what would that be?

RLR: I will give the same advice that I got when I was a very young professional back in 1973. I was two years into the field and a gentleman spoke before my investment class. After everybody had walked out, I walked up to Mr. Munger and I asked him, “Sir, if I could only do one thing that would make myself a better investment professional, what would you recommend?” He responded, “Read history, read history, read history.” I have done that over the years. Had you read about the banking crisis of 1907 and what preceded it in the 1890s, you would have recognized it in a form in 2007.

RB: If there is one piece of management advice that you could offer to that same person, what would that the?

RLR: You must have two things – discipline and integrity. Compromise either and you will fail. That’s true in all walks of life.

RB: Yes, but it’s very easy to use the justification that this time is different.

RLR: The world has changed. I gave a speech in 2001 to some pension advisors. I said, “Look at you people out there.” I hadn’t shown them my chart yet but I said, “Look at what we have just gone through. We had the greatest, the highest level of computerization in the history of man, the most timely acquisition to information, the highest percentage of advanced degreed professionals and college graduates in the field, and we got an outcome no different than 1974, 1929, 1907. There is something more here going on.”

Then I held up two hand-written stick figures – I was not a good artist. They were cows and they were talking to one another. One cow said to the other, “Glad we’re not part of the herd.” The other cow said, “Yea.” The next exhibit was an aerial shot. It showed the two cows are in a ravine, so they can only see themselves. But all around them is the herd. I looked out and said, “People, whether you realize it or not, you are part of the herd. All you have to understand is one word, now let’s say it all together. Moo.” What a way to influence friends and make new clients.

RB: How are you investing your personal assets?

RLR: I am at my lowest exposure to equities since 1971. They represent less than a fraction of one percent. Liquidity is north of 65%, all in Treasury-type securities, nothing beyond a three-year term. I do not trust what is going on fiscally or monetarily, and I’ll circle back on this in a moment. The balance is in rare fully paid-for physical assets.

Circling back, after I stepped down from daily money management at the end of 2009, I took a sabbatical. One of my goals was to meet a gentleman by the name of David Walker, the former comptroller general of the U.S. He wrote a book called 'Comeback America' that I read in January of 2010. I sent my review to Dave. Two days later Dave called me and said, “My name is Dave Walker. Is this Bob Rodriguez? If so, I want to thank you for your review.” That’s how we came to know one another. I’d used his work for over 10 years. For the next three and a half years I was a sponsor of his program, Comeback America. He closed it down in 2013, a complete unmitigated failure.

Think about the budgetary battles of 2011; the only thing that was cut was defense. Two thirds of the expenditure cuts that were going to get controlled under the system would not occur until after 2016. Funny how that works. In the presidential debates, only one candidate used a word that I think has now left the English language, “sequester.” That was Bush and it was to eliminate sequestration to raise defense spending.

The 2016 election was one of the most important elections in the last 80 years. Back in 2009 I said if we do not get our economic house in order sometime between 2014 and 2018, we could see a crisis of equal or greater magnitude than the 2007-2009 crisis. I also argued that we would have a substandard recovery that would be no better than 2% real GDP growth for as far as the eye can see. Productivity and capital spending would be substandard. All of those have played out.

Here we are in 2017. I have seen absolutely nothing that would give me any degree of confidence that Washington will get its act together. We are into a period of expanding deficits. We are hitting a time where the entitlements are worsening in terms of their funding status. We are in a decade that is unprecedented from anything that we’ve seen before with monetary policy and fiscal policy.

Why on Earth should I allocate capital into a system where the scales are completely manipulated, price discovery is distorted, and the Fed doesn’t have a clue what’s going on? They’ve missed every economic forecast for the last nine years straight. Why would anybody pay any attention to what those people are doing? I have confidence in one thing. The Fed will blow it.

My thoughts are very much analogous to those of Lacy Hunt. Where Lacy and I part company is what happens after the deformation hits. He would argue that we will be in a dis- or deflationary period for an extended period of time; therefore, you should own 30- and 20-year Treasury bonds.

I’m not so sure about that scenario. It occurred in Japan because it has a very cohesive society. That is not the case in the United States or in Europe. Our patience will be far shorter. At some point, in no more than one to two years, the Fed would likely panic and panic big time, and we will see QE on steroids. We will see monetary inflation. Lacy and I have a similar view. But the really big question is what the outcomes will be on the other side of this mess. Both of us could be very right, or very wrong, or partially in between.

I am managing my estate in a hedged fashion because what we are going through is without any precedent in human history. How can anybody have confidence that their particular view is the right view?”

          “Yellen Against the Gods”   
“Yellen Against the Gods”
by Bill Bonner

‘Even God Himself could not sink this ship.’
– Titanic crewman…the ship sank four days later

‘It is our will that this state shall endure for a thousand years.’
– Adolf Hitler…10 years before the Reich was destroyed

‘Long-Term Capital Management’
– Hedge fund headed by Nobel Prize winner,
 bet against things that ‘couldn’t happen in a billion years’…
 Four years later, the fund blew up

‘I have returned from Germany with peace for our time.’
– Neville Chamberlain…11 months before the start of the Second World War

‘Argentina Plans to Offer 100-Year Bond’ (priced to yield only 7.9% until 2117)
– Bloomberg, 19 June, 2017

"Ring the bell. Open up the gates. Unleash the hounds of hell. Here’s Janet Yellen’s latest contribution to the Famous Last Words club: ‘Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.’

This must be what the gods have been waiting for… What bread doth Ms Yellen eat? What ale doth she drink? What is she thinking? The weather has been so nice Ms. Yellen is building a house without a roof!

Stacking blocks of wood: We don’t know any more than the Fed chief about when the next crisis will come. But we’re not fool enough to tempt fate. And not vain enough to think we could do anything to stop it. Financial crises come around from time to time. Generally, they come when you least expect them. That is, when they can do the most damage.

Our guess is that a crisis will begin before the end of this year. Why? First, because falling oil prices and bond yields signal a slowing economy. A recession is already overdue.

A giant debt depot: Consumers are running into a debt ceiling of their own. They’ve got $14 trillion of household debt. Without real job and income growth, they can only maintain standards of living by borrowing more. But they already owe more than they did on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis; their knees are beginning to buckle.

Used auto prices are falling, putting the whole structure of $1.2 trillion worth of auto debt in danger. Student loans - another $1.2 trillion of debt - are increasingly uncollectable. And states and local governments have $5 trillion worth of unfunded pension liabilities. Corporate debt is at record levels, too, near $8.5 trillion.

In the next crisis, many marginal borrowers will have trouble paying back their loans. Write-offs, defaults and bankruptcies will blow up. And don’t forget that the whole world economy is interconnected. That whiff of smoke you smell could be coming from China. That country has become a giant debt depot. And somewhere, in the corner of some abandoned warehouse, a small pile of debt-soaked rags smolders. When the flames break out sparks will fly across the Pacific in a matter of seconds. Minutes later, the entire world’s finances will be aflame.

Imperial decline: Second, debt levels are higher than ever. There is said to be more than $250 trillion worth of debt worldwide. And running up debt is like stacking blocks of wood. The higher you stack them, the more likely they are to fall over. Ms Yellen says the banks are better regulated and less likely to fail in a crisis. But the latest stress test shows bank vulnerability to credit card debt has actually increased.

Besides, bank debt is only a part of the picture. The US government is bumping up against a debt ceiling, for example. What will happen when the feds run out of money, with the ceiling still in place? Will Congress raise it in an orderly way? Or will it be another circus of tweets and recriminations, like Russiagate or Obamacare, leading investors to quietly take their money off the table and head for the exits?

But the flash point in the coming crisis could also be US asset markets. There, price discovery by honest and diligent investors has given way to price manipulation by conniving Fed (and other central bank) employees. Now, with little connection between price and value, just a little bit of selling is likely to set off a ‘sell cascade’ as these ‘smart systems’ hit automatic stop-loss orders and begin selling trillions’ worth of ETFs, robo-trader pools, algo-driven hedge funds, and quant-managed accounts.

There will be no calm walk to the exits, but a catastrophic surge, with millions of investors crushed on the carpet. What will be the trigger? Again, we don’t know any more than Ms Yellen. But she might want to turn on the TV news. She is likely to be appalled. Every day brings new reasons to head for cover. She might want to look out the window, too. For all we know, it will never, ever rain again. But we keep an umbrella next to the door, just in case.”

          "The Frightening Math of 'Peak Debt'”   
"The Frightening Math of 'Peak Debt'”
by Brian Maher

“Why does anyone bother to listen to economists anymore?” wonders Stephen Moore, former adviser to then candidate Trump. That very question tortures us in our private moments, and admittedly turns us to drink whenever the strain of it all proves too much.

Why, after all, would anyone listen to bunglers whose annual growth estimates were off by an average 80% - for six straight years? Moore reminds us that government economists predicted 3.2–4.6% annual growth every year between 2010 and 2015. Of course it never exceeded 2.6% one single year. Not one of the six. And so the “money multiplier” is once again exposed as fraud - the belief that a cup of water can be transmuted into a gallon of wine.., an ounce of lead into a pound of glorious gold.

Moore, in The Daily Caller: "According to Keynesian thought, as money circulates in the economy, the government’s initial investment could multiply to a total economic benefit five or 10 times greater than the original stimulus, [economics professor Richard] McKenzie wrote. But the staggering truth, told by Moore: The trillions of dollars of government borrowing here and abroad created a decade-long anemic recovery."

It seems a fair conclusion. Again, GDP growth never exceeded 2.6% over the period in question. And the Commerce Department announced today that this year’s first-quarter GDP only grew an annualized 1.4%. The IMF has also downgraded its forecast for total 2017 U.S. growth to 2.1%... down from its April 2.3% projection. We await the next downgrade.

It’s a heady liquor, debt, a liquor made headier when Nixon pried the dollar loose from its golden foundation in 1971. At first the booze turned stiff, sobersided Uncle Sam into a cheery and amiable soul. It untied his tongue, had him winking at ladies, slapping the backs of his fellows, bellowing raucous jokes. He was everybody’s friend. But the initial effects wore off soon enough. And he needed more and more of harder and harder stuff to keep him at his tricks. But the days of wine and roses caught up to him… They eventually ran down his liver.., and he could no longer pay his tabs. Now he’s becoming a tragic spectacle, a menace to himself and others, a man undone.

Just 34% when Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, America’s debt-to-GDP ratio is now a drunken 106%. And evidence shows that when the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 70% the money multiplier, so called, swings into reverse. Real GDP declines at that point.

Economist Lacy Hunt, writing late last year: "The deficit spending provides a transitory boost to economic activity, but the initial effect is more than reversed in time, the economy is worse off on a net basis, with the lagged effects outweighing the initial positive benefit."