June 30, 2015

Bits Bucket for June 30, 2015

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 01:05:54

Only a complete idiot would be fooled by China’s Potemkin stock market reflation measures.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 04:37:21

I suspect said complete idiot will show up right on schedule.

Comment by Combotechie
2015-06-30 05:42:46

“I suspect said complete idiot will show up right on schedule.”

I want to respond by saying that after a such a post as yours you will probably not get any responses but I can’t say this without responding.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 06:03:28

I had a very specific individual in mind, one fond of using fake Chinese statistics to bolster his increasingly threadbare arguments.

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Comment by oxide
2015-06-30 06:04:08

you will probably not get any responses

Maybe we’ll all get ponies too.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 07:08:11

I can only think of one HBB regular whose response would not enjoy the benefit of the doubt.

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Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 06:26:08

“SHANGHAI, June 30 (Reuters) - China stocks plummeted and then rallied again in a highly volatile session on Tuesday, shrugging off regulatory attempts to pacify a tumbling market as rumours swirled about backdoor interventions from Beijing.”

All the gamblers are betting on what the all powerful central government will do, everywhere. Kind of speaks to how little emphasis there is on productive investment.

Yesterday I read an old article on the Alibaba IPO in the US. Amazingly, no one who bought Alibaba stock in the US actually owns Alibaba stock, because it is illegal in China for foreigners to own stock in Chinese companies. All they get is shares in a Caymen Island shell company with no ownership rights. What a scam.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 07:15:41

The Wall Street Journal
Review & Outlook
China’s Debt Bomb
Stock volatility is the latest sign of the economy’s excessive leverage.
An investor observes stock market at a stock exchange hall on June 26 in Fuyang, Anhui province of China.
Photo: ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images
June 28, 2015 5:07 p.m. ET

The spectacular volatility in Chinese stocks the past two weeks is a reminder that, for all its size, China remains a developing economy with an immature financial system. As stock prices soared more than 100% in the past year, so did margin lending, estimated at $238.5 billion last week. That debt probably added to the price swings, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 19% since June 12 and 7.4% on Friday.

Property developers, local governments and state-owned enterprises are also broadly overleveraged. Despite Beijing’s attempts to rebalance the economy from investment to consumption, inefficient borrowing continues to expand. So how concerned should the world be about Chinese debt?

A recent McKinsey Global Institute report put total borrowing—by individuals, companies and government—at 282% of GDP in 2014. That’s extraordinarily high for a developing economy, and up from 158% of GDP as recently as 2007. After the 2008 financial crisis, Beijing encouraged Chinese banks to lend to local governments and state-owned companies.

The cheap credit with few controls often financed projects with a low or negative rate of return. The wasteful investment is reflected in China’s falling incremental capital output ratio, one measure of how efficiently borrowing translates into economic activity. In the five years before the 2008 panic, it took an increase of less than 3% in investment to add 1% of GDP. By 2012 it took 4.9%. China’s debt figures are reminiscent of Korea, Indonesia and Thailand in the runup to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Beijing is trying to defuse the problem, though some of its steps may make it worse in the long-term. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is bailing out local governments responsible for bridges to nowhere and palatial buildings. Provincial governments will retire bank debt by issuing $419 billion in bonds to be bought by state banks, which will swap them with the central bank for reserves to lend.

This repeats the bank recapitalization of the late 1990s, when bad loans were warehoused and largely forgotten. By failing to liquidate bankrupt borrowers, the government creates a moral hazard in which neither loan officers nor local officials face the consequences of bad decisions.

Meanwhile, Beijing has encouraged the rising stock market as a way to boost the slowing economy. This allows new companies to list shares and brings down business leverage. But some managers have taken the opportunity to borrow more on the back of their higher market value. Combine that with margin lending to speculators, and the bull market may have increased systemic risk.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 09:28:18

Speaking of Social Security privatization, we might wait to see how this initiative pans out before acting:

Pension funds to enter Chinese stock markets
3:54am EDT - 00:57

Chinese markets are preparing for a potential flood of money after draft rules allowing pension funds to open up investment into the country’s stock markets were published late on Monday.

Comment by redmondjp
2015-06-30 11:03:09
Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 12:38:21

Could be very entertaining. Whatever that pension fund is invested in now is going to be very sad.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 16:51:46

All those public union employees who turned a blind eye to Democrat corruption and graft, thinking they’d get a nice fat gold-plated retirement out of the deal, are not going to be happy campers when they discover that they and their pensions have been thrown under the bus and that Wall Street is the real plantation master.

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Comment by SUGuy
2015-06-30 04:27:16

Puerto Rico’s finances

Another fine debt crisis

Startling parallels between Greece and an American outpost in the Caribbean


Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 04:43:47

Bubbles popping across the globe.

Two doses of Pop-Eze and a can of beer won’t prevent this one.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 05:11:21

Don’t forget all those massive off-balance-sheet derivatives “instruments” waiting to implode. That might be the real black swan that ends up crushing central bank equity market Ponzis and asset bubbles.


Comment by Puggs
2015-06-30 09:00:43


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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 10:02:54

“off-balance-sheet derivatives “instruments”

Think Enron.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 10:41:36

Sounds like Puerto Rico may indeed be TBTF.

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Comment by nhtransplant
2015-06-30 06:13:15

They’ve always been reluctant to become a state but considering their financial situation I bet the next time a referendum comes up for a vote they change their tune. At which point we should tell them to go pound sand, but of course we won’t.

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 04:35:14

‘Blind agreement’ and closed-door deals: Report slams TPP negotiations

With sign-off on the Trans-Pacific Partnership edging closer and critics warning the deal could “attack internet freedoms,” a Parliamentary review has slammed the negotiating process for a lack of oversight.

by Claire Reilly
29 June 2015, 12:58 pm AEST

As a trade deal between Australia and its allies edges closer towards completion, leading critics to warn of an impending “attack [on] internet freedoms,” a parliamentary committee has slammed the deal-making process saying it lacks adequate “oversight and scrutiny.”

The comments come as Australia engages in closed-door negotiations with 11 other countries over the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a trade agreement that could change the copyright and piracy landscape in Australia and have major ramifications for the way Australians access online content.

A joint-Parliamentary report on the TPP and other trade deals has declaimed that “not is all right with the current process” and that politicians and key stakeholders are being “kept in the dark” on the negotiation process.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, also a member of the committee that drafted the Blind Agreement report, has heavily criticised the secrecy of TPP negotiations saying this IP chapter alone has the power to “attack internet freedoms and criminalise downloading.”

“We know from other leaks the TPP covers everything from giving America the right to put Australian Internet users under surveillance, to giving multinational companies the rights to sue governments for the laws they make,” said Senator Ludlam.

“Secrecy is no way to trade. We need to know what the government is preparing to trade away in our names.”

Despite concerns over transparency stateside, the US Senate last week voted to give President Barack Obama the power to “fast track” the TPP. This grants the President authority to put a final draft of the TPP before Congress for a ‘yes-or-no’ vote, but Congress will not have power to amend any part of the trade agreement.

Back at home, this kind of “all-or-nothing” approval was a key point of contention raised in the joint-Parliamentary report on the TPP.

But while the committee examining Australia’s deal-making future has called for reform on this front, amongst a total of 10 recommendations, the TPP marches closer to completion with Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb saying less than a fortnight ago, “We are literally one week of negotiation away from completing this extraordinary deal.”

http://www.cnet.com/…/ - 127k -

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 05:12:31

Bend over, ‘Muricans. Your Republicrat overlords sold you out yet again.

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 05:18:52

All my slacktivist Social Justice Warrior™ friends on Facebook put a rainbow overlay on their profile pics to show how they’re “down for the struggle” like the good little Social Justice Warriors™ they are (despite none of them having been alive when the Stonewall Riot happened, or likely even knowing what Stonewall was)

I’ve never seen that kind of political fervor over issues like TPP or more importantly the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, but that’s as much slacktivism as you can expect from a Social Justice Warrior™, clicking a mouse, or tapping on a smartphone screen…

Feels before reals

Comment by nhtransplant
2015-06-30 06:17:46

I saw one guy with a rainbow overlay over his confederate flag profile pic. Thought it was pretty funny. According to some of the comments he got though, not everyone saw the humor in it. lol

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Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 06:34:03

I was talking last weekend with a friend (white dude with black wife and biracial children) about how there is no moral equivalence between the oppression experienced by black Americans under slavery and segregation and that of gays-and-add-letters-to-acronym-as-needed

Black people (unless they’re super light skinned cafe au lait and with straight hair) never had a closet to hide in

How many LGBTETCETERA people get pulled over for driving while gay?

But then again, Social Justice Warriors™ aren’t known for their analytical abilities, critical thinking skills, or knowledge of history

Feels before reals is about the best they can do

Comment by oxide
2015-06-30 06:35:38

I’m waiting for the smoke kit which allows tricked out F-350s to roll rainbow-colored coal.

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 06:46:59

“According to some of the comments he got though, not everyone saw the humor in it. lol”


The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech

By John W. Whitehead

“For those “haters” who dare to voice a different opinion, retribution is swift: they will be shamed, shouted down, silenced, censored, fired, cast out and generally relegated to the dust heap of ignorant, mean-spirited bullies who are guilty of various “word crimes.”

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 07:16:11

Some clarification for the HBB’s resident Social Justice Warriors™ who don’t wake up and start their shifts until noon eastern time, I support a nationwide ban on gay conversion therapy for minors (i.e. the kid who jumped off a bridge in front of a truck in Cincinnati last Christmas) but I do not support legislation requiring businesses to install third, gender-neutral restrooms or spending taxpayer dollars to do that in government buildings

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 07:20:22

Everyone can keep that in mind in case you run for office.

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 07:26:42

“Black people (unless they’re super light skinned cafe au lait and with straight hair) never had a closet to hide in”

So as long as you can fake like you’re in the oppressor class, you don’t need constitutional rights? That seems like a peculiar litmus test. How would that work with religious freedom, for instance? Anyone can pretend to be a christian, show up at church every once in a while, while really being jewish or hindu or nothing or whatever, so it wouldn’t be that bad to make christianity the state religion, right?

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 07:43:29

10:20 eastern time, the SJWs are starting their shift early today

This is an article written by Milo Yiannopoulos, who is gay but whose opinion will be disqualified by the SJW censors because he doesn’t toe the SJW party line (and that he writes columns for evil Breitbart website)


And now back to your regularly scheduled Salon and Huffington Post links

Comment by oxide
2015-06-30 08:14:19

Just send the transgendered person into the ladies room. Goodness knows there are enough males in there anyway.

NBC news currently has an article about a 10-year-old boy who believes that he is female and is undergoing sex-change hormone therapy, with full support of his parents. The comment section is lively.

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 08:37:16

Stalls for everybody! Problem solved. (Unless you have a wide stance.)

Comment by stewie
2015-06-30 11:15:01

Just an anecdote, but, anyone who’s been to Europe can probably attest to the fact that bathrooms can often be gender neutral. It’s not uncommon for a man to be using the urinal and have several women come in at the same time to use the bathroom as well.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 16:53:58

“Free speech” means freedom to mouth only those platitudes our PC commisars have approved. All else is Hate Speech.


Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 17:39:57

“Free speech” means freedom to mouth only those platitudes our PC commisars have approved. All else is Hate Speech.

This, apparently, is one of this week’s memes from the crackpot right wing media complex. They’ve lost the whole war over gay marriage, so now they’re whining non-stop that they’re being accused of hate speech and complaining about PC. Let me take a guess. Someone on one of these web sites is writing that the current Supreme Court can’t be trusted to uphold the first amendment. By next week they’ll forget all about this and move on to some other nonsense.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 18:18:05

‘the crackpot right wing media complex…lost the whole war over gay marriage’

The obsession over the false right/left dualism would be amusing if it wasn’t so destructive and oppressive. The federal government shouldn’t be in the marriage business. It was the states that were breaking this down like marijuana laws. Oh, that’s right, the feds are still sending people to prison (decidedly more minorities,BTW) for smoking pot! Actually, I can marry a stuffed animal, and I could all along. But it’s all the federal stuff that was prohibited. What is it with these federal government people, trying to tell everybody how to live and who they can marry? Maybe we should consider why the feds are involved in so many things no one asked (or authorized) them to be involved in?

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 18:28:55

I don’t think that “false right/left dualism” pertains to this situation. These people who are opposed to gay marriage are generally pleased to be called socially conservative, in other words, socially on the right.

I did hear that some people have proposed an amendment to the constitution to allow each state to decide its own marriage laws. That could have its merits. On the other hand, I didn’t read enough about the proposal to see whether it would nullify the Loving v. Virginia decision from 1967.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 18:49:13

You’re missing the point. If the feds hadn’t made marriage a part of the laws this “discrimination” would never have occurred in the first place. Our relationship with the state should be as individuals, because that’s what we are. We aren’t interested in “wars” with Rush Limbaugh and we are doing an end run around your false dualism. Just get out of the way. No need to amend this or rectify that.

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 18:49:36

What I find interesting is the reaction from these media outlets. Many people, I’m sure, could agree with whatever Antonin Scalia and the Chief Justice wrote in opposing the court’s ruling. The interesting thing is the reaction from these web sites. They’ve lost this whole war and they don’t know how to handle it. So they raise the specter that free speech is now endangered.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 18:53:05

‘What I find interesting is the reaction from these media outlets’

Because you are obsessed with the false dualism.

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 19:01:14

The Supreme Court ruling had to with state laws in the main. Marriage is not entirely a state matter, but it’s mostly a concern for the states.

I’m sure what the false dualism is. I’m interested in the right wing media for a number of reasons. One has to do with their influence and how the absence of facts and logic doesn’t slow them down. Another is the way that they make their audience angry and the satisfaction that the audience derives from that.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 19:12:58

‘I’m interested in the right wing media’

I can see I’m wasting my time. Carry on.

Comment by frankie
2015-06-30 05:12:00

The Greek government is in last-minute talks over whether to accept an offer that would let Greece repay part of its debt, local media say.

Greece is hours away from a deadline to repay a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - one it may miss.

One of Greece’s creditors, the European Commission (EC), said it made a last-minute proposal of reforms on Monday.

If Athens accepts the deal, it will free up cash to repay the €1.6bn.

A European Commission spokesman said the EC’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was called by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday night.

Mr Juncker then offered Greece the latest deal, with a midnight deadline. That has since expired.

However, Greek media say the government is still in talks over the offer.


And the song goes on. The never ending story.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 07:19:35

I thought negotiations were suspended. Do EU rules allow unilateral agreements without a quorum?

Comment by frankie
2015-06-30 07:37:24

Rules Bear you think they have rules! If the rules don’t fit change em and they have obviously changed them, because yes they are still negotiating. It appears the power that be are offering a titbit or two to try to stop the Greeks voting; perhaps they are afraid they will vote the wrong way.

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 07:55:16

China says wants Greece in euro zone, pledges EU infrastructure investment
yahoo news

Comment by frankie
2015-06-30 08:00:12

I could be horribly wrong about this, but it appears to me by developing a back bone the Greeks are likely to get a better deal than by playing the gimp.

Comment by oxide
2015-06-30 09:46:37

If you owe the bank a million euros, the bank owns you.
If you owe the bank 1.6 billion euros, you own the bank.

And if the bank stupidly used the debt paper as collateral for trillions of euro in derivatives, everybody gets pwned.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 05:12:42

Is the recovery in the Chinese stock market due to government intervention? Of course and remember I told you this weekend it was coming. Expect more intervention in the economy since for the half year they have grown by 6.85% still around 7% but the government wants 7%. There are no free markets our government intervenes and the Chinese government intervenes, the Chinese just do it better since they have more ammunition.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 05:38:43

You’ve gone past drinking the kool-aid. Now you’re pouring it on your head and splashing around like a little kid.

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 05:43:58

I don’t care that he is wrong, but the 100 post threads about China are boring

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 06:37:35

For an economy that is suppose to be in shambles it sure has healthy banks and we know you like that Mr. Banker.


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Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 08:07:10

” sure has healthy banks”


Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 08:15:58

No one said China was in a shambles. It is in an epic credit expansion blowoff, full of the pressurized puss of malinvestment and corruption, not in a shambles.

And you are wrong about Chinese savers having $21 Trillion on deposit. Just plain wrong.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 09:04:45

And what support do you have for that?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 09:11:45

It is entirely consistent with the fact that China’s external debt is around 6% and I have provided a link to that numerous times. It is much easier to service debt when you owe it to yourself. Greece does not and that is why it is FUBAR.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 06:29:57

Really than why am I consistently right? I think the people that continue to believe that China is imminently going to collapse have drank the Kool-Aid from groups like the Falun Gong.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 06:48:10

‘than why am I consistently right’

There’s a dispute about that.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 06:52:20

7% growth Ben two years in a row using the same methodology as China has always used. That is being right.

Comment by scdave
2015-06-30 07:18:45

7% growth Ben ??

Why would a economy as large as China’s need to stimulate when they are already suggesting that they are growing @ 7% ??

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 07:29:36

A round official figure like 7% that never changes in the face of rapidly eroding fundamentals is not to be trusted. What is it about stopped-clock statistics that has you so fixated? Are you perhaps confusing official CCP statistical releases with underlying economic reality?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 09:09:04

It is a round figure or close to a round figure precisely because China stimulates to that figure and then backs off. It is just like the cruise control the automobile will provide just enough fuel and adjust the transmission to keep it going at a set speed so it should not come as a surprise that if you set it for 80, you will travel at 80.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 09:45:14

LOL. Cruise control only works if you are actually measuring something. If you manipulate the reading to equal the setpoint, you actually do not have any control over anything but the reading.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 16:55:31


Comment by AmazingRuss
2015-07-01 16:59:57

You consistently (well always) BELIEVE you are right… but that’s only because you’re incapable of admitting anything else.

This requires you to twist your mind into some really interesting logical pretzels. It’s like watching a circus performer.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 07:22:27

That’s not kool-aid, it’s alcohol-spiked punch.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 08:56:44

It is living in the mania.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 12:23:37

Then, the mania is continuing and actually increasing because oil demand is starting to take off in China:


Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 12:29:16

Excerpt from link and here is another point, China has more reason to lie and say that its economy is growing slower than it is really growing in order to get commodities at a low price than it has to lie and say its economy is growing faster that only makes companies demand more for raw materials in contract negotiations:

CHINA’S apparent oil demand in May rose 8.2 percent from a year earlier to 43.8 million tons on the back of growing market across all oil product categories, according to a latest Platts analysis of Chinese government data.

“This was the fastest pace of growth since June 2013, when demand grew by 11.53 percent,” said Mriganka Jaipuriyar, Platts analyst for Asia oil. “Demand for all key products showed year-on-year increase in the month.”

During the first five months of this year, China’s total apparent oil demand averaged 10.45 million barrels per day, up 5.2 percent from the same period of 2014. This marked the fastest pace of year-to-date growth since 2011 and defied a weak macro-economic outlook.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 13:22:36

With oil prices sliding down, what difference do insignificant wiggles in buying for storage make?

Brent spot looks pretty sickly the past two months, as does China’s “weak macro-economic outlook”.

Comment by salinasron
2015-06-30 13:27:00

“China has more reason to lie and say that its economy is growing slower than it is really growing in order to get commodities at a low price than it has to lie and say its economy is growing faster that only makes companies demand more for raw materials ”

I don’t take sides in certain issues because they are too far removed from what is an immediate threat to my personal life. However, Dan, that is an out-of-body enlightenment and delusion to decide that government officials are only going to lie to reel in low cost commodities and that is the only objective. Lie to keep the free flow of money, lie to prop up trade, lie to get access to technology etc yes. Have you ever lived in the far east? Do you understand their business philosophies and philosophies of life?

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 14:30:26

Lie to keep the free flow of money, lie to prop up trade, lie to get access to technology etc yes. Have you ever lived in the far east? Do you understand their business philosophies and philosophies of life?

No country in the world has benefitted more from the decline in commodity prices than China. Its huge trade surpluses are due to these declines and it has every reason to keep their prices down.
So you do have a reasonable list and no I have not lived there but I do have friends from Taiwan and have had associates from the mainland.

1. China no longer needs an infusion of cash from abroad to fund its expansion and the trade surpluses exceed the net investments.
2. Lie to prop up trade, makes more sense to lie on the negative side and buy up mines like it is doing since it knows it will need more of the commodity than it is letting on.
3. I am not sure why you think that access to technology is dependent on the absolute GDP, it has continued to claim high growth in the technology field which is all the incentive a high tech company would need.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 14:48:54

They do now considering the China bubble is deflating.

Comment by salinasron
2015-06-30 15:45:33

Dan, I guess my views are tainted by having lived for 26 months in the far east, 15 months in Taiwan. I also have a former BIL who started a lumber processing factory first in Taiwan and then moved to the Chinese mainland. He divorced his American wife and married a fairly well of young Chinese gal. In the past three years they moved to central Oregon and purchased to large ranches and having been cutting down timber. She got a free ride to the U of Oregon while applying for citizenship which I understand is now complete and all the while removing their wealth from China. Aren’t Americans wonderful or what!? Our stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 16:15:54

Thanks for the comments. But understand I am not rooting for China’s success as many have claimed or a paid agent for China as other’s on this board have claimed. However, I do not think hope is strategy. Most on this board are blinded by their desire that China fails. I think we need to see the real threat to not only our economic well being, but in the future our national security. That takes a calculated evaluation of the true condition of China. Perhaps that is why the CIA’s view and my own views are so similar, that is what they are trained to do. It is ironic that China is succeeding in becoming an economic powerhouse because it has applied the economic theory of Ronald Reagan. However, the question is what China will do with the economic power it is developing.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 16:37:39

“makes more sense to lie on the negative side…”

That’s rather tricky. Knowing that the party is a liar and then having to second guess what their motives are in order to divine the truth based on the lies. Not a formula for successfully knowing anything.

Comment by rms
2015-06-30 18:39:21

“He divorced his American wife and married a fairly well of young Chinese gal.”

Out with the 7-bone chuck; in with the tender loin.

Comment by frankie
2015-06-30 05:13:29

Puerto Rico’s governor has said the US territory cannot pay its $72bn (£45bn) debt and is close to defaulting ahead of emergency talks with legislators.

In a TV address on Monday, Alejandro Garcia Padilla said he would seek a moratorium on repayments and form a team to restructure public debts.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the US government has ruled out a federal bailout for the US island.

The self-governing US commonwealth has been in a recession since 2006.

Legislators have to approve a $9.8bn budget on Tuesday, which calls for $674m in cuts and sets aside $1.5bn to help pay off the debt.


Comment by Puggs
2015-06-30 09:10:18

If they default will creditors let them stay on the island for a few years before foreclosing??

Cyprus, Greece, Puerto Rico, Italy(?), Spain(?), France(?)

“Everyone’s in So Much Red and Defaultin’ “

Comment by In Colorado
2015-06-30 10:29:20

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the US government has ruled out a federal bailout for the US island.

It’s gonna be fun watching the White House backpedal that statement.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 16:57:03

The Fed has already sent trillions in backdoor bailouts to European banks. Puerto Rico, with all those Democratic votes, is a shoo-in for another run of the Fed’s printing press.

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 05:15:41

by Jon Rappoport

May 18, 2015

Senator Rand Paul just went into the room. When he came out, he said he didn’t even know whether he’d read a draft or the final version.
He said he couldn’t disclose what was in the treaty. Why not? Who made that decision? Under what illegal authority are legislators prohibited from revealing the details of a treaty that will, when passed, bind all Americans and citizens of 11 other countries?

Like GATT, NAFTA, and CAFTA, the TPP is a Globalist treaty that expands the power of mega-corporations around the world. At will, they move their manufacturing operations to places where workers are virtual slaves. They sell goods across borders, without paying billions in tariffs, regardless of the effects on smaller competitors, who are torpedoed and forced out of business.

All treaties under consideration should be published in full, at least two years before member nations vote on them. Then we would have time to see and understand what’s in them.

The secret shroud surrounding the TPP is a criminal farce.
Mainstream media dupes are fond of saying that those who warn against global dictatorship are crazy conspiracy theorists.
Well, what do you call it when a secret treaty expanding the international power of mega-corporations is passed into law, when that law supersedes every other law and court of the member nations?
Would you call it “a good business decision?” “Employment enhancement?” “Smarter people helping the rest of us?”
In the US, Congressional legislators are prancing and dancing and fencing. They aren’t at all sure they know what’s in the TPP. But their debates are taken seriously, as if they actually mean something.
It’s the blind leading the blind leading the blind. But behind it all, the architects of the TPP are fully aware of the meaning and consequences of what they’re doing.

elreporterosf.com/?p=17168 - 30k -

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 05:23:26

I made my third donation to Rand Paul’s campaign last weekend, and will be buying his book at the airport this week to read on the plane

The Lindsey Graham trolls can go suck a big one (and probably enjoy it)

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 05:49:58

“He said he couldn’t disclose what was in the treaty.”

Well, you just keep on donating to him so he can read stuff he can’t disclose.

This other guy was willing to put his nuts up on the table and risk getting them chopped off, unlike the majority of the lily livers in Congress.


You know, the guy makes a few unpleasant but true statements. And for that an entire network cuts ties. But they’re keeping their ties with the guy who shoved a cigar into an intern in the Oval Orifice and the guy who is the brother of the creep responsible for turning the Middle East into an abattoir. Not to mention they keep Lyin’ Brian employed, even though he gets off on his daughter’s televised sex scenes.

Betcha Rand is on board with privatizing social security, too. Because, you know, libertarianism. Which Trump is against.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 05:56:19

‘A fast-growing number of seniors are hitting retirement with a student debt burden. Even their Social Security is at risk.’

‘Most debt you can get out of—painful as it might be. Credit card debt can be cleared in bankruptcy. A mortgage can end in foreclosure. But student debt is more sticky, and it turns out it can have big consequences in retirement.’

‘Last year, Richard Minuti’s Social Security payments were cut by 10%. The Philadelphia native was already earning only a bit over $10,000 a year, including some part-time work as a tutor. “I was desperate,” says Minuti. “Taking 10% of a person’s pay who’s trying to live with bills, that’s the cruelty of it.”

‘The Treasury Department was taking the money to pay for federal student loans he had taken out years before. Just before age 50, Minuti had gone back to college to get a second bachelor’s degree and a better job in social work and counseling. But the non-profit jobs he landed afterwards were lower paying, and he defaulted on the debt.’

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2015-06-30 06:07:47

Richard had no financial sense, that much is clear. I bet you dollars to donuts that he was paying his CCs on time while defaulting on his student debt. If he had any sense, he would have been doing the opposite; even better, he should have made the minimum payments on his CC on time, while running up the CC balances, and paying down his student debt.

Fools and their money…

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 09:31:40

If those are the tactics you’re going to use when you lend, you have no business lending money.

Worse yet, it is borrowed money that drove higher ed to grossly inflated levels.

Comment by oxide
2015-06-30 09:58:56

What? This is a GREAT business model for lending money.

Gov contractors and banks have been tapping into the bottomless general taxpayer kitty for decades, but they haven’t yet been able to access that Holy Grail of taxpayer kitties: The social security fund.

The yahoos on Wall Street tried to tap into the SS fund by partially privatizing SS and extracting juicy fees, but they failed. It seems that now, they’ve found another way into SS.

1. Lend money as Parent Plus loan to Pop so Pop can pay for Junior’s Obamastudies degree (or his own U of Phoenix bs BA)
2. Extract loan money out of Pop’s SS fund.
3. Profit! :grin:

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 10:11:36


Your GovLove is showing again.

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 05:56:45

I am not opposed to the Donald and many of the things he says

If he and Rand Paul ran together as independents I bet they could beat Jeb and Hillary

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Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 06:02:35

I bet they could, too. Meanwhile, I saw a headline for some Washington Post piece whining how Trump was trying to undermine the GOP. Since when did WaPo give a rat’s patootie about the GOP being undermined?

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 06:05:46

Jeb and Hillary should run together, since their platforms are indistinguishable: further enrich the .1% at the expense of everyone else.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 06:08:47

The Oligopoly’s mouthpieces and propaganda outlets like the NYT or WSJ want the sheeple to accept only oligarch-approved candidates like HillaryJeb (or the other occupants of the GOP clown car, exempting Rand Paul). The Donald is a wild card who doesn’t need to be bought off, and our overlords don’t like having wild cards in the mix.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 06:10:35

‘I am not opposed to the Donald and many of the things he says’

Wait a second. Let’s not mistake a certain refreshing breeze about being politically incorrect and daring to mention trade issues with a serious political campaign. If you look at my posts comments today you’ll see the people suing him over yet another condo-tel boondoggle.

He gets away with completely irrational statements. “I said we should just take Iraq’s oil.” Well sure you did. Saying is different from doing. Plus he shoots his mouth off. All that stuff about Mexicans makes it look like it won’t be a week or two before he has his Clayton Williams moment.

Comment by Pangolin
2015-06-30 06:20:01

I’m still in favor of Trump just because of this wild card status. If I am going to vote for a sociopathic egomaniac, I wanna get a big one.

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 06:23:55

Plus he’s one of the few who made the banks take it in the shorts, instead of the usual other way around.

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 06:56:54

“He gets away with completely irrational statements. “I said we should just take Iraq’s oil.” Well sure you did. Saying is different from doing. Plus he shoots his mouth off. All that stuff about Mexicans makes it look like it won’t be a week or two before he has his Clayton Williams moment.”

Or he could have his Rick Scott moment (two term governor of Florida). “All that stuff about Mexicans” was probably what got Scott elected, in spite of all his unsavory activities in the past.
Of course, once he got in office, “all that stuff about Mexicans” did a fast fade.

Still, he unseated JEB!’s candidate, the marionette Bill McCollum. I have to say, my favorite moment in Florida electoral politics was watching JEB! on TeeVee doing endorsement commercials to get Scott elected to a second term. Talk about a strained smile, it was more like a rictus. I still get a good laugh thinking about it.

Comment by Bring Back the WPA
2015-06-30 08:26:37

I don’t care if NBC treated Trump fairly or not because bottom line, once everything is reduced down to the bare truth and regardless of his political affiliation, Trump is one of the most egotistical, self-centered pompous @–holes there is. He is the lead clown in his own circus.

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 09:13:19

As far as I know, he hasn’t killed and maimed thousands and isn’t eager for those sloppy seconds like your candidate JEB!.

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 09:40:34

I got one word for NBC/Universal:


Ok, a few more words:

I’m lovin’ it.

Comment by Rental Watch
2015-06-30 11:08:25

Do a search on Fred Trump…how the Donald got his jumpstart on life.

I’ve heard the word “slumlord” associated with Fred Trump.

Comment by redmondjp
2015-06-30 11:11:12

It’s “Jebillary”; optimized for texting!

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 14:35:29

If I am going to vote for a sociopathic egomaniac, I wanna get a big one.

we have one now.

Comment by Pangolin
2015-06-30 06:16:44

Libertarianism is just another word for nothing left to lose. I’m going with Trump also. Government is just entertainment anyway. You were born into the Matrix and you’ll die there, if you are lucky.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 06:26:49

‘Government is just entertainment anyway’

And people wonder why this country is all effed up.

Comment by Pangolin
2015-06-30 06:39:00

I don’t wonder. I see it everyday. We do not have anything close to representative government anymore. We are ruled by the moneyed interests. The rest is just control theater. You will live a happier healthier life when you come to the realization that all of this politics is just shmolitics.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-06-30 06:50:23

There’s a difference between not worrying about things out of our control and thinking government is not real.

Comment by Pangolin
2015-06-30 07:48:14

I’m not saying it is not real. It is very real. But it is not in the control of the people. To the extent the Rich Oligarchs haven’t always been our masters, a silent coup by the bureaucratic administrative State took over. And that group of bureaucrats were regulatorily captured. Focus on getting yours, that’s what they do.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 09:35:04

“it is not in the control of the people…”

You want this and still be a whining couch potato?

It is within our grasp to control the government, if we were not so dopey. The mechanism for this has never been taken away.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 17:04:51

There’s a difference between not worrying about things out of our control and thinking government is not real.

There’s also a big difference between mindlessly grabbing your ankles for the Oligopoly by voting for its political enablers, i.e. HillaryJeb, Obama, McCain, and Romney; like 95% of the ‘Murican electorate did, and willfully refusing to go along with the charade by voting for candidates like Rand and Ron Paul who are anathema to the Masters of the Universe even if I don’t agree with them across the board.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 16:59:41

I made my third donation to Rand Paul’s campaign last weekend, and will be buying his book at the airport this week to read on the plane

You and I and the thinking 5% cannot offset the herd creatures of IDIOCRACY and their insane desire to bend over for the .1% who are screwing them blind. But I’d like to think our acts of defiance are not wholly wasted.

Comment by In Colorado
2015-06-30 10:31:58

He said he couldn’t disclose what was in the treaty. Why not? Who made that decision?

Some bankers who told him that they have a set of cement shoes in his size?

Comment by Adult Diapers
Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 08:05:53

Add to that the Drudge headline today about FB’ers proposing US flag burning in NYC leading up to the 4th of July.
And so it begins…….

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 08:18:22

You can file that article under “rallying the base”

Let me explain how it’s gonna go down

Trust-fund hipsters in Brooklyn who have never worked a day in their lives gather to burn a few flags, the ratio of trust-fund hipsters recording video of it on their smartphones to flag burners is at least 100:1

Everybody posts their videos on Facebook, Tumblr, etc and tells themselves that they’re “making a difference”

And then they all wake up hungover the next day and have brunch at that new artisan bakery that’s getting rave Yelp reviews

Rinse and repeat…

Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 12:03:39


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Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 13:36:16

You forget to mention that, during brunch, one of the topics of conversation will be how much they love the high walk score of their neighborhood.

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Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 05:40:53

Associated Press piece linked from Drudge Report

Rand Paul 1st Major-Party Candidate To Court Pot Donors


Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 06:02:56

The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech

By John W. Whitehead
June 29, 2015

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned—discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred—inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism.

It’s political correctness disguised as tolerance, civility and love, but what it really amounts to is the chilling of free speech and the demonizing of viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite.

As a society, we’ve become fearfully polite, careful to avoid offense, and largely unwilling to be labeled intolerant, hateful, closed-minded or any of the other toxic labels that carry a badge of shame today. The result is a nation where no one says what they really think anymore, at least if it runs counter to the prevailing views. Intolerance is the new scarlet letter of our day, a badge to be worn in shame and humiliation, deserving of society’s fear, loathing and utter banishment from society.

For those “haters” who dare to voice a different opinion, retribution is swift: they will be shamed, shouted down, silenced, censored, fired, cast out and generally relegated to the dust heap of ignorant, mean-spirited bullies who are guilty of various “word crimes.”

These tactics are nothing new. This nation, birthed from puritanical roots, has always struggled to balance its love of liberty with its moralistic need to censor books, music, art, language, symbols etc. As author Ray Bradbury notes, “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”

Indeed, thanks to the rise of political correctness, the population of book burners, censors, and judges has greatly expanded over the years so that they run the gamut from left-leaning to right-leaning and everything in between. By eliminating words, phrases and symbols from public discourse, the powers-that-be are sowing hate, distrust and paranoia. In this way, by bottling up dissent, they are creating a pressure cooker of stifled misery that will eventually blow.

For instance, the word “Christmas” is now taboo in the public schools, as is the word “gun.” Even childish drawings of soldiers result in detention or suspension under rigid zero tolerance policies. On college campuses, trigger warnings are being used to alert students to any material they might read, see or hear that might upset them, while free speech zones restrict anyone wishing to communicate a particular viewpoint to a specially designated area on campus. Things have gotten so bad that comedians such as Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld refuse to perform stand-up routines to college crowds anymore.

Clearly, the country is undergoing a nervous breakdown, and the news media is helping to push us to the brink of insanity by bombarding us with wall-to-wall news coverage and news cycles that change every few days.

In this way, it’s difficult to think or debate, let alone stay focused on one thing—namely, holding the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law—and the powers-that-be understand this.

As I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, regularly scheduled trivia and/or distractions keep the citizenry tuned into the various breaking news headlines and entertainment spectacles and tuned out to the government’s steady encroachments on our freedoms. These sleight-of-hand distractions and diversions are how you control a population, either inadvertently or intentionally, advancing a political agenda agenda without much opposition from the citizenry.

- See more at: https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_emergence_of_orwellian_newspeak_and_the_death_of_free_speech#sthash.EtSeYDWG.dpuf

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 06:20:02

Speaking of “free speech” I wonder how NBC would like it if the FCC yanked their licence and those of all their affiliates, because the President got his nose out of joint about some news story they ran, or some TeeVee show he didn’t like? Oh, boy, you’d be hearing ALL ABOUT
free screech and freedumb of the press.

But they just tossed Trump over a few unkind words. Oh, wait, wasn’t this the network that spewed the propaganda for the Bush war machine? Right. They’re partially responsible for all those thousands dead and maimed, both in Iraq and the Middle East.

Sigh. I’ve been watching the Miami Vice episodes in chronological order on Netflix, I’m more than halfway into season three and just realized it’s an NBC/Universal property. I’m done. Oh, well, no big loss. The first couple of seasons were the good ones, after that the production switched from Mann to Dick Wolfe/

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 10:59:08

How can they refuse to give air time to one candidate and still be “neutral”?

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 13:14:09

Sigh. I’ve been watching the Miami Vice episodes in chronological order on Netflix, I’m more than halfway into season three and just realized it’s an NBC/Universal property. I’m done.

I heard of a guy who stopped buying Heinz ketchup when John Kerry was running for president.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 13:24:12

I am pretty sure I cut the cable to my TV during a Presidential campaign. Can’t remember which one though.

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Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 06:22:58


Comment by Pangolin
2015-06-30 07:50:38

People have never lived better or had bigger houses. You are being provided some very delicious cake to eat by your owners.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 06:10:48

If you like your Fed-blown asset bubbles, you can keep your Fed-blown asset bubbles.


Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 06:31:04
Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 06:51:27

Ann Coulter on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal last week:


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 17:07:18

Coulter is a classic rabble-rouser, but she usually is a useful tool for the Establishment GOP and the neo-cons.

Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-06-30 06:39:43

If you are in a state where state and local government debts, past infrastructure underfunding, and public employee pension underfunding mean you are carrying a huge mortgage as it is, you’d better pay very little for your house.

I’ve just completed a three part analysis of the extent to which each state’s future has been sold out by state and local government debt, past capital construction (or the lack thereof), and public employee pension underfunding. And thus which states will far the worst in a future of ongoing tax cuts, public service cuts, and infrastructure deterioration. It is based on data from the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

The first post, with the overall “sold out future ranking” and a spreadsheet with data for all states and NYC and the rest of NY State separately, is here.


A more detailed post on state and local government debts and past capital construction expenditures is here.


And a final post on public employee pensions is here.


You can read the posts and look at the charts, but what I’d really like is for people to download the spreadsheet and look at the tables to see the data for all 50 states.

Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-06-30 07:02:51

I honor our our host, New Mexico has the 21s LEAST sold out future among states, despite some pension funding issues.

If NYC, where I live, were a separate state, it would have been the worst. The actual worst: Rhode Island, followed by Illinois. California is 10th worst, and only 20 percent worse that the U.S. average (which itself is bad).

The combination of state and local government debts, pension underfunding, and a low level of past infrastructure construction expenditures mean NYC residents face a total state and local government debt of 94.5% of their personal income. To go along with the federal debt of 100.0% percent of their personal income, not including Social Security and Medicare funding shortages.

Comment by Pangolin
2015-06-30 07:52:30

Didn’t Obama just sign the Public Employees Retirement Security Act yesterday?

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 17:08:40

How is anybody’s retirement “secure” with the Fed debasing the currency into worthlessness?

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Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 07:21:10

Thanks, Larry. Since I’m a bit of dilettante, I sort of cut to the chase to see where Florida stood. Good to know.

But here’s my worry, and it’s something I’ve addressed on another blog: We’re getting flooded with people from those sold out states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. These are people who looked down on Florida for decades, as a low wage, low education, limited job state. Guess what? If you read some of the relocation websites out there, these people have all of a sudden discovered that Florida has plentiful jobs and good schools. Who knew?

Most of them are lying through their teeth, IMO. The truth is more like they can’t cut it financially anymore in their high tax, high expense utopias. But most won’t say that, the reason for moving is stuff like “I can’t take the cold winters, I’m tired of shoveling snow”. Or they “want to be near family”, usually some decrepit grandparent rotting away in assisted living or in a trailer park that they never gave a rat’s patootie about before.

Florida has always had people move to the state for the weather, but not in the quantity they’re moving now. All of a sudden it’s cold in the winter up north? LOL, gimme a break. No, the truth is more like no one minded the cold as much when they had more money, better jobs and lower expenses.

My concern is that, as these people move to Florida, they bring their “must have more services” mind-set, which means higher taxes and expenses for us. They’ve driven up the price of just about everything, food, shelter, education, etc. The other scary thing is that so many seem to have kids with special needs, which does not bode well for the future of the state.

Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-06-30 07:53:36

What I would worry about in Florida is that pension funding isn’t as good as it seems.

Since the population is growing fast, the state has relatively few retirees from the less population past. But more public employees today servicing a larger population — tomorrow’s retirees.

If the benefits are left alone and properly funded that shouldn’t be a problem, even as the number of retirees and their benefits soar. The money should have been put aside for them.

Everywhere else, however, a pension crisis has emerged 20 years after the slowdown in population growth, because not enough money was set aside for each generation of workers. Population growth allowed politicians and unions to cover things up. That’s what happened to “Sunbelt” California and “suburban” New Jersey. And it’s what happened to NYC in the 1970s, 20 years after the city was filled out and population growth slopped in 1950.

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 08:27:04

Pension funding probably isn’t that great, but it’s probably better than what many will get in other states.

As I understand it, our former treasurer Alex Sink was able to keep JEB!’s sticky fingers off the pension funds when he did his brief stink with Lehman after leaving the governor’s mansion. I can only imagine what chaos might have ensued had the funds gone down with Lehman. Pension crisis indeed.

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Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-06-30 07:58:58

“My concern is that, as these people move to Florida, they bring their “must have more services” mind-set, which means higher taxes and expenses for us.”

The evidence suggests that aside from NY, they don’t want high taxes while they are around. They want debt and pension underfunding, something for nothing. When the bill comes due they hope to be gone.

Lots of people talking about leaving NJ now. More going to Carolinas than Florida. Some think Florida has already been paved/ruined!

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 08:27:35

“but not in the quantity they’re moving now”

Everybody wants to move to Florida, and then slam the door shut behind them.

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 09:09:59

No, not really. Most people want to move to Florida and have others “come on down” or “come on up”, if they’re from south of the border. Or come on over.

Those of us who’d like to slam the door (and catch some fingers in the process) haven’t had much luck.

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Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 10:05:35

I bet when you moved there, those who’d already moved there were saying ‘jeez! not another one.’

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 12:58:26

Most people want to move to Florida and have others “come on down” or “come on up”, if they’re from south of the border. Or come on over.

If that’s the case, it’s because so many work in the REIC. And since so many residents have moved there in the past few years, they don’t have childhood memories of what things used to be like.

Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 08:35:14

Illinios - you gotta live here to understand how bad it can be -
Those who have the means move out……
Those moving in - “Give up hope, all ye who enter here…”

And I can hear WPA right now getting ready on the keyboard - sheesh had to dredge up year old data to make your point.

Again - those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Linky here…


Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-06-30 08:47:41

My daughter moved to Chicago, to work for a non-profit. From the most sold-out to the third most sold out.

But she has read my advice. You can take back everything Generation Greed took from you by paying peanuts for housing. Just don’t buy at a price that doesn’t have the seller wailing in pain, and with you paying no more than 10 percent of your income for housing.

In any event, she’ll get an early first hand look at where America is going. Then she can move back and tell her friends about the future institutional collapse.

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Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 12:10:01

You have to live here to really understand this place -
I pray that your daughter has her eyes opened and does leave eventually lest she get ensnared by an utterly corrupt political and corporate oligarchy that are funneling the great mass into penury.
I have been here way too long for my own good - the good news - two of my three kids are never gonna come back here to live - ever. They have had enough and can see clearly the future that lies before them given their experience here. The third one - he is a greater cynic than me - sometimes to his own detriment. I am working on him to move out as well.
There is no future here.

Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-06-30 18:57:23

The thing that makes Chicago interesting is that all the economic trends are it is favor, and it is booming.

Unlike Detroit or even NYC in the 1970s, this is strictly a state and local government disaster, not an economic and social disaster. There are no non-government trends they can point a finger at.

Comment by Anonymous
2015-06-30 13:29:55

Interesting to read about the unfolding financial disaster around the public school system out there. I recall people warning, when the 2012 strike was settled, that there would be a price to pay down the road. Looks like some of the chickens have come home to roost.

“…At a time when the school system says it faces a $1 billion budget deficit next year, the contract offers an average teacher more than 17 percent in raises over the full four years…”


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Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 14:03:00

The CTU and and CPS are headed toward each other’s throats- Rummy turned down an advance transfer of 450,000,000.00 from Rauner / State of ILLANNOY yesterday to help fill a 600,000,000.00 pension payout this coming fiscal year -

What is amazing is here is Rauner who is trying to get things in line - help to avoid utter disaster and he is shoved aside so that the lefties who control CPS / CTU can eat their own. In other words - it is now everyman for himself.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 06:59:44

This is great about both the Greece crisis and AGW.


Comment by frankie
2015-06-30 07:44:13

Greece has submitted to creditors a new two-year aid proposal calling for parallel debt restructuring, the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said, in what seemed like a last-ditch effort by Athens to resolve an impasse with lenders.

The statement came hours before Athens was set to default on a loan to the International Monetary Fund. It was unclear how creditors would respond.

“The Greek government proposed today a two-year deal with the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) to fully cover its financial needs and with parallel debt restructuring,” the government said in a statement.

“Greece remains at the negotiating table,” the statement said, adding that Athens would always seek a “viable solution to stay in the euro.”

The international pressure on Greece increased dramatically last night.

Mr Juncker made a last-minute offer to Athens in a bid to reach a bailout agreement before the deadline expires today.

Under the offer, Prime Minister Tsipras would have to send written acceptance by today, in time for an emergency meeting of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers to be held, and agree to campaign in favour of the bailout in the planned 5 July referendum.


High stake poker continues. The Greek Economic Minister has written on game theory, I think that shows.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 10:43:55

“…the Greek Economic Minister has written on game theory…”

That speaks volumes about how this situation is unfolding.

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 07:59:59

This is an article for the paid employees of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Politico - Rand Paul meets with rogue rancher Cliven Bundy:


The narrative is yours to script, go run with it like good little Social Justice Warriors™

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 17:12:28

Gotta say, I agree with the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association take on Bundy and his antics. Also think pointing firearms at law enforcement personnel is never a good idea and likely to escalate an already volatile situation.

Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 08:00:00

Callin Palmy this morning -
Take ‘er easy there buddy - takes an awful lot for me to really get riled up anymore.

I can be a real cynical hole most of the time as well….

But ya know - given the illegitimate Surpremes, Congress and POTUS, FLOTUS - name your poison - It hit me like a hammer between my eyes on Friday - I have NO representation anymore - there is no one that can be relied on back in that pit called DC that I can rely on anymore - took me a while to get to this place but ya know it is like a huge burden off my soul. Liberating actually.
I am a man with no country anymore - And this is the story of history - I can only think of the righteous noted in the book of Jeremiah who were cast into the wilderness. I just pray to the God of the universe that I am not tempted by the tempter to blast every rainbow licker, otraumacare lover, liberty hater and the like when I encounter them. I pray God gives me the ability to just walk away shakin my head as they are given up to their own depravity.
Be well.

Comment by palmetto
2015-06-29 14:46:33
Whew, thanks, I feel better, really. It actually ate at me that I might have discouraged and upset someone who deserves support, not dissing.

You are a bigger person than you know. I can be a real cynical hole sometimes.

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 08:07:49

rainbow licker … given up to their own depravity

Keep government out of the bedroom

And get government out of marriage, all marriage

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2015-06-30 08:26:03

And get government out of marriage, all marriage


Marriage should be left as a religious construct, and it should be up to each religion to decide who they will or will not marry.

Legal union is a legal construct, not a religious one; it should be a matter of contract law, with an explicit default contract defined by the law that can be modified in any way desired by the parties entering into the contract.

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 08:35:04

“Legal union is a legal construct, not a religious one; it should be a matter of contract law, with an explicit default contract defined by the law that can be modified in any way desired by the parties entering into the contract.”

Isn’t that pretty much how it is right now? Except that a prenup (”explicit default contract”) is optional, since many are willing to take the contract ‘as is’?

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2015-06-30 08:54:50

Isn’t that pretty much how it is right now?

No, not in the least bit true. Much of the default contract is not explicit—instead, it is the accumulation of how family courts have chosen to rule over the years. And those courts feel free to ignore a clear pre-nup contract when it seems “unfair” to them in any way.

Except that a prenup (”explicit default contract”) is optional, since many are willing to take the contract ‘as is’?

Most have no idea of the terms with which they are agreeing—which is a clear non-starter under contract law.

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 09:17:59

Seems like you’re not really getting gov out of marriage, you’re just setting it up under contract law rather than family law. You’d still have to register it with the gov, and the like.

But should we throw centuries of common law under the bus just because gays can now get married? Seems like a lot of effort and change for little real-world difference, except we’d all have more enforceable prenups.

Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 09:20:27


Divorced dads have no legal rights in this country

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 09:58:21

“Most have no idea of the terms with which they are agreeing—which is a clear non-starter under contract law.”

I think most are pretty much aware of the overall deal, the issues are all over the news and popular entertainment, and they can learn more if they want. “Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.”

I suspect most people like the ‘one-stop-shopping’ aspect of modern marriage. It takes care of a lot of legal issues in one fell swoop. They may come to regret some aspects of it later, but contracts are like that, aren’t they?

Comment by Bring Back the WPA
2015-06-30 08:28:21

Typical libertarian copout. When times get tough, libertarians choose anarchy, shrugging their shoulders and doing nothing at all.

Comment by oxide
2015-06-30 11:15:00

When times get tough

You don’t even need a tough time… just wait until the next time they go to flush a toilet. They get socialist pretty fast.

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Comment by Bring Back the WPA
2015-06-30 13:24:02

Heh heh… we’ve explored that particular advantage to collectivism here before ; - )

Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 12:02:20

Two points.
a) I wonder how the courts are gonna deal with two daddies or two mommies ‘divorcing’ and the attendant model among the classical marriage construct that generally leaves the little ones with the mom and the dad generally payin the bills……
b) Will the muslim religion be required to uphold rainbow warrior marriage? It is like Christianity against the tenets of their ‘faith’.

Bottom line - this does not end well.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 13:28:09

Nothing that starts wrong ends well.

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Comment by palmetto
2015-06-30 08:13:36

Thanks, rj. I’ve always admired you for keeping things together up there in Illannoy. I really fear for the children of decent people who have no choice but to be in public schools these days, caught as they are between thug, gangbanger and sjw classmates, and pervert teachers like Hastert.

Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 12:14:54

Just keep the comments coming.
Not just you Palmy
ALL OF YOU - Please -
I fear that as the extreme liberal trolls march forth that there will be more out and out bullying to shut everybody up…

Comment by Bring Back the WPA
2015-06-30 08:44:06

Washington (CNN) Bernie Sanders isn’t satisfied with the Supreme Court’s affirmation last week of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Instead, the Democratic presidential hopeful said on Sunday he wants the United States to adopt a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health care plan.

“We need to join the rest of the industrialized world,” Sanders said …”We are the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people as a right and yet we end up spending much more than they do,” Sanders said. “So I do believe that we have to move toward a Medicare for all, single-payer system,” he said.


Nobody tells it like it is like Sanders does. The PPO/HMO system, which Obamacare inflates, is a huge ripoff … a bloated, private 3rd party parasite that serves to make a profit off of everything your doctor and hospital does. Time to take out the middleman and go single payer.

Comment by Anonymous
2015-06-30 13:43:08

“Time to take out the middleman and go single payer.” With the US government running it? No thanks! I already have experience with two healthcare systems run by the US gubmint: First the military, now the VA. And they both suck to some extent. Thankfully at times I can be referred to civilian providers.

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 13:57:41

First the military, now the VA. And they both suck to some extent. Thankfully at times I can be referred to civilian providers.

Every human institution on the planet sucks to some extent. Even people with the good fortune to have “Cadillac” health insurance will complain about it sometime. On the other hand, Medicare is a sort of a single payer system and it’s probably the most popular phenomenon in American life.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 17:16:07

The PPO/HMO system, which Obamacare inflates, is a huge ripoff … a bloated, private 3rd party parasite that serves to make a profit off of everything your doctor and hospital does.

Testify, WPA. For a flaming libtard, you sometimes get it right.

Comment by Adult Diapers
Comment by Anonymous
2015-06-30 13:45:46

Good job, KKK: Confirming the suspicions of outside observers that the confederate flag isn’t just a “symbol of the south”, it’s a symbol of something else.

Comment by Cracker Bob
2015-06-30 10:08:17

If the flag (Confederate Battle Flag) comes down, will the pants go up??

Comment by Califoh20
2015-06-30 10:47:42

Die hard neo-cons say, dont blame Bush. I just read the Bush Wars will have cost, with interest $6 trillion by 2053.

Looks like Bush Blame is here for a while.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 11:02:11

And by then what will the around ten trillion Obama has added to the deficit cost with interest, $40 trillion? Looks like Obama blame will be around for awhile.

Comment by Califoh20
2015-06-30 11:18:55

How much of that is the cost of the Bush War? Cost of getting us out of 2008 Bush Recession?
How much is new O spending? ACA?

O is more like Reagan.

From FACT CHECK.org: The economy has now gained nearly five times more jobs under President Barack Obama than it did during the presidency of George W. Bush, and the unemployment rate has dropped to just below the historical average.

Real weekly earnings are up 1.7 percent, thanks in part to a plunge in gasoline prices.

****Corporate profits have nearly tripled, and stock prices have soared. (GOT TRICKLE DOWN)

On the other hand, the number of Americans receiving food stamps remains 45 percent higher than when the president first took office, and the rate of home ownership has dropped by 3.2 percentage points, to the lowest point in nearly 20 years.

Comment by Rental Watch
2015-06-30 11:57:47

There is plenty of blame to go around.

Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall.
Clinton pushed for lower down payments and greater access to debt in order to promote higher rates of home ownership.
Bush continued to promote greater levels of home ownership.
Bush pushed us into Iraq (with lots of people waving a flag at the same time).
Obama, signed Dodd Frank into law, which turned “too big to fail” into “too small to succeed”, and has been negatively impacting capital investment ever since.
Obama, has been trigger-happy on drone strikes (query whether Bush’s implementation of the Iraq war would have been different if drone technology was at current levels).

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Comment by Califoh20
2015-06-30 13:16:43

I don’t recall the Clinton Recession or the $60 trillion Clinton Wars???

good try!

****Corporate profits have nearly tripled, and stock prices have soared.

Comment by Rental Watch
2015-06-30 17:06:34

I’m not saying that Clinton was a bad President. However, people need to recognize that policies enacted during one administration have impacts felt long after they leave.

Do you think that Obama would have been in a position to take the victory lap with the killing of OBL if Bush hadn’t put massive resources toward the expansion of our special forces?

Most policies take years to take hold. Do you think that GDP growth for Clinton in his first 2-4 years were due to his policies? Or his predecessor’s?

Just because it’s not called the “Clinton Banking Crisis” doesn’t mean that the repeal of Glass Steagall didn’t play a major part.

Just because it’s not called the “Clinton Subprime Mess” doesn’t mean that his whittling away at required down payments didn’t have an influence on the mortgage industry.

You missed the “Clinton Wars” because Iraq had the bad sense to invade Kuwait during Bush Sr., and 9/11 occurred right after Clinton left office.

And you missed the “Clinton Recession” because it was called the Dotcom bubble–he just left office before his recession occurred.

And to be fair, I’m not calling it the “Obama Wage Stagnation”…even though wage growth has been non-existent throughout this “recovery”. Nor am I calling it the “Clinton terror network” even though Clinton’s administration declined to pursue Bin Laden as he was coming to power.

I’m just saying that “your team”, whomever it is, is not blameless for the current state of affairs.

Comment by Califoh20
2015-06-30 18:48:04

Building 7. Enough said.

House of Saud, House of Bush.

I am a Libertarian. Rand 2016!

Life is Good. 78 degrees with 22% humidity for tonight’s BBQ/

Comment by rms
2015-06-30 22:14:04

“78 degrees with 22% humidity for tonight’s BBQ”

Yep, the Central Coast.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-07-01 05:27:18

….. with store brand hotdogs and boxed macaroni and cheese.

I’ll take 80 degrees, 50% humidity, steamers, oysters and prime rib.

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 13:21:15

And by then what will the around ten trillion Obama has added to the deficit cost with interest, $40 trillion?

Large portions of the debt racked up since Obama became president can be tracked to Bush’s wars, Bush’s tax cuts, the expansion of Medicare to include prescriptions and the recession.

Comment by Califoh20
2015-06-30 20:41:49

+1, anyone can read the facts, but it is easier to hate and ignore.

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Comment by redmondjp
2015-06-30 11:20:07

Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex laughs all the way to the bank, while generously contributing to the Jebillary campaign fund.

Comment by rj chicago
2015-06-30 12:16:34

The question is which Bush - dad or son -
I say both - they gave us John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy. Yikes.

Elections have consequences that can last for decades if not forever!!

Comment by Albuquerquedan
Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 12:26:48

Market Pulse
Eurozone finance ministers reject Greece bailout extension request
Published: June 30, 2015 3:05 p.m. ET
By MarketWatch

Eurozone finance ministers rejected Greece’s last-minute request to extend its bailout program, but will consider a request for a new rescue program, Finland’s finance minister, Alexander Stubb, said via Twitter. “Extension of program or haircut not possible…request for ESM-program is always dealt with through normal procedures,” Stubb said in a pair of tweets following a conference call with eurozone finance ministers. Greece has called for a new, two-year bailout program via the European Stability Mechanism, or ESM, which is Europe’s permanent bailout facility. News reports said finance ministers will meet again Wednesday to further discuss the ESM request. Greece’s current bailout program expires at midnight.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 12:27:56

Market Pulse
Lew tells Dijsselbloem, others to keep Greece in eurozone
Published: June 30, 2015 3:18 p.m. ET
By Steve Goldstein
D.C. bureau chief

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Treasury Department said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told leaders including Eurogroup President and Finance Minister of the Netherlands Jeroen Dijsselbloem that it’s in the best interest for the global economy for Greece and its creditors to continue to work toward a solution that puts Greece on a path toward reform and recovery within the eurozone. He spoke separately by phone with Dijsselbloem, Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, and French Finance Minister Michel Sapin.

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 12:42:01

Obama Removes TPP’s Anti-Slavery Clause, Then Attacks Confederate Flag as “Symbol of Slavery”

Hypocrisy: Obama defends slavery, then attacks rebel flag for ties to slavery

by Kit Daniels | Infowars.com | June 30, 2015

Right before he publicly attacked the Confederate flag as a “symbol of slavery,” President Obama quietly removed an “anti-slavery” provision from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement.

“The provision, which bars countries that engage in slavery from being part of major trade deals with the U.S., was written by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.),” The Huffington Post reported in May. “At the insistence of the White House, Menendez agreed to modify his language to say that as long as a country is taking ‘concrete’ steps toward reducing human trafficking and forced labor, it can be part of a trade deal.”

“Under the original language, the country that would be excluded from the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership pact is Malaysia.”

Malaysia is a major hub for human trafficking in Southeast Asia, with enslaved men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, according to the State Dept.

“Why, in the year 2015, is the White House teaming up with Republican leaders essentially to defend the practice of slavery?” The Huffington Post added.

It was only a month later that President Obama attacked the Confederate flag as a “symbol of slavery.”

“[Removing the flag] would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers; it would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong,” he said during a June 26 eulogy in Charleston, S.C.

In other words, Obama defended slavery when it benefitted the TPP, but then attacked the Confederate flag for its historic link to slavery because it was politically expedient.

Comment by Califoh20
2015-06-30 13:19:52

phony scandal

I cant believe the western state are actually selling fireworks this year. duh!

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-06-30 13:39:24

“the cause of slavery — was wrong”

I agree that slavery is wrong. It was wrong in the south. It was wrong in Africa, in Britain, in Rome. It is wrong now in Asia. However it is ironic that it was wrong under the American Flag before the Civil War.

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 14:01:22

What’s ironic about that?

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 14:02:36

One good thing is that it was a different flag.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 13:11:29

ft dot com > GlobalEconomy >
US Economy
June 30, 2015 8:04 pm
US housing stages ‘lopsided’ recovery
Sam Fleming in Washington
SAN RAFAEL, CA - MAY 17: Real estate agents arrive at a brokers tour showing a house for sale with a list price of $1.3 million May 17, 2007 in San Rafael, California. The San Francisco Bay Area has seen the median price for existing single family homes surge 6.6% to $720,000 while the national median home price dropped 0.9% to $215,300 in March. Marin County led the Bay Area surge with the median home price reaching a record high of $1,010,000, the first county in the state of California to surpass the million dollar mark.
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The lasting legacy of the US housing crash has ranked at the top of the so-called “headwinds” that Federal Reserve policy makers such as Janet Yellen cite when discussing America’s economic prospects.

A host of indicators are suggesting now that, even if the property market remains well below its boom-time highs, it is firmly in recovery mode.

The Case-Shiller index of home values in 20 cities rose 4.9 per cent from a year earlier in April, according to data released Tuesday, with values in Denver and San Francisco rising around 10 per cent from a year earlier. That came after the National Association of Realtors index of pending home sales hit its highest level since April 2006.

The problem with the recovery is that it is, in the words of Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, a lopsided one.

An acute lack of construction at the lower end of the market is creating a tight supply of housing, driving up rents and pushing up prices of affordable homes to levels reached in 2006.

With access to credit far more constricted than it was before the financial crisis and income growth depressed, home ownership rates have fallen to 20-year lows, as many younger Americans are locked out of property ownership.

Mr Khater said: “The property market is strengthening, but it’s a complex picture that’s by no means good news for all Americans.”

Comment by Califoh20
2015-06-30 16:59:52

The Bay area is all about Chinese buying props with funny money. Same with parts of OC and Vancouver.

The Chinese do not want to live in Kansas.

Comment by rms
2015-06-30 22:17:55

“The Chinese do not want to live in Kansas.”

I remember 80’s when the Japanese had the same idea.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-06-30 15:11:20

From the ND state website, the days of 5000 barrels a day of oil seem to be very much in the past:


Comment by Mafia Blocks
2015-06-30 16:20:58

OPEC Crude Production Surges as Iraq Pumps at Record Pace; Prices Fall


Comment by Adult Diapers
2015-06-30 16:21:00

the Velvet Underground - White Light White Heat”

Ice Cube - Amerikkka’s Most Wanted

the Who - Quadrophenia

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 16:39:03

‘Trans and queer’ illegals hold ‘die-in’ at White House

By Paul Bedard | June 30, 2015 | 2:43 pm

Undocumented “trans and queer leaders” held a “die-in” by the White House Tuesday to demand an end in detention of lesbian, gay, bisxexual, transgendered and queer illegal immigrants.

It was organized by the group United We Dream, a youth immigrant group.

The group said in a release that “Advocates will descend on the White House to cap off Pride month, protesting President Obama’s policy of detaining lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer immigrants where they face well documented abuses at rates many times those of the general population.”

The groups, which also included Make The Road New York, Casa Ruby, and GetEQUAL, promised the media visuals: “Trans and queer individuals will conduct a protest, share their personal stories of resilience and engage in a die-in symbolizing the deaths of LGBTQ people in detention and what deportation can mean to them where they will leave the street with chalk outlines of the departed, wear chains and chant.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/…/article/2567344 - 75k -

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 16:48:07

Black Lives Matter Protesters Disrupt Chicago Gay Pride Parade

by Warner Todd Huston
Jun 29 2015 Chicago, IL

Chicago’s 47th annual gay pride parade was disrupted several times by the usual city disruptions — gang activity, gunshots, and drunks — but the event was also disrupted by a car driving into a group of bystanders. Then there was an even larger interruption by “black lives matter” protesters.

Just about every Chicago parade these days features gunfire in the perimeters as gangs clash with police and drunks have probably been a parade disruption since forever. But this year a man tried to drive into the parade route, ramming his car into some bystanders — but not hurting anyone seriously.

Police swarmed the vehicle, smashed in the rear window and yanked out the driver, a middle-aged white man, and arrested him. Chicago police have released no details on the man’s identity nor his motivations for ramming the barricades for the parade.

But by far the biggest disruption was from a large group of “black lives matter” protesters. The group was joined by members of the black queer community of Chicago who announced the disruption on their website.

After noting that they had “purposefully disrupted the Chicago Pride Parade,” the queer group explained their reasoning.

“We do so,” the group said, “because our people are dying at the hands of police, military and state-funded militias around the globe. We do so because we refuse to be tokenized by the same corporations that sponsor state violence, refuse a living wage and profit off our poverty. We do so because young queer people need a better outlet to celebrate themselves than a mire of consumption and sexual violence.”

The queer group was also attacked by the “black lives matter” protesters who held signs and walked as a group to push their own message.

http://www.breitbart.com/…/ - 46k -

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2015-06-30 17:18:56

We need to rank-order all the “victim” and entitlement groups to see who is more entitled to have their agenda rammed down our throats.

Comment by MightyMike
2015-06-30 17:33:49

Warner Todd Huston

Here’s another name reminiscent of an assassin.

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 18:04:17

The ‘Trans and queer’ illegals hold ‘die-in’ at White House article posted above had LGBTQ in it.

I remember what Q used to stand for but I thought It had been thrown on the scrapheap of politically incorrect words years ago. Not to mention I thought they had it covered with the G but hell, who am I to tell anyone what letter they are or what letter they choose to use at a “die-in”.

I am still not quite sure how many things are covered by the T but that is a subject for another day.
What does the Q in LGBTQ stand for?

USA Today Network Lori Grisham, USA TODAY Network
9:42 a.m. EDT June 1, 2015

June is LGBT pride month, an annual anti-discrimination effort made official last year with a proclamation from President Obama.

LGBT — meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — is a widely accepted initialism. However, a fifth letter is increasingly making its way into the line-up: Q.

USA TODAY Network talked with experts and individuals in the gay community about what the Q means, why it’s used and who is saying it.

What does the ‘Q’ stand for?

Q can mean either ‘questioning’ or ‘queer,’ Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that lobbies for LGBT rights, told USA TODAY Network. Either interpretation is accepted, he said.

Queer means many things

People use the term queer because it’s not specific to sexual orientation or to gender identity but is more of an umbrella term that can encompass a lot of people, according to Sainz.

“Queer is anything that exists outside of the dominant narrative,” Cleo Anderson, a 26-year-old intern at GLAAD, a prominent gay rights group, told USA TODAY Network. Anderson identifies with the term.

“Queer means that you are one of those letters (LGBT), but you could be all of those letters and not knowing is OK,” she said.

Minorities seem to identify with the term in particular because it also can be used to convey the nuances of race and culture and how that intersects with an individual’s gender identity and sexual orientation, she said.

Still, others identify with queer not because it’s an umbrella term, but because of its connection to the rise of Queer Nation in the 1990s. Queer Nation is an activist group that first emerged in New York and used militant action to oppose discrimination to LGBT people and reject heteronomative ideals.

“Queer retains that critical edge against regimes of the normal of assimilation and privilege,” Octavio R. González, an English professor at Wellesley College told USA TODAY Network.

Reclaiming ‘queer’

“For decades (queer) was used as a pejorative against LGBT people,” Sainz said. It was demeaning and often accompanied by violence.

But in recent years the LGBT community, particularly younger people, have reclaimed the word, Sainz said.

“It’s a badge of honor. It’s taking back a word that was once used as a weapon against us,” he said. “You find the term completely commonplace in junior and senior high school and in college where individuals identify as queer.”

http://www.usatoday.com/…/nation-now/2015/06/01/lgbtq-questioning-queer-meaning/26925563/ - 354k -

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 18:35:22

Could this mean a comeback for Josie Cotton?

“Johnny Are You Queer?” - YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ2X2_ts5Kw - 275k -

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 18:53:55

Who is calling whose bluff in the Grexit comic-tragedy?

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 18:56:23

The question really gets down to what government or super-government international financial institution is going to rescue Greece, or at least to coordinate the rescue effort.

Private markets have apparently called Greece’s bluff and bid them sayonara.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 18:57:49

Financial Markets Call Greece’s Bluff
Jun 30, 2015 8:26 AM EDT
By Mark Gilbert

The first rule of Fight Club, as we learned in the eponymous movie, is that you don’t talk about Fight Club. The same principle applies, more or less, to membership in the Euro Club. So it’s a bad sign for the poor citizens of Greece that Europeans have stopped paying that rule much heed.

On June 22, Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt revealed that capital controls for Greece were being discussed; days later, in they came, closing the country’s banks. Monday, European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure told France’s Les Echos newspaper that “the exit of Greece from the euro area, which was a theoretical point, can unfortunately no longer be ruled out.” And Tuesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy suggested the irreversibility of euro membership might not be quite so irreversible after all.

Financial Contagion

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras seems to have badly misjudged how fearful the guardians of the euro are of the consequences of Greece exiting the common currency. “They will not kick us out of the euro zone,” he said in an ERT TV interview on Monday. “Let me explain why, because the cost is immense.”

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 19:04:34

Calling Each Other’s Bluff
Greg Canavan
June 30, 2015
deflation resize medium

Well, it’s the last day of the financial year. The heavy fall in the market over the past week or so will shave a few hundred billion off the nations’ superannuation balances.
Moving back to the overnight action, and Europe was hit hard. Here’s how the major European exchanges fared:

Germany: -3.56%
France: -3.74%
Spain: -4.56%
Italy: -5.17%
Portugal: -4.76%

In short, it was pretty ugly. But not surprising considering the market was happy to ignore the building tensions between Greece and its creditors for weeks. The market simply assumed both sides would blink before the situation turned critical.

The other important focus point overnight was the bond yields of the other highly indebted Euro nations. Let’s have a look:

* Portugal saw its 10-year bond yields rise 34 basis points to 3.02%.
* Italian and Spanish 10-year bond yields both jumped 24 basis points to 2.38% and 2.34% respectively.

That’s hardly a disaster for any of these countries, but keep an eye on the trend. If they keep rising, it will become a headache for Europe and the euro.

Much of what happens next will depend on the outcome of Sunday’s referendum. I don’t think Greece’s creditors saw this coming. They probably expected Greece to fall into line just prior to the repayment deadline to the IMF, which expires tonight/tomorrow our time.

Instead, Greece upped the stakes big time and called its creditors’ bluff. From Bloomberg:

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said European leaders don’t have the nerve to throw his country out of the euro, striking a defiant tone just hours after imposing capital controls on a country in economic freefall.

As Greeks come to terms with a new reality that’s trapped their money inside the country’s banks, 12,000 people gathered in the central Syntagma Square with banners that read “Our lives do not belong to the creditors.” Tsipras, who passed by them en route to a televised interview, said the cost to the 19-nation bloc of Greece leaving would be “enormous.”

The creditors are obviously outraged. The elites of Europe are not used to small nations standing up to them and daring to jeopardise their euro project.

But despite appearances, Greece has a strong hand. The cost of Greece leaving the Eurozone would be enormous. Greece has around €320 billion in total government debt, held mostly by the European Central Bank and the IMF. If Greece leaves the Eurozone that is quite a hole to fill.

If Greece votes no in Sunday’s referendum, then they will be in a much stronger position to negotiate a better outcome for staying in the Eurozone, which is clearly the better deal for everyone.

But with Tsipras saying that Europe doesn’t have the nerve to throw Greece out, he risks turning this from a rational to an emotional negotiation. Because if Europe then turns around and calls Greece’s bluff, throwing them out of the Eurozone, it’s likely we’ll get a lot more turmoil and volatility in the months ahead. It will be a matter of time before the market then moves on to Portugal, Italy and Spain.

It’s impossible at this stage to work out how it will end. I know there’s a lot of talk about a ‘Grexit’ now looking likely but it’s too early to come to such a conclusion. This still has a long way to go.

Greece’s moves over the past few days are a high stakes ploy to wrest negotiating power off the creditors, not necessarily an admission that they will leave the Eurozone.

So expect to more volatility in the days to come. But the real fireworks will start next week when we know the outcome of the Greek referendum.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 19:12:30

Germany is bluffing on GreeceBerlin is not going to force Athens out of the eurozone anytime soon
June 12, 2015 2:00AM ET
by Mark Weisbrot

You can ignore all the talk of a “Grexit,” the bluff and bluster of right-wing German ideologues such as Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble who would celebrate it, and repetitive, stubbornly dire warnings that time is running out. Did you notice that the much-hyped June 5 deadline for the Greece’s payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came and went, Greece didn’t pay and nobody fell off a cliff? Trust me, this is not a cliffhanger.

Although there have been numerous references to game theory in the ongoing commentary, it’s really not necessary if you look at the revealed preferences of those whom the Syriza government is polite and diplomatic enough to call its European partners. Take partner-in-chief German Chancellor Angela Merkel: If there’s one thing she doesn’t want to be remembered as, it’s the politician who destroyed the eurozone.

Of course, we don’t know if a Greek exit would do that, but there’s a chance that it could. Even if the European Central Bank would be able to contain the resulting financial crisis, it is possible that Greece would, after an initial shock, ultimately do much better outside the euro, which might convince others to want to leave. Whatever the probability of that scenario, Merkel is, like most successful politicians, a risk-averse creature who won’t roll those dice.

And there is an elephant in the room that she is not going to ignore: the United States. There are scattered press reports that Barack Obama’s administration has put pressure on Merkel to reach an agreement with Greece, but the importance of that has been vastly understated. Unless it is a request that could get a German government voted out of office — such as George W. Bush’s bid for support of his invasion of Iraq in 2003 — something that is strategically important to Washington is extremely likely to find agreement in Berlin. And in this case, Merkel and Obama are basically on the same page.

The politics of empire are much more important than any economic concerns here. For the same reasons that the United States intervened in Greece’s civil war (1946 to ’49) and supported the brutal military dictatorship (1967 to ’74) — with all the murder, torture and repression that these involved — Washington does not want to have an independent government in Greece.

Europe is the United States’ most important ally in the world, and Washington doesn’t want to lose even a small piece of it, even little Greece. Everybody knows that if Greece leaves the euro and needs to borrow hard currency for its balance of payments, it will get some from Russia and maybe even China. Greece could leave NATO. Greece could participate in Russia’s proposed gas pipeline project, which would make Europe more dependent on Russia — something that American officials warned against, drawing a sharp rebuke from Greece’s energy minister, who rightfully told them it was none of their business.

It would be nice to think that the worst features of U.S. foreign policy have changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but they have not. The Cold War never really ended, at least insofar as the U.S. is still a global empire and wants every government to put Washington’s interests ahead of those expressed by its own voters.

The current hostilities with Russia add a sense of déjà vu, but they are mainly an added excuse for what would be U.S. policy in any case.
The people primarily responsible for Greece’s deep and prolonged depression and high unemployment are pushing policies that would extend the crisis and worsen its impact on those who have suffered the most.

Once we take all these interests into account and where they converge, the strategy of Greece’s European partners is pretty clear: It’s all about regime change. One senior Greek official involved in the negotiations referred to it as a “slow-motion coup d’état.” And those who were paying attention could see this from the beginning. Just 10 days after Syriza was elected, as I noted previously, the European Central Bank cut off its main line of credit to Greece and then capped the amount that Greek banks could lend to the government.

All the hype and brinkmanship destabilize the economy, and some of this is an intentional effect of European authorities’ statements and threats. But the direct sabotage of the Greek economy is most important, and it is remarkable that it has gotten so little attention.

The unannounced objective is to undermine political support for the Syriza government until it falls and get a new regime that is preferable to the European partners and the U.S. This is the only strategy that makes sense, from their point of view. They will try to give Greece enough oxygen to avoid default and exit, which they really don’t want, but not enough for an economic recovery, which they also don’t want.

So far, the damage to the Greek economy has been quite significant. The IMF projected growth of 2.5 percent this year, and now the economy is in recession.

According to leaked documents published by The Financial Times on June 5, the European officials’ negotiating position is a primary budget surplus of 1 percent of GDP in 2015 and 2 percent of GDP in 2016. This represents a climb down from the ridiculous goals that the IMF previously put forth, which called for primary surpluses at “above 4 percent of GDP” for “many years to come.” But with the economy in recession and the current primary surplus at negative 0.67 percent of GDP, the current proposed targets would stifle Greece’s recovery, perhaps even prolong the recession and maintain depression levels of unemployment.

Another sticking point in the current negotiations has to do with debt relief. Even the IMF now recognizes that Greece’s current debt burden is unsustainable, but the European officials are not budging. This pretty much guarantees more crises down the road, which is a major drag on recovery. Who wants to invest or even consume very much with inevitable financial crises on the horizon?

The European officials’ demand for further pension cuts is even more difficult to justify, given what Greece has already done. Besides raising the retirement age by five years (from 60 to 65), The Financial Times reports, “main pensions have been slashed 44 to 48 percent since 2010, reducing the average pension to 700 euros a month … About 45 percent of Greek pensioners receive less than 665 euros monthly — below the official poverty threshold.”

European officials are making more demands for labor law reform, on the dubious theory that further weakening labor’s bargaining power and driving down wages (as if 26.6 percent unemployment doesn’t do that enough) will increase competitiveness enough to spur an export-led recovery.

So we see the ugliest of scenarios playing out: The people primarily responsible for Greece’s deep and prolonged depression and high unemployment are pushing policies that would extend the crisis and worsen its impact on those who have suffered the most — not to mention subvert the will of the electorate.

So far, the government is hanging in there, with the latest polls showing Tsipras’ approval rating at 66 percent. It’s impressive that so many Greeks still understand who is responsible for the crisis, in spite of the balance of media prejudice against the government. It’s vitally important, because Greece’s adversaries are counting on being able to deceive them.

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. and president of Just Foreign Policy. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong about the Global Economy.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America’s editorial policy.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 19:16:22

Europe shrugs its shoulders
There was emotion, sure, but no panic as EU leaders and markets react to Greece’s pending referendum.
By Matthew Karnitschnig and Zeke Turner
29/6/15, 8:23 PM CET
Updated 29/6/15, 11:10 PM CET

Reactions to Greece’s pending referendum over its euro membership ranged from dismay to calm Monday, as EU officials implored Greeks to reaffirm their commitment to Europe and national leaders led by Angela Merkel cautioned against trying to influence the outcome.

The weekend announcement of the July 5 vote caused Greece’s long-running aid talks to collapse, casting doubt on the country’s membership in the euro. But fears of a broader panic in financial markets proved unfounded.

European stock indexes posted steep declines and the bonds of Italy, Spain and Portugal took a hit, but the reaction was far from the calamity some feared. The euro, the main focus of attention, even rose on the day.

The muted reaction is unwelcome news to Greece’s leftist leaders, who have tried to use the specter of financial market chaos to their advantage in negotiations. If anything, Monday’s market response suggested the measures Europe has put in place in recent years, which include a hefty bailout fund and European Central Bank intervention in debt markets, are working.

Against that backdrop, Merkel ended her silence on the events of the weekend. She repeated that “if the euro fails, Europe fails,” a line she first used a couple of years ago. But she also suggested that a Greek departure from the euro no longer threatened to bring the currency down.

“We can see today that Europe can react much forcefully than was the case five years ago,” she said.

Speaking in Berlin, Merkel placed the blame for the failed talks squarely at the feet of Greece’s leftist government, saying it had left the talks midstream, showing “no willingness to compromise.”

“Europe only functions when there’s compromise,” she said. “No one gets 100 percent.”

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 19:23:06

Greece should call Europe’s bluff
By Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun
First posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 10:00 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 10:05 PM EDT
A European Union flag flutters before the temple of Parthenon at the Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece. (REUTERS)

If a multi-billionaire runs into a financial crisis and cannot repay his or her debts to the banks, the banks don’t put him in debtor’s prison.

Society allows debtors to declare bankruptcy, the banks write down losses and restructure their loans, while the debtor often walks free.

Case in point, the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, after accumulating $619 billion in debt.

While millions of Americans suffered, the company’s top executives found lucrative jobs elsewhere on Wall Street.

Not so if you are a country, as the Greeks have discovered.

For five years their creditors have imposed their will, shrinking the country’s economy by 21% and forcing 25% of the people into joblessness.

There is no doubt that successive Greek governments mismanaged the economy with corruption filtering down to political patronage networks.

In 2009 alone, Athens borrowed abundantly: A whopping 15 % of the GDP.

But who were the bankers involved and why should they get off free and clear?

As Philippe Legrain, senior fellow at the London School of Economics (LSC) says in Foreign Policy magazine:

By the time Greece was cut off from the markets in 2010, its soaring public debt of 130% of GDP was obviously unpayable in full. It should have been written down, as the IMF later acknowledged publicly.

Legrain says 90% of what Eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have lent to the Greek government after 2010 has not gone to help Greece, but to rescue French and German banks on the backs of ordinary Greeks.

For five years, the Greeks have complied with the demands of the banks, but no more.

The difference this time is that facing the bankers today is a group of young, Greek populist politicians, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who don’t scare easily.

They are Europe’s new left, free of the ideological constraints of their predecessors — the dinosaur communists and socialists who also played their part in creating this mess.

On Tuesday, Greece refused to pay $1.73 billion it owed to the IMF.

On Sunday, Greeks will vote to reject or accept the bail-out plan put forward by the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, known as the Troika.

The situation in Greece is being followed closely and with grave concern by Greek Canadians.

Costas Manios, a former board member of the Greek Community Centre of Toronto, told me, “it’s time for Greeks to take their destiny into their own hands and stop being slaves of European bankers”, a widely-held view that cuts across political party lines.

Sipping coffee in Toronto’s Greektown on the Danforth, Manios notes he is not on the political left, but backs Tsipras’ stand.

“Greece should get rid of the clutches of the euro and embrace the drachma. This may cause a bit of pain, but will free the Greeks from IMF, Wall Street and Europe’s bankers,” he says

Others disagree. “Chris”, sitting across the table, interrupts Manios declaring: “Are you serious? Syriza (the ruling party in Greece) will leave the country in ruins … they’re communists.”

If Greece votes “No” and the Troika refuses to write down part of Greece’s debts, then Tsipras should walk away from the euro, impose strict capital controls and call Europe’s bluff.

Let those who referred to Greece as one of the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) see the Greek lion, Nemea, roar.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 19:28:56

For the moment, it looks as though Greek leaders were the ones whose bluff was called.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 19:29:56

ft dot com > World >
Last updated: June 30, 2015 11:10 pm
Greece rescue deal runs out of time
Peter Spiegel in Brussels and Kerin Hope in Athens
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. Greece shut its banks and the stock market and imposed capital controls after creditors at the weekend refused to extend the country’s bailout past the June 30 deadline, prompting anxious citizens to empty ATMs.
AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Greeks protest in front of their parliament at the closure of banks and the stock market and the imposition of capital controls

Eurozone finance ministers rejected a last-minute appeal by Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, to extend his country’s bailout just hours before it expired at midnight, denying Athens a lifeline as its financial system teeters on the brink of collapse.

Greece also missed a €1.5bn payment to the International Monetary Fund that had been set for midnight on Tuesday. An IMF spokesman said just after the deadline: “We have informed our executive board that Greece is now in arrears and can only receive IMF financing once the arrears are cleared.”

In a hurriedly-organised conference call, European ministers also reacted coolly to an unexpected request from Mr Tsipras for a third bailout. The €29.1bn request, sent to the eurozone’s €500bn rescue fund on Tuesday, was the latest twist in Greece’s acrimonious stand-off with its international creditors and took many in Brussels by surprise.

Some European officials dismissed the appeal out of hand while others speculated it was an attempt by Mr Tsipras to strengthen his hand domestically ahead of Sunday’s referendum on a previous bailout offer.

Alex Stubb, the Finnish finance minister, wrote on Twitter that the request for a new rescue would be dealt with “through normal procedures”, a signal it would not be handled with urgency. German politicians said Angela Merkel, the chancellor, would wait until after the referendum before beginning consultations with Athens.

The final rejection of a bailout extension was delivered against the backdrop of an escalating financial crisis in Athens two days after the government imposed capital controls and shut local banks. By Tuesday afternoon, some ATMs had run out of cash, while elderly people were struggling to collect their pensions.

Meanwhile, the country’s tottering lenders were bracing themselves for a potentially pivotal meeting of the European Central Bank on Wednesday, just after Athens’ current bailout expires. There are fears in Greece that the ECB’s governing council in Frankfurt could raise the amount of collateral required for the emergency loans currently sustaining Greek banks — a move that could topple at least one of the country’s financial institutions.

Athens’ last-ditch request for a new bailout appeared aimed at swaying the ECB board, since without a programme in place and no negotiations under way the bank may be forced to take a tougher line.

The bailout Mr Tsipras is proposing would cover Greece’s needs for the next two years, according to a letter from the Greek premier obtained by the Financial Times, which makes a specific request for Greece’s debts to be restructured.

Before Tuesday’s teleconference, Athens sent ministers yet another set of economic reform proposals, and the eurogroup was to reconvene on Wednesday morning to discuss them. Although Greece’s bailout has now expired, the two sides must still agree to a set of economic reforms for any new bailout to begin.

EU officials have long acknowledged Greece would need a new bailout once the current programme expired, but have insisted that only a successful completion of the just-expired rescue programme would qualify it for a third.

One senior official said he was “insulted” by the last-minute offer, and others said that Mr Tsipras’ repeated refusal to accept the economic reforms necessary to complete the current bailout — and his active campaigning to reject the terms in a referendum on Sunday — would mean a new programme was just as unlikely to be agreed.

“Do you think the eurogroup will grant a two-year programme to a government telling its people to reject the current deal?” asked one EU diplomat.

A senior Greek official said the eleventh-hour request was made out of a desperate need to win an agreement and reopen the country’s shuttered banks.

Greek banks scrambled to arrange payments to hundreds of thousands of cash-strapped pensioners amid mounting fears that the capital controls imposed this week may not be sufficient to prevent financial meltdown.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2015-06-30 20:06:40

So why does China send more goods to us than Mexico again?:


Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 20:37:08

That dog won’t hunt

Comment by Oddfellow
2015-06-30 22:21:20

Some dogs hunt by not hunting

Comment by phony scandals
2015-06-30 21:41:36

Apparatus and method for remotely monitoring and altering brain waves
US 3951134 A


It is therefore an object of the invention to remotely monitor electrical activity in the entire brain or selected local regions thereof with a single measurement.

Another object is the monitoring of a subject’s brain wave activity through transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves.

Still another object is to monitor brain wave activity from a position remote from the subject.

A further object is to provide a method and apparatus for affecting brain wave activity by transmitting electromagnetic signals thereto.

Publication number US3951134 A
Publication type Grant
Application number US 05/494,518
Publication date Apr 20, 1976
Filing date Aug 5, 1974
Priority date Aug 5, 1974
Inventors Robert G. Malech
Original Assignee Dorne & Margolin Inc.
Export Citation BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (18), Classifications (10)
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet

Patent US3951134 - Apparatus and method for remotely monitoring …
http://www.google.com/patents/US3951134 - Similar pages
Apr 20, 1976 …

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:39:31

Speaking of game theory, got Nash reversion?

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:45:45

2:00 am ET
Jun 30, 2015
What Happens If Greece Defaults on Its Payment to the IMF?
By Ian Talley
Demonstrators rally in Athens on Monday. Greek voters will decide in a referendum Sunday whether their government should accept an economic reform package put forth by Greece’s creditor.

If Greece fails to pay the International Monetary Fund a $1.7 billion debt coming due at the close of business Tuesday—around 6 p.m. EDT—the country will immediately be in arrears to the fund, an event normally known in the financial world as a “default.”

The default, which Greece has already warned will happen, would be the first by an advanced economy in the fund’s seven-decade history, as well as the largest single overdue payment. It would also put the new Athens government on a par with a small group of mostly conflict-ravaged debtors that have stiffed the IMF—a short list that includes Afghanistan’s Taliban and coup-stricken Haiti. Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe was the last major default to the emergency lender, in 2001.

IMF rules allow for no grace period for Greece. And given the fund’s huge financial exposure to the debt-ridden country, the managing director would immediately notify the board of Greece’s overdue financial obligation.

Although months of bailout talks have failed to win a new emergency-financing deal, IMF staff will still reach out to authorities in Athens to try to negotiate a plan for Greece to clear its arrears. The country ultimately risks expulsion from the fund’s membership if, after two years, the government fails to pay its debts, but beyond that long-term penalty, the immediate sanctions applied by the IMF are relatively limited. (See page 912 of the fund’s policy on dealing with member countries in arrears.)

Much more important is what nonpayment signals to all the countries, investors and other creditors Greece owes money to, including domestic institutions such as pension funds and federal employees.

The escalating prospect of a default to the IMF was a major reason why the European Central Bank limited its emergency loans to Greek banks and Greece’s government was forced to institute capital controls—financial martial law that prevents a mass exodus of cash out of the country.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:48:45

How Default Could Push Greece Out Of The Eurozone
June 30, 2015 4:15 PM ET
Jim Zarroli
People wait in line to withdraw euros from an ATM after Greece closed its banks Monday in Athens.
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
This story was updated at 7 p.m. ET.

The deadline passed Tuesday evening for Greece to make a key loan payment to the International Monetary Fund — putting it a step closer toward quitting the euro.

There had been last-minute attempts by the government to negotiate a deal with its creditors. And Greece still plans to hold a referendum Sunday to give people a chance to decide if they want to accept creditors’ harsh bailout terms.

Missing the payment leaves Greece in a much more tenuous position — and might eventually force it out of the eurozone altogether.

Until this week, Gabriel Sterne of Oxford Economics thought Greece and its European creditors might still find a way to resolve their differences. Now he says the odds of Greece staying in the eurozone are a lot slimmer than they once were.

“It’s really a pretty desperate situation even if they get a ‘yes’ vote on the referendum. The analogy is Greece walking through a minefield now and at any point you can go to exit,” Sterne says.

He says the capital controls and bank shutdowns imposed by Greece this week greatly complicate its economic picture. He says once you bar people from getting access to their own money, it’s much harder to restore credibility in the financial system.

Sterne notes that it took two years for Cyprus to lift the capital controls it imposed in 2013. So the challenges facing Greece have suddenly become that much bigger.

“Putting the economy through a week of capital controls and bank closures to get a better deal is insane because at the end of the process even if you get a good deal, the economy is going to be worse off,” says Diego Ferro, co-chief investment officer at Greylock Capital. The firm owns Greek bonds.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:50:55

2:33pm July 1, 2015
Greece seeks new loans after default
July 01, 2015: 9NEWS Finance Editor Ross Greenwood explains what happens now after Greece defaulted on a $2.3b payment to the IMF.

Greece has lurched deeper into crisis as European finance ministers prepare to consider a request for new loans in a last-ditch effort to keep the country in the eurozone after it defaulted on a key payment and a bailout keeping its economy afloat expired.

Cash-strapped Greece became the first developed country to default on the International Monetary Fund after missing a 1.5 billion euros ($A2.17 billion) payment on Tuesday, as efforts to find a compromise with its EU lenders came to naught.

The missed payment underscored the failure of more than five months of wrangling between Greece’s left-wing government and its creditors to reshape the country’s bailout and prevent it dropping out of the eurozone.

But talks were set to resume on Wednesday after Athens asked for a new two-year aid plan - the third in five years - as ratings agencies cut their ratings on Greece’s debt, predicting it will return to recession this year.

Athens is asking for a further 29.1 billion euros from the European Stability Mechanism, to “fully cover its financing needs and the simultaneous restructuring of debt”, for the next two years, according to the prime minister’s office.

Greek officials indicated they would be willing to suspend a referendum planned for Sunday on the reforms demanded by its creditors if Wednesday’s eurozone talks in Brussels yield agreement on the new funding request.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:55:55

Greece, Missing I.M.F. Payment, Is Called Effectively in Default
JUNE 30, 2015
Protesters supporting the euro and hoping Greece stays in the European Union were outside the Parliament building in Athens. Credit Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

ATHENS — Greece missed a crucial debt payment to the International Monetary Fund, the fund said early Wednesday, deepening a crisis that has haunted world leaders and financial markets over the past week.

The development came as Greece’s European creditors each rejected an 11th-hour attempt by Athens to extend the country’s international bailout program.

Greece is not technically in default, but missing the payment of 1.5 billion euros, or about $1.7 billion, is yet another warning that the country will probably be unable to meet its other obligations in coming weeks, to its bond holders and to the European Central Bank. That might make the bank, one of the country’s chief creditors, less willing to continue emergency loans that have been propping up Greek banks for the past several months.

By declaring Greece in arrears, the I.M.F. avoided using the term “default.” Credit rating agencies also will not consider Greece in default based on missing the I.M.F. payment, because the I.M.F. is not considered a commercial lender.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 23:01:27

Greek default deals blow to IMF
Published: June 30, 2015 7:15 p.m. ET
By Ian Talley

Greece became the first advanced economy in the seven-decade history of International Monetary Fund to default on its loan payments, marking a significant setback for both for the country and the world’s emergency lender.

Failure to pay the $1.7 billion due to the IMF, a record overdue obligation, puts Greece in a small group of mostly conflict-ravaged debtors that have stiffed the IMF, a short list that includes Afghanistan’s Taliban and coup-stricken Haiti. Zimbabwe was the IMF’s last major defaulter in 2001.

The default to the IMF sent a warning signal to Greece’s other creditors, including domestic Greek institutions such as pension funds and federal employees.

In ascribing blame for the default, however, many economists point in part to missteps by the fund itself when it helped craft a EUR110 billion joint bailout package in 2010. Critics highlight the IMF’s failure to demand Greece embark on an immediate debt restructuring and its reliance on far-too-optimistic growth forecasts.

“The entire Greek saga since 2010 has been hugely damaging to the IMF’s reputation,” said Ajai Chopra, a visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former deputy director of the IMF’s European Department.

Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor and former World Bank chief economist, said the IMF’s missteps with Greece would likely make countries think twice about seeking assistance from the fund. He notes how the fund’s austerity focus in the Asian crisis of the late 1990s spurred many emerging markets to build up their foreign currency reserves as emergency-financing insurance.

“Turning over their sovereignty to the IMF is seen as an extraordinary risk,” Mr. Stiglitz said, “especially when you do such a bad job of forecasting.”

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:53:48

If The Mess In Greece Is All Greek To You, Then Read This
June 29, 2015 5:18 PM ET
Marilyn Geewax
The EU and national flags fly in the foreground of the Parthenon, as Greek voters prepare to decide whether to continue negotiating for more international loans.
Getty Images

“It was Greek to me.”

Shakespeare used that phrase in one of his tragedies to suggest that a complicated matter was beyond understanding.

Many Americans may be muttering those words again as this week’s Greek tragedy plays out.

The situation in Athens really is complicated, but it’s also important. So let’s walk through the basics together, and then consider what it might mean to Americans.

Here’s what has happened so far:

— The Greek government has way too much debt and can’t pay its creditors.

— Because Greece is a member of the European Union, leaders from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been trying to work out a payment plan to keep Greece from becoming a deadbeat.

— They have been pushing Greek leaders to raise taxes and lower expenses, hoping such changes would help the government in Athens to make more debt payments. But the parties have not been able to reach an agreement because the terms would inflict more suffering on Greeks, who already have seen many government cutbacks.

— So the Greek government, faced with a payment of $1.73 billion on Tuesday, said Monday it will miss that deadline. And it has set a referendum for Sunday to allow Greeks to decide for themselves what to do next.

— At the polls, Greeks will tell their government whether to keep working out a repayment plan despite any pain or continue down the default path, missing more and more payments in coming weeks. Missed payments would open the door for the ECB to let the Greek banks collapse and for the country to fall out of the eurozone amid economic chaos.

Most economists say a “no” vote would have such terrible consequences — including the possibility of a devalued new Greek currency and dramatic erosion of the value of Greek assets — that they can’t believe voters would let it happen.

Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, Greeks already have suffered terribly. Their banking system is fraying, the tourism industry is eroding and poverty is rising.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:58:09

What do the Rasmussen polls say?

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 22:59:22

Greek Crisis
Betting Markets Suggest Greeks Will Reject Government Stance in Referendum
JUNE 30, 2015
Justin Wolfers

Political betting markets suggest that Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, may have misread the mood of his own electorate in calling for a financial referendum this Sunday.

The referendum, which asks whether the country should accept demands made by its international creditors, was intended to show the resolve of Greeks to push for a better deal. Mr. Tsipras and his government have been urging a strong “no” vote to bolster their bargaining power. Yet the latest betting odds suggest that there’s a two-in-three chance that the “yes” case will win.

Politically, the key issue is about who best succeeds in framing the debate for voters. Jacob Kirkegaard, my colleague at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says that “when voters are asked to answer yes or no to a complex issue — like a multipage economic reform program — they almost always choose to answer an entirely different question in the voting booth.”

The apparent popularity of the affirmative vote reflects the success of other European leaders in framing the referendum as being “about whether Greece wishes to stay in the euro or not,” and the euro remains extremely popular in Greece. Because “narratives can change several times in the course of a referendum campaign,” he sees “high levels of uncertainty about the outcome.”

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-06-30 23:07:01

Opinion: China’s central bank reveals its weak hand
Published: June 30, 2015 8:04 p.m. ET
By Craig Stephen

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — China’s domestic stock markets may have bounced back Tuesday, but the damage from the panic despite interest-rate and reserve-ratio cuts at the weekend will take longer to heal.

The big problem is that the People’s Bank of China explicitly targeted the plunging stock market, and yet the Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP, -1.20%) kept falling, revealing that the PBOC was not in control. Even after Tuesday afternoon’s sharp rebound, the index is still flirting with bear territory, taken as a 20% drop from the recent high.

The reprieve for the stock market came only after the Ministry of Finance stepped in to say that the state’s pension fund may be allowed to invest up to 30% of its 3.5 trillion yuan ($565 billion) into securities.

Now that the PBOC has played its hand — and revealed it to be a weak one — the next question is: What else is beyond its control?

This new frailty can be expected to resonate beyond the millions of novice retail investors who might now conclude the Chinese equity rally is over.

So much of the “risk-on” case for China is underpinned by a belief that a Beijing Put of never-ending stimulus can be deployed whenever the authorities so choose. This goes together with a belief that policy makers have a plan to deal with slower growth, scary debt levels, and negotiating a variety of financial and currency reforms. Yet much of this is faith based on little more than fear, as the alternative is so unpalatable.

For now, the immediate concern is what the ongoing slump in Chinese shares does to the psyche of domestic retail investors.

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