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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:52 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Thursday, 21 February 2013

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Thursday, 21 February 2013


SMW for 20 February 2013

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON 20 February 2013

Dow Jones 13,927.54 -108.13 (-0.77%)
S&P 500 1,511.95 -18.99 (-1.24%)
Nasdaq 3,164.41 -49.18 (-1.53%)


10 Year 2.01% -0.03 (-1.47%)
30 Year 3.21% -0.03 (-0.93%)









Market Conditions During Trading Hours






Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold
















Handy Links - Essential Reading:

Matt Taibi: Secret and Lies of the Bailout





Handy Links - Government Issues:

LegitGov
Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov





Partial List of Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS
3/6/12 Allen Stanford, former Caribbean billionaire and general schmuck, convicted on 13 of 14 counts in $2.2B Ponzi scheme, faces 20+ years in prison
6/4/12 Matthew Kluger, lawyer, sentenced to 12 years in prison, along with co-conspirator stock trader Garrett Bauer (9 years) and co-conspirator Kenneth Robinson (not yet sentenced) for 17 year insider trading scheme.
6/14/12 Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years without parole.
6/15/12 Rajat Gupta, former Goldman Sachs director, found guilty of insider trading. Could face a decade in prison when sentenced later this year.
6/22/12 Timothy S. Durham, 49, former CEO of Fair Financial Company, convicted of one count conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.
6/22/12 James F. Cochran, 56, former chairman of the board of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and six counts of wire fraud.
6/22/12 Rick D. Snow, 48, former CFO of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.
7/13/12 Russell Wassendorf Sr., CEO of collapsed brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group Inc. arrested and charged with lying to regulators after admitting to authorities he embezzled "millions of dollars" and forged bank statements for "nearly twenty years."
8/22/12 Doug Whitman, Whitman Capital LLC hedge fund founder, convicted of insider trading following a trial in which he spent more than two days on the stand telling jurors he was innocent
10/26/12 UPDATE: Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta sentenced to two years in federal prison. He will, of course, appeal. . .
11/20/12 Hedge fund manager Matthew Martoma charged with insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors, and prosecutors are looking at Martoma's boss, Steven Cohen, for possible involvement.










This thread contains opinions and observations. Individuals may post their experiences, inferences and opinions on this thread. However, it should not be construed as advice. It is unethical (and probably illegal) for financial recommendations to be given here.



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Reply STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Thursday, 21 February 2013 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Feb 2013 OP
Demeter Feb 2013 #1
Demeter Feb 2013 #2
Demeter Feb 2013 #3
Demeter Feb 2013 #4
Demeter Feb 2013 #5
Demeter Feb 2013 #6
Demeter Feb 2013 #7
Demeter Feb 2013 #20
Demeter Feb 2013 #8
Tansy_Gold Feb 2013 #9
hamerfan Feb 2013 #29
Tansy_Gold Feb 2013 #30
Fuddnik Feb 2013 #10
Demeter Feb 2013 #12
Demeter Feb 2013 #11
Hotler Feb 2013 #18
Demeter Feb 2013 #13
Demeter Feb 2013 #14
Demeter Feb 2013 #15
Demeter Feb 2013 #16
amandabeech Feb 2013 #36
snot Feb 2013 #39
Demeter Feb 2013 #17
Hotler Feb 2013 #19
xchrom Feb 2013 #23
Demeter Feb 2013 #24
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2013 #21
xchrom Feb 2013 #22
Demeter Feb 2013 #26
xchrom Feb 2013 #28
DemReadingDU Feb 2013 #34
xchrom Feb 2013 #35
Demeter Feb 2013 #38
xchrom Feb 2013 #25
xchrom Feb 2013 #27
Demeter Feb 2013 #37
xchrom Feb 2013 #31
xchrom Feb 2013 #32
xchrom Feb 2013 #33
Demeter Feb 2013 #40
bread_and_roses Feb 2013 #41

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:01 PM

1. Finance and the American poor: Margin calls; Life on the edges of America’s financial mainstream

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21571882-life-edges-americas-financial-mainstream-margin-calls

ONLY one thing is worse than the financial industry dangling inappropriate products in front of poor customers, and that is not providing them with financial services at all. In December the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a survey that found roughly one in 12 American households, or some 17m adults, are “unbanked”, meaning they lack a current or savings account.

The survey also found that one in every five American households is “underbanked”, meaning that they have a bank account but also rely on alternative services—typically, high-cost products such as payday loans, cheque-cashing services, non-bank money orders or pawn shops.

Not all the unbanked are poor, nor do all poor people lack bank accounts. But the rate of the unbanked among low-income households (defined in the FDIC survey as those with an annual income below $15,000) is more than three times the overall rate. The proportion of poor Americans without an account compares particularly badly with other rich places (see chart).

The unbanked usually have no alternative but to use cash for all their transactions. Without an account to put pay-cheques into, they have to use cheque-cashers. This does not just mean incurring a fee; carrying large amounts of cash also increases the risk and harm of theft. To pay their utility bills the unbanked need either a non-bank money order, for which they have to pay a fee, or a place that accepts utility payments in cash....



MUCH HAND-WRINGING, AND SCHEMES FOR FEE-WRINGING THE POOR, AT LINK

LOOK AT THAT GRAPH CLOSELY. CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG, BUT I BELIEVE BOTH BRITAIN AND SWEDEN OFFER A GOVERNMENT BANK...FOR SAVING, CHECKING, CHECK-CASHING, ETC. THESE NON-PROFIT, GOVERNMENT OPERATED VENTURES WORK, WORK WELL, HAVE WORKED FOR AGES. THEY GENERALLY OPERATE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE POSTAL SERVICE...POSTIBANKI, IS THE NAME IN SWEDEN.

THERE IS A MOVEMENT TO START SUCH A VENTURE IN THE US POSTAL SYSTEM, BUT THERE'S SOME BANKSTER LACKEY IN CONGRESS BLOCKING IT.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:10 PM

2. Want Higher Productivity? Stop Treating Employees Like Children

AW, THAT WOULD TAKE ALL THE FUN OUT OF BEING BOSS...

http://business.time.com/2013/02/19/want-higher-productivity-stop-treating-employees-like-children/

You could get a lot more done if your employees would just get off the Internet and get to work, right? Some estimate that time spent not working results in $130 billion (with a b) in lost productivity. So the last thing you want is your employees on Facebook or personal email. (Reading Inc.com is, of course, always good for your business.)

But a new study done by a team of economists reports that, even if they’re working, it’s the the temptation of the forbidden Internet that actually lowers their productivity. I’m always skeptical of research involving 60 volunteers, who are undoubtedly college students who had to volunteer for a study to get credit for their introductory psychology classes. Even so, the results are intriguing: They showed that concentration dropped when there was a video that the participants wanted to watch but were told not to.

The theory is, the energy to resist temptation detracted from their ability to focus on the task. Lesson: If you just let them watch the video, they can then focus on the task at hand.

I’m sure that is true. Any time we’re focused on something other than the task at hand, we’re more likely to make mistakes. But the unspoken problem here is not the temptation itself but the idea that the manager is going to swoop in and discipline them for taking a break. The authors of the study latched on to the Internet as the example of how this plays out in the workplace, but the reality is, the Internet is only one small attention sinkhole. Co-workers, planning your kid’s birthday party, last night’s episode of Downton Abbey, and everything else under the sun can also be a distraction to your employees. I think it’s more of an issue of micromanagement. So, with all these things competing for your employees’ attention, just how do you increase productivity? I say, let them be grownups. Don’t say, “No Internet for you!” Not because it’s a waste of time, but because grownups should be monitoring themselves. You should be looking at results and not monitoring minute-by-minute productivity. When a problem is happening with the result, you deal with that. The reality is, some people need absolute silence and can concentrate on a project for hours without taking a break. Other people work better with music and with frequent interruptions, be it with other humans or the Internet. Some work best in an office environment. Others work best at home. Some people do their best thinking in the morning. Others are brilliant only after 10 p.m....

Read more: http://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/want-higher-productivity-let-your-employees-be-grown-ups.html#ixzz2LU3W53JH


Read more: http://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/want-higher-productivity-let-your-employees-be-grown-ups.html#ixzz2LU3GpZX2

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:16 PM

3. Janet Yellen explains our crummy recovery in three charts by Ezra Klein

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/19/janet-yellen-explains-our-crummy-recovery-in-three-charts/

Yellen’s core question is simple: “deeper recessions are usually followed by stronger-than-average recoveries.” But “this recovery has been significantly weaker than past experience would have predicted.” Why?

As all great orators do, Yellen begins with a chart. “The dashed line in exhibit 1 shows how real GDP would have been expected to increase in this recovery, based on the experience of the United States and other advanced economies and given the depth and duration of the Great Recession,” she says.



Yellen’s innovation in this speech is that rather than focusing on what’s holding this recovery back, she focuses on the forces that have driven past recoveries — the “tailwinds,” as she calls them — that have been absent from this one.

Tailwind #1: Fiscal policy. “History shows that fiscal policy often helps to support an economic recovery,” Yellen says. But that’s not been the case in this recovery. “In the year following the end of the recession, discretionary fiscal policy at the federal, state, and local levels boosted growth at roughly the same pace as in past recoveries, as exhibit 3 indicates. But instead of contributing to growth thereafter, discretionary fiscal policy this time has actually acted to restrain the recovery.”



Tailwind #2: Housing. “Before the Great Recession, housing investment added an average of 1/2 percentage point to real GDP growth in the two years after each of the previous four recessions, considerably more than its contribution to growth at other times. During this recovery, in contrast, residential investment, on net, has contributed very little to growth since the recession ended.”



Tailwind #3: Faith. “Another important tailwind in most economic recoveries is one that tends to be taken for granted–the faith most of us have, based on history and personal experience, that recessions are temporary and that the economy will soon get back to normal,” says Yellen. “Even during recessions, households’ expectations for income growth tend to be reasonably stable, which provides support for overall spending. In the most recent recession, however, surveys suggest that consumers sharply revised down their prospects for future income growth and have only partially adjusted up their expectations since then.”



WELL, THAT'S ZERO FOR THREE
....IF YOU CAN BEAR IT, THERE'S MORE AT THE LINK

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:19 PM

4. Bhutan to Be First Country to Go 100% Organic By Anthony Gucciardi

http://www.nationofchange.org/bhutan-be-first-country-go-100-organic-1361286794

I CAN SEE THE MONSANTO LOBBYISTS, SUITCASES FULL OF CASH, DESCENDING ON DC TO DEMAND MILITARY INTERVENTION...

YOU CAN READ THE HAPPY NEWS FOR YOURSELF. ONE NOTABLE QUOTE:

...What this comes down to is no GMO, no pesticides, no herbicides, no fluoride-based spray products, no Monsanto intrusion at all, and a whole lot of high quality food available for the 700,000 citizens of Bhutan. Food that, at one time, was simply called ‘food’...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:28 PM

5. Feds Outline What Insurers Must Cover, Down To Polyp Removal

IS THIS A GREAT(LY STUPID) COUNTRY, OR WHAT?

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/02/20/172515820/feds-outline-what-insurers-must-cover-down-to-polyp-removal?ft=1&f=1001

The Obama administration on Wednesday released its final rule on essential health benefits, which sets out the coverage insurers must offer starting in 2014. Insurers must cover 10 broad categories of care, including emergency services, maternity care, hospital and doctors' services, mental health and substance abuse care and prescription drugs.

Essential benefit requirements apply mainly to individual and small group plans. The requirements also apply to benefits provided to those newly eligible for Medicaid coverage. A few of the requirements also affect self-insured plans and large group plans offered by employers. Limits on the maximum out-of-pocket costs a consumer would face each year, for example, would apply to all policies. That amount would be $6,250 for a single policyholder and $12,500 for a family based on this year's rate. The 2014 number is expected to be slightly higher. The 149-page final rule retains requirements that insurers offer at least one drug per therapeutic category, or the same number as a state's benchmark plan, whichever is greater. Many state benchmark plans require at least two drugs per class.

Responding to concerns from some advocacy groups, the final rule also states that insurers must have procedures to allow patients to get "clinically appropriate" prescriptions not on the plan's list of covered medications.

"This is an improvement," said Stephen Finan, director of policy for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "It suggests that if you need a drug and that's not on the formulary, you can get it, which was not the case before."..

MORE FATUOUS JOY AT LINK, PLUS A 149 PAGE PDF FILE OF THE "RULE"

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:39 PM

6. Why the Market Dropped 100+ in an hour Wednesday

...Stocks then fell to fresh lows after the minutes indicated Committee members saw little change to the economic outlook. Along those lines, members-with the exception of Esther George-maintained their support for the continuation of highly accommodative policy...

WHAT? THEY COULDN'T SEE THAT FOR THEMSELVES IN THEIR SALES RESULTS?

http://finance.yahoo.com/marketupdate/overview

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Response to Demeter (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:52 PM

7. U.S. stocks slump after Fed minutes

U.S. stocks fall from multiyear highs as investors react to conflicting views from the Federal Reserve on its monetary policy.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-indexes-edge-lower-2013-02-20

U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, retreating from multiyear highs, after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting illustrated differing views over continued stimulus.

“If the Fed is talking about ending its asset-purchase program, it’s because they view the economic landscape as better,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC.

FAR MORE LIKELY THE FED HAS DECIDED IT DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD...

Gold sinks below $1,600 amid ‘death cross’ talk

Gold futures tumble below $1,600 an ounce Wednesday, pressured by strength in the dollar to settle at their lowest since late July, just ahead of the release of minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s January meeting, as talk of a so-called “death cross” in gold prices spooks investors.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-inches-higher-ahead-of-fed-minutes-2013-02-19

... A death cross is “a crossover resulting from a security’s long-term moving average breaking above its short-term moving average or support level,” said Chintan Karnani, an independent bullion analyst based in New Delhi. “Additionally, the long-term moving average becomes the new resistance level in the rising market.” In layman’s terms, “this implies that gold’s long-term bull run is over and that it could be in a bear phase,” he said. “Fundamentals are there as investors are shunning gold exchange-traded funds. Indian gold demand is not there due to a nationwide strike today by workers.”

The death cross hasn’t been reached because both moving averages need to be moving lower, said Ross Norman, chief executive officer of Sharps Pixley. Gold ‘death cross’, if there is one, is not gold’s only problem. Even so, the truth is that “gold has been weak for a while and bears exploited it,” Norman said. Gold’s not necessarily in a long-term bearish trend, according to Karnani.

“In the past, gold has reversed many times between $1,530 and $1,550,” said Karnani. “For gold to be in a long-term bear trend, it needs a daily close below $1,520 for a week,” he said. “The next one week is very crucial for gold prices. I am optimistic and do not expect gold prices to fall below $1,470 under the worst-case scenario....”


Fed, uneasy over ‘QE,’ plans bond-buy debate

The Federal Reserve will consider major changes to its quantitative easing program at its next meeting in March. Ideas on the table including varying the pace of the $85 billion per month purchases, or ending them. One new idea would have the Fed maintain the size of its balance sheet longer than expected...

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-plans-debate-on-bond-buys-minutes-show-2013-02-20

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:34 AM

20. 7 signs that stocks are about to slide (BETTER LATE THAN NEVER?)

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/7-signs-that-stocks-are-about-to-slide-2013-02-21?siteid=YAHOOB

The VIX “fear index” is at its lowest level since 2006. Big-time buyouts are making waves on Wall Street. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index have been pushing all-time highs. Well, maybe things aren’t so hot. The general consensus in the blogosphere is that a market pullback is likely in the next several weeks, even if the long-term trend is decidedly higher.

Many folks like to run their mouth about the macro concerns supporting the correction case. Recent items of interest include softness in consumer spending, the hangover from Washington’s “sequester” shenanigans, Europe (as always) and some disappointing housing data.

But the causes of a pullback in the next month or two are likely structural and not based on headlines. Even long-term bulls are looking for a short-term dip after the strong rally to start the year, lest stock valuations get ahead of themselves....

WHATEVER--CHICKEN ENTRAILS, ANYONE?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:00 PM

8. Duty calls, and it's a paper night

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Response to Demeter (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 08:14 PM

9. Be careful out there

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:55 AM

29. Thank you, Tansy!

Snowing and really windy here right now. Getting 2"-4" of snow per hour.
Work called and told me to stay home, a first for that!

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #29)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:03 AM

30. I had to walk through snow last night

I heard the "rain" on the roof about 7:00 last night, and my old, never-forgotten midwestern senses told me it wasn't rain. So I walked outside and sure enough, WHITE STUFF WAS FALLING FROM THE SKY.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:17 AM

10. Six-year housing hangover tough to shake off

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economywatch/six-year-housing-hangover-tough-shake-1C8434499


If this is a housing recovery, then it’s a ‘recovery’ in name only. The patient remains pretty ill, and it’s going to be a long road back to health after one of the worst housing busts on record.

Fresh data released this week paint a mixed picture. The government reported Wednesday that housing starts fell 8.5 percent in January, though starts on single family homes edged up higher. Building permits – a barometer of future construction – posted solid gains.

But the pace of construction remains less than half what it was during the late-2005 peak of the housing boom. And the recovery has come in fits and starts. On Tuesday, a closely-watched report from the homebuilding industry noted sluggish sales traffic last month after steady gains through 2012.

“The single-family market in the Northeast, hurt by high foreclosure rates and a slowdown in population growth, is struggling,” said Patrick Newport, a housing economist at IHS Global Insight. “The single-family segments in the other three regions are picking up -- but slowly, and levels remain depressed."

Despite multiple government policies to spur sales, including the Federal Reserve’s ongoing effort to hold mortgage rates near the floor, sales of both new and existing homes still badly lag “normal” levels.

(snip)

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:30 AM

12. You can't buy a home and maintain it without a job that pays more than minimum

When will this fact of life register with the 1%?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:29 AM

11. Looks like a general global financial panic set in

Precious metals, oil, stocks all dropping. Abe still depressing the yen. Dollar strengthening and people rushing for the shelters....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #11)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:21 AM

18. 10 big worries about this market

Can we rally on?


Over the past few weeks, I've been one of the few voices calling for caution and even cynicism in the face of the stock market's push to multiyear highs. It's patently obvious what's happening: Out of desperation, central bankers are using currency manipulation to bolster stocks in a last-ditch attempt to stave off a recession that's already hitting in much of Europe, Japan and, soon, the United Kingdom.

Why are they scared? Because the wounds from the last downturn have yet to heal, and government finances, which blunted the pain of the 2008 wipeout, are tapped out. Of course, this strategy won't work. There is already chatter of a 1930s-style "currency war," with the recriminations and trade protectionism that inevitably follow. And, as happened with cheap-money-fueled stock rallies in 2011 and 2012, the economy will buckle under the pressure of higher energy prices. Gasoline has already hit record levels for early February.

http://money.msn.com/investing/c_galleryregular.aspx?cp-documentid=250511453

Have a good day everyone. Snowy and shitty here in Denver.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:38 AM

13. Defense Cuts May No Longer Be Political Sacred Cow by Scott Horsley

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns the automatic spending cuts, due to hit the Pentagon and other branches of government next week, will damage U.S. national security. In a letter to Congress, Panetta warned those cuts would put the military on a path toward a "hollow force." But the warnings don't appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public.

The automatic spending cuts don't officially take effect until March 1, but they are already being felt. As President Obama noted this week, the Navy has decided not to send one of its aircraft carriers on a scheduled deployment to the Persian Gulf.
"As our military leaders have made clear, changes like this — not well thought through, not phased-in properly — changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in unstable parts of the world," he said.


At one time, idling an aircraft carrier to save money would have been unthinkable. The White House thought that prospect would be so alarming to congressional Republicans that they'd never allow the automatic spending cuts to take effect...Some Republicans are alarmed. House Speaker John Boehner calls the military cuts "devastating." But Congressional expert Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution says the GOP is no longer united when it comes to protecting the Pentagon.
"There's a defense wing of defense hawks, and they've been pretty vocal about the impact on the Defense Department and national security, generally," she said. "And we know there's a hard-core group as well that's opposed to any and all revenue increases.

"And between the two of those, there's no agreed upon path of what to do. And so it looks like they may prefer the sequester to any alternative. Certainly the alternatives the Democrats are offering up."


Obama is trying to enlist the public's help. He did a series of local TV interviews Wednesday, and he's planning to visit a military community outside Washington next week. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the idea is to ramp up pressure on lawmakers to suspend the automatic cuts. "The fact of the matter is, congressional Republicans are going to listen to the American people," Carney said. But the American people aren't necessarily convinced cutting the Pentagon budget is a bad idea.

SCHAUDENFREUDE, BREAKFAST OF SURVIVORS OF EMPIRE

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:47 AM

14. A Game of Chicken By CHARLES M. BLOW

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/opinion/blow-a-game-of-chicken.html

Well, here we go again. Another season, another manufactured, self-inflicted, completely preventable crisis of government. This time it’s the sequester. We may as well put these things in the Farmers’ Almanac...Now we’re engaged in a finger-wagging blame game of who proposed it, who supported it and who is opposed to preventing it.

Let’s lay out some of the facts of this disaster.

The sequester’s origin is quite muddy. President Obama, responding to Mitt Romney in an October presidential debate, said: “First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.” John Boehner, on the other hand, now says that the sequester is Obama’s baby. In a speech on the House floor this month, Boehner said: “The president first proposed this ‘sequester’ in 2011 and insisted it be part of the debt-limit agreement.” In an opinion piece published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, Boehner wrote, “Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it.”

PolitiFact rated Obama’s claim that the sequester was proposed by Congress as “mostly false” saying:

“It was Obama’s negotiating team that came up with the idea for defense cuts in 2011, though they were intended to prod Congress to come up with a better deal for reining in the deficit, not as an effort to make those cuts reality. Meanwhile, members of both parties in Congress voted for the legislation that set up the possibility of sequestration. Obama’s position is that Congress should now act to avoid those across-the-board cuts. Obama can’t rightly say the sequester isn’t his, but he did need cooperation from Congress to get to this point.”


PolitiFact bases its assessment largely on assertions in the new book “The Price of Politics,” by the renowned Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. The Web site does, however, point out that there are dissenting views, including that of Christopher Preble at the libertarian Cato Institute. PolitiFact quotes Preble as saying, “I do not believe it accurate to refer to the cuts that will occur in both defense and nondefense discretionary spending under sequestration as ‘Obama’s cuts.’ ” And John Avlon, a senior columnist for The Daily Beast, wrote Wednesday that he “happened to come across an old e-mail that throws cold water on House Republicans’ attempts to call this ‘Obama’s Sequester.’ ”

According to Avlon:

“It’s a PowerPoint presentation that Boehner’s office developed with the Republican Policy Committee and sent out to the Capitol Hill GOP on July 31, 2011. Intended to explain the outline of the proposed debt deal, the presentation is titled, ‘Two Step Approach to Hold President Obama Accountable.’ It’s essentially an internal sales document from the old dealmaker Boehner to his unruly and often unreasonable Tea Party cohort. But it’s clear as day in the presentation that ‘sequestration’ was considered a cudgel to guarantee a reduction in federal spending — the conservatives’ necessary condition for not having America default on its obligations. The presentation lays out the deal in clear terms, describing the spending backstop as “automatic across-the-board cuts (‘sequestration’). Same mechanism used in 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement.”

So, there’s that.

But I’m not sure where all this you- are-the-father origination blame game gets us. The bill got bipartisan support in the House and at the time Boehner bragged: “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.” And President Obama signed it...So once again the American people are caught in the middle of a game of chicken between Democrats, who rightly warn that the sky could fall, and Republicans, who want to burn the coop....

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:51 AM

15. What Could Go Wrong? White House to Partner With Big Business to Combat 'Online Radicalization'

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/what-could-go-wrong-white-house-partner-big-business-combat-online-radicalization?akid=10077.227380.C5OLt_&rd=1&src=newsletter797084&t=14

... As FireDogLake’s DSWright points out, the White House is looking for ways to counter online speech that is “radical” and tied to terrorism.

A White House statement released earlier this month states that “the Federal Government is committed to empowering members of the public to protect themselves against the full range of online threats, including online radicalization to violence.” As DSWright notes, what the government is saying is that “the internet is gaining in power and we have not figured out a way to dominate it yet.” And that’s scaring the government.

The groups involved in “online radicalization to violence” include, of course, Al-Qaeda and white supremacist groups. But it’s not a stretch of the imagination to realize that trying to regulate the speech of extremists can bleed into regulating the speech of plain old law-abiding dissidents.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the White House plan to counter “online radicalization” is it’s plan to work with “industry” to do so. “The Federal Government will collaborate with industry to explore how we might counter online violent extremism while protecting lawful Internet use and the civil liberties and privacy of individual users,” according to the White House. “Many companies have developed voluntary measures to promote Internet safety (such as fraud warnings, identity protection, and Internet safety tips), and we look forward to hearing their views about how we might apply similar measures to counter online radicalization to violence.”

As DSWright writes, this is nothing to welcome. “Big Government and Big Business working together, all to help us. This marriage of state and corporate power to regulate the internet sounds great doesn’t it?...Allowing the government to work with industry to develop “countermeasures” to “radical” speech is a great way to protect all our freedom. What could go wrong?”

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Response to Demeter (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:53 AM

16. FOR EXAMPLE: 40 Cities Around Globe Set to Protest 1,000th Day of Bradley Manning's Imprisonment

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/40-cities-around-globe-set-protest-1000th-day-bradley-mannings-imprisonment?akid=10077.227380.C5OLt_&rd=1&src=newsletter797084&t=9

40 cities around the world are set to mark the 1,000th day of WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning’s imprisonment. Manning’s whistleblowing acts will be honored and his imprisonment without a speedy trial denounced this weekend in places ranging from Denver to Rome to Sydney.

Manning is alleged to have been the source behind massive amounts of information WikiLeaks exposed, including the State Department cables that exposed nefarious dealings in U.S. foreign policy as well as the “Collateral Murder” video that showed U.S. Army helicopters firing and killing Iraqi civilians.

The rallies around the world are being organized by the Bradley Manning Support Network. “Supporters are gathering in cities across the U.S., Europe and Australia for marches, rallies, art installations, concerts, live theater, and other events to criticize the unjust prosecution and raise awareness about Manning's case,” the network states.

Manning’s court martial trial is set for June of this year--three years after his initial arrest. His imprisonment by the military was marked by punitive abuse that included isolation and his clothes being removed from him. A UN rapporteur called Manning’s conditions “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” and earlier this year a judge confirmed that Manning’s conditions were excessively harsh and constituted pretrial punishment, which is prohibited under military law.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:37 AM

36. Business may not care about Bradley Manning, but they do care about ordinary citizens

demanding justice for corporate wrong-doing and corporate influence and demand that government regulate corporations for the public good, like keeping the corps from poisoning the ground water with fracking.

Will our government collaborate with corps to keep economic dissidents in check?

Why did Obama golf with energy types while the streets of DC were filled with citizens demonstrating for more attention to climate change?

This all just smells of Mussolini in the morning.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:31 PM

39. Cf. declaring Occupiers "terrorists"

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 08:56 AM

17. American Assassination History for Dummies by Mark Ames

...As everyone knows, Carter’s presidency was one long bummer. But what most people don’t know — or have forgotten — is that Carter did more than any president to bring the national security state under control. Especially the CIA, which Carter gutted, purged, and chained down with a whole set of policies and guidelines meant to protect American citizens’ civil liberties. In his first year in office, Carter purged nearly 20% of the Agency’s 4500 employees, gutting the ranks of clandestine operatives, sending hundreds of dirty trickster vets into the private sector to seethe for the next few years. Carter signed an executive order worked out with Frank Church and the Senate committee on intelligence putting more serious limits on the CIA’s powers — unequivocally banning assassinations, restricting the CIA’s ability to spy domestically, and putting their covert operations under strict oversight under the president, Congressional committees and the attorney general. The CIA’s paramilitary was even disbanded, though not banned. Carter’s people understood that real fundamental change in the CIA and national security state would only come through democratic politics — through passing laws. He and Sen. Church tried, but they were outmaneuvered and ground into mulch.

A Washington Post article from the summer of 1978 captured the changing mood, and the first early wave of gloom setting in with Democrat reformers that their days were over and their chance was missed:

Two years ago, when David Atlee Phillips and like-minded defenders of the Central Intelligence Agency set out on the college lecture circuit, they were routinely confronted by hecklers and protesters denouncing them as "assassins."

The climate has changed. The investigations are over. The recriminations have subsided. The apologists have turned into advocates, urging, even demanding a stronger hand for the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community despite the record of abuses.

A comprehensive piece of legislation, the National Intelligence Reorganization and Reform Act of 1978 (S.2525), has been drafted and debated at Senate hearings for months now, but all sides dismiss it as nothing more than a talking paper, a starting point.

Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho), who served as the chairman of the original Senate Intelligence Committee and its unprecedented investigations, thinks it is already too late.

"Reforms have been delayed to death," he said in an interview. "This has been the defense mechanism of the agency and it could easily have been foreseen . . . Memories are very short. I think the shrewd operators, the friends of the CIA, recognized that time was on their side, that they could hold out against legislative action."

And yet even as comparatively progressive as Carter’s and Church’s proposed reforms were — this was the brief high point for civil liberties, it’s all downhill from here — nevertheless, pretty much everyone across the spectrum hated Carter’s and Church’s reforms for their own reasons, and Carter did little to inspire.

Carter’s gutting of the CIA and his new guidelines restricting domestic surveillance by the FBI and other agencies won him few friends among grandstanding professional liberals. If anything the country turned against Carter as the world went to shit around him — Iran, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Jonestown — paving the way for Reagan to "restore" American power.....

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/american-assassination-history-dummies?akid=10088.227380.Sd9ei_&rd=1&src=newsletter797982&t=4&paging=off

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:25 AM

19. Xchrom are you there?????? I hope you are ok. n/t

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Response to Hotler (Reply #19)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:42 AM

23. i'm ok -- thanks hotler for the vibes!

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Response to Hotler (Reply #19)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:44 AM

24. I've seen X posting in other fora this morning

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:35 AM

21. ETA News Release: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report (02/21/2013)

Source: Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Read more: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/eta20130306.htm

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending February 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 362,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 342,000. The 4-week moving average was 360,750, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised average of 352,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending February 9, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 9 was 3,148,000, an increase of 11,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,137,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,186,250, a decrease of 6,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,193,000.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 346,428 in the week ending February 16, a decrease of -14,758 from the previous week. There were 346,659 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.
....

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 9 were in Kansas (+2,344), Puerto Rico (+492), Virginia (+465), Indiana (+205), and Rhode Island (+176), while the largest decreases were in California (-4,830), New York (-4,401), Oregon (-2,211), Pennsylvania (-2,020), and Wisconsin (-1,670).

== == == ==

Good morning, Freepers and DUers alike. I ask you to put aside your differences long enough to read this post. Following that, you can engage in your usual donnybrook.

That's a big increase this week.

I have been posting the number every week for at least a year. I seriously do not care if the week's data make Obama look good. They are just numbers, and I post them without regard to the consequences. I welcome people from Free Republic to examine the numbers as well. They paid for the work just as much as members of DU did, so I invite them to come on over and have a look. "The more the merrier" is the way I look at it.

I do not work at the ETA, and I do not know anyone working in that agency. I'm sure I can safely assume that the numbers are gathered and analyzed by career civil servant economists who do their work on a nonpartisan basis. Numbers are numbers, and let the chips fall where they may. If you feel that these economists are falling down on the job, drop them a line or give them a call. They work for you, not for any politician or political party.

The word "initial" is important. The report does not count all claims, just the new ones filed this week.

Note: The seasonal adjustment factors used for the UI Weekly Claims data from 2007 forward, along with the resulting seasonally adjusted values for initial claims and continuing claims, have been revised. These revised historical values, as well as the seasonal adjustment factors that will be used through calendar year 2012, can be accessed at the bottom of the following link: http://www.oui.doleta.gov/press/2012/032912.asp

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:41 AM

22. thank you everybody for your Good Wishes...they really worked! check it out...

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Response to xchrom (Reply #22)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:45 AM

26. I thought you went to the hospital, not the hairdressers

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Response to Demeter (Reply #26)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:49 AM

28. they're not the same? nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #28)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:47 AM

34. lol!


Glad you are back, hope things went well.


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Response to DemReadingDU (Reply #34)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:49 AM

35. thanks -- so far so good. nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #28)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:39 PM

38. Very good riposte

(Note to self: do NOT hand a straight line to X, it will be stolen...)

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:45 AM

25. Philippines takes new aim at China

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/SEA-01-210213.html

MANILA - After a year of failed multilateralism and bilateral brinkmanship, the Philippines has abandoned hope of pressing China into a compromise on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. While Manila's recent decision to submit its case for United Nations mediation ups the diplomatic ante, Beijing's out-of-hand rejection of the move indicates tensions could rise before they wane.

After a year of diplomatic deadlock at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the chairmanship of Cambodia, one of China's staunchest regional allies, few expect a swift and decisive multilateral resolution under Brunei's more neutral leadership in 2013 considering the significant divisions that have opened inside the 10-member grouping.

Based on the proceedings and outcomes of regional summits and



gatherings held last year, Manila has come to realize the extent to which China is willing to use its multiple levers of influence to thwart any efforts at forging a unified regional response to the maritime disputes. Beijing has consistently insisted that the disputes should be settled exclusively through bilateral mechanisms.

At the same time, the economic stakes driving the disputes are rising. The US Energy Information Administration's (EIA) recently estimated that the South China Sea could hold as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proven and probable reserves. The EIA also projected significant undiscovered hydrocarbon deposits in the Spratly islands, specifically around the contested Reed Bank.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:47 AM

27. Washington debates the pivot to Asia

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/WORLD-01-210213.html

Over the last two years, the Obama administration has executed what the president has termed the "Pivot to Asia" strategy, whereby the United States' global military force posture is being reconfigured to focus on the Asia-Pacific region as Washington's central front.

Movement has been rapid, with Washington expanding its naval exercises with Japan, sending marines to Australia, conducting military exercises in the Philippines with its allies, and supporting the negotiating positions of the Philippines and Vietnam on the dispute over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, or what Filipinos now call the West Philippine Sea. Sixty percent of the US Navy's strength has been deployed to the Western Pacific.

Containment of China is the aim of the pivot strategy, which has



drawn criticism from liberal critics of the policy like Robert Ross, a professor of Political Science at Boston University and a China expert. Writing in the November-December issue of Foreign Affairs, Ross acknowledges that China's actions in the South China Sea - including claiming the whole area as Chinese territorial waters - come across as aggressive. However, the pivot, he claims, is based on "a fundamental misreading of China's leadership," which Ross says is now given to "appeasing an increasingly nationalist public with symbolic gestures of force".

For Ross, China's increasingly bellicose rhetoric stems less from expansionist intent than from the insecurities brought about by high-speed growth followed by economic crisis. Long dependent for its legitimacy on delivering economic growth, domestic troubles related to the global financial crisis have left the Communist Party leadership groping for a new ideological justification, which it has found in nationalism. Countering China's rhetoric with a military cordon sanitaire, says Ross, would deepen the "insecurities" of Beijing, heightening the possibility of an outbreak of conflict while losing China's cooperation in managing conflicts such as the crisis in Syria.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #27)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:15 PM

37. Might as well try to contain the Pacific Ocean

What a waste of time, money, and energy.

Does it ever occur to the Hawks that we are greatly outnumbered by the Asians? If China and India got together, they could sink us...and they did already, economically.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:17 AM

31. UBS $76 Million Coke Bottler Trade Said Probed by Mexico

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-21/ubs-76-million-coke-bottler-trade-said-probed-by-mexico.html

Mexican regulators are probing a $76 million trade UBS AG (UBSN) executed in Coca-Cola Femsa SAB (KOFL) shares hours before the bottler announced its biggest acquisition in 16 months, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Jan. 17 trade was the biggest in Mexico City-based Coca-Cola Femsa’s shares since August, equivalent to more than six times the stock’s average daily trading volume over the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and the Mexican stock exchange. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, acted as the broker on the transaction, according to the exchange.

The trade took place at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to the data. After markets were closed for the day at about 9 p.m., Coca-Cola Femsa said in a regulatory filing it agreed to buy the Mexican drinkmaker Grupo Yoli SA in a deal valued at 8.81 billion pesos ($692 million). In trading the next day, Coca-Cola Femsa shares advanced 1.2 percent.

Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission is trying to uncover what motivated the transaction, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the investigation is still private. Neither Zurich-based UBS nor Coca-Cola Femsa has been accused of any wrongdoing, the person said.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:26 AM

32. CHINESE PUZZLE

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2013/02/25/130225ta_talk_schmidle

FFor a city enthralled by intelligence work, like Washington, D.C., provocative intellects are a rare breed. So Leland Miller didn’t expect a warm reception when he rolled into town recently, declaring that everything everyone thinks he knows about China’s economy is wrong. Miller had no sooner introduced himself at the Atlantic Council, a think tank, when the audience, made up mostly of middle-aged white men in dark suits, stiffened.

Miller was talking about his new publishing project: an insider’s guide to the Chinese economy for investors. A thirty-six-year-old lawyer with a long chin and product-perfect hair, he studied Chinese history at Oxford and speaks Mandarin. A couple of years ago, he and some China-minded friends from Wall Street and Washington arrived at a conclusion. “The game is completely rigged,” he said. Every policy wonk and financial adviser interested in China had to rely on economic data provided by the Chinese government. “There is no way to validate whether any of the Chinese numbers are right or wrong,” he said.

So Miller devised a solution, which he calls the China Beige Book. It’s modelled on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a report, published eight times a year, that gives a regional, incremental snapshot of the American economy. The latest edition of the U.S. version came out last month. Curious about used- and new-car inventories in Chicago? They’re picking up. Traffic on the Mississippi River? Delays, because of low water levels. Hog prices in Minnesota? They’re down.

Miller set out to cull similar data and trends from China, and, a year ago, he dispatched pollsters around the country to ask questions. He tabulated and analyzed the results by quarter. In the third quarter, he determined, among other things, that instances of worker unrest far exceeded what was reflected in reported data, and that automobile manufacturing had dipped in every region except the southwest. In the fourth quarter, furniture sales slowed in Inner Mongolia and the north, and investments in the Central Region’s food sector increased (even after a British firm cancelled its plan to build a foie-gras plant following a protest campaign backed by the actor Roger Moore). The Atlantic Council, which is chaired by Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense nominee, had asked him to project where China was heading in 2013.


Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2013/02/25/130225ta_talk_schmidle#ixzz2LY1Iahyd

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:35 AM

33. 5 Reasons Why the Keystone XL Pipeline is Bad for the Economy

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/02/21-0

***SNIP

1. Building the Keystone pipeline and opening up the Tar Sands will negatively impact national and local economies: Burning the recoverable tar sands oil will increase the earth’s temperature by a minimum of 2 degree Celsius, which NYU Law School’s Environmental Law Center estimates could permanently cut the US GDP by 2.5%. At the same time state and local economies are already buckling under the real-time economic effects of our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. In the past two years, the vast majority of U.S. counties – 67 percent – were affected by at least one of the eleven $1 billion dollar extreme weather events. Superstorm Sandy alone caused an estimated $80 billion in damage. The drought that affected 80% of US farmland last summer destroyed a quarter of the US corn crop and did at least $20 billion damage to the economy.

2. The same fossil fuel interests pushing the Keystone pipeline have been cutting, not creating, jobs: Despite generating $546 billion in profits between 2005 and 2010, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP reduced their U.S. workforce by 11,200 employees over that period. In 2010 alone, the top five oil companies slashed their global workforce by 4,400 employees — the same year executives paid themselves nearly $220 million. But at least those working in the industry as a whole get paid high wages, right? Turns out that 40 percent of U.S oil-industry jobs consist of minimum-wage work at gas stations. Instead of bankrolling an industry that is laying off workers and threatening our economic future, isn’t it time to take the billions in subsidies going to oil companies and invest instead in a sector that both creates jobs and protects the planet?

3. Unemployment will rise: According to Mark Zandi, the Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics: “Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls.” In the wake of Hurricane Irene, the number of workers filing unemployment claims in Vermont went from 731 before Irene to 1,331 two weeks afterwards. Hurricane Katrina wiped out 129,000 jobs in the New Orleans region — nearly 20 percent. For the U.S. economy as a whole, 2011 cost US taxpayers $52 billion.

4. Poor and working people will be disproportionately affected: KXL and projects like it result in disproportionately negative impact on already struggling working families. According to a recent report by the Center for American Progress called “Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle- and Lower-Income Americans, lower-and middle income households are disproportionately affected by the most expensive extreme weather events. Sixteen states were afflicted by five or more extreme weather events in 2011-12. Households in disaster-declared counties in these states earn $48,137, or seven percent below the U.S. median income.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:29 PM

40. I just had to steal this!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #40)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 08:04 PM

41. Stole it! & hope X is OK

Didn't have time to read whole thread - didn't know Xchrom was under the weather and hope all is well - and for all other SMWers too! An island of sanity here ,,,

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