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Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:17 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Thursday, 21 March 2013

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Thursday, 21 March 2013


SMW for 20 March 2013

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON 20 March 2013

Dow Jones 14,511.73 +55.91 (0.39%)
S&P 500 1,558.71 +10.37 (0.67%)
Nasdaq 3,254.19 +25.09 (0.78%)


10 Year 1.94% +0.01 (0.52%)
30 Year 3.17% +0.02 (0.63%)









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 March 2013 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Mar 2013 OP
Fuddnik Mar 2013 #1
Demeter Mar 2013 #2
Demeter Mar 2013 #3
Demeter Mar 2013 #4
Warpy Mar 2013 #8
Fuddnik Mar 2013 #9
AnneD Mar 2013 #29
Demeter Mar 2013 #41
Demeter Mar 2013 #5
AnneD Mar 2013 #30
Demeter Mar 2013 #42
AnneD Mar 2013 #47
Demeter Mar 2013 #6
Demeter Mar 2013 #7
Demeter Mar 2013 #10
Demeter Mar 2013 #11
xchrom Mar 2013 #12
Demeter Mar 2013 #17
westerebus Mar 2013 #34
LineLineLineReply !
xchrom Mar 2013 #36
Fuddnik Mar 2013 #46
westerebus Mar 2013 #50
xchrom Mar 2013 #13
Demeter Mar 2013 #18
xchrom Mar 2013 #14
DemReadingDU Mar 2013 #15
Demeter Mar 2013 #19
xchrom Mar 2013 #16
xchrom Mar 2013 #20
LineLineNew Reply .
Fuddnik Mar 2013 #48
amandabeech Mar 2013 #52
Demeter Mar 2013 #21
xchrom Mar 2013 #23
AnneD Mar 2013 #22
Fuddnik Mar 2013 #40
AnneD Mar 2013 #45
Demeter Mar 2013 #24
xchrom Mar 2013 #25
xchrom Mar 2013 #26
Demeter Mar 2013 #27
Demeter Mar 2013 #28
Demeter Mar 2013 #31
xchrom Mar 2013 #32
xchrom Mar 2013 #33
xchrom Mar 2013 #35
Demeter Mar 2013 #43
mahatmakanejeeves Mar 2013 #37
xchrom Mar 2013 #38
bread_and_roses Mar 2013 #39
Demeter Mar 2013 #44
AnneD Mar 2013 #49
bread_and_roses Mar 2013 #51
Demeter Mar 2013 #53

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:38 PM

1. The power came back on just in time for the first rec!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:39 PM

2. Am I too Late to Second That?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:48 PM

3. 10 most unhappy states in the U.S.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-most-unhappy-states-in-the-us-2013-03-20?siteid=YAHOOB

According to a recent Gallup poll, the U.S. has shown almost no improvement in well-being in the past five years, with just a slight increase from 2011 when Americans reported the most miserable scores since the survey began. The top and bottom states have remained nearly the same. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has surveyed 1.7 million Americans since the survey was first conducted in 2008, reflects the physical and emotional health of residents in each of the 50 states. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the scores of each state in the six categories that comprise Gallup’s index to identify objective measures that impact well-being. Some of the factors include health, life expectancy, income and education level. These are America’s most unhappy states:

10. Oklahoma

Well-being index score: 65.2
Life expectancy: 75.6 years (5th lowest)
Obesity: 29.2% (9th highest)
Median household income: $43,225 (10th lowest)
Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 86.3% (19th lowest)

Oklahoma scored among the bottom in most of the well-being categories. The state was sixth from the bottom in terms of healthy behavior. Just 73.1% of respondents refrained from smoking, while just 62.2% said they ate healthily the previous day, both among the lowest percentages for all states. Perhaps due to unhealthy behaviors, Oklahoma also had the seventh-worst physical health in the country, and life expectancy at birth as of 2007 was just 75.6%, the fifth-lowest of all states. The only well-being category in which Oklahoma did not score in the bottom quartile was work environment, where the state scored higher than all but seven states...

9. Indiana

Well-being index score: 65.1
Life expectancy: 77.7 years (16th lowest)
Obesity: 28.8% (13th highest)
Median household income: $46,438 (20th lowest)
Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 87.3% (22nd lowest)

Indiana ranked second from the bottom in terms of healthy behaviors, with only Kentucky performing worse. A mere 48.7% of state residents indicated that they exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes in three of the past seven days, the lowest percentage of all states and significantly lower than the 62.2% in top-ranked Alaska. Furthermore, just 54.1% of residents indicated that they had five or more servings of fruits and vegetables in four of the previous seven days, lower than all states except for North Dakota and Nebraska. Perhaps because of these behaviors, Indiana ranked 10th from the bottom for physical health.

8. Louisiana

Well-being index score: 64.7
Life expectancy: 75.4 years (4th lowest)
Obesity: 30.9% (4th highest)
Median household income: $41,734 (7th lowest)
Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 82.5% (4th lowest)

Louisiana scored near the bottom in several different well-being categories. It ranked fifth lowest in terms of healthy behaviors. For instance, just 54.4% of respondents indicated that they had five or more fruit and vegetable servings in four of the past seven days, the sixth-lowest percentage of all states. The state also ranked third from the bottom for basic access to necessities. Just over three-fourths of people indicated that they had health insurance coverage, lower than all states except for Texas. It doesn’t help that the state’s median income of $41,734 was one of the lowest in 2011, and nearly $9,000 lower than the national median.

7. Ohio

Well-being index score: 64.6
Life expectancy: 77.5 years (13th lowest)
Obesity: 29.5% (8th highest)
Median household income: $45,749 (16th lowest)
Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 88.3% (25th highest)

Ohio ranked seventh worst in the Gallup report when it came to its residents’ healthy behaviors. Nearly 28% of the population smoked, the third-highest percentage of all states. In addition, Ohio was one of just four states where less than half the respondents indicated that they exercised a minimum of 30 minutes a day in three of the previous seven days. Perhaps due to unhealthy behaviors, Ohio ranked eighth from the bottom in terms of physical health. Almost 30% of the population was considered obese based on their body mass index, the eighth-largest percentage of all states. Moreover, only 68.3% of residents indicated they felt well-rested during the prior day, the eighth-lowest percentage of all states...

6. Alabama

5. Arkansas

4. Tennessee

3. Mississippi

2. Kentucky

1. West Virginia

NOT SURE WHY THEY CONFLATE BITCHING ABOUT "HEALTH" WITH HAPPINESS...

I WOULD LOOK AT MENTAL ILLNESS, UNEMPLOYMENT, HUNGER, CRIME....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:00 PM

4. OR CORP. COLONIZATION: Detroit Citizens Prepare to Fight their Corporate Master By Mark Vorpahl

http://www.nationofchange.org/detroit-citizens-prepare-fight-their-corporate-master-1363705682

Fresh from shoving his “Right to Work for Less” legislation down the throats of Michigan's workers, Governor Rick Snyder has grown bolder in pursuing a corporate agenda. He has now appointed Kevyn Orr of Jones Day Law firm to act as an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) of Detroit. As an EFM, Orr can dismiss elected officials, tear up union contracts, privatize public assets and impose new taxes without a vote. The trappings of democracy are swept away like so many cobwebs. Nearly half of all of Michigan's African-American citizens are now effectively left with no vote in local government; they are stuck with taxation without representation. With the appointment of an EFM, Governor Snyder is transforming Detroit into an occupied colony within the State. Instead of guns, the armies sent into Detroit will carry briefcases filled with lucrative contracts to ensure complete corporate domination at the expense of the city's residents. Their task will be to find ways to squeeze more labor out of Detroit's workers while paying them less, open up publicly owned services for private investment, and cut social programs that do not contribute to the enrichment of the 1% by enforcing an austerity program. And the results are predictable: austerity will cause even more unemployment and increase the deficit further just as it has done in Europe. This development is a bi-partisan affair. While Governor Snyder is a Republican, Kevyn Orr is a Democrat who worked for President Obama's election. Detroit's Democratic Mayor, Dave Bing, said of his relationship with Snyder that they are "joined at the hip."

Who Created the Crisis?

To justify his appointment of an EFM for Detroit, Governor Snyder is citing a state-appointed review team report. The report noted Detroit's $14 billion debt and the $327 million budget deficit, as well as other issues. What it failed to examine is the billions of dollars banks and corporations make every year as a result of doing business in Detroit. The city business income tax is only 2 percent while individual Detroit residents pay 3 percent. Michigan's corporate income tax is a flat rate of only 6 percent, the same rate as the state sales tax, which impacts middle and low-income individuals the most. The city's debt would vanish and its budget would flourish if the banks and corporations were paying their fair share for the privilege of doing business in Detroit, Michigan. This is not to mention the $1.1 trillion in annual deductions, credits and other tax breaks that flow disproportionately to the highest income Americans each year on a national scale.

Nor does the report mention that many of the banks in Detroit were bailed out at the onset of the Great Recession with trillions of taxpayer dollars — money that should have been used for jobs and public services. Not only are these banks getting off cheap on taxes while being bailed out, they have actively swindled massive amounts of revenue from Detroit’s citizens. Credit agencies, like Standard & Poor’s, aggressively targeted homeowners with subprime loans. This has led to fraudulent foreclosures that have driven 200,000 people from Detroit, leaving one-quarter of the city's houses empty. As a result, both real-estate values and tax revenue have been depressed. These banks also sold the city interest rate swaps, a financial tool they assured would save Detroit money. Then they set the interest rates artificially low (the LIBOR scandal) so they would make money hand over fist and leave Detroit holding the bill or pay a fee for getting out of their trap.

The banks and corporations are the ones responsible for Detroit's financial crisis. Yet they are the ones who will reap the rewards of an Emergency Financial Manager. It will be their interests that Kevyn Orr is there to serve, by making sure they get paid first and foremost, above all other considerations. In a city with an official 10.2 percent unemployment rate, where 57 percent of children live below the poverty line, where street lights are left off, roads left unrepaired, and bus service is spotty, it would be hard to imagine a scheme worse than appointing an EFM. The priorities of this "solution" are in opposition to the values of a community most workers hold dear.

AIRY-FAIRY SCHEMES AT LINK...SHOULDER TO SHOULDER AND ALL THAT

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 10:57 PM

8. West VA. always wins those "unhealthiest" contests

because the smoking rate there is still incredibly high.

However, the other parameters you mentioned follow along with poor access to health care. When the world tells you that you're garbage and don't deserve even minimal care, it's usually telling you to eat less, be grateful for part time piece work, making you depressed as hell and driving you to turn to crime when the kids won't stop crying because they're hungry.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 11:24 PM

9. That's how they confirmed that the toothbrush was invented there.

Any place else would have called it a teethbrush.

For a better perspective, read Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco's "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt". The section on West Virginia, as the rest of the book, are heartbreaking. They pretty much need all the Oxycodone in the world, just to survive the pain of their existence.

My parents are from there, and I was born there. Got out before my third birthday. But, I used to spend the parts of some summers at my grandmothers house back in the late '50s and early '60s. I went back about 4 years ago to scatter my mothers ashes where she was born. It had hardly changed since then. The same old shacks on the sides of the hills. Same dead-end poverty. They just added a Chase Bank and a Best Western, but all the rest is the same.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:02 AM

29. I can speak about Oklahoma....

the land of the POW internment camps, AKA the Indian territory. Years of dirt poor poverty, lack of meaningful instead of menial employment, and reliance on government charity has taken a toll. Look at many of the other states and you see similar patterns of poverty. You hit the nail on the head Demeter.

The good news, the Cherokee Nation has been working hard to re-educate the people. Programs that stress better diet, exercise, and jobs programs are having a positive effect on the population. As they provide health care for citizens, it makes sense to focus on prevention. They emphasise tribal pride as a motivation factor...with positive results.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:09 AM

41. Wish the Caucasian Tribe was as smart

Still doing that Rugged Individualist gig, for the most part (although women are more likely to organize into group actions).

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:06 PM

5. Cyprus Bank Panic: It Can’t Happen Here - Can It? By Richard (RJ) Eskow

http://www.nationofchange.org/cyprus-bank-panic-it-can-t-happen-here-can-it-1363700868

There was panic in Cyprus today as ordinary citizens learned that the government was about to take nearly seven percent (6.75 percent) of the money in their bank accounts as part of a package to bail out reckless banks. The outrage was justified, predictable, and immediate. Then, in a move reminiscent of the Great Depression, banks were closed in a government-mandated ‘holiday’ while lawmakers and financial authorities scrambled and tried to figure out what to do next...Putin’s mad. Observers like Paul Krugman are predicting bank runs in other troubled European countries. There’s only one saving grace for American observers:

It Can’t Happen Here

… Or can it?


The dollar’s still the global currency. The Federal Reserve has an extremely broad set of tools at its disposal (although it’s choosy about where and how to use them). A Cyprus-like incursion on people’s savings seems unlikely here. But if the past several years have taught us anything, it’s to “never say never.” Whatever happens, the Cyprus story holds important lessons for every economy, including our own: Austerity has failed. So has bank deregulation. The ‘fair share’ principle of progressive taxation, which has guided the tax policies of Western nations for generations, is under assault. And this may be the most important lesson of all: The people who led us into this mess are the wrong ones to lead us out of it. In fact, they’re beginning to look downright scary.

The Story

The tiny nation of Cyprus “liberalized” its banking laws and became a haven for offshore money, including money from Russian oligarchs. Its banks lent money to other European Union nations, especially Greece, and were especially hard-hit by the Eurozone financial crisis and Greece’s fiscal meltdown. That hit the economy and government of Cyprus hard. A German-dominated EU imposed strict austerity measures on the Cypriot people. The nation continued to struggle, and last week it was announced that a ‘tax’ would be imposed on all deposits. (We’re using parentheses because, unlike any other tax we know of, people are being given bank ‘shares’ in return for this levy.)

That’s the story. Now for the lessons.

We don’t understand the people who run the global economy. We need to know much more about the mindset – the anthropology, if you like – of the financial elites that govern our economic destinies. That’s why Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video was so important. It offered us a glimpse into the psychology and group dynamics at work among some of our richest citizens. (See “The Radical Rich” for more on this topic.) The decision to hit ordinary people’s savings violates norms, expectations, and values that have guided Western democracies for a very long time. That alone makes this move a shocker. Why did they do it? Mohammad A. El-Erian says it’s partly the result of “a feeling among European officials that Cyprus could be a lax offshore jurisdiction that intermediates funds of dubious origins.”

Funny. They didn’t feel that way a few years ago. The International Monetary Fund, which is helping in the Cyprus move, conducted an audit of Cyprus’ banking regulations in 2006, just before the global financial crisis struck. Back then it concluded that “Supervision of international banks and domestic commercial banks, already found to be very competent in the assessment of 2001, has progressed to reach high standards.” That was then, this is now. Because international financial organizations miscalculated, choosing to promote the theology of deregulation rather than the wisdom of oversight, the people of Cyprus are now expected to pay for their ideologically-driven blunder. Apparently there’s no penalty for being horribly, massively wrong … as long as you’re part of the global financial elite. This attempt to ‘rescue the Cyprus economy’ comes after long years in which the EU, the International Monetary Fund, and other organizations imposed harsh austerity measures on the Cypriot people. The latest moves, implemented in November of 2012, included an across-the-board salary cut for government workers, a retirement age hike, government downsizing, a set-aside of future profits from newly-discovered natural gas deposits, and regressive tax increases for property, beer, spirits and tobacco. They came on the heels of earlier austerity measures – measures which the ever-reliable EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council deemed fully adequate at the time. EU Commission Vice President Olli Rehn boasted that new measures “will reduce the deficit to 2.7% by the end of 2012,” adding: “This shows Cyprus’ strong commitment and ability to ensure sustainability of its public finances.”

As we were saying: Among the financial elites there’s no penalty for being wrong. You just make your next move – which always includes doubling down on the austerity.


MORE INSANITY AT LINK

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Response to Demeter (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:04 AM

30. First it was the...

FRSP. We can soon add RMEM (Russian Mafia Extreme Makeover).

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Response to AnneD (Reply #30)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:11 AM

42. OOOH, Sounds trendy and glam!

Going back to my Slavic roots. (I look really good in a babushka...unfortunately).

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Response to Demeter (Reply #42)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:28 AM

47. RMEM...

is coming up with a diet program...they beat the pounds off of you and you only need to do the diet plan once. You'll want to die and go to heaven when you see the results.....

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:16 PM

6. Greece: The Crisis Behind the Crisis and the Challenges Facing the Left

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/15232-greece-the-crisis-behind-the-crisis-and-the-challenges-facing-the-left

Neoliberal policies created a disaster in the country now shredded by austerity measures. The Syriza party and the Greek left have much work ahead if they are to build a just and sustainable economic and social order.

When the global financial crisis of 2008 reached Europe's shores sometime in late 2009, the eurozone, with its faulty design and distinct neoliberal policymaking framework, experienced its first major crisis since the introduction of the euro as a single currency; the danger of an imminent collapse was suddenly all too real. From the beginning, there were warnings about the dire consequences of introducing a single currency into a region with sharp economic and cultural differences, but the European political elite turned a deaf ear on the skeptics.(1) European business interests were too big to be compromised over concerns about future financial busts or speculations about the risk of adopting a foreign currency without the backing of a federal treasury and a central bank acting as lender of last resort. Indeed, like the owner of the Titanic who told the captain to go full speed although several warnings had been received about icebergs ahead, European policymakers at the time could not resist the temptation to launch euro as a cash currency in spite of the fact that the Eurosystem was built on a weak institutional foundation. And they compounded the error by allowing highly problematic candidates to join the union, thereby violating the principles of optimal currency areas.(2)

Unfit to Join the Euro

The first crack in the EU wall occurred in Greece, the weakest link of the currency union. Economically, socially and culturally, Greece was ill prepared to join the euro when it did back in 2001, but the country managed nevertheless to do so mainly because of its legacy of contribution to the development of Western culture.(3) The nation's domestic political and economic elite were eager to join Euroland not just because of the perceived benefits, but also because they were very much in need of a psychological boost: if you are weak and marginal, and incapable of change and improvement, joining a group of strong and rich nations gives you the illusion that you are on a par with them.(4) Hence the hilarious statement of then Greek Finance Minister, Yannos Papantoniou, who described the joining of the euro as "'an historic day that would place Greece firmly at the heart of Europe,"' or the equally laughable statement of then prime minister Costas Simitis, who propounded that "we all know that our inclusion in EMU (European Monetary Union) ensures for us greater stability and opens up new horizons."

Apparently, both of these political midgets felt that what shapes a nation's economy is its currency, not its productive base, technological know-how, human skills, etcetera. Be that as it may, the euro produced, for the most part, a rocky ride for Greece (GDP increased, but both public and private debt levels reached new heights while competitiveness declined significantly) that ten years later crashed against the brick wall erected by international credit markets when they refused to extend further lending on account of the country's massive fiscal deficit and humongous public debt burden. And perhaps not without coincidence, both of the aforementioned euro cheerleaders ended up having reigned over the longest unbroken period of political corruption in the modern period of Greece, courtesy of neoliberal "socialist" governance.(5)

When the global financial crisis erupted, the Greek economy had already entered a downturn phase, with GDP expansion having slowed down in 2008. The industrial sector, in fact, had entered a phase of recession as far back as 2005. In 2008, the industrial production indicator had fallen by 4.2 percent and reached a 10 percent decline in 2009.(6) Yet, when the crisis initially reached Greece, everyone was in an apparent and inexplicable state of denial, including leading EU officials. Thus, in October 2008, Kostas Karamanlis, then Greece's prime minister and leader of the conservative New Democracy party, declared in a speech to his cadres that the Greek economy was largely "shielded" from the effects of the economic crisis thanks to the structural adjustments his government had initiated. And his main political opponent, PASOK leader George Papandreou, assured the citizenry that "there was plenty of money around" and that, if elected, his government would exhibit "'the political will"' to find money for the toiling population, just as it had been found for the bailouts of the banks. But the most problematic example of unwillingness on the part of leading public officials to recognize the trouble that lay ahead for Greece came from the EU chiefs themselves: thus, EU Commissioner Joaquín Almunia announced as late as February 2009 that "the Greek economy is in better condition compared with the average condition in the Eurozone, which is currently in recession...

MORE, WITH FOOTNOTES AT LINK

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:21 PM

7. Economists and Future Living Standards By Dean Baker

http://www.nationofchange.org/economists-and-future-living-standards-1363700536

At this point everyone has heard the story of how Social Security and Medicare are going to bankrupt our children. There is a whole industry dedicated to promoting the idea that our kids risk having much lower standards of living than their parents or grandparents because of these programs. This story is routinely repeated in various forms by politicians and columnists who decry the fact that we don’t care enough for our children and that the elderly have too much political power. The remarkable part of this story is that there is no conceivable way that it is true and every economist knows it. Unfortunately, economists generally feel little need to inform the public about important policy matters – or at least that seems to be the case when the information might undermine the agenda of powerful interests.

The conventional story of how Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will bankrupt our children is a game of Three Card Monte. It’s about getting people to focus on the non-issue and to ignore the real issue. The story is that we will have to pay higher taxes in the future than we do today to support these programs because of a falling ratio of workers to retirees. This is true. Of course even at this most basic level the demographics are horribly misrepresented. Most of the projected rise in the cost of these programs comes from the projection that rising per person health care costs will drive up the cost of Medicare and Medicaid, not the aging of the population.

The answer to this problem is to fix our health care system. If our per person costs were in line with those of any other wealthy country our projections would be showing long-term surpluses, not deficits. But this is really the sidebar; the trick is that the deficit gang has gotten everyone to focus on the deficit and prospective tax burdens as a measure of their well-being. The implication is that if our children face a higher tax burden than we do then they will have lower living standards This is absurd on its face. Suppose Bill Gates paid a 90 percent tax rate on all of his income. He still would have a far higher after-tax income than just about all of us. And this is exactly the story with our children. On average they will have a much higher before-tax income than do workers today. As a result, even if they have large increases in their tax rates, on average they will have much higher after-tax incomes. This is hardly a secret. The Social Security Trustees Report gives a typical set of projections. It shows that before-tax wages will be on average almost 50 percent higher in 2040 than they are today. This means that even if we had very large increases in tax rates, our children and grandchildren will have a much higher after-tax income in 2040 than workers do today. All economists know this. The basic point is not in dispute. Yet how often is this point made in policy debates? Do our representatives in Congress who whine about the plight facing our children and grandchildren, who sometimes talk about child abuse because of the risk that tax rates could rise, realize that our children are virtually certain to enjoy higher after-tax income that workers today?

In fact, the situation is even more distorted than these numbers imply. A large percentage – quite likely a majority – of economists hold the view that the consumer price index overstates the true rate of inflation. This is important because it means that wages will actually rise much more rapidly than projections like those in the Social Security Trustees Report indicate. A recent paper published by the Brookings Institution assumed that the overstatement of inflation is 0.8 percentage points annually. The implication of this claim is that the wage of an average worker will be more than 80 percent higher in 2040 than it is today. It would take some really huge tax increases to push these workers’ after-tax wages below the after-tax wages of workers today. In other words, the idea that workers in 20, 30, or 40 years will on average have lower after-tax wages than do workers today is absurd on its face. Yet tens of millions of people believe it. This absurd concern has been at the center of national debate for much of the last quarter century. This is the great Three Card Monte trick. What will matter to the living standards of our children and grandchildren is the upward redistribution that we have seen over the last three decades. If this upward redistribution continues, then most workers will see little benefit from economic growth in the future. In that situation, their living standards may not be much better than those that workers are seeing today and possibly even worse, because a small group at the top will get most of the benefits of growth. However this is not an issue of intergenerational distribution, it is a question of intra-generational distribution. Yet many economists are running around saying the opposite, arguing that we have to cut Social Security, Medicare and other programs that primarily benefit the elderly in order to help our children.

This speaks to the incredible corruption of the economics profession. The vast majority of economists are supporting, or at least acquiescing, in plans to cut Social Security and Medicare even though they know that the upward redistribution of income is the real threat to future living standards.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 06:59 AM

10. SO AM I! AND I "LIKE" IT THAT WAY

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 07:29 AM

11. America's Three-Tiered Justice System By Mike Lofgren MUST READ RANT

http://truth-out.org/news/item/15178-americas-three-tiered-justice-system

Big shots are above the law, the government now admits, but a three-tiered justice system has Congress churning out new bills to keep the prison industry booming..."Equal Justice under Law," is the motto inscribed on the frieze of the United States Supreme Court building...Sticklers for semantics say that the modifiers "equal" and "under law" in the Supreme Court's motto are redundant, because justice by definition is equal treatment under a system of written and publicly accessible rules. Whether that is the case is precisely what is at issue in America today.

Tier I: The Great and the Good


...It is unclear if there was a rare outbreak of candor among officials in Washington during the past two weeks, or whether they simply calculated that the system has so completely slipped from public control that it doesn't matter if forbidden truths are spoken. On March 6, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following:
"I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Yes, well, that could explain it. When the banks hold a gun to the head of the economy, it is no longer the relationship between regulator and regulated, but a hostage relationship. A relationship made even more complex, no doubt, by the fact that the hostage-taker is also the principal corporate funder of the bosses of the putative hostage negotiators. Apparently none of his senatorial interrogators had the wit to ask the following of the attorney general: Why would criminally prosecuting a handful of senior executives at a financial institution be more economically damaging than levying a civil fine? HSBC's $1.9-billion settlement with the Justice Department for money-laundering is almost derisory in view of its $21.9 billion in global profits during the past year, but if anyone is going to suffer from that small subtraction from the bank's revenues, it is likely to be shareholders and depositors who had nothing to do with the crime rather than the management who committed it. And even in an extreme situation, where most or all of a bank's management were criminally involved, the government could seize the bank and operate it as a conservator in the manner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Innocent stakeholders would be protected, thus nullifying Holder's fear-mongering about endangering the world economy. Thus it requires only a moment's thought to conclude that it is not the size, complexity or fragility of the financial system that stays the hand of criminal prosecution, but the status of the persons within those institutions. Apparently, robbing a bank is a criminal activity depending which side of the teller's window you are on and whether you are upper management or a $12-an-hour cashier. The Senate has given no indication of being overly concerned: After a perfunctory hearing, the Banking Committee favorably reported the Wall Street-connected Mary Jo White to the full Senate for confirmation as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The dead giveaway that the fix was in was the fact that committee Republicans, who ordinarily obstruct nominees purely out of habit, did not raise a peep of objection. White, like Holder, is not a fan of prosecuting the executives of big banks.

Tier II: The Great Unwashed

Perhaps the big shots are above the law. This does not mean, however, that the mighty wheel of justice does not turn in this country. Somebody must be getting prosecuted, given that the United States has more incarcerated people in its jurisdiction than any other country, including China, which has four times our population. The incarceration rate is no accident: The vast accretion of harsh punishments for essentially victimless crimes like drug possession, mandatory minimum sentences and "three strikes" provisions in many state laws virtually guarantee the highest rate of imprisonment since the days of Stalin's gulags.
Our Congress, acting as an agent of Corporate America, is working assiduously to issue ever more novel and oppressive laws so as to keep the machinery of law enforcement operating. Even the right of possession and free use of an article legally obtained by legitimate purchase, a right celebrated by libertarian economists, can be nullified when corporations deem it necessary to extract rents. Pursuant to the Millennium Digital Copyright Act, it is now illegal to alter a cell phone that you bought and paid for if you are dissatisfied with the service provider that the phone manufacturer has an exclusive agreement with. How illegal? - a $500,000 fine and five years in prison (double for repeat offenders). Apparently citizens no longer have a freehold in this country; they are instead serfs dwelling on a feudal demesne at the sufferance of their corporate landlords....State legislatures have kept up with Congress in this endeavor. One might think the exposure of animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions in the corporatized farming and food processing industries would cause lawmakers to be indignant against the perpetrators and desirous of protecting the safety of the food supply. But no, state legislatures have directed their fury against the citizen-activists who exposed the wrongdoing by levying heavy penalties against surreptitious photographing of the outrages.
With draconian sentences looming over defendants, it is no wonder that most criminal processes end in plea bargains rather than jury trials: Even an accused person believing himself innocent may plead guilty to lesser charges (charges that still land him in prison, albeit for a shorter term) rather than face either bankrupting legal fees or suffer an incompetent appointed counsel and the possibility of a sentence lasting decades...MORE


Tier III: The Untouchables

Thus far we have dealt with the law: law that is perhaps hatched with malign intent, corruptly enforced and unequally applied, but at any rate law that exists openly in the US Code or the state statutes. But justice for foreigners and discrete categories of American citizens enters the realm of the Wild West, where there is neither law nor redress. Where international treaties may apply, such as the Geneva Convention or treaties against torture, they are assumed not to exist for purposes of official US government conduct...Should the plaintiff, a group like Amnesty International, say, argue on behalf of injured parties before a United State court, the plaintiff lacks standing because he is not an injured party. Should the injured party himself seek redress, he lacks standing because of his status at the time of the alleged crime. Should all else fail, and the court needs to avail itself of some excuse not to hear the case, it employs the state secrets privilege, a completely fictitious, made-up doctrine deriving from an incident whereby the executive branch, in asserting that classified information would be revealed, committed perjury. There was no classified information, but the rabbinical automatons of the federal judiciary have pretended for the past 50 years that the government's having lied about whether a fatal plane crash involved classified information must henceforth and forever be twisted into a reason why the government's assertions about classified information must always be taken as true, definitive and legally binding.

One suspects a similar morass of dishonesty lies behind the present administration's policy on the use of drones for the purposes of assassination. For instance, in deciding to carry out assassinations, did President Obama or his predecessor go to the trouble of revoking Executive Order 11905, Executive Order 12036, or Executive Order 12333, all of which prohibit assassinations? Or were they merely reinterpreted to mean that a ban on assassination means "not unless you really want to?" Unquestionably the latter, because someone deemed it useful to keep the old executive orders on the books as sacred artifacts one could point to as examples of how virtuous we are - much in the same manner as the Roman curia, ever rife with corruption and intrigue, is charged with regulating the veneration of holy relics...As for when the policy is to be implemented, the administration has done its best to keep that secret. It has maintained a close hold on the alleged documents describing the policy in detail, but has purposely leaked a white paper that supposedly summarizes the policy. Here one gets a sense of ad hoc improvisation: Since John Brennan and other administration officials had already publicly stated that drone strikes were only used to disrupt "imminent" threats of attack, the white paper appears to have been engineered ex post facto to prevent the administration from being constrained by Brennan's words. In the paper itself "imminent" is gradually redefined over the course of several paragraphs so that it no longer means a criminal action is temporally nigh, but rather inheres in the status of the individual so targeted. Thus are certain persons beneath the law: Their status assumes their intended action, so they are fair game for assassination. MORE DRONING ON

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:22 AM

12. Markets Turn South As Euro Train Wreck Continues At Full Speed

http://www.businessinsider.com/markets-turn-south-as-euro-train-wreck-continues-at-full-speed-2013-3



The Euro train wreck continues.
Just this morning we've got:
A horrible German Flash PMI number.
A horrible French Flash PMI number.
An announcement from the ECB that it will shut off emergency funding for Cypriot banks by Monday.
And the day's really just started.
Markets are red.
Italy is down 0.6%. Germany is down 0.8%. France is off 1%.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/markets-turn-south-as-euro-train-wreck-continues-at-full-speed-2013-3#ixzz2OAzpV9fx

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Response to xchrom (Reply #12)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:37 AM

17. Gold's spiked up again

End the euro

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Response to xchrom (Reply #12)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:34 AM

34. I don't know officer. It just came out of no where.

I mean who could have seen this coming? There I was minding my own business, then BAM! this guy runs right into me.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #34)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:36 AM

36. !

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Response to westerebus (Reply #34)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:25 AM

46. Reminds me of the guy who said I was chasing him through a steel mill with a train.

He ran through flashers and gates 5 different times in a 5 minute period, and I almost hit him 3-4 times. Then he told my boss I was chasing him.

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #46)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 12:02 PM

50. According to the NTSB if your lights are on, you're good to go.

Don't ask me how I know that.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:25 AM

13. n Just Days A Modern Economy Has Been Set Back 50 Years, And It May Never Be The Same Again

http://www.businessinsider.com/socgen-cyprus-has-been-set-back-50-years-2013-3



***SNIP

And SocGen's Ciaran O'Hagan argues in a note that the market (which hasn't really moved at all on Cyprus) is being too blase about the whole thing.

It's incredible that this can happen, and the precedent its set will linger for a long time, if not permanently.
He writes in a note:

In a matter of days, a modern functioning Western economy has been transformed into a cash economy, if not quite a barter one yet. Coinage is being hoarded, stores are refusing credit cards, commercial credit has ceased.

True, that can all be quickly reversed if a compromise is conjured up now. What will never be reversed so easily is the threat of capital controls in a supposed monetary union. The Republic of Cyprus may still avoid such a draconian measure. But that’s not the point. If the Cyprus economy can be sent backwards 50 years so easily, we now know the same can happen to other euro area members. And in a matter of a few days, as we’ve just seen. And the next crisis (surely there will be more) is likely to hit a member with a large and functioning bond market. Investors will be quicker next time round to remember he precedents set by the Cypriot Republic.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/socgen-cyprus-has-been-set-back-50-years-2013-3#ixzz2OB0bZDJO

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Response to xchrom (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:38 AM

18. He writes that like it's a bad thing

The last 50 years SHOULD be undone.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:28 AM

14. The ECB Just Gave Cyprus Its Drop-Dead Date

http://www.businessinsider.com/ecb-emergency-liquidity-assistance-for-cypriot-banks-ends-march-25-2013-3

Next Monday is the drop dead date by Cyprus.
If Cyprus doesn't have a deal in place by then, the ECB will not provide its banks the emergency liquidity assistance they need to continue to operate.
Earlier this week, the Cypriot parliament rejected a plan that would have recapitalized the country's banks by imposing a one-off tax on all depositors.
Since then the government has been scrambling to come up with the nearly 6 billion euros that the country must supply to save its banks.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/ecb-emergency-liquidity-assistance-for-cypriot-banks-ends-march-25-2013-3#ixzz2OB1KZNeQ

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:32 AM

15. Bernanke Saying He’s Dispensable Suggests Tenure Ending


3/21/13 Bernanke Saying He’s Dispensable Suggests Tenure Ending

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s “spoken to the president a bit” about his future and that he feels no personal responsibility to stay at the helm until the Fed winds down its unprecedented policies to stimulate the economy.

“I don’t think that I’m the only person in the world who can manage the exit,” Bernanke said when asked at a news conference in Washington if he’s discussed his plans with President Barack Obama. His term expires at the end of January.

Bernanke’s comments yesterday meshed with the views of some of Obama’s economic and political advisers who said Bernanke, 59, after spending most of his seven years on the job battling a financial crisis and its aftermath, is exhausted and wants to return to private life. The current and former administration officials asked to not be identified to describe the private conversations.

more...
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-21/bernanke-saying-he-s-dispensable-suggests-tenure-ending.html




Bernanke wants out before the next crash


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Response to DemReadingDU (Reply #15)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:39 AM

19. He'd better move fast, then

I don't give it more than 6 months.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:36 AM

16. BEAT: INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE TO 336K

http://www.businessinsider.com/initial-claims-march-16-2013-3

UPDATE: The latest weekly jobless claims report is out.
Initial claims rose slightly to 336,000 from an upwardly-revised 334,000 the week before.
However, economists expected a slightly larger rise to 340,000.
Continuing clainms rose to 3.053 million from an upwardly-revised 3.048 million the week before.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/initial-claims-march-16-2013-3#ixzz2OB3Mkut6

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:40 AM

20. Why Democrats Shouldn't Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table

http://www.businessinsider.com/selling-the-store-why-democrats-shouldnt-put-social-security-and-medicare-on-the-table-2013-3



Prominent Democrats — including the President and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation.

This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans — who still refuse to raise taxes on the rich, close tax loopholes the rich depend on (such as hedge-fund and private-equity managers’ “carried interest”), increase capital gains taxes on the wealthy, cap their tax deductions, or tax financial transactions.

It’s not the first time Democrats have led with a compromise, but these particular pre-concessions are especially unwise.

For over thirty years Republicans have pitted the middle class against the poor, preying on the frustrations and racial biases of average working people who can’t get ahead no matter how hard they try. In the Republican narrative, government takes from the hard-working middle and gives to the undeserving and dependent needy.


Read more: http://robertreich.org/post/45896187525#ixzz2OB4JlPH2

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Response to xchrom (Reply #20)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:31 AM

48. .




Would this whole fucking bunch just retire already? Who needs Republicans when we have the likes of Pelosi and Reid? Go get a job haunting houses or something.

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #48)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 02:00 PM

52. Add our President to the list that contains Pelosi and Reid.

They're just copying his negotiating style.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:40 AM

21. Happy Birthday, Bach!

It's the second day of Spring. The sun is shining brightly, while snow falls and sticks. And windchill of 5F.

I will be cowering in my cave until the present unpleasantness ends....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #21)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:49 AM

23. Yo-Yo Ma - Bach, Cello Suites

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:46 AM

22. I knew I was in the Deep South....

when I saw the sign giving directions to the Coon Dog Cemetary.

Well, I got rid of the virus that had infected my computer and prevented me from posting (the redirect to YouTube Education). I suspect I got it here at DU as this is the place I visit the Education Forum here. SO I am back...yeah.

Just got back from Spring Break. We did the Grits Circut. Activities included....Lobby Day in Austin, a stop over to brother in North Texas, a visit to the CN capital of Talequah OK. We went through Arkansa, stopped to visit a realitive in Decatur Ala, stopped to se friends in Mobile Mississippi, lunched in New Orleans, got in touch with our Cajun roots in Layfette La. before returning to the hum drum of home. All in all a week well spent. I was shocked at the drought devastation I saw. According to our friends we were traveling along the drought lines in our travels. Things are not looking so great in this country folks...and that is all I'll say about that.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #22)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 10:46 AM

40. You should have stopped in Florida.

The guest room was empty. The pool is warming, and we would have sent you home full of clams, oysters, and crab. Not to mention whiskey and beer.

And that invite extends to all the SMW and WEE regulars.

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #40)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:23 AM

45. If we had more time....

we might have. I love to visit my DU friends and have always enjoyed the company. Florida will be a destination stop. Tennessee and Arkansas will also be spots I would like to explore more.

I never come empty handed

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:49 AM

24. Famous Romney "47%" Video -- It Was Over Romney Profiting from Slave Labor

http://www.alternet.org/media/real-reason-scout-prouty-leaked-famous-romney-47-video-it-was-over-romney-profiting-slave?akid=10215.227380.8gtpk0&rd=1&src=newsletter812563&t=26&paging=off

...It's plausible that footage cost Romney the presidency. It validated his biggest perceived weakness -- his image as a cartoon plutocrat, Mr. Moneybags, the Bain guy who fired workers and saddled companies with debt, the country club Republican who called sports "sport" and didn't have a clue about how ordinary Americans were hurting. Romney tried to counter that image: he wore jeans, reminisced about shooting varmints and had country western stars in his corner. He wanted swing voters to believe that his sucking up to his party's resentful right was just an obligatory primary-season performance, and that as president he'd govern from the middle. Scott Prouty's tape revealed that the regular-guy stuff was the real performance -- play-acting for the rubes. There he was in a roomful of millionaires, caught in the act, dissing half the country as dependents on the public teat. The contempt for working stiffs wasn't caricature; it was character.

Prouty didn't shoot the video because he wanted the goods on Romney. He was just making a souvenir, like his pictures of Bill Clinton shaking hands with the staff at another event. It was only when Romney talked about going to China to buy a factory "back in my private equity days" that he knew he had something explosive on his hands. Romney told the room that the factory employed 20,000 young women in their teens and twenties, living 12 to a room in triple bunk beds, 10 rooms sharing one little bathroom, working long hours for a "pittance." The factory was surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers. "And we said gosh, I can't believe that you, you know, keep these girls in. And they said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in. Because people want so badly to work in this factory that we have to keep them out." What galled Prouty was that Romney bought the lie. He told the story not to condemn slave labor, but to say how lucky American are to be born in a land of so much opportunity that we don't have to stop people from scaling walls to get work.

Looking around the room, Prouty saw that none of the guests were appalled. He thought it wrong that only people with $50k to shell out could see the real Romney. Afterward, searching online, he learned that the factory was Global-Tech in Donguan, and that Charles Kernaghan, an international labor rights activist, had exposed Bain's interest in ventures built on outsourced American jobs and exploited workers. Two weeks later, when Prouty decided he'd be a coward if he kept what he'd seen to himself, it was this story alone that motivated him to go public. China, not the 47 percent, was his lede...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:51 AM

25. China IP address link to South Korea cyber-attack

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21873017


A cyber-attack on South Korean banks and broadcasters came from an internet address in China, South Korean officials say, but the identity of those behind it cannot be confirmed.

The telecoms regulator said hackers used a Chinese address to plant a malicious code that hit networks at six organisations on Wednesday.

Officials said they were continuing to investigate the origins of the attack.

North Korea has been blamed for previous attacks in 2009 and 2011.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:52 AM

26. Japan posts trade deficit for eighth straight month

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21873028

Japan has posted a trade deficit for the eighth straight month, underlining the challenge the new government faces in spurring on the country's economy.

Exports fell in February, while imports rose resulting in a deficit of 777.5bn yen ($8.1bn, £5.3bn) for the month.

Japan's exports, a key driver of its growth, have dipped in seven of the past eight months.

Analysts said the sector was facing many challenges and the recent drop in yen was unlikely to provide a boost.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:59 AM

27. Bank industry chief warns Cypriot banks must reopen in days

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/20/us-eurozone-cyprus-bankers-idUSBRE92J11320130320

...Banks in Cyprus are set to remain closed on Thursday and Friday as the country races to find an alternative to imposing a levy on bank deposits in return for financial aid. With Monday a public holiday, the move effectively closes lenders until Tuesday, March 26...


A solution must be found to reopen Cypriot banks within days before it is "too late", one of Europe's top bankers warned on Wednesday, saying he feared the island's problems risked knocking confidence across the region. "Everything needs to be solved very quickly. This is a matter of a very few days before it gets too late," Christian Clausen, president of lobby group the European Banking Federation told Reuters in an interview. "Speed is extremely important," said Clausen, who is also chief executive of Nordea Group, the Nordic region's biggest lender.

Clausen's comments were echoed by Hung Tran, deputy managing director of the Institute of International Finance, a global bank lobby group. "The country is small and the numbers involved are small but the symbolism is significant," Tran told Reuters. "The protection for small depositors has been violated. Deposits have never been haircut in five years of financial crisis," said Tran, who helped negotiate an earlier restructuring of Greek debt that handed losses to investors. "The risk is that there will be a deposit flight out of Cyprus."

The remarks underscore a growing sense of alarm in the banking community as Cyprus tries to avoid a default and bank crash having rejected the terms of a euro zone bailout...Describing the closure of bank branches as "a very bad thing to do" and the imposition of a levy on depositors as "unfortunate", Clausen said he feared that events in Cyprus would snuff out a gradual return of confidence. "We are all very concerned that if it continues it may spread to some of the closer countries who do have problems with government debt," he said. "The real issue is how much this will impact confidence throughout Europe."

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Response to Demeter (Reply #27)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:01 AM

28. Cyprus Parliament’s gift to the Eurozone

http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2013/03/20/cyprus-parliaments-gift-to-the-eurozone/

By voting down the bailout proposal that would violate the deposit insurance agreement between a member-state of the Eurozone and its citizens (see my earlier post for an analysis AT LINK), Cyprus parliamentarians offered the Eurozone a reprieve from the stupidest and most potentially destructive Eurogroup decision since this Crisis began three years ago. Europe now has, thanks to Cyprus’ Parliament, a second bite at the cherry and it is up to its leaders to make amends, to understand the error of their ways, and to come up with a sensible alternative. We may disagree on what that is. However, it is difficult to imagine that there is anyone who continues to believe that allowing a member-state of the Eurozone to default on the deposit insurance scheme (i.e. confiscating deposits less than 100 thousand euros) was a bright idea.

The ‘No!’ vote in Cyprus’ parliament was, indeed, momentous. For the first time since the Eurozone Crisis began, a Parliament has called the bluff of those with more power than sense. My fear now is that, as they heard themselves say ‘No!’, Cypriot parliamentarians may have become scared by the sound of their own courageous voice, and may therefore be more prone to succumbing to an equally terrible proposal; indeed that they may accept, next time a proposal is brought to them, an even worse deal than they one they rejected. For instance, the Eurozone may decide to offer Cyprus a deal closer in spirit to that of Greece or Ireland; i.e. a bailout package whereby the banks’ depositors take a much smaller hit (e.g. 2 billion as opposed to 5.8 billion) with the remaining burden pushed on the shoulders of the struggling taxpayer or of the island’s pension funds. This would be tragic: If more than 10 billion of loans is unloaded on the taxpayer, the austerity strings that will come attached with it will crush small pensions, the health system, schools, unemployment benefits and the whole of the private sector as the debt-deflationary cycle will cause the troika, Greece-style, to force Nicosia to impose hefty new taxes on property, consumption, you name it.

While the politicians are working out the new deal that will be brought to Parliament, it is imperative that the rest of us, whether in Cyprus or the four corners of the world, keep pressing them in two directions: First, to re-commit to the June 2012 EU Summit decision to have the ESM recapitalise banks directly in exchange for shares that would go to the ESM and be sold back to the private sector once the banks have been cleansed (a move that would end immediately the Cyprus crisis, but also the crises in Spain, Italy, Ireland, even Greece). Secondly, if direct re-capitalisation does not proceed (due to Berlin’s stubborn refusal) at the very least our leaders must respect (a) the idea that the Cypriot taxpayers should not be forced to borrow more than 10 billion on behalf of banks, and (b) the deposit insurance scheme that guarantees all deposits below 100 thousand. If this means a 16% haircut for uninsured deposits over 100 thousand, so be it.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #28)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:04 AM

31. Cyprus crisis: The four scenarios

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/aebf3e16-913b-11e2-b4c9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2NrIqIC7C


The Cyprus financial crisis has entered a new and dangerous phase following the parliament’s rejection of a €10bn bailout from the IMF and EU which included a €5.8bn levy on Cypriot bank accounts. Unless Nicosia can come up with an alternative way of raising revenue, or the EU and IMF ease the terms of their rescue offer, the island’s banking system could lose access to low-cost central bank loans that have been keeping them alive for months. Without that funding, Cyprus is facing the prospect of a banking meltdown and exit from the eurozone.

1. Russia rides to the rescue

2. Cyprus backtracks

3. The eurozone relents

4. The disaster scenario

Nicosia will keep its banks shut until March 26 at the earliest as it tries to find a way out of this mess. The European Central Bank has given Cyprus an ultimatum, telling the island it must agree to a bailout with the EU and IMF by Monday otherwise it would cut off emergency liquidity provision to the country’s teetering banks. So-called Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) is the only thing keeping the banks afloat. That is the gun pointing at Mr Anastasiades’ head, something made clear to him by ECB officials at the late-night negotiations in Brussels on Friday. Without eurozone liquidity, Cyprus has no central bank to prop up its banks like a non-eurozone country does. So either Cyprus becomes an economy with no money and reverts to the barter system, or Nicosia would have to start printing its own currency to keep its banking system running. When Cypriots next go into their bank branches they may be withdrawing Cypriot pounds.


DETAILS AT LINK

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:07 AM

32. Budget 2013: 'Cuts deferred' until after elections

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21875938


The increase in National Insurance contributions will affect NHS employees in particular

Further spending cuts by government departments have in effect been put off until 2016, a think tank has said.

"Year-on-year real cuts in departmental spending have effectively come to end for the period of this parliament," said Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Tax cuts in the Budget entail a "modest loosening" in the next two years.

But austerity will tighten again from 2016 as public sector worker National Insurance contributions rise sharply.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:12 AM

33. Labor Board Alleges Repeated Retaliation at Walmart's Top US Warehouse

http://www.thenation.com/blog/173442/labor-board-alleges-repeated-retaliation-walmarts-top-us-warehouse

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against four companies involved in staffing and managing Walmart’s largest distribution center in the United States. The NLRB complaint—similar to an indictment—alleges that the companies repeatedly threatened and punished warehouse workers for labor organizing, including by firing activists involved in a September strike that helped to inspire November’s Black Friday retail walkout.

“They had targeted the organizers ever since we got back to the warehouse,” Philip Bailey, one of the fired workers, told The Nation Monday.

The Labor Board complaint, issued February 28, alleges that in order to discourage the Elwood, Illinois, warehouse workers from organizing, managers from the four companies—Roadlink Workforce Solutions, Skyward Employment Services, Select Remedy and Schneider Logistics—repeatedly broke the law. This included illegally threatening workers with firing or arrest; punishing employees by cancelling their breaks and increasing their workload; making workers believe they were under surveillance; and terminating six activist workers on November 10.

Leah Fried, a spokesperson for the union-backed group Warehouse Workers for Justice, said Wednesday that the NLRB had also found merit in an additional round of charges, alleging that the Walmart sub-contractor Roadlink illegally fired three more workers after they delivered a petition to management on November 17. (Roadlink and the NLRB did not immediately respond to inquiries from The Nation.)

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:35 AM

35. oh miss demeter - i think you might like this...WHEN THE MONEY GETS TOO BIG

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/03/when-the-money-gets-too-big-trollopes-london.html



People lie about reading books as often and casually as they lie about having sex—less about who, what, or how good than about how much. Remember George Bush’s annual competition with Karl Rove? In 2006, the year Iraq descended into civil war, Bush supposedly read ninety-five books to Rove’s hundred and ten. Most readers try to make their exaggerations more credible than this, but the honest will admit that the Internet, social media, T.V., and the flood of information to which we subject ourselves every day, if not every minute, have seriously cut into not just book reading but book readiness. Add small children, and the nineteenth-century novel threatens to disappear from your life.

A couple of months ago, to find out if I was still capable, I set out to read Anthony Trollope’s “The Way We Live Now.” Trollope kept a log of his literary production, making sure to write two hundred and fifty words every fifteen minutes of his three-hour workday, and he was so efficiently prolific that if he finished one novel before the day’s clock had run out he would start another. Trollope began “The Way We Live Now” on May 1, 1873 (he was fifty-eight; this was the thirty-second of his forty-seven novels), and he wrote its thousand pages, or four hundred and twenty-five thousand words, in twenty-nine weeks—longer than it took me to read those pages, but not dramatically longer. Trollope, hugely popular through most of his career, wrote in an age of unthinkable attention spans.

“The Way We Live Now” is one of the last examples of the three-volume serialized Victorian novel. If the genre seems nearly as alien to contemporary American readers as the Renaissance epic poem, the world that Trollope portrays is not so remote. Trollope’s London is a satirical distortion of the city that he found upon returning from eighteen months of overseas travel: the luxurious center of a vast empire floating on limitless credit, a society defined entirely by commercial interest, a hothouse of financial speculation and status competition, a place where relationships have become purely transactional. In his autobiography, Trollope described this London in the harsh language of a moralist: “If dishonesty can live in a gorgeous palace with pictures on all its walls, and gems in all its cupboards, with marble and ivory in all its corners, and can give Apician dinners, and get into Parliament, and deal in millions, then dishonesty is not disgraceful, and the man dishonest after such a fashion is not a low scoundrel.”

The mysterious figure looming at the center of “The Way We Live Now” is Augustus Melmotte, a financier (the term had just been coined) of obscure origins—French? Irish-American? Jewish?—and unsavory reputation. No one knows how Melmotte made his fortune—there are rumors of jail time in Germany and fraud in France—but he’s rich, unimaginably rich, maybe the richest man in the world, and that’s enough for almost everyone in London society to swallow their blue-blood prejudices and distaste for his upstart manners. City investors beg to buy shares of Melmotte’s newly incorporated South Central Pacific and Mexican Railway, a murky project for a rail line from Salt Lake City to Vera Cruz that has all the signs of being a fraud. A lucky few are given seats on the company’s board; young aristocrats chase after the hand and income of Melmotte’s unlovely but unexpectedly tough-minded daughter, Marie; socialites trade favors to score scarce tickets to his sumptuous dinner in honor of the emperor of China; the Conservative and Liberal Parties vie to put Melmotte forward as their parliamentary candidate for Westminster (the Tories win). Whether or not he’s a fraudster doesn’t matter, as long as the music keeps playing.


Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/03/when-the-money-gets-too-big-trollopes-london.html#ixzz2OBI91ZFu

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Response to xchrom (Reply #35)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:17 AM

43. Sorry, don't have time...bookmarking for later...

hee-hee-hee

Thanks, X! Hope you are getting a little Spring in your step, if not in the weather...

somewhere, anyway!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:47 AM

37. ETA News Release: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report (03/21/2013)

Source: Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Read More: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/eta20130495.htm

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending March 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 336,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 334,000. The 4-week moving average was 339,750, a decrease of 7,500 from the previous week's revised average of 347,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending March 9, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 9 was 3,053,000, an increase of 5,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,048,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,076,250, a decrease of 28,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,104,250.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 299,143 in the week ending March 16, a decrease of 18,383 from the previous week. There were 319,498 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.
....

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 9 were in Georgia (+1,678), Florida (+802), Pennsylvania (+801), Ohio (+741), and Texas (+640), while the largest decreases were in New York (-7,248), California (-6,189), Illinois (-1,172), Kansas (-1,098), and Alabama (-1,083).

== == == ==

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.

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 Mar 21, 2013, 09:56 AM

38. STOCK MARKET FALLS, HURT BY TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WALL_STREET_OPEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-03-21-09-46-32

Technology companies are leading the U.S. stock market lower in early trading.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,551. The S&P is 14 points from its all-time high set in October 2007.

All 10 industries in the S&P index are down shortly after the opening bell, led by information technology companies.

Oracle is down sharply, falling more than 8 percent, or $3, to $32.77. Shares of the software company are continuing their drop from late Wednesday, when Oracle reported a decline in sales

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 10:13 AM

39. "What Recovery?...People in Distressed Cities and Small Towns Face Economic Catastrophe"

http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/what-recovery-across-america-people-distressed-cities-and-small-towns-face-economic

What Recovery? Across America, People in Distressed Cities and Small Towns Face Economic Catastrophe
By Louis Ferleger , Jacob M. Magid
March 18, 2013

The US economy, many believe, is turning a corner. Maybe so, but for much of the country, what lies around the corner is a dead end. In far too many places, high levels of unemployment still exist, and joblessness has been the norm for years, even decades. Unless we try something different, these places will once again be left behind as more prosperous areas recover.

In over 200 metropolitan and micropolitan areas, the jobs crisis dominates everyday life, but these communities were experiencing high levels of unemployment long before the Great Recession . They are “distressed areas,” which we define as areas where the unemployment rate has been at least 2 percentage points higher than the national average for at least five years—in some places, for over 20 years.

We usually assume that economically distressed areas exist only in inner-city slums or rural backwaters. But areas plagued by persistent high unemployment almost never fit into conventional categories. Distressed areas share characteristics that make them unlikely to recover if the remedies offered rely only on the standard approaches to boosting the economy.

In distressed areas,government aid provides nearly one-third of residents’ incomes, compared to 17% nationwide. Upwards of 40 percent of the population in these areas lives on $30,000 a year or less, and the workforces there have low educational-achievement rates, with more than half possessing just a high-school degree or less. Most jobs are in low-end service industries, especially prisons, casinos, nursing homes, and retail. Such jobs offer few chances for upward mobility or skill enhancement.


We already know the litany ... if anything, it's far worse than described ... and what is proposed for a solution?

We need a partnership between the public and private banks—with the public making funds available and local banks being strongly encouraged to make loans that involve less paperwork (and therefore lower administrative costs for both lenders and borrowers) to support risk-taking by entrepreneurs. We know that many small businesses fail, for a range of reasons. But if some ventures that receive revitalization loans succeed, we will have given jobless workers the opportunity to gain employment, stability and brighter futures.


I guess the writer has not noticed that "public-private partnerships" seem to mostly result in "the public" getting screwed and "the private" getting even richer?

And my, hasn't "strongly encouraged" worked soooooo well with the Banksters to date?

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #39)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:20 AM

44. It's bootstrap time

The underground economy is just about the only thing carrying the populace...after the safety net shreds.

What is needed is getting large corporate regulatory burdens off small business. Including the taxing. I'm talking micro-small.

If we regulated like people mattered, and distributed help like their dignity mattered, this would be closer to heaven than most places.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #44)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:48 AM

49. I would also add...

employee owned companies and union owned compamies to the wish list. We have to take over the means of production in order to get our fair slice of the pie. As I mentioned earlier, there is a big push in the Cherokee Nation to own companies, esp production companies, not just tourism and gambling. They have everything from soap, pottery (she said as she drank from the CN 7 Clans coffee cup) and art to recycling efforts like compressing tire shards to energy efficient building materials.

The underground economy has always been in play in the CN. It is the only way to survive pernacious poverty.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 01:54 PM

51. OMFG - Forbes and Investors.com: 1%er arrogance on full display

now, as anyone can tell by the links I do post, I don't usually read these publications.... I ended up at them by clicking a link in thread on Big Bang ....

So here we go:

http://news.investors.com/politics-andrew-malcolm/021813-644829-asteroid-2012-da-14-missed-earth-narrowly-but-will-return.htm?ven=OutBrainCP

Bad news: The asteroid that just missed Earth is coming back. And...

By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 02/18/2013 09:02 AM ET

Now, about that other bad news. According to the same computer calculations, in 2080 the orbit of 2012 AD 14, if unaltered in these next 67 years by some super-natural force like Bruce Willis, will slam into Earth at almost 18,000 miles an hour.

That explosive encounter, NASA says, will release about 2.5 megatons of energy into the atmosphere, causing "regional devastation."

Hopefully, that will occur over a desolate area like Siberia. Or Detroit.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/kylesmith/2013/03/21/you-wont-believe-the-stupidity-of-the-latest-attack-on-walmart/?partner=yahootix

Kyle Smith, Contributor

For its sin of providing millions of working class Americans with good service, broad selection and low prices, Walmart might as well have painted a (Target-style) bullseye on itself among progressives. Walmart is at last preparing to enter the nation’s capital, with plans well underway for six stores in the District, two of them set to open this year.

.... In order to punish this good deed, though, the rebarbative chairman of the D.C. City Council, Phil Mendelson, has been pushing an extraordinary new law that would apply only to large national retailers, with more than $1 billion in sales... Such firms would be required to pay a “living wage” of at least $11.75 an hour to all employees — a 62 percent premium over the federal minimum wage.

... can’t one of America’s largest and greatest companies steamroll a few local-yokel pols? Can’t it grease the right palms? The question is a sad one that presupposes that an honest business must roll up its sleeves and master the kind of dark arts we associate with corruption-riddled Russia or China.

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #51)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 04:04 PM

53. disgusting people

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