HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » leveymg » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 20 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Wed May 5, 2004, 09:44 AM
Number of posts: 36,370

Journal Archives

You know you want to run over some liberal in a smaller, imported fuel-efficient vehicle.

You know you want a tank. Make your next act of road rage one to remember.

The Roman Empire left behind lovely beachfront ruins in Libya. So did we.

Similar to massacres of small farmers by Cattlemen Assoc. in Wyoming, as told in Heaven's Gate

Across America during the late 19th and early 20 centuries, wealthy industrialists, planters and stockmen had similar ideas that they could simply do what they wanted with land and factories they controlled. Until the FDR Administration, they often killed or drove off anyone who dared stand up to them. This was the general practice in rural areas and places where captive political machines controlled local government. The rich were particularly violent with union organizers, recent immigrants, Indians, Mexicans and Black people.

Rarely did the federal government, the courts, or the local police stand in the way of large landowners and factory owners. Governors and State authorities, who had control over militias, were almost always in their back pockets. Those who stood their ground in the face of force were vilified as radicals and criminals, and systematically assassinated by death squads. Uprisings in Johnson Co., Wyoming were put down like those in the Philippines at the time, a model for counterinsurgency doctrine that was carried out in El Salvador during the Reagan Administration. Violent suppression of poor populations, and the use of terrorism and arbitrary police killings, is a largely untold history of America. We still see traces of this in places like Ferguson, MO.

By the way, Heaven's Gate was a modern masterpiece, albeit overly long and badly reedited. Cimino's film was a loose retelling of events in the 1890s in Johnson Co., Wyoming, where the poor actually fought back. It's commercial failure was largely due to hostility by a conservative press against its message of organized armed resistance to exploitation and murder in America.

As UN Security Council Mulls ISIS Oil Sanctions, Most Funds Still Flow from Saudi and Gulf Donors

Proposed UN Sanctions Do Not Go To Most ISIS Funding from Wealthy Donors

There is broad agreement that "substantial" funds are still reaching ISIS from wealthy elites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states. As the Pentagon announced yesterday, oil exports now do not account for most of ISIS finances. ISIS is instead depending on donations, “a lot of donations,” according to Rear Admiral John Kirby, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Further sanctions do not threaten the primary source of finance for the so-called Islamic State (IS), reported to be in excess of $2 billion last year. On Thursday, a UN measure was proposed by Russia that would sanction the trade in oil and stolen antiquities that partially funds ISIS funders. However, according to the NYT, it does not add to the existing list of individuals named for sanctions. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/07/world/middleeast/un-prepares-resolution-to-confront-islamic-state-on-oil-and-antiquities.html?_r=0

This spares the US and NATO the difficult task of having to immediately punish most of the same Sunni states with which it has been previously cooperating in prosecuting the war in Syria. The measure discussed on Friday would, however, specifically sanction parties engaged in smuggling oil from ISIS controlled areas, paying ransom, and the sale of stolen antiquities, the latter valued at $35 million last year.

Nobody seems to want to put a finger on exactly how much cash is still flowing to ISIS from wealthy ISIS funders, and who exactly they are. But, everyone agrees that support from the Saudis and Gulf elites continues to be substantial. See, http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/whos-funding-isis-wealthy-gulf-angel-investors-officials-say-n208006

In 2014, Saudi Arabia publicly agreed to clamp down on some donations from its citizens and religious foundations. As a result, most private funding now goes through Qatar. The UN Security Council Resolution 2170 passed last August 15 named only six individual ISIS leaders for direct sanctions. The new measure does not expand that list, but calls for a committee to nominate others for violation of existing UN resolutions.

The effects of the additional sanctions on oil exports proposed would have its primary impact on crude oil smuggling in and out of Turkey. The majority of ISIS oil revenues are derived through the black market in that country. Last June, at its height, a Turkish opposition MP and other sources estimated the annual oil revenues at $800 million. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/221272-report-isis-oil-production-worth-800m-per-year

If accurate, oil sales was about 40% of the total ISIS operating budget as stated by the group. However, even at its height, petroleum accounted for only a fraction of ISIS funding. Some western estimates placed the IS annual total budget as high as $3 billion. See, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/228465-isis-puts-payments-to-poor-disabled-in-2-billion-budget; http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-news-caliphate-unveils-first-annual-budget-2bn-250m-surplus-war-chest-1481931

The $800 million figure is actually at the top end of the estimates. US sources quoted by CNN last October stated that ISIS oil income was more likely half that figure: http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/06/world/meast/isis-funding/

The U.S. Treasury Department does not have hard figures that it can make public on the group's wealth but says it believes ISIS takes in millions of dollars a month.

Sources familiar with the subject say that ISIS' "burn' rate" -- how much the group spends -- is huge, including salaries, weapons and other expenses. For ISIS' oil sales, sources told CNN, the group probably makes between $1 million and $2 million per day, but probably on the lower end.

Along with everyone else, the returns on ISIS oil are probably a fraction of what they were at the height of world oil prices a year ago. Plus, the US and allies are bombing the group's oil platforms and vehicles. That has cut production and export to the point where US commanders now acknowledged that oil sales aren't the source of most ISIS funds, and that they are coming from donations, "a lot of donations":

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is no longer relying on oil as its main source of revenue to fund its terrorist activity, according to the Pentagon.

“We know that oil revenue is no longer the lead source of their income in dollars,” Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters during a press briefing on Tuesday.

ISIS’ loss of income is compounded by its losses on the battlefield as the group has “lost literally hundreds and hundreds of vehicles that they can’t replace,” Kirby said.

“They’ve got to steal whatever they want to get, and there’s a finite number.”

ISIS is instead depending on “a lot of donations” as one of the main sources of income. “They also have a significant black market program going on,” Kirby said.

That leaves a big hole in the Caliphate's budget - that gets filled by someone.

Imposition of expanded UN sanctions would entail difficulties and costs for the US, particularly with Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that the Security Counsel measure is limited, and does not yet show if the world is truly serious about eradicating ISIS.

Quantitative Easing (QE) is the Monetarist alternative to just printing money.

In the 20th Century, central banks used to stimulate the economy during recessions by inflating the money supply with extra currency. That put more dollars into circulation, which stimulated consumption. However, that approach risked devaluation of the currency and hyper-inflation.

Today, instead, the Fed lowers interest rates to a point where it is actually cheaper (and more profitable) for the commercial banks to borrow money than to hold onto other assets. The banks use those assets (corporate bonds, securitized mortgages and loans) as collateral to borrow dollars or buy government bonds (which can be swapped for cash on the multi-trillion Dollar Repo market).

QE is a variation on the strategy of zero or negative real interest rate financial stimulus applied in Japan after the collapse of its commercial real estate bubble in 1991 that has allowed the Japanese economy to keep limping along on export earnings despite the loss in domestic speculative market values.

Because the system operates by keeping interest rates (the cost of borrowing) lower than inflation, the Fed's key policy is always to keep consumer demand depressed below the bank's demand for money. "Too much" consumer spending can lead to demand inflation, which would reduce the profit margin for the banks (if interest rates are kept low). Therefore, we see that the Fed's actual policy is austerity for consumers to depress demand at the bottom in order to sustain profitability at the top - the result is the jobless recovery and declining purchasing power for the middle-class, meanwhile the financial markets and bank sector profits reach record highs, all of which are quite intentional outcomes of QE programs.

No deal. The GOP will simply have to cave on this one or risk the wrath of Wall St with default

And, they won't do that.

The Death Penalty for every crazy in the Clown Car

RESPONSE TO POST: "What Should Democrats Demand in the Budget Showdown?"

Selective Shutdown Over for Pentagon. The Light just got turned on the Kabuki Theater Stage

In other words, the Tea Party got EXACTLY what they wanted from the SELECTIVE shutdown of the federal government. What did the Democrats gain from this?

The federal government just got shrunk in a bathtub without anyone in the Democratic ledger having to go on record to vote directly for it, and the military is exempted from having its trousers taken in. Jitters about the Debt Ceiling aside, Wall Street is exultant about the Sequester and partial shutdown. The NASDAQ was up 7 or 8 percent in September, and the Dow has risen nearly 15% since the Sequester started.

The GOP got exactly what they wanted, and if his past statements are any indication, Obama IS willing to give them more than half of what they want, at least in Social Security program cuts.

Pentagon: Most Furloughed Civilians Ordered Back
Source: AP

The Pentagon is ordering most of its approximately 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work.

The decision by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is based on a Pentagon legal interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.

That measure was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama shortly before the partial government shutdown began Tuesday.

The Pentagon did not immediately say on Saturday exactly how many workers will return to work. The Defense Department said "most" were being brought back.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/pentagon-furloughed-civilians-ordered-back-20482298

The GOP now has absolutely zero reason to make any deals until 10/17, and then Obama will give them at least 50% of what they want in the way of cuts to Social Security because it's what he and the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party want, too.

There are those who suggest the GOP will have to cave. How does the GOP have to cave? All they have to do is vote on the 17th for a CR to avoid federal default, something the financial sector and most corporations would never permit.

So, what are the Republicans really giving up? Most of the GOP is not opposed to a personal mandate (which is Romneycare, after all) - they're just making noise about Obamacare to keep their base happy. Obama has already indicated he's happy to give them cuts to Social Security and Medicare and some other (unstated) social programs as part of a Grand Bargain.

How are the Republicans going to cave if they sign a CR? You tell me - what are they really going to give up?

It's no longer chaotic when it gets predictable. It's a game both sides are playing to appease Wall

St. that loves the Sequester/Slowdown because it means the Federal Gov't is spending and regulating less, which is what they demanded to begin with. A federal default on the Debt would be something else, so that won't happen.

Sequester and partial shutdowns are Austerity by means other than the normal political process which would ordinarily require that the pols in both parties vote on it - a vote on the record for austerity is something that neither party really wants. So, everyone plays this game instead.

On Wall St, the Shutdown and Sequester prompt rally. Austerity brings cheers and a buying mood.

As hundreds of thousands of federal workers faced the first day of unpaid furloughs, investors and Republican lawmakers were in a jubilant, upbeat mood. Six months into the Sequester, stock markets are at new highs, the NASDAQ is up six percent during September.

If one sees the world in terms of who gains and who loses, the seeming GOP hysterics over Obamacare that forced a partial federal shutdown make complete sense. Viewed in financial terms, the political crisis over Obamacare is actually just a rational pretext to cut several weeks off federal payrolls with a like reduction in budget outlays. The ones who bear the brunt are individual workers, not big companies with ongoing, multi-year federal contracts.

- $$$ -

Stock markets were up Tuesday, on the first day of the federal government's shutdown.

The NASDAQ Composite was up more than 1 percent yesterday. The S&P 500 was up roughly 0.75 percent, and the Dow rose about 0.4 percent.

Each exchange is also up over the past month. The NASDAQ is up 6 percent since the beginning of September, while the Dow is up by about 2.6 percent.

Considering that corporations and businesses are exempt from the ACA for a year they should be happy. Many companies are telling their employees to sign up for ACA because the employer will no longer pay for their insurance, with a corresponding boost to the corporate bottom line, higher share values and added dividends that can be turned over to stockholders.

Austerity by Default

What else might explain the laissez-faire attitude among investors to political crisis? The lockup in Washington and the teetering of the government in Rome both present opportunities for global investors with a plan. Since the selective shutdown of federal services largely impacts middle-and low-income individuals rather than large businesses, it looks like a win-win to financial markets. Economic and political crisis accompanying austerity across Europe have not resulted in an electoral turn to the left. Not surprisingly, therefore, investment advisers aren't upset by either event, as this sampling of comment yesterday by Reuters shows:

The strategy is to get away from "trying to pretend you know what's going to happen in any one event", said Alan Wilde, currency and bond portfolio manager at Barings Asset Management, which has $58 billion of assets under management.

"There's no easy way to trade unknown factors. One way is to take a view, but you're either horribly right or horribly wrong," he said.

For long-term investors to change their views, and thus spark sharp market moves, political instability would have to dent economic growth or trigger high and sustained volatility.

"The key challenge is trying to understand whether any bout of political volatility is sufficiently large to alter the path of the economy," said Mike Amey, UK portfolio manager at PIMCO, the world's largest bond fund.

"Ultimately, we doubt that this will be the case in either Washington or Rome," said Amey, who manages 8 billion pounds ($13 billion) of assets. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/02/markets-politics-idUSL6N0HR2T720131002

Here's the central lesson of the current global Policy of Government Austerity by Default: what looks like political crisis on the outside is really a financial windfall and another government bail-out of global banks.
Go to Page: « Prev 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 20 Next »