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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 48,298

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The ruble dropped by HOW MUCH?

1) The Russian benchmark stock index, the MICES, is down 10% or more (it has been down as much as 11.2% earlier today), the biggest drop in at least five years (depending on the close).

2) The Russian ruble reached all time lows against the euro and the dollar. To prop it up the Russian central bank—on a "temporary" basis—raised interest rates 1.5%, from 5.5 to 7.0%, and spent $10 billion toward the same end. This will significantly hamper growth in Russia unless they lower those rates fast.

3) Shares of the corporation Gazprom, the Russian Federation's gas monopoly, are also down 10%.

4) The yield the Russian government has to pay on its state bonds is near a record high.

5) Foreign capital reserves for Russia are at a multi-year low.


Invisible-Hand-Of-The-Free-Market-Man - By Tom Tomorrow


XL DISSENT: "The Power Is NOT In That Building! It's Out Here!"

Hundreds of people have ziptied themselves to the White House fence! the park is flooding with people, and multiple police forces are in play. The protestors are unrolling a huge oil spill. Mainstream media is everywhere, for once. Wow. Check out the live stream!

They've unrolled a massive "oil slick" and people in white suits are staging a die in in the oil pools. The mainstream media are falling all over themselves. Dozens of people are in the oil slick and behind them hundreds are zip tied to the fence in front of the White House.

There is a massive march right now led by a student-organized national group XLDissent. Over two thousand students and activists from around the country caravanned to DC for today's action. There were massive civil disobedience classes conducted last night, and recently in communities, and it is said that "civil disobedience is planned today." I think that will be in theatrical form at the White House. Park Police, DC Police and Secret Service are shadowing the march. The plan is to get to the White House and participate in good old fashioned non-violent civil disobedience. The march route is five miles long, and they are going strong.

They are arriving at the White House, and the arrest wagons are already there. A lot of them! There are double sets of barricades and hundreds of officers, horse police, even Jail Busses. There will be a rally in Lafayette Square, where people will talk, and then cross over to the White House.



'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world do I do all day?'

A man came home from work and found his 5 children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn around garden, The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and no sign of the dog, walking in the door, he found ...an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, the throw rug was against one wall, In the front room the TV was on loudly with the cartoon channel, the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel... She looked up at him, smiled and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?' She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world do I do all day?...

''Yes," was his incredulous reply..

She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it.

oldie but goodie sent to me on FB:

Former NJ Port Authority Official “They set the governors up to look like heroes-It was all a farce”

The thing is, a former Port Authority official told The Star-Ledger, “It was all bullshit.”

From the start, the fix was in, said that former official and five others who occupied key Port Authority posts when the toll hike was rolled out and eventually approved.

The whole process, the authority officials said, was orchestrated from the outset to make the governors look good even as they reached deeper, through the long arm of the authority, into the public’s pockets.


But it was all Hollywood on the Hudson, the six sources said, scripted all the way through.

“They knew what the toll increase would be,” said one former official. “They set the governors up to look like heroes. It was all a farce.”


Al Gore: How To Win In 2014: Make Climate Science the centerpiece of Democratic Party's campaign.

Rich donors press Democrats on climate change
By Juliet Eilperin

Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, six other senators, and a 2014 Senate candidate took in views of the Golden Gate Bridge with former vice president Al Gore and some of the nation's richest environmentalist donors.

The $400,000 fund-raiser, held for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, included remarks from Gore, who said the party needs to make global warming a central issue during the midterms, participants said. And Gore called Steyer, who has vowed to raise at least $100 million, Mr. Tipping Point.

˜How do you inject this into the debate in a meaningful way? Steyer said in an interview during a visit to Washington, where he lobbied a gathering of Democratic governors. That changes what can happen in Washington, D.C.

With the end of President Obama's tenure now in sight, wealthy environmentalists are pushing Democrats to take bolder positions on climate change vowing to emphasize the issue in swing-state contests and threatening to withhold money from candidates who support the Keystone XL oil pipeline.



Krugman in "I was wrong"

Growth and Interest Rates: I Appear To Be Wrong

In my last post I followed Floyd Norris in criticizing the CBO, which has marked down its estimates of future economic growth without marking down its estimates of future interest rates. I still think that’s a fair criticism. But I also offered a hypothesis: that interest rates fall more than one-for-one with slower growth, so that the crucial difference r-g — interest rate minus growth rate — actually falls, making debt easier, not harder, to handle.

So I’ve taken a quick and dirty look at US history, and it doesn’t seem to bear my hypothesis out. Here’s actual r-g — strictly speaking, interest rates minus the rate of growth of GDP over the previous year — since 1952:

Postwar US history broadly breaks into two eras: a fast-growth generation after World War II, and generally slower growth thereafter. If my hypothesis had been right, r-g should have been lower in the second era than the first. Well, it looks as if the opposite was generally true, even if you ignore the spikes around big recessions.

Now that I think about it, the case of Japan — although complicated by the zero lower bound — also counts in this direction: interest rates have been low, but GDP growth even lower.




USA Highest Per-Capita Healthcare Spending - YET - One Of Lowest Life Expectancies

The U.S. has by far the highest per-capita healthcare spending... and one of the lowest life expectancies of any of the world's richest countries.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/life-expectancy-vs-healthcare-spending-2014-3#ixzz2ulOugj1O

'How Republicans lost their minds, Democrats lost their souls and Washington lost its appeal'

By Robert G. Kaiser


Reagan’s 1980 landslide victory surprised the Democrats in Congress and left them confused about what they believed. Once they had genuine leaders — Humphrey was one, Robert F. Kennedy another — who could forcefully articulate a liberal platform with broad appeal, but those leaders had no successors. When Reagan announced, in his first inaugural address, that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem,” Democrats seemed helpless to reply. Instead they caved. In 1981, Democrats provided the votes in both the House and the Senate that enacted Reagan’s tax and spending cuts, as well as his defense buildup.

That same year, Democrats in the House elected a new chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Tony Coelho of California. It was a fateful choice. Coelho was remarkably good at the job. His colleagues saw him as a lifeline who would help them raise enough money to retain their House majority despite Reagan’s popularity. And he succeeded. Coelho convinced his fellow Democrats that in this new era, they had to raise money from business interests — just like Republicans. He set up new ways for those interests to make their wishes known to House Democrats. Democrats listened, took the money and retained big majorities. All it cost them was their soul.

The 1980s changed America. These were the years when corporations and wealthy individuals organized to fight back against the liberal forces that had dominated the ’60s and ’70s. Moneyed interests organized new groups, especially political action committees that were prepared to spend large sums to achieve their political objectives. This began the three-decade process that has made money the most important element of our public life, a form of pollution way beyond the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency.

As money became more and more important to congressional candidates, Democrats, especially in the House, became less and less effective in their historic role as the allies and defenders of the little guy. Their electoral successes every two years dulled their competitive skills. They had little to offer by way of new policies or ideas. They became smug, self-satisfied, too willing to engage in the petty corruptions that four decades in control made so easy. Instead of defending the little guy, Democrats helped themselves.


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