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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 66,339

Journal Archives

Central Banks Warn: Liquidity May Evaporate When Investors Finally Remove Blindfolds


Central Banks Warn: Liquidity May Evaporate When Investors Finally Remove Blindfolds
by Wolf Richter • March 27, 2015


Companies are selling bonds like madmen. This year through Tuesday, investment-grade and junk-rated companies have sold $438 billion in new bonds, up 14% from the prior record for this time of the year, set in 2013, according to Dealogic. This quarter is already in second place, nudging up against the all-time quarterly record of $455 billion of Q2 2014.

About $87 billion of these bonds funded takeovers, a record for this time of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported. The four biggest bond sales in that batch were for healthcare takeovers, including the Actavis deal whose $21 billion bond sale was the second largest in history, behind Verizon’s $49 billion bond sale in 2013.

Actavis had received orders for more than four times the bonds available, according to CFO Tessa Hilado. “You don’t really know what the demand is until people start placing their orders,” she said. “I would say we were pleasantly surprised.”

Brandon Swensen, co-head of U.S. fixed income at RBC Global Asset Management, couldn’t “see anything on the radar that’s going to slow things down materially,” he told the Wall Street Journal. His firm expects rates to “remain low.”

All of the investors chasing after these bonds expect rates to remain low. Or else they wouldn’t chase after these bonds. If rates rise, as the Fed is promising in its convoluted cacophonous manner, these bonds that asset managers are devouring at super-high prices and minuscule yields are going to be bad deals. And their bond funds are going to take a bath.

But companies are selling bonds as if there were no tomorrow. They’re thinking that rates will not remain low. They’re trying to get these things out the door cheaply while they still can. They’re on a feverish mission to take advantage of these ludicrously low rates while they’re still available. And they use this cheap money to buy each other and to repurchase their own shares to pump up share prices and max out executive compensation packages, rather than investing it in productive activities. ................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2015/03/27/bond-market-liquidity-risk-central-bank-warnings/




Connection Between Rigged Trade and Rigged Government


Connection Between Rigged Trade and Rigged Government
A week with Wyden shows a secret fundraiser for a secretly negotiated corporate agreement

by Kevin Zeese / March 28th, 2015


Participating in US politics, as a citizen activist, puts you face-to-face with corruption and the ugliness of money-politics.

At least I find it ugly that a senator would be negotiating fast track legislation through Congress for secret corporate rigged trade deals while raising money from big business interests that would profit immensely from those deals. Taking money while negotiating legislation that benefits the donor should be illegal. It should be considered bribery or a pay-off, but the deep corruption of US politics has legalized that kind of bribery and made it the norm.

While this was occurring Wikileaks published the text of the Investment Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This chapter that allows corporations to sue governments when a law passed in the public interest would undermine their profits. Corporations can sue for the profits they were expecting in rigged trade tribunals where corporate lawyers play the role of judges and there is no court review. Even the US Supreme Court cannot overrule the corporate judges.

A Week With Wyden

That is what we saw this week as we focused our attention on Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). Wyden is the key Democrat on the Finance Committee. If he co-sponsors fast track with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) then it will be harder to stop these crony capitalist rigged agreements. We’ll see if the bribes he received on Wednesday from DC’s big business lobbyists at his bribe-fest, err fundraiser, was enough for him to ignore what the people of Oregon have said they clearly oppose.

Polling shows that 73 percent of Oregonians oppose fast track and 63 percent oppose the TPP. Half of the voters in Oregon said they would be less likely to support Wyden if he works with Republicans to pass fast track. You would think in a representative democracy the elected official who represents that constituency would say ‘no’ to fast track rather than negotiate in secret with a Republican leader on how to get fast track through the Congress. ...................(more)

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/03/connection-between-rigged-trade-and-rigged-government/




Nebraska Farmer Invites Pro-Fracking Commission Members to Drink Contaminated Water





Pro-fracking members of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission were silent when a farmer and former pipeline worker invited them to drink water contaminated with chemicals used in the petroleum and natural gas extraction process.

During the public comment portion of the commission hearing, James Osborne referred to previous testimony by members, saying, “So you told me this morning … that you would drink it, this water, right? So, would you drink it? Yes or no?”

When a commission member told Osborne they would not comment, he replied, “Oh, you can’t answer any questions? So, my answer would be no. I would not drink this.

“There is no doubt there will be contamination,” he added during a brief lecture on how contaminated water flows through the state according to fluid dynamics. “There will be spills.”

When Osborne’s three minutes were up, he left the water glasses on the table, thanked the commission members and left to applause from the audience. ....................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/nebraska_farmer_silences_pro-fracking_committee_members_20150329




University of North Carolina students: Why Are We Still Honoring A KKK Leader In 2015?





Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are renewing a push for the school to change the name of a building named after a 19th-century Ku Klux Klan leader.

Saunders Hall is named after William Saunders, a Confederate colonel who later became a chief organizer for the KKK in North Carolina. UNC named the building, which primarily houses the history department, in 1922 to honor Saunders' work compiling Colonial records.

Students have been pushing the school to rename the building for years. This year, student activists are asking the university to rename it for Zora Neale Hurston -- who, prior to integration, was the school's first black student -- and to require that each student take a campus tour explaining the racial history of the university. They're also asking for the school to put up a plaque providing historical context to the "Silent Sam" Confederate soldier monument on campus: At the statue's 1913 unveiling, a tobacco manufacturer bragged about whipping a "Negro wench" for insulting a Southern lady and credited the Confederacy with protecting the "Anglo-Saxon race." ......................(more)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/26/unc-kkk_n_6948762.html?ir=Politics&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013




Sustainable Living Means Making Big Changes; Why Can't We Face Up to It?


Sustainable Living Means Making Big Changes; Why Can't We Face Up to It?

Sunday, 29 March 2015 00:00
By Kirstie O'Neill, Adrian Friday and Adrian K. Clear, The Conversation | Op-Ed


Despite the significant risks for human and non-human life, greenhouse gas emissions (GhG) are still rising. Something has to give – and that something would appear more significant than those with the power to stimulate change are willing to admit.

The UK government’s Global Calculator is a good example. This recently released tool allows us to model the compatibility of our food, travel, housing and work environment with national targets to limit climate change. The climate secretary, Ed Davey, reckons the calculator shows “everyone in the world can prosper while limiting global temperature rises to two degrees, preventing the most serious impacts of climate change.”

Yet even the most ambitious changes the tool advocates deviate little from our current “normal” patterns of behaviour – supposedly “essential” appliances still include tumble driers, while under the “extremely ambitious” scenario, the urban car would still account for 29% of journeys (currently 41.5%) per year. Meat is included as a core component of daily meals, and very few indicators relate to diet. It remains to be seen which government would adopt the “extremely ambitious” changes.

This isn’t what a sustainable future looks like. It isn’t even close. Do we really need tumbledried clothes, or to eat meat every day?

Transitioning to sustainability will require profound changes in our everyday ways of living, particularly in westernised countries. It requires changes that are much more significant than simply doing the things that we currently do, but more efficiently. ....................(more)

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/29916-sustainable-living-means-making-big-changes-so-why-can-t-we-face-up-to-it




Robert Scheer Talks Privacy With Scholar Aleecia McDonald





The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center hosted Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer and scholar Aleecia McDonald, a nonresident fellow at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, in a public conversation about the themes at the center of Scheer’s new book, “They Know Everything About You, How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy.”

The conversation took place in Palo Alto, Calif., on March 20 and was hosted by Paul George, a “grass-roots peace and human rights organizer and activist” who has served as director of Peninsula Peace and Justice for 25 years.



Why did a record 346 inmates die in FL prisons last year?






Why Wikimedia Just Might Win Its Lawsuit Over NSA Surveillance

(Truthdig) The National Security Agency and the Department of Justice are being sued by Wikimedia, the nonprofit organization that runs Wikipedia—the online encyclopedia whose articles can be written or edited by anyone.

Wikimedia claims that the U.S. government’s mass surveillance programs are threatening its ability to spread free, open and honest information and that the way the NSA collects data violates the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. The organization is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and is joined in the suit by eight other plaintiffs, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA and The Nation.

The suit is specifically challenging the NSA’s use of “upstream surveillance,” which taps directly into the Internet’s backbone—the network of cables and routers that makes the Web possible—and intercepts all the traffic that goes across it.

Under the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the agency only has the legal authority to gather data on foreign nationals residing outside the United States, but in reality, far more data is being collected on American citizens than on foreigners.

The NSA has made claims none of this data is technically “collected” until it’s been utilized in some way. ................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_wikimedia_just_might_win_its_lawsuit_over_nsa_surveillance_20150327



Sorry, Monsanto: The Science Is on Our Side, Not Yours

Sorry, Monsanto: The Science Is on Our Side, Not Yours

Friday, 27 March 2015 10:41
By Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Association | Op-Ed


A few weeks ago, I spoke by phone with Cathleen Enright, executive vice president of the Biotech Industry Organization (BIO). (Long story).

During the course of our conversation, when we touched on the subject of the science behind the debate over whether or not GMOs are "safe" (me arguing that there's no scientific consensus) Enright said, "Then you must not believe in climate change, either."

I glossed over that accusation, though it struck me as odd. And random. Until less than a week later, on March 9 (2015), an article appeared in the Guardian under this headline: "The anti-GM lobby appears to be taking a page out of the Climategate playbook."

That's when I realized what I should have known. Enright's comment wasn't random at all. It's just a new twist on an old talking point—from an industry on the verge of crumbling under the weight of an avalanche of new credible, scientific evidence exposing not only the dangers of GMO crops and the toxic chemicals used to grow them, but the extent to which both Monsanto and U.S. government agencies like the EPA, FDA and USDA have covered up those dangers. (Side note: Turns out the authors of the Guardian piece all have ties to, surprise, the biotech industry).

Here are just a few examples of the latest reports, articles and books exposing the dangers of GMOs, Big Ag's toxic chemicals and evidence of a decades-long cover-up to keep consumers in the dark.

New study: World Health Organization declares glyphosate a human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decision was reported in The Lancet Oncology, on Friday, March 20 (2015). Predictably, Monsanto went on the attack, demanding the study be retracted.

New study: Roundup causes antibiotic resistance in bacteria. In the first study of its kind, a research lead by a team from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand says that commonly used herbicides, including the world's most used herbicide Roundup, can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. Cause for concern? You bet, when nearly 2 million people die annually from antibiotic-resistant infections.

New article: "GMO Science Deniers: Monsanto and the USDA," points out what we all learned in third-grade science (but what Monsanto and the USDA refuse to acknowledge): That plants evolve to adapt to their environment, with the stronger ones winning out. Hence the fact that over time, Monsanto's Roundup Ready crops have bred a new generation of superweeds. Yet, incredibly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) bought into Monsanto's anti-science claim that the continuous use of Roundup, over time, would not produce evolving Roundup-resistant weeds. Of course, that's exactly what's happened.

New book: Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public, exposes how the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) disregarded the warnings of its own scientists in order to foster the biotech industry's agenda. According to author Steven Druker, the FDA broke U.S. food safety laws when the agency made a blanket presumption that GE foods qualified to be categorized "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS). And they did it in order to push GMOs into the market with no pre-market safety testing.
......................(more)

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/29899-sorry-monsanto-the-science-is-on-our-side-not-yours



TPP so bad even the US congress is shocked


TPP so bad even the US congress is shocked
By Unconventional Economist in Global Macroat 11:52 am on March 27, 2015

By Leith van Onselen


More worrying details have emerged about the the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the US-led regional trade pact between 12 nations (including Australia) – with the New York Times revealing that members of the US Congress have been viewing the secretive document and are disgusted by its contents:

Members of Congress have been reviewing the secret document in secure reading rooms, but this is the first disclosure to the public since an early version leaked in 2012.

“This is really troubling,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat. “It seems to indicate that savvy, deep-pocketed foreign conglomerates could challenge a broad range of laws we pass at every level of government, such as made-in-America laws or anti-tobacco laws. I think people on both sides of the aisle will have trouble with this”…

“U.S.T.R. will say the U.S. has never lost a case, but you’re going to see a lot more challenges in the future,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. “There’s a huge pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for these companies”…

Senator Brown contended that the overall accord, not just the investment provisions, was troubling. “This continues the great American tradition of corporations writing trade agreements, sharing them with almost nobody, so often at the expense of consumers, public health and workers,” he said…

Critics say the text’s definition of an investment is so broad that it could open enormous avenues of legal challenge.


The article is, of course, referring to the TPP’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause, which according to an earlier leaked draft from Wikileaks, would give authority to major corporations to challenge laws made by governments in the national interest in international courts of arbitration, effectively limiting Governments’ ability to form public policy. ............(more)

http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/03/tpp-bad-even-us-congress-shocked/




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