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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: 66,837

Journal Archives

Thom Hartmann: A Real Progressive is Running for President!


(begins at 7:54 in video, segment with Mike Papantonio)





Published on Apr 30, 2015

Thom discusses how Bernie Sanders will impact the presidential race with attorney and radio host Mike Papantonio and Thom premieres Rep. Alan Grayson’s new nine minute anti-TPP video in its entirety. In tonight’s special Thursday edition of “Conversations with Great Minds” Thom talks with activist Tom Hayden, author of the new book “Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters.”



Drone Strikes (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/drone_strikes_20150429


How Shale Is Becoming The Dot-Com Bubble Of The 21st Century


By Leonard Brecken, a portfolio manager and principal at Brecken Capital LLC, a hedge fund focused on domestic equities. You can follow Leonard on Twitter: @Lbrecken13. Originally published at OilPrice


As I review the financials of one of the largest shale producers in the United States, Whiting Petroleum (WLL), I can’t help but notice the parallels to the .COM era of 1999 which, to some extent, has already returned to the technology and biotech sectors of today. Back then, the faster you burned cash to capture customers regardless of earnings to drive your topline, the higher your valuation. The theory was that after capturing the customers (in energy today, it is the wells) spending would slow and so would customer additions allowing companies to generate cash. By the way, a classic recent case is none other than Netflix (NFLX) which, in the past was exposed for accounting gimmicks that continue even today. It is still following this path of burning cash for the sake of customer additions, while never generating any cash in its entire existence.

Cash was plentiful in 1999 so it could always be raised as the Federal Reserve began its easy money era creating a series of bubbles for the next 15 years. Does this sound familiar to what is occurring now? It will end the same way and that process has already started as currency wars heat up and our economy grinds to a halt proving QE does not, in fact, create wealth (temporary yes for the 1%, short term, until POP) but instead it destroys it by distorting asset prices, misallocating investments, and ultimately creating an equity crash.

We just witnessed this in energy, as all the economic stats that distorted the real underlying economic weakness in the economy led energy producers to overproduce while easy money fueled it and expanded speculation in the futures market. Back in 1999 did the internet companies adapt their business models? Some which still survive today did, but most went bankrupt. The parallels here with energy are simply stunning as most E&P companies need to spend well over their operational cash flow in order to not only grow but to replace the wells that are producing tied to depletion. Money is free right? Well we are witnessing the first stages now and it may not last, as junk bond investors in energy can attest.

Further, US equity markets are beginning to “realize” that the US economy isn’t better off vs. Europe and the US dollar begins to fade as it shows signs of correcting as well. The Fed clearly isn’t as accommodative by instantly launching QE4, for a host of reasons, thus potentially opening the door to a deeper correction vs. prior ones in order to get what the 1% wants again: more QE. Yes the Keynesian feedback loop is real as, in the past, each equity correction was met with more QE. ..............(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/shale-becoming-dot-com-bubble-21st-century.html




Paul Krugman: The Rise of the Machines: It's Happening


The Rise of the Machines: It's Happening

Thursday, 30 April 2015 13:36
By Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co. | Op-Ed


Way back in 1996, on the 100th anniversary of The New York Times Magazine, The Times had a clever idea: They asked a number of people to write essays pretending to look backward a century from the perspective of 2096.

Sadly, most of the writers were too uptight and dignified to comply; they wrote blah-blah-the-decades-to-come stuff. But I threw myself into the assignment with a little piece titled "White Collars Turn Blue." As the title suggested, one theme of the essay was a pushback against the notion that advancing technology would result in an ever-growing demand for highly educated workers.

I argued that computers would take over many of the cognitive tasks that we find difficult, but that human beings would continue to be wanted for jobs that require common sense, including many forms of manual labor. Or as one friend described it at the time, my thesis was that we'll always need maids and gardeners.

And it's happening.

.......(snip).......

An obvious implication of these findings is that the belief that income inequality is all about, and can be fixed by, education is even more wrong than you thought. .....................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30538-the-rise-of-the-machines-it-s-happening




Yes, Virginia, the TPP is at least as bad as its critics say it is.


By Joe Firestone, Ph.D., Managing Director, CEO of the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), and Director of KMCI’s CKIM Certificate program. He taught political science as the graduate and undergraduate level and blogs regularly at Corrente, Firedoglake and New Economic Perspectives. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

People who support the Administration’s efforts on the TPP have been known to reply to my posts on this subject by attempting to ridicule the scenarios I’ve presented as possible under the TPP Agreement as “out there” speculation of the tin foil variety that will never actually happen. For those who think that my examples of what is possible under the TPP are just this kind of speculation, please keep in mind that I don’t have the proposed draft agreements to work from.

This is due to the President’s decision to classify the drafts and seek Fast Track Authority before disclosing them more freely even to Congress for an up or down vote. However, there is no indication from anyone that the actual drafts of the agreement contain rules that would definitively prevent the possible very damaging consequences I’ve mentioned here for example.

Elizabeth Warren and Bill Black make clear why the secrecy and Fast Track Authority (FTA) itself are anti-democratic, and they also point out that some speculation, or at least educated guesses about what exactly is in the TPP, is forced upon us in order to carry on political debate before it is too late to have it because Congress has given up its constitutionally important debate, negotiation, and amendment capabilities to the Fast Track process.

In short, debate on the TPP, and perhaps disclosure of it, must come first, before FTA is approved. Afterward no legitimate debate can be forced on those who want to push approval through Congress. So, why would they agree to one?

However, I don’t need access to the TPP text to counter the wild speculation charge. The fact is, that TPP Agreement provisions establishing Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals allow supra-national elite authorities unaccountable to voters to trump domestic laws and in so doing subordinate the Government of the United States and the consent of the governed to such authorities. ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/04/ridiculing-concerns-tpp-tyranny.html




Indicting the TPP: Even One of These Counts Is Sufficient to Vote to Kill It!


Indicting the TPP: Even One of These Counts Is Sufficient to Vote to Kill It!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 00:00
By Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspectives | Op-Ed


To really appreciate what a travesty the TPP is, and the scandal of the failure of our Congress to reject it, and the "Fast Track Authority" sought for it, out of hand, I'm going to list 23 negative consequences that would likely follow from it. Any one of these, would, by itself be sufficient for any representative of the people, Senator or Congressperson, to vote to kill it. I'll offer this list in the form of stanzas appropriate for a chant, except for the starting point in the list.

The tune of the chant that might be used is the tune used for Dayenu, the passover seder chant in which Dayenu means "It would have been sufficient," where the reference is to all the things the almighty is purported to have done for the Israelites on their way out of Egypt and during their wanderings in the Sinai. I'm sure the President is familiar with this chant since he has had seders at the White House more than once. I'm also sure that he never envisioned using Dayenu to highlight the horrors of one of his favorite projects, the passage of "Fast Track Authority," the TPP, and other "free trade" agreements such as the TTIP, and the TISA, all of which would get "Fast Track Authority" if the present bill passes.

The Stanzas of the Anti-TPP chant

1. The TPP makes it easier to offshore more jobs now performed in the United States.

2. If the TPP just made it easier to offshore more jobs and did not also generate increasing downward pressure on wages, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

3. If the TPP just generated increasing downward pressure on wages and did not also empower another 25,000 foreign corporations to use Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

4. If the TPP just empowered another 25,000 foreign corporations to use investor state tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations and did not also give big pharma new monopoly patent rights, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it! .................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30499-indicting-the-tpp-even-one-of-these-counts-is-sufficient-to-vote-to-kill-it




Thom Hartmann: When Is The NSA Going to Stop Spying on Americans?





Published on Apr 28, 2015

Shahid Buttar, Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) joins Thom. If our lawmakers cared at all about public opinion - or what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution – they should let Section 215 expire in June - repeal the Patriot Act - and bring the US security state back in line with the Bill of Rights.



Indicting the TPP: Even One of These Counts Is Sufficient to Vote to Kill It!


Indicting the TPP: Even One of These Counts Is Sufficient to Vote to Kill It!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 00:00
By Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspectives | Op-Ed


To really appreciate what a travesty the TPP is, and the scandal of the failure of our Congress to reject it, and the "Fast Track Authority" sought for it, out of hand, I'm going to list 23 negative consequences that would likely follow from it. Any one of these, would, by itself be sufficient for any representative of the people, Senator or Congressperson, to vote to kill it. I'll offer this list in the form of stanzas appropriate for a chant, except for the starting point in the list.

The tune of the chant that might be used is the tune used for Dayenu, the passover seder chant in which Dayenu means "It would have been sufficient," where the reference is to all the things the almighty is purported to have done for the Israelites on their way out of Egypt and during their wanderings in the Sinai. I'm sure the President is familiar with this chant since he has had seders at the White House more than once. I'm also sure that he never envisioned using Dayenu to highlight the horrors of one of his favorite projects, the passage of "Fast Track Authority," the TPP, and other "free trade" agreements such as the TTIP, and the TISA, all of which would get "Fast Track Authority" if the present bill passes.

The Stanzas of the Anti-TPP chant

1. The TPP makes it easier to offshore more jobs now performed in the United States.

2. If the TPP just made it easier to offshore more jobs and did not also generate increasing downward pressure on wages, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

3. If the TPP just generated increasing downward pressure on wages and did not also empower another 25,000 foreign corporations to use Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it!

4. If the TPP just empowered another 25,000 foreign corporations to use investor state tribunals to gut our net neutrality, environmental, health, labor and safety laws and regulations and did not also give big pharma new monopoly patent rights, it would still be sufficient to vote to kill it! .................(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30499-indicting-the-tpp-even-one-of-these-counts-is-sufficient-to-vote-to-kill-it




A Call to End War on Whistleblowers


from Consortium News:



A Call to End War on Whistleblowers
April 29, 2015

The post-9/11 expansion of U.S. government spying on citizens has coincided with an equally draconian crackdown on government whistleblowers who try to alert the American people to what is happening, an assault on the Constitution that seven whistleblowers say must end, writes John Hanrahan.


By John Hanrahan


Seven prominent national security whistleblowers on Monday called for a number of wide-ranging reforms — including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act — in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed Fourth Amendment right to be free from government spying.

Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus — for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell — underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.


Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

Speakers said Petraeus’s favorable treatment should become the standard applied to defendants who are actual national security whistleblowers, such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Jeffrey Sterling (who has denied guilt but who nevertheless faces sentencing May 11 for an Espionage Act conviction for allegedly providing classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen).

In a news conference sponsored by the ExposeFacts project of the Institute for Public Accuracy at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., speakers included William Binney, former high-level National Security Agency (NSA) official; Thomas Drake, former NSA senior executive; Daniel Ellsberg, former U.S. military analyst and the Pentagon Papers whistleblower; Ray McGovern, formerly CIA analyst who chaired the National Intelligence Estimates in the 1980s; Jesselyn Radack, former Justice Department trial attorney and ethics adviser, and now director of National Security and Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project; Coleen Rowley, attorney and former FBI special agent; J. Kirk Wiebe, 32-year former employee at the NSA. .............(more)

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/04/29/a-call-to-end-war-on-whistleblowers/




E.J. Dionne: Is Democracy As We Know It Unraveling?



by E.J. Dionne


The world’s democracies, perhaps especially our own, face a peculiar set of contradictions that are undermining faith in public endeavor and unraveling old loyalties.

There is a decline of trust in traditional political parties but also a rise in partisanship. A broad desire for governments to reduce the levels of economic insecurity and expand opportunity is constrained by a loss of confidence in the capacity of government to succeed. Intense demands for change are accompanied by fears that much of the change that is occurring will make life worse for individuals and families.

These crosscurrents are undercutting political leaders and decimating political parties with long histories. In Europe, movements on the far right and left (along with new regional parties) gain traction with disaffected citizens. Concerns about immigration reflect uneasiness among some over the social and cultural tremors in their nations. At the same time, discontent about the economic decline that afflicts regions not sharing in the global economy’s bounty calls forth protest against the privileged and the well-connected. In both cases, anger is the dominant emotion.

The convergence of these forces is especially powerful in Britain, which holds a national election on May 7 and where neither of the long-dominant Conservative and Labour Parties is likely to win a parliamentary majority. In 1951, the two parties together secured 96.8 percent of all the votes cast. This year, they are struggling to reach a combined 70 percent. ................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/is_democracy_as_we_know_it_unraveling_20150429




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