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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 43,336

Journal Archives

BREAKING: Dow Jones Industrial Average Rises Above 17,000 for First Time

Source: Bloomberg News

@BloombergNews: BREAKING: Dow Jones Industrial Average rises above 17,000 for first time: http://t.co/CbFOioNLgI/s/PIqu


Will update

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/stocks/movers

US Trade Deficit Falls 5.6% to $44.4 Billion as Exports Hit Record High

Source: Bloomberg News

@BreakingNews: RT @breakingmoney: US trade deficit falls 5.6% to $44.4 billion as exports hit record high and imports dip - @AP


Trade Gap in U.S. Shrinks More Than Forecast on Record Exports

By Jeanna Smialek
July 03, 2014 8:30 AM EDT

The trade deficit in the U.S. narrowed more than forecast in May on record exports, signaling a pickup in global growth that will boost American manufacturers.

The gap shrank by 5.6 percent, the biggest drop since November, to $44.4 billion from the prior month’s $47 billion, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 69 economists called for a contraction to $45 billion. Sales to foreign customers climbed 1 percent on growing demand for autos and parts, petroleum products and aircraft engines.

Economic expansions abroad that are gaining traction will probably continue to invigorate demand for American goods. A narrowing deficit would mean trade becomes less of a drag on gross domestic product in the second quarter after the world’s largest economy contracted in the first three months of 2014.

Read more: http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-03/trade-gap-in-u-s-shrinks-more-than-forecast-on-record-exports.html

BREAKING: U.S. Jobless Rate Falls to 6.1% (Lowest Since Sept. 2008), June Payrolls Rise 288,000

Source: Bloomberg

@BloombergNews: BREAKING: U.S. June payrolls rise 288,000, jobless rate falls to 6.1%

@BloombergNews: JOBS: Unemployment rate at lowest level since September 2008: http://t.co/Ky95n5rfvC/s/7gLi

Payrolls in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast; Jobless Rate at 6.1%

By Shobhana Chandra
July 03, 2014 8:30 AM EDT

Employers added more workers than projected in June and the unemployment rate fell to an almost six-year low of 6.1 percent, underscoring a brighter U.S. labor market that will help spur the economy.

The addition of 288,000 jobs followed a 224,000 gain the prior month that was bigger than previously estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 215,000 advance. The jobless rate is the lowest since September 2008. The number of long-term unemployed fell to 3.1 million, showing they’re having greater success finding work.

A rebound in the economy after a first-quarter slump is encouraging companies such as Ford Motor Co. (F) to add to staffing levels, laying the groundwork for a pickup in wages needed to further propel consumer spending. More employment opportunities will probably keep Federal Reserve policy makers on the path to gradually reduce monetary stimulus.

“The labor market kicked into a higher gear in the second quarter,” Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jeffries LLC in New York, said before the report. “You really have to look at the post-first-quarter data, and that’s looking pretty good. Even housing is showing improvement.”

Read more: http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-03/payrolls-in-u-s-rise-more-than-forecast-jobless-rate-at-6-1-.html

For more, please see DUer mahatmakanejeeves's monthly gov't numbers report for today: http://www.democraticunderground.com/111654556

Arthur Now a Hurricane, First of Atlantic Season

Source: CBS News

@CBSNews: JUST IN: Arthur now a hurricane, the first of the Atlantic season, and is expected to move near N.C.'s Outer Banks tonight, forecasters say

@BreakingNews: RT @breakingstorm: Hurricane Arthur is packing winds of 75mph, and is now 190 miles SSW of Cape Fear, NC - @nhc_atlantic http://t.co/QwZx6DrxGU/s/kmRo

Read more: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT1+shtml/030849.shtml

Former French President Sarkozy placed under formal investigation over alleged influence peddling

Source: BBC News

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy placed under formal investigation over alleged influence peddling

Read more: http://m.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28122473#TWEET1173118

8 Other Laws That Could Be Ignored Now That Christians Get To Pick And Choose


8 Other Laws That Could Be Ignored Now That Christians Get To Pick And Choose
The Huffington Post | By Ryan Grim

Posted: 06/30/2014 3:42 pm EDT Updated: 06/30/2014 5:59 pm EDT

The owners of a chain of stores called Hobby Lobby don't like Obamacare. In particular, they really don't like the part that requires insurance companies to cover contraceptives. Normally, people who don't like a law petition the government to change that law. That's how a nation of laws works.

But these men are Christians. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Christian business owners are special. Their deeply held religious belief that some particular form of contraception is immoral carries more weight than the force of law, five conservative Christian justices ruled. The court -- in a fairly bald admission that its ruling is incoherent -- added that no general amnesty from other laws should be assumed to be the result of its ruling and that its reasoning was strictly limited to women's contraception. Such a limitation raises legitimate questions about the rather perverted and obsessive minds of the five men who made the ruling, but it also carries little legal weight. Precedent is precedent, whether the precedent-setters say so or not.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wondered aloud in her dissent, "Would the exemption ... extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus)?"

- snip -


Entire colonies of people are dedicated to the belief that being compelled to wear clothes is wrong. Others don't believe they should be compelled to make love only indoors. Don't wanna see this on your Saturday stroll? Hey, freedom isn't free.


Most religions profess a deep affinity for peace (while drenching history in blood in the name of religion, but whatever). Why should religious pacifists be compelled to pay taxes that subsidize war? Why should Randians, believers in Atlas Shrugged, the bible for dorm-room free-market evangelists, be forced to support the evil that is government?


There isn't much more religious of an experience than talking directly with God. Hell, Huston Smith included a section on acid in his definitive book The World's Religions. While we're at it, all drug laws rub up against religious practice. Sorry officer, this is our church.


BREAKING: Supreme Court: Can't Make Employers Cover Contraception (Hobby Lobby Case 5-4)

Source: Associated Press

@SCOTUSblog: Breaking: SCOTUS holds govt can't require closely held corps w/ religious owners to provide contraception coverage

@AP: BREAKING: Supreme Court says employers with religious objections can refuse to pay for contraception.

@BloombergNews: BREAKING: Supreme Court overturns contraceptive mandate in Affordable Care Act


— Jun. 30, 2014 10:23 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices' 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies' health insurance plans.

Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later.

Two years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama's campaign for re-election.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/justices-cant-make-employers-cover-contraception

@SCOTUSblog: Under the Hobby Lobby decision, the government can pay for the coverage itself so that women receive it.


DKOS: Blackwater Story Is Exactly Why NYT's James Risen Must Be Shielded from DOJ Prosecution


MON JUN 30, 2014 AT 05:20 AM PDT

Blackwater Story Is Exactly Why NYT's James Risen Must Be Shielded from DOJ Prosecution

by David Harris Gershon

Originally published in Tikkun Daily

James Risen of The New York Times, using recently disclosed State Department documents, has written a bombshell-of-a-story chronicling how Blackwater's top manager threatened to kill the U.S. government's chief investigator in 2007, thus thwarting an investigation into Blackwater's operations just weeks before the company's guards massacred 17 Iraqi civilians.

The story is characteristic Risen: unflinchingly and thoroughly reported. However, Risen may not be able to write such stories in a matter of months. Instead, he may be sitting in a jail cell as a result of a case being prosecuted against him by the Obama administration.

The case against Risen began in 2008. This is when his book, State of War, was published, which contained information on a secret, botched CIA operation in Iran. The Bush administration, furious at the revelations, subpoenaed Risen and demanded that he reveal his confidential source. Risen has steadfastly refused, and if the Obama administration proceeds this summer to prosecute Risen, the NYT journalist may soon be behind bars.

Here's Jonathan Mahler of the Times on the Risen case:

After more than six years of legal wrangling, the case — the most serious confrontation between the government and the press in recent history — will reach a head in the coming weeks. Mr. Risen has steadfastly refused to testify. But he is now out of challenges. Early this month, the Supreme Court declined to review his case, a decision that allows prosecutors to compel his testimony. If Mr. Risen resists, he could go to prison.

Though the court’s decision looked like a major victory for the government, it has forced the Obama administration to confront a hard choice. Should it demand Mr. Risen’s testimony and be responsible for a reporter’s being sent to jail? Or reverse course and stand down, losing credibility with an intelligence community that has pushed for the aggressive prosecution of leaks?


TOM TOMORROW: The Droney Memo

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/30/1310372/-Cartoon-The-Droney-memo

HOLY SHIT: Blackwater Head in Iraq Threatened to Kill State Dept. Investigator


Before Shooting in Iraq, Warning on Blackwater

JUNE 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”

- snip -

The shooting was a watershed moment in the American occupation of Iraq, and was a factor in Iraq’s refusal the next year to agree to a treaty allowing United States troops to stay in the country beyond 2011. Despite a series of investigations in the wake of Nisour Square, the back story of what happened with Blackwater and the embassy in Baghdad before the fateful shooting has never been fully told.

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