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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:21 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Monday, 28 January 2013

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Monday, 28 January 2013

SMW for 25 January 2013

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON 25 January 2013

Dow Jones 13,895.98 +70.65 (0.51%)
S&P 500 1,502.96 +8.14 (0.54%)
Nasdaq 3,149.71 +19.33 (0.62%)

10 Year 1.95% +0.04 (2.09%)
30 Year 3.13% +0.03 (0.97%)

Market Conditions During Trading Hours

Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold

Handy Links - Market Data and News:

Economic Calendar
Marketwatch Data
Bloomberg Economic News
Yahoo Finance
Google Finance
Bank Tracker
Credit Union Tracker
Daily Job Cuts

Handy Links - Economic Blogs:

The Big Picture
Financial Sense
Calculated Risk
Naked Capitalism
Credit Writedowns
Brad DeLong
The Stand-Up Economist
The Automatic Earth

Handy Links - Essential Reading:

Matt Taibi: Secret and Lies of the Bailout

Handy Links - Government Issues:

Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov

Handy Links - Videos:

Charlie Rose talks with Roubini
Charlie Rose talks with Krugman
William Black: This Economic Disaster
Bill Moyers with Kevin Drum and David Corn

Partial List of Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS
3/6/12 Allen Stanford, former Caribbean billionaire and general schmuck, convicted on 13 of 14 counts in $2.2B Ponzi scheme, faces 20+ years in prison
6/4/12 Matthew Kluger, lawyer, sentenced to 12 years in prison, along with co-conspirator stock trader Garrett Bauer (9 years) and co-conspirator Kenneth Robinson (not yet sentenced) for 17 year insider trading scheme.
6/14/12 Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years without parole.
6/15/12 Rajat Gupta, former Goldman Sachs director, found guilty of insider trading. Could face a decade in prison when sentenced later this year.
6/22/12 Timothy S. Durham, 49, former CEO of Fair Financial Company, convicted of one count conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.
6/22/12 James F. Cochran, 56, former chairman of the board of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and six counts of wire fraud.
6/22/12 Rick D. Snow, 48, former CFO of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.
7/13/12 Russell Wassendorf Sr., CEO of collapsed brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group Inc. arrested and charged with lying to regulators after admitting to authorities he embezzled "millions of dollars" and forged bank statements for "nearly twenty years."
8/22/12 Doug Whitman, Whitman Capital LLC hedge fund founder, convicted of insider trading following a trial in which he spent more than two days on the stand telling jurors he was innocent
10/26/12 UPDATE: Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta sentenced to two years in federal prison. He will, of course, appeal. . .
11/20/12 Hedge fund manager Matthew Martoma charged with insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors, and prosecutors are looking at Martoma's boss, Steven Cohen, for possible involvement.

This thread contains opinions and observations. Individuals may post their experiences, inferences and opinions on this thread. However, it should not be construed as advice. It is unethical (and probably illegal) for financial recommendations to be given here.

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Reply STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Monday, 28 January 2013 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Jan 2013 OP
Demeter Jan 2013 #1
Demeter Jan 2013 #2
Demeter Jan 2013 #3
Demeter Jan 2013 #4
Demeter Jan 2013 #5
Demeter Jan 2013 #6
Demeter Jan 2013 #7
Demeter Jan 2013 #12
Demeter Jan 2013 #8
Demeter Jan 2013 #9
Demeter Jan 2013 #11
Demeter Jan 2013 #10
Demeter Jan 2013 #18
Demeter Jan 2013 #19
xchrom Jan 2013 #13
Demeter Jan 2013 #16
xchrom Jan 2013 #17
westerebus Jan 2013 #24
xchrom Jan 2013 #14
xchrom Jan 2013 #15
Demeter Jan 2013 #20
xchrom Jan 2013 #21
xchrom Jan 2013 #22
xchrom Jan 2013 #23
Demeter Jan 2013 #25
xchrom Jan 2013 #26
Roland99 Jan 2013 #27
Demeter Jan 2013 #29
Roland99 Jan 2013 #36
xchrom Jan 2013 #28
Hotler Jan 2013 #30
xchrom Jan 2013 #32
Demeter Jan 2013 #35
xchrom Jan 2013 #31
Demeter Jan 2013 #33
Demeter Jan 2013 #34
Demeter Jan 2013 #37
Demeter Jan 2013 #38
Warpy Jan 2013 #39
westerebus Jan 2013 #41
bread_and_roses Jan 2013 #40

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:51 AM

1. Four simple steps to the complete retirement


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:09 AM

2. MORE HUMOR: SEC enforcer says another Madoff unlikely



Wall Street’s outgoing top cop says investors better protected...The odds of another Bernie Madoff-style financial fraud have been greatly reduced during the past four years, Wall Street’s retiring top cop said Sunday.

“The chances of it happening again are very slight,” Robert Khuzami, the outgoing enforcement director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told the Bloomberg Government Sunday show “Capitol Gains.” The SEC is “better equipped to identify the early warning signs of fraud and wrongdoing,” said Khuzami, 56, a former terrorism prosecutor who took over SEC enforcement in 2009 following the 2008 financial crisis....People committing securities fraud are “more likely to be caught than four years ago,” added Khuzami, who on Jan. 9 said he would leave the agency after a four-year tenure. No successor has been named.


Answering criticism from some quarters that the SEC had gone easy on large U.S. banks, Khuzami said of the 150 people or entities charged in the wake of the financial crisis, “nearly 70 of those are CFOs, or CEOs.”



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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:11 AM




A couple of weeks ago, on a leisurely Sunday afternoon, 40 people gathered at a church in Washington Heights for a show-and-tell session sponsored by the New York City Preppers Network. One by one, they stood in front of the room and exhibited their “bug-out bags,” meticulously packed receptacles filled with equipment meant to see them through the collapse of civilization.

Onto a folding table came a breathtaking array of disaster swag: compasses and iodine pills, hand-cranked radios and solar-powered flashlights, magnesium fire-starters and a fully charged Kindle with digital road maps of the tristate region. Many of the items on display went far beyond the “10 Basic Pillars of Bug-Out Gear” that Jason Charles, the network’s leader, had passed out in advance through the Internet. A good number were tweaked to fit their owners’ needs and interests. A locksmith in the group had a lock-picking set. A vegetarian had a stash of homemade dehydrated lentils. One man had a condom designed to serve as an emergency canteen; another had a rat trap — to catch and eat the rats.

After showing off his own bag (parachute cord, a bivy sack, a two-week supply of Meals Ready to Eat), Mr. Charles, a New York City firefighter, told the group that he had just bought a dog. “So now I have to implement his plan, too,” he said a little worriedly. With a pause and a sheepish look, he added, “That’s weird, right?”

New York hardly seems like a natural location for what has become known as the prepper movement, but in fact the city’s prepping community is not only large and remarkably diverse, its leaders say, it’s also growing rapidly.


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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:13 AM



...MY OWN ATTEMPTS at prepping started at a point between the fall of Lehman Brothers and the corresponding rise of quantitative easing, when it occurred to me — as, of course, it did to many — that the financial system was appallingly unstable and that the realm of the possible now included a disruptive reduction in the value of our money. Egged on by admittedly heated readings of doomsday authors like John Mauldin and Charles Hugh Smith, I began to form a picture of the world as a system of unsustainable systems, a rickety Rube Goldberg machine in which the loss of any one piece — cheap oil, say — could derail the whole contraption, from truck transportation to the distribution of food.

In the wake of these insights, I called a family friend in Ohio, himself half-a-Prepper, and he advised me to purchase a quantity of Silver Eagle coins as an inflation hedge, which I did. Not long after came the hundred-dollar, home-delivered month’s supply of freeze-dried food — in the standard and the vegetarian options — from Costco.com. I bought my wife, which is to say, myself, John Seymour’s homesteading classic, “The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It.” I began the conversation about acquiring a gun.

While close friends visiting my home might be allowed a look at my haphazard bug-out bag, I mostly kept quiet about prepping, aware of the embarrassment I was courting. It was, therefore, with a measure of relief that I found myself this month among brethren Preppers who intuitively understood my desire to have at hand a packed supply of power bars or a LifeStraw personal drinking tool. You do meet Preppers in New York who are preparing for extreme events like solar flares or an eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera, but most say their concerns are more immediate, more local: chief among them being terrorist attacks, natural disasters and economic collapse....


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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:15 AM



there are actual facts and good points and some interesting history behind the movement.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:23 AM

6. Makers, Takers, Fakers By PAUL KRUGMAN



Republicans have a problem. For years they could shout down any attempt to point out the extent to which their policies favored the elite over the poor and the middle class; all they had to do was yell “Class warfare!” and Democrats scurried away. In the 2012 election, however, that didn’t work: the picture of the G.O.P. as the party of sneering plutocrats stuck, even as Democrats became more openly populist than they have been in decades. As a result, prominent Republicans have begun acknowledging that their party needs to improve its image. But here’s the thing: Their proposals for a makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product. When it comes to substance, the G.O.P. is more committed than ever to policies that take from most Americans and give to a wealthy handful.

Consider, as a case in point, how a widely reported recent speech by Bobby Jindal the governor of Louisiana, compares with his actual policies. Mr. Jindal posed the problem in a way that would, I believe, have been unthinkable for a leading Republican even a year ago. “We must not,” he declared, “be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive.” After a campaign in which Mitt Romney denounced any attempt to talk about class divisions as an “attack on success,” this represents a major rhetorical shift. But Mr. Jindal didn’t offer any suggestions about how Republicans might demonstrate that they aren’t just about letting the rich keep their toys, other than claiming even more loudly that their policies are good for everyone.

Meanwhile, back in Louisiana Mr. Jindal is pushing a plan to eliminate the state’s income tax, which falls most heavily on the affluent, and make up for the lost revenue by raising sales taxes, which fall much more heavily on the poor and the middle class. The result would be big gains for the top 1 percent, substantial losses for the bottom 60 percent. Similar plans are being pushed by a number of other Republican governors as well. Like the new acknowledgment that the perception of being the party of the rich is a problem, this represents a departure for the G.O.P. — but in the opposite direction. In the past, Republicans would justify tax cuts for the rich either by claiming that they would pay for themselves or by claiming that they could make up for lost revenue by cutting wasteful spending. But what we’re seeing now is open, explicit reverse Robin Hoodism: taking from ordinary families and giving to the rich. That is, even as Republicans look for a way to sound more sympathetic and less extreme, their actual policies are taking another sharp right turn.

Why is this happening? In particular, why is it happening now, just after an election in which the G.O.P. paid a price for its anti-populist stand? Well, I don’t have a full answer, but I think it’s important to understand the extent to which leading Republicans live in an intellectual bubble. They get their news from Fox and other captive media, they get their policy analysis from billionaire-financed right-wing think tanks, and they’re often blissfully unaware both of contrary evidence and of how their positions sound to outsiders. So when Mr. Romney made his infamous “47 percent” remarks, he wasn’t, in his own mind, saying anything outrageous or even controversial. He was just repeating a view that has become increasingly dominant inside the right-wing bubble, namely that a large and ever-growing proportion of Americans won’t take responsibility for their own lives and are mooching off the hard-working wealthy. Rising unemployment claims demonstrate laziness, not lack of jobs; rising disability claims represent malingering, not the real health problems of an aging work force. And given that worldview, Republicans see it as entirely appropriate to cut taxes on the rich while making everyone else pay more. Now, national politicians learned last year that this kind of talk plays badly with the public, so they’re trying to obscure their positions. Paul Ryan, for example, has lately made a transparently dishonest attempt to claim that when he spoke about “takers” living off the efforts of the “makers” — at one point he assigned 60 percent of Americans to the taker category — he wasn’t talking about people receiving Social Security and Medicare. (He was.) But in deep red states like Louisiana or Kansas, Republicans are much freer to act on their beliefs — which means moving strongly to comfort the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted....Which brings me back to Mr. Jindal, who declared in his speech that “we are a populist party.” No, you aren’t. You’re a party that holds a large proportion of Americans in contempt. And the public may have figured that out.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:29 AM

7. The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy By ERIN HATTON



Politicians across the political spectrum herald “job creation,” but frightfully few of them talk about what kinds of jobs are being created. Yet this clearly matters: According to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working but do not earn enough to support themselves and their families. A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing temp recruitment agencies, outsourcing specialists and the like. Low-wage, temporary jobs have become so widespread that they threaten to become the norm. But for some reason this isn’t causing a scandal. At least in the business press, we are more likely to hear plaudits for “lean and mean” companies than angst about the changing nature of work for ordinary Americans.

How did we arrive at this state of affairs? Many argue that it was the inevitable result of macroeconomic forces — globalization, deindustrialization and technological change — beyond our political control. Yet employers had (and have) choices. Rather than squeezing workers, they could have invested in workers and boosted product quality, taking what economists call the high road toward more advanced manufacturing and skilled service work. But this hasn’t happened. Instead, American employers have generally taken the low road: lowering wages and cutting benefits, converting permanent employees into part-time and contingent workers, busting unions and subcontracting and outsourcing jobs. They have done so, in part, because of the extraordinary evangelizing of the temp industry, which rose from humble origins to become a global behemoth.

The story begins in the years after World War II, when a handful of temp agencies were started, largely in the Midwest. In 1947, William Russell Kelly founded Russell Kelly Office Service (later known as Kelly Girl Services) in Detroit, with three employees, 12 customers and $848 in sales. A year later, two lawyers, Aaron Scheinfeld and Elmer Winter, founded a similarly small outfit, Manpower Inc., in Milwaukee. At the time, the future of these fledgling agencies was no foregone conclusion. Unions were at the peak of their power, and the protections that they had fought so hard to achieve — workers’ compensation, pensions, health benefits and more — had been adopted by union and nonunion employers alike. But temp leaders were creating a new category of work (and workers) that would be exempt from such protections. To avoid union opposition, they developed a clever strategy, casting temp work as “women’s work,” and advertising thousands of images of young, white, middle-class women doing a variety of short-term office jobs. The Kelly Girls, Manpower’s White Glove Girls, Western Girl’s Cowgirls, the American Girls of American Girl Services and numerous other such “girls” appeared in the pages of Newsweek, Business Week, U.S. News & World Report, Good Housekeeping, Fortune, The New York Times and The Chicago Daily Tribune. In 1961 alone, Manpower spent $1 million to put its White Glove Girls in the Sunday issue of big city newspapers across the country. The strategy was an extraordinary success. Not only did the Kelly Girls become cultural icons, but the temp agencies grew and grew. By 1957, Kelly reported nearly $7 million in sales; in 1962, with 148 branches and $24 million in sales, it went public. Meanwhile, by 1956 Manpower had 91 branches in 65 cities (and 10 abroad) and, with sales at $12 million annually, employed some 4,000 workers a day. In 1962, Manpower also went public, boasting 270 offices across four continents and over $40 million in sales. The temp agencies’ Kelly Girl strategy was clever (and successful) because it exploited the era’s cultural ambivalence about white, middle-class women working outside the home...


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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:48 AM

12. Ownership, Full Employment and Community Economic Stability



The great British economist, the late Joan Robinson, once observed that the only thing worse than being exploited by capitalism is not being exploited by capitalism. This truth is felt acutely by anyone who is unemployed and looking for work. As the pain of the economic crisis continues and millions struggle to find employment there is an obvious imperative to create jobs—any jobs. But we shouldn’t stop there. In Back to Full Employment, Robert Pollin makes the essential point that “a workable definition of full employment should refer to an abundance of decent jobs.” Poor jobs that keep workers minimally employed but leave them in precarious circumstances and unable to participate fully in civic and political life are better than no jobs at all. But in terms of public policy we can and should aim higher—especially as decent jobs not only benefit the workers that hold them but also the communities in which they live. Absent a stable economic base, community itself is compromised.

Three elements of the instability challenge lend critical perspective to the issue. The first can be seen in the long-term results of the decline of manufacturing industry in the rust belt. We have in fact been quite literally “throwing away” entire cities—cities like Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis. Since 1950, Cleveland and St. Louis have each lost half a million people, drops of more than 50 and 60 percent respectively; in Detroit, the fall in numbers has topped a million, more than 60 percent. The uncontrolled corporate decision-making that results in the elimination of jobs in one community—leaving behind empty houses, half-empty schools, roads, hospitals, public buildings, and so forth—implicitly requires that they be rebuilt in a different location. Quite apart from the human costs involved, the process is extremely costly in terms of capital and also of carbon content—and at a time when EPA studies show that greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity in the United States are still moving in the wrong direction (having jumped by over 3 percent between 2009 and 2010 alone).

A second aspect relates to democracy. Substantial local economic stability is clearly necessary if democratic decision-making is a priority. A local population tossed hither and yon by uncontrolled economic forces is unable to exercise any serious interest in the long-term health of the community. To the extent local budgets are put under severe stress by instability, local community decision-making (as political scientist Paul E. Peterson has shown) is so financially constrained as to make a mockery of democratic process. This becomes still more problematic if we recognize—as theorists from Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill to Benjamin Barber, Jane Mansbridge, and Stephen Elkin have argued—that an authentic experience of local democratic practice is also absolutely essential for there to be genuine national democratic practice.

Thirdly, and straightforwardly, it will be impossible to do serious local “sustainability planning”—mass transit, high-density housing, and so forth—that reduces a community’s carbon footprint if such planning is disrupted and destabilized by economic turmoil. So yes, we need jobs. And yes, we need good jobs. But we also need an approach to good jobs that will allow us to grapple with the challenges indicated above while at the same time begin tackling the grotesque maldistribution of wealth in this country—a distribution that has reached literally medieval proportions. The top 400 individuals now control as much wealth as the bottom 180 million Americans taken together...MORE

Worker and community ownership OF THE MEANS OF MANUFACTURE AND SERVICE

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:33 AM

8. Responding to Financial Crisis: Are Austerity and Suffering Inevitable? SWEDEN'S ANSWER



All too often people in countries experiencing financial crisis are told that the road to recovery necessarily involves pain, that fiscal austerity and cuts in spending that adversely affect the lives of ordinary citizens are necessary costs of correction of macroeconomic imbalances and the consequent adjustment that is considered essential for recovery. This is repeated so often that it is now taken as received wisdom by policy makers and civil society alike – yet in fact it is not true at all. It can actually be plausibly argued that in several situations the reverse is correct, that attempts to reverse economic downswings through cuts in public spending are counterproductive and makes matters much worse. This is clearly evident for all to see in the case of crisis-ridden countries in the eurozone, for example. And there are also positive counter-examples, that show how taking into account the concerns and requirements of ordinary citizens (and paid and unpaid workers in particular) can work as a positive macroeconomic strategy that actually provides a route out of crisis. Sweden provides an example of a country that responded to the financial crisis by explicitly recognizing and attempting to reduce the pressures on workers, and particularly women workers whose needs are often the last to be considered in such periods of crisis. Sweden incorporated measures to maintain or ensure favourable conditions of women’s work and life into its broader economic recovery strategy.

In the early 1990s, Sweden experienced a dual financial and real economic crisis that bears many similarities to the sub-prime crisis in the United States and to the current difficulties faced by some eurozone countries. Financial deregulation in the 1980s generated significant capital inflows and sparked a lending boom, which was then associated with rapidly increasing consumption, investment and asset price bubbles and heightened activity in the domestic non-tradable sector (particularly in real estate and construction). The Swedish krona was pegged to the US dollar, and so the real exchange appreciated—but this was not the only problem (because even if there were flexible exchange rates, the capital inflows may have nonetheless continued to drive up the nominal exchange). Around 1990, the bubble burst and the boom turned into slump, with capital outflows, widespread bankruptcies, falling employment, declining investment, negative GDP growth, systemic banking crises driven by deterioration in banks’ balance sheets and currency crises (Jonung 2010). As a result, Sweden experienced a severe depression in the early years of the 1990s. GDP fell by 5 percent, employment rates fell by nearly 10 percent and there was a massive increase in unemployment, almost 500 percent in absolute numbers of people (Freeman et al, 2010). However, the policy response was swift and positive, addressing not just the financial imbalances but also the real economic downswing and the impact on the labour market, including particular attention on the conditions facing women workers. In terms of financial policies, consolidation of struggling financial institutions was accompanied by an unlimited government guarantee against loss for all depositors and counterparties. This enabled credit lines to be re-established with foreign banks while maintaining the confidence of private retail depositors. The bailouts provided to banks were limited by the requirement that recipient banks had to fully disclose all their financial positions and open up their books to official scrutiny, so that only those banks that were deemed worth rescuing received government funds. Banks’ shareholders were not protected by any guarantees. Some banks were taken over and nationalized, with zero compensation to shareholders because they were deemed to be worthless. These measures not only prevented a credit crunch from creating a more severe downturn, they also limited moral hazard and reduced the cost of the financial rescue, increasing its political acceptability.

In terms of macroeconomic strategy, an immediate measure was the devaluation of the exchange rate, which dramatically improved the export competitiveness of the economy and led to a long period of rapidly growing exports. However, the crucial point is that export-led growth was not seen as the only means of economic expansion, and measures were taken almost immediately to provide countercyclical fiscal policies that would generate internal demand to bring the economy out of the recession. This included labour markets and social welfare measures that affected women, which provided important countercyclical buffers. Thus, instead of forcing reductions in fiscal deficits through austerity and contraction of public spending, the Swedish government let fiscal deficits increase during the crisis. This took the form of maintaining some earlier expenditures and expanding other spending to respond to the crisis and its employment effects. Sweden’s famous welfare system, an essential element of the Swedish model, simultaneously provided direct public employment for women and helped to reduced unpaid work in the care economy and household reproduction. Rather than allowing it to deteriorate, Sweden expanded the system with a renewed emphasis on employment programmes and active labour market policies. This protected women from the worst effects of the financial crisis and economic downswing and provided a demand cushion that assisted faster recovery of the real economy.

An important element of this strategy with direct contemporary relevance was the creation of a personalized youth employment guarantee programme (ILO 2012). This is a scheme in which all young people (18 to 24 years) in Sweden are offered employment in youth specific activities, following a period (90 days) of unsuccessful job search. The idea is to provide special measures and activities for the participant to enable him/her to get a job or return to education as soon as possible. In the initial period, the programme includes assessment, educational and vocational guidance and job search activities with coaching. Thereafter, these activities are combined with work experience, education and training, grants to business start-ups and employability rehabilitation efforts. The emphasis is on rapid integration with the labour market. A young person can participate in the job guarantee for up to 15 months. The programme is estimated to have been quite successful (with nearly half of the young jobseeker participants getting successful outcomes as a result of the scheme) at relatively low cost. Female participation in such programmes has been high, at around half. Given the high rates of youth unemployment that prevail currently not just in Europe but in many other parts of the world, such a programme can have positive effects in other contexts as well. The Swedish recovery programme also focused on avoiding labour market exclusion, particularly for women. Two cornerstones of Swedish family policy—paid parental leave and subsidies to day care for children—that were both maintained during the crisis and even expanded to some extent, have been recognized as being particularly beneficial to women workers, even by researchers who have otherwise queried the fiscal costs of such programmes, such as Freeman et al. The welfare state provisions continued to provide strong social protection and safety nets to those at the bottom of the income and wage pyramid. Government benefits supplemented the incomes of the lower-paid and non-working population. These measures prevented the emergence of poverty, reduced tendencies to enhance inequality in the wake of the crisis, and also operated as countercyclical buffers that cushioned domestic demand from further declines. Another important element in the Swedish success was the continued maintenance of social dialogue, particularly in wage bargaining. This was made possible by the developed institutional structure in which trade unions and employer associations were active participants in tripartite dialogues with government in the Nordic model well before the crisis. The financial crisis did not lead to the abandonment of such dialogue, and its continuation allowed wage increases that protected workers to some extent but also secured the benefits of exchange rate devaluation in the form of greater competitiveness of the domestic manufacturing industry.

The result of this combination of measures was a relatively quick recovery from the financial crisis in terms of both output and employment. Further, it was achieved at relatively small cost to the public exchequer, with recent estimates putting the cost of the financial rescue package at only 3 percent of GDP. In addition, it was achieved with relatively little increase in inequality or social disruption.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:36 AM

9. Obama's Failure to Punish Banks Should Be Causing Serious Social Unrest




PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with impunity for their fraud, butthrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.

Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way, overwhelmingly supported Obama's 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ's persecution of Aaron Swartz: "we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House." (Indeed, as "The Untouchables" put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, "many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers" have been).

As I documented at length in my 2011 book on America's two-tiered justice system, With Liberty and Justice for Some, the evidence that felonies were committed by Wall Street is overwhelming. That evidence directly negates the primary excuse by Breuer (previouslyoffered by Obama himself) that the bad acts of Wall Street were not criminal....


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Response to Demeter (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:44 AM

11. Study: 90% of Criminal Corporations Are Republican



Ninety percent of the corporations that were criminally convicted between 1989 and 2000 donated overwhelmingly to the Republican Party in 2012.

A study by the Corporate Crime Reporter, Russell Mokhiber, found that, “Ten out of the current top 100 donors to the 2012 political campaign have pled guilty to crimes.” The criminal-convictions file that was considered in his study included convictions during the ten years between 1989 and 2000.

An examination of this list, by the present reporter, indicates that nine of these ten big-donating criminal firms gave far more to Republican political campaigns than to Democratic ones. Only one firm, Pfizer, donated more to Democrats; and they contributed only slightly more to Democrats than to Republicans. By contrast, each one of the nine big-donating Republican criminal corporations – Honeywell, Lockheed, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boeing, GE, Northrop, Koch Industries, Raytheon, and Exxon – donated far more to Republicans than to Democrats; and the most lopsidedly political criminal firm of them all, Koch Industries (which organized the “Tea Party” starting when Obama first entered the White House), donated a whopping 98% to Republicans.

At least according to this measure, criminal firms prefer Republican politicians overwhelmingly. It is rare, almost unheard of, to find a population that is so lopsidedly favorable to one Party over the other, as this one is: 90% vs. 10%.

Mokhiber provided the donation-figures, for each of these ten convicted firms, based on federal filings...



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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:41 AM

10. Are "We the People" the Terrorists Now?




Hebshi Shoshana is an American citizen and the mother of 7-year-old twins. She's also one of the latest casualties of the hysteria built into our national war on terror...On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, she flew on Frontier Airlines flight to Detroit. When the plane pulled up to the gate, all the passengers onboard were ordered to stay in their seats, put their heads down, and their arms up in front of them. Federal agents carrying large, military style weapons then boarded the plan, and marched down the aisles.

"I wondered if there was a fugitive on board," Shoshana said.

What she didn't realize at the time was the she was the "fugitive."

The agents stopped at Shoshana's row, ordered her to stand up along with two other men she had been randomly seated next to, and then she was handcuffed and removed from the plane at gunpoint. From there, they put her in a small jail cell, stripped the American mother of two children naked, and told to squat and cough while officers watched.

"I was scared and alone," she said. "I can't begin to describe the humiliation I felt. No one would tell me what was going on despite my repeated requests for information. No one told me of my rights, or when I would be able to call my family, who had no idea where I was."

After some time, Shoshana was interrogated by an FBI agent. And she eventually learned that she was removed from the plane because of her ethnic name and her seat assignment. She'd been seated between two men who were described by flight attendants as "possibly of Arab descent." Those men had gone to the restroom a few times during the flight. They, too, were American citizens. Of Indian descent. But, in our post-9/11 fear-frenzy whipped up by George W. Bush, the simple act of using the bathroom while "Arab looking" is enough to get you dragged off a plane at gunpoint. And, under the PATRIOT Act, it's completely justifiable for federal agents armed to the teeth to spring into action and drag you, because of whoever is sitting next to you, off the plane, strip you naked, and put you in a jail cell indefinitely without a phone call, without a right to a lawyer, and without any information whatsoever about why you're being detained. And they can legally keep you there for the rest of your life.

To repeat, all of this is now legal in post-George W. Bush America. All of this can happen to any of us just as it happened to Hebshi Shoshana, the American citizen and mother of twin boys.

"In my wildest dreams, I would have never imagined being in this situation," she said.

None of us can, but all of us should....MORE

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Response to Demeter (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:34 AM

18. Duck and Cover 2.0 By Jim Hightower (TERRA, TERRA, TERRA!)



Last year, Sheriff Tommy Gage of Montgomery County, Texas, was eager to show off his new surveillance toy. Having obtained a $300,000 Homeland Security grant from the federal government, his office had become the first police agency in the nation to have its very own drone, a pilotless aircraft to monitor and, yes, spy on people. This beauty came with the deluxe eye-in-the-sky package, including infrared detection equipment and a power zoom camera. Filled with pride, the sheriff summoned the media to a big photo-op last March to witness him and the drone strutting their stuff. To add drama to this show of police power, Gage also had his SWAT team attend in full riot regalia, positioning them in their “Bearcat,” an armored vehicle.

The ground controller launched the pilotless aircraft as the sheriff beamed — but the demonstration went horribly wrong. Coming in for a landing, the high-tech marvel suddenly went on the fritz, losing contact with the controller. Not only did it crash in front of the startled media — but even more startling to Sheriff Gage, it crashed right into his SWAT squad’s Bearcat. Luckily, the armored vehicle held up, so none of the SWAT teamers were injured. But what a show! For one thing, the photo-op showed that if the American people don’t stop the reckless rush by the police-industrial complex to deploy thousands of domestic drones in the next few years, all of us had better be shopping for Bearcats to drive.

Oh, in case you’re also concerned that these spy machines will crash into our Constitution and be used to invade our privacy rights, Sheriff Gage says not to worry. “No matter what we do in law enforcement, somebody’s going to question it,” grumps the Lone Star sheriff, “but we’re going to do the right thing, and I can assure you of that.”

Hmmm. How assured does that make you feel?


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Response to Demeter (Reply #18)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:37 AM

19. Civilian Drones in US Could Possibly Be Hijacked for Use in Attacks



The Federal Aviation Administration is planning on authorizing drone use that might result in 30,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) cruising through US airspace in the next decade. (There are already drones flying intelligence and law enforcement surveillance over American territory.) Many of these will be for commercial use (for instance, FedEX is preparing to use drones for deliveries to smaller markets). But as of today, such drones present a chilling possibility beyond the already invasive loss of privacy and crowding of the skies: using a non-encrypted GPS system, the drones can possibly be hijacked and used for destructive purposes, potentially as bomb delivery vehicles by domestic or foreign terrorists.

Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin confirmed to BuzzFlash at Truthout that such a vulnerability exists. Humphreys developed the prototype for what is known as a "spoofer," a device that can seize control of a civilian drone (military drones are encrypted and less vulnerable to hijackings, although they can be jammed and disrupted in certain circumstances – which possibly explains how the Iranians captured a fully intact CIA surveillance drone). Last year, Humphreys and his aerospace engineering team at the University of Texas demonstrated to the Department of Homeland Security and the FAA how, with equipment costing less than $2000, a drone could be hijacked in a controlled setting with a "spoofer." A similar experiment also proved successful at Carnegie Mellon University, according to Space.com: "The overall landscape of GPS vulnerabilities is startling, and our experiments demonstrate a significantly larger attack surface than previously thought," a research paper about the Carnegie Mellon study concluded. "Until GPS is secured, life and safety-critical applications that depend upon it are likely vulnerable to attack."

Humphreys told Truthout at BuzzFlash that he is hopeful that the US government is now paying attention to the security hole in the current GPS system for civilian drones:

We can safely say that since our experiment this past summer they have snapped to attention and are taking this seriously. The FAA has a team of 25 working on it. They are allowing three years to work on this problem. The Department of Homeland Security is moving slowly forward. They get credit for allowing our tests to move forward. They get credit for releasing money for research.

But Humphreys remained uncertain that government agencies would fix the GPS vulnerability before external pressures force US airspace use of drones in the tens of thousands. This means that civilian drones could possibly be manipulated in the future to crash into planes, to bomb targets, or for other deadly purposes...


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:21 AM

13. lord, please let this week be over...


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Response to xchrom (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:26 AM

16. And this Month. And this Year. Amen


On top of the snow, the gray, the cold, the ice...it's also foggy.

Thank the schools for closing so I don't have to drive in this.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:31 AM

17. we have the same here today

except for how cold you are.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:21 AM

24. Yes Please!

I've given up trying to figure out which is worse, the weather or the crazy. Just when the crazy gets up to the speed of completely stupid ineptness, bam, the weather turns inside out with a flurry of cold wet misery in which the crazies come out to prove they do not know how to drive.

I won't mention the failure of the government to end corruption or that of corruption to fail at corrupting the government. And you can quote me on that.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:22 AM

14. Caterpillar Beats Q4 Earnings And Sales Expectations


UPDATE: Caterpillar's Q4 2012 earnings release is out.

The company reported earnings of $1.91 per share – excluding a recently-announced writedown on a Chinese investment – versus expectations of $1.70.
Sales came in at $16.08 billion, a bit better than the consensus expectation of $16.06 billion.
Caterpillar gave guidance for 2013 earnings of $7.00-9.00 per share versus estimates of $8.54.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/caterpillar-q4-2012-earnings-2013-1#ixzz2JHBaScjo

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:24 AM

15. Euro Crisis Seen Reaping Social Toll With Record Jobless


Euro-area jobless data this week will expose the social cost of last year’s debt crisis and recession on southern European economies as unemployment across the region probably rose to a record in December.

Unemployment in the 17-nation bloc climbed for a fifth month to 11.9 percent, according to the median of 34 economists’s forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. That result due on Feb. 1 would show the highest jobless rate since records began in 1995. By contrast, German unemployment data the day before may show the jobless rate there held steady for a fourth month at 6.9 percent in January, a separate survey found.

While measures to stem the region’s debt turmoil have helped reduce sovereign bond yields from Spain to Greece, the recession and crisis have led to job cuts by companies and governments. The European Central Bank predicts the currency bloc’s economy will shrink 0.3 percent this year and President Mario Draghi said last week that the “jury is still out” on whether investor optimism can be reflected in economic momentum.

“The worst may be over for financial markets, but definitely not for the real economy,” Marco Valli, chief euro- area economist at UniCredit Global Research in Milan, said by telephone. “The unemployment situation is going to remain very poor at least for another year, if not longer.”

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:01 AM

20. Winding Down TARP: A Progress Report



TARP played a critical role in stopping an historic financial panic and stabilizing an economy in freefall. And once we broke the back of the crisis, we moved swiftly to replace temporary government support with private capital.

Overall, to date, we’ve recovered nearly 93 percent ($387 billion) of the funds disbursed for TARP ($418 billion). And we expect further income for taxpayers from the program moving forward.

In 2012, Treasury continued making significant progress winding down TARP – collecting nearly $70 billion in additional repayments and other income. Indeed, during the last year, we saw a number of important milestones, including the sale of our final shares of AIG common stock, Treasury’s announcement that it intends to exit its remaining investment in General Motors within the next 12-15 months (subject to market conditions), and other key transactions.

As we begin 2013, we thought it would be good opportunity to provide an update on our exit strategy for our remaining TARP investments – program-by-program.

There’s more work to be done, but we’re moving toward the finish line as we continue winding down TARP.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:05 AM

21. ECB Executive Board Member Asmussen: 'German Interest Rates Will Rise Again'


SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Asmussen, for years you served as a state secretary in the German Finance Ministry. Since the beginning of 2012, you have been a member of the executive board at the European Central Bank. Has being at your new job changed your view of the crisis?

Asmussen: A little bit. At the Finance Ministry, I was a European German, but now I am more of a German European. I used to represent German interests in negotiations with Brussels, but today I have to contribute to finding solutions that are appropriate for Europe.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: As someone who has changed sides, do you find it more difficult to tell your former colleagues in the ministry that they should solve the crisis on their own?

Asmussen: No, I actually find it easier because I still know the way the other side thinks and functions.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:08 AM

22. ECB Warns of Euro-Zone Risk: Draghi Clashes with Berlin Over Aid to Cyprus


European Central Bank President Mario Draghi confronted German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble last week to criticize his stance on Cyprus and said failure to bail out the island nation could threaten the euro zone.

At a meeting of EU finance ministers last week, Draghi contradicted Schäuble's view that Cyprus was not "systemically relevant," a term that implied it wouldn't endanger the euro zone if it went bankrupt.

Draghi told Schäuble that he often heard that argument from lawyers, even though the question of whether Cyprus was systemically relevant or not was not one that lawyers could answer. That, said Draghi, was a matter for economists. Schäuble is a trained lawyer.

Draghi was backed by the European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn as well as the head of the European Stability Mechanism, Klaus Regling.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:09 AM

23. Europe's Challenge: A Terrorist Homeland in North Africa


Western leaders on Friday were pressing for details on a bloody operation by Algerian special forces to free hundreds of hostages from their Islamist captors at a desert natural gas field. The Islamists said they took the hostages in retaliation for French intervention in neighboring Mali, and have threatened further attacks in the future.

Algerian forces began the rescue mission on Thursday, arriving at the gas field in helicopters and opening fire as the Islamists sought to move the hostages to another site. Authorities said dozens of hostages were killed, as were some of the militants, and at least 22 hostages were still unaccounted for. Leaders of Western countries with citizens taken hostage expressed anger at not having been consulted on the raid before it happened.

Officials have not yet released a concrete death toll, but the attack highlights the precarious security situation in the region, which is strategically important for Europe due to its geographic proximity and natural resources.

The region is larger than Western Europe, an inhospitable desert that is sparsely populated and where government control is scarcely seen. In recent years, the northwest of Africa has developed into an enormous region where drug smugglers and Islamist terrorists can move about with impunity. They cross state borders with ease, operating in Mauritania or Mali one day, only to turn up a few days later in Niger or Libya.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #23)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:43 AM

25. As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap


I'm feeling really Old Testament today....

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Response to Demeter (Reply #25)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:46 AM

26. i don't know why these Geniuses can't connect the wealth, economy disparities

to their 'neighbors'.

if people had jobs, bread, a future for their children -- there's be a lot less unrest.

i think you're on to something with that Old Testament thing -- cause the old testament talks a lot about that stuff.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:47 AM

27. Ahhh...just like days gone by

US markets nearing highs (S&P 500 holding over 1,500)

Euro/USD up to 1.35

US 10-year yields over 2.00%

Oil hovering just under $100/bbl

US LFPR hovering near record lows

US median incomes languishing

Corporate profits soaring


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Response to Roland99 (Reply #27)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:52 AM

29. Worse--Asset Bubble


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Response to Demeter (Reply #29)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:44 AM

36. And look into the details >>>>


core durable goods were down 0.3% for 2012. Pending home sales ticked back a bit in December.

But, hey, stock prices are still cheap, eh?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:51 AM

28. Spanish health system gets its money’s worth


The song says it clearly: the main things in life are good health, money and love. Leaving aside love, which is unpredictable, the relationship between wealth and one's physical condition is not as linear as one might think. True, a minimum layout is necessary to achieve wellbeing, and certainly, citizens of poor countries cannot hope to be the longest-living people on earth. But it seems that once a threshold of per capita health expenditure has been crossed (in OECD nations, this figure never falls under 500 euros a year), other factors come into play that influence health as much or more than the money flowing into the health system. These factors can be cultural, genetic, environmental, political or efficiency-related.

If it were simply a matter of cash, then Americans should be the healthiest, longest-living people on earth, not to mention the ones with the lowest obesity rates. The 8,233 dollars per capita (6,195 euros) that the US government spent on healthcare in 2010, according to OECD figures, is nearly three times what Spain spent the same year (2,300 euros), and 53 percent more than Norway.

This lack of proportionality is a matter of concern for US researchers, who see how the country's overwhelming financial superiority does not translate into health advantages for the American people. The latest warning came from a joint study by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

One example of the inefficiency of the US system lies in average life expectancy. José Manuel Freire, a professor at Spain's National Health School, says this indicator is particularly significant. In the study, which analyzed 17 countries (the US and 16 of the world's most affluent nations), Switzerland placed first for male life expectancy (79.33 years) while Japan ranked at the top for female life expectancy (85.98 years, using 2007 figures). Spain is listed in ninth and fifth place, respectively. As for the US, it ranked last for men and second last for women, just ahead of Denmark.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:53 AM

30. Is it too early to start drinking yet?????

Have a good week everyone. Peace.

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Response to Hotler (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:56 AM

32. cheers!

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Response to Hotler (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:36 AM

35. It's after 5 PM somewhere


I say go for it.

Not that it will help.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:53 AM

31. Madrid health workers pledge to stand firm on privatization


Madrid’s health workers have said they will stand firm against the Popular Party (PP) regional government’s plan to privatize part of the sector, despite an offer to reduce the scope of the reform. Following weeks of strikes and street protests by public health employees, the Madrid health department offered to privatize one hospital and seven or eight primary care centers, rather than six hospitals and 27 centers.

“It is evident that one is better than six, but it would open the door to privatization. Besides, we haven’t received a formal offer yet,” said Jesús Frías, a spokesman for the department chiefs at Madrid’s public hospitals.

“We doubt whether this offer is for real. If they were justifying the privatizations because of the savings it would bring, then it’s obvious that one hospital is a pittance. If we take the offer seriously, it means they are looking for a political solution to the conflict, not an economic one,” Frías insisted.

Madrid premier Ignacio González said that he was not aware of the offer.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:11 AM

33. Wish I could do this


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Response to Demeter (Reply #33)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:35 AM

34. Hotmail doesn't work in firefox today


Honestly, what's the problem?

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Response to Demeter (Reply #34)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:35 PM

37. And now, DU has Gone to Pieces


I'm going back to bed. Nothing to see or do.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #37)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:44 PM

38. It's firefox. Everything's peachy on Chrome


Sigh. I hate upgrades, downgrades, degrades, planned obsolescence, churning, and change for the sake of change.

I'm not a Luddite, I am person who doesn't want to be plagued by marketing making untried changes and no technical support.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #38)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:57 PM

39. It might be MSN. I can't get to the home page now.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #39)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:33 PM

41. Me three.

Something blew up. If it's MSN it's probably self inflicted.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:15 PM

40. So around here Krugman's Milquetoast performance on Morning Joe

is considered some sort of great triumph? For certainly the first and most probably the last I followed a link on the home page to that show, because Krugman's performance was being lauded to the skies.

Lo and behold .... not much.

Now, yes, Paul Krugman rebuts the Austerity-ists .... mildly. They talk right over him. They go back again and again to the "indisputable," the "it is known" of their own narrative without missing a beat.

Krugman, I realize, is a wonk, and he responds wonkily. I will give him that he has a merry little twinkle in his eye, indicating perhaps that he knows it's all a game. But why does he play that game? And what good is wonk, when he won't say the non-wonky truth - that these people are shills for the 1%, who are the only ones who stand to gain from the "we must cut entitlements" narrative. What good is wonk if he won't ask them directly "so who are you going to let die? Who's children will be malnourished? Which workers will be condemned to drop dead on the job?" when they say the code words "hard choices?"

Sorry, but seemed an awful lot of hullabaloo over just another meaningless rehash and just another opportunity for the "we must cut" repetition.

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