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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: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 69,333

Journal Archives

Davos, Dalio, and a Depression?!


Davos, Dalio, and a Depression?!
by Bill Tilles and Len Hyman • January 23, 2016


So, how does a deflationary depression resolve itself?

By Bill Tilles and Len Hyman:


When Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, referred to a possible economic depression as he was being interviewed at the World Economic Forum at Davos, it does not mean what most people think it means.

Most of us think about recessions and depressions in a linear way. That is, a depression is a really, really bad recession featuring even higher levels of unemployment and lower overall levels of economic activity.

But for Mr. Dalio, recessions are kind of normal, business-cycle related economic events that regularly occur every 5-10 years or so. The economy begins to overheat, the Fed raises rates in response (the removal of the “punch bowl”), business activity slows perhaps a bit too much in response, and voila! A recession results.

Depressions on the other hand are secular or long term, occurring much less frequently. That’s because according to Mr. Dalio, it takes a long time (perhaps decades) to accumulate the excess levels of corporate and government debt that end up triggering this type of economic event. A depression is a condition where more debt cannot be added to the system and instead it must be reduced, or as we say, deleveraging must occur. A depression always threatens systemic solvency. .............(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/01/23/davos-dalio-economic-deflationary-depression/




“Some very critical things are hidden.”


This is Why Junk Bonds Will Sink Stocks: Moody’s
by Wolf Richter • January 24, 2016


“Some very critical things are hidden.”

After the white-knuckle sell-off of global equities that was finally punctuated by a rally late last week, everyone wants to know: Was this the bottom for stocks? And now Moody’s weighs in with an unwelcome warning.

If you want to know where equities are going, look at junk bonds, it says. Specifically, look at the spread in yield between junk bonds and Treasuries. That spread has been widening sharply. And look at the Expected Default Frequency (EDF), a measure of the probability that a company will default over the next 12 months. It has been soaring.

They do that when big problems are festering: The Financial Crisis was already in full swing before the yield spread and the EDF reached today’s levels!

And so, John Lonski, chief economist at Moody’s Capital Markets Research, has a dose of reality for stock-market bottom fishers:

For now, it’s hard to imagine why the equity market will steady if the US high-yield bond spread remains wider than 800 basis points (8 percentage points). Taken together, the highest average EDF metric of US/Canadian non-investment-grade companies of the current recovery and its steepest three-month upturn since March 2009 favor an onerous high-yield bond spread of roughly 850 basis points.


Moody’s EDF began spiking last summer and has nearly doubled since then to 8%, the highest since 2009. ...............(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/01/24/moodys-sours-on-stocks/




Chris Hedges: The Suicide of the Liberal Church


from truthdig:


The Suicide of the Liberal Church

Posted on Jan 24, 2016
By Chris Hedges


Paul Tillich wrote that all institutions, including the church, are inherently demonic. Reinhold Niebuhr asserted that no institution could ever achieve the morality of the individual. Institutions, he warned, to extend their lives when confronted with collapse, will swiftly betray the stances that ostensibly define them. Only individual men and women have the strength to hold fast to virtue when faced with the threat of death. And decaying institutions, including the church, when consumed by fear, swiftly push those endowed with this moral courage and radicalism from their ranks, rendering themselves obsolete.

The wisdom of Tillich and Niebuhr has been borne out in the precipitous decline of the liberal church and the seminaries and divinity schools that train religious scholars and clergy. Faced with shrinking or nonexistent endowments, mounting debts, dwindling memberships, a lack of employment for their graduates and growing irrelevancy in a society that has little use for tepid church piety and the smug arrogance that comes with it, these institutions have fallen into physical and moral decay.

The number of adults in the mainline Protestant churches—Presbyterian, Unitarian-Universalist, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, Congregationalist—decreased from about 41 million in 2007 to 36 million in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. And the average age of the congregant is 52. The Catholic Church also is being decimated; its decline has been exacerbated by its decades-long protection of sexual predators within the priesthood and the Vatican’s relentless campaign, especially under John Paul II, to force out of the church priests, nuns and lay leaders who focused their ministries on the poor and the oppressed. The Catholic Church, which has lost 3 million members over the last decade, has seen its hold on the U.S. population fall to 21 percent from 24.

Mainline seminaries and divinity schools have been merging or closing, and enrollment at such schools has declined by 24 percent in the last decade. Andover-Newton, founded in 1807, recently shut down. Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pa., and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia plan to merge. Union Theological Seminary, where black liberation, feminist, womanist and queer theologies have their roots, appears to be on the verge of selling “air space” to a developer to construct a luxury 35-to-40-story condominium building on its campus. General Theological Seminary in New York City, a school founded in 1817, has sold much of its property to developers, and it ended tenure for its faculty after the professors went out on strike to demand the removal of Dean and President Kurt Dunkle. Dunkle, who epitomizes the infusion of corporatism into the church, worked for many years as a lawyer doing commercial litigation before being ordained. .................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_suicide_of_the_liberal_church_20160124





By 2050, our oceans will hold more plastic than fish


(NEWSER) – Use of plastic has increased 20-fold in the past half-century; production of the ubiquitous material is expected to double again in the next 20 years (and nearly quadruple over the next 50). And, CNN Money reports, nearly a third of all plastic packaging "escapes collection systems."

As for where the rest goes, more than 8 million tons of plastics end up entering our oceans each year, where the pieces can survive for hundreds of years. There are believed to be 165 million tons of it in the ocean right now. We're dumping the equivalent of one garbage truck's worth into the ocean per minute; that's projected to jump to four per minute by 2050, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. And that report has an ominous warning: We're on track to have more plastic than fish, by weight, in the world's oceans by 2050. (Right now, the ratio is about 1:5, plastics to fish.)

And the discarded plastic that doesn't end up in the ocean is likely be put in a landfill; those two resting places end up holding about 70% of our plastic, the Washington Post reports. Just 5% of plastics are effectively recycled, according to the Guardian. It's not just a problem of pollution. .................(more)

http://www.freep.com/story/news/2016/01/24/oceans-more-plastic-than-fish/79267192/




Can Hillary Clinton Be Trusted to Regulate the Banks That Made Her Rich?





Published on Jan 21, 2016

Former regulator Bill Black and Public Banking Institute founder Ellen Brown say Hillary's track record gives no indication that she will fulfill any promise in her 2016 campaign to implement regulations on Wall Street



Hillary Clinton Laughs When Asked if She Will Release Transcripts of Her Goldman Sachs Speeches


(The Intercept) After Hillary Clinton spoke at a town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday, I asked her if she would release the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. She laughed and turned away.

Clinton has recently been on the defensive about the speaking fees she and her husband have collected. Those fees total over $125 million since 2001.

Her rival Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, has raised concerns in particular over the $675,000 she made from Goldman Sachs, an investment bank that has regularly used its influence with government officials to win favorable policies.

Watch the video:

https://

During one of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, Clinton reportedly reassured the crowd and told them that banker-bashing was unproductive and foolish, according to a Politico report based on accounts offered by several attendees. ............(more)

https://theintercept.com/2016/01/23/clinton-goldman-sachs-laugh/




Why Do We Expose Ourselves?

(The Intercept) AMONG CRITICS OF TECHNOLOGICAL SURVEILLANCE, there are two allusions so commonplace they have crossed into the realm of cliché. One, as you have probably already guessed, is George Orwell’s Big Brother, from 1984. The other is Michel Foucault’s panopticon — a vision, adapted from Jeremy Bentham, of a prison in which captives cannot tell if or when they are being watched. Today, both of these touchstones are considered chillingly prophetic. But in Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age, Bernard Harcourt has another suggestion: Both of them are insufficient.

1984, Harcourt acknowledges, was an astoundingly farsighted text, but Orwell failed to anticipate the role pleasure would come to play in our culture of surveillance — specifically, the way it could be harnessed, as opposed to suppressed, by powerful interests. Oceania’s “Hate Week” is nowhere to be found; instead, we live in a world of likes, favorites, and friending. Foucault’s panopticon, in turn, needs a similar update; mass incarceration aside, the panopticon — for the rest of us — has become participatory, more of an amusement park or shopping mall than a penal institution. Rather than being coerced to reveal secrets, today we seem to enjoy self-exposure, giving away “our most intimate information and whereabouts so willingly and passionately — so voluntarily.”

Exposed is a welcome addition to the current spate of books about technology and surveillance. While it covers familiar ground — it opens with brief accounts of Facebook’s methods of tracking users, USAID’s establishment of ZunZuneo (a Twitter-like social network) in Cuba, and Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s PRISM program — Harcourt’s contribution is uniquely indebted to critical theory. Riffing on the work of another French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze, and his evocative 1992 fragment “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” Harcourt settles upon the phrase “Expository Society” to describe our current situation, one in which we “have become dulled to the perils of digital transparence” and enamored of exposure. This new form of expository power, Harcourt explains, “embeds punitive transparence into our hedonist indulgences and inserts the power to punish in our daily pleasures.” .................(more)

https://theintercept.com/2016/01/23/surveillance-bernard-harcourt-why-do-we-expose-ourselves/




Bill Moyers: A Drone Protestor Heads to Jail


This piece originally appeared on Common Dreams.


By Bill Moyers


Mary Anne Grady Flores is in jail today and American citizens everywhere can surely breathe a sigh of relief that we are safe from her criminal behavior at least for the next six months.

That’s the length of the sentence this 59-year-old peace activist in upstate New York began on Tuesday — one day after the United States honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his commitment to nonviolent civil disobedience. If he were here today, the martyred Dr. King would surely be shaking his head that America still has a problem with peaceful dissenters of conscience.

And what exactly did Grady Flores do to warrant spending the next six months in jail? She photographed a peaceful protest outside Hancock Field Air National Guard Base near Syracuse, New York. The base is where the US trains pilots to launch drone strikes in the Middle East, particularly in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. It wasn’t a crime for her to be taking pictures of the demonstration, but when she briefly and unintentionally — yes, unintentionally — stepped onto a road that belongs to the base, she violated what authorities called “an order of protection,” which had been issued in 2012 to forbid protesters from approaching the home or workplace of Col. Earl Evans, a commander of the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard. She had never met Evans, never threatened him, never showed any intention of harming him.



Nonetheless, a town justice, David Gideon, issued the order to “protect” the Colonel from the activists. That’s right — the commander of a major military operation, piloting drones on lethal missions half-way around the world, requested a court order of protection against a group of mostly gray-haired demonstrators whom he had never met. In stepping briefly on the roadway at the base, Grady Flores violated that order, despite the fact that, as she says, “We weren’t at the security gate. We were out at the roadway.” ...................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_drone_protestor_heads_to_jail_20160122




Bibi is still trying to derail the Iran deal


By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

BBC Monitoring reports that over the weekend, even as the great Powers were certifying that Iran was in compliance with the UNSC deal permitting only civilian enrichment of uranium, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who had attempted to derail the negotiations, continued to try to derail it. El’ad Benari reported on Arut 7 Radio that

“Iran is still seeking to achieve nuclear military capabilities, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Saturday night, after Iran’s deal with world powers was implemented.

“Even after signing the nuclear deal, Iran has not relinquished its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons, and continues to act to destabilize the Middle East and spread terror throughout the world while violating its international commitments . . .”




Israel has several hundred nuclear warheads, produced at its Dimona enrichment facility, and has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to allow UN inspections of its arsenal. Israeli leaders have sometimes hinted around that they would nuke their neighbors under certain circumstances.

For his part Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that “all are happy except Zionists, warmongers, sowers of discord among Islamic nations and extremists in the U.S.” ................(more)

http://www.juancole.com/2016/01/israeli-pm-netanyahu-still-trying-to-derail-iran-nuclear-deal.html




Joe Arpaio shakes down his flock




Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a vile creature. The 83-year-old has reigned over the Arizona county for more than twenty years, much to the dismay of the Hispanic community, and he’s running for office again. But, the way he is soliciting donations from his scared, xenophobic supporters this time around is absolutely infuriating.

In an email sent out to supporters recently, America’s Most Racist Sheriff extorts money from his ignorant voters by threatening to retire. The email’s subject line is:”Announcement: I’ve made a difficult decision” and begins by calling on his “patriots” to support him or else:

“After hours of prayer, and countless frank discussions with my wife Ava and other trusted advisors, I have decided my time as Sheriff is over, unless I can count on you to stand with me this election.”


Arpaio then goes on to blame “left-wing elites,” his immigration stance, “Obama’s political machine,” and “Hollywood leftists” for the tough road he has ahead of him should he decide to run for re-election. He tells his supporters that they need to empty their wallets and help him defeat the scary liberals who want to see him out of office:

“For some of you $5 is all you can spare today. But for others $500 or even $1,000 is a sacrificial gift you are willing to make. My team has told me that because our reserves are almost completely drained I will need to raise at least 5 million dollars to have a fighting chance, so every single dollar helps.”


To be clear, this is absolutely, 100 percent extortion. The definition of which is “the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.” He is threatening that he will retire and not bother to run again unless his faithful, immigrant-hating supporters shell out money for him. He doesn’t just tell them he’d like to be their sheriff again, he threatens them. And this isn’t the first time he has duped voters. ...............(more)

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2016/01/20/racist-joe-arpaio-extorts-money-for-re-election-by-threatening-to-retire-screenshots/




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