House Republicans move to contain fallout from Scalise, Grimm controversies
Republican leaders moved forcefully on Tuesday to control the damage from a pair of scandals that have suddenly disrupted the party as it prepares to take full control on Capitol Hill.
In back-to-back moves, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) pushed out Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R-N.Y.), who pleaded guilty last week to federal tax-evasion charges, and backed Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who acknowledged that he once addressed a white-supremacist group before coming to Congress. ... Read more
The 10 Best Night Sky Photos From The Department Of The Interior's Instagram Account
We already know the Department of the Interior's Instagram game is on point, but these gorgeous shots of the night sky are something else.
The agency manages more than 500 million acres of public lands across the country -- more than enough space to find a perfect starscape. It may be winter, but there's still plenty to explore during the season at one of America's 59 national parks. ... For Great Photos
Turning Money Into Millions of Miniature Billboards
Today we're witnessing the desecration of our Constitution in the United States. Supreme Court rulings such as Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC have allowed corporations and billionaires to spend their fortunes jockeying for power in our political system. The effect has been astoundingly harmful to our country's commitment to fair elections and democratic values. It has resulted in a government that is more responsive to the wealthy elite than to the many.
We the people need to fight back. The Stamp Stampede is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit grassroots organization dedicated to a form of monetary jiu jitsu: using money to get big money out of politics. There are now over 30,000 Stampeders who have purchased rubber stamps in order to revamp their bills with messages like "Not To Be Used For Buying Elections" and "Corporations Are Not People." Every bill is seen by approximately 875 people per year. Together we're making millions of impressions to create a mass visual demonstration of support for reasonable reforms to take back our government. ...
The Cartel: How BP Got Insider Tips Through a Secret Chat Room
... An hour away by train, in London's financial district, the lake's owners ply their trade. Wharf Pool was purchased for about 250,000 pounds ($388,000) in 2012 by Richard Usher, the former JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) trader at the center of a global investigation into corruption in the foreign-exchange market, and Andrew White, a currency trader at oil company BP Plc. (BP/)
With revenue of almost $400 billion last year and operations in about 80 countries, BP trades large quantities of currency each day. Traders at the company regularly received valuable information from counterparts at some of the world's biggest banks -- including tips about forthcoming trades, details of confidential client business and discussions of stop-losses, the trigger points for a flurry of buying or selling -- according to four traders with direct knowledge of the practice. ...
... "The Cartel" that was set up by Usher and included dealers at JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc. (C), Barclays Plc and UBS Group AG. (UBSN). ...
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, December 31 [12:13]
*DN | Pope Francis Calls for Action on Climate Change & Capitalism as Planet "Exploited by Human Greed" (12/31/14) [13:21]
DN | "The Great Reformer": Pope Francis Biographer on How Pontiff Became Star Diplomat & Voice for Change (12/31/14) [16:31]
*DN | At End of Warmest Year on Record, "Alternative Nobel" Winner Bill McKibben Urges Action on Climate (12/31/14) [12:44]
*TRNN | Larry Wilkerson: Israel, Iran, and ISIS - U.S. Policy Towards Syria is Wrong says Wilkerson (12/31/14) [10:52]
*TRNN | Environmental journalist Dahr Jamail recaps: The Top 3 Climate Change Stories of 2014 (12/31/14) [6:59]
TRNN | Mr. Finkelstein on self-deception and the collapse of his identity, Part 3 (12/31/14) [20:30]
TYT | Comcast Gives Lawmakers Something Customers NEVER Get (12/31/14) [4:33]
TYT | Transgender Teenage Takes Her Own Life Because of Bullying (12/31/14) [8:17]
Robert ReichTYT | Robert Reich's 2014 year in review (12/31/14) [2:40]
FillerClick picture to zoom in
The $9 Trillion US Dollar Carry Trade Blew Up Oil, Russia, and Brazil... What's Next?
As we have emphasized repeatedly, Oil's crash is being misinterpreted by many investors. When it comes to Oil, OPEC matters, as does Oil Shale, production cuts, geopolitical risk, etc. However, the reality is that all of these are minor issues against the MAIN STORY: the $9 TRILLION US Dollar carry trade.
Drilling for Oil, producing Oil, transporting Oil... all of these are extremely expensive processes. Which means... unless you have hundreds of millions (if not billions) of Dollars in cash lying around... you're going to have to borrow money.
Borrowing US Dollars is the equivalent of shorting the US DOLLAR. If the US Dollar rallies, then your debt becomes more and more expensive to finance on a relative basis. There is a lot of talk of the "Death of the Petrodollar," but for now, Oil is priced in US Dollars. In this scheme, a US Dollar rally is Oil negative.
Oil's collapse is predicated by one major event: the explosion of the US Dollar carry trade. Worldwide, there is over $9 TRILLION in borrowed US Dollars that has been ploughed into risk assets. Energy projects, particularly Oil Shale in the US, are one of the prime spots for this. But it is not the only one. Economies that are closely aligned with commodities (all of which are priced in US Dollars) are getting demolished too.
Just about everything will be hit as well. Most of the "recovery" of the last five years has been fueled by cheap borrowed Dollars. Now that the US Dollar has broken out of a multi-year range, you're going to see more and more "risk assets" (read: projects or investments fueled by borrowed Dollars) blow up. Oil is just the beginning, not a standalone story. ...
And that's assuming NO increased leverage from derivative usage.Click picture to zoom in
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World's 400 Wealthiest Add $92 Billion In 2014 As Alibaba Surges
The richest people on Earth got richer in 2014, adding $92 billion to their collective fortune in the face of falling energy prices and geopolitical turmoil incited by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The net worth of the world's 400 wealthiest billionaires on Dec. 29 stood at $4.1 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the planet's richest.
The biggest gainer was Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA), China's largest e-commerce company. Ma, a former English teacher who started the Hangzhou-based company in his apartment in 1999, added $25.1 billion to his fortune, riding a 56 percent surge in the company's shares since its September initial public offering. Ma, 50, with a $28.7 billion fortune, briefly passed Li Ka-shing as Asia's richest person. ... Read more
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Tuesday, December 30 [10:17]
*DN | As American Captives Die While Others Walk Free, Is US Hostage Policy Costing Citizens' Lives? (12/30/14) [11:11],
Part 2 [16:01]
*DN | Did the White House Abandon a U.S. Hostage in Syria? Inside the Secret Bid to Free Peter Kassig (12/30/14) [11:06]
*TRNN | Larry Wilkerson: What are U.S. Objectives in Weakening Russia's Economy? (12/30/14) [7:29]
Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss the "tactical strength and strategic weakness" of Putin in Ukraine and whether the West is trying to turn Russia into another "Greece".
*TRNN | Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss: US/Saudi Oil Play Is Economic Warfare (12/29/14) [10:17]*TRNN | Mr. Finkelstein talks about his Holocaust survivor parents and their influence in the formation of his early identity (12/30/14) [19:31]
TRNN | Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss whether empire abroad requires brutal methods and eroding rights at home (12/24/14) [14:08]
BBC NewsnightBBC | Noam Chomsky: still going strong at 85 - Newsnight (11/26/14) [8:16]
Note: I don't know why BBC cut this interview short, there was obviously a lot more to the topic. But Professor Noam Chomsky is very prolific and all you have to do is search YouTube.com for all his many speeches.TYT | The Interview Breaks Records With Unconventional Release (12/29/14) [3:22] TYT | CNN Misses The Point Completely On Missing Plane Coverage (12/29/14) [2:33]
TYT | Neil deGrasse Tyson Angers Christians with Christmas Tweets (12/30/14) [5:49]
Ring of FireRingOfFire | The Geopolitical Dangers of Falling Oil Prices (12/29/14) [3:57]
I have mixed feelings on this interview. I think Mike Papantonio was trying to make a point that we shouldn't try to screw other nations, and to my dismay I think Ed cut him off.RingOfFire | What Can You Get When You Buy A Politician? (12/29/14) [8:14]
Ring of Fire (12/21/14) [56:30]
As I construct My News Pages I constantly run across a lot of NEW videos, and since I find YouTube frustrating trying to re-find videos, I save the links in this section so I can find them again.
The Republican's Magical Mystery Tour (Starting Next Week)
According to reports, one of the first acts of the Republican Congress will be to fire Doug Elmendorf, current director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, because he won't use "dynamic scoring" for his economic projections.Read more
Dynamic scoring is the magical-mystery math Republicans have been pushing since they came up with supply-side "trickle-down" economics.
It's based on the belief that cutting taxes unleashes economic growth and thereby produces additional government revenue. Supposedly the added revenue more than makes up for what's lost when Congress hands out the tax cuts.
Dynamic scoring would make it easier to enact tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, because the tax cuts wouldn't look as if they increased the budget deficit.
Incoming House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calls it "reality-based scoring," but it's actually magical scoring -- which is why Elmendorf, as well as all previous CBO directors have rejected it.
What a Trillion Dollars Looks Like | National Debt*Demonocracyinfo | US Debt in Physical $100 bills [2:10]
Presenting The $303 Trillion In Derivatives That US Taxpayers Are Now On The Hook For
Courtesy of the Cronybus(sic) last minute passage, government was provided a quid-pro-quo $1.1 trillion spending allowance with Wall Street's blessing in exchange for assuring banks that taxpayers would be on the hook for yet another bailout, as a result of the swaps push-out provision, after incorporating explicit Citigroup language that allows financial institutions to trade certain financial derivatives from subsidiaries that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, explicitly putting taxpayers on the hook for losses caused by these contracts. ... Read moreClick picture to zoom in - Derivatives and Bank Exposures (2014)
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How US Banks Are Lying About Their European Exposure; Or How Bilateral Netting Ends With A Bang, Not A Whimper
... Which explains why the banks are if not lying, then taking advantage of a gullible public to misrepresent their exposure by as much as a factor of ten!
Five banks -- JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) -- write 97 percent of all credit-default swaps in the U.S., according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The five firms had total net exposure of $45 billion to the debt of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy, according to disclosures the companies made at the end of the third quarter. Spokesmen for the five banks declined to comment for this story. ...
... With banks on both sides of the Atlantic using derivatives to hedge, potential losses aren’t being reduced, said Frederick Cannon, director of research at New York-based investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.:
“Risk isn’t going to evaporate through these trades,” Cannon said. “The big problem with all these gross exposures is counterparty risk. When the CDS is triggered due to default, will those counterparties be standing? If everybody is buying from each other, who’s ultimately going to pay for the losses?” ... Read moreClick picture to zoom in - Derivatives and Bank Exposures (2011)
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Monday, December 29 [10:25]
*DN | The Afghan War is Not Over: U.S. Ends 13-Year Combat Mission, But 10,000+ Troops Continue the Fight (12/29/14) [12:23]
*DN | The Worst Narco-State in History? After 13-Year War, Afghanistan’s Opium Trade Floods the Globe (12/29/14) [12:40]
Bill Moyers - http://billmoyers.com/Bill Moyers | American Indians Confront “Savage Anxieties” (12/26/14) [25:25]
Earlier this month, as part of the $585 billion defense bill for 2015, Congress passed a measure that would give lands sacred to American Indians in Arizona to a foreign company. The deal gives the Australian-English mining firm Rio Tinto 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in exchange for several other parcels so it can mine a massive copper deposit. ... Read more
John OliverJohn Oliver | John Oliver: New Year's Eve (12/29/14) [3:44]
*TRNN | Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss: US/Saudi Oil Play Is Economic Warfare (12/29/14) [10:17]
Lawrence Wilkerson says the target of low oil prices is Russia and Iran, throwing their economies into turmoil and opening their doors to sovereign raiders.
TRNN | Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss whether empire abroad requires brutal methods and eroding rights at home (12/24/14) [14:08]TRNN | U.S. Midterm Election Voter Turnout at Pre-Civil War Level (12/27/14) [14:15]
TYT | This Wealth Gap Chart Is Absolutely Insane (12/27/14) [7:29]
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TYT | Negative Tax Rates For The Biggest Companies That YOU Pay For (12/27/14) [6:54]
TYT | Does Military Intervention Lead To Corruption? The Most Corrupt Countries In The World (12/27/14) [2:08]
Thom HartmannUnequal Protection by Thom Hartmann [1:29]
Thom Hartmann on "The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America -- and What We Can Do to Stop It"
What Ben & Jerry Are Up ToBen & Jerry: All I want for Xmas... Is a Pocket Stamp! [1:42]
Handy Dandy Pocket Guide to Stamping.pdf
The Destruction Of The Middle Class Is Nearing The Final Stages
The events of the past few months seem astounding when taken in all at once. The plan to destroy the U.S. dollar and the American middle class is moving at an ever increasing speed.
Elizabeth Warren's real beef with Antonio Weiss: What her fight against him is actually about
The nominee to a key Treasury position is part of a larger affront to America's middle class. Here's why
The Senate adjourned last week without dealing with the nomination of Antonio Weiss for Treasury Department undersecretary for domestic finance, the No. 3 position in the agency. Weiss' nomination has sparked a backlash among progressive Democrats, particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren, largely because of his two-decade career making international merger deals at the boutique investment bank Lazard.
Warren believes that Weiss not does carry the necessary experience for the Treasury position, which oversees many elements of financial reform. She also believes that continually plucking top government officials out of Wall Street closes off alternative perspectives and ensures policies favorable to their interests ... Read more
That's rich! Why so many wealthy Americans think they're middle class
By Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's reckoning, being a millionaire does not constitute living high above the ranks of ordinary people. Lew said last week that back when he was in the private sector enjoying six- and seven-figure pay packages, "My own compensation was never in the stratosphere."
Lew made that pronouncement as he sought to defend President Barack Obama's embattled Treasury undersecretary nominee Antonio Weiss from charges that as a financial executive, he is out of touch with the interests of regular people. Lew was seeking to cast his own lot with the ranks of ordinary Americans at a time of growing economic inequality. But in doing so, Lew shed light on a uniquely American phenomenon -- the tendency of extraordinarily rich people to cast themselves as everyday members of the middle class. ... Read more
PLEASE, no more Bushs, no more Clintons!! This is a Democracy, not a Dynasty. Lets choose someone that isn't beholden to Wall Street.
"The nuts hated him": How the Bush dynasty -- and its evolution -- explains America
Jeb Bush's announcement of a presidential campaign exploratory committee -- and the gauntlet immediately thrown down by movement conservatives -- might sound familiar to longtime political observers. But this is not merely because of its similarity to obstacles overcome by John McCain or Mitt Romney. It's because the reception was nearly identical to that his own father received 51 years ago when he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Indeed, the modern Republican Party's evolution can be traced along the branches of the Bush family tree, as the ambitions of Bush men compelled a perpetual repositioning to appeal to the party's activist base. ... Read more
Even More News
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, December 24 [7:45]
DN | Ferguson, NYC, Milwaukee: Protests Erupt After Officer Cleared in Killing of Unarmed Dontre Hamilton (12/24/14) [16:19]
DN | Will Guantánamo Ever Close? U.S. Frees More Prisoners, But Dozens Remain Behind Bars (12/24/14) [10:01]
DN | A Nightmare Taxi Ride: Oregon Veterinarian Jailed in East Timor After Sharing Car with Drug Peddler (12/24/14) [14:25]
TRNN | Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss whether empire abroad requires brutal methods and eroding rights at home (12/24/14) [14:08]
TRNN | Christmas, Charity, and the Revolutionary Jesus (12/24/14) [31:16]
Chris Hedges and Rev. David Bullock discuss the real meaning of Christmas with Paul Jay.TRNN | Norman Finkelstein: Is Israel Unfairly Held to a Higher Standard? (12/24/14) [23:35]
Norman Finkelstein and Paul Jay discuss a full-page ad in the NYT that says Israel is condemned by liberals for human rights violations while it defends gay rights, and less is said about the persecution of gays by Iran, Hamas and ISIS.TYT | How Does A Homeless Man Spend $100? The Answer May Surprise You (12/23/14) [5:03]
TYT | Darrell Issa Report on the IRS Reveals Surprising Results (12/23/14) [4:22]
TYT | Michael Grimm Convicted But Still In Congress (12/23/14) [6:40]
TYT | D.A. McCulloch Knowingly Put a Liar on the Stand (12/23/14) [11:33]
TYT | Obviously, "Jihad On Cops" To Be Blamed On 'PigSharpton' & deBlasio (12/23/14) [6:44]
TYT | "The Interview" WILL Be In Theaters After All On Christmas Day (12/23/14) [4:10]
Russia Moves to Stave Off Panic Among Depositors After Rescuing Bank
Lawmakers rushed legislation through the lower house of parliament today allowing the Deposit Insurance Agency to buy stakes in banks before they face bankruptcy proceedings to keep the system stable. While the ruble strengthened for a third day as the government told state-run exporters to sell foreign currency, it's still down 30 percent in three months. Standard & Poor's said today it may cut Russia's credit rating to junk in part because of concern about the banking system.
"Urgent measures are needed for the stabilization of the banking system to avoid a panic among the population and a run on banks," Vitaly Isakov, a money manager at Otkritie Asset Management in Moscow, said by e-mail. "There are fears about certain banks' ability to survive in the current situation." ... Read more
"Greatest Fools" Or "Smartest Men In The Room"?
US Stocks are massively outperforming the rest of the world this year...
So why are expectations for GDP growth in the US now lower than the World...?Click to zoom - for Larger Image
Oprah Interviews Beth Holloway: On Where Are They Now?
The man suspected of killing Natalee in 2005, Joran van der Sloot, has never been charged with her murder, but he is currently in prison for the 2010 murder of another young woman. Exactly five years to the day that Natalee disappeared (May 30), van der Sloot killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores in a Peru hotel room, under circumstances eerily similar to Natalee's case.
... "At that time that that was all happening, Joran had reached out [to me]," Beth says. "He was trying to extort money out of me, trying to sell me Natalee's remains, which... just shocks the conscious." Van der Sloot allegedly had offered to reveal the location of the teen's remains in exchange for $250,000. ...
... Despite serving a 28-year prison sentence, van der Sloot got married to a Peruvian woman in a prison ceremony in July and became a father when his wife gave birth less than three months later. ...
Natural Gas Suggests $33 Oil
In the last couple of months, the sharp reversion in oil prices has certainly caught the world's attention. While the majority of economists and analysts continue to expect incorrectly that falling oil prices are a positive input to economic growth, the reality is that it is not. The negative impact to economic growth from the decline in oil prices are quite considerable when you consider that almost 40% of all the jobs created since 2009 have been in energy related industries. While the economists and analysts are hopeful for a sharp recovery in oil prices, the current decline in oil prices is nothing more than a return to historical normalcy. ...
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Tuesday, December 23 [10:24]
*DN | Ex-Bush Official: U.S. Tortured Prisoners to Produce False Intel that Built Case for Iraq War (12/23/14) [9:29]
DN | Bush & Cheney Should Be Charged with War Crimes Says Col. Wilkerson, Former Aide to Colin Powell (12/23/14) [9:01]
DN | "The War to Start All Wars": Did U.S. Invasion of Panama 25 Years Ago Set Stage for Future Wars? (12/23/14) [6:38]
*DN | Weaponizing Health Workers: How Medical Professionals Were a Top Instrument in U.S. Torture Program (12/23/14) [19:55]
*TRNN | Lawrence Wilkerson: For Truth, Justice and the American Way, Part 1 (Replay) [10:15], Part 2 [8:26], Part 3 [10:14], Part 4 [9:53], Part 5 [17:32], Part 6 [9:50], Part 7 [10:43], Part 8 [8:46]
*TRNN | Lawrence Wilkerson: Who Makes US Foreign Policy?Part 1 [21:22], Part 2 [17:47], Part 3 [17:47]
There are idiots on both sides, North Korea, i.e. Kim Jong Un, and United States, i.e. Lindsey Graham. Are we going to allow them to drag us into another senseless conflict?? Lets always keep a vigilant eye on ignorant people and move on.TYT | Right-wing Bangs War Drums After Sony Hacking (12/22/14) [6:28]
TYT | Sony Hackers Rickroll The FBI. North Korea Demands Investigation (12/22/14) [8:59]
TYT | Evil Billionaire Says He's 'A Social Liberal' (12/20/14) [6:31]
TYT | Hypocrisy In Media Coverage Of Police Killings (12/22/14) [5:16]
TYT | Disgusting Pastor Has "Discovered" A Cure For AIDs (12/22/14) [5:12]