Showing posts from July 9, 2014

If You Do This, the NSA Will Spy on You

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[If you read this article, the NSA will track you - oops, too late now! :-) *RON*]

Patrick Tucker, Defense One, July 7, 2014

Worried about the NSA monitoring you? If you take certain steps to mask your identity online, such as using the encryption service TOR, or even investigating an alternative to the buggy Windows operating system, you’re all but asking for “deep” monitoring by the NSA.

TOR is an encryption network developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in the 1990s. The military’s hope was to enable government workers to search the web without exposing their locations and identities. The system today is widely available, runs on open source code and is popular among privacy advocates as a more secure alternative to open Internet surfing, particularly in countries with repressive regimes. It works by encrypting the user’s address and routing the traffic through servers that are located around the world (so-called “onion routing.”) How d…

Spanish police conducting 368 investigations into Islamist terrorism

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[The Spanish government apparently takes recent ISIS statements seriously. They are chiefly concerned about combatants returning home from Syria and Mali. *RON*]

Jesus Duva, El Pais, 9 July 2014

Right now there are 837 terrorism investigations underway in Spain, of which 368 involve Islamist groups, according to counter-terrorism sources.

The Interior Ministry considers that the risk of a new Islamist attack in Spain is “high,” and the government has activated a Level 2 alert because of the “probable risk of an attack.”

On March 11, 2004 Islamists blew up several commuter trains in Madrid, killing 192 people and injuring 1,858. Before that, in April 1985, another Islamist bomb attack killed 18 people at a Madrid restaurant.

Most of the National Police and Civil Guard investigations into jihadist activities are taking place in Barcelona, Madrid, Córdoba, Málaga and Ceuta. The regions of Catalonia and Andalusia have the greatest number of apartment…

Juncker says age of austerity not over - budget discipline needed

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[Ideology meets realpolitik. In reality, this is the extremely careful wording of a man who knows that his bread has been buttered by more than one hand and applied in competing directions. He knows he has to appease Merkel, who put his  name forward and fought for him, but he also has to appease the Spanish government, which also supported him and which has called for a moderation of austerity. Hence, "I'm against excessive austerity, but budget discipline, yes.'' See also this commentary on What Comes After European Austerity? *RON*]

Colm Kelpie , Irish Independent, 09/07/2014

AUSTERITY and budget discipline must be maintained in Europe, European Commission president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker has declared.

Mr Juncker - who was backed by German chancellor Angela Merkel for the top European job - said anybody who believes that budget austerity is finished is wrong.

And he also claimed that while he was a fan of tax competition, …

Soak the rich! Abolish the corporate income tax

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[A reasonable observation; the tax break on dividend income is based on a false premise (that the cost of corporate tax is passed along to shareholders, whereas in reality it is mainly passed on to employees in the form of lower wages), so it would be more effective to drop the corporate tax and the tax break on dividends, passing the cost along directly to those who receive this money as part of their income tax. Check out the comments, in which Mr. Coyne is basically excoriated as a communist. *RON*]
Andrew Coyne,, July 7, 2014

Why do we tax corporations? No, seriously — why? If you’re like most people and all New Democrats, your response will be “because that’s where the money is,” or some variant thereon. Corporations have lots of money, the thinking runs, and are unlikely to mind if the government helps itself to some of it. And since they don’t vote, it doesn’t much matter if they do mind.

An economist, on the other hand, would p…

This Market Measure Has A Perfect Track Record For Predicting US Recessions

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[The yield curve, which is inverted when short-term interest rates (e.g. the 3-year Treasury) are higher than long-term interest rates (e.g. the 10-year Treasury yield), correctly predicted 7 of the last 7 US recessions. I wonder what this looks like for Canada? *RON*] 

Sam Ro, Business Insider Chart of the Day, 8 July 2014

There are very few market indicators that can predict recessions without sending out false positives -- the yield curve is one of them.

At a breakfast earlier today, LPL Financial's Jeffrey Kleintop noted that the yield curve inverted just prior to every U.S. recession in the past 50 years.

"That is seven out of seven times — a perfect forecasting track record," he reiterated.

The yield curve is inverted when short-term interest rates (e.g. the 3-year Treasury) are higher than long-term interest rates (e.g. the 10-year Treasury yield).

"The yield curve inversion usually takes place about 12 months before the …