Showing posts from August 5, 2014

Widening Income Gap Holding Back Recovery: S&P

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[I'm a tad surprised to see this on Fox News but, meh... See also: A blunt attack on income inequality, from an unlikely source.*RON*]

By Dunstan PrialFOXBusiness, August 05, 2014

The noisy public debate over whether the income gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of us is getting wider is no longer a debate, according to ratings and research firm Standard & Poor’s.

S&P released a report on Wednesday that says the widening income gap in the U.S. contributed to a boom and bust cycle that led to the 2008 financial crisis, and that the growing gap has served as an obstacle to ongoing economic recovery.

“At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold,” S&P said in the report.

S&P said “extreme income inequality” serves as a drag on long-run economic growth. Consequently, S&P has reduced its 10-year U.S. growth forecast to a 2.5% …

New leaker disclosing U.S. secrets, government concludes

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[Again, via Harry. The little Dutch boy has only ten fingers and seems to be running out of them quickly. *RON*]
By Evan Perez, CNN, August 5, 2014
FIRST ON CNN: New documents formed the basis of story on news site, Intercept. The site is run by Glenn Greenwald, who published leaks by Edward Snowden. Article focuses on the growth of names on terror databases during the Obama administration

(CNN) -- The federal government has concluded there's a new leaker exposing national security documents in the aftermath of surveillance disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden,U.S. officials tell CNN.

Proof of the newest leak comes from national security documents that formed the basis of a news story published Tuesday by the Intercept, the news site launched by Glenn Greenwald, who also published Snowden's leaks.

The Intercept article focuses on the growth in U.S. government databases of known or suspected terrorist names during the Obama adm…

Russia bans Siberia independence march

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[Where would we be without amusing ironies; via my friend Harry. "In sharp contrast to the treatment of separatists in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Moscow has made it clear that it does not welcome similar aspirations at home." Moscow also threatens to block BBC Russian service after it carries interview with march organiser on its website. *RON*]

Alec Luhn in Moscow,, 5 August 2014
Russian authorities have banned a Siberian independence march and threatened to block the BBC Russian service over its coverage of separatist protests.

In sharp contrast to the treatment of separatists in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Moscow has made it clear that it does not welcome similar aspirations at home.

The media watchdog may block the website of the BBC Russian service over an interview with Artyom Loskutov, an organiser of the March for Siberian Federalisation, the newspaper Izvestiya reported on Tuesday. The march was due to take place…

Chart of the Day: How Austerity Wrecked the Recovery

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[Of all recessions over the last 40 years, only the 2007/08 recession was followed by a cut in the public sector payroll. *RON*]

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, Aug. 4, 2014

I've previously nominated a version of the illustration below as chart of the year, and last year I wrote an entire piece for the print magazine as basically just an excuse to get it in print. Bill McBride's version focuses on public sector payroll, not total public sector spending, but it tells the same story: after every previous recession of the past 40 years, the subsequent recovery was helped along by increased government outlays. In the 2007-08 recession—and only in this recession—the recovery was deliberately hobbled by insisting on declining government outlays. This is despite the fact that it was the worst recession of the bunch.

The result, of course, was that there was no Obama Miracle in 2011. In fact, there was barely even an Obama Recovery. If you think that&…

Gulf's low-oxygen 'dead zone' covers 5,052 square miles along Louisiana's coast

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[An area of the Gulf of Mexico the size of Connecticut is oxygen-dead because of "excessive nitrogen, mainly from Midwest agricultural runoff." One of the commenters notes, "This is actually happening all over in rivers and lakes up north, but is on the back pages of the small towns newspapers in the grain growing states.... that is their industry ... their money. But folks are getting worried, including a lot of farmers. Look for states to take the lead in legislation concern fertilizers. Congress is too involved with powerful lobbies to effect any change." *RON*]
 By Mark Schleifstein, | The Times-Picayune, August 04, 2014

This year's low-oxygen "dead zone" along Louisiana coast covers 5,052 square miles, an area the size of the state of Connecticut but about 800 square miles less than the 2013 dead zone, according to a week-long survey released Monday.

The finding, by a team of scientists led by Louis…

Banco Espírito Santo Patriarch Humbled Amid Bailout

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[A follow-up to the story of the bailout and breakup of Banco Espírito Santo. The Portuguese banking system is very much a family affair. Other than that, the fact that it is a good-old-boy system of insiders certainly does not distinguish it from other banks. *RON*]

By Landon Thomas Jr. and Raphael Minder, New York Times, AUG. 4, 2014

In 2011, just before entering into bailout discussions with creditors, Portugal’s prime minister put in a call to consult with the country’s most powerful banker, Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Salgado.

But now the bank that Mr. Salgado and his family controlled for the better part of a century, Banco Espírito Santo, is itself being bailed out in a humiliating intervention that highlights the extent to which age-old banking cliques continue to plague Europe’s weaker economies like Portugal, Greece and Ireland.

“All these countries share the same weakness: lack of effective regulation at the local level,” said Peter …

Trudeau promises no Northern Gateway if he beats Harper in 2015

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[Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau opposes Northern Gateway but favours Kinder-Morgan. *RON*]
Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, Aug 5th, 2014

"Thousands of British Columbians depend on the Pacific Ocean for their livelihood," Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told hundreds of supporters gathered for a Liberal Party barbecue at Douglas Park in Vancouver.

"Those Canadians have not been assured that a catastrophic spill would be prevented...That's why, if I'm given the honour of becoming Prime Minister in 2015, I will work to make sure Northern Gateway does not happen."

Trudeau's statement on the pipeline was followed by screams and cheers from the audience.

He added, though, that he also feels the Alberta oil sands crude needs to nonetheless make it to other markets. Canada currently exports most of its oil in the U.S., and has struggled to reach markets in Asia where it could sell at higher prices.

"One of the most …