Showing posts from February 15, 2015

After the Housing Crisis, a Cash Flood and Silence

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[After the housing crash, the US government pumped $187 billion into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since then these two mortgage finance companies have become immensely profitable. The feds changed the terms of the pay-back agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so they don't pay any interest but their profits get raked into the government coffers - $225 billion to date, with a projected $153 billion more to come. Understandably, shareholders are howling and the Justice Department is invoking Presidential privilege to block the release of the document trail. *RON*]

By Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times, 14 February 2015

On Aug. 17, 2012, the federal government began expropriating all the earnings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that succumbed to the 2008 crisis.

Now the government is taking extraordinary measures to keep secret the deliberations surrounding that action. What exactly is it trying to hide?

That is t…

Fracking has collapsed

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[34% of rigs have closed since October. *RON*]

Wolf Richter, Business Insider, 14 February 2015
The word “boom” can never be thought of as a stand-alone concept that everyone loves, particularly governments because they get to rake in the big bucks.

It’s always attached to its miserable twin that no one wants to see, the “bust.” They come invariably in cycles, one after the other. You can’t have one without the other. It’s just a question of time. And in the world of fracking, it’s no different.

The fracking-for-oil boom started in 2005, collapsed by 60% during the Financial Crisis when money ran out, but got going in earnest after the Fed had begun spreading its newly created money around the land. From the trough in May 2009 to its peak in October 2014, rigs drilling for oil soared from 180 to 1,609: multiplied by a factor of 9 in five years! And oil production soared, to reach 9.2 million barrels a day in January.

That’s what real booms look like…

Samsung Begins Inserting Ads Into User’s Televisions

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[This from the same company that just warned us not to talk about sensitive private information in front of their TV sets! I guess I know which TV not to buy. *RON*]
By Jacob Maslow, Tech Thai Visa, 12 February 2015

Ads inserted directly into Samsung’s smart televisions are being reported. News first broke on Reddit followed by users all over the world experiencing the same bizarre interruptions. Samsung did not make a quick statement regarding the problem, but Pepsi ads are being dynamically inserted into third-party content without users consent.

Users have stated that every 20 to 30 minutes, ads are shown.

Ads are being shown through the television’s third-party apps, such as Plex. Even content from hard drives that are being streamed have had the ad displayed. Foxtel TV, an Australian service, has also reported users having the same issue. A company employee states that this should not be occurring and is not part of their service’s current fun…

Pessimism in Spain: 83% Say Economic Situation is Bad; Podemos Takes Huge Lead in Latest Poll

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[With elections coming up in both Portugal and Spain it will be an interesting year. *RON*]
Mike Shedlock, Mish's Global Economic Analysis, 14 February 2015

Pessimism in the Streets

In spite of the "recovery" in Spain, close to 24% are still unemployed. That statistic explains Pessimism in the Streets.
The crisis is here to stay according to significant majority of Spaniards. The general perception is that the current situation in which the country is negative and far from getting better, can only stay stagnant or even worse. A Metroscopia poll published in El País makes it clear that the Spanish are unhappy with the current state of the country. Five out of six (83%) see the economic situation as "bad", while more than half of the remaining perceive "regular". More than half of respondents (52%) believe that in the coming months nothing will change, compounded with 15% who think things will get worse.
Podemos Take…

Tone deaf Valentine's tweet from the NSA

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[Seriously? *RON*]

 Follow Roses are red, violets are blue, loves privacy rights and you. Learn more from NSA's Director

Aid money for development projects in Nepal linked to child labour

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[Via my friend David. Just realized that I've been doing this blog for more than a year now. There are around 30 million people enslaved by human trafficking around the globe annually, generating $31 billion, half of them under the age of eighteen. See David Batstone's Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade - and How We Can Fight It. To help out, visit here or here. *RON*]

Pete Pattisson in Kathmandu, The Guardian, 12 February 2015

Bricks made by children and adults trapped in bonded labour have been used in construction projects funded by international donors including the UN, UK and the Asian Development Bank

Children as young as eight are working 15-hour days making bricks that have been used in major international development projects in Nepal, including a World Food Programme (WFP) project funded with $3.2m (£2m) of UK aid money.

A Guardian investigation has revealed that “blood bricks”, tainted by human rights abuses suc…