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Showing posts from December 16, 2015

Battered, Apologetic and Still Pitching Their Hedge Funds

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[They're always happy in their photos, and why wouldn't they be? What it sounds like when a psychopathic loser grants you the 'opportunity' to give him more of your money that he just lost: "Unfortunately, opportunity often feels like a punch in the face." A pension fund manager, being sued for deceptive practices says "he was 'shocked' by the lawsuit." After making a return of -4.4%, a hedge fund manager offers this perfectly clear explanation, "The Calpers decision is a bit of an anomaly in the space." The sound of snake oil being poured. *RON*]

By Alexander Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein, New York Times, 15 December 2015
It has been a bruising year for hedge funds. Not even billionaire managers with sterling records were able to escape heavy losses, and several among them have made the industry’s list of worst performers. Some lost so much of their investors’ money this year that they have…

The 'American Dream' is over

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[Apparently this piece is going viral. In the end, this is what the financialization of the economy means: "If the American Dream depends on skyrocketing debt built on a weakening foundation of stagnant productivity and income, then it is indeed over." *RON*]

Charles Hugh Smith, The Daily Reckoning / Business Insider, 13 December 2015.

Despite a ceaseless propaganda campaign declaring all is well with the U.S. economy, the Status Quo is fragile–and voters know it.

Not only do they know the economy–and their financial security–is one crisis away from meltdown, they’re also fed up with all the official gerrymandering of data to make the economy appear healthy.

The American Dream–characterized by plentiful jobs offering living wages, security and opportunities to get ahead–is over, and voters know this, too.

People are realizing the U.S. economy has changed qualitatively in the past 20 years, and claims that it’s stronger then ever ring hollo…

Bill Black: A “Jihadist” Against the Banks?

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[More proof that the Department of Justice works for the Banksters. "Not only will they not prosecute the elite bank frauds that drove the crisis, but anyone that wants them to do their job they’re treating as a terrorist." *RON*]
Posted by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 16 December 2015


Yves here. You cannot make this stuff up. This Real News Network segment features Bill Black discussing, based on his first-hand experience of having the Department of Justice attempting to quash Black’s expert witness testimony in a fraud case because Black is a “jihadist” against banks. Since when is calling out fraud tantamount to conducting a religious war? Only if you are a devout adherent of cult of elite finance.

I had lunch with a prominent journalist yesterday who told me how much more difficult it has become over time to do intrepid reporting about major financial firms. Led by the major PR firms, they fight tooth an nail over every point in a st…

Women in US lagging behind in human rights, UN experts report after ‘myth-shattering’ visit

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[UN human rights experts were "appalled by the over-incarceration of women, mostly for non-violent crimes." They criticized the "deeply disturbing" condition of migrant women in detention centers, and said they were shocked by the lack of accommodation for pregnant women in the workplace. According to The Huffington Post, the women told reporters the most telling moment of the trip was their visit to an abortion clinic in Alabama, where they faced harassment from anti-choice protesters. "It was a kind of terrorism," the delegate from Poland said. *RON*]

11 December 2015 – While praising the current United States administration for its commitment to women’s equality, United Nations experts warned today that the extreme polarization of US politics is “profoundly” affecting the Government’s ability to guarantee women’s human rights, and even to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Disc…

Paul Ryan announces deal on US spending bill

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[We'll see if any of this is veto'ed by Obama. House Speaker Ryan announced a deal on a $1.1 trillion spending bill and a package of massive tax breaks Democrats say will unfairly benefit corporations. The deal lifts the 40-year ban on crude oil exports from the United States and delays portions of Obama’s healthcare law. Privacy advocates object to the inclusion of a controversial cybersecurity measure they say will quietly expand mass surveillance by allowing corporations to share sensitive user data with law enforcement agencies. The House will hold separate votes on the tax and spending portions of the deal by Friday. *RON*]

Associated Press, The Guardian, 16 December 2015
House speaker Paul Ryan announced late Tuesday an agreement between congressional leaders and the White House on a year-end tax and spending package that would fund the government through the 2016 budget year, raise domestic and defense spending, and increase the d…

FactChecking the Fifth GOP Debate

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[It's getting hard to remember. Wasn't there a time when we would have, at least, been surprised (and possibly a wee bit put off) by this degree of mendacity? There Was No Winner in the GOP Debate, But There Was One Clear Loser: The American Public and America’s New Know-Nothings and That time the GOP held an entire debate without discussing Americans’ top issue (they're referring to the economy), and 10 Biggest Lies and Distortions From the GOP Debate*RON*]

By FactCheck.org, 16 December 2015

Summary

The Republican presidential candidates’ fifth debate focused on national security and included misleading claims on terrorism, immigration and foreign oil.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush misconstrued the words of businessman Donald Trump in claiming that Trump said that “ISIS was not our fight” and that “ISIS was not a factor.”Sen. Ted Cruz wrongly claimed that the immigration bill Sen. Marco Rubio cosponsored in 2013 would have allowed t…

Why are Chinese fishermen destroying coral reefs in the South China Sea?

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[Good Chinese capitalists. "In newly wealthy China there is far more money to be made from looting and trading in endangered species than in catching fish." An appalling callousness to their effects on the environment. "You men are armed," I said to him. "Why don't you go over there in your speedboat and chase them off or arrest them?" "It's too dangerous," he said. "We don't want to start a shooting war with the Chinese Navy."*RON*]
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC News, 15 December 2015


What I came across on a reef far out in the middle of the South China Sea has left me shocked and confused.

I'd been told that Chinese fishermen were deliberately destroying reefs near a group of Philippine-controlled atolls in the Spratly Islands but I was not convinced.

"It goes on day and night, month after month," a Filipino mayor told me on the island of Palawan.

"I think it is deli…

Record high Arctic temperatures in 2015 having 'profound effects' on region

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[Latest Noaa report reveals "...warming in the Arctic is occurring at twice the rate of anywhere else in the world" 2015 temperatures were in some cases 3C above long-term average and 70% of ice pack in March was made of first-year ice. *RON*]
Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 16 December 2015

The Arctic experienced record air temperatures and a new low in peak ice extent during 2015, with scientists warning that climate change is having “profound effects” on the entire marine ecosystem and the indigenous communities that rely upon it.

The latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) report card on the state of the Arctic revealed the annual average air temperature was 1.3C (2.3F) above the long-term average – the highest since modern records began in 1900. In some parts of the icy region, the temperature exceeded 3C (5.4F) above the average, taken from 1981 to 2010.