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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
February 22, 2016

“Prelude to Recession”: the Dallas Fed’s Unsettling Charts

“Prelude to Recession”: the Dallas Fed’s Unsettling Charts
by Wolf Richter • February 22, 2016

[font color="blue"]The “sharp cross-sector split.”[/font]

“The views expressed are those of the speaker and should not be attributed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas or the Federal Reserve System,” it says on the front page of the presentation. Institutional CYA. We get that.

Also let’s clarify upfront that Evan Koenig, Senior Vice President and Principal Policy Advisor at the Dallas Fed, did not forecast a recession. No Fed official, and no economist employed by any Fed entity, would ever publicly do that. For them, publicly, recessions exist only in the rearview mirror. For them, publicly, economic growth goes on forever.

Yet they know what’s going on. They have enormous resources at their fingertips. But by forecasting a recession publicly, they would deflate hype and sap economic confidence and could thus cause a recession – or a market crash. So no way. No recession warning from them, ever.

However, their concerns leave footprints in the economic muck, and this is one of them. ..............(more)


February 22, 2016

Neighbors say Kalamazoo shooting suspect 'liked guns'

(Detroit Free Press) An insurance salesman by day and a hobby mechanic on the side, Jason Dalton purchased a gun recently after a string of break-ins within the past few years left him without a few of his prized tools, according to neighbors, who said he "liked guns."

The small, ranch home where Dalton lived with his wife, Carole, and their two children, ages 15 and 10, stood quiet Sunday afternoon, just hours after he allegedly shot and killed six people in a random shooting rampage across Kalamazoo County Saturday. No one appeared to be home when a Free Press reporter knocked on the door. A white fence encircled the backyard of the home, where a green playscape could be seen. An empty red Chevrolet truck sat in the driveway of the home in the rural neighborhood north of Kalamazoo.

A man who pulled up to the home in a red F-150 truck said he knew the Dalton family, but declined to comment.

Neighbors are shocked that Dalton has been tied to the mass shootings.

"He was a nice guy," said neighbor Sally Pardo, pointing out the window of her home. "He had two kids, a wife. That’s what's really sad. Those kids have to live with this for the rest of their lives. What's even sadder is the victims and their families. ...What tripped him off? What caused this crazy random act? For those people to just be out for an evening, enjoying the night. What a horrible way to lose a loved one. It just breaks my heart." ....................(more)


February 20, 2016

ExxonMobil – More than Fifty Proud Years of Melting Glaciers!!

ExxonMobil – More than Fifty Proud Years of Melting Glaciers!!
Back in 1962, the fossil fuels giant was bragging about its ability to heat up the Arctic.


From the Department of “Time Makes Ancient Good Uncouth” comes this historical oddity, a double page advertisement from the February 2, 1962, issue of LIFE magazine (which featured a helmeted John Glenn on the cover as he prepared to become the first American astronaut to orbit the earth).

The ad, extolling the wonders of Humble Oil and Refining, the company now known as ExxonMobil, proudly boasts that “Each Day Humble Supplies Enough Energy to Melt 7 Million Tons of Glacier!” Like that’s a good thing.

Set against a beautiful color photograph of Alaska’s Taku Glacier, the copy reads, in part, “This giant glacier has remained unmelted for centuries. Yet, the petroleum energy Humble supplies – if converted into heat – could melt it at the rate of 80 tons each second! …Working wonders with oil through research, Humble provides energy in many forms – to help heat our homes, power our transportation, and to furnish industry with a great variety of versatile chemicals.” What a swell company.

Anyone old enough to remember, or even just a fan of Mad Men, knows that those were simpler days when grownups drank and smoked with reckless abandon and if your tyke came down to the kitchen wrapped in a polyethylene clothing bag you were more worried about mommy’s dry cleaning being ruined than the risk of child suffocation. We’re talking to you, Betty Draper! ..................(more)


February 18, 2016

 Sanders Backers Get a Boost with AFL-CIO Decision to Remain Neutral in Presidential Primaries

from the Nation:

Sanders Backers Get a Boost with AFL-CIO Decision to Remain Neutral in Presidential Primaries
The labor federation’s decision is another sign of just how real the Democratic race has become.

By John Nichols

 Hillary Clinton has collected a good number of endorsements from individual labor unions. That has helped to solidify her status as the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But Clinton will not soon collect the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, the labor federation with which the majority of the nation’s unions are affiliated. And that, say backers of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, opens the way for grassroots labor activists to step up their campaigning for the insurgent challenger.

For months, there was speculation about whether the AFL-CIO executive council might make an endorsement at its February 21-24 winter meeting in San Diego.

But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka ended the speculation Wednesday.

“Our Executive Council will discuss the 2016 election cycle during its Winter Meeting, but no presidential endorsement will be made,” Trumka wrote in an email distributed to executive council members in advance of San Diego meeting. “From the very start of the presidential contest, we have been clear that we have an endorsement process in place, and that we will continue to follow that process in accordance with our Constitution.” ..................(more)


February 18, 2016

Despite Widespread Calls For Him to Go, the NRA is Stuck With Nugent

(The Progressive) The 1970s-era rock star and longtime National Rifle Association board director Ted Nugent lit a firestorm last week when he made a series of anti-Semitic posts on his Facebook page. Nugent accused prominent Jewish Americans of promoting gun control as part of a plot to disarm citizens and impose Nazi-like tyranny across the United States.

In response to criticism of his posts Nugent wrote, “what sort of racist prejudiced POS could possibly not know that Jews for gun control are nazis in disguise?”

Nugent has sat on the NRA board for more than twenty years. He’s also very popular among the organization’s leaders and members alike. Now, however, there is a movement from both outside and within the NRA demanding that Nugent finally be ousted.

But what casual observers of the gun lobby fail to realize is that the NRA’s own bylaws—withheld from the public, but obtained by The Progressive—make removing Nugent all but impossible anytime before 2017, and doubtful even after that. As I previously reported in Mother Jones, the National Rifle Association’s governing board of directors are elected through a tightly controlled nominating process, one that even former NRA directors have compared to a Soviet-style Politburo. ................(more)

- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2016/02/188561/despite-widespread-calls-him-go-nra-stuck-nugent#sthash.A5BxFcvF.dpuf

February 18, 2016

The Mainstream Media Barely Mentioned Bernie Sanders’ Recent Debate Comments on Henry Kissinger

The Mainstream Media Barely Mentioned Bernie Sanders’ Recent Debate Comments on Henry Kissinger
On the major networks’ nightly newscasts, the exchange was only mentioned twice.

BY Jim Naureckas

Last week, presidential challenger Bernie Sanders attacked his rival Hillary Clinton live on US television for taking advice from Nixon-era Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, whom he accused of paving the way for genocide with his bombing of Cambodia.

You know who wasn’t impressed? U.S. television.

According to a search of the Nexis news database, there were exactly two references to Kissinger following the debate on the major broadcast networks. CBS's Gayle King reported on the Early Show that “Sanders questioned why Clinton would praise former secretary of State Henry Kissinger,” and then played an excerpt from the exchange:

SANDERS: Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state. Count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.

CLINTON: I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy and we have yet to know who that is.

SANDERS: Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger, that’s for sure.

CLINTON: That’s fine. That’s fine.

On NBC‘s Today show, Andrea Mitchell played an even shorter excerpt (beginning with “journalists have asked you…”) as an illustration of how the candidates “hammered each other … on foreign policy.”

That was it. The three network evening newscasts, with a typical combined nightly viewership of 24 million, didn’t mention Kissinger. Nor did any of the Sunday morning talkshows. Even PBS NewsHour, whose Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff moderated the debate, never discussed the Kissinger exchange. ..................(more)


February 18, 2016

The MSM is pimping the "Rubio Rebound" meme hard this morning. .......

...... I guess Reince Priebus emailed them a script.

February 18, 2016

TTIP of the Iceberg: Consumer Concerns Could Sink the US-EU Trade Agreement

TTIP of the Iceberg: Consumer Concerns Could Sink the US-EU Trade Agreement

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 00:00
By Mary Bottari, PR Watch | News Analysis


With all the challenges facing humanity, from catastrophic climate change, to mysterious bee colony collapse, to the Zika virus, one would think that an old-fashioned trade agreement aimed primarily at stifling environmental, consumer, and public health regulations should be a low priority.

But tell that to the hundreds of officials who will be convening with some urgency in Brussels next week to pound out the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP - a trade pact between the US and the European Union (EU) - before a new US president is elected.

Although negotiators tout the TTIP as the vanguard of a "new generation" of trade agreements with the potential to raise standards and advance sustainable development, in reality it is built upon the clunky, old trade rules demanded by industry to ensure just the opposite will occur.

In particular, proposals for "regulatory cooperation" and the inclusion of an "investor-to-state" dispute resolution system have generated strong opposition from consumer and environmental groups, who see them as a threat to a wide range of regulatory policies, including those needed to address the world’s most pressing problems.

"Regulatory Cooperation" Hands Industry a Target List

Consumer concerns with the TTIP was the topic of recent conference in Brussels sponsored by the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, representing large and small consumer groups on both sides of the Atlantic. ...............(more)


February 18, 2016

How Scalia's Absence Will Affect Pending Supreme Court Cases

How Scalia's Absence Will Affect Pending Supreme Court Cases

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 00:00
By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis

The death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia raises a number of questions: What will be Scalia's legacy? What will happen to the cases pending in the Supreme Court? Will President Obama successfully fill Scalia's seat on the high court? And how will Scalia's death affect the 2016 presidential election?

Scalia's Record on the Court

Scalia, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, was a radical right-wing ideologue who called himself an "originalist," purporting to interpret the US Constitution the way its framers did. He eschewed the idea that the Constitution is a living document that keeps pace with the times. And when voting to allow capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles, he rejected the Supreme Court's precedent that the Eighth Amendment's banning of cruel and unusual punishments should be interpreted in light of the "evolving standards of human decency that mark the progress of a maturing society."

Scalia favored unlimited corporate election spending and he wrote that the Second Amendment grants an individual the right to bear arms. He opposed reproductive rights, universal health care, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, voting rights, immigrants' rights, labor rights, LGBT rights and environmental protection. When questioned about his vote to anoint George W. Bush president in Bush v. Gore, Scalia barked, "Get over it."

During the oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, the affirmative action case pending in the high court, Scalia said he was not "impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer" Black students. He added, "Maybe it ought to have fewer. I don't think it stands to reason that it's a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many Blacks as possible." ...................(more)


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