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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
February 17, 2016

Unlikely Critic Neel Kashkari Says Banks Still Pose ‘Nuclear’ Risk to U.S. Economy

Unlikely Critic Neel Kashkari Says Banks Still Pose ‘Nuclear’ Risk to U.S. Economy

Posted on Feb 16, 2016
By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

A former Goldman Sachs executive—one credited as an architect of the 2008 banking bailout—said Tuesday that the country’s largest financial institutions are “still too big to fail and continue to pose a significant, ongoing risk to our economy.”

In his first speech delivered as the newly appointed president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, Neel Kashkari “came out swinging,” Business Insider reported.

He likened the risk posed by big banks to that of a nuclear reactor, noting: “The cost to society of letting a reactor melt down is astronomical.”

“Enough time has passed that we better understand the causes of the crisis, and yet it is still fresh in our memories,” Kashkari said at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C. “Now is the right time for Congress to consider going further than Dodd-Frank with bold, transformational solutions to solve this problem once and for all.”

To that end, Kashkari continued, “the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is launching a major initiative to develop an actionable plan to end (too-big-to-fail, or TBTF), and we will deliver our plan to the public by the end of the year. Ultimately Congress must decide whether such a transformational restructuring of our financial system is justified in order to mitigate the ongoing risks posed by large banks.” ....................(more)


February 16, 2016

Scalia let the innocent die, trampled our basic rights, gutted democracy and gave us George W. Bush.

Shed no tears for Antonin Scalia: Let us not praise the man who gave us Citizens United and Bush v Gore
Scalia let the innocent die, trampled our basic rights, gutted democracy and gave us George W. Bush. Good riddance

Paul Rosenberg

(Salon) Antonin Scalia was one of the most profoundly dishonest men in the history of American public life. He made Richard Nixon seem almost quaint by comparison. But that’s not the impression being broadcast to the world today.

Scalia’s death has let forth an elite love fest of such remarkable intensity, you’d think he was war criminal Henry Kissinger. The love—on MSNBC as much as anywhere—came almost as fast as the GOP determination not to allow Obama to appoint his successor. Folks might disagree with what he had to say from the bench, but hey! He was such a nice guy! Best buds with Notorious RBG! How could you say anything mean about him?

Maybe if you weren’t an elite lawyer, or media commentator, but rather someone to had suffer as a result of his bigoted cruelty? Maybe then you’d see things a bit differently, if you were someone close to Leonel Herrera, or Anthony Davis. Who are those men, you say? Two men facing execution with credible claims of actual innocence, that’s who. ..............(more)


February 16, 2016

Bernie Rocks Eastern Michigan University

On Monday afternoon, Sanders spoke to a crowd at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center about the core issues of his campaign: college affordability, getting big money out of the political process, and providing universal healthcare to all Americans. Junfu Han of Ann Arbor News took several photos of the massive crowd waiting outside the EMU Convocation Center in the cold, undeterred by the frigid winter weather and light precipitation. Rally attendees also tweeted photos and videos of the crowd inside the arena, which appears to be filled to capacity:


February 16, 2016

The Clintons really don’t get it: False attacks and failed strategies as Hillary repeats 2008

from Salon:

The Clintons really don’t get it: False attacks and failed strategies as Hillary repeats 2008
They're distorting Sanders' plans and ham-handedly using Obama and race. It's a dangerous game and a losing plan

Bill Curry

The 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary was the most significant in the 64-year history of that venerable institution, surpassing even the mythic 1968 battle by which Gene McCarthy drove Lyndon Johnson from office. McCarthy didn’t win the nomination but he did forge a consensus to end what was, until Iraq, our most tragic foreign war. Whether or not Bernie Sanders is nominated, he too is forging a new consensus. The old order is dying; a new one’s being born.

If you get your news from cable TV you don’t know any of this. Whatever their age or gender, cable reporters still cover politics like cigar-chomping old men poring over racing forms. History was made under their noses and they still spent the night talking win, place or show, obsessed by the order of finish in the crowded middle of a lame Republican pack. It was a coming out party for a political revolution, but Gil Scott Heron had it right: the revolution will not be televised.

Sanders made history even by the metrics of horse-race journalism. He had the most votes (155,578), biggest vote share (60.4%) and biggest margin in a contested race (22.4%) of any candidate of either party in New Hampshire primary history. As in Iowa, he outperformed late polls by more than their alleged margins of error. Sanders won 55% of women, a stunning 84% of voters under 30, and 92% of those who say the trait they prize most in a politician is honesty.

Clintonites said Sanders had home-court advantage. (If you buy that excuse, just ask a friend to name a senator from a neighboring state.) Hillary may be the world’s best-known politician after Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and her husband. It gives her an overwhelming headstart in every state but Vermont, which is why she began New Hampshire thirty points up. They made other lame justifications for their loss, but after the flood there was nothing left to spin.

How Clinton lost is as telling as the historic margin she lost by. Just as in 2008, she presented as a hawk to a party bone-weary of war. Now as then, her high-dollar, tone-deaf, leak-prone campaign telegraphed every punch. Her backers harp on her experience — but experience only counts if you learn from it. Eight years later, Clinton makes the exact same mistakes. Still, party elites have bet the farm she’ll have it all sorted out by October. Dangerous wager. ................(more)


February 16, 2016

Uranium Mine and Mill Workers are Dying, and Nobody Will Take Responsibility

from In These Times:

Uranium Mine and Mill Workers are Dying, and Nobody Will Take Responsibility
In the Southwest, poisoned uranium workers are still seeking justice

BY Joseph Sorrentino

To talk to former uranium miners and their families is to talk about the dead and the dying. Brothers and sisters, coworkers and friends: a litany of names and diseases. Many were, as one worker put it, “ate up with cancer,” while others died from various lung and kidney diseases. When the former workers mention their own diseases, it’s clear, though unspoken, that they’re also dying. Some don’t wait for the disease to take them: “Poor guy says he don’t wanna be in a diaper,” says one worker of his brother-in-law, a former miner with lung disease who was facing hospice. “He got a gun and shot himself.”

Women who worked in the mines and mills also bore the risk of reproductive disorders and babies with birth defects. “[Supervisors] told me … as long as I could do the job, there was no reason to worry about my baby,” says Linda Evers, 57. Both of her children had birth defects. Her daughter was born without hips.

I spent a week interviewing former uranium workers (those who worked in the mines and the mills and, sometimes, both) and their families in the towns of Grants and Church Rock, N.M.: ground zero for uranium mining from the mid-1950s until the early 1980s. Years, sometimes decades, after laboring in the mines and mills, workers exhibit diseases associated with uranium exposure. The federal government, under a program called the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), has paid more than $750 million in restitution to uranium workers on nearly 8,000 claims. But in order to receive compensation, workers have to have been employed before 1972—the year the federal government stopped purchasing uranium for its nuclear arms build-up. The workers I spoke with are part of a group of thousands who worked in uranium mines or mills after December 31, 1971, and have diseases linked to uranium exposure, but, so far, cannot get compensation from RECA.

Spouses of former workers also suffer health effects, even though they may have never set foot in a mine or mill. The Post ’71 Uranium Workers Committee, an advocacy organization cofounded by Linda Evers, surveyed 421 wives of uranium workers and found that 40 percent reported miscarriages, stillbirths or children with birth defects. One vector of contamination may have been laundry brought home from the mines. Cipriano Lucero, 61, worked in the Anaconda mill, where uranium was processed into yellowcake, a toxic substance. “[His clothes] were stinky and yellow and no matter how much bleach, they would never come out, they were still yellow,” says his wife, Liz, adding, “I would wash his clothes with our clothes.” ...............(more)


February 16, 2016

Does Hillary Clinton Care About the Gender Pay Gap? Not When She Was Senator

via truthdig:

Turns out despite all this talk about Hillary Clinton being a feminist candidate, she doesn’t always practice what she preaches. It’s a pretty a widespread statistic that women tend to make 77 cents for each dollar that men make in the same positions. The presidential candidate has even tweeted about these figures:

Hillary Clinton


20 years ago, women made 72 cents on the dollar to men. Today it's still just 77 cents. More work to do. #EqualPay #NoCeilings
8:20 PM - 8 Apr 2014

13,766 13,766 Retweets

Yet, as a New York senator, Clinton took the disparity a few cents further (as well as several years back) and paid her female staff about 72 cents per dollar she paid her male staff, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Hillary Clinton portrays herself as a champion of women in the workforce, but women working for her in the U.S. Senate were paid 72 cents for each dollar paid to men, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of her Senate years’ salary data.

During those years, the median annual salary for a woman working in Clinton’s office was $15,708.38 less than the median salary for a man, according to the analysis of data compiled from official Senate expenditure reports.

The analysis compiled the annual salaries paid to staffers for an entire fiscal year of work from the years 2002 to 2008. Salaries of employees who were not part of Clinton’s office for a full fiscal year were not included. Because the Senate fiscal year extends from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, Clinton’s first year in the Senate, which began on Jan. 3, 2001, was also not included in the analysis.

Despite the numbers, Clinton and her allies have long-touted her as “a fighter for equal pay.”

Read more.

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata


February 16, 2016

The Never-Ending Story: Europe’s Banks Face a Frightening Future

(Bloomberg) If you had to pick the moment when European banking reached the point of no return, which would you choose? The July day in 2012 when Bob Diamond resigned as Barclays’s chief executive officer amid the Libor rigging scandal? Or the fall morning later that year when UBS announced it was pulling out of fixed income and firing 10,000 employees? How about Sept. 12, 2010, when Basel III’s raft of costly capital requirements started upending the economics of global finance?

All signature events, to be sure. But try May 21, 2015. That’s when Deutsche Bank stockholders filed into the dome-shaped Festhalle arena in Frankfurt to take part in one of the most venerated and, let’s be honest, boring rituals in corporate life: casting a vote on management’s strategy and performance. It wasn’t dull this time. Almost 40 percent of the bank’s investors gave co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen a big thumbs down. While winning six out of 10 votes is a landslide in politics, it’s a crushing blow at a publicly traded company. By the end of June, Jain was out and Fitschen had agreed to leave the company by May of this year.

Investors are running out of patience with European bank chieftains, and no wonder. Since the fall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, eight of Europe’s biggest banks have announced layoffs adding up to about 100,000 employees, paid $63 billion in legal penalties, and lost $420 billion in market value. In 2015, Deutsche Bank lost a record €6.8 billion ($7.6 billion). In mid-February the industry suffered an epic selloff as subzero interest rates, China’s slowdown, the oil crash, and looming regulatory and litigation costs triggered an outbreak of fear not seen since the fall of 2008. Just last year new CEOs took over at Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Standard Chartered. Now they have to find a way to prosper in a marketplace that’s being reshaped simultaneously by strict new capital regulations and myriad financial technology startups that don’t have to abide by them. .....................(more)


February 16, 2016

In Awe at Just How Fast Global Trade is Unraveling

I’m in Awe at Just How Fast Global Trade is Unraveling
by Wolf Richter • February 15, 2016

It simply doesn’t let up. Global trade is skidding south at a breath-taking speed.

[font color="blue"]China produced a doozie:[/font]

The General Administration of Customs reported on Monday that in yuan terms, exports dropped 6.6% in January from a year ago while imports plunged 14.4%. In dollar terms, it was even worse due to the depreciation of the yuan since August: exports plunged 11.2% and imports 18.8%, far worse than economists had expected.

And so the trade surplus, powered by those plunging imports, jumped 12.2% to a record $63.3 billion.

This came on top of China’s deteriorating trade numbers last year, when exports had fallen 1.8% in yuan terms while imports had plunged 13.2%. Imports have now declined for 15 months in a row. That’s tough for the world economy.

OK, Chinese trade data can be heavily distorted by fake invoicing of “imports” from Hong Kong, a practice used to maneuver around capital controls and send money out of China. Imports from Hong Kong in January soared 108% from a year ago, even as shipments from other major trading partners declined. Bloomberg:

China has acknowledged a problem with fake invoicing in the past. In 2013, the government said export and import figures were overstated due to the phony trade to bring money into the mainland. Trade data for December suggested the practice had flared up again, this time to get money out.

In January, we have the additional fudge factor of the Lunar New Year. Chinese companies were closed all last week. It caused all kinds of front-loading in December and early January followed by a wind-down in late January and early February. .............(more)


February 15, 2016

Florida's latest chart-topper

[font size="4"]'Goat rapist' on the prowl in Florida according to woman who says three of her animals have been attacked for months[/font]

• Sharon Cruz-Pecina has called on police to arrest the 'goat rapist'
• She is convinced someone is trespassing on her property in Florida
• The 'elusive man' is said be assaulting other goats in the state
• Police are now investigating after Sharon made a complain
• Attempts to make having sex with an animal illegal failed in 2008

By Matt Hunter For Mailonline
Published: 09:05 EST, 5 February 2016 | Updated: 10:26 EST, 5 February 2016

A woman from Florida claims an 'elusive goat rapist' is repeatedly assaulting her animals.

Sharon Cruz-Pecina has called on police to arrest the person she is convinced is trespassing on her property and having sex with her three pets.

She thinks the animals have been attacked since last summer.

Sharon, from Caryville, Florida, told local TV news station WJHG: 'He's been attacking them and raping them. I'm not jumping to conclusions.' .................(more)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3433538/Elusive-goat-rapist-prowl-Florida-according-woman-says-three-animals-attacked-months.html#ixzz40GDdU4RS

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