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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,639

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The Real Hillary Clinton

via truthdig:

The Real Hillary Clinton

Posted on Apr 24, 2016
By Lila Garrett

Recently in the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton supporters have complained vociferously that Bernie Sanders is being too critical. In reality, he’s been far too polite. He’s obviously uncomfortable insulting his opponent, shooting from the hip, using sarcasm instead of facts. Clinton’s comfort zone is all of that. Her sarcasm slops over the brim, and facts vanish like so much fairy dust. She dismisses the effective Sanders, with the solid progressive agenda, as a dreamer, while she, the proud warrior, paints herself as the pragmatist.

Enough of this. Let’s meet the real Clinton.

She has been running hard as an anti-gun candidate. Really? Then why, in 2008, did her then-opponent, Barack Obama, refer to her as “Annie Oakley”? Clinton was far more lenient on gun control at that time then Sanders ever was. If he’s pro-gun, why does he have a D- rating from the National Rifle Association? And in case you think she has completely turned around on the issue of guns, on March 19 she was given a whopping fundraiser by John Forbes, a major lobbyist of the NRA.

Not only is Clinton not the progressive she claims to be, she has consistently supported the agenda of corporations wishing to overrule government decisions (witness her strong previous support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which gives corporations exactly that power).

Her foreign policy, endorsed not just by Henry Kissinger and neoconservative Robert Kagan, is lauded by Dick Cheney. Remember him? The Dr. Strangelove of the Bush administration? ...........(more)


“A Total Illusion from QE and Financial Engineering”

“A Total Illusion from QE and Financial Engineering”
by Harry Dent • April 22, 2016

The 10-Year Treasury Is Less Than You Think

By Harry Dent, Economy & Markets

When the Fed was created in 1914, it was set to task of controlling short-term interest rates in an attempt to iron out financial cycles. It succeeded for many years. But by avoiding the natural rebalancing (and occasional pain) from free markets, we just got a bigger bubble into 1929. Then, when it finally burst, we got the greatest depression in all of modern history!

Since the Fed and other central banks were created, they have always manipulated short-term interest rates to try to encourage borrowing and spending in slowdowns – to make the natural economic cycle “go away.”

And every time, it suppresses the economic cycles that were already in place, until finally they come roaring back.

So it always strikes me as funny to see highly educated, seemingly reasonable people in pin-striped suits and pantsuits stand in front of us and basically say that there’s a free lunch after all – that we can get something for nothing!

To them, economics is no longer a matter of supply and demand, free markets and rebalancing. They think we’ve found a way to program the economy so we never have a recession again.

All the apparent education and sophistication of these top economists, financial officials and central bankers boils down to this simple automaton explanation: if we don’t keep taking more of the financial drug that we used to keep the bubble going, like zero interest rates and QE, we will collapse and go into detox. ..................(more)


With Impeccable Timing, ‘Economic Miracle’ in Spain Unravels

With Impeccable Timing, ‘Economic Miracle’ in Spain Unravels
by Don Quijones • April 24, 2016

[font size="4"][font color="blue"]The European Union on the verge.[/font][/font]

By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

Since the granddaddy of all housing bubbles popped in Spain between 2008 and 2009, unleashing one of the deepest recessions in living memory, the nation’s public debt has more than doubled, from just over 40% of GDP to almost exactly 100% today. Last year, despite the fact that Spain grew faster than almost any other European economy, the government managed to rack up a deficit of 5.2%, one full percentage point above the target that it had set itself a year earlier and over three percentage points above the Eurozone average.

It’s the third-highest deficit-to-GDP ratio in the Eurozone after Greece and Portugal. That’s some claim for Europe’s supposed economic success story.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Spain has overshot its fiscal target. Originally, the Spanish government was supposed to get its deficit back below the EU’s sacred limit of 3% of GDP by 2013. When it became clear during the darkest days of the crisis that it would be impossible, the deadline was extended by a year. A year later, Madrid had made so little progress that it got a further two-year extension, to 2016.

But still there’s no sign of progress. None of which should come as a surprise. As WOLF STREET warned in October, it was plain as day that the Spanish government would fail to rein in its spending during the run-up to a tightly fought general election. Brussels was completely aware of this fact and did nothing to address it, for obvious reasons: political expedience.

Brussels along with Spain’s big banks, corporate giants, and the Troika wanted the conservative Rajoy government to win December’s do-or-die general elections. They’d do “whatever it takes” to keep the narrative intact that the Spanish economy has never been better. ..................(more)


Retailer Bankruptcies Are Hailing Down on the US Economy

Retailer Bankruptcies Are Hailing Down on the US Economy
by Wolf Richter • April 21, 2016

[font color="blue"]There’s no respite in sight.[/font]

Another retailer is heading for bankruptcy. This time Aeropostale, with 800 teen-clothing stores, after three years in a row of losses. It’s “preparing to reorganize under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and could file as soon as this month, according to people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reported today.

Upon Bloomberg’s propitious report, Aeropostale shares plunged 28% to 15 cents. It has been a penny stock since last September. The New York Stock Exchange, which had threatened the company with delisting, removed the stock before 2 p.m. today, and trading of the shares has been suspended.


Aeropostale is trying to work out a loan to finance its operations during the bankruptcy process, according to the people. A deal to avert a filing or find a buyer also could still emerge, they said.

Which is what just about all collapsing retailers are valiantly trying to do. And often to no avail.

In March, Aeropostale had already announced that it would “evaluate strategic alternatives.” It hired Stifel Financial Corp. to work on a sale or restructuring. According to Bloomberg, it’s also working with law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and FTI Consulting, “people familiar with the matter said last week.” ................(more)


Flint Water Crisis fall guys


Flint District Judge Tracy Collier-Nix approved criminal charges Wednesday morning against three individuals in connection with the Flint water crisis.

Charged by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette are two MDEQ officials and one Flint city government official.

A bit about the three:

1. Mike Glasgow, Flint's utilities administrator, is charged with two counts of tampering with evidence and willful neglect of office. It is believed that Glasgow signed off on a document which falsely said the homes used to test tap water this summer had lead service lines. This admission, according tothe Detroit Free Press, is why Flint had shown artificially low lead levels.

2. Mike Prysby, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official who was Flint's engineer, faces six criminal charges (two charges of misconduct in the office, one charge of conspiracy to tamper with evidence, one for tampering with evidence, and one for engaging a treatment violation process that breaches Michigan's Safe Drinking Water Act, and one for monitoring such a treatment violation).

3. Stephen Busch, a former supervisor of one of DEQ’s eight district offices within the department’s drinking water program, faces five charges (misconduct in the office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, engaging in a treatment violation that breached Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, and engaging in monitoring violation that breach Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act).

Recession Watch: Inventory Glut, Iffy Consumer Demand Sink US Freight Volume

Recession Watch: Inventory Glut, Iffy Consumer Demand Sink US Freight Volume
by Wolf Richter • April 19, 2016

[font color="blue"]Worst March, worst first quarter since 2010.[/font]

The goods-based economy in the US, largely dependent on the previously irrepressible but now strung-out American consumer, isn’t doing so well. To what extent things have deteriorated shows up in the freight data.

Freight shipments in March fell 1.5% in terms of volume from the already terribly low levels of March 2015, according to the Cass Freight Index. It has been an awful year so far. The index hit the lowest level for any March since 2010. This followed the worst February since 2011 and the worst January since 2010. This is not a blip.

On an average basis, volume in the first quarter fell 3.0% from the same period in 2015: the worst first quarter since 2010!

The Cass Freight Index tracks freight transactions by “hundreds of large shippers,” regardless of mode of transportation, including by truck and rail. It does not cover bulk commodities, such as oil and coal; so the mayhem taking place in those spaces is not reflected in the index. Instead, the index is focused on consumer packaged goods, food, automotive, chemical, OEM, heavy equipment, and retail. ..............(more)


Chris Hedges: Revolution Is in the Air

from truthdig:

Revolution Is in the Air

Posted on Apr 16, 2016
By Chris Hedges

[font size="1"]Actress Rosario Dawson demonstrated Friday on Capitol Hill. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)[/font]

WASHINGTON, D.C—The sustained, daily civil disobedience at the Capitol by demonstrators denouncing the capture of our political system by corporate money is part of one of the largest and most important movements for social justice since the Occupy uprising. Join it.

Six hundred of the protesters have been arrested, and I was among 100 arrested Friday.

The protesters, organized by Democracy Spring, have converged on Washington from across the country. Young. Old. Black. White. Brown. Native American. Asian. Christian. Jew. Muslim. Buddhist. Atheist. From the left. From the right. Some marched for 10 days along a 160-mile route from Philadelphia to Washington.

On Friday, about a dozen protesters who had slipped into a tour group to get into the Capitol used zip ties to bind themselves to each other and to scaffolding inside the rotunda. They remained until they were arrested. In addition, scores of other protesters were taken away by police during the day.

“We the people demand a democracy free from the corrupting influence of big money and voter suppression,” they shouted. “We demand a democracy where every vote is counted and every voice is heard. Democracy Spring!” ..............(more)


TYT on the bullshit "Bernie Bros" meme.....

Remember the "Obama Boys" meme in 2008? .... Dejavoodoo!!!!

Why This Economy Is Now Running Aground

Why This Economy Is Now Running Aground
by Wolf Richter • April 13, 2016

[font color="blue"]Business sales worst since 2012, inventories at crisis level, jobs next.[/font]

Total business sales fell again in February, the Commerce Department reported today. They include sales by manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers of all sizes across the US economy. This measure is far broader than the aggregate sales by publicly traded companies, which too have been falling.

At $1.284 trillion in February, total business sales were down an estimated 0.4% from January, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes. And they were down 1.4% from the already beaten-down levels of February last year. They’re back where they’d first been in November 2012!

By segment: Manufacturers’ shipments fell 3.5% year-over-year to $444.6 billion. Sales by retailers rose 3.1% to $360.6 billion, propped up in part by auto dealers. And sales by wholesalers fell 3.1% to $395.8 billion.

With optimism running wild about a booming Fed-designed future, executives have been hoping in aggregate that sales next month and next quarter would be better. But these wishes just haven’t come true. So now, way behind the curve, they’re struggling to bring their bloated inventories in line with the reality of their sales.

Manufacturers were able to trim their inventories by 2.3% year-over-year, and wholesalers were able to whittle them down 0.6%, but retail inventories soared 5.9% after having already jumped 5.7% in January following a lousy holiday season. ............(more)


Big Pharma Trips Over the Maxed-out American Consumer

Big Pharma Trips Over the Maxed-out American Consumer
by Wolf Richter • April 14, 2016

[font color="blue"]Even as Prescription Drug Volume Stagnates, Prices Soar.[/font]

Total US spending on prescription drugs in 2015, at the manufacturers’ level and as measured by “invoice pricing,” jumped by 12.2% to $424.8 billion, after having already soared 14.2% in 2014! A two-year increase of 28%!

So you’d think we’d get some results for all this moolah. But no.

Life expectancy in the US, at 78.7 years at birth, ranks between 34th and 52nd place globally, depending on who does the counting, wedged somewhere between Bahrain and Cuba, and about 5 years below the top. Among US states, life expectancy ranges from 81.3 years in Hawaii or 80.8 years in California to 74.9 years in Mississippi. It’s bad. But we handed Big Pharma a ballooning amount of money to get there.

This $424.8 billion in prescription drug spending at “invoice pricing” isn’t based on what Americans or their health insurers pay. According to IMS Health, which released the report, it reflects invoice pricing by drug companies to distributors. It includes neither price concessions by drug companies nor the “mark-ups and additional costs” before these drugs get to patients.

Another metric is “net price spending.” It’s based on the same wholesale prices but after “rebates, off-invoice discounts, and other price concessions made by manufacturers to distributors, health plans, and intermediaries.” And it jumped by 8.5% to $309.5 billion. ...................(more)


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