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marmar

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

Journal Archives

Robert Scheer and NSA whistleblower William Binney: ‘They’re Scrapping Our Constitution’





Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer and National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney discuss the difference between intelligence gathering and ordinary police work, why the NSA failed after 9/11 and how the agency collects data on ordinary Americans.

“When they started that collection, as far as I was concerned, that’s a direct violation of the constitutional rights of everybody in the country,” Binney explains. “So, they’re scrapping our Constitution and that’s when I said I have to get out.”


'the US is not a democracy....and the American economy is not in recovery'


Sucking Spoilt Milk From A Bloated Dead Sow
May 3, 2015 Posted by Raúl Ilargi Meijer at 1:21 pm


With US GDP growth ‘officially’ back where it belongs, in the Arctic zone close to freezing on the surface but much worse in real life, for reasons both Albert Edwards and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (not exactly a pair of Siamese twins) remarked this week; that is, excluding the “biggest inventory build in history, the economy contracted sharply”, it’s time for everyone to at long last change the angle from which they view the world, if not the color of their glasses.

But ‘everyone’ will resist, refuse and refute that change, leaving precious few people with an accurate picture of the – economic – world. Still, for you it’s beneficial to acknowledge that very little of what you read holds much, if any, truth or value. This is true when it comes to politics, geopolitics and economics. That is, the US is not a democracy, it is not the supreme leader of the world, and the American economy is not in recovery.

Declining business investment, a record inventory build and extreme borrowing to hold share prices above water through buybacks, it all together paints a picture of a very unhealthy if not outright dying economy, and certainly not one in which anything at all is recovering. But how are you supposed to know?

The entire financial media should change its angle of view, away from the recovery meme (or myth), but the media won’t because the absurd one-dimensional focus on that perpetuated myth is the only thing that makes the present mess somewhat bearable, palatable and, more importantly, marketable, to the general public.

......(snip)......

• The American economy is not in recovery. I already mentioned the creative jobs numbers accounting. Also, without Fed intervention, asset prices (bonds, stocks, real estate..) would be much lower. This would have been a lot healthier for everyone, except for banks and their shareholders. But once QE is unleashed, there is no smooth exit possible. It will need to continue until it self-implodes. ...................(more)

http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/05/sucking-spoilt-milk-from-a-bloated-dead-sow/




Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Brad Sherman Team Up to Break Up America’s Biggest Banks


from truthdig:


Building off the momentum from his 2016 campaign launch Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders is taking aim at America’s banking behemoths with an aggressively named new bill he drew up with Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., called the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act.”

The congressional tag team will introduce their measure on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. A preemptive announcement released Tuesday about the unveiling, slated to be held in the Senate Radio and TV Gallery at 11:30 a.m. EST, said the aim of the effort is “to break up the nation’s biggest banks.”

A bold move, if seemingly improbable, but we’ll take it over the many implemented acts of legislative hypocrisy that turned out to have the opposite effect in recent history.

The bill’s title draws upon the same rationale that banks like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America capitalized upon—both while playing roulette with the global economy and then while putting the squeeze on two successive American administrations to bail them out—to illustrate precisely why those same institutions shouldn’t be able to survive in the same destructive form that allowed them to wreak havoc on an unprecedented scale. ....................(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/sen_bernie_sanders_rep_brad_sherman_team_up_to_20150505




Bikes vs Cars: why it’s war between cyclists and drivers on city streets


Bikes vs Cars: why it’s war between cyclists and drivers on city streets
In Toronto, they’ve painted over the bike lanes. And in Săo Paulo, a cyclist got his arm torn off by a car that didn’t even stop … We knew it was bad on the world’s crowded roads, but a new film reveals it’s a fight to the death


(Guardian UK) Fredrik Gertten is a Swedish documentary-maker: he made a film about the banana industry, and then he made a film about being sued by the banana industry. He has recently been anointed one of Sweden’s “top environmentalists” – which, although the title is fairly broad, has got to be good. And he has now made Bikes vs Cars, which is as confronting – though I don’t think you’d call it exactly confrontational – as you would expect.

I have, give or take, mainly peddled the line that it’s not a war between the two-wheeled and the four-wheeled: how could it be, when a lot of us are both drivers and cyclists (and sometimes, inevitably, also pedestrians)? It seemed to me, much as it does on the road itself, safer not to be adversarial. This film’s message – from the streets of Săo Paulo to Los Angeles, via the toxic situation in Toronto – makes it plain that a war is exactly what it is: cities are designed for cars and are hostile to bikes. And cars are not designed for life.

“Car dependency,” Gertten says, “is a disease for society. If you’re dependent on having a car every day, you have lost your freedom. It’s very sad. Most people are unhappy in traffic. The people who bike their cities, they become city-lovers. When you’re in a car, you don’t see the city, you are only watching the road. On a bike, you can see the sky, you can see the trees. People get to know their countries in a different way.”

The way he describes it, which comes across even more intensely in the film, is not so much a clash between bikes and cars as a battle of love and hate. How do you know the contours of where you live? Do you dart across them like an urban hummingbird? Or do you crawl sightlessly along them in a tank? .....................(more)

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/03/bikes-vs-cars-film-war-cyclists-drivers-fredrik-gertten-interview




How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world




How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world
In the 1960s, Dutch cities were increasingly in thrall to motorists, with the car seen as the transport of the future. It took the intolerable toll of child traffic deaths – and fierce activism – to turn Amsterdam into the cycling nirvana of today


(Guardian UK) Anyone who has ever tried to make their way through the centre of Amsterdam in a car knows it: the city is owned by cyclists. They hurry in swarms through the streets, unbothered by traffic rules, taking precedence whenever they want, rendering motorists powerless by their sheer numbers.

Cyclists rule in Amsterdam and great pains have been taken to accommodate them: the city is equipped with an elaborate network of cycle-paths and lanes, so safe and comfortable that even toddlers and elderly people use bikes as the easiest mode of transport. It’s not only Amsterdam which boasts a network of cycle-paths, of course; you’ll find them in all Dutch cities.

The Dutch take this for granted; they even tend to believe these cycle-paths have existed since the beginning of time. But that is certainly not the case. There was a time, in the 1950s and 60s, when cyclists were under severe threat of being expelled from Dutch cities by the growing number of cars. Only thanks to fierce activism and a number of decisive events would Amsterdam succeed in becoming what it is, unquestionably, now: the bicycle capital of the world.

At the start of the 20th century, bikes far outnumbered cars in Dutch cities and the bicycle was considered a respectable mode of transport for men and women. But when the Dutch economy began to boom in the post-war era, more and more people were able to afford cars, and urban policymakers came to view the car as the travel mode of the future. Entire Amsterdam neighbourhoods were destroyed to make way for motorised traffic. The use of bikes decreased by 6% every year, and the general idea was that bicycles would eventually disappear altogether. ......................(more)

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/may/05/amsterdam-bicycle-capital-world-transport-cycling-kindermoord




Have we really reached 'peak car'?


Have we really reached 'peak car'?
Vehicle traffic grew at a fearsome rate worldwide for decades … until 2007. Then came the perfect storm of an economic collapse, a digital revolution and major changes to urban lifestyles. But is this just a blip?


A funny thing happened on the way to Carmageddon: the predicted traffic failed to show up. As engineers continued to forecast traffic growth in line with historic averages – up, up and yet farther up, to an eventual “carpocalypse” – actual traffic not only fell short of projections, in many places it just plain fell. A growing number of researchers and commentators are now suggesting that we’ve reached “peak car”, the point at which traffic growth stops, and potentially even falls on a per capita basis.

Total vehicles miles travelled (VMT) has been outpacing population and jobs for decades, across industrialised countries. For example, check out the US from 1960 to 2012:

http://static.guim.co.uk/ni/1429804188288/us_population_v_jobs.svg

Vehicle traffic grew at a fearsome rate, as any commuter can attest ... up until 2007. Then traffic not only plateaued, it fell. Similar trends are evident in the UK and other developed countries. Phil Goodwin at UCL has compiled statistics for various countries into the following chart:

http://static.guim.co.uk/ni/1429805064105/passenger_kilometres.svg

The pattern is clear. The only uncertainties are about what caused it, and whether it will continue into the future.

And, as it turns out, there are fundamental disagreements on those points. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/30/have-we-really-reached-peak-car





The Royals aren't fighting with everybody.......


Royals-Tigers series makes for the start of a healthy rivalry

By VAHE GREGORIAN
vgregorian@kcstar.com


As he considered the cosmic meaning of the Tigers salvaging a split in their four-game series against the Royals with a 6-4 victory on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, Detroit manager Brad Ausmus shrugged and said, “I don’t know that there were any eureka moments.”

But there were a few of to be derived from a compelling series in which the last three games were sellouts. That means that the Royals through 13 home games have been at capacity more times this season (five) than in 81 regular-season games last year (four).

“I knew back in the day when we weren’t getting good crowds that it was still a baseball town,” left fielder Alex Gordon said, “and that once we started playing well, they were going to come out and support us.”

The crowds, of course, are testament to the Royals’ resurgence — not to mention the giveaway Saturday of a Salvador Perez bobblehead commemorating the 2014 American League wild-card win over Oakland that was transformative for the franchise.

This was about something else, too, though: the anticipation of a budding — and notably respectful — rivalry with the Tigers. ...............(more)

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/gregorian-chants/article20152092.html#storylink=cpy




'it all together paints a picture of a very unhealthy if not outright dying economy'


Sucking Spoilt Milk From A Bloated Dead Sow
By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth


With US GDP growth ‘officially’ back where it belongs, in the Arctic zone close to freezing on the surface but much worse in real life, for reasons both Albert Edwards and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (not exactly a pair of Siamese twins) remarked this week; that is, excluding the “biggest inventory build in history, the economy contracted sharply”, it’s time for everyone to at long last change the angle from which they view the world, if not the color of their glasses.

But ‘everyone’ will resist, refuse and refute that change, leaving precious few people with an accurate picture of the – economic – world. Still, for you it’s beneficial to acknowledge that very little of what you read holds much, if any, truth or value. This is true when it comes to politics, geopolitics and economics. That is, the US is not a democracy, it is not the supreme leader of the world, and the American economy is not in recovery.

Declining business investment, a record inventory build and extreme borrowing to hold share prices above water through buybacks, it all together paints a picture of a very unhealthy if not outright dying economy, and certainly not one in which anything at all is recovering. But how are you supposed to know?

The entire financial media should change its angle of view, away from the recovery meme (or myth), but the media won’t because the absurd one-dimensional focus on that perpetuated myth is the only thing that makes the present mess somewhat bearable, palatable and, more importantly, marketable, to the general public. ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/ilargi-sucking-spoilt-milk-bloated-dead-sow.html




'it all together paints a picture of a very unhealthy if not outright dying economy'



Sucking Spoilt Milk From A Bloated Dead Sow
By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth


With US GDP growth ‘officially’ back where it belongs, in the Arctic zone close to freezing on the surface but much worse in real life, for reasons both Albert Edwards and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (not exactly a pair of Siamese twins) remarked this week; that is, excluding the “biggest inventory build in history, the economy contracted sharply”, it’s time for everyone to at long last change the angle from which they view the world, if not the color of their glasses.

But ‘everyone’ will resist, refuse and refute that change, leaving precious few people with an accurate picture of the – economic – world. Still, for you it’s beneficial to acknowledge that very little of what you read holds much, if any, truth or value. This is true when it comes to politics, geopolitics and economics. That is, the US is not a democracy, it is not the supreme leader of the world, and the American economy is not in recovery.

Declining business investment, a record inventory build and extreme borrowing to hold share prices above water through buybacks, it all together paints a picture of a very unhealthy if not outright dying economy, and certainly not one in which anything at all is recovering. But how are you supposed to know?

The entire financial media should change its angle of view, away from the recovery meme (or myth), but the media won’t because the absurd one-dimensional focus on that perpetuated myth is the only thing that makes the present mess somewhat bearable, palatable and, more importantly, marketable, to the general public. ...................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/ilargi-sucking-spoilt-milk-bloated-dead-sow.html



China Containerized Freight Index Plunges to Multiyear Low, Shanghai-EU Rates Totally Collapse, US..


By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street.

Two weeks ago, when I wrote about the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), the index had fallen so far so fast that it seemed to be a statistical fluke, something that would instantly bounce back. The SCFI tracks the spot rates from Shanghai to various destinations around the world. At the time, the SCFI component for Northern Europe had plunged 14% from the prior week to $399 per twenty-foot container equivalent unit (TEU), down 67% from a year ago. An all-time low.

There was a lot of handwringing because, even with the lower bunker fuel costs, the break-even rates for these routes were $800 per TEU, according to a report by Drewry Maritime Research. Over twice the spot shipping rates!

The question was how much lower could rates drop?

A lot lower. Over the two weeks since, the SCFI for Northern Europe plunged another 14% to $343, setting a new all-time low. A terrific 68% collapse from the same week a year ago. Something big is going on in the China-Europe trade.

.....(snip).....

Cheaply borrowed money gets plowed into creating overcapacity: Investors desperately chase yield, and companies become over-optimistic believers in the fallacy that central-bank asset-price inflation can create actual demand for everyday goods needed or wanted by real people. This happened in the global resource sector, in the US oil-and-gas sector, in the global shipping business…. These are among the places where money now goes to die. ............(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/wolf-richter-china-containerized-freight-index-plunges-multi-year-low-shanghai-eu-rates-totally-collapse-us-rates-morose.html




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