Recent comments by aleister perdurabo

Obama channeling Cheney? | Michael Hudson

It’s as if Obama is channeling Dick Cheney. Why is he not telling the American people, look, we’ve backed opponents to Russia and I’m afraid they’ve got out of hand, we’re really very sorry that they’ve been shooting innocent civilians, we’re sorry they’re sorry acting illegally, we’re sorry they’re kleptocrats, we’re sorry they have closed all other Russian-speaking TV stations, we’re sorry that they’re–you know, this is bad behavior, this is not democracy, what we want to back is democracy?

But he’s not saying that. He’s saying, not only are we backing the right-wingers, but we told Putin that there’s no–don’t even bother coming to a meeting with us unless you give Ukraine gas for nothing. Well, Putin gave a speech in Russia saying that Russia is the only country that actually gives to the Ukraine, that is actually giving them gas. He says that the West has been encouraging him, egging them on, but hasn’t been giving given them any money at all.

Now Germany’s worried–and that’s why it was the German television station that did this investigative report–Germany’s worried because it gets its gas over a pipeline that runs through the Ukraine. And the Ukrainians’ Svoboda Party, the party in charge of investigating the Maidan massacre, is saying, we’re going to blow up the pipelines to Russia, because what we want to do is prevent Russia from getting the foreign exchange by selling its gas that it would use to build up its military power.

So someone in the neocon administration here in America has said, look, if we can just stop Russia from getting export payments for its gas, it won’t have enough money for militarization and we’ll win the Cold War. This is the coup de grace, as Brzezinski wrote in his book before. And this is crazy.

Daily Press Briefing - April 18, 2014

QUESTION: Hold on --


MS. PSAKI: I’m sorry. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Let me just continue – just one more question. So are you saying that if these self-proclaimed people’s republic and these obviously pro-Russian rebels don’t stand down and vacate these public buildings, that you’re going to hold Russia responsible?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Elise, we’ve talked over the last several days, as has the President, as has Secretary Kerry, about the clear and strong connection we see between these separatists and Russia. So yes, we do feel they have the ability to influence and – influence the separatists and change the situation on the ground. There’s no question about that.

QUESTION: As the discussion was going on in Geneva yesterday, President Putin was on television making a series of statements reiterating the fact that the Russians believe – regard what happened in Kyiv as a coup and that the new government is illegal. Do you – given that, the Russians would seem to be able – because this statement is quite vague, they would seem to be able to argue that all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners could refer to government buildings in Kyiv. I realize that you reject that, you say that your stance is well known, but the Russian stance is also well known. Do you discount them an interpretation of this statement --

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the context --

QUESTION: -- that would include that? Or do you believe that the fact that Lavrov was there sitting with the Ukrainians is tacit acceptance of the legitimacy of the new government in Kyiv?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not going to speak for Lavrov, naturally, but I think it’s clear in the – all parties came out of the meeting yesterday with a clear understanding of what needed to be implemented. We recognize – and the context and the history here is, of course, important – that Yanukovych left his own government. That was not a coup. He left the country with a vacuum of leadership. The Rada voted to put the legitimate government in place.

QUESTION: Right. I understand your argument, and I understand your position. But the Russian position is diametrically opposed.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And they could interpret this statement in – from Geneva as meaning that the – what they believe is the illegal government in Kyiv has got to get out. Do you not see how they can interpret it that way?

MS. PSAKI: I do not, and I don’t think any other party there saw that as part of the agreement. I mean, one important contextual piece to --
QUESTION: Well, certainly – maybe not people in Geneva, but certainly the guys in Donetsk see it that way.
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think what’s clear here, Matt, is the parties yesterday know what steps need to be implemented. The OSCE will be leading the process of implementing these steps over the coming days, working closely with the Government of Ukraine. We will know and we will see if they take the necessary steps. If they don’t, there will be consequences for their inaction.
QUESTION: Yes, please.
MS. PSAKI: Yeah, Ukraine?
QUESTION: Yes, please. You mentioned that the OSCE is going to follow the mechanism or whatever, the process itself --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And more or less, it is mentioned what you are trying to see if it’s Russians or Ukrainians are going to do it. But is there any timetable, or you can see accordingly if it’s – something is done or not and you decide to make sanctions or not or anything else?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we will not know for several days, but we will see over the coming days whether steps are taken to move this forward. And as part of – written into the agreement yesterday was support by the United States, by the EU, by Russia and Ukraine to support the OSCE monitoring mission. The OSCE monitoring mission will be working closely with the Government of Ukraine and they’ll take steps, we hope, in the coming days to begin that process.

QUESTION: So I was asking because OSCE – they – do they have a normal relation with both sides? Because at a certain point, they were not allowed to enter something – some areas.

MS. PSAKI: You’re right. Well, as part of the accord signed yesterday, the Russians as well as the United States and the EU will support their effort. So implementation, it’s not just, as the Secretary said yesterday, what’s on a piece of paper; it’s whether there are actions taken to implement that. So we will see what happens.

One other piece I just wanted to note on – that the Ukrainian Rada has shown its commitment to moving forward on amnesty. In fact, many of these processes were underway, including constitutional reform, as we all know, but the text of the April 8th law on amnesty was published today in the official parliament’s newspaper. And according to the law’s provisions, it will come into effect tomorrow, April 19th. And that was, of course, part of what the Ukrainian Government said they would do yesterday.

QUESTION: The constitutional reform, just to clarify, because it seems that it was – he was quoted many places, Lavrov, that – saying that there is a commitment or promise from the U.S. side that they are going to convince the Ukrainians to make that change. As a matter of fact, constitutional reform, when it was mentioned – it was not mentioned. I mean, do they look for equality in rights, or superiority in rights --

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: -- those who are in east coast or east Ukrainian part?

MS. PSAKI: Well, inclusivity is a part of what we have been arguing for, and we’ve seen the Ukrainian Government take steps to be inclusive, to include representatives from all parts of Ukraine, to take steps to protect minority rights, and so we’ll continue to encourage that moving forward.

QUESTION: So there is no like a pushing for being autonomous in deciding what they want to do in the east part of Ukraine?

MS. PSAKI: Well, the Ukrainian Government will make that determination. The prime minister has spoken publicly in the last several days about an openness to having that discussion. So we expect that will continue, but we’re going to make those decision for them.
On Ukraine?

QUESTION: Yeah, on Ukraine. So 24 hours after the Geneva agreement, what is your level of confidence that Russia will comply with the agreement? And when you said “in the coming days,” when will you start monitoring on the ground that the agreement is implemented?

MS. PSAKI: Well, the agreement takes effect immediately. So clearly, there are steps that need to be taken, including the role – the OSCE’s role, obviously the Ukrainian Government will be closely engaged in that. I’m not going to put a – make a prediction on how confident we are. I will say we’re clear-eyed about Russia’s record of not implementing steps in the past, so we will see if they do take steps this time, and if they don’t take steps there will be consequences. But I’m not going to put a date on that. We won’t know for a couple of days.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, why don’t you have complete confidence that they’ll implement the agreement? I mean, this agreement is very favorable towards Russia because it asks for most – I mean, except for the getting rid of the occupying of the public buildings, I mean, it gives them all the things that they’ve been looking for, such as – well, I guess not annexing the actual territory, but now, between constitutional reform, the autonomy that the Ukrainians are offering, and even Secretary Kerry said it’s far more than any of these other type of territories. Doesn’t it give Russia – if these autonomous regions are leaning towards Russia, doesn’t it really give Russia kind of a firm hand in the eastern Ukraine without having to invade?

MS. PSAKI: Well, the most important priority here, Elise, when we were discussing this yesterday, was de-escalatory steps. So we’re going to see if Russia takes those de-escalatory steps. It doesn’t make a prediction of the outcome of a discussion about autonomy. It says they will have a discussion about autonomy, which the Ukrainian Government themselves have said they’re willing to have anyway. And the constitutional reform process has been underway. So what I’m conveying here is that we’re clear-eyed in the sense that we want to see them take action. It’s not just about having a piece of paper.

QUESTION: If I could just point out that the Russian foreign ministry is already saying that the Kyiv Government has misinterpreted the Geneva statement, and that all illegally – all the buildings occupied illegally includes them. So it seems to me that you’ve got a situation like you had after the Geneva 1 agreement on Syria, where there’s just a fundamental refusal by both sides – by both you and the Russians – to agree on what you agreed.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I --

QUESTION: Your position after Geneva 1 in Syria was that it – there was no way Assad could remain in power, and the Russians said no, that’s not what it says. And now you’re saying that our interpretation is right and their interpretation is wrong. All that – one side might be right or might be wrong, but the problem is that it’s never going to get implemented as long as you don’t have a fundamental agreement on what you actually agreed to.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think there are clear steps that led – that the OSCE-led mission will be implementing, and that is moving out of these buildings, disarming irregulars. We support that, certainly. We’re going to see if they take those steps. At no point have we agreed or would we agree that the legitimate Government of Ukraine has a – would be impacted by this in the way that suggests. If that’s what the Russian interpretation is and that’s all they’re willing to address, then there’ll be consequences.


MS. PSAKI: And we’ll keep preparing those on our side.

QUESTION: Ukraine.

MS. PSAKI: Okay, go ahead.

QUESTION: What’s the next step if we see good faith efforts from Russia to work toward the agreement, but the situation in the east does not de-escalate, they don’t come to the table for constitutional reform, they boycott elections? What’s the next step?

Putin is having his Dr. Frankenstein moment.

Special Report: How the U.S. made its Putin problem worse
| Reuters

Another core dispute between Bush and Putin related to democracy. What Bush and other American officials saw as democracy spreading across the former Soviet bloc, Putin saw as pro-American regime change.

The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, without U.N. authorization and over the objections ofFrance, Germany and Russia, was a turning point for Putin. He said the war made a mockery of American claims of promoting democracy abroad and upholding international law.

Putin was also deeply skeptical of U.S. efforts to nurture democracy in the former Soviet bloc, where the State Department and American nonprofit groups provided training and funds to local civil-society groups. In public speeches, he accused the United States of meddling.

In 2006, Bush and Putin's sparring over democracy intensified. In a press conference at the first G-8 summit hosted by Russia, the two presidents had a testy exchange. Bush said that the United States was promoting freedom in Iraq, which was engulfed in violence. Putin openly mocked him.

"We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq," Putin said, smiling as the audience erupted into laughter, "I will tell you quite honestly."

Bush tried to laugh off the remark. "Just wait," he replied, referring to Iraq.

University of Pittsburgh study connects Top 40 hits, binge drinking | USA TODAY College

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh finds a correlation between the number of times alcohol brands are mentioned in top 40 songs and the amount of binge drinking occurring among young adults.

Surveying 2,500 young people to see if they liked a selection of ten top 40 hits that mention alcohol, the results show that those who answered yes were also found to be three times more likely than their peers to drink — and twice as likely to binge-drink.

Only 8 percent of the 2,500 studied were able to recall specific brands mentioned in songs, but these people were even more likely to drink than the others studied.

Bangkok hotel owner in US scandal | Bangkok Post: news

Sant Singh Chatwal was accused of working with an unidentified informant to use straw donors to make contributions to three unnamed political candidates. He also was accused of trying to persuade a witness to not speak to the FBI.

Chatwal, an Indian-born US citizen, is the founder of Hampshire Hotels Management LLC. The company owns and manages the four-star Dream Hotel Bangkok on Sukhumvit Soi 15, in addition to hotels in New York, Miami, the United Kingdom, Thailand and India.
Despite his financial ties to Thailand, no official charges have so far mentioned any attempt to buy political influence in the country.

Chatwal raised at least $100,000 for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama.
An informant caught Sant Singh Chatwal on tape in 2010 explaining that he believed his illegal fundraising bought him access to people in power.

Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the only way to buy them, get into the system."

In court papers, the three people who received the donations were described only as candidates for federal office. There's no allegation that they knew about the scheme, the papers add.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

Austerity bailout loans after the Crimean Crisis unfolded in late Feb. could actually add up to $27 billion...

Comrades, let's all pitch in and pay back these banksters. Otherwise, they will stop lending to us.

In Ukraine...
Taxes on vodka, beer and cigarettes will soon go up
Good on that. But call it an IMF booze tax.

How Alcohol Conquered Russia - Stan Fedun - The Atlantic

The Russian alcoholic was an enduring fixture during the Tsarist times, during the times of the Russian Revolution, the times of the Soviet Union, during the transition from socialist autocracy to capitalist democracy, and he continues to be in Russian society today. As Heidi Brown described in her 2011 article for World Policy Journal, the prototypical Russian alcoholic sits on broken park benches or train station steps, smoking a cigarette and thinking about where his next drink will come from and whether he can afford it.

The Russian government has repeatedly tried to combat the problem, but to little avail: “this includes four ... reforms prior to 1917, and larger-scale measures taken during the Soviet period in 1958, 1972, and 1985. After each drastically stepped-up anti-alcohol campaign, [Russian] society found itself faced with an even greater spread of drunkenness and alcoholism,” explains G.G. Zaigraev, professor of Sociological Sciences and Head Science Associate of the Institute of Sociology at the Russian Academy of Sciences, in the journal Sociological Research.

“Gorbachev announced ... legislation in May 1985, after a large-scale media campaign publicizing the Kremlin’s new war on alcoholism—the third most common Soviet ailment after heart disease and cancer,” Nomi Morris and Jack Redden wrote in Maclean’s.
It was largely seen as the most determined and effective plan to date: The birthrate rose, life expectancy increased, wives started seeing their husbands more, and work productivity improved. However, after a spike in alcohol prices and a decrease in state alcohol production, some started hoarding sugar to make moonshine, and others poisoned themselves with substances such as antifreeze, as Erofeyev points out.

The people’s displeasure with Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign can be summarized by an old Soviet joke: “There was this long line for vodka, and one poor guy couldn’t stand it any longer: ‘I’m going to the Kremlin, to kill Gorbachev,’ he said. An hour later, he came back. The line was still there, and everyone asked him, ‘Did you kill him?’ ‘Kill him?!’ he responded. ‘The line for that’s even longer than this one!’”

Unwise imo.

Unlike the good ol' USA. Where we never experience increased prices and taxes on anything and everything.

In Ukraine, a crisis of bullets and economics - The Washington Post

Both the government and IMF say they have no choice. Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk acknowledged that the package is “very unpopular,” but Kiev is broke and desperate for cash, and Russia is no longer seen as a viable benefactor.

No matter how much they publicly offer their unequivocal support for Kiev, the IMF and Western governments that have pledged up to $27 billion in loans refuse to toss their money down the black hole of corruption and waste that is the Ukrainian economy.

Residents are bracing for the worst. A rollback of long-generous subsidies on natural gas will raise the rate consumers pay on their heating and cooking bills by roughly 63 percent next month. About 24,000 state workers and 80,000 police officers nationwide are set to be laid off. Taxes on vodka, beer and cigarettes will soon go up. Changes in property tax calculations mean that many Ukrainian homeowners will soon be paying more.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said this month that Ukrainians must learn to help themselves. “If there is that collective drive to eliminate corruption, to establish good governance, to have good procurements, to have true prices for energy and to own their economic destiny,” change “will happen,” she told Euronews.

Privatization is a Ramp for Corruption and Insouciance is a Ramp for War » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Libertarian ideology favors privatization. However, in practice privatization is usually very different in result than libertarian ideology postulates. Almost always, privatization becomes a way for well-connected private interests to loot both the public purse and the general welfare.

Most privatizations, such as those that have occurred in France and UK during the neoliberal era, and in Greece today and Ukraine tomorrow, are lootings of public assets by politically-connected private interests.

Another form of privatization is to turn traditional government functions, such as prison operation and many supply functions of the armed services, such as feeding the troops, over to private companies at a large increase in cost to the public. Essentially, the libertarian ideology is used to provide lucrative public contracts to a few favored persons who then reward the politicians. This is called “free enterprise.”

Hawala, hawalmart?

Wal-Mart takes on money transfer companies with new service
| Reuters

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is launching a money transfer service in a direct challenge to the dominance of Western UnionCo. and MoneyGram, aiming to broaden the financial services it offers to low-income customers and increase store traffic.

Wal-Mart said on Thursday that Euronet Worldwide Inc's Ria Money Transfer subsidiary would begin running the service, called "Walmart-2-Walmart," next week.

The new service, which Wal-Mart says will charge lower fees than those currently offered by competitors, will enable shoppers to send and receive cash from family members and friends at more than 4,000 U.S. discount stores.

Rapper cuts off penis in suicide attempt, re-attach fails, report says | Fox News

A spokesperson for the hospital said it does not comment on patients, but TMZ reports that attempts to reattach Johnson's penis failed.

Johnson is also known by the stage name Christ Bearer, and is in the rap group Northstar. Wu-Tang Clan founding member RZA produced Northstar's debut album.

Marshall McLuhan 

Though the World Wide Web was invented almost thirty years after The Gutenberg Galaxy, and ten years after his death, McLuhan prophesied the web technology seen today as early as 1962:

The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness—will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual's encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind. (1962)[49]

Furthermore, McLuhan coined and certainly popularized the usage of the term "surfing" to refer to rapid, irregular and multidirectional movement through a heterogeneous body of documents or knowledge, e.g., statements like "Heidegger surf-boards along on the electronic wave as triumphantly as Descartes rode the mechanical wave." Paul Levinson's 1999 book Digital McLuhan explores the ways that McLuhan's work can be better understood through the lens of the digital revolution.[4]

McLuhan was credited with coining the phrase Turn on, tune in, drop out by its popularizer, Timothy Leary, in the 1960s. In a 1988 interview with Neil Strauss, Leary stated that slogan was "given to him" by McLuhan during a lunch in New York City. Leary said McLuhan "was very much interested in ideas and marketing, and he started singing something like, 'Psychedelics hit the spot / Five hundred micrograms, that’s a lot,' to the tune of a Pepsi commercial. Then he started going, 'Tune in, turn on, and drop out.'"[84]

Portland plans reservoir flush after teen cited - The Washington Post

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland officials are once again preparing to flush millions of gallons of treated water because someone urinated in a city reservoir.
Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff said 38 million gallons will be discarded after a 19-year-old was videotaped in the act Wednesday.
Three years ago, the city drained a 7.5-million-gallon reservoir at the same Mount Tabor location in southeast Portland.
The open reservoirs hold water that’s already been treated and goes directly into mains for distribution to customers.
The urine poses little risk — animals routinely deposit waste without creating a public health crisis — but Shaff said he doesn’t want to serve water that was deliberately tainted.
“There is at least a perceived difference from my perspective,” Shaff said. “I could be wrong on that, but the reality is our customers don’t anticipate drinking water that’s been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir.”

In Ukraine, a crisis of bullets and economics - The Washington Post

Both the government and IMF say they have no choice. Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk acknowledged that the package is “very unpopular,” but Kiev is broke and desperate for cash, and Russia is no longer seen as a viable benefactor.

No matter how much they publicly offer their unequivocal support for Kiev, the IMF and Western governments that have pledged up to $27 billion in loans refuse to toss their money down the black hole of corruption and waste that is the Ukrainian economy.
Residents are bracing for the worst. A rollback of long-generous subsidies on natural gas will raise the rate consumers pay on their heating and cooking bills by roughly 63 percent next month. About 24,000 state workers and 80,000 police officers nationwide are set to be laid off. Taxes on vodka, beer and cigarettes will soon go up. Changes in property tax calculations mean that many Ukrainian homeowners will soon be paying more.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said this month that Ukrainians must learn to help themselves. “If there is that collective drive to eliminate corruption, to establish good governance, to have good procurements, to have true prices for energy and to own their economic destiny,” change “will happen,” she told Euronews.

Deutsche Bank Said to Seek Sale of Cosmopolitan Resort - Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) is in talks with potential buyers of its Cosmopolitan resort in Las Vegas as it tries to end a six-year, money-losing venture into casino development, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Germany’s largest bank is seeking more than $2 billion and has attracted at least four possible bidders, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Two others said it may be valued closer to $1.5 billion. Deutsche Bank foreclosed on the property after developer Ian Bruce Eichner defaulted on a construction loan in January 2008, and has labeled it a temporary investment.

Rapper severs penis, jumps off building and survives

News of a bizarre tragedy is emerging out of Los Angeles today, with TMZ, CNN and other media outlets reporting that a rapper named Andre Johnson of Northstar cut off his penis and jumped off a building, and survived.

A software company that promises to help Americans avoid the annual misery of filing their IRS returns has, in fact, spent years trying to convince lawmakers to make sure filing taxes remains difficult, thus protecting its business, a new report found.

Every year Americans spend an estimated $2 billion and 225 million hours preparing their tax returns by April 15. The process can include obtaining information from a bank or employer, intensive financial disclosures, and, for many Americans, an appointment with a professional accountant who is qualified to evaluate how much money the state and federal government is due.

The annual drudgery could be avoided with “return free-filing.” The process would involve an Americans’ employer and bank sending information to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the government sending a bill to an individual, and that person essentially returning their payment in mere minutes, free of charge.

Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark - Todd Woody - The Atlantic

The next big thing in solar energy could be microscopic.
Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have devised a way to store solar energy in molecules that can then be tapped to heat homes, water or used for cooking.
The best part: The molecules can store the heat forever and be endlessly re-used while emitting absolutely no greenhouse gases. Scientists remain a way’s off in building this perpetual heat machine but they have succeeded in the laboratory at demonstrating the viability of the phenomenon called photoswitching.

Subprime mortgage crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

The U.S. Federal government's efforts to support the global financial system have resulted in significant new financial commitments, totaling $7 trillion by November, 2008. These commitments can be characterized as investments, loans, and loan guarantees, rather than direct expenditures. In many cases, the government purchased financial assets such as commercial paper, mortgage-backed securities, or other types of asset-backed paper, to enhance liquidity in frozen markets.[408] As the crisis has progressed, the Fed has expanded the collateral against which it is willing to lend to include higher-risk assets.[409]

The Economist wrote in May 2009: "Having spent a fortune bailing out their banks, Western governments will have to pay a price in terms of higher taxes to meet the interest on that debt. In the case of countries (like Britain and America) that have trade as well as budget deficits, those higher taxes will be needed to meet the claims of foreign creditors. Given the political implications of such austerity, the temptation will be to default by stealth, by letting their currencies depreciate. Investors are increasingly alive to this danger..."[410]

The crisis has cast doubt on the legacy of Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System from 1986 to January 2006. Senator Chris Dodd claimed that Greenspan created the "perfect storm".[411] When asked to comment on the crisis, Greenspan spoke as follows:[244]

"The current credit crisis will come to an end when the overhang of inventories of newly built homes is largely liquidated, and home price deflation comes to an end. That will stabilize the now-uncertain value of the home equity that acts as a buffer for all home mortgages, but most importantly for those held as collateral for residential mortgage-backed securities. Very large losses will, no doubt, be taken as a consequence of the crisis. But after a period of protracted adjustment, the U.S. economy, and the world economy more generally, will be able to get back to business."

Lets break for coffee

Thirteen billion dollar settlements and a 15 TRILLION dollar loss. At this rate it will take a thousand years for the banksters to repay the damages.

In November 2013, JPMorgan Chase reached a $13 billion settlement with regulators over soured mortgage securities sold prior to the 2008 crisis; $4 billion of the settlement was set aside for consumer relief, which will take various forms, including principal reduction loan modifications. In December 2013, Ocwen reached a $2.2 billion settlement, with $2 billion to be used for principal reduction modifications. We can expect to see a series of additional settlements in the coming year, with much of the restitution in the form of principal reduction.
Read more at Calculated Risk

· The net worth of U.S. households and non-profit organizations fell from a peak of approximately $67 trillion in 2007 to a trough of $52 trillion in 2009, a decline of $15 trillion or 22%. It began to recover thereafter and was $66 trillion by Q3 2012.[314]
· U.S. total national debt rose from 66% GDP in 2008 pre-crisis to over 103% by the end of 2012.[315] Martin Wolf and Paul Krugman argued that the rise in private savings and decline in investment fueled a large private sector surplus, which drove sizable budget deficits.

so, is the author quoting Bloomberg, or the Fed.......justaskin'

It would seem to be quoting Bloomberg:

Slowing Health Costs Thwart Fed’s Inflationary Medicine - Bloomberg

Health Care Costs Aren't Rising Fast Enough. Wait, What?

Health care costs aren't rising fast enough for the Fed's liking, and that may help keep interest rates lower for longer. But is the problem one of persistent 'under-inflation' or simply the result of a bloated system falling in line with other countries' health care spending per capita? If the Fed is really concerned that health care costs aren't rising fast enough, the unpleasant conclusion is that when those costs finally do rise, it might coincide with rising rates--eventually. Rising costs and rising rates... just what an economic recovery needs, right? Confused and angry? Read on...

Bloomberg is reporting that the apparent success of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in bending the cost curve of health care may not be a complete blessing. Despite the concern that has been expressed in recent years over skyrocketing medical and prescription costs, it appears that we need at least some of those costs increases.

Bloomberg said that the Federal Reserve is now worried about the nation's low rate of inflation and "part of the problem is the sluggish rate of increase in health care costs." Newly installed Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen and her fellow members are looking at those costs as part of their interest rate considerations and thinking perhaps they should keep rates at current near-record low levels.

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

Where is Pavel when you need him?

Daily Press Briefing: April 10, 2014

QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to President Putin’s letter this morning to the EU saying that they’re going to cut off supplies unless the EU stumps up the cash for the Ukrainian bills?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve certainly seen that. Just to catch you all up, which you may all already be aware of, on a couple of actual steps they’ve taken. Also on April 1st, Russia raised the price of natural gas for Ukraine by more than 40 percent. Now they’ve raised the price – they also then after that raised the price again, and then we saw, of course, the letter you referred to this morning. And Russia reneged on an agreement signed with Ukraine that offered reduced gas prices in exchange for a 25-year lease of Black Sea Fleet facilities. We condemn Russia’s efforts to use energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine. Ukraine is now paying $485, a price clearly not set by market forces and well above the average price paid by EU members.

As I just touched on, the U.S. is – the United States is taking immediate steps to assist Ukraine, including the provision of emergency finance and technical assistance in the areas of energy security, energy efficiency, and energy sector reform. In addition, we’re working with Ukraine and our allies on its western borders to encourage them to prepare to reverse natural gas flows in the pipeline so that Ukraine can access additional gas supplies if needed. And what that means is there are flows of gas, of natural gas I should say, that go through – from Western Europe through Ukraine to Russia, and we – or I’m sorry, the other way – from Russia through Ukraine to Western Europe. And we want some of that natural gas to be available to go back into Ukraine. It was a warmer winter, they have some excesses that makes that possible, so we’re working on that as well.

QUESTION: So who controls the pipeline, then? Do the Ukrainians control it?

MS. PSAKI: Depends on the pipeline. And we’re working with a range of partners in the region to see what’s possible.

QUESTION: Two things briefly, Jen. Why can’t – the gas that the Russians are selling is Russia’s to sell, is it not? Why can’t they charge whatever price they want for it?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, there are also – they had an agreement that I referenced about what they would provide in response to the 25-year lease.

QUESTION: Right. But clearly that agreement was abrogated when the Russians just moved in and took over Crimea and have no longer any need to lease the – correct?

MS. PSAKI: That may be the case. It doesn’t mean we don’t still have strong views about the steps they’ve taken, which clearly we do.


MS. PSAKI: And we’re taking steps to help Ukraine.

QUESTION: Fair enough. But you – so you think that the – you think that you should be able to tell the Russians what price to charge for the gas that it sells to Ukraine?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I said that, but again --


MS. PSAKI: -- I think they’ve had a long agreement. They’ve – obviously, it’s relevant to point out that they are selling the gas at far above the market rate.


BBC News - US: Russia uses energy supplies 'to control Ukraine'

The US has accused Russia of using its energy supplies "as a tool of coercion" to try to control Ukraine.
It comes after Russia warned European countries of possible gas supply cuts because of Ukraine's energy debts.

The women's club will be homeless?

Aggressive fox euthanized after biting 5-year-old at Derry playground, police say | New Hampshire Public Safety

DERRY -- An aggressive fox that bit a 5 year-old at a local playground was euthanized Thursday after it was captured following an extensive search by police and wildlife officials.

It was the second such incident in two days as police also received a report of an aggressive fox on Wednesday night on Schurman Drive, Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas said in a press release.

In that incident, the animal reportedly circled a 9-year-old boy as he was playing in the backyard. His mother, who was watching, told police her son ran toward the house and the fox chased him, knocking him to the ground. His mother threw something at the fox and it backed off, only to chase the woman and her son again as they headed toward their house, Thomas said. Finally, the woman swung a shovel at the fox and the animal ran off and didn’t return, Thomas said.

Internet ad sales surpass broadcast TV for first time ever - CNET

Internet advertising soaked up record revenues of $42.8 billion in 2013, the Interactive Advertising Bureau announced in a new report on Thursday.

A 17 percent increase over 2012's results, last year's number helped the online ad industry beat the $40.1 billion in sales seen by traditional TV advertising. That achievement marked a first for online ad sales. Mobile ads contributed to the growth in 2013 with $7.1 billion in revenues, a 110 percent jump from the $3.4 billion generated the previous year.

"The news that interactive has outperformed broadcast television should come as no surprise," IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg said in a statement. "It speaks to the power that digital screens have in reaching and engaging audiences. In that same vein, the staggering growth of mobile is clearly a direct response to how smaller digital screens play an integral role in consumers' lives throughout the day, as well as their critical importance to cross-screen experiences."

I'm wondering if you accept Amazon's money, would you still qualify for unemployment benefits? They have to make a substantial contribution to laid-off benefits if IRC.

Amazon to offer employees $5,000 to quit | The Daily Caller

In Jeff Bezos’ longest letter to shareholders, the Amazon CEO introduced a new program called “Pay to Quit,” a $5,000 offer for employees to quit their job at Amazon.

Borrowing the “Pay to Quit” idea from Zappos, Bezos said the program will push employees to seriously evaluate whether they are where they want to be.

“We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay,” said Bezos in the letter to shareholders. “Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

despite this more subdued announcement:

Greece Prepares as Much as $688 Million of Real Estate for Sale - Bloomberg

Greece is preparing a property portfolio valued at as much as 500 million euros ($688 million) to offer to investors by the end of this year, according to the head of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund.

The properties will be worth at least 350 million euros and will include leased city buildings, homes and development land, Andreas Taprantzis, executive director at the fund, said in an interview in Athens. UBS AG (UBSN), Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) and BNP Paribas SA are advising the fund on the portfolio, he said.

The fund, which completed almost 5 billion euros of deals including 1.8 billion euros of real estate over the past 14 months, is tapping into renewed investor demand for Greek assets. The nation is emerging from a six-year economic crisis that almost forced it to leave the euro.

“There has been a huge shift in sentiment and, after sniffing around for quite a while, investors are now anxious to dig up Greek opportunities,” Taprantzis said. “Look how stocks have performed.”

I hope it was a steel toed workboot.

Shoe misses Hillary as she speaks at recycling conference in Las Vegas | Las Vegas Review-Journal

A female protester threw what she said was a shoe at Hillary Clinton near the start of the Democrat’s speech at a metal recycling conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Authorities said they were arresting the woman, who would not give her name.

Sweden: The New Laboratory for a Six-Hour Work Day - Uri Friedman - The Atlantic

Corn-flake capitalism has come to Sweden.

In 1930, in the throes of the Great Depression, cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg decided to conduct an experiment. He replaced the three daily eight-hour shifts at his plant in Battle Creek, Michigan with four six-hour shifts. The results? The company hired hundreds of new people, production costs plummeted, and employees operated more efficiently, learning to prioritize leisure over work. Vestiges of the system remained in place until 1985.

Common core = lowest common denominator.

I don't think most high school kids would get the joke.