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Friday January 23, 2015
News Articles

New Saudi King Salman Names Heirs And Promises Stability
AP & HP | Abdullah Al-Shihri | 01/23/15

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's actions came as the Sunni-ruled kingdom mourned King Abdullah, who died early Friday at the age of 90 after nearly two decades in power.

A royal decree affirmed Crown Prince Muqrin as his immediate successor. After Muqrin, Salman named Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as deputy crown prince, making him second-in-line to the throne. Mohammed is the first grandson of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, to be named as a future heir. ... Read more

[Hillary] Clinton plans to astound, intimidate with fundraising 'like nothing you've seen'
TheHill | Amie Parnes | 01/21/15

Major donors are ready to announce huge financial commitments to Hillary Clinton as soon as she announces a second run for the White House, according to Clinton allies and Democratic fundraisers.

The Clinton team wants to build excitement about her campaign launch, which is expected in March or April. The money blitz would be a show of Clinton's strength meant to scare away potential primary rivals.

"The floodgates are going to open immediately, and there's going to be a rush to get on the team," said Don Peebles, the real estate mogul who served on President Obama's national finance committee. "There's nobody in the Democratic Party who can match her. Not even close." ... Read more

Read All of FP's Davos 2015 Coverage | author | 01/23/15

Davos Wants You to Know It Really, Really Cares About Inequality

  1. Almost half of the world's wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
  2. The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That's 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world's population.
  3. The bottom half of the world's population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
  4. Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
  5. The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
  6. In the U.S., the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
Read more
Davos: Home of the $43 hotdog (01/23/15) [1:47]

30 Hours After Unleashing ECB QE, Coeure Suggests QE2
ZeroHedge | author | 01/23/15

With US equities down 0.5% this morning and European inflation expectations having given back all their ECB QE gains, it was only a matter of time before some half-witted central-planner felt the need to speak... ... Read more

Jeb Bush's Reverse Midas Touch | Josh Israel | older

Eight years ago, Bush -- best known by the acronym "Jeb" -- departed from Florida's governor's mansion determined to boost his $1,288,000 net worth in the private sector. Since, he has made millions in corporate board fees, speaking gigs, and consulting payments -- but, much like his tenure before getting into public life, has done so with a series of companies that have found their way into legal or financial quagmires.

Jeb Bush has often been portrayed as a "successful businessman," but ThinkProgress reviewed Bush's current and past business record and found a great deal of controversy and struggle. ... Read more

Saudi Arabia foreign policy: 'Enacted not by Abdullah, but by oligarch consensus'
RT | Eric Draitser | 01/23/15

Wahhabi extremism is a direct outcome of the foreign policy that the oligarch consensus in Saudi Arabia has pursued for decades, thus there won't be any substantive policy changes, geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser, told RT.

There are a number of things we should consider. I think the most obvious is the five hundred pound gorilla in the room, the exporting of Wahhabi extremism, the continued export from Saudi Arabia of precisely the kind of extremism that has been fought in Syria that has been fought in Iraq and all throughout the region. This specter, this global threat of Wahhabi extremism emanating from Saudi Arabia a direct outgrowth of the foreign policy that Saudi Arabia has pursued going on for decades. And it's certainly not all at the feet of one individual, but rather I think it could be described more specifically as an oligarchy, a familiar oligarchy, but an oligarchy nonetheless. And I think that is probably the principle reason why the report there is correct in saying that there won't be substantive policy changes because those policies were not simply enacted by Abdullah; those are enacted by an oligarch consensus in Saudi Arabia. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, January 23 [6:15]
*DN | Remembering Saudi's King Abdullah: "He Was Not a Benevolent Dictator, He Was a Dictator" (01/23/15) [10:28]
*DN | Hailed as U.S. Counterterrorism Model in Middle East, Yemen Teeters on the Brink of Collapse (01/23/15) [10:27]
DN | In Victory for Gov't Whistleblowers, Supreme Court Sides with Fired TSA Air Marshal Who Spoke Out (01/23/15) [13:15]
DN | Barrett Brown Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison After Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms (01/23/15) [8:58]
Jon Stewart
*Jon Stewart | " Jon Stewart took on the "Monsters of Money" -- the business and financial leaders who flew to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in a fleet of 1,700 private jets to discuss topics such as climate change. (01/23/15) [8:14]
*TRNN | Madawi al-Rasheed: US wants to contain and manipulate Arab uprisings while the Saudis want to crush them, Part 1 (01/23/15) [16:31]
Prof. Robert Pollin of Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and Prof. Chris Williams of Pace University say: How Obama Can Reduce Carbon Emissions Without Congress (01/23/15) [16:37]
TYT | Bill O'Reilly Clueless On Minimum Wage Issue (01/22/15) [10:08]
*TYT | 98 Senators Finally Admit Climate Change Is Not A "Hoax" (01/22/15) [7:07]
TYT | Joni Ernst's Family Received Hundreds Of Thousands In Government Aid (01/22/15) [5:11]
TYT | Cenk Uygur Reacts To Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address (01/22/15) [4:27]
RT | CrossTalk: Greece Electoral Farce? (01/23/15) [24:33]
Ring of Fire | Papantonio: Another Corrupt Bush Seeking White House? (12/16/14) [10:19]
Ring of Fire | GOP In Trouble In 2016 (01/22/15) [15:45]
Ring of Fire | Jeb Bush: The Worst Republican Traits In One Package (12/16/14) [3:08]
Thom Hartmann -
Jon Stewart (again)
Jon Stewart | Actress Jennifer Aniston discusses what motivated her to depart from her well-known comedic roles for a more serious turn in "Cake." (01/23/15) [7:12]

Thursday January 22, 2015
News Articles

Draghi Is Pushing Boundaries of Euro Region with QE Program
Bloomberg | Jana Randow | 01/22/15

Mario Draghi is about to bring Europe's integration project across the Rubicon.

At about 2:30 p.m. in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank president will probably commit to a quantitative-easing program that may exceed 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion). While the move comes much later than that of the Federal Reserve, which ended its own QE three months ago, the ECB's arrival at this point still marks a critical juncture in the history of the currency and the European unity it embodies. ... Read more

As European Central Bank Is Set to Unleash a Massive Round of Quantitative Easing, Central Bank Heads Admit QE Doesn't Work
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

The former head of the Bank of England -- Mervyn King -- said yesterday that more QE will not help the economy: "We have had the biggest monetary stimulus that the world must have ever seen, and we still have not solved the problem of weak demand. The idea that monetary stimulus after six years … is the answer doesn't seem (right) to me." William White -- the brilliant economist who called the 2008 crisis well ahead of time, who is head of the OECD's Review Committee and was former chief economist for BIS (the central banks' central bank) slammed QE: "QE is not going to help at all. Europe has far greater reliance than the US on small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and they get their money from banks, not from the bond market." Read more

'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize
RollingStone | Matt Taibbi | 01/21/15

I saw American Sniper last night, and hated it slightly less than I expected to. Like most Clint Eastwood movies -- and I like Clint Eastwood movies for the most part -- it's a simple, well-lit little fairy tale with the nutritional value of a fortune cookie that serves up a neatly-arranged helping of cheers and tears for target audiences, and panics at the thought of embracing more than one or two ideas at any time.

I usually like Matt Taibbi's articles so I was surprise that this reviews tone didn't match other reviews that I've read. I haven't seen the movie, and probably won't ontil it reaches Netfilix, so I can't comment. But if nothing else I hope the movie makes people see the senselessness of preemptive war.
Read more

The Beginning of the End of the $100 TRILLION Bond Bubble
ZeroHedge | author | 01/19/15

The big story in the world is the bond bubble. For over 30 years, sovereign nations, particularly in the West have been buying votes by offering social payments in the form of welfare, Medicare, social security, and the like. Read more

Mitt Romney Has a Koch Problem
MotherJones | Andy Kroll | 01/22/15

This weekend, a select group of Republican presidential hopefuls will arrive in southern California to attend one of Charles and David Koch's biannual donor retreats, a coveted invite for GOP politicians seeking the backing of the billionaire brothers and their elite club of conservative and libertarian mega-donors. Featured guests at the conclave will include Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was also invited to the confab but is unlikely to attend. ... Notably absent from the guest list for the Koch winter seminar: Mitt Romney. ... Read more

We're Destroying the Planet in Ways That Are Even Worse Than Global Warming
MotherJones | Oliver Milman | 01/16/15

Two major new studies by an international team of researchers have pinpointed the key factors that ensure a livable planet for humans, with stark results.

Of nine worldwide processes that underpin life on Earth, four have exceeded "safe" levels: human-driven climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change, and the high level of phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into the oceans due to fertilizer use. ...

... Since 1950, urban populations have increased sevenfold, primary energy use has soared by a factor of five, while the amount of fertilizer used is now eight times higher. The amount of nitrogen entering the oceans has quadrupled. All of these changes are shifting Earth into a "new state" that is becoming less hospitable to human life, researchers said. ... Read more
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Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, January 22 [7:23] TRNN | Prof. Robert Pollin of Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) & Prof. Chris Williams of Pace University: Climate Change Crisis Buried in the State of the Union (01/22/15) [12:16]
TRNN | Author and activist David Bacon says: Does Obama's Support of TPP Contradict His Immigration Policy? (01/22/15) [5:53]
TRNN | Kevin Alexander Gray joins Paul Jay to discuss the President's lack of interest in the desperate conditions faced by most (01/22/15) [11:32]
TYT | What Obama Should've Said In The SOTU Address (01/21/15) [9:30]
TYT | GOP Reacts To Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address (01/21/15) [8:41]
TYT | Fox Reacts To Obama's Free Community College Plan (01/21/15) [7:27]
TYT | Obama Jabs Republicans In 2015 State of the Union Address (01/21/15) [5:05]
RT | CrossTalk: Kiev Offensive (01/21/15) [24:13]
RT | Undeground: (E164) Going Underground: Inequality at Davos 2015, Peace One Day, & Trident protests (01/21/15) [28:06]
Thom Hartmann -
Thom Hartmann | Joni Ernst's (GOP Rebuttle to SOTU) Bread Bag Politics (01/21/15) [4:32]
Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart | President Obama delivers his 2015 State of the Union address to a lackluster crowd dominated by a new Republican-controlled Congress. (01/21/15) [7:53]
Jon Stewart | "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy" author Mike Huckabee compares Ted Nugent and Beyonce Knowles and their relative impacts on American culture. (01/19/15) [7:16]
Ben & Jerry
Ben&Jerry | Global Warming. Climate Change. Climate Justice. What does it all mean? (09/21/14) [2:04]
Ben & Jerry's website
Ben&Jerry | Get Money Out of Politics () [2:14] website

Wednesday January 21, 2015
News Articles

Fact-Checking Obama's State Of The Union Speech
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

Interesting read. I'm always for keeping politicians honest. They should also do this to the GOP rebuttal speech... it made my skin crawl.
Read more

Why 2015 Is a Make-or-Break Year for the Global Economy
HP | Christine Lagarde | 01/20/15

As 2015 begins, policymakers around the world are faced with three fundamental choices: to strive for economic growth or accept stagnation; to work to improve stability or risk succumbing to fragility; and to cooperate or go it alone. The stakes could not be higher; 2015 promises to be a make-or-break year for the global community. ... Read more

97% of Fracking Now Operating at a Loss at Current Oil Prices

How Do You Unmanipulate A Manipulated Economy?
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

Breaking the stranglehold of vested interests is the essential step to rebuilding an economy that isn't totally dependent on manipulated money and statistics. ...

Good article. A little hard to read because of the twists and turns. We have so many Financial Con Artists and the Climate Change Deniers... will we ever get out of this mess?
Read more

Swiss Franc 'Nuclear Explosion' Spreading, Credit Suisse, Saxo Hurt
Bloomberg | Elena Logutenkova | 01/20/15

... The full force of the decision won't be known for months and is "closer to a nuclear explosion than a 1,000-kilogram conventional bomb," Javier Paz, senior analyst in wealth management at Aite Group, said in an e-mail Tuesday. "The aftermath is like a black hole that can suck massive amounts of credit from currency trading as we have known it."

Citigroup Inc. (C), Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc (BARC) suffered about $400 million in cumulative trading losses, people familiar with developments said last week. At Morgan Stanley (MS), owner of the world's largest brokerage, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said the effect was minimal. ... Read more

The Next SNB? Goldman Warns Bank Of Japan "At Risk Of Losing Credibility"
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

"...with the large downward revision to its core CPI outlook, the bank is more or less acknowledging a much lower possibility of achieving the 2% price stability target by around FY2015. Yet, at the press conference following the MPM, Governor Kuroda said he still held the view that 2% could be achieved by around FY2015. Domestic investors have been skeptical of the BOJ's target from the outset, and now foreign investors are also beginning to question the BOJ's logic and communication with the market. We believe the mixed signals the BOJ is sending may well serve to further undermine confidence in the bank." - Goldman ... Read more

I Helped Start the Religious Right: Here's How We Tried to Undermine Secular America -- and Build a Theocracy
Salon & AlterNet | Frank Schaeffer | 01/20/15

As someone who participated in the rise of the religious right in the 1970s and 1980s, I can tell you that you can't understand the modern Republican Party and its hatred of government unless you understand the evangelical home-school movement. Nor can the Democrats hope to defeat the GOP in 2016 unless they grasp what I'll be explaining here: religious war carried on by other means.

The Christian home-school movement drove the Evangelical school movement to the ever-harsher world-rejecting far right. The movement saw itself as separating from evil "secular" America. Therein lies the heart of the Tea Party, GOP and religious right's paranoid view of the rest of us. And since my late father and evangelist Francis Schaeffer and I were instrumental in starting the religious right -- I have since left the movement and recently wrote a book titled "Why I Am an Atheist who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace" -- believe me when I tell you that the evangelical schools and home school movement were, by design, founded to undermine a secular and free vision of America and replace it by stealth with a form of theocracy. ... Read more

Seniors and Vertical Farming, Together at Last
ModernFarmer | Meaghan Agnew | 01/19/15

Much of the dialogue surrounding the future of agriculture laments farming's aging demographic. But SPARK, a global architectural firm, has proposed a "living and farming typology" that marries innovative growing initiatives with the over-55 set. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, January 21 [7:32]
*DN | Phyllis Bennis: As Obama Hails "Turning Page" on Wars, U.S. Drone Strikes Continue Across Globe (01/21/15) [6:23]
*DN | Rep. Keith Ellison on Obama's Push to Sign TPP & Seek Authority to Expand War in Iraq & Syria (01/21/15) [13:04]
*DN | Ralph Nader on What was Missing in President Obama's State of the Union Address (01/21/15) [6:30]
*DN | David Cay Johnston: Class War Is Being Waged by the Rich Against the Poor (01/21/15) [13:45]
*DN | On 5th Anniversary of Citizens United, GOP Taps Koch Brothers-Backed Senator to Give SOTU Response (01/21/15) [7:45]
President Obama's 2015 State of the Union
*GOV | President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address (01/20/15) [1:01:31]
*PBS | Joni Ernst deliver the Republican response to the 2015 State of the Union address (01/20/15) [9:32]
2014 State of the Union Best Boehner Reactions (01/20/15) [0:52]
*TRNN | Bill Black and James Henry join Paul Jay to discuss President Obama's State of the Union (01/21/15) [20:19]
TRNN | Dr. Finkelstein says the BDS movement must take a position on Israel's right to exist as a state, Part 8 (01/21/15) [17:09]
*TYT | 2015 State of the Union Address, TYT Comments (01/20/15) [11:25]
*TYT | Joni Ernst's Republican Response To 2015 State Of The Union Address - TYT's Comments (01/20/15) [4:59]
TYT | Fox News Apologizes For No-Go Zone "Error" (01/20/15) [13:02]
TYT | Yemen Devolves Into Chaos. Rebels Attack Presidential Palace (01/20/15) [4:37]
TYT | Are Snipers Cowards? Michael Moore Tweets Ignite Controversy (01/20/15) [16:11]
TYT | Fox News Apologizes For No-Go Zone "Error" (01/20/15) [13:02]
Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart | Jon Stewart Shocked By Fox News Apology Over Muslim 'No-Go Zones' In Europe (01/21/15) [7:37]
Thom Hartmann -

Tuesday January 20, 2015
News Articles

The US Military's Stunning Conspiracy Theory Emerges From The Archives: "ISIS Leader Does Not Exist"
ZeroHedge | author | 01/20/15

Having noted that voter angst has been riled, propagandized, and fear-mongered to the point at which the most pressing priority for Congress is to 'fix' terrorism, it is perhaps not entirely surprising that we discover - deep down in the archives - that giving the public someone to 'hate' as opposed to something may have been an entire fiction. As The New York Times exposed in 2007 (see article below), Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, the titular head of the Islamic State, according to Brigadier General Kevin Bergner - the chief American military spokesman at the time - never existed (and was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima). So he was a ghost back then.... is he a ghost again, designed purely to put a face on ISIS and the biggest bogeyman of the current global anti-terrorist mania? ... Read more

Leader of Al Qaeda group in Iraq was fictional, U.S. military says
NYTimes | Michael R. Gordon | 07/18/07

For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi named Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi.

As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered unscathed.

On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed.

Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima.
Read more

Another Former Central Banker Finally Gets It: "The Idea That Monetary Stimulus Is The Answer Doesn't Seem Right"
ZeroHedge | author | 01/20/15

What is it about central bankers who wait to tell the truth only after they have quit their post. First it was the maestro himself, the Fed's Alan Greenspan (most recently in "Greenspan's Stunning Admission: "Gold Is Currency; No Fiat Currency, Including the Dollar, Can Match It"), and now it is the Bank of England's former head, Mervyn King, who yesterday told an audience at the LSE that "more monetary stimulus will not help the world economy return to strong growth." That this is happening just as we learn that in one year the world's 1% will collectively own more wealth than the rest of the world combined, and two days before Goldman's Mario Draghi unleashed up to €1 trillion (if not unlimited) in QE, is hardly as surprise, and will be surely ignored by everyone until the inevitable outcome of another "French revolution" finally arrives. ...

In his first public speech in England since his term at the BoE ended in June 2013, Mr King said he was concerned about a persistent weakness in global economic demand, six years on from the depths of the financial crisis.

"We should worry about that," Mr King told an audience at the London School of Economics, where he was once a professor.

"We have had the biggest monetary stimulus that the world must have ever seen, and we still have not solved the problem of weak demand. The idea that monetary stimulus after six years ... is the answer doesn't seem (right) to me," he added.

Unlike the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, the European Central Bank has until now resisted trying to boost the economy by buying government bonds with newly created money, known as quantitative easing (QE).

"There are quite serious disequilibria both between and within economies that, for good economic reasons, are depressing demand. Simply lowering rates even further or adding more monetary stimulus is unlikely to solve that problem," he said.

Which is not only ironic but hypocritical because under King, the BoE bought £375bn of government bonds between 2009 and 2011. Mr King said this was right just after the crisis, but that using loose monetary policy to bring forward spending was not a long-term strategy.

Actually, wrong: since the entire global economy has been hijacked by the same people (bankers) who would be sleeping under bridges had they not received a multi-trillion bailout in 2008, and since the global financial system now exists only to serve them, and to raise them from billionaire to trillionaire status, QE is precisely that: a long-term strategy, one which will ultimately pillage all the wealth of the middle class and hand it on a golden platter in some non-extradition country to the 0.001%.

Well, long-term at least until the 99% realize they have been subject to the most epic, historic robbery in the history of the world. Of course, by the time what was formerly the world's middle class realizes what happened, there will be nothing left. Original article

The richest 80 people on Earth are now as wealthy as the world's 3.5 billion poorest people.
HP | Emily Cohn | 01/20/15

If you find it hard to grasp just how unequal the global economy is, here's one stat that should put it all in perspective: The richest 80 people on Earth are now as wealthy as the world's 3.5 billion poorest people. In other words, 80 people control as much wealth as half the population of the planet.

That's one of the most shocking findings from a report released Monday by Oxfam, an international charity dedicated to finding solutions to global poverty. The report's overall point is that global inequality is soaring to amazingly high levels as the world's richest just keep getting richer. ... Read more

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Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Tuesday, January 20 [12:16]
*DN | A Coup in Yemen? Jeremy Scahill & Iona Craig on Rebel Offensive to Seize Power, Saudi Role & AQAP (01/20/15) [15:13]
*DN | As Fox News Apologizes, Jeremy Scahill on Fake "Terror Experts" & Challenges of Real War Reporting (01/20/15) [12:27]
DN | Prosecuting Guatemala's Dirty War: Rigoberta Menchú Hails Embassy Fire Verdict, Dictator's Trial (01/20/15) [14:23]
*TRNN | Prof. Leo Panitch: The SYRIZA Challenge in Greece, Part 1 (01/20/15) [8:58], Part 2 [10:01]
TRNN | CEPR's Nicole Woo says a phase-out of the tax cap could eliminate up to 80% of the projected shortfall in social security funding (01/20/15) [8:13]
TYT | Justice Fights Back Against Civil Asset Forfeiture Corruption (01/19/15) [6:12]
TYT | Photos Of ISIS Executions Released (01/19/15) [4:55]
TYT | "Go Home & Take Obama With You," Protestors Waved At Muslim Group At Texas Conference (01/19/15) [3:02]
Thom Hartmann -
*Thom Hartmann | Roll back Reaganomics, Bring Back the Middle Class ... (01/15/15) [6:20]
*Brunch with Bernie (01/16/15) [44:53]
Ring of Fire full (01/18/14) [56:00]
RT | Keiser report: Mexico - Land of Opportunity (E708) (01/20/15) [25:00]
PBS | Inside Obama's middle class tax plan (01/18/15) [3:44]
PBS | PBS NewsHour full (01/19/15) [53:42]

Monday January 19, 2015
News Articles

Richest 1 Percent To Own More Than Half Of The World's Wealth By 2016, Oxfam Finds
HP | Jade Walker | 01/19/15

The rich keep getting richer, and by next year, just a handful of the upper-class will have accumulated more than half of the world's wealth. A new report released on Monday by Oxfam warns that this deepening global inequality is unlike anything seen in recent years.

Using research from Credit Suisse and Forbes' annual billionaires list, the anti-poverty charity was able to determine that the richest 1 percent of the world's population currently controls 48 percent of the world's total wealth.

Drill down the numbers even more and you'll learn that the 80 wealthiest people in the world possess $1.9 trillion, which is almost the same amount shared by some 3.5 billion people at the bottom half of the world's income scale. Thirty-five of the lucky 80 were Americans with a combined wealth of $941 billion. Germany and Russia shared second place, with seven uber-rich individuals apiece. ... Read more

Stat of the day: 51 percent -- the share of American K-12 students who lived in low-income households in 2013, according to an analysis of federal data. It's the first time in at least 50 years that the figure has exceeded 50 percent.

Republicans and Wall Street Say to Hell With Protecting the Public!
BillMoyers | Bill Moyers | 01/17/15

Since December, Congress has twice passed measures to weaken regulations in the Dodd-Frank financial law that are intended to reduce the risk of another financial meltdown.

In the last election cycle, Wall Street banks and financial interests spent over $1.2 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions, according to Americans for Financial Reform. Their spending strategy appears to be working. Just this week, the House passed further legislation that would delay by two years some key provisions of Dodd-Frank. "[Banks] want to be able to do things their way, and that's very dangerous." MIT economist Simon Johnson tells Bill.

"'Here we go again' -- I think that's exactly the motto, or the bumper sticker for this Congress. It's crazy, it's unconscionable, but that is the reality."... Read more

Obama To Propose Tax Hikes On Wealthy, Breaks For Middle Class
HP | Dave Jamieson | 01/17/15

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama will lay out a plan to extend tax credits to the middle class by hiking taxes on wealthier Americans and big banks, according to senior administration officials.

Under the plan, the capital gains tax for couples with income over $500,000 per year would be raised from its current level of 23.8 percent up to 28. The plan would also strip a tax break, known as a "step-up," that allows heirs to avoid capital gains taxes on large inheritances.

In addition, the plan would institute a new tax on the biggest financial institutions, basing the fee on liabilities in order to discourage risky borrowing. The administration says the fee would hit the roughly 100 banks that have assets of $50 billion or more. ... Read more

Franc-ly Speaking: What If It Were All A Set Up?
ZeroHedge | author | 01/19/15

... I make that point because when I first thought about the Swiss National Bank's (SNB) declaration to rescind its commitment to the Euro peg, I wondered why when just mere days before they assured their commitment to it.

A decision of this scale and magnitude with all its disruption directly thrust upon its own business infrastructure (i.e. The immediate throwing of profits into the waste-heap via a new exchange rate.) there had to be a reason far more onerous to the SNB than previously imagined. And that's when my first thoughts went to thinking that maybe the SNB -- was set up. ... Read more

Saudi Arabia Constructing 600-Mile Wall To Keep Out ISIS
Newsweek | Damien Sharkov | 01/15/15

Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile long wall along its northern border with Iraq in order to keep ISIS at bay, the Telegraph newspaper reported today. Once completed, the wall will consist of a ditch and a triple-layered steel fence, with 40 watchtowers spread out along it. Each watchtower will be equipped with high-tech surveillance radars that are capable of detecting low-flying helicopters and approaching vehicles, as well as being able to spot a human from the range of about 20km. ... Read more

It's Time for a Revolution: Bankrupt Policies, Historic Losses Call for New Generation of Leaders
AlterNet | Bill Curry | 01/18/15

It's always "Groundhog Day" for Democratic leaders who can't adjust, can't organize and can't win. Let's dump them.

As a wise man once said, never underestimate the capacity of an entire social order to commit suicide. The Democratic Party's old order is doing it now. It may seem strange but make no mistake, the Democrats' leaders are already unconscious. If they don't wake up soon, they'll go the way of the Whigs. If progressives don't wake up now, they'll go with them.

... Life is change and these Democrats never change. It's like watching "Groundhog Day" but without laughs, a love interest or a learning curve. Democrats in Congress ran the same race in 2014 they ran in 1994, lost badly, and then reelected all their leaders. Obama handled the budget this year the same way he does every year, with the same result. Hillary Clinton is poised to run the same awful race in 2016 she ran in 2008. ... Read more

Mitt Romney Has a Huge New Conflict-of-Interest Problem
MotherJones | David Corn | 01/16/15

... But there's another matter that will be be added to the pile of financial controversies for Romney to face: Solamere Capital, the $700 million private equity firm cofounded by his son Taggart that Romney has helped run since March 2013. Who has Romney been investing with, and what has he been investing in? These are questions that Romney 2016 will confront and that, no doubt, the firm will not want to answer. ...

... In the 2012 campaign, Romney was the candidate who defied transparency. (In one memorable moment, an irritated Ann Romney huffed that she and her husband had disclosed "all you people need to know.") ... Read more

TRNN | Professor Leo Panitch, author of The Making of Global Capitalism: What is Causing Market Volatility? (01/19/15) [13:41]
TRNN | Shir Hever, Researcher at the Alternative Information Centre: Netanyahu's Elbowed Presence in Paris (01/19/15) [14:01]
TRNN | Dr. Finkelstein discusses the "complicated question" of Israel's right to regulate the ethnic balance of the state and Palestinian's right of return (01/19/15) [20:41]
TRNN | Scholar Sam Mitrani says: The Function of Police in Modern Society: Peace or Control? (01/19/15) [15:24]
TYT | Billionaire Banker Says Life Is Too Hard (01/18/15) [6:37]
TYT | Republicans Push Legislation To Destroy Government Regulation (01/18/15) [8:48]
*TYT | 2014 Hottest Year Since Records Began, Earth Officially Melting (01/17/15) [8:55]
TYT | Saudi Arabia Building It's Own Great Wall To Repel ISIS (01/16/15) [6:20]
TYT | Right Wingers Have Much In Common With Radical Islamist Killers (01/18/15) [5:13]
RT | CrossTalk: Turning Right (01/16/15) [24:00]
Thom Hartmann -
*Thom Hartmann | What's up with the Swiss Franc? (01/16/15) [6:32]
Thom Hartmann | Thom Hartmann on Economic & Labor News (01/19/15) [7:08]
PBC | German writer spends 10 days with the Islamic State (12/14/14) [10:53]

Friday January 16, 2015
News Articles

If the Tea Party hates Wall Street, why isn't it protesting GOP efforts to dismantle Dodd-Frank?
TheWeek | Jeff Spross | 01/13/15

For a movement supposedly founded on opposition to the Wall Street bailout, the Tea Party's people in Congress seem awfully keen to take the reins off the financial sector.

On Wednesday, House Republicans amended the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill to delay for two years a requirement that big banks sell off risky debt bundles that entangle them with hedge funds and private equity firms. At the end of last year, they rolled back a provision that would've forced banks to trade credit default swaps using subsidiaries that aren't federally insured. The GOP is also taking a run at lessening federal oversight over certain private equity activities and derivatives trading. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) -- a Tea Party ally -- has spearheaded many of the efforts. ... Read more

Exclusive: ISIS Gaining Ground in Syria, Despite U.S. Strikes
DailyBeast | author | 01/15/15

American jets are pounding Syria. But ISIS is taking key terrain -- and putting more and more people under its black banners. ISIS continues to gain substantial ground in Syria, despite nearly 800 airstrikes in the American-led campaign to break its grip there.

At least one-third of the country's territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group does not appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources. ... Read more

Numerous FX Brokers Shutter After Suffering "Significant Losses" Following SNB Stunner
ZeroHedge | author | 01/16/15 6:22am
Read more

Largest Retail FX Broker Stock Crashes 90% As Swiss Contagion Spreads
ZeroHedge | author | 01/16/15 8:26am

As we first reported last night, FXCM was among the first of many retail FX brokers (and the largest) to see its clients suffer massive losses from yesterday's Swiss Franc surge following the SNB decision to unleash market forces. There are now at least 4 retail FX brokers (FXCM, Excel Markets, OANDA, and Alpari) who have announced "issues" but FXCM, being among the largest and publicly traded is the most transparent example of wjust what can go wrong when average joes are allowed 100:1 leverage. FXCM is now stuck chasing clients for money they do not (and will never) have.. and its stock is down 90%, trading a $2 this morning (down from $17 on Wednesday). ... Read more
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Thank the SNB for the Truth
ZeroHedge | author | 01/15/15 21:21 (9:21pm)

Remember, years ago, when the markets were a mechanism for honest price discovery and a gathering place for buyers and sellers to participate in open, unvarnished capitalism? Yes, I know it was years ago, but I'm sure you can think back to those days.

And do you sometimes ask yourself, "What would it be like if markets were normal again? What if the world's central bankers all decided to go f*ck themselves and leave the markets to act naturally on their own? And how much would I pay to see Janet Yellen commit suicide on pay-per-view?" OK, maybe not that last one, but I bet you've asked the first two.

Well, my friends, the Swiss National Bank has, by their own actions, provided a sort of answer. Look no further than the Euro/Swiss Franc exchange rate graph: (see below)

There are, contained herein, three distinct section. The cyan (that's "blue" to the color illiterates out there) area is Markets As God Intended. The green section is the rigidly-controlled, ruled-by-doctrine, price-by-decree market, which went on for nearly three years. And the magenta area, which is just a single price bar, neatly represents what happens when the markets are allowed, pushing and shoving, back into reality. And that single price bar, my friends, is really all you need to see in order to understand what's ahead. ... Read more
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The Next Round of the Great Crisis as Begun
ZeroHedge | author | 01/15/15 17:10 (5:10pm)

The entire rally in stocks post-2009 has been due to Central Bank intervention of one kind or another. Whether it be by cutting interest rates, printing money, buying bonds, or promising to do more/ verbal intervention, the Fed and others have done everything they can to push stocks higher.

As a result, today, more than 90% of market price action is based on investors' perceptions of what the Central Banks will do… NOT fundamentals. For instance, if bad economic data hits the tape, the market tends to rally because investors believe this will result in the Fed having to print more money. Again, the primary driver of stocks is no longer fundamentals, but Central Bank intervention. ... Read more

What did the SNB do to EURCHF options markets? | Matthew C Klein | 01/15/15 17:50 (5:50pm)

The Swiss National Bank made G10 FX a lot more fun to watch today. One interesting thing is how the options markets responded.

Via Jared Woodard of BGC, here's a chart comparing the move in one-week implied volatility in the exchange rate between the Swiss franc and the euro -- basically, the cost of hedging the risk that the franc appreciates plus the cost of hedging the risk that it depreciates -- against the actual move in the EURCHF exchange rate: ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, January 16 [9:51]
*DN | "Man Has Slapped Nature in the Face": Pope Francis Urges Climate Action in Philippines Visit (01/16/15) [18:20]
DN | Pope Francis Plea for Climate Action Revives Concept of "The Commons" to Rethink Economy & Society (01/16/15) [7:04]
Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart | World leaders march in solidarity with France at a rally for free expression following the Charlie... (01/15/15) [2:13]
*TRNN | House Passes Bill Further Weakening Financial Regulation (01/16/15) [5:53]
TYT | Right Wingers Crave Religious War And HATE Obama For Denying Them (01/15/15) [8:19]
*TYT | Fox News 'No Go Zone' Lies Exposed In Most Wonderful Way By French TV Show (01/15/15) [7:28]
TYT | Aziz Ansari Made Rupert Murdoch Apologize & Then Sticks The Landing (01/15/15) [3:12]
RT | Keiser report: Paul Schulte discuss the economic catastrophe that is the European corporate and banking sector heading into 2015 (E706) (01/15/15) [25:40]
RT Big Picture | Debt America and Wall Street's Attack on U.S. Pension. Plus, PTSD crisis and more worries for climate change (01/15/15) [56:12]
RIng of Fire | Corporate Whistleblowers In The Crosshairs (01/15/15) [8:53]
Thom Hartmann -
*Thom Hartmann | The Methane Monster Roars... (01/15/15) [8:53]
*Thom Hartmann | How do we Take Back our Democracy? (01/15/15) [3:21]
Thom Hartmann | It's 'We the People', not 'You the Business'... (01/15/15) [7:11]
Billion-dollar deal: Russia to sell space rocket engines to US company
Russia's design bureau NPO Energomash is to deliver 60 RD 181 engines for the Antares rocket first stage to American space technology manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corporation. The total cost of the deal is about $1 billion.
Walmart Shopper
Who said Walmart shoppers aren't imaginative.
Beer, chips and dog food. Life is good!

Thursday January 15, 2015
News Articles

How Wall Street Occupies America: Rising Debt and Runaway Inequality
AlterNet & HP | Les Leopold | 01/14/15

In our society we've given that power to private financial corporations, and they've done a masterful job in pushing us to the brink of debt peonage. The problem extends far beyond the much ballyhooed federal debt. The power of debt extends to nearly every aspect of modern life. Our homes, schools, roads, bridges, highways, utilities, corporations and virtually every product and good produced and sold depend on debt. By some estimates as much as 30 cents of every dollar we spend goes to cover interest payments on the debt accrued to make and sell all that we buy. (For example, of the $6.5 billion of private enterprise income in 2012, 36.8 percent went to interest payments.)

With our banking system in private hands, the simple truth is that as the debt levels accelerate, so does runaway inequality. Therefore key to controlling runaway inequality is to dramatically curtail the power of high finance. ... Read more

If you borrowed just one nickel at 5 percent interest when Christ was born. You would now owe the tidy sum of $225,438,991,066,856,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000 -- more money than ever existed in the history of the world.

Who Needs Lobbyists? See What Big Business Spends To Win American Minds
Center for Public Integrity & HP | author | 01/15/15

Forget lobbying. When Washington, D.C.'s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Take, for example, the American Petroleum Institute. The oil and gas industry trade group spent more than $7 million lobbying federal officials in 2012. But that sum was dwarfed by the $85.5 million it paid to four public relations and advertising firms to, in effect, lobby the American public -- including $51.9 million just to global PR giant Edelman.

From 2008 through 2012, annual tax filings show, the API paid Edelman a staggering $327.4 million for advertising and public relations services, more than any other contractor. Read more

Best Buy Is Worst Buy: Stock Crashes After Goldman "Buy" Upgrade
ZeroHedge | author | 01/15/15

Click picture to zoom in
Read more

Time to Pull the Plug on a $30B Nuclear Fuel Boondoggle
HP | Elliott Negin | 01/14/15

It sounded like a good idea back in 2000. Two decades after the Cold War ended, the United States and Russia each agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium -- enough for about 20,000 warheads -- by combining most of it with uranium to create mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for commercial nuclear reactors. Proponents boasted it was a modern-day fulfillment of the biblical call for nations to "beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks."

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be that simple. The bilateral agreement resulted in the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility, now under construction at the Savannah River Site, a 310-acre federal nuclear reservation near Aiken, South Carolina, that employs more than 10,000 people. The facility was originally slated to be finished by 2016, but its completion date has been extended to 2025. Meanwhile, the program's projected "life cycle" cost, which includes construction, operation and decommissioning, has ballooned from an initial estimate of $1.6 billion to more than $30 billion. Why? According to the Government Accountability Office, because of the Department of Energy's (DOE) "record of inadequate management and oversight." ... Read more

The GOP's Absurd, Hilarious Ploy to Pretend They Care About Poor People
AlterNet | Steven Rosenfeld | 01/12/15

Across the GOP, there's been an outbreak of claims by party leaders and presidential candidates that Republicans deserve credit for a slow-but-steady economic recovery, and that the GOP is the emerging champion of still-struggling working Americans.

Both of these assertions are brazen falsehoods.The first of these claims, by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is the latest effort to dilute the White House's achievements; while the second--by likely 2016 candidates including Florida's ex-Gov. Jeb Bush--is another variety of political theft, all but plagarizing Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA. Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, January 15 [6:52]
*DN | "The War to Start All Wars": Did U.S. Invasion of Panama 25 Years Ago Set Stage for Future Wars? (12/23/14) [6:38]
*DN | Did Gitmo "Suicides" Cover Up Murder? US Sgt. Speaks Out on Deaths & Prison's Secret CIA Site, Part1 (01/15/15) [14:49], Part 2 [20:17]
The End of Moscow's Party | Foreign Capital Flees Russian Depression (01/15/15) [16:15]
TRNN | Professor Sabah Alnasseri of York University, says: Endemic Corruption in the New Iraqi Government (01/15/15) [9:10]
TRNN | Dr. Finkelstein says writing the "Holocaust Industry" changed his life, isolating him academically and making him a target - but he felt he had to take on the subject to defend the legacy of his holocaust survivor parents. (01/15/15) [24:40]
TYT | Republicans Threaten Border Anarchy If They Don't Get Their Way (01/15/15) [5:18]
TYT | Fox News In The Racial Smear Zone On 'No Go Zones' (01/15/15) [5:31]
TYT | "Brown-Skinned" Man & His Son Turned Away From "Muslim Free" Firing Range (01/15/15) [5:25]
TYT | Group Re-Enacts Charlie Hebdo Shooting, Then Surprises Everybody (01/15/15) [4:20]
Ring of Fire | Can We Save Social Security? (01/14/15) [9:31]
Thom Hartmann -
ThomHartmann | GOP's Sneak Attack on Social Security... ( 01/08/15) [6:55]
RT | CrossTalk: Extremists Incorporated (01/14/15) [23:56]
Other Videos and Documentaries I Ran Across
Note: I don't endorse any of the videos in this section.
As I construct My News Pages I constantly run across a lot of NEW videos, and since I find YouTube frustrating trying to re-find videos, I save the links in this section so I can find them again.

Wednesday January 14, 2015
News Articles

HP | Michael McAuliff | 01/14/15

The House passed a measure Tuesday to dramatically restrict the government's ability to enact any significant new regulations or safety standards, potentially hamstringing the efforts of every federal agency, from financial regulators to safety watchdogs. The measure, called the Regulatory Accountability Act, has been passed by the House before, but stood no chance in the Senate when it was controlled by Democrats. With the GOP in the majority, it is at least likely to get a vote in the upper chamber. The White House has threatened to veto it. ... Read more

Washington Needs to Be Shaken Up so the Next Generation of Americans Can Get a Fair Shake
HP | Tom Steyer | 01/13/15

... Just last week, our great governor, Jerry Brown, set bold climate goals for California, making clear he intends to build on our state's leadership when it comes to clean energy jobs

But there is a different picture in Washington. There, strong interests oppose recognizing global warming and fight against the rights and futures of average Americans. There, they are winning. They don't want to give all of our people a fair shake at the American Dream if it means any threat to their corporate interests.

People rail that democracy has been subverted to powerful economic interests -- that "We the People" have been overlooked. Based on what I have seen over the last several years, I fear there's some truth in that charge, and it scares me -- badly. ... Read more

Oil Collapse of 1986 Shows Rebound Could Be Years Away
Bloomberg | Mark Shenk | 01/14/15

The CHART OF THE DAY shows how West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil benchmark, tumbled 69 percent from $31.82 a barrel in November 1985 to $9.75 in April 1986 when Saudi Arabia, tiring of cutting output to support prices, flooded the market. Prices didn't claw back the losses until 1990. Oil has dropped 57 percent since June and OPEC members say they're willing to let prices sink further.

... In the 1980s, Saudi Arabia "was tired of the other members cheating and just opened the spigots," Walter Zimmerman, the chief technical strategist for United-ICAP who predicted last year's drop, said by phone from Jersey City, New Jersey yesterday. After the plunge in prices "the Saudis lost their nerve and they resumed the role of swing producer. If they hadn't lost their nerve, we wouldn't be seeing the shale oil boom today and North Sea production would be substantially lower because investment would have been less," he said. ... Read more
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Forget Commodities, There's Another 'C' Word Flashing Red For Stocks
ZeroHedge | author | 01/14/15

'Higher leverage is great for stocks... at the expense of credit' until it reaches a tipping point. ... Read more
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Why ISIS Used A Child Soldier For Its Latest Execution Video | author | 01/14/15

It's shocking, it demonstrates the group's power and it's a darkly effective recruitment technique

Al Hayat Media, the official media wing of the Islamic State, released a video Tuesday featuring a child soldier shooting two supposed spies from the Russian Federal Security Service in the back of the head. The boy then repeatedly fired on the two flailing men until they lay motionless. An older, bearded fighter announced the spies' deaths and called the boy a "lion cub." The child raised his gun in the air, beaming with pride. ... Read more

Reading On A Screen Before Bed Might Be Killing You
HP | Damon Beres | older, 12/13/14

You've heard that using screens before bedtime can mess with your sleep, but new research suggests the problem is even more serious.

Reading from an iPad before bed not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but also impacts how sleepy and alert you are the next day, according to new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, said the findings could impact anyone who uses an eReader, laptop, smartphone, or certain TVs before bed. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, January 14 [12:36]
DN | Parents of Kidnapped U.S. Journalist Austin Tice on Their Struggle to Free Son from Syria Captivity (01/14/15) [19:59]
DN | Exclusive: "Eco-Terrorist" Freed 10 Years Early After Feds Withhold Evidence on Informant's Role (01/14/15) [17:41]
*TRNN | Bob Pollin: Towards a Green Economy: Private or Public? Part 8 (01/14/15) [12:04]
TRNN | Professor Paul Ekins: Keystone XL Pipeline Runs the Risk of Becoming a "Stranded Asset" (01/14/15) [12:12]
TRNN | Professor Sabah Alnasseri, Department of Political Science: French Militarist History Can Not be Delinked from Attacks in Paris (01/14/15) [6:54]
TRNN | Chris Hedges says : Paris Attacks: Rage of the Dispossessed (01/14/15) [11:35]
TYT | Wall Street Will Share The Riches, Says Delusional Wild-Eyed Maniac (01/14/15) [9:29]
TYT | "Corporations are People To My Friend" Mitt Romney Reboots, Plans To Rescue America... Again (01/14/15) [15:02]
Original Washington Post article
TYT | Disturbing ISIS Film Shows 10-Year-Old Executing Two Men (01/14/15) [7:16]
Original version of article
TYT | Don't Freak Out But Angry Germans Are Massing In The Streets (01/14/15) [4:28]
Ring of Fire
Papantonio: Progressive Anger Leads to Action (01/14/15) [7:25]
Papantonio: Republicans Are Too Dysfunctional to Lead (01/13/15) [10:49]

Tuesday January 13, 2015
News Articles

Charlie Hebdo Cover Features Muhammad Holding 'Je Suis Charlie' Sign
HP | Alana Horowitz | 01/12/15

Charlie Hebdo revealed their cover image for this week's issue, printed just days after two gunmen opened fire on the newspaper's Paris office, killing 12 people. Four of the Charlie's cartoonists were killed in the attack. The cover shows the Prophet Muhammad holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign with the caption, "All is forgiven." The newspaper said that it will print over 1 million copies this week, with financial help from Google, Le Monde and other organizations. They may even ... Read more

Second Verse, Same As The First: Republicans Prepare Another Dodd-Frank Attack
HP | Zach Carter | 01/12/15

The vote will come within days, if not hours. Under conditions laid down by the House Rules Committee late Monday, the GOP will be able to easily pass the legislation as part of an 11-point deregulation plan without Democratic support, while ignoring any Democratic amendments. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill.

The Volcker Rule bans banks from speculating in financial markets with government-backed funds. When federal regulators approved the rule in late 2013, they banned banks from owning complex securities known as collateralized debt obligations -- risky pools of corporate debt that are sliced into smaller packages for sale to banks. The GOP bill slated for a vote on Tuesday would let banks hold onto CLOs until July 2019 -- a provision that many banking experts view as part of a piecemeal effort to repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law in its entirety. ... Read more

Lake Michigan's Ice Boulders Are Back, And Some Say They're Bigger Than Ever
Lake Michigan's Ice Boulders Are Back, And Some Say They're Bigger Than Ever [0:41]

Two Climate Denying Senators Will Now Supervise the Nation's Climate Science
MotherJones | Phil Plait | 01/13/15

So, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was just named to be the chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness as Republicans take over the Senate. This subcommittee (which used to be just Space and Science but was recently renamed) is in charge of oversight of, among other things, NASA.

But that's not to say he doesn't pose a clear danger: Cruz is a staunch denier of global warming. In 2014, he said this in an CNN interview: The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that--that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn't happened. ... Read more

What Makes Muslims Laugh? | Maz Jobrani | 01/12/14

As an Iranian-American comedian, I can tell you that plenty does. Just stay away from sex, religion and politics.

Then I had to reflect on the United States, where I grew up and have spent most of my life. Let's not forget that only 50 to 60 years ago, Lenny Bruce was getting arrested for things he was saying at comedy clubs around the country. After him, it was comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Dick Gregory who were pushing the envelope of free speech in the United States and often being shut down for it.

The attacks in France have put satire in the Muslim world front and center. I am a standup comedian who has performed comedy in the Middle East in front of thousands of Muslims. And believe it or not, they laughed at plenty, especially when we poked fun at local culture. The Lebanese loved it when you would make fun of their driving and how in Lebanon a red light is just a suggestion to stop. In Dubai, they laughed when you would point out their obsession with doing everything big: the biggest building in the world, the biggest mall, the biggest fireworks show ever--so big that neighboring Bahrain thought it was under attack. The Jordanians laughed when I told them I found out our comedy DVD had a Jordanian distribution deal--which is when one Jordanian buys it and everyone else sees it. Also known as a bootleg. ... Read more

More Vedeos
'Avengers' Meet James Spader-Voiced Evil Robot in New (Trailer) (01/13/15) [1:40]
Black 9/11: Mark Gaffney on GRTV (09/08/12) [12:41]
NYTimes | Lentil Salad With Roasted Vegetables | Melissa Clark Recipes | The New York Times (01/10/15) [4:10]
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Tuesday, January 13 [9:38]
*DN | Glenn Greenwald on How to Be a Terror "Expert": Ignore Facts, Blame Muslims, Trumpet U.S. Propaganda (01/13/15) [18:09], Part 2 [5:17]
DN | Reporters Without Borders on Witnessing the Paris Massacre Aftermath & Press Freedom After Charlie (01/13/15) [9:06]
*TRNN | Bob Pollin: Towards a Green Economy: Tax, Trade, Cap, Deny? Part 7 (01/13/15) [9:29]
TRNN | Paris: Little and Big Monsters (01/13/15) [12:35]
Glen Ford and Paul Jay discuss the march against terrorism in Paris and the participation of leaders of countries who have committed and encouraged various forms of terrorism and war crimes.
TRNN | Professor John Weeks: Austerity: A Decisive Factor in Greek Elections, Part 1 (01/13/15) [8:25], Part 2 [7:19]
TYT | If Tucker Carlson's Dream Of Eliminating Muslims Came True… (01/12/15) [5:29]
*TYT | Fox 'Expert' Totally Wrong But How The Internet Responds Is A Thing Of Beauty (01/12/15) [11:16]
TYT | Aziz Ansari Utterly Destroys Rupert Murdoch Over Twitter (01/12/15) [5:47]
TYT | NRA Win: Public Schools To Teach 3-Week Gun Rights Course In South Carolina (01/12/15) [4:16]
Keiser Report: China Mainland MSM Myths (01/10/15) [24:48]
Paul Schulte is an author, analyst and professor, who debunks the myths in the Western media about mainland China and how it is that Chris Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong, set in motion the problems we see today in the streets of the former British dependent territory.

In the second half, Max speaks to WilliamBanzai7, the artist for the financial apocalypse now, who features on They discuss the Umbrella Revolution and what inspires his art.
RT | CrossTalk: Oil - How Low? (01/10/15) [24:08]
Ring of Fire
Ring of Fire (01/11/15) [56:00]
  1. 00:45 - "The Return of Debtors Prisons." Howard Nations will tell us why being in debt is becoming a crime in America. #DebtorNation
  2. 10:44 - "Wall Street's Happy New Year." Richard Eskow in Los Angeles will tell us why Wall Street believes that 2015 will be their best year ever. #DoddFrank
  3. 18:15 - "Can We Save Social Security?" Seth Katz will discuss the looming dangers with Social Security, and what we can do to strengthen the most valuable social safety net program. #SaveSocialSecurity
  4. 27:48 - "Corporate Whistleblowers In The Crosshairs." Attorney Chris Paulos will explain how corporations are retaliating against whistleblowers who dare to expose the rampant fraud and corruption taking place behind closed doors. #ProtectWhistleblowers
  5. 36:44 - "Extreme Wealth, More Extreme Inequality." Author Les Leopold in New York City will tell us why American wealth inequality is hurting us in ways that you hadn't thought of before. #Inequality
  6. 46:01 - "Lack of Oversight is Killing Seniors." Attorney Charles Meltmar in Washington, D.C. will explain how a lack of oversight for hospice care is literally killing senior citizens on a near-daily basis. #HospiceDangers

Monday January 12, 2015
News Articles

Is This Country Crazy? | Ann Jones | 01/11/15

Americans who live abroad -- more than six million of us worldwide (not counting those who work for the U.S. government) -- often face hard questions about our country from people we live among. Europeans, Asians, and Africans ask us to explain everything that baffles them about the increasingly odd and troubling conduct of the United States. Polite people, normally reluctant to risk offending a guest, complain that America's trigger-happiness, cutthroat free-marketeering, and "exceptionality" have gone on for too long to be considered just an adolescent phase. Which means that we Americans abroad are regularly asked to account for the behavior of our rebranded "homeland," now conspicuously in decline and increasingly out of step with the rest of the world.

In my long nomadic life, I've had the good fortune to live, work, or travel in all but a handful of countries on this planet. I've been to both poles and a great many places in between, and nosy as I am, I've talked with people all along the way. I still remember a time when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world for way too many reasons to go into here.

That's changed, of course. Even after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I still met people -- in the Middle East, no less -- willing to withhold judgment on the U.S. Many thought that the Supreme Court's installation of George W. Bush as president was a blunder American voters would correct in the election of 2004. His return to office truly spelled the end of America as the world had known it. Bush had started a war, opposed by the entire world, because he wanted to and he could. A majority of Americans supported him. And that was when all the uncomfortable questions really began. ... Read more

$50 Oil Kills Bonanza Dream Making Greenlanders Millionaires
Bloomberg | Peter Levring | 01/12/15

Greenland, an island that may be sitting on trillions of dollars of oil, has had to acknowledge that its dream of tapping into that wealth looks increasingly far-fetched.

Back when oil was headed for $150 a barrel, Greenlanders girded for a production boom after inviting in some of the world's biggest explorers, including Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) Now, with Brent crude dipping below $50 last week, Deputy Prime Minister Andreas Uldum says Greenland's hope of growing rich quickly on fossil fuels was "naïve." ... Read more

The Confessions Begin: Goldman, BofA Warn Crude Crash Will Have Negative Impact On GDP, Earnings
ZeroHedge | author | 01/12/15

Virtually every "pundit" with a business suit, who collected a $200 CNBC appearance in the past 3 months. A week ago we showed that, using Gallup polling data, the crude crush has clearly led to a "spending surge" among US consumers: whereas a year ago all US consumers spent $96 per day, this December, with crude and gasoline prices roughly half off, Americans spent a self-reported whopping, drumroll, $98 per day. ... Read more
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Billionaire Paulson Hit by 2014 Losses; Advantage Plus Fund Declines 36%
Bloomberg | Kelly Bit | 01/12/15

Billionaire John Paulson posted the second-worst trading year of his career in 2014 as a wrong-way energy bet added to declines tied to a failed merger and investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. ... Read more

Democrats, in a stark shift in messaging, to make big tax-break pitch for middle class
WashingtonPost | Lori Montgomery | 01/11/15

Senior Democrats, dissatisfied with the party's tepid prescriptions for combating income inequality, are drafting an "action plan" that calls for a massive transfer of wealth from the super-rich and Wall Street traders to the heart of the middle class.

The centerpiece of the proposal, set to be unveiled Monday by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), is a "paycheck bonus credit" that would shave $2,000 a year off the tax bills of couples earning less than $200,000. Other provisions would nearly triple the tax credit for child care and reward people who save at least $500 a year. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Monday, January 12 [10:58]
*DN | "Circus of Hypocrisy": Jeremy Scahill on How World Leaders at Paris March Oppose Press Freedom (01/12/15) [12:04]
*DN | Jeremy Scahill on the Paris Attacks, al-Qaeda Ties & Whether U.S. Drone War in Yemen Will Escalate (01/12/15) [20:23]
*TRNN | Bob Pollin: Towards a Green Economy: Green Growth or No Growth? Part 5 (01/12/15) [10:52]
TRNN | Bob Pollin: Towards a Green Economy: Fighting at the Local Level Part 6 (01/12/15) [14:19]
TRNN | Robin Hahnel author of Green Economics: Larry Summers is Proposing a Carbon Emission Tax (01/12/15) [11:21]
TRNN | TRNN's Jessica Desvarieux reviews Haiti's most significant moments: Haiti 5 Years After Devastating Earthquake (01/12/15) [9:49]
TYT | The Issue Americans Worry About Most Is Absolutely Right (01/11/15) [4:21]
TYT | GOP Pulls Dirty Trick To Make Tax Cuts Even Easier To Pass (01/11/15) [6:54]
TYT | Palestine's Latest Tactic Enrages US & Israel (01/11/15) [7:21]
TYT | Fear, Surveillance And Why Fighting For Free Speech Is A Funny Business (01/11/15) [5:35]
TYT | Billionaire Terrified Of Obama (01/11/15) [6:21]
ABC News | American Versailles [6:27]
Ring of Fire
Other Videos and Documentaries I Ran Across
Note: I don't endorse any of the videos in this section.
As I construct My News Pages I constantly run across a lot of NEW videos, and since I find YouTube frustrating trying to re-find videos, I save the links in this section so I can find them again.

Friday January 09, 2015
News Articles

French Terror Suspects Surrounded, Second Hostage Situation In Paris
HP & AP | Lori Hinnant | d01/09/15

France (AP) -- French security forces struggled with two rapidly developing hostage-taking situations Friday, one northeast of Paris where two terror suspects were holed up with a hostage in a printing plant and the other an attack on a kosher market in Paris involving at least five hostages.

France has been high alert for more attacks since the country's worst terror attack in decades -- the massacre Wednesday in Paris that left 12 people dead at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. ... Read more

The Republican Strategy to Deregulate Wall Street (Again)
BillMoyers | Simon Johnson | 01/08/15

On day two of the new Congress, the House Republicans put their cards on the table with regard to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms. The Republicans will chip away along all possible dimensions, using a combination of legislation and pressure on regulators -- with the ultimate goal of relaxing the restrictions that have been placed on the activities of very large banks (such as Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase).

The initial target is the Volcker Rule, which limits the ability of mega-banks to place very large proprietary bets -- and their ability to incur massive losses, with big negative consequences for the rest of us. It was that type of Wall Street risk-taking that led to the 2008 financial crisis. But we should expect the House Republican strategy to be applied more broadly, including all kinds of measures that will reduce capital requirements (i.e., making it easier for the largest banks to fund themselves with relatively more debt and less equity, taking more risk while remaining Too Big To Fail and thus benefiting from larger implicit government subsidies.) ... Read more

Labor Participation Rate Drops To Fresh 38 Year Low; Record 92.9 Million Americans Not In Labor Force
ZeroHedge | author | 01/09/15

Another month, another attempt by the BLS to mask the collapse in the US labor force with a goalseeked seasonally-adjusted surge in waiter, bartender and other low-paying jobs. Case in point: after a modest rebound by 0.1% in November, the labor participation rate just slid once more, dropping to 62.7%, or the lowest print since December 1977. This happened because the number of Americans not in the labor forced soared by 451,000 in December, far outpacing the 111,000 jobs added according to the Household Survey, and is the primary reason why the number of uenmployed Americans dropped by 383,000. ... Read more
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RT CrossTalk
RT CrossTalk | Battling Narratives on Ukraine (01/07/15) [24:32]
RT CrossTalk | US vs Russia (12/15/14) [24:23]
RT CrossTalk | Washington's Mischief (10/06/14) [24:12]
RT CrossTalk | Is World War III on? (10/06/14) [24:00]
Other News/Videos
MediaMatters | The Big Keystone XL Jobs Lie (01/08/15) [1:00]
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, January 09 [11:28]
DN | Gilbert Achcar on the Clash of Barbarisms from the Massacre in Paris to the U.S. Occupation of Iraq (01/09/15) [14:52]
*DN | Scholar Tariq Ramadan, Harper's Rick MacArthur on Charlie Hebdo Attack & How the West Treats Muslims (01/08/15) [18:14]
DN | Comics Legend Art Spiegelman & Scholar Tariq Ramadan on Charlie (01/08/15) [18:14]
*TRNN | Bob Pollin: Towards a Green Economy: Is Clean Coal and Carbon Capture an Option? , Part 4 (01/09/15) [10:14]
See the other episode in yesterdays listing, or under the TRNN Button, or on the TRNN website directly. They are all very good.
TRNN | Cathy Kunkel: Elk River Chemical Spill One Year Later (01/09/15) [7:00]
*TRNN | Author Richard Seymour says: Charlie Hebdo, Islamophobia and the Freedom of Expression (01/09/15) [10:03]
TYT | John Boehner Goes Full Boss On Those Who Dared Vote Against Him (01/08/15) [6:49]
*TYT | Welfare Caused Charlie Hebdo Attack Says Hannity Guest (01/08/15) [6:25]
TYT | Don Lemon Fails Again, This Time At A Muslim Civil Rights Attorney (01/08/15) [10:32]
TYT | "American Sniper" Film Stirs Controversy About Chris Kyle And Our Military (01/08/15) [14:26]
I have to confess: I was suckered by the trailer for American Sniper. It's a masterpiece of short-form tension -- a confluence of sound and image so viscerally evocative it feels almost domineering. You cannot resist. You will be stressed out. You will feel. Or, as I believe I put it in a blog about the trailer, 'Clint Eastwood's American Sniper trailer will ruin your pants.'

But however effective it is as a piece of cinema, even a cursory look into the film's backstory -- and particularly the public reaction to its release -- raises disturbing questions about which stories we choose to codify into truth, and whose, and why, and the messy social costs of transmogrifying real life into entertainment.

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12.01.2011. 19:51

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