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New Buy Signals for Gold and Oil
BY CARL SWENLIN - FinancialSense.com
For the SPX the day began in a boring fashion and got more boring as the day wore on. There were, nevertheless, four new BUY signals generated.
Gold and crude (USO) both generated new BUY signals (from neutral). We will discuss these later in the report.
Two new BUY signals were generated on the Materials (XLB) and Equal Weighted Materials (RTM) sector indexes. This was the result of the PBI crossing up through its EMA. It also happens that the 20-EMA is above the 50-EMA on both charts, making the signals a little more solid. There is still the problem of the choppy, sideways price action that, if it continues, will put these BUY.
Gold Climbs As China's Inflation Cools, Boosting Stimulus Hopes
By Phoebe Sedgman - Bloomberg.com
Gold rose to the highest level in a week as China's inflation cooled and before a report that may show an increase in U.S. jobless claims, boosting optimism that central banks may take steps to bolster the global economy.
Gold for immediate delivery gained as much as 0.4 percent to $1,618.80 an ounce, the highest since July 31, and traded at $1,615.89 at 1:39 p.m. in Singapore. December-delivery gold rose as much as 0.3 percent to $1,620.30 on the Comex.
Dark Pools and High-Frequency Drone Wars
Keep Your Eye on Global Dow and Treasury Yields
BY RICHARD RUSSELL - FinancialSense.com
It's amazing the way this stock market is working. The pro traders buy the Dow — just in case the Fed triggers QE3. No pro can afford to miss a big rally. Then near the close, when QE3 is NOT triggered, the frustrated traders dump their stocks, and prepare to do the same thing the next day.
The retail public thinks the action is good, so they come in and buy the "bluechip stocks." But they don't dump when the traders exit the market, so the retail buyers are left high and dry with daily losses.
Below is our new friend, GDOW. I liken GDOW to a world industrial average of 150 blue chip stocks (it includes the 30 D-J Industrials plus over 100 international blue chips).
Is Inflation Lurking Despite High Unemployment?
By Rom Badilla, CFA, Bondsquawk - PragCap.com
After a dearth of major macro releases the last couple of days, yesterday's economic data releases show that productivity and wages for U.S. workers increased which may bode well for future consumer spending and economic growth.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that Productivity which measures the growth of labor efficiency, in the second quarter improved by 1.6%. The increase surprised to the upside as consensus surveys were expecting 1.4%. In addition, this uptick follows an upward revision to the previous quarter of -0.5% from an initial report of -0.9%.
No More Growth Miracles
By Dani Rodrik - Project-Syndicate.org
CAMBRIDGE – A year ago, economic analysts were giddy with optimism about the prospects for economic growth in the developing world. In contrast to the United States and Europe, where the growth outlook looked weak at best, emerging markets were expected to sustain their strong performance from the decade preceding the global financial crisis, and thus become the engine of the global economy.
Economists at Citigroup, for example, boldly concluded that circumstances had never been this conducive to broad, sustained growth around the world, and projected rapidly rising global output until 2050, led by developing countries in Asia and Africa. The accounting and consulting firm PwC predicted that per capita GDP growth in China, India, and Nigeria would exceed 4.5% well into the middle of the century. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company christened Africa, long synonymous with economic failure, the land of "lions on the move."
Why Do We Pay Interest on Money Created Out of Thin Air?
By Cullen Roche - PragCap.com
I'm pulling this one out of the "Ask Cullen" section….it's a basic, but important question that might help many people better understand the role of banks in our economy. There's an interesting conflict of interest (no pun intended!) between institutions who issue the social construct that allows us to do many of the most essential things in life while also being motivated by profit generation (in essence, banks issue the social construct designed for public purpose, but do so primarily with private purpose in mind). But banks aren't inherently evil institutions just because they're profit motivated. In fact, you could easily argue that a competitive banking system is far superior to a government run banking system where profit is not the primary goal (I'll leave that up for readers to debate). But it's a fact that some bankers take advantage of their power for the benefit of themselves and their shareholders over the benefits of society. But as I described in the Understanding the Modern Monteary system paper, banks are a necessary cog in the machine. Monetary Realism thinks of them as the oil that lubricates the system and the entities that disperse the power of money creation away from a centralized government. They are not the driver of growth, but like the government, can be an important facilitator. Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts here….Feel free to discuss as always….
Economic Uncertainty is the REAL problem
Business's real problem: Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty
It's hard for corporate chiefs to plan for the future when they're waiting for a closetful of shoes to drop.
By Geoff Colvin - Fortune.CNN.com
FORTUNE -- When CEOs tell me that their No. 1 concern is uncertainty, as a great many do, my first reaction is skepticism. Please. Life is uncertain. Is this moment really different?
Actually it is: Economic uncertainty, especially policy uncertainty, is greater than it has been in many years. And if you're wondering why the U.S. economy is barely moving or why millions of workers can't find jobs, extraordinary uncertainty is a major part -- maybe the largest part -- of the answer.
Warning Signs of major economic collapse
18 signs, 6 charts, 3 videos predicting
a major economic collapse in USA & Europe
By Jason Beam - ReportsFromEarth.com
Here is a list of the most worrying signs indicating an imminent escalation of the financial situation in the US and Europe. As, again, nothing has been solved during the 2008 recession the coming economic collapse could be the worst in 100 years.
The economic system that most of the world relied on since the second world war is based on fiat money and never-ending increase of consumption and production. It failed to address and regulate the requirement that in order to keep businesses growing the purchase power of the many (99%) needs to grow - not the few(1%).
For decades, we were not living in a world of free trade but large-scale / accelerating corporatism and artificially enhanced consumerism peppered with planned obsolescence.
Don't Be Fooled, Regulations Cost Jobs
By Adrian Moore - RealClearMarkets.com
Mitt Romney has made reforming regulations a key, if vague, part of his economic plan. While acknowledging the multifaceted nature of weak economic conditions in America, the presidential candidate's website argues "a major part of the problem over successive presidencies, and one that the Obama administration has sharply exacerbated, is the regulatory burden on the economy."
Naturally, those who are suspicious of the private sector and look to bureaucracies for true wisdom scoff at this claim. They defend regulation by arguing that benefits exceed their costs. Sometimes that is true, sometimes not. Either way, it ignores the fact that often there are less costly ways to realize those benefits. And what is worse are claims that regulations are costless and even economically beneficial, resulting in new jobs!! As Travis Waldron put it at ThinkProgress "the GOP's 'job-killing regulations' rhetoric is built on a myth."
The ECB's Collateral Bailout
Frankfurt finds subtler ways to support euro-zone sovereigns.
So Mario Draghi is going to do whatever it takes to save the euro—but not yet. That was the message delivered after last week's meeting of the European Central Bank's Governing Council, dashing hopes for immediate action to dampen yields on Spanish and Italian debt. The ECB's policy interest rate is at a record-low 0.75%, but it's clearly too much to expect Mario Monti and Mariano Rajoy not to clamor for more central-bank action to cure their countries' economic doldrums.
It's not quite correct, though, to say that last week was a total wash for Mr. Draghi's petitioners. Some less-noticed news out of Frankfurt highlights a subtler channel through which the ECB has been keeping the lights on in ailing euro-zone countries: collateral requirements for central-bank assistance to banks. The Bundesbank may still be holding the ECB President back from large-scale monetization of European debt, but the Germans haven't stopped the central bank from drip-feeding euro-zone states in more indirect ways.
Fanning The Flames of the Euro Crisis
Europe's 10 Most Dangerous Politicians
The tone in the euro debate is becoming more aggressive. Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder said on Sunday that Greece must be 'made an example of.' Politicians in other countries are resorting to similarly provocative rhetoric. Ten populists are whipping up sentiment -- and thereby worsening the crisis.
Europe is in the midst of a serious crisis and the euro is in a perilous situation. Greece, the currency union's greatest problem child, has failed to push through necessary reforms. Spain is battling to avoid a full sovereign bailout. Italy too is grappling with soaring interest rates on government bonds due to its debt problems. So is Cyprus. And Slovenia may become the next country to need a bailout.
That's only the economic side of the euro crisis. It has another face, too: The people out there who are trying to profit from it -- namely every politician who is resorting to cheap populism in order to rack up domestic political points. Joining the ranks this week is Markus Söder, the finance minister of the German state of Bavaria. Söder is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union. The CSU is part of Merkel's center-right coalition government. On Sunday, Söder said "an example must be made of Greece."
Update on Italy, The consequences of contagion?,
Are Central Banks now emasculated?
Published by Ian R. Campbell - StockResearchPortal.com
Why Read: Because Italy may already be 'the next big thing' in the Eurozone economic crisis. Everyone needs to be aware of that, and one 'buries their head in the sand' on this at their own peril.
Commentary: In 2011 Italy's GDP rang in at U.S.$2.2 trillion, making it the Eurozone's third largest economy after Germany (U.S.$3.6 trillion), France (U.S.$2.8 trillion), and larger than 4th largest Spain (U.S.$1.5 trillion). In 2011 Italy's reported GDP was just over 3% of world reported GDP.
To put the Eurozone's 2011 combined 17 country GDP in perspective, at U.S.$17.6 trillion it was 16% larger than that of the United States.
Reports today say that Italy's economy contracted by 0.7% in Q2 2012, which is the third consecutive quarter of Italian recession – with no end and seemingly worsening conditions in sight.
Greece's Power Generator Tests
Euro Fitness Amid Blackout Threat
By Jonathan Stearns and Natalie Weeks - Bloomberg.com
In the mountains of northern Greece lies an $800 million power plant whose future may help determine whether the country can salvage its euro status.
The facility near Florina, a town known as "Where Greece Begins," is the most modern of four production units that state-controlled Public Power Corp. SA (PPC) is scheduled to sell to competitors to meet four-year-old European Union demands that the country deregulate its energy market. The most powerful Greek union is now threatening nationwide blackouts at the height of the summer tourist season to derail the plan.
Portugal is longing for dictatorship
The Portuguese, like the Spaniards and Greeks, are dissatisfied with their government unable to overcome the current crisis. On these grounds many are nostalgic for the days of the dictators: Greece elected far-right nationalist and even fascist parties into parliament, and Portugal announced the dictator Antonio de Olivera Salazar "the greatest Portuguese" of all time.
July 27 marked 42 years since the death of Antonio de Olivera Salazar. He ruled the country for 40 years. Under him Portugal's economy prospered: GDP in the early 1970's was 7% per year. Why is the Portuguese economy not in the best condition now? Perhaps, the secret lies in the personal qualities of the politicians working for the benefit of the people.
The ability to bring together a decent team not working for the Americans or Germans is also important. This is true about Salazar, although no one denies the horrors of a totalitarian regime. However, the style of Salazar's government had nothing in common with Stalin's repressions and Nazi genocide; rather, he stuck to authoritarian policies and nationalist attitudes in order to preserve the colonial empire.
For the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, all in politics was relative. He engaged in politics as he saw fit and always objected when he was called a "brutal dictator."
Standard Chartered will test a new line
Fraud is one thing, but this would verge on treason
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — New York banking regulators' money-laundering allegations against Standard Chartered PLC will test regulators' tolerance that until now has been surprisingly forgiving.
StanChart, as it's known in the U.K. market, is alleged to have laundered $250 billion for Iran between 2001 and 2007, according to the British and American regulators.
Fed and Treasury Irate at NY Bank Regulator's
Vulgar Display of Public Diligence with Standard Chartered
JESSE'S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
Spitzer: If they shut me up, who'll take my place?
Lawsky: I will
The NY Banking regulators clearly do not understand the regulatory 'hands off' philosophy of Treasury and the Fed towards the pampered princes of finance and the privileged few.
This was supposed to have been privately settled amongst gentlemen with a gentle wristslap and a thorough coverup.
And of course this exposes the Federal government and their financerati as utter hypocrites, especially when they are stoking the fires of conflict.
Only the little people are meant to suffer for their country. For the favored few, everything is just another law-bending, money making opportunity.
The danger of letting software run the world...
Software Runs the World:
How Scared Should We Be That So Much of It Is So Bad?
When software works, you can buy an airline ticket and sell a stock. When it fails, you can miss a flight and a bank can lose a billion dollars. Do we respect the power of software as much as we should?
By James Kwak - TheAtlantic.com
What do most people think of when they think of software? A decade ago, probably Microsoft Word and Excel. Today, it's more likely to be Gmail, Twitter, or Angry Birds. But the software that does the heavy lifting for the global economy isn't the apps on your smartphone. It's the huge, creaky applications that run Walmart's supply chain or United's reservation system or a Toyota production line.
A very dark Knight
Exchanges' computerized Achilles heel
By Charles Gasparino - NYPost.com
The disaster at Knight Capital Group is about a lot more than a computerized-trading program gone wrong — it also exposed massive incompetence among the folks who are supposed to be watching the markets.
The hapless Knight lost more than $400 million in far less than a trading day thanks to the bum program, and nearly went out of business.
CEO Tom Joyce, a former long-time executive at Merrill Lynch and one of stock market's go-to-guys, is earning kudos for scrambling last weekend to save the company and 1,500-plus jobs, many of them in the New York area. And it is good that Knight employees from traders to secretaries are still getting paychecks — but don't go anointing Joyce as Wall Street's Most Valuable Player for his last-minute heroics.
The real bubble is about to burst
Economist Richard Duncan:
Civilization May Not Survive 'Death Spiral'
By Terry Weiss, Money Morning
Richard Duncan, formerly of the World Bank and chief economist at Blackhorse Asset Mgmt., says America's $16 trillion federal debt has escalated into a "death spiral, "as he told CNBC.
And it could result in a depression so severe that he doesn't "think our civilization could survive it."
And Duncan is not alone in warning that the U.S. economy may go into a "death spiral."
Since the recession, noted economists including Laurence Kotlikoff, a former member of President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, have come to similar conclusions.
Kotlikoff estimates the true fiscal gap is $211 trillion when unfunded entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are included.
Uncle Sam Still Living Well Beyond His Means
By Martin Hutchinson | Slate.com
Uncle Sam just can't seem to stop living beyond his means. While U.S. consumer credit failed to match its June 2008 peak, outstanding debt of domestic U.S. non-financial sectors still stands at nearly 250 percent of GDP, against 232 percent just before the financial crisis hit. While the consumer has deleveraged a bit, business debt is flat and government borrowing has soared. At some point, this just has to end.
Economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff demonstrated that recessions preceded by a financial crash can be exceptionally deep and long, because of the reduction of debt that needs to occur before normal growth returns. Since 2008, with unprecedented levels of fiscal and monetary stimulus, no net U.S. deleveraging has occurred; rather the liabilities of non-financial sectors have grown faster than GDP. While households have cut back (partly through defaulting on mortgages and credit cards) from 97 percent of GDP to 83 percent, business debt kept pace with GDP and the government's balance sheet has soared from 57 percent of GDP to 89 percent.
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' conference will be on Maui
Pacific Business News by Janis L. Magin
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' 2012 conference will start as planned on Monday, with some 600 people from the federal circuits in nine western states gathering on Maui for the four-day event.
The conference had drawn criticism from Republican senators, who questioned the expense of holding the conference on Maui so soon after the scandal over the General Services Administration's Las Vegas conference and trips officials took to Hawaii.
In a letter Friday to Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said it was too late to cancel the conference, which was booked at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spatwo years ago.
Rep. Steve King considering bill
to repeal everything Obama has signed
REP STEVE KING - Examiner.com
If Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has his way, everything President Obama has signed into law would be repealed, and he is considering a bill to do just that, The Hill reported Wednesday.
"King put forward this suggestion to an Iowa audience on Tuesday, when he also reiterated his threat to sue the Obama administration for its June decision not to deport younger illegal immigrants," Pete Kasperowicz wrote.
He also told a group of about 60 people in Humboldt County that he intends to sue the administration over an executive orderstopping the deportation of certain illegal immigrants.
Report: Rep. Steve King mulling bill
to repeal everything Obama has signed
By Pete Kasperowicz - TheHill.com
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an outspoken critic of just about everything President Obama supports, is considering introducing a bill that would repeal everything Obama has signed into law.
King put forward this suggestion to an Iowa audience on Tuesday, when he also reiterated his threat to sue the Obama administration for its June decision not to deport younger illegal immigrants. Under that policy change, illegal immigrants who are in school or have served in the military would get a two-year deferral from deportation.
Be wary of talk about privatizing the post office
A recent default by the U.S. Postal Service has revived talk about privatizing the post office, but the U.S. mail hasn't come close to outliving its usefulness.
By Michael Hiltzik - LATimes.com
While thumbing through the household mail one recent day — a bill from the vet, a statement from the bank, 47 come-ons for low-interest credit cards and a birthday card from Grandma — I pondered the following riddle:
Why is it that the same conservatives who harped on how an obscure provision of the U.S. Constitution should have invalidated the healthcare reform act never talk about the provision that gives the federal government responsibility for postal service?
It's right there, at Article I, Section 8. Yet, in some quarters, talk of privatizing the post office never seems to ebb. That talk is experiencing another surge just now, because theU.S. Postal Service is in the process of defaulting on a payment of more than $5 billion owed to the Treasury.
US bankruptcy laws protect thieves
By Fred Feldkamp - InstitutionalRiskAnalysis.com
It may be unfair to put John Boehner in the position of Mikhail Gorbachev on this issue. He is just one of the 435 men and women responsible for what may be THE most outrageous 'wall' blocking the application of America's cherished 'rule of law' to gain recoveries from known crooks. Only Congress, however, can change the US Bankruptcy Code to remove this 'wall,' and John Boehner is the current Speaker of the US House of Representatives which has, to date, refused to eliminate this travesty of justice.
About the only thing that one can say positively about this problem is that it was not created intentionally. Allowing this 'wall' to continue blocking recoveries by innocent creditors from common thieves for even one more day, however, is obnoxious to all who believe in and support this great nation.
A123 Goes Chinese --
Will Washington Learn It Can't Mandate A Market?
By Bob Lutz, Contributor - Forbes.com
A Chinese auto parts company, Wanxiang, has come to the rescue of cash-strapped A123 Systems, an American high-tech lithium-ion battery maker and centerpiece of the Obama administration's "green jobs" revolution. Wanxiang can acquire up to an 80% of the company in return for an investment of up to $450 million.
The recipient of a $249 million "green technology" grant from our federal government, A123, believing their own (and everyone else's) hype about the millions of electric vehicles that would soon be filling the nation's highways (it will happen, but not soon) set about proving an old adage: stupidity and waste increase with the amount of money available. Production capacity was set at a level that was way overly optimistic, and the headquarters complex, with its magnificent office suites and marbled lobbies, was something only a company with tons of money would dream of. But I'm sure the risk seemed low: After all, the "green revolution" was upon us. Even Nancy Pelosi said it was so!
Housing regulator warns about 'eminent domain' use
By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The regulator for government-seized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday warned against the use of so-called eminent domain to restructure home loans.
San Bernardino County has proposed using such powers to seize distressed mortgages at a discount and then refinance them for struggling homeowners. Chicago officials also are considering the idea, according to reports. Although mortgage rates are near record lows, underwater homeowners are essentially blocked from refinancing their loans.
FHFA Weighs in on Eminent Domain Proposals
BY JANN SWANSON - MortgageNewsDaily.com
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will post a notice in the Federal Register on Thursday announcing that it was open to input from any persons with views on the subject of eminent domain as a mechanism to restructure performing loans. The agency thereby entered the growing controversy around the subject.
As background, in June the Board of Supervisors in San Bernardino County California announced a Homeowner Protection Program in which they proposed to use their power of eminent domain to take underwater mortgages from lenders and restructure them for borrowers at the fair market price. Officials in Berkeley, California and Chicago subsequently passed similar measures.
The Perverse Reason Home Prices Are Rising
By Jordan Weissmann - TheAtlantic.com
Doesn't it sometimes seem like every time there's good news about the economy, it comes with a big, infuriating catch?
Take housing. Over the last few months, economists have been noticing glimmers of good news out of the real estate market -- signs that home values may have finally bottomed out and are now turning a corner. There are more buyers and fewer houses sitting around on the market. And according to new stats from from Fannie Mae and CoreLogic, prices kept chugging higher through June, as illustrated in the chart below.
U.S. Midwest hit by Perfect Gasoline Storm
Retail gasoline prices in the U.S. Midwest were as much as 50 cents higher than in the rest of the country. By Monday, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded jumped 13 cents from last week in Detroit to settle at $3.99. The spike in retail gasoline prices follows a series of pipeline spills in Wisconsin and refinery shutdowns in Chicago and elsewhere. The impact of the string of industrial incidents on consumers in the region may be short-lived, but retail prices rarely decline as fast as they increase.
Survey: 61% of employers
expect cost increase from healthcare law
By Chad Terhune - LATimes.com
More than 60% of employers in a new survey anticipate some increase in their health benefit costs due to the federalAffordable Care Act.
The survey of 1,203 employers by the Mercer consulting firm found that 20% of those businesses expect an increase of 5% or more.
The firm said employers in retail and hospitality, which often have large numbers of part-time and lower-paid workers, will be among those most affected when the healthcare law takes full effect in 2014. Employers will be required to extend coverage to all employees working 30 hours or more per week or face possible penalties, according to Mercer.
Papa John's: 'Obamacare' will raise pizza prices
By BYRON TAU - Politico.com
Pizza chain Papa John's told shareholders that President Obama's health care law will cost consumers more on their pizza.
On a conference call last week, CEO and founder John Schnatter (a Mitt Romney supporter and fundraiser) said the health care law's changes — set to go into effect in 2014 — will result in higher costs for the company — which they vowed to pass onto consumers.
"Our best estimate is that the Obamacare will cost 11 to 14 cents per pizza, or 15 to 20 cents per order from a corporate basis," Schnatter said.
Arizona's first Potbelly Sandwich Shop set to open in Phoenix
Phoenix Business Journal by Cale Ottens
Arizona's first Potbelly Sandwich Shop is opening in the Town & Country shopping center near 20th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix on Aug. 14.
The grand opening of the popular Chicago-based gourmet sandwich shop will follow an "oven-warming" event that is set to take place on Monday.
Over 100 Million Now Receiving Federal Welfare
BY DANIEL HALPER - The WeeklyStandard.com
"The federal government administers nearly 80 different overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs," the Senate Budget Committee notes. However, the committee states, the figures used in the chart do not include those who are only benefiting from Social Security and/or Medicare.
Food stamps and Medicaid make up a large--and growing--chunk of the more than 100 million recipients. "Among the major means tested welfare programs, since 2000 Medicaid has increased from 34 million people to 54 million in 2011 and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) from 17 million to 45 million in 2011," says the Senate Budget Committee. "Spending on food stamps alone is projected to reach $800 billion over the next decade."
More Than 100 Million Americans Are On Welfare
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
There are more Americans dependent on the federal government than ever before in U.S. history. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Many are enrolled in more than one. That is about a third of the entire population of the country. Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare. Today the federal government runsalmost 80 different "means-tested welfare programs", and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years. Yes, we will always need a "safety net" for those that cannot take care of themselves, but it is absolutely ridiculous that the federal government is financially supporting one-third of all Americans. How much farther do things really need to go before we finally admit that we have become a socialist nation? At the rate we are going, it will not be too long before half the nation is on welfare. Unfortunately, we will likely never get to that point because the gigantic debt that we are currently running up will probably destroy our financial system before that ever happens.
The Dispossessed Majority
Paul Craig Roberts - PaulCraigRoberts.org
The bumper sticker on the beat-up pickup truck read: "Friends don't let friends vote Democrat."
The driver was obviously not affluent. Yet, despite all the news about mega-trillion dollar bankster bailouts, mega-million dollar bonuses for financial crooks, and unimaginable compensation packages for corporate CEOs who have moved middle class jobs out of America, something made the down-and-out pickup truck driver associate with the political party of the super-rich.
As I wondered at this strange alliance of the dirt poor with the mega-rich, I remembered that in 2004 Thomas Frank wondered about how the Republicans had managed to convince the poor to vote against their best interests. Frank's answer, or part of his answer, is that the Republicans use "social issues," such as gay marriage and Janet Jackson's exposed nipple to work up indignation over the threat to moral values posed by liberal Democrats.
The Real Problem With Welfare: It Stopped Helping the Poor
By Jordan Weissmann - TheAtlantic.com
Mitt Romney has a new ad out accusing President Obama of attempting to "gut" welfare reform by letting states hand out cash to families that aren't working. At best, the claim seems to be some serious hyperbole surrounding the small kernel of truth that the administration wants to give states more leeway on how they move families into jobs. But hey, it's the summer, and campaigns need to fill air time, right?
Rather than dwell on this skirmish, let's remember the bigger picture about the current state of our welfare system, as captured in this graph from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Remember how Bill Clinton promised to "end welfare as we know it?" Well, did he ever.
Stockton, California Went Bankrupt. Is Your City Next?
What to look for as your burg goes belly up!
Zach Weissmueller - Reason.com
Stockton, California made history in June 2012 when it became the largest U.S. municipality in history to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Itwasn't the first Golden State city to do so, and what's happening in out west is spreading to the rest of the country.
Stockton, like many U.S. city governments, spent lavishly throughout the 1990s when the real estate bubble filled public coffers with property tax revenue. Public officials approved big public works projects such as a new arena, a waterfront park and a grand, new city hall building that the city government never had the money to occupy. But even this spending pales in comparison to Stockton's crippling public employee contracts. The city is on the hook for more than $800 million in unfunded liabilities for pensions and other post-employment benefits.
Stockton, California Went Bankrupt. Is Your City Next?
Stockton, California made history in June 2012 when it became the largest U.S. municipality in history to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy. It wasn't the first Golden State city to do so, and what's happening in out west is spreading to the rest of the country.
A Golden State train wreck
By George F. Will - WashingtonPost.com
PALO ALTO, Calif.
State Sen. Joe Simitian's district office near Stanford's campus is nestled among shops sporting excruciatingly cute names (A Street Bike Named Desire, Mom's the Word maternity wear) intended to make the progressive gentry comfortable with upscale consumption by presenting it as whimsical. This community surely has its share of advanced thinkers who think trains are wonderful because they are not cars (rampant individualism; people going wherever and whenever they want, unsupervised).
NRC suspends nuclear plant licensing
for lack of nuclear waste disposal
BY: DAVID HERRON - Examiner.com
Following a petition filed by 24 environmental groups on June 18 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) suspended, yesterday, decisions on at least 19 nuclear reactor licensing decisions. The halt affects nine construction & operating licenses (COLS), eight license renewals, one operating license, and one early site permit. The decision came in response to the landmark Waste Confidence Rule decision of June 8(th) by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Stronger, Faster and Smarter, Our Bionic Future Has Arrived
BY MICHAEL A. ROBINSON,
Defense and Technology Specialist, Money Morning
Get ready for bionic humans.
They'll be faster, stronger, and much smarter than we are today. They'll wear exoskeletons made of smart materials, complete with onboard computing.
Part of their enhanced IQs may come from implants in their eyes that automatically access the wireless Web.
Not only that, these connected people will be largely free from disease and hunger, too. The human race will have plenty of food, water, and medicine to go around in a world teeming with an estimated 10 billion people by the end of this century.
Hard to believe, I know.
But my source is one of the world's foremost experts on the future of high tech and how it will affect mankind...
This (above article) is no joke...
What is The Singularity?
1993 by Vernor Vinge - Department of Mathematical Sciences, San Diego State University
The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence. There are several means by which science may achieve this breakthrough (and this is another reason for having confidence that the event will occur):
• There may be developed computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent. (To date, there has been much controversy as to whether we can create human equivalence in a machine. But if the answer is "yes, we can", then there is little doubt that beings more intelligent can be constructed shortly thereafter.)
• Large computer networks (and their associated users) may "wake up" as a superhumanly intelligent entity.
• Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent.
• Biological science may provide means to improve natural human intellect.
What is the Singularity?
The Singularity is the technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence. There are several technologies that are often mentioned as heading in this direction. The most commonly mentioned is probably Artificial Intelligence, but there are others: direct brain-computer interfaces, biological augmentation of the brain, genetic engineering, ultra-high-resolution scans of the brain followed by computer emulation. Some of these technologies seem likely to arrive much earlier than the others, but there are nonetheless several independent technologies all heading in the direction of the Singularity – several different technologies which, if they reached a threshold level of sophistication, would enable the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence.
A future that contains smarter-than-human minds is genuinely different in a way that goes beyond the usual visions of a future filled with bigger and better gadgets. Vernor Vinge originally coined the term "Singularity" in observing that, just as our model of physics breaks down when it tries to model the singularity at the center of a black hole, our model of the world breaks down when it tries to model a future that contains entities smarter than human.
Corporate America is surely connected...
What is this Singularity?
Is it a science-fiction thing invented by Vernor Vinge?
From: email@example.com (Dani Eder)
Newsgroups: sci.nanotech Subject: Re: The Singularity
Date: 23 May 94 03:51:48 GMT
Organization: Boeing AI Center, Huntsville, AL
Human history has been characterized by an accelerating rate of technological progress. It is caused by a positive feedback loop. A new technology, such as agriculture, allows an increase in population. A larger population has more brains at work, so the next technology is developed or discovered more quickly. In more recent times, larger numbers of people are liberated from peasant-level agriculture into professions that entail more education. So not only are there more brains to think, but those brains have more knowledge to work with, and more time to spend on coming up with new ideas.
We are still in the transition from mostly peasant-level agriculture (most of the world's population is in un-developed countries), but the fraction of the world considered 'developed' is constantly expanding. So we expect the rate of technological progress to continue to accelerate because there are more and more scientists and engineers at work.
What Is The Singularity And Will You Live To See It?
By Annalee Newitz - iO9.com
If you read any science fiction or futurism, you've probably heard people using the term "singularity" to describe the world of tomorrow. But what exactly does it mean, and where does the idea come from? We answer in today's backgrounder.
What is the singularity?
The term singularity describes the moment when a civilization changes so much that its rules and technologies are incomprehensible to previous generations. Think of it as a point-of-no-return in history.
White House considers executive action to address cybersecurity
By Carlo Muñoz - TheHill.com
The Obama administration is considering exercising the White House's executive authority to impose cybersecurity mandates after lawmakers failed to adopt legislation to implement those measures, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said on Tuesday.
Those options include President Obama possibly introducing several cybersecurity measures via presidential executive orders, according to White House chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan.
Why the Man Who Invented the Web Isn't Rich
By Robert Wright - TheAtlantic.com
I hadn't realized that the World Wide Web turned 21 this week until I saw the nice birthday card that Megan Garber sent it yesterday. And it's a good thing I did--because otherwise I would have missed a fabulous recycling opportunity!
In the summer of 2001, shortly before the 10th birthday of the web, I did a Time Magazine profile of its creator, Tim Berners-Lee. Re-reading it just now drove home how young the web was back then, and how much it's changed. (Berners-Lee was critical of the state of the web when I interviewed him, but I think his criticism has lost some of its force.) The profile also reminded me what a thoroughly decent and public-spirited guy Tim Berners-Lee is. Sometimes people who do great things turn out to be jerks, but he definitely isn't such a case. One other thing Tim Berners-Lee isn't is fabulously wealthy--and finding out why he hadn't taken the road to riches (and that he almost had) was for me one of the more interesting outcomes of this reporting project.
Beware, Tech Abandoners.
People Without Facebook Accounts Are 'Suspicious.'
By Kashmir Hill, Forbes Staff
The term "Crackberry" seems silly today — and not just because consumers OD'ed on Blackberry and moved on to iDealers. The term arose in an earlier "aughts" time when Blackberry dominated the smartphone market and lawyers and execs were nearly the only ones who had them, due to their need to be able to respond to email immediately. Things have changed. Now we all need to be able to respond to email immediately. And to tweet. And to instantly share our photos onFacebook. We're all addicted to technology now, and not just to the Blackberry. We're "addicted" to our iPhones, and Facebook, and Twitter, and Android, and Pinterest, and iPads, and Word with Friends, and fill-in-the-blank-with-your-digital-dope-of-choice.
9 Reasons Facebook Will Crash
By Bristol Voss - Minyanville.com
MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL In order not to feel helpless watching the Facebook (FB) train wreck, we decided to seek guidance from the company's 10-Q. There turned out to be little consolation in the document. In short, it ain't pretty. You don't even need to read between the lines since the bad news is literally spelled out.
1. The stock investors hold, now at $20.72, is all there is. There will be no dividend. Since it's trading at about 30x next year's estimated earnings, it's hard to argue that it's undervalued. Both Apple and Google trade at approximately 12x expected earnings. From the 10-Q:
"[Y]ou may only receive a return on your investment in our Class A common stock if the trading price of our Class A common stock increases.
"We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future."
From Occupying Wall Street To "Dying For Work"?
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
Imagine you are driving to work this morning in Las Vegas (yes, you are one of the select few locals who has a job that does not involve relying on the strip's ever declining gambling revenues orflipping a house to John Paulson in the second, and far shorter, coming of the regional housing bubble, with poppage imminent), and you observe what appears to be a man who hung himself below a billboard saying "Dying for Work."
Confused, you continue, only to drive by another billboard with what seem to be a man hanging off, this one saying "Hope you're happy Wall St."
India-Style Blackout Could Strike The U.S.
By Aaron Jagdfeld, guest post - Forbes.com
More people in the United States were affected by power outages last year than at any time in the industrial age. Yet what we faced during the past year pales in comparison to the largest electrical outage in world history that knocked out power to nearly 700 million people last week in India, crippling their economy.
The U.S. is one of the most developed nations in the world. Our day-to-day interactions are guided by technologies and innovations that rely upon the power grid. But as we continue to develop technological mastery, our power grid is aging and fragile, and its susceptibility to outages means our way of life could break down in an instant.
Mexico destroys 8 mn chickens amid bird flu outbreak
(AFP) – Google.com
MEXICO CITY — Eight million chickens have so far been slaughtered in Mexico and 66 million more were vaccinated in a bid to contain a bird flu outbreak in the west of the country, authorities said.
The agriculture ministry said in a statement that during the vaccination process in the Los Altos region of Jalisco state, diseased chickens were identified, leading to the destruction of the flu-carrying fowl.
Food safety officials say the outbreak, which was first detected on June 20, is confined to Los Altos, which is an egg-producing area. Inspections in other parts of the country have not turned up any signs of the disease.
Meet the Guy Whose Tech
Will Transform Solar Power...and He's Giving it Away
By David DiSalvo, Contributor - Forbes.com
Steve Nelson is an ordinary guy with an extraordinary vision. You've probably never heard of him or his company, Zenman Energy, but Nelson is the sort of regular guy whose name suddenly starts popping up in headlines one day, because his ideas have the potential to permanently change the energy game.
What makes Nelson noteworthy, beyond the solar power technology he's invented, is that unlike most everyone else trying to score in this market, Nelson's vision for success includes giving away the technology for others to replicate and improve upon. You might call it "open source solar," and if it catches on, Nelson will be the guy credited with its success, even though he'll be none the wealthier for it.
Making Scotland the Green Energy Capital of Europe -
Interview with Alex Salmond
By James Stafford - OilPrice.com
We were fortunate enough to have some time with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond where we discussed a broad range of topics from Scotland's ambitious renewable energy targets and North Sea oil & gas to Scottish independence and Donald Trump.
In the interview, Alex discusses:
• How Scotland will achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets.
• The impact North Sea oil and gas revenues would have on an independent Scotland.
• How Scotland can become the green energy capital of Europe.
• Donald Trumps recent tantrum over offshore wind energy.
• The impact Independence would have on the Scottish economy.
• Why companies are continuing to invest in Scotland's renewable energy sector.
• Why Scotland would establish an oil fund and how it would be used.
• Why the shale revolution will not affect investment in Scottish renewables.
• The recent partnership between Scotland and Abu Dhabi.
• How Scotland will achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets.
The future of air travel: Nasa and Boeing
test radical triangular plane (just don't expect a window seat)
By EDDIE WRENN - DailyMailOnline.co.uk
Nasa has successfully demonstrated a working prototype of the 'plane of the future' - although it may be a step back for travellers who love a window seat.
The British-built plane is a radical re-design of the traditional 'fixed-wing' plane shape which has seen us through 50 years of passenger air-travel, with NASA and Boeing saying we have reached the limits in terms of speed and fuel efficiency with current models.
Nasa yesterday took a scale replica of the plane for a 'test fly', and hopes the plane will become the next universally adopted design within the next two decades.
The X-48C is a 'hybrid wing-body' plane, which offers greater internal volume for passengers and cargo, and the triangle-shaped plane, reminiscent of spy planes, cuts through the air more efficiently.
Webster Tarpley: Turkish & Saudi Officers
Running Death Squads in Syria
Alex also talks with researcher and author Webster Tarpley about the latest developments in Syria as the push to depose Assad intensifies. Webster also addresses the Petraeus issue.
Getting around a dead-end in Syria
By Editorial Board, The Post's View - WashingtonPost.com
THE DEFECTION of Syria's prime minister to Jordan on Monday prompted yet another White House declaration that the regime of Bashar al-Assad is "crumbling." While we hope that this is the case, it seems more likely that the administration's prediction will prove as premature as its previous announcements of Mr. Assad's imminent downfall, dating back a year. The grim reality is that the regime and the brutal war it is waging in Syria's cities is likely to go on and on — unless the United States abandons its policy of passivity.
Experts on Syria say that Mr. Assad's power structure is not so much crumbling as fragmenting along ethnic lines. What remains is a hard core of military units and their leaders, drawn from the minority Alawite sect. The defecting prime minister, like almost all of the 40 other senior government and military officials who have switched sides, is from the majority Sunni population. Other ethnic groups in Syria are going their own ways: The Kurds in the northeast of the country have taken over their own territory and hope to establish an autonomous region like that in Iraq.
Israel and Egypt's Military Benefit from the Sinai Attacks
By John Boering - The PPJ Gazette
Unidentified gunmen attacked the Sinai Peninsula border of Egypt and Israel last Sunday. Sixteen Egyptian soldiers were killed; the attackers were stopped by Israeli fire. The crisis is forcing Egypt to set policy with Israel as the 1979 peace treaty has been compromised. Additionally, the struggle for power in Egypt's new government is being tested.
Egypt's military responded to the Sinai attack today by striking targets near the border to crackdown on Islamic extremists who are being blamed for the attack. The attack benefits Israel and Egypt's military politicians, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
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