Ill Communication   

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.—"It's actually getting better," John Kerry says, but his voice cracks like an adolescent on "better," making the Democratic nominee for president of the United States sound like Peter Brady in the episode where his voice changes. The timing provokes good-natured laughter from the crowd. "Do you want some Tylenol?" a woman had called out, just moments before. Kerry's sick, and he's losing his voice. At times, he sounds like he can hardly get his words out. 

He gamely soldiers through the town hall, his only event on Wednesday's schedule, but not long after it's over, his campaign announces that he's taking most of Thursday off. John Edwards is called in from the bullpen to attend two events Kerry had scheduled in Iowa, one in Davenport and one in Cedar Rapids, and Kerry cancels an event he had planned to hold in Columbus, Ohio. The press is getting ready to shift from its "Kerry is staggering" storyline to a "Kerry is surging" one, and the last thing his increasingly competent campaign needs is for the candidate to show up with laryngitis at the first presidential debate next week in Miami.

The Sept. 30 face-off is so important that Kerry plans to be "down," as campaign lingo has it, all next week, practicing and preparing for his showdown with President Bush. But before disappearing, Kerry tried out some new rhetoric late Tuesday night in Orlando and then Wednesday here. Perhaps the funniest line Kerry trots out is one about Bush's promise of middle-class "tax relief." "He gave you relief," Kerry says, "kind of like the sort of relief you get when someone comes into your home and relieves you of your TV set. You know, we've been relieved of 1.6 million jobs. Half a million kids have been relieved of child care." He concludes, "And I think it's time we relieve George Bush of his responsibilities." The crowd inside the TD Waterhouse Center—the home of the Orlando Predators, winners of Arena Bowl XIV, according to a banner in the rafters—goes nuts.

But the line that Kerry wants to emphasize, and that he returns to the next day, is one of the president's. Kerry introduces this ersatz Bushism in Orlando by saying, "This is the president of the United States today, standing in New York City, where he was answering questions about Iraq and about his speech to the United Nations." Kerry pulls out a piece of paper to read and says, "Quote, 'The CIA laid out, ah'"—pause here for laughter and a huge, screaming ovation—"I just want you to know, I'm quotin'," Kerry says. "'The CIA laid out, a—several scenarios and said, life could be lousy, life could be OK, life could be better. And they were just guessing"—pause, and more laughter—"as to what the conditions might be like.'" Kerry then asks, "Ladies and gentleman, does that make you feel safer? Does that give you confidence in this president, knows what he's talking about? The CIA was 'just guessing.' This president ought to be turning that CIA over, upside down, if that's all they were doing."

Kerry returns to this theme Wednesday. He drops the "tax relief" line—in fact, the best one-liner comes from the crowd, from a man who shouts of President Bush after hearing Kerry's riff on Social Security, "We ought to privatize him!"—but he goes back to "just guessing." Kerry alters the meaning of Bush's statement slightly, but the gist is the same: "Yesterday, George Bush said he was just guessing on the intelligence estimates about conditions in Iraq. Now, George Bush's guesswork on privatizing Social Security is gonna cost $2 trillion. The president should stop guessing about Iraq, about Social Security."

Was this "guesswork" line going to be Thursday's message, too? Would Kerry have succeeded at connecting Bush's own words to the Kerry campaign's new "fantasy" vs. "reality" critique? (On Wednesday, Kerry says, "Yesterday, I was in Orlando, next to Fantasyland. The difference between me and George Bush is I drove by it. He lives in it.") The world may never know. Instead, in Columbus, Ohio, where Kerry spent the night, reporters joked about their stories for Thursday's empty day: "Today, John Kerry nurses a cold in the battleground state of Ohio…"


          That '70s Campaign   

NASHVILLE—The Democratic Party's estimates of its chances of defeating President Bush in November have rebounded in concert with John Kerry's campaign. A little more than a month ago, most Democrats were overly pessimistic about the 2004 election. Now they're overly optimistic. Sunday afternoon, during a press conference prior to a Democratic Party rally at the downtown Hilton here, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., declared not only that "Bush 43 looks very beatable at this point," but also that 2004 could be a congressional "tidal wave year" for the Democrats, akin to 1994 for the Republicans.

And if 2004 isn't a Democratic 1994, maybe it's 1976. That was former Vice President Al Gore's message to the Tennessee Democrats Sunday night. In an angry, sweaty shout, sounding like the second coming of Huey Long, Gore drew an extended comparison between the post-Watergate election of 1976, the year of his first election to Congress, and the post-Iraq election of 2004. John Kerry's two main rivals in Tennessee, Wesley Clark and John Edwards, spoke to the party, too, but Gore was clearly the main event. And if he wasn't before he spoke, he was by the time he was finished.

"You know, there was a mood in '76, a spirit of unity, a feeling of determination that we were going to win that race that year," said Gore, clearly linking that feeling to the resolve of 2004 Democrats to win back the presidency. Gore, however, wasn't referring only to the feelings of national Democrats in 1976. He was referring to the feelings of Tennessee Democrats, who were bitter over a Senate race that had been lost six years earlier.

Gore's father, Albert Gore Sr., was defeated in his 1970 campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Gore made a number of comparisons between 1970 and 1976 in Tennessee and 2000, 2002, and 2004 in America. "President George W. Bush reminds me more of former President Richard Nixon than any of his other predecessors," he said, implying, it seemed, that Nixon smeared his father in the midterm elections of 1970 just as President Bush smeared Georgia Senator Max Cleland in 2002. "They tried to make out like my dad was an atheist because he didn't want a constitutional amendment putting the government in charge of telling children how they ought to worship God in the public schools," Gore said. "They came out with accusations that he was unpatriotic because he was opposed to the Vietnam War and the mistaken policy that got us into that war." Gore recalled his father's concession speech on Election Night: "He took the old Confederate slogan about 'The South shall rise again,' and he stood it on its head. And he proudly proclaimed, 'The truth shall rise again!'"

Gore was also drawing an analogy between his father and himself. He was expressing the hope that just as his father's loss was redeemed by the election of a Democrat, Jim Sasser, to his U.S. Senate seat six years later, so too could Gore be redeemed after his loss to George W. Bush, if the Democrats reclaim the White House in 2004. As Gore stood on stage before his remarks, I wondered, what must it be like to be Samuel Tilden? What's it like to be haunted by the fact that you're a historical footnote? Gore's speech provided some answers.

"We have seen an administration which in my view more closely resembles the Nixon-Agnew administration than any other previous administration," he said. "There's a reason I say that. I don't offer that as simply a casual slur." The crowd laughed. "I'm not above a casual slur," Gore added, in a "mind you" tone, to more laughter. "But I'm biased, I didn't vote for the guy." A man calls out, "Neither did America!" To which Gore responds, "Well, there is that."

He continued: "But here's the reason I say that President George W. Bush reminds me more of former President Richard Nixon than any of his other predecessors. Nixon was no more committed to principle than the man in the moon. He, as a conservative Republican, imposed wage and price controls. Hard to believe in this day and time. But he did. And he cared as little about what it meant to be really conservative as George W. Bush has cared in imposing $550 billion budget deficits and trillions in additions to the national debt. That has nothing to do with conservatism and everything to do with his effort to get re-elected!"

Gore then explained how he planned to travel to Iowa in September 2001 to deliver "a real ripsnorter of a speech" that would have harshly critiqued President Bush's first nine months in office and broken Gore's political silence. He abandoned his plan after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, and instead swallowed his pride and told the Iowa Democrats of the man he clearly feels stole the presidency from him, "George W. Bush is my commander-in-chief."

"I think there were millions just like me, who genuinely, in spite of whatever partisanship they may have felt prior to that time, genuinely felt like they wanted George W. Bush to lead all of us in America wisely and well," he shouted.

"And the reason I'm recalling those feelings now is because those are the feelings that were betrayed by this president! He betrayed this country! He played on our fears! He took America, he took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure that was preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place!" Gore closed with his father's line from 1970: "And so I say to you in closing my friends, in the year of 2004, the truth shall rise again!"

The crowded erupted in a frenzy that recalled a Howard Dean audience circa August 2003. Which, if you think about it, is pretty much where Gore still is. Many Democrats took the 2000 election personally, and they saw the Dean campaign as the outlet for their anger and frustration. But no Democrat could have taken it more personally than Al Gore. To those who speculate that Gore's endorsement of Dean was a crude and ill-timed political calculation, this speech was a repudiation.

Not only does he believe that he should rightfully be president, he also thinks he performed his patriotic duty in the aftermath of 9/11, and Bush screwed him for it. To Gore, it seems that beating Bush wouldn't suffice. He wants to convince the world that Bush is one of history's worst presidents.

Gore is still popular with the Democratic base, but after this speech, the question for the party's nominee has to be, do you want this man to speak at the convention in Boston? Even if you like the sentiment behind this speech, if Gore delivers an address like this one in July, the historical analogy won't be to the Democrats of 1976 or to the Republicans of 1994. Instead, the comparison will be to the disastrous Republican convention of 1992. The angry white male is back. Do the Democrats really want him?


          Mystery Candidate   

MASON CITY, IOWA—Whatever John Kerry is doing right in this campaign, he isn't doing it on the stump. At least, that's my impression after watching him last night. Granted, it was the end of a long day for the senator, who spent much of it flying around Iowa by helicopter, and Kerry is a notoriously erratic speaker. The speech I watched him give had the quality of a rambling answering-machine message—Where is he going? What is he talking about? Will it ever end? But Kerry is the candidate that I've seen the least of in person, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I've just never seen him on a good day. If his momentum in the polls is for real, he must be doing something right.

There's a nugget of a theme in the middle of the speech, where Kerry uses President Bush's aircraft-carrier "Mission Accomplished" banner (derision of which is a surefire applause-getter in Iowa and New Hampshire alike) as a device to critique President Bush's domestic policy. "What mission?" Kerry asks. What about the mission to provide jobs for the unemployed, or to alleviate the high cost of prescription drugs, or to help family farmers, or to decrease the number of uninsured, or to clean up the environment? On those counts, "It's not even mission attempted," Kerry hollers. "It's mission deserted! Mission abandoned! Mission not even tried!" (Kerry returns to this theme at the conclusion, when he says Democrats will hang their own "Mission Accomplished" banner when they send President Bush back to Texas.)

In his first 100 days as president, Kerry says, he would issue an executive order that prohibits government officials from working as lobbyists for five years after they leave public life. He vows that every meeting between an official and a lobbyist in his administration would be public record. He makes an eloquent case for providing health care for the uninsured, saying, "Health care is not a privilege for the powerful and the wealthy. It is a right for all Americans." And he gets the automatic cheers any Democratic candidate gets when he refers to John Ashcroft by promising to "appoint an attorney general who is outside politics" and who will "not pursue a political and a religious agenda."

The audience doesn't seem wowed by Kerry, and he isn't bum-rushed by supporters the way I've seen crowds swarm around Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, and to a lesser extent on Thursday afternoon, John Edwards. What am I missing? I wonder. But driving between Dean events today, I hear a radio ad that might provide part of the answer. It supports Ryan Lizza's theory that Kerry is gaining ground by pushing an anti-tax message. Unlike unnamed other candidates, "John Kerry is not going to raise taxes on the middle class," the announcer says.

Kerry didn't directly criticize Howard Dean or Dick Gephardt on Thursday (though the veteran who introduced him did criticize Dean when he compared Kerry's Vietnam experience to "another candidate" who "asked for a deferment" and then went skiing). But he emphasized tax reform, not just the repeal of the Bush tax cuts. "I'm not looking for some great redistribution" or a "confiscatory" tax scheme, he says. "I'm looking for fairness." He also promises to "scour" the tax code for provisions that benefit "Benedict Arnold" companies and CEOs who move their assets offshore to escape taxes. Fifteen years ago, Kerry says, U.S. businesses had $250 billion in offshore assets. Today, it's $5 trillion. "This system is rigged against the average American," he says. "America is losing its democracy to a dollar-ocracy."

If Kerry's lead in the polls is accurate, and if it's attributable to his message on tax cuts (two pretty big ifs, in my opinion), Dean's decision to withhold his tax-reform plan until after the Iowa caucuses will be considered a major miscalculation. Instead of betting everything on Iowa and New Hampshire in an attempt to end the campaign before it began, Dean overconfidently decided to keep part of his platform in his quiver, presumably hoping it would have greater impact during a later stage of the campaign.

But what's bad news for Dean could be good news for the rest of the country. For years, pundits have complained that Iowa and New Hampshire have too much control over the presidential nominating process. This year, most people thought Iowa and New Hampshire would be even more important, because the condensed primary schedule would create unstoppable momentum for the winning candidates. But it looks like Terry McAuliffe's plan is having the opposite effect: By cramming so many primaries and caucuses into a small part of the calendar, McAuliffe created something much closer to a national primary than ever existed before. Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark are taking advantage of the new game by staking their candidacies on the states after Iowa and New Hampshire. And if John Zogby is right about John Kerry, Howard Dean may be forced to do the same thing.


          Shearing the Sheep   
For the last 3+ years I have lived in a relatively insulated area of the world and I have had the unique opportunity to see Western culture and specifically the USA from the outside. Most in America have never heard of Abu Dhabi and assume it is some place in Africa due to the exotic sounding name, they know of Dubai, though. The 2 cities are but 50 miles apart. The UAE is a benevolent monarchy which in the most part takes care of its residents and citizens. Things are not perfect here but this area seemed to largely escape the degree of economic carnage that befell the rest of the world.
 
As you know I have recently decided to return to my homeland and I fear I will not be so happy about some things happening there. I consider the bank bailouts on the taxpayers' dime a travesty which will haunt middle class Americans for generations to come. Uncounted trillions of dollars literally evaporated overnight and it will take decades to recover.

It has affected me personally as I own real estate and have investments that have losses in the tens of thousands of dollars in value. The economic crisis was a huge "pump and dump" by the international bankers. I am pissed off as I did not get a government bailout because I am not "too big to fail" so I have to just take it in the shorts, I guess.

The international banks (Goldman Sachs, et al) made out like bandits with the cooperation of the US government and the Federal Reserve which is just another private bank. They all caused the problem which is reverberating worldwide, yet the whole situation remains opaque and the same players remain in power within the US government and Wall Street. They should be in prison as it seems the whole scheme was orchestrated years ago with the lobbying away of financial rules and safeguards that allowed certain toxic financial instruments to be created for the sole purpose of wealth transfer.

When this house of cards collapsed, the players were inexplicably rewarded with an unprecedented bounty of public funds from the federal government instead of well deserved sanctions. Common sense would dictate letting these private banking organizations rot on the vine from their irresponsible actions, instead they were given a "mulligan" at taxpayers' expense. This suggests a much too cozy of a relationship between the robber-barons of Wall Street and the US government that has the responsibility of regulating them.

Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and even France are facing financial meltdowns and the bankers are at the ready to step in and "help" these beleaguered economies by buying assets for pennies on the dollar. It seems to be all about the money. Trace the new leaders of Greece and Italy and you will find they have backgrounds with the same international banking organizations. As always, follow the money

I am not a tin foil hat wearing guy but I can put 2+2 together. You do not have to agree with me but the puzzle pieces are self-evident. Everyone should be a critical thinker and question authority.

Below are some thought provoking videos I found. The first 2 are from the prophetic movie Network (1976) and one from critical thinker, social analyst and part-time comedian, George Carlin.


Review Movie Transformers: The Last Knight

tiket wayang transformers weekdays
bayaran tiket wayang pada hari Selasa di GSC Cinemas, Palm Mall Seremban = RM16
Disebabkan first time saya tengok Transformers, so saya agak fascinated dengan transformers such as Megatron, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee (bee). Lagi-lagi Bee tu perghhh power seh. Cool gilos. Walau kena tembak dan seluruh badan pecah, tetap steady cantum balik semua. I'm like "woahhhhhhh" haha. jakunn.

Dan disebabkan first time saya tengok Transformers, so ada some part tu quite confusing dan tak faham. Tak faham unicron tu apabenda. Or story di sebalik sesuatu peristiwa. Tak tahu nama some robots sebab nampak robot ada yang sama je rupanya haha. Tak tahu mana satu yang baik or pernah jadi baik dulu. 

Movie transformers 5 ni ada unsur komedi juga. Saya paling galak ketawa bila part yang Sir Anthony ceritakan sejarah 12 kesatria (knights) pada zaman dulu kepada hero (Mark) dan heroin (Laura). Sebab time Sir Anthony syok bercerita tu, ada satu 'robot' ni namanya mende ntah. Sibuk laaa main piano lah, buat muzik saspens guna guna suara saprano lah. Serius kelakar part ni haha.

Tapi saya tahu la yang Optimus Prime ni baik dan telah di-mindset-kan oleh 'maker' of Transformers di cybertron, Quintessa yang jahat tu supaya jadi jahat. Suruh bunuh human di Bumi, Bee dan lain-lain.

Bagi saya, cerita ni memang menarik. Rancak. Penuh dengan aksi dan lawan-lawan. Tapi maybe sebab cerita ni 2 jam setengah, so scene last-last tu saya menguap juga la haha. Lagipun scene last tu macam boring sikit. Part di mana mereka nak stop kan cybertron tu daripada musnahkan bumi dan part heroin nak ambil pedang tu. Adoii rasa macam boring dan tak mencabar haha. Rasa macam "cepat la habis, cepat la habis". Mungkin juga sebab jam saya dah menghampiri 11.30 malam. Tu rasa ngantuk di hujung-hujung cerita hehe.

But, overall saya bagi rating movie ni 8.5/10. Mungkin kalau saya follow series transformers dari awal, transformers 1 until transformers 4, saya akan lebih faham & menghayati perjalanan dan details perubahan transformers dalam cerita ni.

Ending movie last knight ni bukanlah ending pun. Ending dia adalah teaser untuk beritahu lepas ni akan ada transformers 6. Tapi saya tak sure nak pergi tengok ke tak Transformers 6 yang akan datang nanti. Tengok lah. Kalau banyak feedback positif dan ramai kata best, boleh la g nonton hehe.

Tapii, untuk sesiapa yang peminat Transformers atau tak pernah tengok sekali pun, saya syorkan pergi la tengok Transformers the last knight ni. Recommended!

Okay daaa~ wassalam! :)

          India braces for it's biggest-ever tax reform   
India is launching a new national Goods and Services Tax (GST) on July 1 that will unify its $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market for the first time. But, as Ryan Brooks reports, the Indian version of "one nation, one tax, one market," is more complex and will be tougher to comply with than is the case in many other countries.

          How Indian media rated Union Budget 2017   
With the country set for crucial assembly elections and yet dealing with the continuing effects of demonetisation, this year’s budget was much anticipated. Here is a round-up of what editorials of some of the leading dailies had to say.

The Hindu

The Hindu lauded the Finance Minister for managing to bring about the right balance – one which would provide solutions to the reduction in economic activity, particularly in the informal sector post demonetisation, as well as provide long term solutions to ensure that black money is not regenerated. This has been done by reducing the income tax rates from 10% to 5% for the lowest income bracket as well as halving tax rates for small and medium enterprises.

There may be no big new schemes or dramatic reforms; the big bang in this Budget is the shift from unfettered populism. On the flip side, the promise to confiscate assets of defaulters such as Vijay Mallya who flee the country and, separately, clean up electoral funding — the most potent root of corruption — appear to be red herrings at best.

The Business Line

Echoing these sentiments, this editorial also praises Jaitely for not making unrealistic growth and revenue projections given that there are several factors which will lead to uncertainty in the coming year.

Gross tax revenues are projected to rise by about 12 per cent over this year’s revised estimates, implying a realistic tax buoyancy (tax growth as a ratio of nominal GDP growth) of less than one. This budget has wisely not overestimated ‘compliance’, which has been a failing of many recent budgets — this is despite the fact that demonetisation has expanded the tax base and demonstrated its effects in terms of higher tax collections.

The Indian Express

As some of the states prepare for Assembly elections in just a few weeks, there was an anticipation of various sops to woo voters. However, the Indian Express editorial notes that Budget 2017 did not play to the gallery and focused on maintaining fiscal prudence without going overboard to contain fiscal deficits.

Since November, foreign portfolio investors have pulled out over $10 billion from India, on the back of rising interest rates in the US and the prospect of their rising further because of the Federal Reserve’s likely response to an expansionist fiscal stance of the Trump government. The Modi government’s tenure so far has been notable for a commitment to macroeconomic stability — reining in inflation as well as the twin deficits — which was the bane of the previous regime.

However, the editorial concludes that this budget alone is unlikely to bring about economic growth. It also remains to be seen if the next budget, given that it will be the last one before the general elections, will be along the same lines.

The Hindustan Times

On the tone of the budget, the Hindustan Times editorial points out that there were three important aspects – growth, sentiment and relief. Relief, particularly because the economy is not prepared to handle any drastic changes given that the nation is still reeling from the effects of demonetisation. There is a feeling that some push for economic growth has been given through infrastructure and banks.

By promising almost Rs 4 lakh crore of investment in creating infrastructure, the budget may have done enough to ensure public investment keeps the wheels of the economy turning till such time private investment is ready to take over. There was enough in it for housing and banks (expectedly, stocks of companies in the two businesses did very well, and drove growth in stock market indices), two sectors that have the ability to amplify, or at the least, transmit growth.

The New Indian Express

According to this one, the only surprise in the budget was that there were no surprises. While echoing sentiments that the budget’s focus was on fiscal discipline, there were some problem areas pointed out, particularly measures to repair ailing public sector banks.

Budget was a failure in expectation management. Public sector lenders are crumbling under the weight of bad loans, banks need over $1.6 trillion capital and Jaitley’s Rs 10,000 crore fire-fighting fund looks like a water pistol. Increased NPA provisions will reduce tax liability, but are inadequate. Jaitley’s fourth Budget contains economic logic embroidered with political poetry, but falls short of decisive action plan just where it’s needed.

The Deccan Chronicle

One of the other areas of criticism is that income from agriculture has been exempted from tax. In a certain sense, this is contradictory to the government’s stated commitment to attack black money given that it is a well known fact that urban rich uses this loophole to evade taxes. It also notes that farmers feel short changed.

The higher allocation for rural India hasn’t enthused farmers, who note that of the Rs 21.47 lakh crore Budget, Rs 1 lakh crore was for government staff under the 7th Pay Commission award. By that yardstick, the 60 per cent of the population living in rural areas should get Rs 60 lakh crores!

The Times of India

This paper remained critical of the budget for its failure to boost economic growth and pointed out various similarities to the budget of the UPA regime. However, one positive aspect has been the boost to transport and infrastructure, including the railways. Direct tax incentives have been given to the construction sector.

However, the higher spending in railways, with a commendable emphasis on creating a new fund to enhance safety, does not paper over problems. In 2016-17, railways is unlikely to meet its revenue targets even as payouts for salaries and pensions creep up. Total spending thus increased by 6.5% to Rs 21.46 trillion with interest payments on past debts accounting for 30% of the additional increase.

The Telegraph

Demonetisation and black money was of course the recurring theme in the Budget. Given its adverse effects, the move needed to be legitimised by the government through this budget. However, the Telegraph is sceptical about the Finance Minister’s claims.

The finance minister is obviously banking on the fear factor, that is, after the demonetization scare, more and more people will declare their true incomes. The rise of around 14 per cent in direct tax collections this fiscal that he claimed was owing to demonetization is an obvious exaggeration, since the scheme was announced only in November 2016. 

The Wire

Siddharth Varadarajan writes that the government’s move to limit anonymous cash donations to parties to Rs.2000 per person is merely an eye wash and may not result in the intended objective of rooting out big money from politics.

so long as the veil of anonymity is not removed, this reform will be of little practical consequence. Just as large cash donations today are booked as hundreds of smaller donations that are shown as less than Rs 20,000, the same exercise will continue, except that parties will now claim thousands of even smaller donations. If they are not obliged to record the details of each donor, the potential for black money finding its way to their coffers remains.


Read more from the author:

What Trump's policies mean for India and Pakistan

Will the Congress make a comeback in Punjab?

Jallikattu protests: Tamil Nadu comes to a standstill

Jallikattu and a clash of views in Tamil Nadu

Right wing vs BJP: Goa's unusual Assembly election race

Will 'Chinnamma' Sasikala be the new TN CM?

Is PMO meddling with Arvind Kejriwal's govt?

Will the Uttar Pradesh elections be a free for all?

Modi's New Year speech - Shuddh Yajna or Damp Squib?

News that made headlines in 2016

The fall of Rama Mohan Rao

Ammu to Amma: The best tributes to Jayalalithaa

The rise of Sasikala and the Mannargudi cartel

Ammu to Amma: The best tributes to Jayalalithaa

In her own words: The best Jayalalithaa interviews

Does the Supreme Court ruling force-feed nationalism?

How has the Opposition reacted to demonetisation?

Trump Sarkar it is: How India reacted to the US results

Some concerns about Modi's demonetisation move

Politicising a veteran's suicide over OROP

What the Yadav family feud is all about


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          House Budget: Public Lands for Sale   

When it comes to budgeting in Congress, the devil is in the details.

And the devilish detail in the big budget proposal on Capitol Hill this week, authored by Representative Paul Ryan, is a proposal to sell off of millions of acres of our public lands.

This item, a brief paragraph carefully tucked away on page 33 of the 99 page document, brushes aside the usual rules that govern the selling of our wild places, and put millions of acres up for immediate sale.  It calls these lands “unneeded public land,” though the millions of Americans who cherish our wild places, and the wildlife that depend on them would surely disagree.  And it cynically notes that “such sales could also potentially be encouraged by reducing appropriations to various agencies.”  (emphasis added)   By starving essential agencies of necessary funds, the budget would force the government to sell off land just to make sure it can function.

Our public lands have tremendous value, and selling them off would harm local economies and communities. As Mike Pool, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management told the Committee when testifying against a very similar proposal in Congress, the bill “would be costly, harmful to local economies and communities and undermine important resource values. It would also be unlikely to generate significant revenues to the U.S. treasury.”

This budget proposal is part of a larger theme of attacks on wilderness in the House of Representatives, as documented in Wilderness Under Siege. Bills have been introduced to sell out and sell off our private lands. Long-time Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) has recently advocated selling off our national parks.

These efforts to sell off public land to support the economy have it backward. Our lands are not only vital for hunting, fishing, camping and hiking, they are critical to the recreation economy that generates a trillion dollars every year.  We can support our economy by protecting our public wild lands, not selling them off.

That’s the kind of thinking – and the kind of budgeting – we need going forward.


          Demonetisation 2.0: Indian businesses brace for biggest-ever tax reform   

Businessman Pankaj Jain is so worried about the impending launch of a new sales tax in India that he is thinking of shutting down his tiny textile factory for a month to give himself time to adjust.

Jain is one of millions of small business owners who face wrenching change from India's biggest tax reform since independence that will unify the country's $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market.

But he is simply not ready for a regime that from July 1 will for the first time tax the bed linen his 10 workers make, and require him to file his taxes every month online.

On the desk in his tiny office in Meerut, two hours drive northeast of New Delhi, lay two calculators. Turning to open a metal cabinet, he pulled out a hand-written ledger to show how he keeps his books.

“We will have to hire an accountant - and get a computer,” the thickset 52-year-old told Reuters, as a dozen ancient power looms clattered away in the ramshackle workshop next door.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government says that by replacing several federal and state taxes, the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) will make life simpler for business.

To drive home the point, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has appeared in a promotional video in which he weaves a cat's cradle between the fingers of his hands - symbolising India's thicket of old taxes.

With a flourish, the tangle is gone and Bachchan proclaims: “One nation, one tax, one market!”

Not so simple

By tearing down barriers between India's 29 states, the GST should deliver efficiency gains to larger businesses. HSBC estimates the reform could add 0.4 percent to economic growth.

Yet at the local chapter of the Indian Industries Association, which groups 6,500 smaller enterprises nationwide, the talk is about how to cope in the aftermath of the GST rollout.

“In the initial months, there may be utter confusion,” said chairman Ashok Malhotra, who runs one firm that manufactures voltage stabilisers and a second that makes timing equipment for boxing contests.

A big concern is the Indian GST's sheer complexity - with rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent, and myriad exceptions, it contrasts with simpler, flatter and broader sales taxes in other countries.

The official schedule of GST rates runs to 213 pages and has undergone repeated last-minute changes. “Rubber goods are taxed at 12 percent; sporting goods at 18 percent.

I make rubber sporting goods so what tax am I supposed to pay?” asks Anurag Agarwal, the local IIA secretary.

Grace period?

The top government official responsible for coordinating the GST rollout rebuts complaints from bosses that the tax is too complex, adding that the IT back-end that will drive it - crunching up to 5 billion invoices a month - is robust.

“It is a technological marvel, as well as a fiscal marvel,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told Reuters in an interview.

The government will, however, allow firms to file simplified returns for July and August.

From September they must file a total of 37 online returns annually - three each month and one at the year's end - for each state they operate in.

One particular concern is how a new feature of the GST, the input tax credit, will work. This allows a company to claim refunds on its inputs and means it should only pay tax on the value it adds.

The structure will encourage companies to buy from suppliers that are GST-compliant, so that tax credits can flow down a supply chain.

That spells bad news for small firms hesitating to shift into the formal economy.

The government estimates smaller companies account for 45 percent of manufacturing and employ more than 117 million people.

Adhia played down the risk of job losses, however, saying this would be offset by new service sector jobs.

Demonetisation 2.0

The prospect of disruption is drawing comparisons with Modi's decision last November to scrap high-value bank notes that made up 86 percent of the cash in circulation, in a bid to purge illicit “black money” from the system.

The note ban caused severe disruption to India's cash-driven economy and slammed the brakes on growth, which slowed to a two-year low in the quarter to March.

“It could throw the business out of gear - it can affect your volumes by at least 30 percent,” said the head of one large cement company in the Delhi region.

Back in Meerut, Pankaj Jain worries that hiring an accountant and charging 5 percent GST on his bedsheets could eat up to two-thirds of his annual profits of 400,000-500,000 rupees ($6,210-$7,760).

“I know my costs will go up, but I don't know about my income,” he said. “I might even have to shut up shop completely and go into trading.”


          Comment on What do you mean we owe China a trillion dollars?! by Bob Syphrett   
China actually owes more money to the US than the US owes to China. The amount is in the Trillions of dollars owed on defaulted bonds to US citizens. China has refused to pay on these bonds, and some bonds are still active. At the same time as China has refused to honor their debt they have down graded the US credit rating. Why does our Congress let them get away with this??? The US could buy the bonds from our citizens and pay off our debt to China pennies on the dollar. Then why have we not done this ?????
          Comment on What do you mean we owe China a trillion dollars?! by Consulting With Results   
Reblogged this on <a href="http://consultingstrategy.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/181/" rel="nofollow">Strategy Inc.</a> and commented: Want to understand the trade imbalance with China and the national debt?
          WB government passes ordinance to reclaim part of Singur land   
Ritwik Mukherjee, Kolkata, 9 June : The West Bengal government on Thursday passed an ordinance for reclaiming 400 acres of land at Tata Motors’ abandoned site at Singur, which in turn will be returned to farmers who were not willing to part with it.
The state government also announced that it was ready to pay compensation to Tata Motors through a court-appointed arbitrator if the Tatas wanted to move out of the remaining 600 acres in the same compound. According to state government officials, this was a prelude to the amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, which the state government was planning to introduce during the ensuing session of the assembly.
“Since the state assembly is not in session, we have promulgated the ordinance. Later, we will take clearance from the assembly,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee said. The ordinance, signed by governor MK Narayanan, is a government decree issued as a stop-gap arrangement before a proper law can be passed by the legislature. Most ordinances are valid for six months, after which they have to be either re-issued or endorsed by the legislature.
The chief minister said the ordinance would be placed in the next session of assembly, and said, “It is a historic day for the people of Singur.” However, a Tata Motors spokesperson said, “We are not aware of such a development and we do not want to make any comment unless we have studied the ordinance.”
The chief minister on her part said the remaining 600 acres would be kept open for industry and added that Tatas could set up industry if they wanted. "If they (Tata) demand compensation without going in for industry on this 600 acres, we will give them compensation through legal means by appointing an arbitrator," she added. File Photos : Reuters

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Bangladesh budget takes aim at energy shortages, poverty
Ruma Paul, Reuters, Dhaka, 9 June : Bangladesh's government unveiled a budget for fiscal 2011-12 year on Thursday which increases spending on key sectors by nearly a third to tackle power shortages which are curbing growth and deterring investment.
Spending on key development needs such as power and transport will increase by 31 percent from this fiscal year to 460 billion taka ($6.3 billion), of which 60 percent would be provided by the government and the rest by overseas lenders, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith told parliament as he presented the 1.6 trillion taka ($22 billion) budget.
Overall spending will increase 23 percent in the year from 1 July to 1.6 trillion taka, he said. The government aims to cap its deficit at 5 percent of gross domestic product in 2011-12, up from a revised 4.4 pct of GDP in 2010-11.
It is targeting a 27 percent rise in tax revenue to 1.18 trillion taka in the coming fiscal year, largely due to improvements in tax collection and crackdowns on evasion.
Bangladesh aims to bolster economic growth to a record 7 percent in the coming year, from 6.7 percent targeted in 2010/11, and expects inflation to ease slightly to 7.5 percent against a revised target of 8 percent this year, he said.
Price pressures are a major concern for the government as nearly 40 percent of the country's more than 150 million people live on less than $1.25 a day.... READ MORE

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Opposition CPI-M slams WB govt ordinance on Singur land
Kolkata, 9 June : Opposition CPI(M) today criticised promulgation of ordinance by the West Bengal government for reclaiming 400 acres land at the abandoned site of the Tata Motors in Singur, saying an ordinance could not be passed when the Assembly was in session.
"Assembly session was on. Assembly was not prorogued. When assembly session was on, ordinance cannot be promulgated," leader of opposition Surya Kanta Mishra said commenting on the ordinance. Similar voice was also raised by the former speaker of state Assembly Hasim Abdul Halim.

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BNP, its allies likely to simultaneously call hartal next week
UNB, Dhaka, 9 June : BNP and it’s alliance partners are likely to again simultaneously call hartal next week (Sunday or Monday) on caretaker government issue and amendment of the constitution.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia Wednesday night held meeting with partners of the four-party alliance to discuss the next course of action.
Before meeting with the alliance leaders she had a meeting with her party’s standing committee, BNP’s highest policy making body.
A leader of the four-party alliance told UNB that they have decided in principle to call hartal and it would be announced on Friday.
He further said the duration and date will be finalized today (Thursday) after reviewing the national budget. He hinted the hartal may be called on Sunday or Monday.
On 5 June BNP and partners of the four-party alliance Jamaat, BJP and Khelafat Majlish called countrywide dawn to dusk hartal against the govenrment move to cancel caretaker government provision embodied in the constitution.

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Tripura police launches action against eve-tease of Agartala
Agartala, 9 June : The Tripura police has launched a special operation against eve teasers of Agartala city under project 'Prayaas', an initiative of people-friendly policing.
According to a report, a police team headed by Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Princee Rani conducted a special drive in different places of Agartala town against the eve-teasers and arrested six in front of MTB Girls’ and BK Girls’ Higher Secondary schools yesterday. Earlier, as many as 11 eve-teasers and, 45 others involved in various criminal activities, were arrested from here in separate raids, police said.

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West Bengal govt to clear land for 'K Nazrul Islam Memorial'
Kolkata, 9 June : The West Bengal government will clear encroachers from a plot of land which was meant for setting up a memorial of rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave an assurance in this regard to the poet's granddaughter Khilkhil Kazi when she called on her Thursday at the secretariat.
Khilkhil said that the plot, in the city's Kestopur area, was given to her grandfather by the United Front government. The land is now illegally occupied.
"We have the documents relating to the land. The occupants are not willing to vacate it. We requested the chief minister to see that the land is freed and a Nazrul Centre is set up there. The chief minister has said steps will be taken after examination of the documents," Khilkhil said.

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West Bengal govt stops research trial of "Transgenic Rice"
Kolkata, 9 June : The West Bengal government today ordered to stop research trial of transgenic rice that started in March this year.
Briefing reporters here, state Environment Minister Dr Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar said the isolation distance for the transgenic research trial was normally 300 metres from normal paddy fields.
However, in this case the isolation distance was 10 metres.
The botany department of Calcutta University was conducting the research trial at Rice Research Station at Chinsurah in the state.
Dr Ghosh Dastidar said an expert panel would be formed to study the matter and the government would look forward to the suggestions made by the panel.
He said cultivation of transgenic seeds was bio-hazardous and could threaten food security.

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Maradona to receive invitation for Kolkata's friendly match
New Delhi, 9 June : Football legend Diego Maradona will be accorded a special invitation for Argentina's international friendly against Venezuela, scheduled to be held at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on 2 September.
"We will be inviting Maradona. I will try and meet him when I go to Argentina during the Copa America next month," said Bhaswar Goswami, chief of Celebrity Management Group (CMG), the firm who bought the hosting rights of the match from Argentina Football Association.

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Former Chief Minister Buddhadeb to skip politburo meeting
Kolkata, 9 June : Former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will stay away from the CPI(M) politburo meeting beginning in Hyderabad tomorrow, apparently to avoid discussions on party's debacle in the Assembly polls in the state.
Party sources said Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is a member of the Politburo, would also not attend the central committee meeting on 11and 12 June. Bhattacharjee had skipped the last politburo meeting in Delhi on 15 May. In recent past too, he did not attend some crucial meetings of the party citing certain grounds.

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Silk with Singapore Airlines offers daily flights from Kolkata
Kolkata, 9 June : Silk Air, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines (SIA), together with the parent airline would operate daily flights from Kolkata to Singapore from 1 August.
Announcing this here today, Silk Air chief executive Marvin Tan said that together with SIA's three weekly flights to Kolkata, the two airlines would now operate seven round-trip services per week. The all-inclusive round-trip fare from Kolkata to Singapore would be Rs 14,999 per passenger by both the airlines, which was against about Rs 21,000 by SIA at present.
This has been possible as Silk Air has agreed to operate four-times-weekly services from Kolkata to Singapore from 1 August.
The SIA flights would be on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, while Silk Air would operate its flights on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, Tan said.

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ONGC on big exploration drive for gas extraction in Tripura
PTI, Agartala, 9 June : ONGC has launched a massive exploration drive for gas extraction in Tripura to meet the requirement of 726 MW gas-based thermal power project at Palatana in South Tripura, which is scheduled to start power generation by December 2012, official sources said today.
Recently, company director U N Bose had reviewed the progress of activities and visited the Palatana project site. The company has set a target to produce six million metric standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas by 2012, to meet the requirements of the project and has also decided to drill two more gas well within the stipulated time (2012). Last year, ONGC had discovered two major gas wells.
ONGC-Tripura Power Corporation (OTPC) is trying to install heavy equipments for the 726 MW mega thermal power plant at Palatana despite heavy rains and communication bottlenecks, sources said.
Two makeshift bridges, commonly known as bypass, which were built on the rivers Hawra in Agartala and Gomati in South Tripura district, were washed away due to heavy rains last week, creating bottlenecks for transportation of the turbines and heavy equipments to the project site.
Due to the collapse of the bridges, transportation of 280 tonne turbine has became difficult but ONGC is trying to rebuild the bridges before the monsoon sets in, in order to start generation by the end of December 2012, sources said.
The initially estimated project cost of nearly Rs 8,000 crore has already gone up to Rs 9,000 crore because of the delay, sources added. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone for the project in 2005.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------www.bengalnewz.com-----

          Euro Hits High Against The US Dollar, UK Pound And 10 Year Sov Yield Rise as BofE and ECB Mention Stimulus Withdrawal   

The euro hit a 1-year high on Wednesday and German 10-year Bund yields continued to rise after doubling the previous day, as bets grew that Draghi and the European Central Bank is readying to scale back its 2-trillion-euro stimulus program.

The post Euro Hits High Against The US Dollar, UK Pound And 10 Year Sov Yield Rise as BofE and ECB Mention Stimulus Withdrawal was originally published at The Wall Street Examiner. Follow the money!


          Laut Tawar Lake : The hidden beauty in Aceh   

Laut Tawar Lake : The hidden beauty in Aceh


Laut Tawar Lake or tasteless lake in english is located at eastern city of Takengon, in the high plains of Gayo (1,250 meters above sea level), Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam. It is a lake with a broad approximately 5,472 ha, around 17 km in length and have 5.5 km in width, the volume of water Liter approximately 2.5 trillion (2,537,483,884 m3). Population around this lake is about 21,487 peoples (2002), with 23 villages around it.

This lake can reached from Takengon through the City of Bireuen.There is a small bus terminal at Takengon. The buses need about 5 hours to get Laut Tawar lake and the bus's ticket costs about 3 dollar. Bireun is not only way to get Laut Tawar Lake, we also can go to Takengon from Blang Keujeren and Kutacane.

Laut Tawar lake is one of Aceh people's pride. It is one best tourist attraction, visited by many domestic and foreign tourists. Laut Tawar Lake is a water source that is used not only by the people in Takengon, but also by people in other Aceh's districts.


There are some traditional stories circulating about the Gayo depik fish, a legend fish that lived in Laut Tawar Lake. It will appear on the surface to a particular season, especially during the rainy season. Gayo Depik fish is a gift of God to people of Gayo.

There are two hills flank the lake, the hills make the lake more beautiful. The waters give the source of livelihood for many people, especially in the high plains around Gayo. Laut Tawar Lake is not salty like other lake because its condition, Laut Tawar Lake saves many flora and fauna.

Visitors of Laut Tawar Lake can see the activities of gayo people. One activity that has become part of daily life in communities around the lake is fishing. Leading commodities that grown in hills near the lake is coffee (Arabica coffee), which is very popular in Japan.
          Going coastal: And like a bad neighbor...   

By PATRICK CLARK

In 1938, when storm-watchers gave hurricanes names fit for railroad lines, the Great New England formed off Africa's western coast, hurtled across the Atlantic and turned north, making landfall in Central Long Island.

Winds as fast as 130 miles per hour blew across the peninsula, sweeping a Westhampton movie theater out to sea, toppling the tallest building in Sag Harbor and turning Montauk into an island. In Manhattan, streets three blocks inland from the East River flooded, and the Empire State Building is said to have swayed. By the time the storm finished cutting through New England and into Canada, some 57,000 homes were destroyed, and as many as 800 lives lost.

When present-day risk experts think about the worst-case scenario for the New York region, they base their assumptions on the Great New England.

That wasn't even a direct hit. 'If you take that storm and put it on the Irene track, then you get multiples and multiples of the damages,' said Karen Clark, the chief executive officer of catastrophe risk firm Karen Clark & Co. and the mother of the catastrophe-modeling industry.

The Great New England cost the insurance industry $35 billion in 2012 dollars, according to Ms. Clark's research. Move a hurricane of the same force through the center of today's Manhattan, and the results are terrifying: a storm surge to put Sandy to shame, flooding Manhattan, razing the boroughs, blowing water towers off the rooftops and crashing debris through the city's flashiest office buildings and luxury high-rises.

Ms. Clark said her worst-case storm would cost insurance companies $100 billion, five to 10 times the damage inflicted by Sandy and double the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

'I shouldn't say 'if,' I should say 'when,'' Ms. Clark told us. 'This is going to happen.'
***
SO HOW DO COMPANIES insure against $100 billion in damage? Here's a scenario just as terrifying as another Great New England: they don't.

That's what happened in Florida after 2005, when insurance companies tried to hike rates in the wake of a string of hurricanes starting with Hurricane Andrew (1992, insured costs of $21 billion) and continuing through that year's Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

The state balked, capping premiums. The insurance industry took its ball and went home, to a large extent calling the Sunshine State closed for business. The state stepped in, funding an insurance program of its own and putting its already shaky finances to the wind: in 2011, the state's Citizens Property Insurance Corp. had a total exposure of $510 billion.

Could that happen in other parts of the country?

'There's a very real question about the future of insurance affordability and availability,' said Cynthia McHale, director of the insurance program at Ceres, which advocates for investors on sustainability issues. 'Insurers always have the option of pulling out of a region. Or the rates become really, really high and unaffordable. This is a reasonable scenario going forward.'

With two major hurricanes within 14 months, New York officials have jumped on the climate change issue in the weeks since the recent storm. Gov. Andrew Cuomo took Sandy as evidence that 'climate change is a reality' and gestured at European systems for protecting coastal communities, such as the $4 billion locks completed in 1997 to protect the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Mayor Michael Bloomberg invoked the storm to explain his endorsement of President Barack Obama, citing the president's record of facing up to global warming.

While climate modelers can debate climate change, nobody can argue with the pace of development along the coasts. The more homes there are in a vulnerable area, the bigger the companies' tab when catastrophe strikes. 'The elephant in the room is not climate change,' Ms. Clark said. 'The real driver of increasing property losses from catastrophes is increasing concentration along the coasts,' she said.

As a rule of thumb, Ms. Clark says the total value of properties on the Atlantic doubles every 10 years. Insuring these buildings while avoiding massive losses has been a growing problem for the industry.

When Ms. Clark founded her first company, Applied Insurance Research, in 1987, insurers had been lulled into a sense of security regarding storms. After earning masters degrees in business administration and economics at Boston University in 1982, Ms. Clark went to work at a local insurance company, using meteorological data to assess her firm's weather-related exposure.

In those days, the computing power needed to run the sophisticated models insurers depend on today didn't exist, which was fine, since almost nobody perceived such a need. The U.S. had gone decades without a major hurricane landing, and insurance companies were grossly underestimating the risks involved. Ms. Clark's models showed, for instance, that if a Category 5 hurricane hit Miami, the losses would be on the order of $60 to $70 billion.

'The insurance companies thought it was $7 billion,' she said. 'They weren't monitoring the trillions of dollars of property being built on the coastline.'

Hurricane Andrew created about $21 billion in insured losses, and the catastrophe-modeling business took off. In addition to the independent catastrophe risk companies like the ones that Ms. Clark has founded, reinsurers–insurers for primary providers like State Farm or Allstate, basically–have built teams of meteorologists, seismologists, flood experts and engineers to model the hypothetical damage. To understand the expected cost of a storm and, ultimately, how much property owners should pay for insurance, the modelers map tens of thousands of storms over real-life physical data.

While storms like Sandy and Irene have been priced into the insurance premiums property owners already pay, more frequent storms will mean higher rates, to the point that some properties will become bad bets for both insurers and owners. Most vulnerable are not only the areas pummeled by Sandy, but anywhere on the coast, including the Hamptons.

Is there anything to do but move to a landlocked state, then pray for no tornadoes?

Recently, New York City's Panel on Climate Change studied the insurance industry's relationship to potential global warming and recommended that insurers offer lower rates to homes built with storm-proofing materials and engineering.

Protecting their homes and families from future Sandys is an issue that looms large among residents of both Breezy Point, Queens, and Greenwich, Conn., where fires broke out during the height of the hurricane. In Breezy Point, a house fire spread to more than 80 homes, while a fire sparked by downed electrical wires consumed three Greenwich, Conn. mansions at the edge of the Long Island Sound. Those three homes alone were worth $20 million.

Residents of both communities will have to consider building with better materials and engineering in hopes of weathering the next great storm. But if what's on the way is as bad as some believe, they might think twice about rebuilding altogether.
~
Patrick Clark covers Wall Street for the New York Observer, which is where this story first appeared.


          6/28/2017: LONDON LIFE: Watchdog blitz on rip-off prices at fund firms   
THE City watchdog today launched a stinging crackdown on the £7 trillion fund management industry in bid to banish rip-off prices for customers. The Financial Conduct Authority, led by chief executive Andrew Bailey, will force asset managers to be...
          Uber self-driving Volvos use Nvidia Tegra   
Uber self-driving Volvos use Nvidia Tegra


Incredibly important win

Back in January,  Nvidia  revealed that it had a two Parker SoCs on a board that it calls Drive PX 2 and that the Volvo XC90 will be the first car to use it. A few days back, Uber revealed that customers in down town Pittsburg will be able to use Volvo XC90 cars for their Uber rides. 

The important thing to mention is that Nvidia technology is inside as the Volvo XC90 is using DRIVE PX 2 as the heart of the self-driving vehicle. Tesla which was seen as a leader in the self-driving arena was using Mobileye and it plans to end this relationship as soon as it can, due to a death. Most cars today including expensive BMWs which have the highway autopilot feature use Mobileye.

Nvidia Drive PX 2 is much more powerful as it  has two  Parker CPUs and two 256-core Pascal based Cuda cores and it can deliver 24 trillion deep learning operations per second to run the most complex inference algorithms. If that is not re-assuring enough, the Drive PX 2 system has three teraflops of performance for  deep learning. In case you don’t speak geek language, Fudzilla spent a lot of time investigating technologies crucial to self-driving including object detection, Lidar, RADAR, ultra-sonic sensors and all in all, self-driving cars are on their way to be safer than humans.

Uber is a smart business and it wants to get rid of the most expensive part of its transportation business model, a human driver. This won’t happen overnight as the Pittsburg trials will require all Volvo cars to have a person in the driver seat that will sit there “just in case”. The car will drive itself, but the person in the driver's seat will be able to take control at any given moment.

Nvidia and Volvo expect that self-driving cars should hit the streets by 2020 while Mobileye was targeting 2021. Both of these dates are closer than most of you think, and it will make everything safer. Most daily commuters spend an awful lot of time on their phones, not paying attention, and the self-driving car will watch the street all the time, refreshing information in milliseconds and being able to react much faster than any human.

Volvo said that combined with Uber, both companies spent some $300 million on a Volvo based self-driving Uber car. Volvo will make the car and Uber will buy it.

Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said:

“Volvo is a world leader in the development of active safety and autonomous drive technology and possesses an unrivaled safety credibility. We are very proud to be the partner of choice for Uber, one of the world’s leading technology companies. This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry.”

It looks like that Uber, Volvo and Nvidia will profit, as essentially this is Nvidia’s biggest win to data, and the self-driving powered by the Nvidia Drive PX 2 will happen much sooner than anyone expected. The first ride will mark the day when Nvidia finally stops being a GPU-graphics cards company. The change of Tegra strategy we mentioned back in 2014 is finally paying off. 


          Nvidia Parker has Denver 2 with Pascal   
Nvidia Parker has Denver 2 with Pascal


Created with automotives in mind

Danny Shapiro,  Nvidia's Senior Director of Automotives, has revealed a few details about the "Parker", Nvidia’s Newest SOC for Autonomous Vehicles. 

Nvidia also detailed its new Parker chip at the Hot Chips conference too, but essentially all you need to know is that Parker is a 16nm FinFET ARM V8 CPU with two Denver 2 + 4x A57 Coherent HMP and with a 256 Cuda core Pascal Geforce GPU.

Just a quick view of the CPU's configuration gives you a clear signal that this SoC is unlikely to end up in any tablet. Two Denver 2 + 4x Cortex A57 seems like something that need to be plugged in to a power source all the time such as an autonomous car, a next generation shield console or the rumored Nintendo NX console.

The Nvidia Pascal 256-Core GPU supports DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, Nvidia Cuda 8.0, Open GL ES 3.1, ARP and Vulkan. This is the same number of cores as Nvidia had with the Erista, Tegra X1 but of course Pascal cores are much more efficient than the Maxwell and they should be able to clock them higher. It was rather clear with Tegra X1 that this SoC will not make it to any tablet shaped device due to its high power consumption and the Google Pixel C design win was the best that Nvidia could achieve.

22 Parker diagram 1

The Denver 2 and Cortex A57 have 2MB + 2MB L2 cache in coherent HMP architecture and the SoC supports 128-bit LPDDR4 with ECC.

The GPU can decode and encode H.265, VP9 both up to 4K at 60FPS. It also supports a 12 Megapixel camera sensor.

Two Parker SoCs power the Drive PX platform as Nvidia wants to power deep learning applications, even in a motor car.

More than 80 carmakers, tier one suppliers and university research centers around the world are now using our DRIVE PX 2 system to develop autonomous vehicles. This doesn’t mean that Nvidia will have as many design wins, but it looks like a big opportunity.

parker specifications two

The Volvo XC90 is the first vehicle supporting DRIVE PX 2 and since Parker delivers up to 1.5 teraflops of performance for deep learning-based self-driving AI cockpit systems, Volvo could end up with a rather safe self-driving car. Since DRIVE PX 2 has two Parker SoCs, you end up with 3 teraflops of performance for the deep learning, self-driving AI cockpit system.

The combination of two Parker SoCs with a total of four CPU cores each and 2x256 Cuda cores, means that the Drive PX 2 might deliver 24 trillion deep learning operations per second to run the most complex deep learning based inference algorithms. 

Parker supports dual-CAN (controller area network) interface, a standard connector in the car industry and Gigabit Ethernet to transport audio and video streams. 



 


          America's Descent Into Israel's Moral Abyss by Patrick J. McShay   
Submitted to Operation Disclosure,

America's Descent Into Israel's Moral Abyss

by Patrick J. McShay



"Idealistic principles are used to deceive and manipulate the Goyim. One must learn how to use political freedom as bait whenever it appears necessary to attract the masses, for the purposes of crushing authority". * The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion

"We must use terror, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services, to rid the Galilee of it's Arab population" - * Israel Koenig - The Koenig Report

"Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the World - Only to serve the people of Israel." - *Chief Israeli Rabbi- Ovadia Yosef

This Middle East slaughter, or "crusade," as "George the dumber" once awkwardly called it, before the war cabinet settled on the ominous sounding "War on Terror," has been chiseled into the minds of the American public through years of government lies, propaganda, brainwashing, shady dossiers and anonymous sources. After "Die Hard," almost 30 years ago, movie bad guys were mostly Arabs, to embed the demonization into the American psyche. This barrage of disinformation would have never been successful without the mainstream news and their highly paid teleprompter readers, mindlessly reading government approved propaganda. Their reporting is producing grave results for the poor people we are claiming to liberate. Remember when Dick"The Maniac" Cheney, said the Iraqi's would greet us as liberators? Remember when we had to stop Saddam from killing his own people? Then we had to stop Muammar Gaddafi from killing his own people in Libya. Turns out, Benghazi was a US operation smuggling weapons to terrorists, who were actually killing Libyans for Israel. And now, of course, it's imperative that we take out Bashar Al Assad for, you guessed it, killing his own people. The first thing that comes to mind is, who buys this nonsense? The next is, who benefits the most from this manufactured War on Terror and arming the worst terrorists on the planet ? And finally, why is the American media the biggest cheerleaders of these Pentagon misadventures. No matter how much evidence surfaces that we are being lied to, They continue to support the big lie.
The big lie of course, is why we are there in the first place. Once you understand that, you begin to understand a lot about US foreign policy and why we are spending trillions of dollars, bankrupting our country and cutting programs that benefit American Citizens.

Most will believe the government explanation when the next false flag gas attack in Syria occurs, because they still believe that Al Qaeda was behind 911. ISIS, of course, the new boogeyman invented by the Pentagon, will carry the terror baton for the Pentagram until they serve their evil purpose. ISIS, the mysterious army of murderous miscreants, who seem to hate everyone, and have attacked, Muslims, Christians and every country in the area with the exception of Israel. A specter of evil right out "bad guy" central casting. Mr Orwell would be impressed. Turns out, Al Baghdadi, the leader of this so called army of scary Arabs, who are torturing, raping and killing people of all faiths, is an Israeli Mossad trained Jew. As a matter of fact, most in the US are unaware that there is mounting evidence that the US Government, their NATO Allies, the psychopathic Saudi's and our BFF's the Israeli's are arming, funding and training several terrorist groups in the Middle East including ISIS and Al Qaeda. What is John "Traitor" McCain's role in all of this. Saudi Arabia has recently given "Traitor" McCain's corrupt foundation a million dollars. Suspicious? You bet. just the past week Syria has accused Israel of twice bombing Syrian positions in support of ISIS. Israel is making Billions of dollars in oil profits on land stolen from Syria in the Golan Heights. Now they are bombing them. Where is the international outrage?

Twice in the last few weeks, American Fighters bombed Syrian troops, that were advancing on known terrorist positions. Why is the US in Syria? Canadian independent journalist Eva Bartlett, who recently returned from Syria , said in a UN press conference that, "everything the American media is reporting about Syria is a lie". Mr Putin, in a speech to the UN recently, told the World that the US and their allies are supporting ISIS. The US Government and the American media should have no credibility after the lies we were told about 911 and these middle east wars. Why are we being lied to again? How does anyone believe it? Russia is in Syria at the invitation of Bashar Al Assad. The US is not. Assad has asked us to leave Syria. Why haven't we? These are questions the mainstream media should be asking. This is now the time to turn off the liars on FOX, MSNBC, CNN, CBS and ABC and find a good news site online like rense.com, globalresearch.ca, whatreallyhappened.com, operationdisclosure.blogspot.com or blacklistednews.com

Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer prize winning investigative reporter, who has broken a number of uncomfortable stories that the government would have liked to have kept a lid on. The My Lai Massacre exposed a degenerate, murderous underbelly of reality in Vietnam that the American public had no idea existed. American soldiers attacked a peaceful village, raping women and murdering every man, woman and child in sight. He broke the story of the torture details at Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War. The public was lied to about the extent and the methods of torture that were used. No quaint stories about waterboarding, where everybody was ok when it was over. Eric Fair, in his book, "Consequence- A Memoir," states that US interrogators were trained in sadistic torture techniques by the Israelis. They were trained on the use of a disturbing torture devise, the "Palestinian Chair." The chair was used to break them down both physically and mentally. Many prisoners were humiliated, tortured and beaten to death. Hersh is now reporting that, Trump launched Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian Military in April, after ignoring warnings from US Intelligence that there was no evidence Assad's government was to blame for the chemical attack on his own people. The attack was likely a false flag done by US allied terrorists, in order to escalate the long planned Israeli and American Zionist led regime change.

US foreign policy has bizarrely been controlled by Israel for decades, but no one will talk about it. It's like Fight Club? The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club. The first rule about Israeli control of our Congress, foreign policy and our entire media is you can't talk about Israel control. The truth is, these Middle East wars were planned for Israel long before 911. To understand what is going is on, one would want to read Oded Yinon's 1982 Plan for the Middle East and a "Greater Israel". Yinon was a Senior Official within the Israeli Foreign Ministry and a journalist with the Jerusalem Post. Donald Trump confirmed his support recently for the illegal settlements and his opposition to United Nations Security Council resolution # 2334, which, of course, affirms the illegality of the Israeli settlements. The plan was for Israel' s neighbors to become weakened and fractured through regime change and war. I don't think anyone thought that Israel would ever carry out their evil plan themselves, not when they control the most powerful military on the planet. Enter The Neo-Cons.

A White paper was written for Bibi Netanyahu in 1996, by Robert Kagan's Neo Con group, "The Project for a New American Century." PNAC was a faction of Israel firsters, made up of American Neo-Con Jews and Christian Zionist. This unlikely group would change the course of history. Titled a "A Clean Break," The plan called for Israel to abandon past practices of trading land for peace as a waste of time and resources, and called for a more hostile and aggressive approach. They would Steal the land they desired through regime change and the ethnic cleansing of millions of people. This would only happen through a major paradigm shift and what PNAC called a "New Pearl Harbor type event", like 911, to kick start their planned land theft and genocide. Unbelievably the paper makes this assertion: "Our claim to the land to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years is legitimate and noble. Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimension. Our claim to the land? "Whose future? Using a line from the Bible to justify stealing land, treasure and precious lives is despicable. Members of this group should someday be reviled in history books with the worst traitors and despots. "A Clean Break" called for regime change in seven countries and the Balkanization of the countries that would make up the new greater Israel. Those seven countries targeted were Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and of course Iran. Members of the group were Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, William Kristol, Scooter Libby, Jeb Bush and John Bolton, to name just a few of the traitors and liars that George W Bush assembled and allowed to hijack our country's foreign policy 17 years ago. The War on Terror is a monstrous lie. It's time people wake up.

We are in the calm before the storm. Most Americans would be shocked to learn that this long planned "War on Terror," where we have spent so much blood and treasure, is nothing but an Israeli land grab. Don't hold your breath waiting for the media to tell you what's really going on. The President is a compliant Israeli dupe as were his predecessors. His new UN Ambassador, dopey Nikki Haley, is an unapologetic Israeli sycophant, who will never allow any criticism of Israel on her watch. Many misguided Christians still blindly support this insane agenda. ISIS is a mercenary army being used to take Assad out and break up Syria. Russia knows what is going on, and knows the UN is in the tank for the Zionists. How far will Trump take this? He's in the same tank as the UN and the rest of the country's whose leaders are sold out, blackmailed or threatened by the Zionists. It wouldn't surprise me if they pull another false flag gas attack to be blamed on Assad. Israel won't give up their plan for a Greater Israel or "Eretz Israel", no how many Goyim have to die for them to get it.

          AI will boost global GDP by nearly $16 trillion by 2030—with much of the gains in China   
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          Oil subsidy set at Rp81 trillion in revised 2015 budget   
JAKARTA - The Indonesian government has set a fuel subsidy of only Rp81 trillion in the 2015 revised budget, down from Rp276 trillion set previously in the 2015 budget. "The value includes carryover debt from last year totaling Rp25 trillion to Pertamina," Finance Minister Bambang Soemantri Brodjonegoro stated here on Friday. ...
          New York Times Inflates Obama's Already Over-Inflated Budget Numbers   

It's one thing for the Obama administration itself to play fast and loose with budgetary facts, but it's an entirely new realm when the campaign cooks their numbers using questionable methods, and the media follows that up by inflating the falsehood even further.

Such is the case of the New York Times, who just yesterday claimed that the President's "most recent budget proposal called for $5.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade."  

That number is a $1.3 trillion inflation of an already inflated $4 trillion estimate being peddled by Obama surrogates.

In a campaign ad titled Worried, the President's reelection committee claims that he has put forth a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, well below the estimated $5.3 trillion cited by the Times.  

That number however, is cited repeatedly by the likes of Press Secretary Jay Carney, and is more recently evidenced by Bill Clinton's comments at the Democrat National Convention that, "[Obama] has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade," and Rep. Chris Van Hollen's speech which stated, "President Obama’s plan uses the bipartisan commission’s balanced approach. It reduces the deficit by more than $4 trillion.”  

This is demonstrably false.

To start, the administration's numbers include $848 billion in calculated savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a major budgetary gimmick and nothing more.  The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget had this to say about the ploy:

"This drawdown is already in effect and not the result of new deficit-reducing policies, and so it should not be counted as deficit reduction. Worse than simply counting it to inflate their numbers, though, the Administration uses some of the phantom savings to pay for existing unfunded transportation costs and to expand jobs and infrastructure initiatives. Paying for real costs with phony offsets is no way to budget or to control rising debt.”

An additional $2.1 trillion in savings are being credited to the President's budget, when in reality those cuts were reached a year earlier in budget negotiations with Congress, and signed into law with the Budget Control Act. Essentially, Obama is taking credit for savings that are already in the bank.

Further, the $4 trillion in debt reduction relies heavily on the claim that the President is cutting spending by $2.50 for every $1.00 in tax revenue - a claim that Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler states "no serious budget analyst agreed with."

The notion is so outrageous that the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning organization, also discounted the faux savings sources and instead concluded with a ratio of $2 of tax increases for every $3 in spending cuts.

But even the fact that they want you to believe the new tax revenues will be used for deficit reduction can be disputed.  In the President's recent budget proposal, he calls for $1.8 trillion in new taxes, coupled with $1.5 trillion in new spending, leaving little if any tax revenue available to pay down the debt.

In other words, the President's suggestion that the wealthy will have to pay a little more to pay down the debt in a balanced manner is simply nonsense.

In fact, when all factors are combined and the mathematics properly worked out, the Obama budget employs such economic wizardry that they've ultimately taken what amounts to less than $400 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years, and trumpeted it as a $4 trillion reduction - a marked inflation.

Sadly, for the Obama administration, repeating a line over and over doesn't necessarily make it fact. Yet the media, as shown by the New York Times piece is not willing to look into facts, they are only willing to parrot lies from the administration.

At one point during his DNC speech, Clinton echoed a line from a Romney campaign pollster who said, "We are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers."

Apparently when it comes to the Obama budget, neither Clinton, the media, nor the campaign are going to be dictated by actual facts at all.


          MarketWatch Says Obama's Spending Binge Never Happened, Keeps Straight Face   

Just when you thought media bias couldn't possibly be more blatant, along comes this article from MarketWatch, a purportedly trusted source of Wall Street news. (Never mind that MarketWatch is operated by CBS, who should change their acronym to Cooing Barack Supporters ... but I digress).

This article so blatantly misrepresents the facts that it's difficult to know where to start:

By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.

As would-be president Mitt Romney tells it: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.”

Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.

Government spending under Obama, including his signature stimulus bill, is rising at a 1.4% annualized pace — slower than at any time in nearly 60 years.

But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

Even hapless Herbert Hoover managed to increase spending more than Obama has.

Here are the facts, according to the official government statistics:

In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. Check the official numbers at the Office of Management and Budget.

In fiscal 2010 — the first budget under Obama — spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.

In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.

In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.

Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.

I've even seen Tea Party members start to panic - "ZOMG IT WAS BUSH'S FAULT!"

I'll tackle the first section before I post the second section with rebuttal. It's pretty basic, really. The rate of growth in spending is NOT equivalent to spending as an overall percentage of GDP. This is a selective look at statistics without giving the overall context. Yes, the rate of growth has leveled off. But ONLY after spending was raised to unsustainable levels!

But the second argument is even more powerful. The Bush budgets - you remember, back in the day, when we actually passed budgets - never exceeded $2.5 Trillion, and deficit spending never exceeded $500 Billion. DEFICIT SPENDING HAS MORE THAN DOUBLED SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE. Overall spending has increased by upwards of 50% since 2006, when the Democrats took control in Congress and the Senate. This chart is from the White House website:

 

 

 

Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS (–): 1789–2017
(in millions of dollars)
YearTotalOn-BudgetOff-Budget
ReceiptsOutlaysSurplus or Deficit (–)ReceiptsOutlaysSurplus or Deficit (–)ReceiptsOutlaysSurplus or Deficit (–)
20002,025,1911,788,950236,2411,544,6071,458,18586,422480,584330,765149,819
20011,991,0821,862,846128,2361,483,5631,516,008-32,445507,519346,838160,681
20021,853,1362,010,894-157,7581,337,8151,655,232-317,417515,321355,662159,659
20031,782,3142,159,899-377,5851,258,4721,796,890-538,418523,842363,009160,833
20041,880,1142,292,841-412,7271,345,3691,913,330-567,961534,745379,511155,234
20052,153,6112,471,957-318,3461,576,1352,069,746-493,611577,476402,211175,265
20062,406,8692,655,050-248,1811,798,4872,232,981-434,494608,382422,069186,313
20072,567,9852,728,686-160,7011,932,8962,275,049-342,153635,089453,637181,452
20082,523,9912,982,544-458,5531,865,9452,507,793-641,848658,046474,751183,295
20092,104,9893,517,677-1,412,6881,450,9803,000,661-1,549,681654,009517,016136,993
20102,162,7243,456,213-1,293,4891,531,0372,901,531-1,370,494631,687554,68277,005
20112,303,4663,603,061-1,299,5951,737,6783,104,455-1,366,777565,788498,60667,182
2012 estimate2,468,5993,795,547-1,326,9481,896,4593,290,381-1,393,922572,140505,16666,974
2013 estimate2,901,9563,803,364-901,4082,224,5453,169,287-944,742677,411634,07743,334
2014 estimate3,215,2933,883,095-667,8022,472,8543,167,901-695,047742,439715,19427,245
2015 estimate3,450,1534,059,866-609,7132,669,2973,298,248-628,951780,856761,61819,238
2016 estimate3,680,0854,328,840-648,7552,847,2733,519,901-672,628832,812808,93923,873
2017 estimate3,919,2754,531,723-612,4483,038,1283,672,539-634,411881,147859,18421,963
* $500 thousand or less.

 

James Pethokoukis reframes this even more starkly on his blog:

Actually, the Obama spending binge really did happen

As the chart indicates, Nutting arrives at that 1.4% number by assigning 2009—when spending surged nearly 20%—to George W. Bush: “The 2009 fiscal year, which Republicans count as part of Obama’s legacy, began four months before Obama moved into the White House. The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress. Like a relief pitcher who comes into the game with the bases loaded, Obama came in with a budget in place that called for spending to increase by hundreds of billions of dollars in response to the worst economic and financial calamity in generations.”

Let me complete the metaphor for Nutting: “Then as those runners scored, Obama kept putting more on base.”

Obama chose not to reverse that elevated level of spending; thus he, along with congressional Democrats, are responsible for it. Only by establishing 2009 as the new baseline, something Republican budget hawks like Paul Ryan feared would happen, does Obama come off looking like a tightwad. Obama has turned a one-off surge in spending due to the Great Recession into his permanent New Normal through 2016 and beyond.

So, the author took 2009 and lumped it in with Bush (BLAME BUSH!) and failed to separate out the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2009, TARP, and the Stimulus. No biggie. You see, here's the whole point of Democrat budgeting. This is one of the oldest tricks in their book. They raise the baseline spending by whatever means necessary - emergency spending usually does the trick because a giant increase in a proposed budget generally doesn't garner a lot of votes on the floor. All of the increased spending rate occurs in one event, instead of a series of budgets passed over several years. Once the baseline is raised, that's the new normal, and future budgets (if they're ever actually, you know, passed) work from the previously established precedent of higher spending. Plus that makes it easier to blame the last president for all of your spending malfeasance. At this point in the budget approval process, if someone is sharp enough to pick up on their little trick, they typically come back with something that sounds a lot like, "But, it's for the CHILLLLDRENNNNN!"

Ok now let's tackle the second chart in this article. This is where the author really shows how stupid he thinks his readers (and Obama sycophants) really are.

The big surge in federal spending happened in fiscal 2009, before Obama took office. Since then, spending growth has been relatively flat.

Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%.

There has been no huge increase in spending under the current president, despite what you hear.

Why do people think Obama has spent like a drunken sailor? It’s in part because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the federal budget.

Do you notice something funny? That supposed lowest spending ever year, 2012? Doesn't that bar seem like it's taller than the other ones? Sure seems like that means spending is higher, not lower. Take 2009 and blame it on your predecessor, if pressed on the issue say that you inherited this mess from him, put it all in a blender for maximum spin, and voila! You're not a drunken sailor anymore!

The disrespect for the voters in these budget games never ceases to amaze. In fact, they seem to raise the baseline every time they open their mouths.


          House Passes Ryan’s Budget 228-191, Rejects Obama’s 0-414   

Today, the House passed a budget -- something Senate Democrats haven’t bothered to do in nearly three years (1,065 days, to be exact).

The budget, drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, resembles last year’s Ryan budget. It now goes to the Senate, where Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats aren’t likely to take it up. 

The House also voted on President Obama’s budget. Want to guess how many votes it got? Zero. That’s right. No one voted for it, not even the Democrats. Ouch. That’s gotta hurt.

The House voted the President’s budget down unanimously by a vote of 0-414. Last May, the Senate voted down the Obama budget, 0-97. The White House is on a roll.

Anticipating the humiliation, the administration attempted to discredit the vote ahead of time by calling the whole exercise a “gimmick.” Considering that President Obama’s last two budgets have both failed to garner even a single vote in either chamber of Congress, perhaps his budget proposals are the gimmicks?

The process involved votes on a series of competing budget proposals. Members were able to vote for any or all of them. The one that passed first would become the base text, and the one that passed last would become the House position and go over to the Senate. In the end, only one budget passed: the GOP leadership-backed Ryan budget. 

After voting down the Obama budget unanimously, the House also voted down a series of three liberal budget proposals:

  • The House Democratic leadership proposed a budget that hikes taxes by a trillion dollars, spends $3.704 trillion in the first year, and adds more than $6 trillion to the debt over ten years. It failed by a 151-236 vote. 
  • The Congressional Black Caucus proposed a budget with $3.9 trillion in new taxes in addition to the tax hikes proposed in President Obama’s budget. It failed by a 107-314 vote. 
  • The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget hikes taxes, creates a $1.034 trillion deficit in the first year, and takes ObamaCare several steps farther by enacting the unpopular “public option”. It failed by a 78-346 vote.

The House also considered a “moderate” budget proposal:

  • Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Steve LaTourette (R-OH) introduced a budget in the mold of the 2010 “Simpson-Bowles” debt commission. Although its supporters labeled it the sole “bipartisan” budget proposal, it did not garner significant support from either party. Only 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans voted for the proposal, which failed by an embarrassing 38-382 vote. 

Finally, the House considered two conservative budget proposals:

  • The FreedomWorks-endorsed Republican Study Committee (RSC) budget would cut spending by $7.579 trillion over the next ten years, cut taxes, repeal ObamaCare, and enact significant entitlement reform. It failed, 136-285.

The 175-member RSC offered the only budget that met the balance-in-seven-years requirement of the Goodlatte Balanced Budget Amendment (H.J.Res. 2), which the House voted on last fall. Sixty percent of the House and 98 percent of House Republicans voted "yes" on the Goodlatte BBA. The RSC Budget failed, alas, despite strong support from fiscal conservatives both inside and outside of Congress; the vote was 136 in favor to 285 against. Sadly, of the 285 “noes”, 101 came from Republicans who had previously voted for the balanced budget amendment. 

The RSC budget comes the closest of those offered to the Tea Party Budget. That’s why FreedomWorks decided to “key-vote” in favor of it, counting it as a essential vote on our scorecard of votes that determine which members are truest to the tea party principles of smaller, constitutionally limited government. We didn’t key-vote any of the other budget plans, not even Ryan’s, which, while a good start, doesn’t go far enough to avert the coming debt crisis.

  • Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the House Budget Committee’s “Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal” budget would cut $4.150 trillion over the next ten years, cut taxes, repeal ObamaCare, and enact significant Medicare and Medicaid reform. It passed, 228-191.

Not a single Democrat voted in favor of the Ryan budget, and 10 Republicans voted against it: Reps. John Duncan (TN), Chris Gibson (NY),  Walter Jones (NC), David McKinley (WV), Todd Platts (PA), Denny Rehberg (MT), Ed Whitfield (KY), Justin Amash (MI), Joe Barton (TX), and Tim Huelskamp (KS).

Five Republicans voted only for the RSC budget: Justin Amash (MI), Joe Barton (TX), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Paul Broun (GA),  and Ron Paul (TX). These men are all staunch fiscal conservatives who feel, as many of our members do, that the Ryan budget, while a good start, doesn’t go far enough to avert the coming debt crisis. 

For more details on the competing budget plans, see our handy FreedomWorks Budget Report Card.

The main lesson that supporters of smaller, constitutionally limited government can take away from all of this is that, despite the historic gains we achieved in the 2010 elections, we need to send even more fiscal stalwarts to Washington like the ones who voted for the RSC (conservative) budget today -- and especially those who voted only for that budget. 


          $3.6 Trillion Budget Sets Up Return to Stagflation    

Washington, DC – Congress has approved the outline of President Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget.  Although no Republicans voted for the budget, there was bipartisan opposition to Obama’s budget as twenty fiscally responsible Democrats voted against the $3.6 budget busting plan.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that President Obama’s budget will leave the United States with a $1.8 trillion deficit, meaning the United States  will have to borrow nearly half of the money it spends.  The CBO further estimates that the Obama budget will add $9.3 trillion to our $11 trillion national debt

If President Obama’s budget passes, it will represent 12 percent of  GDP, shockingly higher than the historical norm of three percent.  According to the CBO, the cumulative federal debt to GDP ratio will jump form 41 percent in 2008, to a staggering 82 percent by 2019.  By comparison, in 2008 France had a debt to GDP ratio of 68 percent.

The President also calls for at least 1.5 trillion in new taxes, and a cap-and-trade energy tax that is estimated to raise energy costs by $3,000 per American family.  The President’s budget will provide for a massive expansion of government in health care and education, but the budget has not identified how he will pay for these new programs.  The new government programs are at odds with the President's stated goal of halving the yearly deficit to less than $600 billion in five years.  New programs are proposed, but nothing in the budget indicates the President will begin to fix our collapsing entitlement system.

The burden of this debt will be borne by young Americans and future generations, saddling them with higher taxes and a debased dollar.

House Republicans offered an alternative budget based on a freeze in federal spending and tax cuts to let families keep more of their own money in the economic slowdown.   Included in the alternative budget is a bold proposal by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) to flatten and simplify the tax code.  Ryan’s plan would immediate simplify Americans'  lives by easing tax compliance and creating a tax code that respects them.

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented:

“President Obama’s budget is a fiscal train wreck.  There are only three ways for the government to spend money it does not have:  print, borrow, or tax.  Today we are spending, and tomorrow it will have to be paid back with higher  taxes and inflation.  Taxes will harm the economy, and inflation will rob Americans of their buying power.  This is the recipe for a return of 1970’s stagflation.  The bottom line is that Americans just cannot afford President Obama’s budget.”

Radical expansion of government and blockbuster defects raise the specter of higher taxes, runaway inflation, a devalued currency, and lethargic growth.

          Press Release: New Industry Alliance to Accelerate Effectiveness of Marketing to Hispanics   
Focus on Improving Measurement of Hispanic-Focused Marketing Campaigns to Better Serve the Burgeoning Hispanic Community CHICAGO – April 16, 2014 – A consortium of six companies announced today a cross-industry study to drive thought leadership in marketing to Hispanics. The consortium members include IRI, Latinum Network, Univision, Telemundo Media, UM, and Rentrak (NASDAQ: RENT). The consortium will enable marketers to maximize the multi-platform impact of advertising to Hispanics by developing best practices around strategy and performance measurement. The consortium’s mandate is to help marketers, advertisers and retailers develop effective marketing strategies to best serve Hispanic consumers. U.S. Hispanic consumers are a powerful and growing economic force with a buying power in excess of $1 trillion, driven by a population 56 million strong that is expected to grow to 131 million people by 2050. Despite the tremendous potential of this market, less than 5 percent of current media is devoted to advertising, representing a spending gap of approximately $22 billion. The consortium aims to promote Hispanic advertising, while creating learnings that will inform Hispanic marketing strategy for years to come. The consortium is unique in its breadth and scale in understanding the impact of marketing activities geared toward Hispanics and has two primary goals: To develop a scorecard of brands’ performance and traction with Hispanic consumers relative to their peers and industry To enable members to maximize the impact of advertising targeting Hispanics by building Hispanic brand strategies and a “total market” approach that balances general market and multicultural investments Highlights of the Hispanic Marketer’s Playbook will include: Efficient Hispanic reach generation strategies Hispanic engagement and impact through social and mobile media Synergy and halo of Hispanic media with promotional levers Impact of dubbed and translated commercials versus original Spanish language creative effects Show integration strategies and effectiveness Creating Hispanic research and metrics frameworks for success The study will leverage IRI’s proven Hispanic Mix Drivers platform—a powerful marketing-mix modeling platform that incorporates robust statistical techniques in modeling Hispanic sales trends and quantifying Hispanic marketing lifts. The modeling rigor is balanced with heuristics derived from a massive industry benchmarks database collected from a multitude of consumer behavior studies conducted over a 10-year period. The modeling engine is further enriched by cross-media audience data through the consortium alliance and IRI’s network of resources. Understanding that branded entertainment is an important lever in Hispanic media strategy, the consortium will also leverage Rentrak's iTVX® branded entertainment measurement service that provides users the precise value of a brand's appearance in media content, by combining second-by-second viewing insights, brand exposure analytics, social media listening and consumer behavior intelligence. The study will enroll participants in April and through June 2014. Participants will receive results on their brands in August 2014 through in-depth review sessions. Macro insights distilled from across all participating brands as well as the Hispanic Marketing Playbook will be unveiled at a capstone industry event targeted for the fall of 2014. About IRI IRI is a leader in delivering powerful market and shopper information, predictive analysis and the foresight that leads to action. Wego beyond the data to ignite extraordinary growth for our clients in the CPG, retail and over-the-counter healthcare industries by pinpointing what matters and illuminating how it can impact their businesses across sales and marketing. Move your business forward at iriworldwide.com. IRI Contacts: John McIndoe Email: John.McIndoe@IRIworldwide.com Phone: +1 312.474.3862 Shelley Hughes Email: Shelley.Hughes@IRIworldwide.com Phone: +1 312. 474.3675 About Latinum Network Latinum Network is a member-based advisory company comprised of global brands that supports their success in the multicultural economy. The company's mission is to enhance its members' ability to drive profitable growth from multicultural audiences via actionable insights, business analytics, proven strategies and consumer access. Founded in 2009, Latinum Network serves nearly 100 member brands driving measurable ROI in the growing multicultural demographic segment. Proprietary solutions include i.) Voz Latinum, a bilingual online community of over 5,000 US Hispanics used to support both network-wide and custom client research, ii.) Veo, a new consumer mobile platform that allows direct, two-way engagement between brands and consumers and iii.) Latinum’s Digital Platform that provides our clients with proprietary syndicated research, actionable category-level insights, online tools, and best practices. Latinum Network Contact: Sandra Correa Sparkpr for Veo/Latinum Network Email: sandra@sparkpr.com Phone: +1 646.291.6080 About Univision Communications Inc. Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) is the leading media company serving Hispanic America. The Company, a leading content creator in the U.S., includes Univision Network, one of the top five networks in the U.S. regardless of language and the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast television network in the country reaching approximately 96% of U.S. Hispanic television households; UniMás, a leading Spanish-language broadcast television network reaching approximately 89% of U.S. Hispanic television households; Univision Cable Networks, including Galavisión, the country’s leading Spanish-language cable network, as well as Univision tlnovelas, a 24-hour cable network dedicated to novelas, Univision Deportes Network, a 24-hour cable network dedicated to sports, ForoTV, a 24-hour Spanish-language cable network dedicated to news, and an additional suite of six cable offerings - De Película, De Película Clásico, Bandamax, Ritmoson and Telehit; Univision Television Group, which owns and/or operates 62 television stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico; Univision Radio, the leading Hispanic radio group which owns and/or operates 68 radio stations in 16 of the top 25 U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico, as well as Uforia, the leading Hispanic digital music service; UVideos, the first bilingual digital video network serving Hispanic America; an Interactive network of online and mobile apps and products including Univision.com, which continues to be the No. 1 most-visited Spanish-language website among U.S. online Hispanics, and Univision Partner Group, a specialized advertising and publisher network. UCI’s assets also include a minority stake in El Rey Network, a new 24-hour English-language network founded by maverick filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, and a joint venture with Disney/ABC Television Network for Fusion, a news, pop culture and satire TV and digital network. Headquartered in New York City, UCI has television network operations in Miami and television and radio stations and sales offices in major cities throughout the United States. For more information, please visit Univision.net. Univision Contact: Rosemary Mercedes Email: rmercedes@univision.net Phone: +1 212.455.5335 About Telemundo Media Telemundo Media, a division of NBCUniversal, is a world-class media company, leading the industry in the production and distribution of high-quality Spanish-language content across its multiplatform portfolio to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world. Telemundo’s multiple platforms include the Telemundo Network, a Spanish-language television network featuring original productions, theatrical motion pictures, news and first-class sports events, reaching U.S. Hispanic viewers in 210 markets through its 16 owned stations, broadcast and MVPD affiliates; mun2, the preeminent voice for young Hispanics in the U.S. reaching TV households nationwide on digital and analog cable, and satellite; Telemundo Digital Media, which distributes Telemundo’s original content across digital and emerging platforms including mobile devices, www.telemundo.com and www.mun2.tv; an owned and operated full power station in Puerto Rico that reaches 99% of all TV households in that DMA; and Telemundo Internacional, the international distribution arm which has positioned Telemundo as the second largest provider of Spanish-language content worldwide by syndicating content to more than 100 countries in over 35 languages. For more information, please visit us at telemundomedia.com and linkedin.com/telemundo-media. Please check out our videos on youtube.com/tlmdmedia and follow us on twitter.com/TelemundoMedia and facebook.com/TelemundoMedia. Telemundo Media Contact: Michelle Alban Vice President, Corporate Communications Email: Michelle.Alban@nbcuni.com Phone: + 1 305.889.7585 About UM UM (www.umww.com) is a global media agency that fuses curiosity and creativity to unlock competitive advantage for brands through media. Our philosophy of curiosity is driven by the power of story-telling fueled by intelligence, insights and ideas. A division of IPG Mediabrands, UM has more than 130 offices in 100 countries and over 4,800 employees committed to developing creative, strategic and customized campaigns for every client. Ranked as the most creative media agency by AdNews in 2012, UM also was recognized for leadership in advanced analytics by Media Magazine. UM’s list of clients includes Brown-Forman, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil, Hershey’s, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal Paris, MasterCard, Microsoft and Sony. In 2012, UM’s new business global wins and retention received a grade A from RECMA. UM Contact: Lou Marino Email: lou.marino@umww.com Phone: + 1 646.376.1754 About Rentrak Rentrak (NASDAQ: RENT) is the entertainment and marketing industries' premier provider of worldwide consumer viewership information, precisely measuring actual viewing behavior of movies and TV everywhere. Using our proprietary intelligence and technology, combined with Advanced Demographics, only Rentrak is the census currency for VOD and movies. Rentrak provides the stable and robust audience measurement services that movie, television and advertising professionals across the globe have come to rely on to better deliver their business goals and more precisely target advertising across numerous platforms including box office, multiscreen television and home video. For more information on Rentrak, please visit www.rentrak.com. Rentrak Contact: Antoine Ibrahim Email: aibrahim@rentrak.com Phone: +1 646.722.1561
          LG ANNOUNCES FIRST-QUARTER 2017 FINANCIAL RESULTS   
LG Electronics Sees 10 Percent Jump in Sales and Highest Operating Income Since 2009 LG Electronics Inc. (LG) today announced first-quarter 2017 revenue of KRW 14.66 trillion (USD 12.70 billion), an increase of 9.7 percent from the same period last year. LG nearly doubled its operating income to KRW 921.5 billion (USD 798.3 million) with [...]
           Another angle on the collateral damage of college finance    

We recently posted an article about how college debt is an inhibitor to graduates starting businesses.  
College grads with big debt payments have fewer options as a result of the minimum college loan payments they make every month.

This study at RealEstateConsulting.com tells the tale of another unintended consequence of college debt – they also can’t afford to buy a home.

Here is the gist of the report:

“Student debt has ballooned from $241 billion to $1.1 trillion in just 11 years.

29 million of the 86 million people aged 20–39 have some student debt.

Those 29 million individuals translate to 16.8 million households.

Of the 16.8 million households, 5.9 million (or 35%) pay more than $250 per month in student loans, which inhibits at least $44,000 per year in mortgage capability for each of them.”

Reminds me of that Toby Keith song: “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”

Make sure and download a copy of Lucky and Good: Risk, Decisions and Bets for
Investors, Traders and Entrepreneurs



          Toshiba arrangements to offer its prized memory chip business to a gathering of financial specialists driven by the Japanese government   
The battling Japanese aggregate said Wednesday it has picked an offered worth around 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) from a consortium driven by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a state-upheld finance. Toshiba (TOSBF) is auctioning off its royal gems in an unhinged push to recuperate from billions of dollars in misfortunes originating from the fall of Westinghouse Electric, its now bankrupt U.S. atomic unit. The emergency at the storied Japanese organization started caution among government authorities. More than 100,000 of Toshiba’s about 190,000 workers are in Japan, where the organization assumes an essential part in key enterprises like
          Why should businesses invest in better nutrition? It's smart, sustainable and the right thing to do.   
Earlier this week I was invited by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to give a presentation to a gathering of CEOs of companies located in India on how to make businesses and markets work for nutrition. 

I structured my talk around answering 2 questions: 

Why bother to make markets and businesses work for nutrition? and What do CEOs need to do?


First, why bother?

1.     It is the smart thing to do

·       The medium term market opportunities are enormous.  The Business and Sustainable Development Commission’s new report estimates that globally about $1 trillion of business opportunity is embedded within 4 areas

* Develop food markets that help low income households get access to nutritious foods
* Reformulate products for enhanced micronutrients, lower sugar, salt and transfats
* Reduce food loss in the supply chain
* Reduce consumer food waste in the home

India would be home to a significant chunk of the $1 trillion.

·       The short term wins are significant. Improving nutrition environment in the workplace will

* Reduce absenteeism and presenteeism by about the same percentage
* Reduce staff turnover also

In a highly competitive environment, these margins are highly significant

2.     It is the right thing to do

We know that healthier and more productive consumers will purchase more goods and services, so there is a smart rationale for businesses to invest in nutrition.  But there is also a moral case.  

Malnutrition is very high in India as the Global Nutrition Report notes.  

* Poor diets are the number one cause of the global burden of disease and a top 5 factor in India
* 38% of Indian under 5’s are stunted
* 48% of Indian women suffer from anaemia
* 22% of Indian adults are overweight or obese

This is too much for the government or foundations or international development partners to address on their own—responsible businesses have an obligation to add their know how, resources and skills to the fight.

3.     It is the sustainable thing to do

* Making businesses and markets work for nutrition is a way of rebuilding trust in CEOs. International evidence suggests that it is at an all time low

* There is evidence from Unilever and others that brands with a social purpose command higher margins

* Whichever country you are in, the pressure from consumers, health professionals and governments is going to lead to more regulation, taxes, and subsidy removals—all in the name of better nutrition.  For example, see Mexico and the UK on soda taxes.  The CEOs that quietly get ready for these changes will have a competitive advantage.

So if making businesses and markets work harder for good nutrition is the smart, right, and sustainable thing to do, how to do it?

1.      Be champions for improving nutrition: better nourished citizens are better customers

2.      Work with peers in business to get governments to create a level playing field at the sector level by developing:

* Standards: e.g. promulgating and enforcing standards on food safety and quality around large scale food fortification for example

* Policy: e.g. reducing import duties on fortificants and reducing taxes on companies that are developing healthier products

* Finance: e.g. blended financing instruments, e.g. preferential credit facilities for more nutritious foods, matching funds

3.      Incorporate nutrition goals into your corporate strategies

* Be aligned with the way the world is moving: be on the right side of history
* Make the ideas of creating shared value a reality
* Walk the talk, get consumer sentiment on your side, attract value investors

So, making markets work for nutrition is the right thing to do, but it is also the sustainable and smart thing to do.

As an international NGO, this is one of GAIN’s core goals, and that is why we are delighted to work with organisations like the host, FSSAI under the strong leadership of their CEO Mr. Agarwal.
          The other “surge”, China’s ForEx   
China just announced that its Foreign Exchange reserves are up over 37% from last year. China’s foreign exchange reserve reached 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of March, up 37.36 percent from the same period last year, the People’s Bank of China announced on Thursday. “The rising trade surplus is the major factor contributing […]
          Links of the Day #16   
Today's links span a few intriguing areas of digital culture, from comedic consumer reviews and defining geeks/nerds to the annoyances of public cell phone chatter. Then there are a couple of links about erasing and forgetting in the digital age (one theoretical and the other a practical implementation), followed by an article about how ethnographic research was put to use during Obama's presidential campaign. And finally, a looming question for anthropology.

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 01:44 PM PDT
Never a truer word spoken in jest? This is a great example of the power and nuance behind consumer reviews: "Last August, the Internet exploded with product reviews for a newly marketed set of ball-point pens, the lavender and pink BIC for Her. The pens were marketed as slim and gently colourful, in an attempt to hit the multi-trillion dollar women's market of female buyers for American household products. And the public appreciated this. A lot. The pens garnered over 800 sardonic reviews on the American website amazon.com, and over 500 reviews on its sister website, amazon.co.uk."
Posted: 30 Mar 2013 07:47 PM PDT
I posted this over at the OAC: It used to be easier to conceptualize "geeks" and "nerds". Now it seems you can "geek out" on almost any specialist topic, from movies to fountain pens. My foremost association for geeks has always been computing/programming and electronics. The Geek Anthropologist highlights gaming culture, Comicon and even steampunk as the height of geekiness. Most of these have also become trendy hobbies for rich celebs and pretty girls, a fact that exploded into some contentious redrawing of the lines of real and fake fandom. Fandom is, IMO, a better word for a lot of this than geekery. The same with "nerds". Nerdiness today seems above all to be a fashion statement, not a predilection for studying and introversion to the point of social awkwardness, which is what it always meant when I was growing up. Follow the link to read more and join the conversation ...
Posted: 14 Mar 2013 12:08 PM PDT
Why is overhearing someone's cell phone conversation so universally irritating?: "It's an everyday intuition shared by millions, perhaps billions of people, now validated by research: Overheard cellphone conversations are very distracting. According to a new study, listeners notice those conversations more than dialogue between two people. It's a seemingly involuntary response. There's just something attention-demanding about hearing one person on a phone."

Right To Internet Erasure Protects People’s Freedom To Forget The Past
Posted: 05 Apr 2013 07:49 PM PDT
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger says the ability to forget our past, both on and offline, is an essential part of what makes us human. "The more I've worked on data protection over the past 20 years, the more I've realised that at the heart of this, what matters as much as the privacy aspect is the issue of human decision-making," said Mayer-Schönberger, professor of internet governance at the Oxford Internet Institute. "Humans need to make decisions about the present and the future. The beauty of the human brain is that we forget, which enables us to think in the present. That is necessary to help us make decisions."
Posted: 02 Jul 2013 03:31 PM PDT
Taking on web privacy with self-destructing messages. "The idea behind NoteShred is simple. You create a note, assign it a password and then select how and when you would like the note to "shred" itself. The note has a unique URL that you can send to a recipient along with a password for them to open the note. You decide when the note will destroy or "shred" itself."
Posted: 05 Jul 2013 03:34 PM PDT
On how politicians implement ethnography: "In 2012, he succeeded, largely because the depth of his research was so extraordinary. Benenson says his goal as a pollster is "to understand the hidden architecture of opinion" and to "probe deeply into the underlying values and attitudes that shape how people are viewing the issues of the day and the content of their lives." One way that Benenson set the Obama campaign apart was through the ethnography project. It was designed as a deep dive into the world of everyday Americans not only to clarify their views on politics but to find insights into their "daily lives,"".
Posted: 30 Jun 2013 09:41 AM PDT
Suffice to say, 2012 was a tough year for anthropology... so what do to about it?

          THE $Trillion Windmill Industry Is The Greatest Scam Of Our Age   
AUSTRALIA is in the midst of an electricity disaster thanks to its global warming madness. In South Australia, the wind farms have failed causing huge blackouts. In Victoria, electricity prices have shot up by around 20 per cent from January, thanks to the closure of the “dirty” coal-fired Hazelwood plant. Business is panicking with jobs […]
          India braces for it's biggest-ever tax reform   
India is launching a new national Goods and Services Tax (GST) on July 1 that will unify its $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market for the first time. But, as Ryan Brooks reports, the Indian version of "one nation, one tax, one market," is more complex and will be tougher to comply with than is the case in many other countries.
          Support the Audit the Pentagon Act, H.R. 3079   

On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to cosponsor the Audit the Pentagon Act, H.R. 3079, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and cosponsored by several House conservatives, including Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). The bill would reduce by one-half of one percent the discretionary budget authority of the Department of Defense (DOD) every fiscal year after every previous year that the department was not audited.

The Pentagon has never received a full audit. This is odd considering the fact that all federal agencies have been required to present a complete audit since 1992. To some level, this seems to be an intentional oversight of federal law since the Pentagon’s chief financial officer, Mike McCord, has said that keeping its finances on record is not its “primary mission.”

Having such a poor handle on the department’s books is a serious concern, especially with requests to increase its appropriations.

Unsurprisingly, there have been accusations of incredibly large amounts of waste as well. The Washington Post reported that the DOD actually buried an internal study that found that it had wasted roughly $125 billion. Other estimates, though, have the department losing track of trillions of dollars.

A full audit of the Pentagon is necessary, and this bill is an excellent step to getting there. This will give the DOD an incentive to get its finances in order and finally provide the audit it is legally obligated to do. For this reason, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor the Audit the Pentagon Act, H.R. 3079.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks


          After the Deluge -- Folly Beach Fallout! -- October 6, 2015   
Yellow Warbler -- the first bird encountered at  the Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015
          
              Apparently, after the deluge last weekend which dumped trillions of gallons of rain on our state, we experienced a "deluge" of another kind -- a fallout of migrating birds!  The rain ended thankfully, but due to the effects of the flooding, I was off from work Monday and Tuesday.  Feeling the effects of cabin fever, I made my escape Tuesday out to Folly Beach's east end -- the Heritage Lighthouse Preserve.  Carl and I had tried to get there Sunday but the roads were impassable.  The radar, Tuesday morning, showed significant bird activity early in the morning.  I had also heard multiple chip notes at 5:30 am.  This is something that is not usually perceived at my house due to traffic noises.  But with enough birds and very little traffic, I heard plenty and was quite hopeful for a bounty of birds.

           Indeed, I was dumbfounded by the quantity of birds be-bopping around, foraging in the wooded & brushy edges of the entrance road to the preserve.  I came to a relative standstill, entranced, as I birded a 50 yard stretch along this entrance road, back and forth, for more than 3 hours!  The warblers were constantly popping into view everywhere in all directions.  Thankfully, another pair of birders, a delightful couple from Rock Hill -- Tom and Raquel, came along and joined me.  With three pairs of eyes to look in different directions, we were all able to see and identify even more birds!

American Redstart -- the 2nd  bird of the day! --  likely a hatch-year male -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

          Blown away by the density of the birds, I texted my friend, Aaron Given, master bird bander, at the Kiawah Island Banding Station (KIBS).  I was curious as to what they were experiencing on Captain Sam's Spit.  I also wanted to let my friend Chris Snook, also a master bird bander, who is helping Aaron at KIBS and who used to band birds at this site on Folly, what I was seeing.  Aaron texted back (at 11 am) to say that they were experiencing a record-smashing day and he estimated that they would band more than 300 birds!  But I am not going to steal their thunder.  You should read about the final "EPIC" tally of the day at KIBS here on their blog.  Pretty darn amazing!  Yes, I think this can be called a fallout!                      

            So how is a fallout defined?  I found this definition on the About Birding website:
 
Definition:

A fallout is an extraordinary event when birds literally "fall out" of the sky in unusually high numbers and in extreme diversity. Fallouts most typically happen during migration when large number of birds are already on the move, and are often caused by a combination of unique geography and difficult weather that concentrates birds into a small, specific area, where birders can then enjoy the spectacle.  

The birds then forage frantically at the earliest opportunity to replenish their energy, and they may remain in the area for just a few hours or for a few days, depending on the location and the severity of the weather that caused the fallout.


          Basically birds pile up because conditions are not suitable for them to fly.  My husband challenged me when I described my birding experience last Tuesday as a fallout.  I will agree that my experience was not of the proportions as we have seen in photos such as these documenting a fallout on Machias Seal Island in the Gulf of Maine taken by Ralph Eldridge.  Nonetheless, I stick by my premise that this was a fallout.

Another look at my first warbler of the day -- Yellow Warbler -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

      So how did I fare bird-wise?  I tallied 13 warbler species as well as a few other special migrants!  I cannot recall ever seeing 13 warbler species in one day -- except maybe when I have helped out at KIBS.  And I managed to photograph 10 of the 13 species!  And so, I present to you my photo collection from the day with the warblers first.

        The numerous American Redstarts fascinated us by fanning tails their tails and by chasing flying insects.



American Redstarts  -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

The many Common Yellowthroats were skulking down low in the brambles occasionally coming up to check out my phishing.



Common Yellowthroats -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

I always enjoy watching the Black-and-white Warblers.  I enjoyed watching a pair of them hunt for food together following each other on the same trunk.

Black-and-White Warblers -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

I was thrilled to sight a Chestnut-sided Warbler.  It is rare that I get to see them in their winter plumage and I am always amazed at how different they are in appearance -- gone all of the bright chestnut and yellow markings!  It doesn't even look like the same species.

Chestnut-sided Warbler -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

This Cape May Warbler posed most cooperatively! 


Cape May Warbler -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

Northern Parulas were not in short supply.

Northern Parula -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015 

Prairie Warblers were everywhere also. 

Prairie Warbler (female)  -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

One of my favorite birds to watch was this Magnolia Warbler!  They also change quite a bit from breeding to basic plumage and yet, they are still quite boldly marked!  I just love that tail!





Magnolia Warbler -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

Finally, my thirteenth warbler of the day, I spotted on my way out of the preserve -- a Tennessee Warbler!


Tennessee Warbler --  Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

The three warbler species that I saw but was unable to photograph were the Palm Warbler (Western), an Ovenbird, and three Black-throated Blue Warblers! 

          Another favorite migrant was this Scarlet Tanager who had nearly completely molted into his Fall plumage.  He still retained though a trace of his scarlet feathers which were most notable when he flew.


Scarlet Tanager --  Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

A number of Red-eyed vireos showed themselves and a couple of White-eyed vireos also made their presence known.


Red-eyed vireo --  Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015  

White-eyed vireo --  Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

We did manage to tear ourselves away from warbler city to go to the beach.  There was not much beach available though since it was high tide by the time we got there.  On our way, we were treated to some flyovers by a couple of merlins and we also watched a Peregrine attack  a Red-tailed Hawk!  Then we found about 40 Semi-palmated Plovers resting in the wrack on the beach.

Semi-palmated plovers -- Lighthouse Heritage Preserve -- Folly Beach, SC -- October 6, 2015

           What a thrilling experience!  And  how great it was to meet 2 fellow birders -- Tom and Raquel from Rock Hill -- and to share these jewels (my nickname for warblers) with them.  Thank you Tom and Raquel!  I hope to see more birds with you out in the field somewhere again soon.  This is one of those birding occasions that I am not likely to forget anytime soon -- our Folly Beach Fallout! 

         
          San Francisco’s universal health plan reaches tens of thousands, but rests on unstable funding   

Coordination and prevention improve care, but as businesses resist, some costs are borne by one-time grants and struggling clinics

Four years ago, San Francisco launched a grand experiment, becoming the first city in the nation to offer comprehensive health care to its growing ranks of uninsured.

Stitching together two-dozen neighborhood health clinics and an array of hospitals, the city bet that two reforms — emphasis on primary care and a common electronic enrollment system — could improve outcomes and buffer the city against soaring health care costs.

By many measures, San Francisco’s effort to provide universal health care has been a huge success and has won national accolades. The initiative, Healthy San Francisco, has over time treated more than 100,000 city residents. Many who went for years without health insurance now receive the kind of preventive and specialty care usually associated with private insurance.

But the city’s grand plan has not solved the central problem dogging health care across the country: figuring out who pays for it.

While the Department of Public Health has kept its own spending on the program at under $100 million a year — about the same amount it spent on indigent care before Healthy San Francisco’s 2007 launch — it has spread an additional $78 million in costs to businesses, patients, the federal government and the health care providers themselves.

The program relies on ample, but not perpetual, federal grants for health innovation, tied to preparing for President Obama’s health initiatives that may be derailed by the U.S. Supreme Court next spring or a Republican administration after 2012. As national political and economic winds change, the city may not see the soft landing it expected from the federal reforms in the next few years.

With low payments from patients and declining dollars from employers under a new health care spending requirement, the plan’s local financing remains a challenge. Especially when the city has faced deficits of more than $300 million for each of the last three years.

Participating nonprofit community clinics in the network have been shouldering part of the financial burden. That may be a problem in an economy where health care costs are rising twice as fast as inflation. Some clinics say they are tapped out, and the $114 per-patient per-year reimbursement they get from Healthy San Francisco doesn’t come anywhere close to covering costs.

“The program is very, very important,” said Karen Hill, administrative director of Glide Health Services, a large, busy nonprofit community health clinic in the Tenderloin whose base of 3,000 patients includes 1,500 Healthy San Francisco members. “But I think we should recognize that it does not pay for the care of the population.”

At last count, Healthy San Francisco covers 54,348 patients, about two-thirds of the estimated 82,000 San Francisco adults who lack insurance, according to a September report from Mathematica Policy Research of Princeton, New Jersey. (Estimates range widely from 64,000 to 90,000 uninsured adults aged 18 to 64.)
In a survey of patient satisfaction, 94 percent said they were satisfied with the medical care they received through the program.

But clinic directors say that while the program has been great for patients, the clinics themselves struggle to deliver care to ever-growing numbers of people. Some clinics have seen their patient base grow by a third since 2007.

Healthy San Francisco has laudable goals, said Ricardo Alvarez, medical director of the Mission Neighborhood Health Center, and “has expanded care to a vulnerable underserved population.”

But for clinics to make it work, Alvarez said, “it is challenging financially.”

Several clinics, such as Lyon-Martin Health Services in Hayes Valley, have stopped taking more Healthy San Francisco patients. The center was already under financial stress this year, and announced earlier this year it had been on the brink of bankruptcy.

So as the Obama administration prepares to roll out federal health reform by 2014, cities and states look to San Francisco for proof of concept: They're finding the plan here offers ingredients for success, but not a complete answer.

“Healthy San Francisco is a model for health care delivery but not for payment,” said Stephen Shortell, the Dean of the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

But Alvarez, of the Mission clinic, said San Francisco had little choice but to innovate.

“I think the fact that Healthy San Francisco exists is, in part, a local response to a complex problem,” he said. “The fact that we don’t have a comprehensive national healthcare program means certain localities will attempt to find their own solutions.”

Ahead of the curve

Healthy San Francisco has scored some nationally recognized successes. In drawing two-thirds of the city’s uninsured into its care, it has shrunk the number of people without some form of health care to 3 percent of the city’s population.

The program is built around a “patient-centered” primary care model that is in vogue in medical reform circles. New enrollees are primarily very poor, though any city resident making less than 500 percent of the poverty level and without proper insurance for three months can apply.

Participants choose one of 35 health clinics around the city as their “medical home.” At the clinic, they are assigned a team of providers: a doctor, a nurse practitioner and assistants who handle their visits and coordinate referrals to specialists or for hospitalization.

The theory is that by offering patients a regular doctor or medical team who might get to know them, in a place that is familiar, they will seek care before problems become acute. Numerous studies have shown that preventive care such as mammograms and cholesterol checks can detect early signs of disease before they become more difficult and costly to treat. Uninsured patients often put off tests and preventive care to avoid out-of-pocket expenses.

Shifting to the patient-centered model has also dramatically cut the use of city emergency rooms for routine care by the program’s participants. Proponents say that in the long run emergency room “diversion” — catching illness before it becomes acute — has the potential to save the city millions of dollars a year because emergency care is inevitably more expensive.

Keeping better track

Healthy San Francisco dramatically improves patient tracking by using a citywide database. Each patient’s enrollment and eligibility status is entered into one place visible to the entire network of providers. Now, a patient does not need to be re-enrolled if she needs hospitalization or to see a specialist elsewhere. If she shows up at a different clinic, she will be redirected to her home clinic. Administrators say this cuts down on duplicative care and wasted time. Patients used to hop from clinic to clinic, often carrying their own eligibility documents with them.

“We do believe it is a model,” said Tangerine Brigham, director of Healthy San Francisco and a deputy director of the Department of Health. “The medical home, the use of one standardized eligibility and enrollment system, getting all providers that are caring for this population to focus on one network, are things that should happen.”

Roland Pickens, the chief operating officer of San Francisco General Hospital — the county hospital where three-quarters of Healthy San Francisco patients go if they need hospitalization — said the program “has been a good change,” bolstering primary care, resulting in 30 percent fewer visits to the emergency room by uninsured adults and reducing the time and money spent on administrative tasks.

Alvarez relates the story of a woman named Isabel (he could not provide her last name due to medical privacy issues) who came to Mission Neighborhood Health Center with a psychotic disorder, uncontrolled diabetes and eye trouble. A behavioral health specialist calmed her down, and a physician tested her blood sugars, prescribed diabetes medication and gave her an appointment to see an ophthalmologist.

Because she was enrolled in Healthy San Francisco, all this cost the clinic a few hundred dollars, of which the city was billed $114. Had she gone to the emergency room, as many uninsured people did for routine problems before, it would have cost about $1,800, clinic officials estimated.

“Patients know this is their home, providers know this is our patient. It improves health outcomes,” said Albert Yu, medical director of Chinatown Public Health Center, the first Healthy San Francisco participating clinic. “Previously, patients would go from center to center, or the medical facility might not recognize that she is our patient. She is just coming in for a cold and therefore I can ignore the mammogram referral.”

For patients, it is often a godsend.

“It gives you the option to have medical care and everybody deserves that," said Carol Graham, who lost her job of 17 years, and with it private health insurance, before signing up for Healthy San Francisco. “Oakland doesn’t have this.” She noted that her sister, who lives across the bay, does not have access to a similar program. “I was surprised by how life can be different just by crossing the bridge.”

For Megan Alyse, signing up for Healthy San Francisco allowed her to continue to write her doctoral thesis when she was no longer connected with a school and thus without insurance. “I paid hardly anything and was able to see a doctor,” she said.

Assessing Newsomcare

In 2006, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom announced a plan hatched by then-Public Health Director Mitch Katz and then-Supervisor Tom Ammiano to cover the uninsured, albeit only within city limits. The left-leaning Board of Supervisors rallied in unanimous approval.

What existed before was a safety-net system of scattered clinics and emergency rooms that cared for whoever walked in the door. They typically treated people for whatever episode brought them in, patched them up and sent them on their way. Emergency rooms were a chaotic jumble of the sick and not-so-sick. Many people didn’t get the care they needed because they didn’t know where to go.

City leaders needed a way to make the plan work economically. And they needed to prevent employers from seeing it as a chance to cut costs by dropping private health insurance and making the city pick up the tab. In part, that meant shifting some responsibility to employers — an idea that if not uniquely popular in San Francisco is certainly not shared nationwide, as the political climate turns toward austerity.

The city coupled Healthy San Francisco with an ordinance requiring employers to spend a minimum of $1.37 per hour per worker on employee health care. Businesses can do one of three things to meet the requirement: buy private insurance for their employees, contribute to Healthy San Francisco, or pay into a medical reimbursement account for employees who live outside the city or earn too much to qualify.

The Health Care Security Ordinance requires businesses with 20 or more workers and nonprofits with 50 or more employees to spend at least $2,849 per year for a full-time employee on health care. For larger employers the rate is $4,285.

Eighty percent of employers have chosen to satisfy the requirement by buying private insurance. The rest use the “city option” — Healthy San Francisco or the reimbursement accounts. But in the last three years, the contributions to Healthy San Francisco have been shrinking, making employer support of the program uncertain.

It adds up, for now

While the total cost of the program has stayed within the Newsom administration’s $200-million-a-year forecast, where that money comes from does not look like the projections. A plan that was supposed to be financed in large part by employers and participants is not seeing that money.

The employer contribution raised relatively modest revenues. Of Healthy San Francisco’s total $177 million budget in the last fiscal year, businesses covered just $12.9 million, or about 7 percent. When city officials created the program they envisioned businesses covering $30 million to $40 million, or at least 15 percent of the cost.

The city’s General Fund picked up nearly eight times that amount — $99.7 million. The contributions of individuals opting to buy Healthy San Francisco for themselves contribute just $5.9 million or a bit more than 3 percent of total costs.

A big chunk of the program is covered by the federal government through a $27.4 million annual grant awarded in 2007 for local health care initiatives that expired in July.

Another $11 million of that charity care was expended by hospitals not owned by the county. The independent nonprofit community clinics — many of them barebones operations where volunteers do some of the administrative work and constant fundraising is the name of the game — contributed $16 million, mostly from federal grants for taking care of the indigent.

Without that extra $55.4 million, mostly from federal sources, the program would be hard to sustain.

U.S. subsidies uncertain

At some point, federal funding to Healthy San Francisco could disappear altogether as federal health reform is fully implemented — or if it is scrapped by a future Republican administration.

“They will have to rethink where the money is coming from,” said Dylan Roby, a research scientist and assistant professor at the University of California-Los Angeles’ Center for Health Policy Research. “They won’t have federal dollars anymore.”

But city officials said the plan all along was that the need for Healthy San Francisco would diminish later this decade with the phase-in of national health care reforms passed in 2010.

Under the Obama reforms, more of the currently uninsured population will get access to insurance through two programs: an expansion of Medicaid and the Health Insurance Exchanges, through which individuals and small businesses can buy insurance more easily. Brigham, the Healthy San Francisco director, said she expects thousands of patients to leave the system with these reforms.

“We don’t think it’s a bad thing that we’ll be serving fewer people,” Brigham said. “We’ve always said from the beginning that insurance is preferable to Healthy San Francisco. HSF is not insurance, it’s access.”

She estimated that 60 percent of Healthy San Francisco’s enrollees would eventually leave under the federal plan. In the meantime, she is not that concerned that nonprofit community clinics are footing more of the bill for treating Healthy San Francisco patients because they are getting federal grants. Before the city program, they got little if any local government money, she said.

Less from business, patients

What does concern some city officials, particularly at the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, is the shrinking financial support by businesses.

The amount collected from employers choosing Healthy San Francisco for some of their employees is small, and gradually falling. The $12.9 million employer contributions last year were down from $13.9 the year before, and off by almost one-third from two years earlier, when employers contributed $18.2 million.

Healthy San Francisco’s budget also is not getting much help from individuals paying into the system. Revenue from individuals choosing Healthy San Francisco as an alternative to insurance in the 2010-2011 fiscal year was only $5.7 million, up $5 million from the year before and $3.2 million the year before that.

By and large, people enrolling in Healthy San Francisco are poor. Even though the city extended the program to uninsured people who make up to 500 percent of federal poverty level — a gross income of $50,450 for an individual, at which level they are asked to contribute a modest $150 a month, plus co-pays — the program has almost no participants in that bracket. Two-thirds of enrollees live at or below the poverty level and pay nothing. Another 26 percent are within 200 percent of poverty, and pay $20 a month — far below the cost of a doctor’s visit.

Experiments nationwide

At least one local government, Broward County in Maryland, has decided to replicate Healthy San Francisco exactly, while many other localities are studying it. Massachusetts and Vermont also have created their own permutations of “universal” health care.

In California the tab for safety-net care falls to counties, which run hospitals largely to take care of the poor and under- or uninsured. (San Francisco is both a city and a county.) The uninsured often go to the nearest hospital’s emergency room, which cannot legally turn anyone away for lack of funds.

The need surely has not gone away. U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of uninsured people has climbed during the recession, in San Francisco and nationwide. It estimates 96,107 San Franciscans, including children and the elderly, lack insurance — about 12 percent of the city’s population. So unless and until national reforms take effect, Healthy San Francisco should expect more people seeking help, especially if the economy continues to sputter.

Nationwide 49.7 million people are uninsured — one in every six people. Spending on health care continues to far outpace inflation. U.S. health care spending grew 4 percent in 2009, to $2.5 trillion, or about $8,000 for each person, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The growth is believed to be accelerating and is projected to average 6 percent a year between 2010 and 2019. Health care expenditures now account for 17 percent of gross domestic product, a measure of spending on all goods and services in the country.

“The U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world, with health status indicators that are, at best, only average in comparison with the less costly health systems of other countries,” said Shortell of U.C. Berkeley’s School of Public Health, in a recent paper published in the journal Public Health Reviews. “Thus the pressure to provide more cost-effective care is particularly intense.”

Shortell said the advent of patient-centered medical homes could provide more cost-effective delivery of health care, especially if combined with payments that reward health providers for outcomes, rather than charge fees for services rendered. This is what Healthy San Francisco is trying to achieve.

“Studies show medical homes are associated with higher quality at the same or lower costs,” he said. “There’s been half a dozen studies showing that. And the federal government is encouraging medical homes.”

Shortell said Healthy San Francisco seems to be successful in addressing national concerns about costs on a local level by coordinating clinics and hospitals. But he said the city’s reliance on the federal government for much of its money, either directly or through subsidized clinics, was not a big deal. That is to be expected as local governments struggle to figure out the new mix of who pays for the uninsured.


          TIME's 'Person Of The Year': Your UPS Driver?   
credit: NBCNews.com It's not out of the question, and here's why. Global e-commerce salesmayreach $1 trillion next year, growing at a rate of 19.4% annually. To handle that demand, a Global B2D (Business-To-Doorstep) Supply Chain is growing at breakneck-speed in hopes of meeting every package, logistic, fulfillment, payment, enterprise resource planning [...]
          Bitcoin could reach $5 trillion in five years, predicts Novogratz   

Famed investor Michael Novogratz, who recently said he has 10% of his money in Bitcoin and Ether, now states that digital currencies could reach a value of $5 trillion in five years — if the industry will be able to reach massive adoption. “The Nasdaq got to $5.4 trillion in 1999, why couldn’t it be […]

The post Bitcoin could reach $5 trillion in five years, predicts Novogratz appeared first on The Bitcoin News - Decentralised Bitcoin and Crypto News.


          Bitcoin could reach $5 trillion in five years, predicts Novogratz   

Famed investor Michael Novogratz, who recently said he has 10% of his money in Bitcoin and Ether, now states that digital currencies could reach a value of $5 trillion in five years — if the industry will be able to reach massive adoption. “The Nasdaq got to $5.4 trillion in 1999, why couldn’t it be […]

The post Bitcoin could reach $5 trillion in five years, predicts Novogratz appeared first on The Bitcoin News - Decentralised Bitcoin and Crypto News.


          Bitcoin could reach $5 trillion in five years, Predicts Novogratz   

Famed investor Michael Novogratz, who recently said he has 10% of his money in Bitcoin and Ether, now states that digital currencies could reach a value of $5 trillion in five years — if the industry will be able to reach massive adoption. “The Nasdaq got to $5.4 trillion in 1999, why couldn’t it be […]

The post Bitcoin could reach $5 trillion in five years, Predicts Novogratz appeared first on The Bitcoin News - Decentralised Bitcoin and Crypto News.


          What is market capitalization?   
If all the money in the US only totals 8 trillion dollars, how can the New York Stock Exchange have stocks valued at 26 trillion dollars? Tune in as Marshall Brain breaks down the practice of stock capitalization in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
             
Jim Moore reminded us last year on this day that "The fiscal year 2004 Federal budget is $1,731 billion dollars." It's noteworthy, because a campaign for President costs much less, in the neighborhood of $200 million. $1.7 trillion "is a lot of Haliburton contracts," he said.
          Hate Mosquitoes? Consider a Bat House! Fight Insect-Borne Illness by Partnering with Furry Fliers   
The National Weather Service reported last week that 35 trillion gallons of water fell in the state of Texas during the month of May. The ground is soaked for what may well be weeks to come, our bayous have swollen far beyond their usual limits and residents in Harris and Ft. Bend counties continue to […]
          The richest US families own a startling proportion of America's wealth   

wealthy anonymous top hatCharlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Distribution matters.

The United States has long taken pride in being the richest nation in the world. It remains so despite China’s quick game of catch-up and much larger population, at least when it comes to the broadest measure of a country’s economic output, gross domestic product (GDP).

Yet deep inequalities, which became a hot-button political issue in the wake of a deep recession and financial crisis that highlighted those disparities, paint a different picture of how well off most Americans really are.

Research from Berkeley economists has found incomes at the top 0.001% of the income strata surged a whopping 636% between 1980 and 2014, while wages for the bottom half of the population were basically stuck in place. 

Critics of that body of work say its use of pre-tax data masks some of the equalizing effects of the tax code, and thus overstates inequality. If that were indeed the case, a look at the distribution of wealth as opposed to just income, while harder to measure, could be a better barometer as to the true state of America’s social divide.

This chart courtesy of Deutsch Bank economist Torsten Slok shows the picture with regards to wealth is even bleaker. The richest 10% of families are worth a combined $51 trillion, equal to 75% of total household wealth. To put that figure in perspective, US GDP totaled $18.5 trillion in 2016. 

 

DB Wealth inequalityDeutsche Bank

NOW WATCH: An economist explains what could happen if Trump pulls the US out of NAFTA


          What you need to know on Wall Street today   

warren buffettLucas Jackson/Reuters

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. 

If stock traders truly believed the Federal Reserve's assertion that the economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates, they would be fleeing from stocks offering high yields. It's doing the opposite.

In other words, the stock market is sending a crucial message to Janet Yellen

Elsewhere in markets news, ETFs are being unfairly blamed for one of the market's biggest problems. The tech stock Illuminati are getting too much credit. And there are "cracks emerging" in the calmest market in years.

Things could get messy if oil drops below $40, according to UBS. And US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that she does not believe that there will be a run on the banking system at least as long as she lives.

In Wall Street news, the hedge funder who had long hoped to work for Trump finally got a job. An activist investor called out 50 stocks, and then most of them tanked. Britain's financial regulator hits the "nuclear button" in its crackdown on the £7 trillion asset management industry.

And potential jurors in Martin Shkreli's trial have called him "evil" and a "snake" — and it's becoming a problem

In deal news, Blue Apron slashed its IPO range. The deal is supposed to price tonight, and start trading on Thursday. 

In healthcare news:

And in tech news:

Lastly, the new king of New York power lunching has arrived — here's what it's like to eat there.

NOW WATCH: Barclays strategist: You can expect a major department store to fail in the next 18 months


           ACH Volume Grows to More Than 25 Billion Payments and $43 Trillion in Value in 2016   

NACHA Announces 2016 Largest Originators & Receivers of ACH Payments


          ACH Volume Increases to 23 Billion Payments in 2014   

According to new statistics, more than $40 trillion was transferred over the ACH Network last year, increasing more than 3 percent compared to 2013.


          Global steel market is expected to reach USD 1.01 trillion by 2025   

The global steel market is expected to reach USD 1.01 trillion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. Growing inclination of contractors towards sustainable, low cost and durable building materials is driving steel demand in

The post Global steel market is expected to reach USD 1.01 trillion by 2025 appeared first on MRO Magazine.


          Part 137 - Jokes , Fun , Haasya , Humor , Quotes , Greetings   
संता: आज रात मैं नहीं सोऊंगा!

बंता: क्यों?
.
संता: क्योंकि कल रात ख्वाब में मेरी किसी से लड़ाई हो गई थी! आज वो बंदे ले कर आयेगा!
😂😂😂😂😂
मार थोड़ी खानी है.

*********

*मुहावरो के आधुनिक अर्थ ...*


**. खुद की जान खतरे में डालना*
= शादी करना
**. आ बैल मुझे मार*
= पत्नी से पंगा लेना
**. दीवार से सर फोड़ना*
= पत्नी को कुछ समझाना
**. चार दिन की चांदनी वही अँधेरी रात*
= पत्नी का मायके से वापस आना
**. आत्म हत्या के लिए प्रेरित करना*
= शादी की राय देना
**. दुश्मनी निभाना*
= दोस्तों की शादी करवाना
**. खुद का स्वार्थ देखना*
= शादी ना करना
** पाप की सजा मिलना*
= शादी हो जाना
**. ओखली में सिर देना*
= शादी के लिए हाँ करना
**. लव मैरिज करना*
= खुद से युद्ध करने को योद्धा ढूंढना
**. जिंदगी के मज़े लेना*
= कुँवारा रहना

*********

*🌹When God leaves U at d edge of a Cliff, Trust Him!  One of the two things will happen!   Either He’ll catch u when u fall.. Or He’ll teach u how to fly!!*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🌺The greatest people of the world have always stood alone. Few people have courage to appear as good as they really are!*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🌷If you can’t be star in the sky, at least be a lamp at home.*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🌻"PRACTICE to see atleast one GOOD thing in every PERSON you MEET & SEE yourself TRANSFORMING..!"*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦

*********

Great Albert Einstein Stories:

(1)One day during a speaking tour, Albert Einstein's driver, who often sat at the back of the hall during his lectures, remarked that he could probably give the lecture himself, having heard it so many times. Sure enough, at the next stop on the tour, Einstein and the driver switched places, with Einstein sitting at the back in his driver's uniform. Having delivered a flawless lecture, the driver was asked a difficult question by a member of the audience. "Well, the answer to that question is quite simple," he casually replied. "I bet my driver, sitting up at the back there, could answer it!"

(2) Albert Einstein's wife often suggested that he dress more professionally when he headed off to work. "Why should I?" he would invariably argue. "Everyone knows me there." When the time came for Einstein to attend his first major conference, she begged him to dress up a bit. "Why should I?" said Einstein. "No one knows me there!"

(3)Albert Einstein was often asked to explain the general theory of relativity. "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour," he once declared. "Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity!"

(4)When Albert Einstein was working in Princeton university, one day he was going back home he forgot his home address. The driver of the cab did not recognize him. Einstein asked the driver if he knows Einstein's home. The driver said "Who does not know Einstein's address? Everyone in Princeton knows.Do you want to meet him?. Einstein replied "I am Einstein. I forgot my home address, can you take me there? "The driver reached him to his home and did not even collect his fare from him.

(5)Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.

The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.' Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'

6) When Einstein met Charlie Chaplin:

Einstein said, "What I admire most about your art, is its universality. You do not say a word, and yet ... the world understands you."
“It's true,” replied Charlie Chaplin, "But your fame is even greater: The world admires you, when nobody understands you.

*********

*💐The Less You Respond To Negative People, The More Peaceful Your Life Will Become.*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🌹The Truth Is You Don't Know What Is Going To Happen Tomorrow. Life Is A Crazy Ride, And Nothing Is Guaranteed.*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🌷A Bitter Truth Of Life - Life is a compromise, without sugarcoating the truth.*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🌺Be Simple But Always Look Stylish. Be Tensed But Look So Cool. Be Tough But Look Soft And Nice. Be A Beginner But Look Like A Winner. That Is The Way Of Living Your Live.*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦


*********

*Time management...*

"Your time should not be without any structure, such that you occupy yourself arbitrarily with whatever comes along. Rather, you must account of yourself and order your worship during the day and the night, assigning to each period of time an activity that must not be neglected nor replaced by another activity. By this ordering of time, the blessing in time will show itself.

A person who leaves himself without a plan as animals do, not knowing what he is to do at any given moment, will spend most of his time fruitlessly.

Your time is your life, and your life is your capital: by it you make your trade, and by it you will reach the eternal bounties in the proximity of Allah.

Every single breath of yours is a priceless jewel, because it is irreplaceable; once it is gone, there is no return for it. So do not be like fools who rejoice each day as their wealth increases while their lives decrease. What good is there in wealth that increases while one’s lifespan decreases?

Do not rejoice except in an increase of knowledge or an increase of good works. Truly they are your two friends who will accompany you in your grave, when your spouse, your wealth, your children, and your friends will remain behind.”

— Imam al-Ghazali

*********

Perspective on how emotions affect health...

You are not a drop in the ocean but an ocean in every drop...said Rumi.

What did he mean by that... every cell in our body is intelligent to think and act.. We have 60 trillion cells in our body and our health depends a lot on the harmonic balance and cohesion of the cells with each other...

In the movie Eat, Pray Love, Julia Roberts visits a wise man in Bali, and he advises her not to try too hard to meditate.. in fact he suggests that medidation is nothing but smiling and the line that is a kicker, is " Smile with your liver "

If you believe that this is just a metaphor, lets look at the other end of the spectrum to prove just how crucial this is.. Let us say you hold a negative emotion towards somebody, something or some event in your life... each time you think of that your whole body relives the emotional upheaval of that association..

Your mind doesn't have a mind of its own, and doesn't know if the event is happening in real time or it is being replayed.. so it produces the same stress hormores namely cortisol.. each and every cell of your body starts feeling the same emotion of let us say "hatred" towards that event, person or experience all over again...

The body isn't at ease.. this is a state where the condition of dis-ease sets in....

If you continue to live in that state, your cells are now getting conditioned to live in the same state... The Upanishads talk about " Yatha Pinde tatha Brahmande" as is the atom so is the universe....

Health of a person, depends on how well all the systems of the body and the 60 trillion cells play the melody of harmony together.. When the cells are living in a state of hatred.. they soon start exhibiting that with each other and killing healthy cells in the body...This leads to many forms of auto immune disease... Like Rumi said.. you are a drop in the ocean, you are an ocean in every drop...

Be careful of your thoughts, your feelings and your emotions...

Forgive people,not because they deserve it, but because you need it...Stay happy, stay healthy.

*********

It all started one lazy Sunday afternoon in a small town near Toronto in Canada.

Two school-going friends had a crazy idea.

They rounded up three goats from the neighborhood and painted the numbers 1, 2 and 4 on their sides.

That night they let the goats loose inside their school building.

The next morning, when the authorities entered the school, they could smell something was wrong.

They soon saw goat droppings on the stairs and near the entrance and realized that some goats had entered the building.

A search was immediately launched and very soon, the three goats were found.

But the authorities were worried, where was goat No. 3?

They spent the rest of the day looking for goat No.3.

The school declared classes off for the students for the rest of the day.

The teachers, helpers, guards, canteen staffs, boys were all busy looking for the goat No. 3, which, of course, was never found.

Simply because ………… it did not exist.

Those among us who, in spite of having a good life are always feeling a “lack of fulfilment” & are actually looking for the elusive, missing, non-existent goat No.3.

Whatever the area of complaint or dissatisfaction, relationship, job-satisfaction, finance, achievements, ……

An absence of something is always larger than the presence of many other things.

Let’s Stop worrying about goat No.3 & enjoy life !!!
*********
*💐When God Puts A Tear In Your Eye, It's Because He Wants To Put A Rainbow In Your Heart.*
⛂⛀⛂⛀⛂⚬⛂⛀⛂⛀⛂
*🌹If You Believe in Yourself Enough And Know What You Want
You Are Gonna Make It happen.*
⛂⛀⛂⛀⛂⚬⛂⛀⛂⛀⛂
*🌷Mushkil Waqt Ka Sabse Bada Sahara Hai Umid, Jo Ek Pyari Si Muskan Dekar Kano Me Dheere Se Kehti Hai "Sab Accha Hoga"!*
⛂⛀⛂⛀⛂⚬⛂⛀⛂⛀⛂
*🌺Faith make everything possible,
Hopes make everything work,
Love makes everything beautiful,
May you have all the three as
you begin each day.*

*********

I was amazed at the percentages (of XIIth exam results) posted by proud parents on the social media... 99%, 98% etc...

The only time I gotten close to that percentage is when charging my cellphone... 😜

*********

*Hangover*

Wife: Baby, you love me na ?

Hubby: Who's Meena ?

😜✨🥃

*********

मारवाड़ी के घर एक बार सिंधी गया..।

मारवाड़ी - चाय में शक्कर कितनी लेगा भाया..🍮

सिंधी - होटल में 3 चम्मच
दूसरे के घर में 2 चम्मच
दोस्त के घर में 1 चम्मच और
अपने घर में फीकी।

मारवाड़ी - इतना हिसाब मत कर भाया इसे अपना ही घर समझ...

🙄😳😷

*********

*मंदिर में*

संता: हे भगवान..मेरी सरकारी नौकरी लगवा दो

भगवान : नारियल, केला और सेब नही लाए..?

संता: भगवान..आप कर्म करो,
फल की चिंता मत करे..!!
😬😝😂

*********

*🍒Life is unpredictable. We never know what is coming next. Let us not be complacent and get too comfortable. Let us be ready for CHALLENGES & CHANGES..!*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🌹Life has 3 Cs: Choice, Chance & Change. You have to make the Choice; To take the Chance; If you want anything to Change!*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*⚘Life is like a piano. White keys are happy moments; And Black keys are sad moments; But remember both keys are played together to give sweet music!*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦
*🍁Life would be perfect if: Anger had a Stop button; Mistakes had a Rewind button; Hard Times had A Forward button; And Good Times had a Pause button!*
💦💧💦💧💦🔹💦💧💦💧💦

*********

TB - Pai: I attended a Party with a gathering of about 30 people and sat in the front row. 

A Lady started distributing snacks from the back and unfortunately, it didn't get to us sitting at the front.

Another Lady started handing out Drinks, from the front. But by then I had already moved to the Back. So the drink didn't get to me.

I was irritated and stood up to leave.

But then I saw three ladies each with A Big Bowl of vegetable Manchurian dry. This time, I tried to be Wise by sitting at the Middle. One of the Ladies started the sharing from the Front, and the second Lady started distributing from the back. When they got to the middle where I was seated, it got over again!

Feeling frustrated, I bent my head, putting my Face in My Hands.

But then the third Lady tapped me and held out her Bowl.
I stretched out my Hand and guess what was in the Bowl?

Toothpicks !!!

*Moral:*
Don’t try to Position yourself in Life. If you r doing your best then good things will come to you automatically, sooner or later.

Otherwise You will Wrongfully position Yourself For Toothpicks Only!!!!💝💝

*********

Dr.- Your case is quite complicated.

Patient- Why doctor? What happened?

Dr.- You got a disease from the chapter which I left as optional during my studies...

😐😕😕🤣🤣🤣

*********

Amor fati is a Latin phrase that may be translated as "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens, including suffering and loss as, necessary. Whether one likes them or not, it is accepted with zen like serenity. 

Thomas Edison was at home eating dinner. A man burst into his home, interrupting him. He had bad news. His research facility was on fire. 

Now how would you imagine Edison to react? Do you imagine Edison panicking or do you hear him screaming out “Why me?” or is he deeply distraught or do you see him in deep agony?

None of these happened. Edison requested his son to go and get his mother. It seems, Edison excitedly told his son, “She’ll never see a fire like this again.”

Naturally, Edison’s son thought his father had lost his mind, and rightfully so. All of Edison’s experiments, things that could never be replicated, were inside his laboratory, burning to the ground.

“Don’t worry. It’s all right,” Edison said calmly, “All my mistakes and a lot of unnecessary rubbish have just got burnt.” 

In this, Edison revealed the true nature of Amor Fati – choosing to love your fate, no matter what. 

Not only was he “NOT broken-hearted”, he was revitalised. Despite losing over $1 million at the age of 67 in that fire, he persevered and made over $10 million thereafter. WOW! 

I am in love with the concept of Amor Fati. Why? Because, the power that we have in life by accepting our fate is so immense that you feel nothing is impossible for you. You believe that everything has a purpose, and that it is up to you to make this purpose something positive and active. 

Maybe you lost your job.

Maybe someone cheated you of your entire life’s earnings.

Maybe, your trust was broken with impunity.

Maybe, the person you love the most, is facing a life threatening disease.

Maybe, someone ill treated you.

The challenge of your life may be considerable and inescapable.

And yet you’re given the choice to greet it with a smile. And then, act..That’s AMOR FATI. 


It is unnatural, I know, to feel calmness when faced with calamities. But see it this way. It is fuel for you to push harder when you felt lost. It is fuel for you to work harder when you want to quit. It is fuel for you to think big when nothing was going right. It is fuel for you to smile when all you want to do is frown.

Amor Fati,

          Warm beer   
"Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years".

"Invincible folly? - US policy and mass delusion".  I've started thinking that the confusion in just what the Americans are up to is a direct result of Trump's abdication of any civilian leadership for the Pentagon, which is now running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  The only remaining plan is to build more bases.  On balance, given the horribly Jewed-up state of American politics, no civilian leadership is a bonus.

"Stunning Footage Of American's Crumbling Infrastructure" (why you can't be truly progressive unless you are a committed 'anti-Semite'):
"Even Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group says, “the US wasted trillions on warfare instead of investing in infrastructure”."
"America’s Real Loss of Prestige and Leadership Abroad".  You can see why WikiLeaks in unpopular in some high American circles.

You can skip over the Canadian stuff if you want.

"Report calls for revamping of whistleblower law".

The usual bribe cheques from big telecom to the most comically corrupt of Canadian regulators - well, maybe second to the pipeline regulators - must have bounced this month:  "CRTC bans locked phones and carrier unlocking fees".

"How rival parties got their act together on pharmacare: Cohn".

"Liberals’ massive increase in defence spending is a budgetary coup".  Canada's new neo-Nazi leadership.  It's supposed to show fealty to Trump to help with NAFTA negotiations.  The good thing is that almost none of this 'spending' will ever make it to a budget.

"Finsbury Park Cover-up? PM May says ‘Lone Wolf’ – But 4 separate witnesses say THREE men were in attack van".

They are building quite the elaborate back-story in order to cover up the Israeli spying:  tweet (Alex Griswold) (secret society initiation stunt!):
"Larry Wilmore: "It’s just tough for me to have much sympathy for this guy and his crocodile tears.""

Tweet (Red T Raccoon):
"Don't call #FinsburyPark a 'revenge' terrorist attack. It insinuates the victims were involved in a previous attack.

It's just terrorism."

"Four ministers were warned about tower block fire risks".  Looks like some lowly bureaucrats on the council will have to go to jail to distract from those who should also go to jail.

Tweet (Fatima) (missing victims?):
"She's speaking the truth #GrenfellTowerFire"

Tweet (John Band):
"Oh, this is quite good."

This sounds like a big 'narrative' problem:  "Hillary Clinton Told FBI's Mueller To Deliver Uranium To Russians In 2009 "Secret Plane-Side Tarmac Meeting"".  See also:  "George Washington: Special Prosecutor Mueller Is a Political Hack".  Mueller is not an 'above the fray' legal saint, as the Clintonistas now describe him.
          SBI Mutual Fund completes 30 years of inception; to organize blood donation drive across 30 cities   

[India], June 28 (ANI-NewsVoir): SBI Mutual Fund, the fifth largest (by AAUMs) asset management company in the country would be the first Indian Mutual Fund Company to complete 30 years of successful operations on Thursday, June 29, 2017. SBI Mutual Fund was the first bank sponsored Mutual Fund to have been registered under SEBI.

SBI Mutual Fund, to commemorate its 30th anniversary aims to strengthen the bond between the company and the community by organizing Blood Donation Camps across 30 cities starting June 29, 2017 in Mumbai.

"Blood Donation brings immense value to those in need and a feeling of pride and joy to the donor. On the momentous occasion of completing 30 years, we at SBI Mutual Fund want to express our gratitude to all our stakeholders by taking this initiative for the community," said MD and Chief Executive Officer SBI Funds Management, Anuradha Rao.

The AUM of the Indian MF Industry have grown from Rs. 3.26 trillion as on 31st March 2007 to Rs. 19.04 trillion as on 31st May, 2017, about six-fold increase in a span of 10 years. SBI Mutual Fund has a current market share of 9.14 percent of the industry.

"With our vast experience in asset management blended with strong parentage, rigorous investment templates, structured and disciplined processes to ensure effective execution of strategies, and the strong confidence reposed by over 30,000 IFAs, SBI Mutual Fund has endeavored to provide over the years consistent value and customized investment solutions to our large retail investor base," added Rao.

"Indian economy, capital markets and mutual funds have evolved over the last three decades and SBIFM has played a pioneering role in channelizing retail savings into financial assets in this period. We have focused on creating wealth through clear investment philosophy, active management, robust research and governance processes. We were the first mutual fund company in India to adopt CFA Institute's asset manager code of professional conduct reflecting our commitments to maintain highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. Just like our parent SBI that takes pride in being banker to every Indian, our dream is to be a wealth creator for every Indian. The seeds for an exponential growth have been sown and the next three decades are likely to be more exciting," said Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer SBI Mutual Fund, Navneet Munot.

"Our extensive distribution network and strong relationship with our partners, built over the past 30 years has helped us grow consistently. We have transformed our services and delivery over time by adopting technology to make our investor and partner experience better over the years," said Executive Director and Chief Marketing Officer SBI Mutual Fund, D. P. Singh.

SBI Mutual Fund, over the years has achieved several milestones. These include launch of SBI Magnum Equity Fund in year 1991 which completed 25 years recently, the launch of a Tax Saving scheme SBI Magnum TaxGain in the year 1993 which has crossed an investor base of one million, SBI MF crossed one million in SIP folios, SBI Bluechip Fund and SBI Magnum Balanced Fund crossing Rs. 10,000 crores each in AUM and being the first Fund House in India to adopt the CFA Institute's Asset Manager Code of Professional Conduct. SBI Mutual Fund's ETF offering SBI ETF NIFTY 50 also recently became the largest equity fund in the country crossing Rs. 20,000 crore of AUM.

SBIFM was also the only ETF manager chosen for EPFO's maiden allocation in equities. (ANI-NewsVoir)


          Insurance Industry Missing Big Opportunity   

As people live longer the U.S. Population is getting older, creating an untapped opportunity for insurers.  According to a recent Swiss Re Institute Study, the 65+ age group in America has a $3.1 trillion wallet, and the domestic insurance market … Continue reading

The post Insurance Industry Missing Big Opportunity appeared first on Insurance Newsletters.


          Sovereign Debt Jubilee: How Japan wrote off nearly half its national debt   
Japan has found a way to write off nearly half its national debt without creating inflation. We could do that too. Let's face it. There is no way the US government is ever going to pay back a $20 trillion federal debt. The taxpayers will just continue to pay interest on it, year after year. A lot of interest. If the Federal Reserve raises the fed funds rate to 3.5% and sells its federal securities into the market, as it is proposing to do, by 2026 the projected tab will be $830 billion annually. That's nearly $1 trillion owed by the taxpayers every year, just for interest. Personal income taxes are at record highs, ringing in at $550 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2017, or $1.6 trillion annually. But even at those high levels, handing over $830 billion to bondholders will wipe out over half the annual personal income tax take. Yet what is the alternative?
          Infrastructure: Disturbing article Scholars and Rogues   

One of my favorite sites is Scholars and Rogues. It's incisive, cynical, well-informed and goes after the truth like a starving dog after a pork chop. Today it discusses the United States' decrepit infrastructure.

Infrastructure is one of those boring things that people don't like to talk about. Photos of Brittney Spears' naughty bits? Oh yeah! Who Wants to Survive America's Top Apprentice Idol? Bring it on! Ferreting out the phantom terrorists in our hair gel and insoles? USA! 9-11! But roads and bridges and sewers and dams and airports and railways? That's boring. There aren't any boobies or big explosions. You can't wave a flag and send in the Marines or gossip about who gets voted off the island.

When a bridge in Minnesota collapses or the century old New York sewers spring leaks in several places at once there's a three day story. Politicians bang their hands on the podium in carefully measured cadences. Blue ribbon commissions are seated. The Secretary of some cabinet department makes a speech. Bechtel, Halliburton and Fluor's accountants wake up with enormous erections at the thought of the contracts. Afterwards people go back to sleep. The problem is shelved, and everyone figures that it couldn't have been that bad. Look! The gays want to get married! Everyone panic! (You're not thinking, guys. If you want to stop gay sex, then allowing gay marriage is a good first step...)

Well it is a problem. And like brushing your teeth ignoring it won't make it go away. The problem that is. The teeth will go away if you don't brush them just like the roads, dams, bridges, sewers, electric power grid, railways, runways, aqueducts and ports. The ACSE believes it's a more than $1.5 trillion (with a "t") problem over the next five years. That's just to get things back to decent repair.

The Parties and their candidates just don't seem to understand how big this is. Obama proposes $60 billion over five years against needs of at least $400 billion for transportation. Clinton boldly proposes $10 billion in funding. McCain doesn't even mention infrastructure as an issue. I suppose The Market will automagically solve the problem with unicorn farts and pixie dust. I suppose we need magic. We've already mortgaged our grandchildrens' future to the tune of half a trillion to three trillion dollars to take the oil in Iraq. Unfortunately, the spoils of war failed to materialize.

Multiply that by clean water's shrinking funding, crumbling sewers, aging water treatment plants, and declining quality. Or consider the degradation of levees all over the country and note that the Administration is right at the forefront, repairing the levees in Louisiana with the finest materials and workmanship. They're actually stuffing them with newspaper instead of using earth or concrete, but we're still doing a heck of a job. Our bridges and roads are in bad shape and not keeping up with maintenance. Many aren't safe at anything like their rated capacity. The US railway system isn't up to Bulgarian standards let alone Western European or Japanese which is a real shame. It's more efficient per passenger mile than cars or planes. But that gets into a whole different set of issues ably handled by my friend and unindicted co-conspirator, publisher Rustin Wright.

If Teddy Roosevelt were President he'd have turned the government upside down and shaken out all the incompetents and crooks. If it were Dwight Eisenhower we'd have started rebuilding the whole thing under an audacious master plan. FDR or LBJ would have the programs in place and an army of recently unemployed workers holding shovels and pay stubs while they dug in. But we have George W. Bush whose governmental philosophy is that government can't do anything, so it's time to take a vacation and pat himself on the back for a non-job that lived up to expectations.

For the most part the press isn't there absent the squawking when something falls down. John McQuaid calls us the Can't Do Nation. Bob Herbert, one of the New York Times' few columnists with his head screwed on straight talks about our loss of will and clearly identifies the problem and some solutions. But they're pretty much alone. The Press, the boardroom and the politicians are are engaging in their usual short-term thinking. Nobody is taking care of business.
          32,600 New Planes Worth Nearly US$5 Trillion In The Next 20 Years   

From the world’s first commercial flight in 1914, to today’s 32 million flights annually, aviation has become part and parcel of our everyday lives. With some three billion air passengers, and 50 million tons of freight carried


          Lacy Hunt: The Fed Has Undermined The Economy's Ability To Grow   

Authored by Stephen McBride via MauldinEconomics.com,

The Fed’s hope was that quantitative easing would stimulate economic growth. But a former senior economist for the Fed believes it has done the exact opposite.

Speaking at the Mauldin Economics Strategic Investment Conference, Dr. Lacy Hunt, the executive vice president of Hosington Investment Management and former senior economist for the Dallas Fed, said that quantitative easing has created “significant unintended consequences.”

The Worst Expansion in US History

“What the Fed did was, they said to the world we are undertaking quantitative easing so we can boost the stock market… and the stock market will then produce a wealth effect and invigorate the economy.”

While the Fed has increased its balance sheet by $3.57 trillion since 2008, and the S&P 500 is up 255% since 2009, Hunt says, “this is the worst expansion in US history.”

Source: BCA Research

As just half of Americans own stocks, it’s no wonder the wealth effect hasn’t percolated through the economy.

The Fed’s massive experiment has also created huge distortions in the private sector, which has severe consequences.

Business Leverage at Record Highs

“Quantitative easing has created a lot of negatives, one of the most glaring is this liquidity which has fueled record leverage of the business balance sheet.”

Total business debt is now up 71% since 2008—twice the long-term growth rate. Worse yet, Hunt says much of this debt has been used unproductively:

“Quantitative easing encouraged a shift from real investment to financial investment. The Fed’s backing your play, engage in financial engineering… buyback shares, raise dividends. The business managers think they can reverse [these actions].’’

Although total business debt is at a record high, real investment—expenditures on property, plant, and equipment—is falling.

Hunt goes on to say,

“It’s the investment, the real investment which grows the economy. The Fed has created very significant unintended consequences, which have undermined the US [economy’s] ability to grow and lift the standard of living.”

An Ominous Sign for the US Economy

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mauldin Economics, Hunt also addressed the Federal Reserve’s current monetary tightening cycle: “Whether they [raise rates] is immaterial because already they have engineered a contraction in [credit]… all major categories of bank lending are slowing.”

“Since 1915, of the 18 recessions, all of them, bar one, were preceded by monetary tightening… the Fed is on very thin ice.”

Where Do Bond Yields Go from Here?

For Dr. Lacy Hunt’s thoughts on the future of the US economy, where bond yields are headed, the Fed’s next move, and more—watch the full interview below.


          Global app economy to reach $6.3 trillion in 2021: App Annie   
App Annie also projects that a person will spend an average of $946 on mobile commerce by 2021.
          Comment on The First Trillion Dollar Company – ‘Possibilities’ & ‘Probabilities’ by Ajeet   
written a very good content about the world leaders in technology and firm. its a very good summation of everything ,well done Anand Vatsya.
          $1.1 trillion budget deal doesn’t change fiscal cliff   
TAMPA, January 15, 2014 – The Associated Press reported today that Republicans and Democrats are ready to support a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund the federal government through its current fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2014. Citing a perceived mandate from voters to put aside their differences, Congress largely abandoned the superficial cuts […]
          Insurance: Ready for the 2017 Hurricane Season   

June, Too Soon...

*Tom Larsen co-authored this blog.

You may be familiar with the old hurricane season mnemonic;

  • June – Too Soon (first month)
  • July – Standby (for any news of a storm)
  • August – You must (prepare in case a storm comes)
  • September – Remember (to standby)
  • October – It’s all over (last month)1

But for the insurance industry it’s not too soon to plan for the upcoming hurricane season.

The latest 2017 forecast for hurricanes originating in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (which are the hurricanes that most commonly hit the U.S.) by TSR for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season call for an average season with a total of 14 tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.2    And while not all hurricanes make landfall, it is important to know that even a glancing strike such as hurricane Matthew (2016) produce billions in insured losses.3

To get a better understanding of exposure in anticipation of the 2017 hurricane season, CoreLogic applied our high resolution North Atlantic hurricane model to generate an analysis of wind only exposure along both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

In addition to coastal exposure, hurricane risk varies by latitude, water temperature and the effects of steering wind patterns. To get a true view of risk and cost, CoreLogic overlaid our probabilistic hurricane model on our parcel boundaries and reconstruction valuation data to provide a unique view of the risk of property losses in the US from hurricanes. The reconstruction values used in the table below are the most significant way to evaluate this loss because they are the truest view of the cost to reconstruct a property if it were completely destroyed.

Damage to individual properties is strongly related to the winds that the property experiences.   This can be seen in the aftermath of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina (both category 5 storms on the Saffir-Simpson scale) where thousands of buildings in the areas of highest wind were completely devastated.  But the winds generated in a storm are not uniform – the winds in a hurricane are most severe close to the center of the storm and the high winds decay as the storm moves inland from the coast.  Even the most severe storms have large geographic areas impacted by modest level wind speeds. Based upon simulations of tens of thousands of likely hurricanes, the winds calculated in this table are the maximum foreseeable winds – the most extreme winds in the comprehensive CoreLogic model database for each location.

So what is it that is keeping insurance risk managers up at night during hurricane season?  We’ve done the 2017 numbers –

  • 15.7 million. The number of homes along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts that can reasonably expect to see hurricane force winds upon their structure (an even larger number, 45.7 million homes, can expect to see tropical storm force winds or greater).
  • $9.7 Trillion dollars. The reconstruction value of the residential homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts that are at risk from hurricane damage.
  • 3 Major Hurricanes.   The TSR forecast for Intense hurricanes (Cat 3 – 5)
  • 6 Hurricanes.  The TSR forecast for hurricanes (Cat 1 – 5)
  • 5 months. The typical hurricane season

It’s not too late to prepare your home, business or your policyholders to mitigate losses this hurricane season.  Risk mitigation begins before the storm by preparing your surroundings, protecting openings, strengthening roofs, creating a family emergency plan and developing business continuity plans.  The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) provides excellent resources to help prepare and respond to hurricanes on their website for the public at  https://disastersafety.org/hurricane/ and for insurance industry members at https://disastersafety.org/hurricane-season-communication-resources/.

Of course, significant flood damage also occurs in coastal regions due to storm surge as a result of hurricanes. For additional information from CoreLogic on hurricane related storm surge risk go to Storm Surge Report



1 http://www.ict4us.com/r.kuijt/en_hurricane.htm

2 http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/

3 http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/media-advisory-corelogic-analysis-shows-insured-property-loss-from-hurricane-matthew.aspx/

4 In the table above, risk calculations included were performed at a zip code level across 21 states and aggregated. Homes were categorized at their highest risk level; if a home fell into multiple risk levels, e.g. Extreme and Very High, it was categorized for this analysis as Extreme and was not included in the count or reconstruction cost value for Very High.

© 2017 CoreLogic, Inc. All rights reserved.

CoreLogic.com


          Emirate Human Right is One Trillion Dollars Bluff Industry Receives $13K handout from UAE President. Abdul Ghafar Hussein EHRA chief expressed his gratitude to WAM saying: "it is from the President to his children,''. Stress Test is working Boys.    
Emirate Human Right & One Trillion Dollars Bluff Industry Receives $13K handout from UAE President. Abdul Ghafar Hussein EHRA chief expressed his gratitude to WAM saying: “it is from the President to his children,''.  Stress tes
          Bond Market Worry Could Scuttle Paulson Fannie-Freddie Plan   
Some investors argue that capping taxpayer rescue funds, while releasing Fannie and Freddie to private shareholders like Paulson could upend the $5 trillion market for the bonds they issue.
          Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style   
Japan has found a way to write off nearly half its national debt without creating inflation. We could do that too. Let’s face it. There is no way the US government is ever going to pay back a $20 trillion
          7 Reasons Why Trump’s Corporate Tax Cut is Completely NutsDonald...   


7 Reasons Why Trump’s Corporate Tax Cut is Completely Nuts

Donald Trump wants to cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, in order to “make the United States more competitive.”

This is nonsense, for 7 reasons:

1. Profitable U.S. corporations already pay on average of only 14% according to the Government Accountability Office. That’s less than a lot of middle-class families pay. (And that’s less than half the official 35% corporate tax rate.) What’s more, some giant corporations pay little (if any) U.S. taxes because of loopholes or because they shift their profits offshore to tax havens.

2. Trump’s corporate tax cut will bust the federal budget. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center projects it will reduce federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over 10 years. This will either require huge cuts in services for all of us, or additional taxes paid by us to pick up the corporate tab.

3. It’s based on supply-side, trickle-down nonsense. The White House says the tax cuts will create a jump in economic growth that will generate enough new revenue to wipe out any increase in the budget deficit. Rubbish. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both cut taxes mostly for the rich, and both ended their presidencies with huge budget deficits.

4. It will create a new special loophole for hedge fund managers, big law firms and real estate moguls like Donald Trump. They could slash the  tax rate they pay on their business income from 40 percent to 15 percent. 15 percent is what a middle-class person pays. Do you think people like Trump should pay a tax rate that someone making $60,000 a year pays?

5. It creates an international race-to-the-bottom on corporate tax rates that the U.S. cannot possibly win. One of its supposed attractions is it makes U.S. corporate taxes more “competitive” internationally. But we can’t match the rates in tax havens, which are often ZERO. And other countries will just lower their taxes in response. That’s what happened after 1986, the last time the U.S. cut corporate tax rates.

6. American corporations don’t need a tax cut to be competitive. They’re already hugely competitive as measured by their profits – which are near record highs– while the share of taxes they pay are at record lows. Corporations should be doing more to pay their fair share, not getting a giant tax cut!

7. Corporations won’t use the extra profits they get from the tax cut to invest in more capacity and jobs. That’s the White House line, but it’s baloney.  Corporations are now using a large portion of their profits to pay their CEOs’ hefty pay packages and to buy other companies in order to raise their stock prices. There’s no reason to suppose they’ll do any different even with more profits.

So don’t fall for Trump’s corporate tax plan. It will be a huge windfall for corporations and billionaires – like many of Trump’s own cabinet members, family members, and likely even Trump himself (although because he won’t release his taxes, we can’t tell how much he’ll enrich himself from his own tax plan).

We do know who will lose out: The rest of us.


          6/29/2017: Opinion: India’s rising debt is worrisome   
he western state of Maharashtra, home of Mumbai and the biggest regional economy of India, recently announced that it will waive farmer loans worth Rs1.14 trillion (nearly Dh66.2 billion). The June 12 measure will leave only Rs800 billion in the...
          6/29/2017: Markets: US prime funds still waiting for rebound   
Eight months after the most sweeping changes to the US money-markets industry in over three decades siphoned more than $1 trillion (Dh3.63 trillion) from so-called prime funds, the industry’s biggest operators are coming to the realisation that the...
          Senate sends spending bill to Trump   
The Senate has delivered to President Donald Trump the first significant legislation of his presidency, a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill that would keep the government running through September — putting off, for now, battles over Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall and his promised military buildup. The lopsided, 79-18 Senate vote sends the huge bill to the White House in plenty of time to avert a midnight Friday shutdown deadline. Negotiators on the bill dropped Trump’s demands for a down payment on his oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but his signature would buy five months of funding stability while lawmakers argue over the wall and over Trump’s demands for a huge military buildup matched by cuts to popular domestic programs and foreign aid accounts. The House passed the measure Wednesday on a big bipartisan vote, though 103 of the chamber’s conservative Republicans opposed the bill. The White House and its GOP allies praised $15 billion in additional Pentagon spending obtained by Trump and $1.5 billion in emergency border security funds but was denied funding to begin construction work on the border wall. “After years of an administration that failed to get serious on border security, this bill provides the largest border-security funding increase in a decade,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a key negotiator. And Democrats and the pragmatic Republicans who negotiated the bill successfully defended other accounts targeted by Trump such as foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, support for the arts, and economic development grants, among others. The sweeping, 1,665-page bill also increases spending for NASA, medical research, and the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. Democrats also praised the measure as an example of bipartisan cooperation in the handling of the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund the federal government. It reflects bipartisan culture among congressional appropriators, who long ago sorted out many of the spending fights Trump wants to renew this summer — over foreign aid, funding for the arts, Amtrak subsidies, grants to state and local governments, and development agencies like the Appalachian Regional Commission. “On a bipartisan basis, we rejected President Trump’s ill-considered proposal to slash domestic programs by $15 billion, including deep cuts for NIH and low-income energy assistance. Instead, this bill includes a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health,” said a top Democratic negotiator, Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, who called the bill “a good deal for the American people.” Trump took to Twitter earlier this week to complain about the bipartisan process that produced the measure but changed course to crow about additional spending for the military and border security. The White House has said he’ll sign the bill. One of Trump’s tweets advocated for a “good shutdown” this fall to fix the “mess” that produced the bill, though he appeared at the White House just hours later to boast that it was a big win for him. Congressional Republicans — motivated in great measure by fear of a politically damaging government shutdown — worked closely with minority party Democrats to produce the measure, which made only small changes to most accounts covered by the measure. But many rank-and-file Republicans saw the bill as a lost opportunity for a fight that could have produced victories on the wall and punishing “sanctuary” cities that fail to cooperate with immigration authorities. “It is a win for Democrats and a loss for conservatives,” said tea party Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va. “We have a Republican in the White House and control of both chambers of Congress yet this legislation fails to include key conservative reforms Republicans have long-advocated.” Even supporters of the bill dislike the secretive, closed-door negotiations that produced it and delivered it seven months behind schedule while denying anyone the opportunity to amend it. “Is there any member of the United States Senate that has read this?” asked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “And many of us are going to be compelled to vote for it because we don’t want to shut the government down.” Meanwhile, retired union coal miners won a $1.3 billion provision to preserve health benefits for more than 22,000 retirees. House Democrats won funding to give the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico $295 million to ease its Medicaid burden. _______________________________________________________ Copyright © 2017 Capitol Hill Blue Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved
          A Turn in the right Direction   

Like many people I have lived a fairly normal childhood with issues that have moulded me into who I am. Since I was a child I had a better connection with boys and by having a younger brother it made it naturally easier for me to relate and make friends with them. I was sent to a a only girls secondary school and I had my share of bad experiences with bullies which made me feel distrust towards any girl that came close or tried being nice to me. I ended up being the "tomboy" of the group; the girl who played football on the street, wrestled with the boys in hope of proving I was the strongest, I even managed to become the leader of the pack due to my bossiness i suppose. Despite these adventures and Goonie lifestyle I secretly wanted girlfriends and liked the ideas of girlie afternoon's reading Smash hits or Just Seventeen magazines, reading the embarrassing problem pages hopefully teaching you at the same time.

I don't want to complain about my adolescence, it wasn't easy, but a lot of the kids where I was growing up had their share of problems which made my stuff seem less important. I found it hard to relate with girls and as I was the youngest  and very small in size in my school year, I was also a slow developer or that's how it seemed in my school with most girls with training bra's and talking about becoming a woman, which made it even harder for me to fit in. I didn't find a place, not at school, not with anyone. I always felt lonely no matter how full a room was.
Just like a lot of teens I also suffered in the looks department.  I wore braces, had spots and couldn't decide whether a fringe would be better to hide the spots or not. I would go home and cry in my room because I didn't accept myself. I felt lonely in the world, like no one would understand me.
I would cry endlessly and would spend the evening wondering what the point in life was, what was the point?
I was invisible to everyone,  not one boy would look at me and if he caught a glimpse he would scan, process and decide.  Girl...flat chested, looks 12, no. After a long cry I would habitually grab my diary and start to write down everything I felt with either P!nk or Christina Aguilera on my hifi helping get through those lonely, melancholic moments. I would gush about how lonely I felt and would write down how one day I would fight back, I would get my revenge,  I would prove I am beautiful, men would notice me not only for my good nature but my inner beauty and oerhaos outer too, people would love me.
I'm sure It sounds like a typical teen American movie you have seen a trillion times. Most teens want the same thing but maybe in different ways.  It's definitely tough.
For years I had made myself believe that the only way of moving forward is by fighting and being ambitious for what I wanted in life. No matter how sorry I felt for myself as I cried I knew I would make it, deep down there was my positive side breaking through.
I watched a TV documentary on Gerd Haliwell just when she left the Spice Girls and she explained how she wrote a wishlist to get what she wanted to achieve and how they came true. I found it funny because I had already started doing that before and didn't think someone famous would do something like that. I started writing my wishlist. Not a list of what I wanted, of what I had. I wrote a list of things that were achievable to my standard and would write in present tense as if I already had it. Maybe only 75% or less was achievable,  Leonardo Di Caprio wasn't going to marry me.
Jumping forward into time I can say that fighting for what you want isn't the correct term to use when you achieve something you desire.  I am on my journey which is helping me learn about myself more and understand the purpose  of being here. Many people would read this and say this list idea is nothing new, it has been taught in books like The Secret and yes i've read it and i'm an advocate of it all and believe in sharing what should be continued to be taught. Writing a bucket list of what you want is a great start. Then making lists of realistic goals will soon become goals that have been met.

It is recommendable to renew the list now and again. You will find yourself crossing off some things that have come true and others that were a blatant long shot that will never happen.  Leo I'm still waiting ;)

Throughtout my late teens and early twenties,  I experienced some sad moments which really  marked my life. I lost faith in god, in life in anything living. I was lost for a while and felt lonely and went back to feeling I was that invisible girl again. I wasn't embracing my teens nor was I embracing my life as a young adult. I couldn't find escapism but somewhere inside of me was that hopeful, ambitious person that needed an opportunity.  Luckily I have always believed in good things come to those who are good and when negative things have come in the past I automatically thought that it happened for a reason and depending on my choices I have, the next decisions could change the course of my destiny for better or worse.

I can't say I am a follower of anything precise, I am a citizen of Earth. I was brought up a Catholic and whilst learning about the Catholic religion I also was lucky enough to have a teacher that taught us about other religions and cultures, letting us ladies experience a Jewish passover, understanding Islam, Hinduism, the different views on abortion,  we even had to sit under our desks with ours eyes closed, listening to her describe this dark and foul situation of people chained to each other in ships without any space to move, let alone breathe. Obviously she was describing the moment Africans were kidnapped and taken from  their homeland to be slaves. Miss. Warburton was the only teacher that got me listening in class. Sometimes  she would make us all lay on the carpet floor with our eyes closed and we did meditation in class which was most probably my first contact with this.

It has taken me years to find what is good for me and I'm always finding and adopting new things to my lifestyle in hope I can live happier and healthier. Now I'm obsessed with my juicer making amazing juices daily feeling good that I'm taking in all the vitamins I need. I try to think of it like when you go travelling and see something you really like  because it's useful and most probably not common where you live. You buy it and take it home, later you show other people,  teaching them something useful. I apply this to my lifestyle. Eating and drinking healthybis great for my body but I needed more. I'm naturally anxious and I have been searching for years a way to feel calmer and happier within, and for the past 3 I have been learning the Buddhist way combined with any other philosophy that is along those lines. I don't believe in fighting. Every time I have found myself in a situation where I'm fighting for what I belive in, I have found myself hurting people and hurting myself. I don't want to see anymore wars, people fighting for religious purposes when it is completely against any religion to wipe out anyone. We all need Tranquility and to be able to appreciate what we have around us instead of continuing to destroy it. Why can't we banish barriers?

I haven't reached all my goals because I'm continously renewing what I want because everyday is a new day and we don't know what can happen and what can change us. It is often really difficult to stay on the path towards enlightenment but I believe it is reachable if you set yourself out there with your eyes open, not judging everything and reflecting on everything you have observed and learnt. For the past week I have begun my new task of chanting twice a day 'Nam myoho rengue kyo' along with prayers and I am already feeling the change. I'm awakening the lotus inside of me. I want to go deeper into this but think it's better to wait for the right moment.

I still get my moments of sadness however, when I take in the dawns chorus or the smell of a pizza it awakens my inner self and reminds me there is a purpose, the purpose is to all live a tranquil life, one where you can be at peace and help others along the way would be the best. Utopia  is only impossible because a vast majority of humans don't want to see past their invisible barriers they call religion, culture, respect, wealth,  race and creed. Why can't we educate peace, love and harmony? Why is this the most difficult obstacle us strict moral people can't overcome? Why can't we live United respectively? Why are we destroying the gold which is our land?


          Bay Restoration Funds Survive $1.1 Trillion Budget Deal    
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A $1.1 trillion budget bill that would keep the federal government running through September fully funds the program that has coordinated Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts for decades. The bill contains $73 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program, which President Donald Trump has called for defunding. The program, formed in 1983, coordinates and monitors the efforts of the six Bay watershed states and the District of Columbia in meeting pollution reduction goals. It also doles out most of the money it receives in grants to the states and local communities for restoration projects. The program has bipartisan political support, and Trump's proposal earlier this year to cut its funding prompted an outcry from the environmental community. Congress is expected to vote on the bill this week.
          Child Marriage to Cost Trillions of Dollars by 2030 – World Bank Says   

Child marriage is a global challenge that has been shown to contribute to a number of harmful consequences, including school dropout, early pregnancy, intimate partner violence and infant mortality. According to the World Bank Each year, 15 million girls are

Continue reading...

The post Child Marriage to Cost Trillions of Dollars by 2030 – World Bank Says appeared first on Motherhood In-Style Magazine.


          The Overnightscape #264 (8/18/05)   
Tonight's subjects include: A picture of yogurt, a trillion dollars, intellectual pursuits, the most poisonous spider in the world, blog mentions ("Jen Davis-Wilson", "The Fink File"), Technorati, Versace, toiletry review ("Charmin to Go - 1-Ply Bathroom Tissue / Toilet Seat Covers"), Julie responds to more criticism on The Overnightscape Forum ("Harvie from Australia", "Val", "Coach", "Colin from England", "Concrete Angel", "Lance", "BaldMonkeyBoy", "OpinionMan", "Huw from Wales"), Anguilla, the classic arcade video game "Sinistar", and The United Nations Committee on Decolonization. Hosted by Frank Edward Nora. (30 minutes)
          Bail-In or Bail-Out, That is the Question with Economist Andy Sutton   
We are pleased that Economist Any Sutton has agreed to return to our show to discuss world debt and who will be victimized and who are the beneficiaries.  We live in unprecedented times and eventually debts must be paid.  The questions now is who is the payee, and who will be the payor.  These are scary times to say the least with world debt at the hundreds of trillion dollar range.  Listen in and call in with your questions, or comments, 646-652-4620.  Look forward to hearing from you
          Should the U.S. spend $1 trillion on new infrastructure?   

» Donald Trump wants to make a big splash by supporting a huge new infrastructure bill. But we don’t want to end up with the construction of massive new highways from coast to coast.

After six years of proposals for significant new transportation funding being proposed by President Obama, and then being shot down immediately by intransigent Republican Congresspeople, infrastructure is suddenly the talk of Washington. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton proposed major infrastructure packages during the campaign, and the Trump transition team includes a proposal for transportation investment as one of its top priorities. As I’ll describe below, this proposal would likely primarily fund transportation projects that exacerbate climate change and encourage exurban sprawl.

We must remember that the primary goal of transit advocates should not be to simply get projects built. It should be to create more livable, less carbon-intensive cities by shifting the country’s transportation

Continue reading Should the U.S. spend $1 trillion on new infrastructure? »


          Forex Forum with Best Forex Trading System   
If someone told you that you could invest a little bit of money and potentially profit from a pool of over $2 trillion a day, would you believe them? Well, whether or not you’d buy that line is irrelevant. The fact is, that the Foreign Exchange Market can provide exactly that opportunity for you. Here […]
          Free Fuel Certificates Business Promotional Items   
It is a well known fact that people love all kinds of things and stuff. How else does one explain billions (or even trillions) of dollars worth of stuff that’s carried across borders and over the high seas to reach their intended customers? But hold on, that only becomes possible after effective publicizing of the […]
          Torontoist Explains: Green Bonds, Making a Profit While Making a Difference   

Green bonds are helping to fund the transition to a renewable energy-based economy.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 9.12.12 PM

In the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump pulling out of the Paris climate accord, you might be looking for ways to protect the planet that don’t rely solely on governments and international treaties. The divestment movement now boasts more than $5 trillion in money diverted from the fossil fuel industry, but that can’t be […]

The post Torontoist Explains: Green Bonds, Making a Profit While Making a Difference appeared first on Torontoist.


          Reply #182   
Yep. People complain about lottery and casinos and how gambling ruins lives.

Well, how about the worst gambling in the world, to the tune of trillions of dollars, in the rigged insider derivatives market played by rich fat cats. The impact of their irresponsible behavior ruins lives, societies and entire countries.
          Reply #144   
I was just wondering what the odds were for a two headed jackass. Anyone who decides rather

or not to play a game with odds of 1 in 258,890,850 based on a EV of .5 to .7 should play for fun. My

question is, if it's so much fun then why wait or why just a couple bucks? It's a fun way to pay my

taxes, 30 to 50 cents at a time for every $1.00 ticket I purchase, ---- genus at work.

The odds mentioned above of 70 trillion to one for one particular genome but why even mention this.
          Obama Attacks POTUS Trump For Pulling Out of Paris Climate Accord   
The White House audience today broke out in applause when President Trump announced the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. The cost of the climate deal was $3 trillion. Trump decided to stand with the American worker and against globalist elites. The Dow Jones Industrial also closed at a record high on the news today. But Barack Hussein Obama wasn’t happy about this news since his goal was to destroy the U.S. He hates seeing his ‘legacy’ unravel as President Trump destroys it one day at a time. Hussein Obama released a statement following the news about...
          Al Gore Wants to Spend $15 trillion to fight "global warming"   
A group of executives who want to fight global warming has published a new report calling for countries to spend up to $600 billion a year over the next two decades to boost green energy deployment and energy efficiency equipment. The Energy Transitions Commission’s (ETC) report claims “additional investments of around $300-$600 billion per annum do not pose a major macroeconomic challenge,” which they say will help the world meet the goals laid out in the Paris agreement. ETC is made up of energy executives, activist leaders and investment bankers, including former Vice President Al Gore, who would no doubt...
          Lacy Hunt: The Fed Has Undermined The Economy's Ability To Grow   

Authored by Stephen McBride via MauldinEconomics.com,

The Fed’s hope was that quantitative easing would stimulate economic growth. But a former senior economist for the Fed believes it has done the exact opposite.

Speaking at the Mauldin Economics Strategic Investment Conference, Dr. Lacy Hunt, the executive vice president of Hosington Investment Management and former senior economist for the Dallas Fed, said that quantitative easing has created “significant unintended consequences.”

The Worst Expansion in US History

“What the Fed did was, they said to the world we are undertaking quantitative easing so we can boost the stock market… and the stock market will then produce a wealth effect and invigorate the economy.”

While the Fed has increased its balance sheet by $3.57 trillion since 2008, and the S&P 500 is up 255% since 2009, Hunt says, “this is the worst expansion in US history.”

Source: BCA Research

As just half of Americans own stocks, it’s no wonder the wealth effect hasn’t percolated through the economy.

The Fed’s massive experiment has also created huge distortions in the private sector, which has severe consequences.

Business Leverage at Record Highs

“Quantitative easing has created a lot of negatives, one of the most glaring is this liquidity which has fueled record leverage of the business balance sheet.”

Total business debt is now up 71% since 2008—twice the long-term growth rate. Worse yet, Hunt says much of this debt has been used unproductively:

“Quantitative easing encouraged a shift from real investment to financial investment. The Fed’s backing your play, engage in financial engineering… buyback shares, raise dividends. The business managers think they can reverse [these actions].’’

Although total business debt is at a record high, real investment—expenditures on property, plant, and equipment—is falling.

Hunt goes on to say,

“It’s the investment, the real investment which grows the economy. The Fed has created very significant unintended consequences, which have undermined the US [economy’s] ability to grow and lift the standard of living.”

An Ominous Sign for the US Economy

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mauldin Economics, Hunt also addressed the Federal Reserve’s current monetary tightening cycle: “Whether they [raise rates] is immaterial because already they have engineered a contraction in [credit]… all major categories of bank lending are slowing.”

“Since 1915, of the 18 recessions, all of them, bar one, were preceded by monetary tightening… the Fed is on very thin ice.”

Where Do Bond Yields Go from Here?

For Dr. Lacy Hunt’s thoughts on the future of the US economy, where bond yields are headed, the Fed’s next move, and more—watch the full interview below.


          Faster than lightspeed?   
Sun image taken in 2003, with solar prominence extending out
30 times the size of Earth. Image courtesy SOHO/EIT (ESA & NASA)


I hardly consider myself brave enough to challenge Einstein outright, so I figured that there may have been a little problem with error bars upon hearing about neutrinos traveling at superluminal speeds over in Europe. There certainly has been a lot of pushback including Einstein's theory of relativity itself - the clocks used to time the neutrinos departure & arrival times were moving.

What's a neutrino you may wonder? It's a subatomic particle with no electrical charge, very tiny but non-zero mass, and hardly interacts with matter. In other words, a neutrino is easy to miss as trillions pass through your body every single second. Where do they come from? Our sun produces them as it undergoes nuclear fusion deep inside that hot ball of gas.

Stay tuned as there is sure to be more back and forth between the OPERA group and doubtful physicists worldwide!
          Volcano monitoring?   


Mount St. Helens eruption photo by Austin Post


Last week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to President Obama's address to Congress. In his speech, he included the following comments:

Democratic leaders in Congress -- they rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history, with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest. While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.


Lately I have been thoroughly perplexed by tendencies of Republican party members to summarily dismiss science and technology because of the price tag. First, Senator McCain blasted Obama's request for the Adler Planetarium's - a $3 million "overhead projector". Now volcano monitoring is wasteful spending! I wonder if residents of Oregon and Washington state might disagree since they live right under those volcanoes.

I'm old enough to remember the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980, certainly Governor Jindal is as well. Needless to say, the mission of the USGS does matter, and I hope that Americans still realize that science and technology is important. And with over 150 active volcanoes in the U.S. right now, "volcano monitoring" can save lives!
          Shedding Light on How Much Energy the Internet and ICTs Consume   

Ever since I published an essay exploring the relationship between climate change and the Internet, I have endeavored to bring this subject to the fore as often as possible (and in relevant fora and discussions) since the responsibility of creating a more sustainable world falls on all communities and stakeholder groups. It is particularly pressing now — at a time when international interest in curbing climate change is strengthening, while it is juxtaposed with the receding commitments of the United States government vis-à-vis climate change and the environment under the Trump administration, which was reflected in his first official budget proposal.

Such instances where I have highlighted this topic included advocating for more environmentally friendly practices, such as reducing energy use and/or transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar and wind, at the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in December 2016. The Dynamic Coalition on the Internet and Climate Change (DCICC), which was a focus of the aforementioned essay, submitted its annual report leading up to the IGF, and was represented at the Dynamic Coalition (DC) main session where we updated the IGF community about our work and progress made in 2016. I was able to facilitate two breakout sessions at the Internet Society (ISOC)-sponsored Collaborative Leadership Exchange (CLX) as well — one where we discussed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and another that focused solely on the Internet, information and communications technologies (ICTs), and the environment. The work has only just begun, however, and is continuing in earnest. For instance, I was appointed as the focal point for a European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) workshop examining digital pollution and the effects on the environment (such as electronic waste (e-waste) and energy consumption), and I am co-organizing the DCICC annual session at the 2017 WSIS Forum.

So far, most of the feedback I have received from individuals across the Internet governance community about raising this issue has been positive. I greatly appreciate the support that has been shown, and the relevance of maintaining this discussion was further reinforced by a World Health Organization (WHO) publication that was released earlier this month (March) regarding technology, e-waste, and the environment:

"The WHO also noted [in their Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children's Health and the Environment report [PDF] the importance of properly managing emerging environmental hazards like electronic and electrical waste. Without proper recycling, this can lead to children being exposed to dangerous toxins known to harm intellectual development and cause attention deficits, as well as more serious conditions like lung disease and cancer."

With the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), the dangers raised by the WHO's report are even more pressing. Yet, e-waste is only one part of the problem. As more and more people come online, more devices are going to come online as well, which is going to further add the need for power consumption by the Internet and ICTs. This point was explicitly raised in a personal email exchange between Vint Cerf — one of the "fathers of the Internet" who co-invented TCP/IP — and I. We were discussing Google's transition to fully renewable energy use for its data centers, and he posed two questions. After Vint gave me his consent to share the information from our exchange, I decided to publish it here as a follow-up to my October 2016 essay. The following was my substantial answer to his questions (which are listed below in bold). Also, for full disclosure, note that I often refer to Google as a case study because (1) Vint is vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, (2) his inquiry regarding Google's data center efficiency is specifically what prompted the discussion, and (3) Google has been committed to reducing its carbon footprint for years as well as sharing that insight with other stakeholders, specifically in the private sector and technical community.

1. "Do you know whether the aggregate power requirements for the data centers exceed the power requirements for all the laptops, desktops, mobiles, tablets, home routers and Wi-Fi units, etc.?"

I do not have this information, but I can imagine it is a great deal when multiplied by the billions of devices that exist. I found two articles that list the wattage for various electronics (one from Daft Logic, the other from the American Council for the Energy Efficient Economy). I am not sure, though, if those numbers would reflect the various realities (and policy environments) of various non-U.S. electronics.

2. "What fraction of the power consumption does the Internet (and its access devices) take?"

I wish there was an easy number to cite, but unfortunately the numbers are constantly in flux — based on myriad factors taken into account during analysis as well as the number of devices and various optimizations to infrastructure like data centers (e.g., using renewable/green energy, using artificial intelligence (AI) to help increase efficiency, etc.). They often also do not take into account global numbers (as doing so would likely be much more difficult). Having said that, I found many sources that can help shed light on this question (while also shedding light on the first question he posed above):

To begin, the 2008 Global e-Sustainability initiative (GeSI) SMART2020 report, which examined how to enable the low carbon economy in the information age, indicated: "ICTs currently contribute 2 percent to 3 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions." To put this into perspective and even based on 2008 numbers, "If the Internet were a country, it would rank as the fifth-largest for energy consumption." Note, however, that the 2015 GeSI Smarter2030 report stressed, "ICT emissions as a percentage of global emissions will decrease over time," and the GeSI revised the percentage of total global carbon emissions predicted in their 2008 report "due to a range of investments companies in the sector have been making to reduce their emissions and to the expected improvements in the efficiency of ICT devices ... [Therefore,] the ICT sector's emissions 'footprint' is expected to decrease to 1.97 percent of global emissions by 2030, compared to 2.3 percent in 2020."

Bear in mind as well that the numbers are constantly changing in terms of the environmental impact of the Internet. For instance, as reported in The Verge, Google "used some 4,402,836 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity in 2014 (equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by 366,903 U.S. households)," but that number is being offset by the amount of renewable energy and other innovations powering its infrastructure as well. Furthermore, according to CCCB Lab:

"The first thing that emerges after surveying various sources is that nobody knows for sure. In 2010, The Guardian came up with the figure of 300 million tons of [carbon dioxide (CO2)] per year, 'as much as all the coal, oil and gas burned in Turkey or Poland in one year.' A controversial article titled "Power, Pollution, and the Internet" in The New York Times put the figure at 30 billion watts of electricity in 2011, 'roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants.' And according to Gartner consultants, the Internet was responsible for 2 percent of global emissions in 2007, outstripping the carbon footprint of the aviation industry. A more recent study by the Melbourne, Austraila-based Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) estimated in 2013 that the telecommunications industry as a whole emits 830 million tons of carbon dioxide a year — [accounting for 1.5 percent to 2 percent of the world's energy consumption] — and that the energy demands of the internet could double by 2020. Jon Koomey — [a research fellow at Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy who has been studying Internet energy effects since 2000 and identified a long-term trend in energy-efficiency of computing that has come to be known as Koomey's Law] — estimates that the direct electricity use of all the elements that make up the Internet is probably around 10 percent of total electricity consumption, but he emphasizes that it is very difficult to calculate exact figures: 'You can use a computer to play video games or write a text and not be online, and this energy use is often counted as part of the Internet even though it isn't actually the case.'"

Additionally, in a 2015 article published in The Atlantic, the following data was purported:

"According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2012 global electricity consumption was 19,710 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). Using Google's estimate [of its data center's energy use] and electricity-consumption data from the CIA World Factbook, they're using about as much electricity annually as the entire country of Turkey. (Honestly, that number seems impossibly high considering that in 2011 Google disclosed that it used merely 260 million watts of power, at the time noted for being slightly more than the entire electricity consumption of Salt Lake City.) In its 2013 sustainability report, Facebook stated its data centers used 986 million kWh of electricity — around the same amount consumed by Burkina Faso in 2012 ... The impact of data centers — really, of computation in general — isn't something that really galvanizes the public, partly because that impact typically happens at a remove from everyday life. The average amount of power to charge a phone or a laptop is negligible, but the amount of power required to stream a video or use an app on either device invokes services from data centers distributed across the globe, each of which uses energy to perform various processes that travel through the network to the device. One study ... estimated that a smartphone streaming an hour of video on a weekly basis uses more power annually than a new refrigerator" [emphasis mine].

Another perspective to consider is how growth affects the numbers. For example, after interviewing Dr. Mike Hazas, one of the researchers from Lancaster University's School of Computing and Communications involved in a study that warned how "the rapid growth of remote digital sensors and devices connected to the Internet [and the IoT] has the potential to bring unprecedented and, in principle, almost unlimited rises in energy consumed by smart technologies," the writer of this article shared the following data:

"The increase in data use has brought with it an associated rise in energy use, despite improvements in energy efficiencies. Current estimates suggest the Internet accounts for 5 percent of global electricity use but is growing faster, at 7 percent a year, than total global energy consumption at 3 percent. Some predictions claim information technologies could account for as much as 20 percent of total energy use by 2030."

Conversely, in 2013, The Register reported: "The information and technology ecosystem now represents around 10 percent of the world's electricity generation." It based this data on an August 2013 report written by Digital Power Group (DPG) CEO Mark P. Mills titled The Cloud Begins With Coal: Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, and Big Power (disclaimer: it was sponsored by the American Coal Association, a pro-coal lobbying group). He wrote:

"Based on a mid-range estimate, the world's [ICT] ecosystem uses about 1,500 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity annually, equal to all the electric generation of Japan and Germany combined — as much electricity as was used for global illumination in 1985. The ICT ecosystem now approaches 10 percent of world electricity generation. Or in other energy terms — the zettabyte era already uses about 50 percent more energy than global aviation ... Hourly Internet traffic will soon exceed the annual traffic of the year 2000. And demand for data and bandwidth and the associated infrastructure are growing rapidly not just to enable new consumer products and video, but also to drive revolutions in everything from healthcare to cars, and from factories to farms. Historically, demand for bits has grown faster than the energy efficiency of using them. In order for worldwide ICT electric demand to merely double in a decade, unprecedented improvements in efficiency will be needed now" [emphasis theirs].

The Registry's report also emphasized the following about power consumption regarding personal devices: "Reduced to personal terms, although charging up a single tablet or smartphone requires a negligible amount of electricity, using either to watch an hour of video weekly consumes annually more electricity in the remote networks than two new refrigerators use in a year. And as the world continues to electrify, migrating towards one refrigerator per household, it also evolves towards several smartphones and equivalent per person" [emphasis theirs]. (A methodology note from The Register: "This example used publicly available data on the average power utilization of a telecom network, the cost of wireless network infrastructure, and the energy that goes into making a tablet, although it ignored the data centers the video is served out of, and tablet charging" (in other words — though Google has purported that the cost of a Google search is 0.0003 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy — the likely cost is higher due to the power cost lurking in the non-Google systems used to deliver the data and perform the search). "[Furthermore,] the report's figure reflects not just the cost of data centers — according to a 2007 report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. data centers consumed 1.5 percent of U.S. electricity production, and was projected to rise to 3 percent by 2011 — but also the power involved in fabbing chips and the power consumption of digital devices and the networks they hang off)."

It is important to highlight, however, that regarding the stated fact that direct electricity use of the Internet is probably around 10 percent of total electricity consumption, Koomey said the same thing during his keynote address at Google's How Green is the Internet Summit in June 2013, but he immediately added that "the number does not tell us very much" (source). His words were further reinforced by the slides he presented at the event. On slide 7, he shared a graph based on data from a 2013 study using information collected for Sweden in circa 2010 that showed annual electricity use (GWh/year) across various technological devices. It showed that user PCs accounted for approximately 1,800 GWh/year compared to the second-most energy consuming devices: data centers and third-party local-area networks (LANs), which were responsible for close to 1,300 GWh/year). Other user equipment accounted for around 700 GWh/year, while the lowest-ranked technology, Internet Protocol (IP) core network was responsible for around 250 GWh/year. But whether this trend has been sustained from 2010, though, is unclear. (The Google event itself was bolstered by a blog post that was written that same month, which corresponded with the release of a report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) titled The Energy Efficiency Potential of Cloud-based Software: A U.S. Case Study. It showed that "migrating all U.S. office workers to the cloud could save up to 87 percent of information technology (IT) energy use — about 23 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) of electricity annually, or enough to power the city of Los Angeles for a year" (Berkeley Lab also made their model publically available "so other researchers and experts can plug in their own assumptions and help refine and improve the results." Bear in mind that, ultimately, the goal in this case was not to emphasize the effects of personal electronics, but energy efficiency and management overall of larger technical infrastructure).

There is also information available from a 2013 Time article that directly addresses some of the specifics regarding Vint's second question and criticizes Mills' study:

"It's important to note that the amount of energy used by any smartphone will vary widely depending on how much wireless data the device is using, as well as the amount of power consumed in making those wireless connections — estimates for which vary. The above examples assume a relatively heavy use of 1.58 GB a month — a figure taken from a survey of Verizon iPhone users last year. That accounts for the high-end estimate of the total power the phone would be consuming over the course of a year. NPD Connected Intelligence, by contrast, estimates that the average smartphone is using about 1 gigabyte (GB) of cellular data a month, and in the same survey that reported high data use from Verizon iPhone users, T-Mobile iPhone users reported just 0.19 GB of data use a month — though that's much lower than any other service. Beyond the amount of wireless data being streamed, total energy consumption also depends on estimates of how much energy is consumed per GB of data. The top example assumes that every GB burns through 19 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. That would be close to a worst-case model. The CEET assumes a much lower estimate of 2 kWh per GB of wireless data, which would lead to a much lower electricity consumption estimate as well — as little as 4.6 kWh a year with the low T-Mobile data use. In the original version of the post, I should have noted that there is a significant range in estimates of power use by wireless networks, and that this study goes with the very high end."

A note on the calculations on smartphone energy use: this comes from an email by Max Luke, a policy associate at the Breakthrough Institute, which posted about Mills' study. He wrote:

"Last year [in 2012], the average iPhone customer used 1.58 GB of data a month, which times 12 is 19 GB per year. The most recent data put out by ATKearney for the mobile industry association GSMA (p. 69) says that each GB requires 19 kW. That means the average iPhone uses (19kW X 19 GB) 361 kWh of electricity per year. In addition, ATKearney calculates each connection at 23.4 kWh. That brings the total to 384.4 kWh. The electricity used annually to charge the iPhone is 3.5 kWh, raising the total to 388 kWh per year. The EPA's Energy Star shows refrigerators with efficiency as low as 322 kWh annually."

The Time article continued: "Breakthrough ran the numbers on the iPhone specifically — Mills' endnotes (see page 44 in the report) refer to smartphones and tablets more generally — but Luke notes that Mills confirmed the calculations. These estimates are at the very high end — other researchers have argued that power use by smartphones is much lower. And the Mills study itself has come in for strong criticism from other experts."

As this Forbes article noted:

"[Koomey said] he 'spent years debunking' Mills' claims and published a paper in 2000 that directly contradicted his findings. Koomey [added] he was shocked to see Mills 'rehashing' his ideas now. 'If he is making this claim again, that would be just crazy, outrageous,' Koomey said. 'What we found in 2000 is that a refrigerator used 2,000 times more electricity than the networking electricity of a wireless Palm Pilot. He is not a credible source of information.' [Moreover,] Gernot Heiser, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and co-author of a 2010 study on power consumption in smartphones, echoed Koomey's sentiments [that Mills' work was flawed]. Heiser said Mills' work 'seems blatantly wrong.' He said Mills overestimates the amount of power used by a modern smartphone, in this case a Galaxy S III, by more than four times. 'I'd have to have a quick look to see how they arrive at this figure, but it certainly looks like baloney to me,' Heiser said."

Quoting from the Time article, "Gang Zhou, an associate professor of computer science at the College of Williams and Mary, was less direct in attacking Mills' claims, but nonetheless said his measurements for the power consumption of smartphones was at least 'one or two magnitude' higher than they should be. Nonetheless, Zhou added that the subject of data center electricity usage is an important issue and it 'should raise concern.'"

Koomey also reinforced the aforementioned criticism. In a 2013 article titled "Jonathan Koomey: Stop worrying about IT power consumption," the author of the article wrote:

"By 2010, for example, data centers accounted for approximately 1.3 percent of worldwide electricity use and 2 percent of U.S. electricity use, according to Koomey's August 2011 paper, "Growth in Data Center Electricity Use, 2005 to 2010." This amount is growing, certainly, but at a far slower rate than we previously imagined. Still, that article helped inspire an industry-wide interest in the nexus of technology and energy efficiency that might otherwise have taken years to develop. "It was the process of debunking those claims that led me to spend a lot more time on data center electricity use and also on the electricity use of all sorts of computing devices,' Koomey recalled. As he dug into the numbers, he actually discovered that efficiency has been improving since the days of vacuum tubes, a thesis he explored in his 'One Great Idea' presentation at the 2012 VERGE conference in Washington, D.C. This is one thing making the explosion of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers viable, along with the associated reductions in the power consumption associated with client computing devices. Consider that a desktop computer uses roughly 150 kWh to 200 kWh of electricity annually, compared with 50 to 70 kWh for a notebook PC, 12 kWh for a tablet or 2 kWh for a smartphone. It's also a very important development for the so-called Internet of Things, the vast network of sensors emerging to support a huge array of applications related to green buildings, intelligent transportation systems and so on. Despite suggestions otherwise, these applications should have very little impact on overall IT power consumption."

Conclusion

Based on the outdated and often contradictory information available, I would stress that the ultimate answer to Vint's question is that, unfortunately, it is inconclusive. Even a follow-up question Vint posted about the merits of switching to LED lighting in offsetting the power consumption of ICTs was undermined by a New Republic story that argued (according to the aforementioned Time article):

"The greenest building in New York City [at the time] — the Bank of America Tower, which earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design's (LEED) highest Platinum rating — was actually one of the city's biggest energy hogs. Author Sam Roudman argued that all the skyscraper's environmentally friendly add-ons — the waterless urinals, the daylight dimming controls, the rainwater harvesting — were outweighed by the fact that the building used 'more energy per square foot than any comparably sized office building in Manhattan,' consuming more than twice as much energy per square foot as the 80-year-old (though recently renovated) Empire State Building."

What is not undermined, however, is my rationale for exploring this topic more within the Internet community. While the Internet and ICTs are not the main contributor to climate change (compared to, say, energy production in general), there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

1. The issue of energy needed for infrastructure such as data centers as well as electronic devices (regardless of size or scope) is essentially two sides to the same coin, but data center/server operators generally have much more centralized control over how such centers/servers are powered than end-users.

2. Private sector data centers are becoming more efficient and are increasingly run by renewable energy, but many Internet exchange points (IXPs), for instance, as well as other critical infrastructure and non-private sector structures (such as government servers) are not. (See, for example, the abovementioned Atlantic article: "But that's leverage available to companies operating at the scale of Facebook and Google [to galvanize states to cut non-renewable/fossil fuel energy sources]. It's not really something that smaller colocation services can pull off. Relative to the entire data-center industry — data centers run on university campuses, enterprise colocation providers, hospitals, government agencies, banks — companies like Facebook and Google are a pronounced, but still minor piece of the larger data-center landscape. Some smaller companies have been able to push for changes, but they tend to need one of the heavy-hitter companies to act as muscle first" [emphasis mine]).

3. As more people come online, more and more data will be generated — to the point where the amount of energy needed to power the infrastructure that supports such data could grow exponentially. As Mills' report stressed:

"Future growth in electricity to power the global ICT ecosystem is anchored in just two variables: demand (how fast traffic grows) and supply (how fast technology efficiency improves). As costs keep plummeting, how fast do another billion people buy smartphones and join wireless broadband networks where they will use 1,000 times more data per person than they do today; how fast do another billion, or more, join the Internet at all; how fast do a trillion machines and devices join the Internet to fuel the information appetite of Big Data? Can engineers invent, and companies deploy, more efficient ICT hardware faster than data traffic grows?"

Addressing each of these points — and what the Internet governance community can do about it — is critical. Given the inconclusive nature of this article, it is better to err on the side of caution — that is, address concerns related to energy and the environment within our domain, especially when investing in infrastructure upgrades. For instance, Koomey argued, "For in-house data centers that are standard business facilities, there is a strong case from both a cost and environmental perspective for going to the cloud."

This also involves sharing best practices, solutions, and working collaboratively to help make current infrastructure more efficient and sustainable as well as better plan for the future (which of course includes policy discussions) as well as examining our entire production process and incorporating a more circular economy. By extending this logic to ICTs, it also includes not merely infrastructure and processes governing the Internet, but also aspects of the information society such as wireless infrastructure (e.g., towers and routers), wired infrastructure (e.g., manufacturing and laying fiber (including underwater cable)), the recyclability and sustainability of Internet-connected devices (e.g., manufacturing processes, recycling, and resource acquisition), and where the materials for such devices will come from in order to help the next billion(s) get online.

Written by Michael Oghia, independent #netgov consultant & editor


          Toshiba pushes back closing deal on memory unit sale   
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese electronics and energy giant Toshiba has delayed its deadline for reaching an agreement on selling its lucrative computer memory chip business. The company said Wednesday negotiations were continuing on a 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) deal with a consortium led by a Japanese government-backed fund. Tokyo-based Toshiba had hoped to have […]
          Original Blog Entry: US Government Collapsing: Congress Furloughs Thousands Of Federal Employes Moves To Make Sequester C   

US Government Collapsing: Congress Furloughs Thousands Of Federal Employes Moves To Make Sequester Cuts Permanent

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
 

 

 

Fiscal Collapse: US Congress to Make Sequester Cuts Permanent

 
March 19, 2013
Hundreds of thousands face unpaid furloughs
As the US government prepares to furlough hundreds of thousands of federal employees next month, Congress is moving to make permanent the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade mandated by the sequester process that was triggered at the beginning of March.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected this week to approve a so-called “continuing resolution” that will fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. A version of the bill has already been passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Both the House and Senate versions include the $85 billion in cuts for fiscal year 2013 mandated by the sequester.
On top of these cuts, both versions of the bill include provisions to freeze federal pay through the end of this year, reversing an earlier executive order to end the current pay freeze and give federal employees a 0.5 percent raise.
With the sequester cuts secured for rest of the fiscal year, the two parties will intensify their discussions on next year’s federal budget and plans to impose unprecedented attacks on the most basic social programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Congressional Democrats have made clear they have no intention of using the threat of a government shutdown, which would result from failure to pass a continuing resolution, in order to reverse the sequester cuts.
Since the exact form of the across-the-board sequester cuts are still being worked out, it is not clear precisely how many workers will face payless furloughs, but preliminary figures indicate that over one million employees could be affected. Many workers could lose more than 20 percent of their annual salary.
The spending bill passed by the House contains provisions giving the military much greater flexibility in distributing the burden of the spending cuts, meaning there will....

[ More ]


          Is Texting Mangling the English Language?   

Do your OMGs and LOLs have you sometimes srsly forgetting how to write in proper English? If so, you may not be alone.

Texting is on the rise, and changing the ways people interact with language. For some high schoolers today, abbreviations like those above have likely been a part of their vocabulary since they learned to write a five-paragraph essay. So just how embedded in formal communications could texting slang become?

While that remains to be seen, there’s no doubting the impact it’s had so far. The Internet education portal OnlineSchools.com recently took a look at the trend and came up with some interesting findings via sources including the British Journal of Psychology, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and PBS.

Among the more interesting tidbits they report: An estimated 8 trillion text messages were sent in 2011, and 95% of cellphone owners between the ages of 18 and 29 send texts. A 17-year-old in Wisconsin even took home $50,000 this year for flawlessly typing a 149-character message in just 39 seconds. Several texting terms have made their way into the hallowed Oxford English Dictionary, and with good reason — 97% of 18- to 24-year-olds who own a cellphone text daily.

But before you get angry, and blame new-fangled technology for destroying our language, consider this: British politician Winston Churchill reportedly received the first OMG in an old-fashioned letter way back in 1917.

For more, check out the full OnlineSchools infographic at http://www.onlineschools.com/in-focus/text-talk. Then, let us know in the comments: Do you think text messaging is bad for the English language, or are its effects negligible?

          Mothers, it's Time to Get MAD   
Why wouldn't you be? Our government is spending trillions of dollars and expects your children and grandchildren to pay for it.

Our politicians may not admit this, as their assertion is that it's actually for the children. But the American people and moms in particular are beginning to understand that this mantra is not only wrong, but morally bankrupt.

So what can we do about it?


Plenty. We can start by becoming better educated on the issues, so that we may discuss them with others in a logical and coherent manner.  We musn't stop promoting the principles of freedom just because the election is over, no sir! It is when our ballots are cast and new members (hopefully) are chosen that the true test of our spirit begins. It behooves us to keep a watchful eye on government at all times, no matter friend or foe. And to do that, we must stay connected - to keep each other motivated, informed and in good spirits! So if you haven't already, find a Liberty on the Rocks near you (don't have one? Start your own!) and get to know other freedom-minded thinkers in your community!

To begin your educational journey in becoming an expert on the issues of free enterprise, individual liberties and constitutional government, let me recommend the following video from Mothers Against Debt. It's packed with informative examples of wasteful government expenditures that you can share with your friends and family. And did I mention that it's only a minute and a half? Check it out!

Video: Mothers Against Debt: Public Service Announcement


          Comment on Why 1 Trillion Dollars In Black Buying Power Should Be Used To Start Black Businesses by snooker previews   
<strong>snooker previews</strong> [...]although web-sites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we really feel they may be actually worth a go by means of, so have a look[...]
          Recommended Reading   
image via
(and also, I want this. In my home. Someday. When the Owlet is not pulling everything off the shelves.)

It's rare that I have time to actually finish a book these days, what with working and dealing with an almost 11 month old. But the owlet has finally learned how to nap in his pack-n-play, rather than on someone which frees up my arms for other things. (hurrah!)

I should spend the time being productive and cleaning the house/doing laundry/etc., but his pack n play is in the living room and he would wake up, so instead, I read.

Working at the library has its perks. In addition to not coming home so stressed out that I just want to sit in the corner in a little ball and cry, I also get to check out an unlimited number of books!

(well, technically, I can check out 99 items, because that really is the limit. but you get what I mean.)

Currently I have the following books checked out:

Bossypants by Tina Fey. I actually JUST finished reading this one. I read it in two days, more or less. It is hys-ter-ical. And sweet. Read it. It's good for more than a laugh or two. And let's face it, Tina Fey could write a manual for building your own oven and I'd read it.

The Other Mother. I'm almost done this one, but I've had to renew it once already, I've had it out for so long. I'll be honest, I checked it out because it had "mother" in the title and was about two moms, one who works out of the home, one who is a stay-at-home mom. It's actually pretty good, although it's taken me about a month to decide that.

Freedom. I have not read this one yet, and I checked it out at the same time as The Other Mother. It may get returned before it gets read. I checked this one out because there was a bird on the cover. Yep. I'm awesome like that.

It's A Boy. I have read about 3 pages into this one. Not because it's boring or anything, but because I've been reading 3 other books at once. It's about the psychology and the development of boys from itty bitty to 18. So far it's pretty good. But again, I'm 3 pages in.

Baby Led Weaning (and the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook)-I've read the cookbook, and I've tried a few recipes. I understand the basic concept of BLW. I have not gotten far in the main book, however.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I love me some young adult and juvenile fiction, provided it's not Twilight and it's well written. (that could explain why I don't like Twilight). This book is a super fast read, because it's primarily pictures, and it has a great little twist at the end. It's being turned into a movie, and I hope they do it justice, although they probably won't because they're making a book into a movie.

Sisterhood Everlasting. It's a continuation (10 years later) of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. Haven't started it. Came in the same day as Bossypants, and as I've mentioned, I'm reading like, 800 other things.

Flight 8-a graphic novel of sorts. Basically it's a bunch of amazing comic artists various little stories in one larger book. What do you call those? I've only read the first couple stories in this one too.

Owl Howl- a book for my little owlet about an owl who can't stop crying but can't remember why she's crying. :) It's sweet and a great nap time read.

The Littlest Owl. -Another book for the owlet, about, you guessed it- the littlest owl in the family, who, just because he's little, can still do great things.

Baby Love baby food cookbook-Mostly purees, which we're past, and a few good finger food recipes. I don't think we've tried anything from this one yet.

The Best Homemade Babyfood On the Planet- We've done a few recipes from this one so far the owlet's really liked the "lentils and potatoes" and the "Red Light, Green light" green beans and red bell peppers.

No Cry Nap Solution, from the same lady who brought us No Cry Sleep Solution. We actually didn't need this one afterall, I should probably take it back.

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett. So far I've really enjoyed Pratchett's books, especially the Tiffany Aching sub-series of the Discworld main series. I have not read this book yet either. (see above re: 8,000 books)

I should also mention that I borrowed The Help from my sister-in-law. I do not know when exactly I will get around to this book, because as you can see, I am currently reading or am about to read a trillion books all at once.

While taking care of an almost 11 month old.

And working a part time job.

And planning a birthday party for the almost 11 month old who will be, in less than a month and a half, a one year old.

Maybe I should be spending some time reading, instead of blogging?




          Dulce et decorum est? Is it sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland?   
Trillions of dollars later, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis dead, and with tens of thousands of American soldiers dead and wounded, that hubristic enterprise has given rise to threats posed by extremist movements.
          National Debt = $12,670,749,966,933   
During President Obama's campaign for President of the United States, he not only promised to provide jobs and health care for all Americans, but he repeatedly said he wanted to re-build America from the ground up. Instead, Obama's took an ass-backwards approach which has left the economy extremely vulnerable.

Job growth and a stable economy are the foundation in which this country stands. The President should have distributed the 'free stimulus money' to create more manufacturing jobs in the US. Not all Americans are cut out for careers that require a college education. They just want to work, get paid a decent wage and take care for their families.

Reforming the trade agreements would have been a great way to stabilize the economy. Wal- mart imports billions of dollars worth of good from China every year. Putting a cap on this amount would force Wal-Mart to buy more products manufactured in the United States. We have the technology to build 'clean air' factories, but instead Obama continues to spent millions on short term, meaningless projects.

The national debt has increased by more than 2 trillion dollars since Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Unemployment rates remain predominantly the same and the outstanding public debt as of today is a staggering 12.6 trillion dollars. The estimated population of the United States is 308,067,083 therefore each citizen's share of this debt is $41,129.38.

Obama's 1.5 trillion dollar 'Stimulus Package' and 940 billion dollar 'Healthcare Reform Bill" have put this country so far in debt my 10 year old son will probably not outlive this financial disaster.


          $100 Million In Aid For Haiti…U.S. 12 Trillion Dollars In Debt   
I would like to know why the President of the United States, Barack Obama, pledged $100 million dollars in relief aid for Haiti, knowing that this country is over 12 trillion dollars in debt. The news of this generous aid from the United States is released AFTER the following aid has been offered and intended for delivery by the following countries and organizations.

These facts are based on my research and are not categorized in any order of importance. All of the following are offering relief for Haiti and their people.

Chile - sending 20 doctors, a rescue team, 12 tons of medical and food supplies plus 3 tons of medicine

Jolie-Pitt Foundation - pledges $1 million to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Iceland - sending 37 man search & rescue team

World Bank - promises $100 million in emergency funding for recovery and reconstruction

Cuba - sends 30 doctors plus medical supplies

World Food Program - Air lifting 86 metric tons of food from their emergency hub

Spain - pledges $4.3 million (amount calculated into US dollars)and 3 plane loads of aid

AmeriCares - $3 million in medical supplies

China - sends a 50 member team (geez, thanks a bunch)

Israel - sends 4 member rescue team followed by 2 more jets carrying a field hospital and 220 rescue and hospital workers

Samaritan's Purse - has charter planes loaded with supplies awaiting landing

Spanish Aid - Humanitarian aid and rescue plus medical personnel

Virgina, US - sends Fairfax County Search and Rescue Team

This is a list of the World aid I have knowledge of, but am certain there are others that I am not yet aware of.

Hillary Clinton, who has pledged nothing to help Haiti, cancels her job related plans (at the cost of the taxpayers) and the following occurred:

At 8:31 am Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is providing a communications network to shore up the battered Haitian government infrastructure. "Once we can get communications up so we can tell people where to go, what kind of help they can expect, we'll be able to better manage the crisis," Clinton said on CNN's "American Morning."

Well, I would like to tell Hillary Clinton where she can go. I ask Americans to keep theirs eyes and ears open and that they demand every cent of the $100 million President Obama pledged to be documented and accounted for.

          Illinois Lottery Sales Skyrocket...Schools Deteriorate   

It is no secret that I am not a supporter of the legalization of slot machines in Illinois. I have however supported the lottery, due to the fact, that "we the people" were guaranteed  the legislatation would ensure that a large percentage of the revenue generated from the Illinois Lottery would go towards school funding and better education for our children. So why are our schools being forced to concolidate...and why are our children fed school lunches that look like military rations?

The Illinois Lottery was founded in 1974, as a state agency and currently only employs 153 people. According to my research from 2002-2007 total sales generated from the Illinois lottery equals $1,066,000,000,000. Thats right...over 1 Trillion dollars within a 5 year period in Illinois alone. The Illinois Lottery reports revenue of 2.078 billion for the 2008 fiscal year alone. The highest single year sales in the history of the lottery.

So where does the percentage of that revenue Americans were promised  for educational end up? It is deposited into what is called the "Common School Fund". Illinois 105 ILCS 5/Article 18 describes the manner in which funds are distributed to the schools. I have read the article fully and there is no mention of  the Illinois State Lottery let alone increased funds for schools due to the escalating rise in Lottery sales. And where does all the unclaimed prize money end up? That is a question I can not answer, but think Lottery officials should.

The Illinois Lottery pats themselves on the back for, what they call donating, over 14 billion to the Common School Fund since it was founded in 1974. That is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the 1 trillion dollars generated in 5 years alone, not to mention the fact that our schools are worse now than in 1974.

I am appalled at viewing these facts. The only school in our district that still actually cooks a meal for students is the High School. The state is inflicting enormous taxes on cookies, cereal, soda etc. (what they call the "junk food tax") not to mention the new tax on personal hygiene products, yet our school children K-8 are not even fed what is considered a nutritious meal. The school books for various subjects are far from new and our art and music programs are struggling to stay alive.

How can these officials in charge of this "Common School Fund" sleep comfortably at night in their $500,000 homes knowing that school children are eating bagged and packaged food for lunch. And what is worse is the fact that, for some children, it is the best meal they will have that day. Mr. President...please help!

          Peruanos en Londres.   
Hemos abierto una nueva categoria, Peruanos/as en el exterior,  para que por intermedio de estas paginas, puedan saber como se estan organizando nuestros compatriotas en otros países, se invita a todas las comunidades peruanas que hagan llegar sus comunicados, revistas, afiches, declaraciones, etc. a este blog, suscribanse.....Queremos que sea un nuevo servicio para que no se sientan tan alejados de nuestro país. Empezamos con el Boletin de MINKA, que lo edita la Colonia Peruana en Londres.
________________________________

Mail INKA

English-Castellano-Quechua

London. 12-10-2007

Aparece lunes y jueves.

Published on Mondays and Thursdays.

 

Finally unearthed after 4000 years, the Peruvian fire temple From The Scotsman

Mural hallado en Perú podría ser el más antiguo de toda América

 Index

Análisis de las noticias en UK y el mundo: la reina plantea nuevas restricciones a inmigrantes

Articles on the Andes in the main British press

Building the Minkapedia

Noticias comunitarias

Llega canciller peruano a UK

  

ANALISIS DE LAS NOTICIAS

Por Isaac Bigio

 UK AL DIA

El discurso de la reina y los inmigrantes

 

En las Américas lo usual es que una vez al año el presidente de la república de un extenso discurso a la nación detallando su programa para los siguientes doce meses. Sin embargo, en el Reino Unido el jefe de Estado es un monarca y es ella quien da un breve discurso anual. Este no es redactado por ella ni refleja el 100% de sus opiniones (la reina debe leer el que le ha presentado su primer ministro). Este tampoco es leído ante un congreso de diputados o senadores electos bajo sufragio universal, sino ante la inelecta cámara de los lores (a cuyo recinto se desplazan los parlamentarios electos).

Luego viene el debate entre el jefe del gobierno y el de la oposición y una tanda de preguntas y críticas que debe responder el premier Gordon Brown.

La reina bosquejó 23 de las 28 propuestas de ley que el gobierno laborista quiere implementar. Entre ellas destacan querer hacer que su país sea el líder mundial en la lucha contra la polución ambiental, construir más viviendas y hacer que todos los menores de 18 años estén obligados a seguir en la educación.

Sin embargo, queremos recalcar dos anteproyectos que han de tener especial importancia para las minorías étnicas. Una es que se le da a la policía más poderes en la ‘lucha anti-terrorista’ y la otra es que se ponen más restricciones en la inmigración.

Muchos inmigrantes y latinos andan con cuidado ya que el único ‘terrorista’ muerto por las fuerzas del orden en UK fue el inocente joven brasilero Jean Charles de Menezes y muchos temen que más poderes a la policía puede terminar conllevando a más allanamientos y deportaciones de irregulares.

El gobierno intenta imponer al inglés como obligatorio para todos aquellos que quieran entrar a trabajar a este país o querer tener la residencia. A los que intenten la ciudadanía británica se les ha venido imponiendo fuertes restricciones. Hoy deben pagar 3 a 4 veces más por ella y pasar por exámenes. Ahora se pretende imponer un servicio de trabajo civil.

Lo paradójico es que el gobierno de Brown cree que con estas medidas podrá recobrar la popularidad que los conservadores (tradicionales escépticos a la inmigración y a la Unión Europea) le vienen quitando. Sin embargo, él cree que la mejor forma de combatir a los ‘tories’ es robarles sus propuestas.

El, al querer seguir a sus contrincantes azules en varios temas (incluyendo la hostilidad a los inmigrantes) no hace más que enajenar a muchos de sus tradicionales aliados y soportes. Mientras el laborismo ha venido perdiendo muchos puntos dentro de las minorías étnicas no consigue ganar terreno dentro de la Inglaterra conservadora. Es más, mucha gente se va yendo hacia los conservadores pues cree éstos son más consecuentes que quienes les imitan a medias.

Si las minorías étnicas quieren defender sus derechos y evitar que las nuevas leyes inmigratorias les afecten a  ellos, a sus familiares y amigos se requiere una amplia coordinación y acción común entre todos ellos.

Se puede leer más sobre el discurso de la reina Elizabeth II marcando estos titulares.

La Reina Isabel II abre el curso político en Reino Unido por El País de España  

Fotos del discurso de la reina Elizabeth II

La reina de Inglaterra anuncia el plan de gobierno de Brown

Opinión a favor de la Reina de Inglaterra

11-11-11

A las 11 horas del día 11 del mes 11 (Noviembre) de 1918 cesó la I Guerra Mundial (iniciada en 1914) Esta llegó a ser la mayor carnicería bélica de la historia, sólo superada en sangre por la II Guerra Mundial (1939-1945).

Desde entonces cada 11 de Noviembre el Reino Unido conmemora a sus casi dos millones de muertos ocurridos en aquellos dos grandes conflictos así como a los 16,000 que han tenido en todas las guerras de las últimas seis décadas.

Nuestras simpatías con todos nuestros hermanos británicos que sufrieron el horror de esas matanzas y que perdieron familiares en ello. Muchos recalcarán el rol del Reino Unido para haber forjado el actual modelo global democratizante y liberal. Sin embargo, lo que motivó a dichas guerras fue la necesidad de abrir más mercados o dependencias para una u otra potencia.

Para muchos las tropas británicas ayudaron a derrotar al ‘fascismo’ y al ‘comunismo’ y hoy vienen combatiendo al ‘fundamentalismo’. Para otros éstas han defendido a un imperio. En el Tercer Mundo hay muchos quienes reivindican a los independentistas de la India, Malasia, Egipto y otras ex colonias que se enfrentaron a los soldados de su majestad.

En América Latina la herida de la guerra delas ‘Malvinas’ sigue abierta. El conflicto de hace 25 años encontró a toda esa región (salvo Chile de Pinochet) respaldando a Argentina, quien aún reclama  esas islas. Hoy uno de los principales aspectos de la celebración de ayer fue honrar a los más de 200 británicos caídos en recuperar las ‘Falklands’.

En estos días es usual ver a muchas personas que se colocan una flor roja en su solapa para mostrar su solidaridad con los caídos, aunque ello no se ve dentro de la mayoría de los latinoamericanos u otras minorías étnicas de estas islas. Muchos irlandeses tampoco comparten ello y en las celebraciones oficiales se pudo ver como en éstas participaba el unionista primer secretario de Irlanda del Norte (Paisley) pero no lo hacía su vice (el nacionalista McGuinness).

Honramos las tumbas de los caídos y esperamos que no haya más soldados británicos muertos en conflictos. Esto último podría ayudar a lograrse si Londres decidiera no envolverse en nuevas ocupaciones que encienden la hoguera y que también generan tantos problemas de seguridad interna.

 El 11-11 y los inmigrantes  

Un hecho que llama la atención es que un alto número de las bajas británicas en esas guerras fueron de soldados y civiles de minorías étnicas o de antiguas dependencias. Ese porcentaje es mayor al que hoy conforman los ‘inmigrantes’ que viven en el Reino Unido.

Varios de los guerreros más aguerridos en pro de UK han sido no británicos. Los gurkas (que vienen de aldeas campesinas del Himalaya y que son tan parecidos en raza y costumbres a los de muchos pueblos andinos)  están considerados como los mejores soldados de su Majestad.

 Resulta una contradicción el hecho que en momentos en que más se acepta que una gran proporción de quienes murieron por Reino Unido fueron ‘no británicos’, es cuando se fomentan más medidas contra quienes descienden de ellos o quienes son inmigrantes.

Una de las mejores garantías para que UK se fortalezca tanto económica como humanamente es tratar a los inmigrantes con respeto e igualdad. La historia muestra que cada vez que UK trata a una de sus minorías con cierta dureza (como ha pasado con los irlandeses y hoy pasa con los musulmanes) es que se incita al terror, al racismo y a la violencia.

 UK y la Antártida

A 25 años de la guerra de las Malvinas Reino Unido genera choques en la región austral. Argentina le cuestiona por querer explotar hidrocarburos en dichas islas que afirma que le fueron arrebatadas en 1833. Las tensiones ahora se han extendido a Chile, pues Londres anunció querer anexarse un millón de Kms. 2 de la Antártida afectando los reclamos de esa república y de Argentina, los únicos países que han tenido bebés suyos nacidos allí.
Muchos países reclaman la soberanía de franjas del continente helado (incluyendo Perú) pero aún no hay un consenso mundial sobre ello. Después del 13 de Mayo del 2009 la ONU podría arbitrar ello realizando el último reparto territorial de la superficie terrestre.

Según el Tratado de 1959 el Polo Sur se mantiene como el único continente donde no puede haber armas de guerra, desechos tóxicos u explotación de minerales, y que debe mantenerse 100% destinado a la ciencia y al turismo. Sin embargo, debido a los altos precios del oro negro y otros metales, hay intereses que pugnan por abrir la Antártida y sus mares circundantes a transnacionales que extraigan sus recursos.

 

MAS NOTICIAS SOBRE UK EN CASTELLANO

 Marque para ver:

Blair se convierte al catolicismo

El Gobierno británico niega haber vetado una oferta de compra por el Nothern Rock 

MUNDO AL DÍA

(columnas de Isaac Bigio publicadas en Correo y otros diarios iberooamericanos)

::Cumbre Iberoamericana

Reino Unido, Francia y Portugal han mantenido organismos internacionales con sus ex colonias. España, en cambio, ha debido esperar al fin del franquismo y de la guerra fría para intentar hacer algo parecido.
En 1991 se dio la primera de las 17 cumbres anuales iberoamericanas. Los dos más asiduos concurrentes a dichas conferencias han sido el rey español y Fidel.
Ambos han impulsado esta nueva comunidad para crear un espacio distinto al de la OEA tan controlada por EEUU (en la cual no están Cuba y España). Estas cumbres han convenido al castrismo para minar el bloqueo norteamericano y a Madrid para haberse convertido en el principal inversionista en varias repúblicas latinoamericanas.
No obstante, esta alianza entre realistas y rojos tiene sus fricciones. Ello se expresó en la última cumbre cuando el rey hispano ordenó callar a Chávez y los izquierdistas gobernantes de Venezuela y Nicaragua cuestionaron cómo Madrid, antes, patrocinó conspiraciones armadas contra ellos.

 Sarko-Bush

Durante casi todo el mandato de Bush la potencia europea que más lo cuestionó fue Francia. Sin embargo, ahora que el presidente norteamericano está cerca de culminar su período 2000-2008 y cada vez es menos popular, el nuevo mandatario francés Sarkozy ha venido apoyarlo.
Sarkozy fue ovacionado en el Congreso de EEUU, privilegio que el único europeo que lo había recibido en los últimos años era su fiel aliado Blair. Sin embargo, en la medida que Londres y París han cambiado de gobernantes se han producido realineamientos.
En ambas potencias nucleares siguen en el poder los mismos partidos. Sin embargo, el nuevo premier británico Brown busca distanciarse del anterior seguidismo a Bush, mientras que el nuevo presidente galo Sarkozy quiere apartarse de la hostilidad que su antecesor Chirac tuvo ante EEUU.
Para Bush, el nuevo giro francés le debe ayudar en su meta de ir hacia una mayor dureza ante Irán. Sarkozy comparte ello y lo conjuga con su propia agenda interna de restringir los derechos de sus inmigrantes (quienes son sobre todo musulmanes) y hacer reformas monetaristas tipo-EEUU.

 

:: La Meca y el Vaticano

Ambas son las sedes de las dos mayores religiones. Sus regentes (el Papa y el rey Abdula) se reunieron por primera vez. Ambos buscan estabilizar Líbano, Palestina, Iraq y el Medio Oriente. Mientras Benedicto XVI, quien inicialmente era reacio a aceptar miembros no cristianos en la Unión Europea, fue a Turquía a anunciar su cambio de posición y tender la mano al Islam y a los ortodoxos, Abdula sigue sin permitir que el 1.2 millones de cristianos que hay en su reino puedan profesar abiertamente su fe.
Los sauditas sólo permiten su culto y tienen una policía religiosa que obliga a todos a rezar a Alá cinco veces al día y que garantiza que las mujeres no puedan votar, conducir o salir solas a la calle. La tiranía saudita es peor que la que tuvo Hussein y antes patrocinó a Bin Laden y a los talibanes. No obstante, Occidente la corteja pues cree que ésta puede frenar a Al Qaeda y evitar que suba aún más el petróleo. Abdula estuvo hace unos días en Londres, donde la reina le dio un banquete como el que jamás ella haya dado a cualquier demócrata latinoamericano.

  

Diáspora andina

:: Ejemplo ecuatoriano
.
En el mundo hay unos 200 países. La mayoría de ellos tiene constituciones que han sido hechas por asambleístas que sólo han sido nominados en sus propios estados. Ninguno de ellos, que yo sepa, ha redactado su Carta Magna teniendo representantes de sus respectivas diásporas.
Ecuador es ya la primera república que tendrá una Constitución elaborada por asambleístas que también representen a sus nacionales en el exterior. Seis de los 136 constituyentes ecuatorianos han sido electos por su diáspora (2 por la que vive en Latinoamérica, 2 por la de Norteamérica y 2 por la de Europa).
Ecuador, Colombia, Perú y Bolivia son los miembros de la Comunidad Andina, un bloque que es singular pues más del 10% de sus habitantes vive fuera de sus patrias, los mismos que generan remesas que son una de sus principales fuentes de divisas. La diáspora de Bolivia aún no vota, la de Colombia nomina a un congresista y la de Perú debe esperar al 2011 para poder tener sus primeros congresistas. La Comunidad Andina debería establecer que sus migrantes (quienes sostienen quizás a un tercio de su población deban tener presencia directa en cada uno de sus parlamentos y hasta en el parlamento andino).

Articles on the Andes in the main British press

A selection from The Guardian

Each issue of Minka News we are going to put links to the most important articles from an important British newspaper on the Andean region. Today we are starting with The Guardian and on Thursday we are going to select articles from The Independent.

·        'Shut up!' Spanish king tells Chávez

·        Ghana to UK: the new trail of misery

·        Students march against Chávez

·        Cuba libre

·        Library books returned after 126 years

Chile has returned 3,778 books that its military had taken from Peru's national library - more than 126 years overdue.

·        Climate wars threaten the Andes and billions by The Guardian   

·        Ecuador poll backs the Chávez route to reform

·        Viva la revolution! ·

For decades, Hispanics have existed mainly in the shadows of the American dream. Now they're taking to the streets in their millions, in the biggest march for equality since the Civil Rights movement. And with $1 trillion to spend, millions ready to vote and their own candidate for President, Hispanics hold the key to the new American century. Paul Harris reports .

·        Brazil hopes huge oil discovery will propel it into big league

Brazil was celebrating one of the world's biggest oil discoveries of recent years yesterday, a huge deposit off the coastline of Rio de Janeiro, which officials claim will take it into the major league of the world's biggest energy powers. The find at the Tupi field, about 155 miles off Rio, could yield a total of 8bn barrels of light crude and represent 40% of the oil ever (...)  

·        Hero or villain? Rival Escobar biopics on the march  

With the trial of two British girls accused of smuggling drugs set to resume this week, Dan McDougall in Prampram reveals how cartels move their cocaine to Europe by exploiting the vulnerable and the poor…  

 

Minkapedia

By Paul Goulder

{"Minka" is borrowed from the Andahualas Quechua "Minka" (Mink'a in Cuzco) meaning collaborative working. "Pedia" derives from the Greek, meaning education. Minkapedia therefore signifies "collaborative education" or a book, journal or encyclopaedia for collaborative education or knowledge-sharing.}

Minkapedia differs from wikipedia in that it is in the "academia" wiki and has a better system for protecting against 'vandals', and all articles could eventually reach the standard of a published scholarly article. Minkapedia shares its name with  . . . (read more). See articles on Charleas Darwin and Peru, on Peruvian criolla song, on the Scissor Dance, on the English civil war and democracy in Peru, on Peruvian television, on Bartolomé de la Casas . . .  Don't forget you can add to any of these articles or write new ones - direct onto the screen . . . (read more)

 

 

UK'S ANDEAN AND LATIN COMMUNITY

 

New website for Latin American artists

By Ebadur Rahman

LACAA website (http://www.lacaauk.com/), a self-organised on-line community and resource hub, is the only collective representational space for Latin American artists living and working in London.

Exploiting the latest technology, recently available Web 2 software and online resourses and the most advanced design concepts, LACAA website is the only project of its kind which--embracing cultural/social venue and organisation, arts agency and network, group and individual artist, carnival/festival, academy, local authorities, funding body, media-- caters to the specific needs and demands of the Latin American Artists in London.

At LACAA website, artists can create their profile, showcase their work and upload all kind of material like music, image, film, testimonial etc.; this website may act as the first point of reference for promoters, agents, gallery owners and event planners trying to find out and directly engage Latin American artists in London.

All Services are free. Create your profile at http://www.lacaauk.com/ Get noticed and find work in LONDON.

Registrate y hazte notar

Artistas/Artesanos/Creadores Latinoamericanos

¡Atención!

Praxis community projects está estableciendo una página web --http://www.lacaauk.com/— donde se pueda acceder a la más extensa base de datos de artistas Latinoamericanos en Londres. Se pretende con esto crear una gran lista con la información personal de cada uno, tal como su CV, material promocional, demos, fotos, films, etc.

¡Anímate, no tienes que pagar nada para registrarte. Todos los servicios de la website son absolutamente gratis!

Registrate y hazte notar http://www.lacaauk.com/ Telephone :02077497615

Canciller peruano llega a Londres y Paris

 

José Antonio García Belaunde, ministro peruano de relaciones exteriores, llega en la noche del martes a Inglaterra y parte el jueves para Francia.

La comunidad peruana de UK siente que el servicio consular y diplomático está mejorando, se ve al cónsul en todas partes y hay un nuevo vice-cónsul que es muy activo. La embajada muestra mucho dinamismo.

Muchas voces dentro de la comunidad peruana de UK le han pedido a Minka para que le haga recordar al canciller para que en sus negociaciones no solo discuta relaciones comerciales y diplomáticas sino para que mejoren las condiciones de los 10 a 20 mil peruanos de este reino, muchos de quienes vienen padeciendo un recorte en su situación migratoria.  

The war in Afghanistan is already the longest in the U.S. history, spanning 16 years at a price of at least $1 trillion. As a private citizen, Donald Trump repeatedly condemned the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, but today, his administration is preparing to send several thousand additional troops. Meanwhile, conditions for Afghan civilians continue to deteriorate.

Two journalists who have spent years covering Afghanistan--Anand Gopal and May Jeong--spoke to Eric Ruder about the aims of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Gopal has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East war zones for various publications and is author of the award-winning No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and War Through Afghan Eyes. Jeong is a Kabul-based magazine writer and a visiting scholar at the New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

U.S. troops patrol in Farah City, Afghanistan (Lt. J.G. Matthew Stroup)U.S. troops patrol in Farah City, Afghanistan (Lt. J.G. Matthew Stroup)

THE MAY 31 bombing in Kabul targeting the city's diplomatic sector is being reported as perhaps the most deadly bombing since the U.S. occupation began in 2001. Can you talk about how we got to this point?

Anand: I don't know if it's the biggest mass-casualty incident, because there have certainly been many occasions when the Americans have killed more people in a single attack--up to 150 or 200 or more. However, it is one of the bigger bombs placed by the insurgents. The Taliban is probably behind this, though we don't know.

It's interesting to contemplate why they would do this. People are dying all the time in very large numbers outside of Kabul and in the countryside, and nobody really pays attention. So if the insurgency puts a bomb in a place like Kabul, it signals to the West, to the Americans, that the country is not secure.

The roots of the daily chaos that is Afghanistan today lie in the conflict between U.S.-backed forces and an anti-state insurgency made up of the Taliban and allied groups. The various warlords, militias and so forth backed by the U.S. probably amount to 100,000 to 200,000 armed men--and then you have perhaps 50,000 Taliban and associated people on the other side.

The people who are predominantly dying in this war are the people who are caught between those two sides. They're dying because of roadside bombs, air strikes, American-backed militias abducting people--all of these things. Every year, the number of civilian deaths tends to be higher than the year before. Every year breaks a record, from 2001 onwards, and that trend is continuing.

The thing is that the elites--the ruling class in Afghanistan--as well as the American elites value lives in Kabul more than they value lives in the hinterlands, because of the symbolic value of Kabul. I think the Taliban recognizes that, so they try to kill people in Kabul.

May: I've been living in Kabul since January 2013. When I first moved there, people were talking about district centers potentially falling, and the implication was that this would be an apocalyptic event. And then district centers did start falling in 2014.

I remember that one district center in Zabul fell, and the government responded by relocating the district center and saying it never fell. There are a lot of workarounds like that.

Of course, the conflict between Taliban and Afghan forces is really a proxy struggle because they are both being funded by other countries. The U.S. is behind Afghan government forces, and Pakistan supports the Taliban, but then there are other elements as well. For example, Russia is also arming the Taliban because it wants the Taliban to serve as a bulwark against ISIS. Iran is involved as well.

In 2015, Kunduz, which is the provincial capital of Kunduz province, fell to the Taliban, and Afghan forces retreated.

In 2016 and 2017, a lot of provincial capitals have fallen in all but name. Today we don't hear about spectacular attacks as we did in Kunduz because that was such an emblematic moment. Since then, the government has implemented a lot of stopgap measures.

A lot of Americans and Canadians have been deployed to defend Kandahar, for example, but the only reason the city hasn't fallen is because the police chief, Abdul Raziq, runs the urban capital as if it's a police state. It's very safe, as long as you don't come from the wrong tribe or find yourself in the wrong district.

In the neighboring province of Helmand, for example, the capital city of Lashkargah is really under siege. Of the 13 districts in Helmand, a majority of them have now fallen to the Taliban. There are American soldiers and Special Forces who are commuting from Bagram Air Base about 400 miles away by helicopter every day, fighting on the front lines and then returning home because they don't even have a base there.

The same thing is happening in Uruzgan, which is north of Helmand--where in many of the outlying districts people run out of food or medical supplies, and they have to negotiate their way through areas that are contested.

If an area is securely with the government or with the Taliban, life is easier, but it's the contested territories that are problematic. And those contested territories are drawing closer to the urban centers, which is why we're hearing about them.

So I've been living in Afghanistan in an era when cities are falling, and cities falling have become normalized in a way that it wasn't when I first moved there.

TRUMP IS now flirting with the idea of a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan, which sounds reminiscent of the surge that Obama campaigned on and carried out. By comparison, Trump's surge seems moderate--the number of troops appears to be a fraction of what Obama sent.

Anand: I think Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results.

We had a surge in Afghanistan in 2009 from Obama, and it failed. The insurgency is still there--in fact, it's stronger now than it was before. The military folks and the proponents of the insurgency say it failed because U.S. troops didn't stay there long enough, and if only they get to stay longer this time--I don't know, maybe they're thinking 15 or 20 years--then things will change.

But I think that misunderstands fundamentally the nature of why there's an insurgency. It's not just a purely military question. The reason why people are fighting in Afghanistan is because they have real grievances regarding violence from U.S.-backed warlords, dispossession, desperate economic circumstances--a whole host of things. And the armed insurgency is what gives expression to those grievances.

That's why even if you negotiate with the Taliban, and they're mollified somehow, there will be another group with a different name that is willing to fight--unless those fundamental political problems are dealt with.

The surge in 2009 didn't do any of those things. What it did was kill a lot of Taliban and create a lot of militias. I think the number of armed men in Afghanistan increased dramatically under Obama's watch, so there are militias in every village.

With so many people under arms fighting on behalf of the Afghan government, it's possible to create a semblance of security, but in reality, it just creates more grievances and fuels further conflict.

So I think we should expect the same thing from a potential Trump surge--fueling further conflict. Which, by the way, is what the U.S. has been doing since 2001. They have been supporting one side to the hilt and blocking any attempts at peace from the beginning until now.

May: It looks like Trump's surge is going to go ahead. People are calling it a mini-surge, which I think is a misnomer, because even if they send 5,000 troops, it doesn't really amount to a surge compared to the 140,000 that were there during the Obama years.

The Afghan elite, the urban residents, the media--these are all the same interest group, and they are typically the ones lobbying in Washington. While they obviously aren't monolithic in their outlook, many support the surge because they have benefited under the NATO occupation of Afghanistan. They want more than 5,000 troops, and they would be fine with troops staying there forever.

There are about 800 U.S. military bases around the world, and I think something like two have been closed in recent years--which is to say that when America establishes a base somewhere, it's not looking to close it. In the Philippines, the U.S. has a military base with a 100-year lease. Likewise, after the Korean War, the U.S. said it would leave after five years, but it's still there.

So the U.S. plans to maintain its military presence in Afghanistan for a long time, and this has traditionally benefited people in urban centers who speak English and have access to markets because of their language skills and connections.

If you talk about people who have truly reaped the benefits of the war economy, I would venture to guess that it's about 100 families who have really prospered.

SO WHO'S against more U.S. troops?

May: I think the dominant sentiment in rural Afghanistan is feeling stuck in between hostile forces, so I sometimes wonder if the role of ideology and other beliefs is overstated. It seems that the most pressing consideration is simply how to get by.

It's not like people are standing with the Taliban on ideological grounds--or that they support the U.S. on priniciple because they believe in women's rights. It's really about getting by, and it goes back to my point about how the contested territories are the ones that beget more suffering.

The dominant emotion expressed to me by the people I've talked to in my reporting is one of fatigue. At this point, people don't care which side wins so much as they want the war to be over.

For them, and for myself as well, the point I can't quite get over is that ending the war is essential for women's rights or community development, but for some reason, we seem to be obsessed with micro-level projects, without thinking about how the prerequisites for those happening don't even exist.

Large sums of money have been spent on countless gender initiatives in Afghanistan. And that's great if you're a woman who's been empowered by that, but if you're an empowered woman in an area that is being shelled, that doesn't really help your sense of personal security or sense of well-being.

SO WHAT does the U.S. want in Afghanistan? The American public is continually told that the U.S. is only there to fight terrorism and bring stability. Yet it seems that the U.S. presence itself makes stability impossible. If that's the case, the only possible conclusion is that the U.S. is fine with instability, so long as it can continue to pursue its imperial interests, using Afghanistan as a platform for its military hardware.

Anand: I think the ideal end state for U.S. foreign policymakers would be a client regime that generally manages American interests without having a major U.S. military presence. They would like to ideally keep a few bases there. Iran is next door and China is nearby, so having bases is important.

Before, there were grand plans about energy pipelines crisscrossing central Asia, but I don't think any of that is realistic. Really, it's about having a client regime in place, military bases and a place that's good for American business. That's the ideal. But they're unable to accomplish even that, and that's a pretty bare-bones minimum.

If you compare U.S. interests in Afghanistan to the Middle East, they're starkly different. U.S. interests in the Middle East are at a much higher order than Afghanistan.

But the U.S. has found it difficult to secure even this critical set of interests because by its very presence, the U.S. is the primary source of instability in the country. So the very client regime that they hope to have in place, the rump state they are propping up, is actually what's fueling the insurgency against the warlords and militias that the U.S. is aligned with.

In a way, I think that Afghanistan is the epitome of the neoliberal state. There's almost no state there; everything is outsourced in the country to private actors, especially security. This is not a recipe for stability.

So you have a case where they have a political/strategic drive to have a minimal state, and the reality on the ground is that this creates real grievances and causes people to fight back. So they're kept there for this reason.

May: So you think the bomb was sending a message to Americans not Afghans?

Anand: In my view, the Taliban recognizes that there are only two parties in Afghanistan that matter--that's the U.S. and Pakistan.

So everything they're doing is directed in one way or another toward that because whatever message they're trying to send to Afghans doesn't need to be sent by a bomb because they're in Afghan villages, they're embedded in the Afghan community and in Afghan society. The message they're sending is to the real power brokers in society.

May: My take on the bomb was that one aspect of it is about sending a message to Afghans, saying: your government can't protect you. But if that's true, it gets back to Eric's question--namely, how does this kind of attack connect to the movement's larger goal? What is that larger goal, and how do these attacks link up to whatever it is that they want?

ARE THEY seeking state power? Is it something else?

Anand: It's a divided and factionalized movement, and there are different wings within it. But generally, yes, I think they're trying to take power. I think there are people who realize this aim is impossible at the moment, and so there are debates about what's practical now and in the longer run.

YOU WERE saying the two main actors that the insurgents are addressing are the U.S. and Pakistan. Can you talk about the Pakistani dimension to what's happening in the region?

Anand: Pakistan supports the Taliban and supports the insurgency, while taking massive amounts of military aid from the United States.

But the Taliban is deeply divided on Pakistan because it recognizes that it can't be an independent force as long as it's under Pakistan's thumb. So there are a lot of attempts by factions within the Taliban to get out of Pakistani influence, to get other regional powers to support them, such as Iran, Russia and China.

But Pakistan is a malign actor in Afghanistan. It's seeking to have representation in the Afghan government in a way, and it sees the Taliban, or factions of the Taliban, as the best chance to that end.

May: If the U.S. pulls its funding out, we know what will happen next. After the Soviet-backed regime lost its funding, that led to civil war, which led to all the other things. So will that happen if America pulls out? In other words, even if it makes sense in the long term to pull out, how do you address the short-term consequences?

Anand: Yes, if America cuts its funding, the state would collapse tomorrow. So first of all, we should say that pulling out troops isn't the main issue. They have enough proxies that you could pull out the troops, but if you cut the funding, it's very different.

But the thing I would say is that you can argue for wanting to pull out, together with a negotiated settlement for peace, but America is the biggest force blocking a peace settlement in Afghanistan today.

May: In what way?

Anand: In every way. It has repeatedly arrested people who have tried to switch sides. It's backing one side and demanding that the other side surrender its weapons and give up unconditionally, which is not a peace negotiation.

Let me turn the question around: The U.S. has extraordinary leverage on its client regime to force it to come to the negotiating table because it control the purse strings. If the U.S. turns off funding tomorrow, the government collapses, right? So the U.S. could do that if it wanted to. They just don't want to, they don't care.

May: But their logic right now is that we just need certain wins before the time is right to push for peace negotiations.

Anand: But that's entirely bogus. That's what they've been saying for 15 years. If they wanted to organize a peace tomorrow, they could do it.

As evidence of that, when the presidential elections took place in 2014, the Northern Alliance, which is allied with the U.S., was threatening a coup because they opposed the election results. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry went there and stopped the coup cold. He called them together and headed it off. Because this isn't a sovereign state, these aren't independent actors.

May: What about when they say that we can't have a negotiated settlement right now because we just haven't amassed enough political capital yet? The logic is that if the U.S. negotiated peace now, they would have to agree to more power sharing with the other side than they'd like to, so it's better to keep fighting.

YES, THAT'S the central issue. They keep saying that, but they're continuing to hold out for a victory that they can't achieve. This leaves the U.S. stuck in a place it can't get out of.

Getting out is the equivalent of defeat, and since no one's actually beaten them yet, they can continue on. But the U.S. can't defeat the forces they're up against, because every "victory" engenders more resistance. That's why some wars, like the U.S. war in Vietnam, drag on for more than a decade and kill a couple million people, until the U.S. is compelled, one way or another, to acknowledge that it actually lost.

May: U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is a fascinating character because he makes Trump palatable in a way. And whatever you feel about him, he served as a high-level officer in Afghanistan, which is more than you can say about most other people in the Trump administration. And he's pushing for a surge of 3,000 to 5,000 troops. Why?

Anand: McMaster thinks that what the U.S. did in Iraq worked, except that then the U.S. withdrew its troops too quickly. So their actual logic is that the troops just need to stay longer--in Iraq and Afghanistan.

May: But if you follow that logic, why bother with 5,000?

Anand: I think it does follow logically. Because if you thought the troop surge was working in 2010 and 2011, then Obama came along and decided to pull the troops out in 2014--we just didn't have enough time. The problem, according to this line of argument, is that we sent the Taliban the wrong message, which was that you can just wait us out.

MAY, ARE you saying that you think if they were following their own logic, they'd be putting in 50,000 troops instead of 5,000?

May: Yes, they should send 100,000 instead of 5,000, right?

That's why I asked the earlier question about what the U.S. goals are. I think they know that they're not going to achieve stability--that stability is more than they can really hope for. And if that's true, then they don't want to overcommit.

If you overcommit, you're putting in more troops and money, and raising expectations that you're going to get results, while burning through tons of political capital in the process. So why not just continue at a much lower troop level that won't achieve stability, but keeps the U.S. in the game?

Anand: Right, and you can create the feeling that you've done something. You've put in 5,000 soldiers, and that's fine. I think they would like something more than that, but they're not willing to do what would be needed, because the cost of trying that is much greater for them. So they're happy to just let the status quo continue.

WHAT HAS changed or stayed the same since Trump took office?

May: The Trump administration's policy review is ongoing. They had a deadline of April 30, and then another deadline before Trump's big international trip at the end of May, and now they're saying that there will be a decision by July.

That's pretty telling. It probably means that there's a lot of discord within the administration about which path to take.

ONE POSSIBLE explanation for the continued delays is that they don't want to be seen as continuing Obama's policy, given how Trump savaged everything about Obama's foreign policy, but there really aren't any changes they can propose, because in the end, the Obama administration was pursuing a policy that the Trump administration largely agrees with.

May: That could be. Generally speaking, there aren't sharp differences over foreign policy in the American two-party system. I can't really tell what distinguishes the Obama-era policy and a Trumpian approach to dealing with Afghanistan.

The way that people talk about Trump and Afghanistan is very peculiar. A lot of Afghan elites were ecstatic when Trump won, for the obvious reason that they thought there would be a reinvigorated U.S. intervention there. But there's also a sense that Trump is bringing in a lot of people who understand Afghanistan, so this will be good for them.

But having America care about you is not necessarily a good thing.

Afghanistan is currently in a situation that would be considered an optimal state--as far as the U.S. is concerned. Sending 5,000 troops doesn't cost very much, and then they can let the war continue, while they appear to be "trying their best." And Afghanistan can continue as a client state firmly within the U.S. orbit.

That's convenient for the two groups who have power--the Afghan elites and the Washington establishment.


          Imaging at a trillion frames per second | Ramesh Raskar   
Ramesh Raskar presents femto-photography, a new type of imaging so fast it visualizes the world one trillion frames per second, so detailed it shows light itself in motion. This technology may someday be used to build cameras that can look “around” corners or see inside the body without X-rays.
          No More Refuge for Scoundrels   

According to a new investigative report from "ABC News," Cassano is the subject of a criminal fraud investigation by the FBI that is examining how he and his colleagues in AIG's financial products division set up the scheme to insure more than a trillion dollars of junk mortgage paper held by major banks. He walked away from those bad deals with over $300 million in personal profit. Aside from the fascinating matter of how he managed to commit these catastrophic bets without interference from his superiors, the most pertinent question is how he gamed the gaping loopholes in the international regulatory and legal systems.

Evidently Mr. Cassano established dozens of separate companies, including many that were located offshore, to handle the allegedly fraudulent transactions -- a maneuver that was designed to keep the deals effectively off the books of AIG and to mislead regulators in the United States and Britain. The crooks at Enron Corporation used the same techniques, essentially, to conceal what should have been reported on their corporate balance sheets -- and they too used offshore locations as instruments of fraud.

Jack Blum, a former Senate staffer who helped to lead the investigation of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International more than a decade ago, told ABC reporters that the abuse of tax havens "is the other very important issue underneath the AIG scandal. All of these contracts were moved offshore for the express purpose of getting out from under regulation and tax evasion."

Massive fraud has been at the center of this crisis from bottom to top, as everyone paying attention must know. The criminal mindset extended from the bankers and mortgage agents who made loans to unqualified borrowers and sometimes tricked them into signing agreements they could not fulfill. (Among the most industrious marketers were many with actual criminal records, whose entry into the mortgage industry was not blocked by the state regulators.) They marketed those same bad loans with false assurances of their soundness to convince investors to buy them -- and somehow induced rating agencies to offer hollow testaments to their creditworthiness. Investors then resold the toxic packages to other investors both here and abroad. At every step, the inflation of the bubble was hastened by fraud, forgery and deception.

At the highest levels, those fraudulent transactions were aided by the existence of "secrecy spaces" in nice quaint places from Switzerland to Anguilla, where the malefactors could rely upon local authorities to collude in their conspiracies. Not only do the governments in the tax and regulatory havens pretend not to see what their corporate visitors are doing, but they actively shut out the scrutiny of anyone who might take action.

The costs imposed on the world by those selfish little entities are too great to ignore any longer. Vast amounts of taxable wealth, last estimated to exceed $12 trillion, are hidden in the protected banks of tax-haven principalities, with annual losses to the U.S. Treasury that may well be greater than $100 billion. But those same places appear to have provided a regulatory twilight zone where financiers like Joseph Cassano could run wild and ruin the rest of the world for profit. The urge to cheat on taxes and the desire to evade regulation represent the same destructive impulse, which governments around the world should now take steps to suppress.


          Push Back Against AIG's Brightest   

It should be obvious by now that the AIG traders, along with many others like them, deserved to be fired and perhaps prosecuted rather than enriched. The "too big to fail" argument for saving their firm and their sorry behinds always amounted to a kind of blackmail. The threat was stated explicitly in the remarkable letter sent last weekend by AIG chief Edward Liddy to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, which sought to justify the latest bonuses.

According to Liddy, the bonuses cannot be withheld because "these are legal binding obligations of AIG and there are serious legal as well as business consequences for not paying," or so the company's outside counsel has told him. "Given the trillion-dollar portfolio at AIG Financial Products" -- the division that wrote all the toxic paper -- "retaining key traders and risk managers is critical to our goal of repayment." Attached to the letter was a "white paper" arguing that failing to pay the bonuses would touch off a chain of defaults that might sink AIG permanently and cost the taxpayers additional hundreds of billions of dollars and further damage the markets.

In other words, pay up, or we'll hurt you.

President Barack Obama has expressed fury over the bonuses and ordered Geithner to claw them back, but his advisers seem to take the extortion threat quite seriously. It is far from clear that the president will use the full weight of the government's ownership of AIG to stop these abuses.

Actually, the argument that withholding bonuses to certain employees would constitute a breach of contract with AIG's counterparties seems strained. Would any judge really entertain those claims? Would any company really want to make such claims in court?

As for those "key traders and risk managers" at AIG, perhaps the time has come to call their bluff. For many years these expensive suits have told us that they are indispensable; that if we don't pay them extraordinary sums and guarantee their losses, no matter the moral hazard, our economy will collapse. Now it has collapsed, owing to their dishonest machinations and obtuse blundering -- and they still claim that we have to pay them or else.

Or else what? The Liddy letter, which referred to the affected AIG employees as "the best and the brightest," suggested they will seek employment elsewhere "if their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury." A resume that begins with a recent stint at AIG Financial Products might not be all that attractive to employers in an industry that is shedding thousands of jobs.

Disgruntled AIG employees may not just quit; they may sue us if we don't pay their bonuses. But let's see what happens in five years or so, as their lawsuit moves through the courts. Let's see how many of these executives really want to answer hard questions in a deposition about their dubious activities at AIG. And let's see how many of them suddenly realize that they may have criminal liability -- like their old boss Joseph Cassano, the former head of AIG Financial Products, who has hired a top defense attorney.

Meanwhile New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is dealing with this problem ably and forthrightly. He has subpoenaed the names and contracts of all the AIG employees whose bonuses are at stake in the current controversy. He should publish their names and let them demand their money in public. Let them explain to the world -- including friends, neighbors and family -- why taxpayers should pay their bonuses while autoworkers give up pensions and health care.

Even their own mothers may stop talking to them.


          Dumbest Proposal Ever?   

From those Republican politicians often deemed most thoughtful, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, comes a droning chorus for tax cuts on capital gains. This is the conservative panacea in good times and bad, but it is of little relevance to the problems of the moment. Investors are not fleeing the markets because they worry about enormous returns that will be subject to punitive taxation; they are abandoning stocks and real estate because those assets are deflating like punctured balloons. Until there is a real prospect of capital gains, cutting taxes on them will scarcely affect investment and jobs.

Descending the intellectual scale brings us to the House minority leader, John Boehner. He responded to the frightening February data on job losses -- more than 650,000 laid off in a single month -- to demand a "freeze in government spending" and a presidential veto of the $400 billion continuing budget resolution.

While Boehner said he understood that the mass firings meant worsening economic conditions, he seems more worried about "wasteful pork-barrel projects," a problem that concerned him not at all when his party ran Congress. To him, an unemployment rate surging past 8 percent is a signal that the government should impose a spending freeze "until the end of this fiscal year." A spending freeze, of course, is precisely the opposite of the policies pursued by the Republicans during the last recession, when their own political butts were on the line.

So is the minority leader suddenly crazy? Is he just economically illiterate? Or is he convinced -- like the would-be revolutionaries of the Depression era -- that the worse our general situation becomes, the better for his party? All three could be true at once, but his motivation matters less than his ideas, which would be ruinous to everyone if enacted.

What makes someone like Boehner important and potentially dangerous is not that anyone takes his bonehead advice seriously, but that he and his caucus can block or stall policies that might rescue us from the worst consequences of the bust.

The fundamental issue not only in America but in the world economy is a crisis of demand. As the Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz has explained -- most recently at a panel in New York City sponsored by The Nation magazine and the Nation Institute -- average wages have fallen for more than three decades. Among the results of that invidious pattern was rising indebtedness, as banks extended usurious credit to working families struggling to maintain their living standards. Years of rising inequality has upset the equilibrium that resulted in rapid and sustained economic growth for most of the postwar period in this country, and created a prosperous, well-educated and optimistic middle-class society.

Back when America worked well, the gaps between the top and bottom of the income scale were far smaller, the public sector was more robust, the labor movement protected living standards, and the rewards of work were more fairly distributed. There is only one way to stop the downward slide and begin to restore that proven pattern of economic dynamism with a wage-led recovery.

Public spending, even unto additional trillions, is the only instrument available to prevent a global depression, assuming that we have not already forfeited that chance. The stimulus bill and the Obama budget are only first steps. We will need another strong shot of stimulus before the summer -- not a spending freeze -- and we can only pray that the president and the Congressional Democrats will have the guts to push the Republicans out of the way.


          Hypocrisy From the Party of Pork   

And today, at a moment when economists of all stripes agree that we must spend big and spend fast to forestall a depression, the timing of the Republican conversion is as dubious as its credibility. To delay the stimulus spending proposed by President-elect Obama for the sake of partisan posturing is to risk disaster.

The Republicans' sudden reversion to the solemn frugality of their forebears would be amusing were it not so dangerous. Having established a record over the past decade or so as the wildest wastrels in the nation's history, they now present themselves as straight-laced accountants who simply cannot abide a misspent dime.

Consider McConnell, chosen again by his fellow Republican senators to oversee policy and politics for their shrunken caucus. Last year, he barely achieved reelection in Kentucky -- and only won after a barrage of television ads touting his mastery of the Congressional pork barrel. He flew frantically from one town to another, boasting that he had brought home more than $500 million in federal discretionary funds during the past fiscal year alone, largely for projects that other states and cities must finance locally.

Even when many other Congressional Republicans realized that their awesome waste and abuse had tarnished the party's image and led to their ouster in the 2006 midterm, McConnell resisted reform. Just over a year ago, the conservative Club for Growth lambasted him for opposing a Democratic proposal to eliminate budgetary "earmarks," which have led to so much corruption and abuse on Capitol Hill. The club complained that his "support for pork projects in the Omnibus [Budget Act] is a sad statement about the priorities of the Republican leadership in the Senate."

Certainly nobody can say that the senior senator from Kentucky has failed to make his mark with those projects. His campaign for a sixth term last autumn might as well have been a tour of the many federally funded sites that literally bear his stamp. In Owensboro, residents can stroll through Mitch McConnell Plaza, an urban renewal project that is the pride of that riverfront town. In Lexington, students can take advantage of the wonderful Mitch McConnell Distance Learning Center at the university's law school. In Louisville, joggers can stretch their legs along the Mitch McConnell Loop Trail in the city's new $38 million park.

There is all that in the Bluegrass State and much, much more -- thanks to taxpayers across the country whom McConnell is so eager to protect.

None of that means the minority leader is unique among all the other politicians in either party, although he is plainly worse than average in avarice and hypocrisy. Nor is it wrong, obviously, for political leaders to propose safeguards against waste and abuse in the enormous stimulus package.

Yet the budgetary concerns professed by the Republican leadership, whether feigned or sincere, must be balanced against the urgency of action. On Jan. 2, The New York Times explained what is at stake with admirable clarity on the front page. According to a survey of 50 top professional economic forecasters, the recession could reach bottom before the end of the second quarter in 2009, and growth slowly resume.

America could, in other words, avoid the most frightening scenarios of mass unemployment, ruin and hunger that now confront us -- but only if "the Obama administration and Congress ... come through with a substantial public stimulus package, as much as $1 trillion over two years." And for the optimistic scenario to be possible, that package must pass within weeks, not months, after the new president's inauguration.

In other circumstances, the fiscal fakery of Mitch McConnell and his friends would be just another funny scene from the decline and fall of the Republican right. But it is hard to laugh when they seem determined to take the rest of us down with them.


          Learn Forex Currency Trading While Automated Forex Robots Do All the Work   
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What kinds of variables make forex stock markets dissimilar from their US counter parts? A forex market transaction is a trade involving a minimum of two countries, and is instigated across all parts of the globe. The two countries must be 1, that of the investor, and 2, the place receiving the investment. Most all transactions taking place in the forex market are going to be qualified through an experienced broker such as a bank.

What really makes up the forex markets? The foreign exchange market is combined from various types of transactions and countries. Those involved in the forex market tend to trade in boastfully large volumes along with gigantic sums of money. Those who are involved in the forex market probably have financial businesses or are in businesses where assets are bought and sold quickly. The US market is massive but it is correct to think of the forex exchange as a giant in comparison than an individual market exchange in any one country. Forex traders 365 days per year, twenty-four hours a day is completed on the weekend, but not all weekends.

You might be surprised at the great number of investors who issue trades on the forex exchange. In 2004, as much as two trillion dollars was the average daily trading volume. This is a huge number with regards to the amount of daily dealings at a time. Think about how much a trillion dollars really is then double that, and this amount is the average that is traded on any given day on the forex exchange!

The forex exchange has been around for thirty years, but with computers coming into play and the global web, the forex exchange is growing exponentially as growing numbers of investors start to understand the power of the forex market. The forex exchange accounts for only 10% of the total trades between countries but with greater popularity will come a greater volume.
Forex Training
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/01/prweb13971960.htm


          Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style. The US National Debt   

Japan has found a way to write off nearly half its national debt without creating inflation. We could do that too.

Let’s face it. There is no way the US government is ever going to pay back a $20 trillion …


          Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows   
Renewable energy is on track to take over the world, if Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)'s predictions are correct. This month they released their annual New Energy Outlook (NEO) report, which reveals 51 percent of the world's power generation could come from renewables by 2040. During the next 23 years, 72 percent of the $10.2 trillion spent on new power generation will go into solar power and wind power.[...]
          ECommerce Project Manager   
What’s The Average Annual Salary Of A Product Manager In Berlin? In 2017, e-commerce sales will surpass the astonishing figure of 2 trillion dollars. This comprehensive guide will help you and every new entrepreneur interested in starting online business to zero-in the product and niche selection for e-business. KartRocket is India’s most trusted eCommerce software ... [Read more...]
          Koch & Exxon-funded Willie Soon Challenged by Students at Climate Denial Event   

Crossposted from PolluterWatch.

Rarely do we meet those who have made careers selling us lies. Consider the oddball doctors who took tobacco money to deny a link between cigarette smoking and cancer, or the handful of scientists who take oil and coal money to discredit global warming science, or the people who have done both.

Last week, students in Wisconsin and Michigan stepped up to such an opportunity when CFACT Campus, the student arm of a well-known cabal of fossil fuel apologists, hosted climate change denier Willie Soon at several campus events around the country.

Dr. Willie Soon is a Smithsonian Institution astrophysicist paid by Charles Koch, ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and coal utility Southern Company to write papers dismissing climate change, publish op-eds saying coal pollution won't affect our health, refute the seriousness of ocean acidification, and apparently anything else he can be paid to deny. Dr. Soon has misrepresented himself by repeatedly claiming affiliation with Harvard University and using his credentials as an astrophysicist to make people believe he's a climate expert, and he shows no sign of stopping. Indeed, he told students in Madison, ”I am as as qualified as anyone on the planet on this topic.”

In both Madison, Wisconsin and East Lansing, Michigan, Dr. Soon was caught with his pants down. As the Michigan State News documented in its article and accompanying audio interview, Soon claims that all the scientists around the world who study and recognize the seriousness of climate change are motivated by money, yet somehow his funding from coal and oil companies for his extremely marginalized viewpoints doesn't matter.

Here is the dialog with Willie Soon at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with direct links to key clips below:

1) Willie Soon insinuates ExxonMobil will no longer fund him (emphasis added): 

“I have been receiving money from whoever that wants to give me money. I write my scientific proposal. I have received money from ExxonMobil, but ExxonMobil will no longer give me any money for a long time. American Petroleum Institute, anything you wish for, from Southern Company, from all these companies. I write proposal and let them judge whether they will fund me or not, always for a very small amount. If they choose to fund me, I'm happy to receive it.” Click to watch (starts @ 1:52).

2) Dr. Soon stands behind his attempts to discredit the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with help from ExxonMobil lobbyists: 

“I was trying to bring down IPCC–is that what you imply?! […] Let it be known that I do not like IPCC, because IPCC does not stand for science, it is corrupting science.” Click to watch (starts @ 3:32).

After a question referencing emails with ExxonMobil lobbyists to undermine climate research at the United Nations before it even hit publication, Dr. Soon quickly loses his cool over his record of global warming denial, peppering the student with mild insults before owning up to his actions.

3) Dr. Soon thanks anyone who uses petroleum products or electricity from coal for supporting his work:

“I really want to thank her, because she's receiving the electricity used for her house, she's driving cars, she's doing all of these things because you are funding me. It's not an oil or coal company. They are a company that provides a service to humanity–to people who want to use electricity.” Click to watch (starts @ 5:14)

Anyone looking at Southern Company's record of pollution and political interference would be skeptical about its commitment to serve humanity. Soon continues with an aggressive rant claiming that the student isn't qualified to question his fossil fuel payments until she stops driving, using electricity, and wearing nylon. 

4) Willie Soon states “I don't like to claim that I am an expert on anything, despite listing himself as an “expert in mercury and public health” for a discredited Wall Street Journal op-ed dismissing health concerns over mercury pollution from coal plants. Soon invented similar credentials for another opinion piece in the Washington Times, before he swapped back to being a 22-year veteran of “researching the relationship of solar radiation and the Earth's climate,” research Dr. Soon did on the dime of oil and coal companies.

Basically, Willie Soon is an expert in whatever problems vested industries will pay him to deny. Michigan State students note how Willie Soon now refutes research indicating adverse impacts from ocean acidification, a global crisis that is married to climate change (both problems stem from humans burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere).

That's effed up. This man makes a career lying to the public, not to mention our lawmakers, about some of the most serious issues of our time. Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of 400,000 people each year and costing global GDP about $1.2 trillion, according to a report commissioned by multiple nations. 98% of actual climate scientists (a distinction Dr. Willie Soon does not earn) agree that global warming is real and primarily drive by humans burning fossil fuels like coal and oil.

Not only has Dr. Soon lied to us and our lawmakers about the seriousness of global warming–he even lied directly to Congress in 2003 about his sources of funding at a time when he was promoting his study funded by the American Petroleum Institute, the $200 million/year oil and gas lobbying group. The Guardian wrote last year:

“In 2003 Soon said at a US senate hearing that he had “not knowingly been hired by, nor employed by, nor received grants from any organisation that had taken advocacy positions with respect to the Kyoto Protocol or the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

This is why it's crucial to demand accountability of people like Willie Soon. He is a public relations tool of oil and coal companies, and as a scientist attempting to publish in fields well outside of his expertise, that oil and coal money is crucial to recognize.

Here are some of the best examples of Soon's pseudo-science paid for by Big Oil and King Coal:

Dr. Soon's work is like a joke, but not the type you'd laugh at. While he cracks these fossil-funded zingers, reputable scientists warn that humanity is running out of time to stop climate change from self-reinforcing to the point that it spirals out of human control. As quoted by the Michigan State News, young conservatives on campus had trouble taking Dr. Willie Soon's presentation seriously:

I’m not a science major, but I think (Soon’s presentation) has got valid points, but also other scientists who disagree with him have valid points,” Sobecki said. “I’m not crazy enough to think that six billion people don’t have an effect on climate in the world we live in.”

Science majors attending the MSU event didn't agree that Soon's points were particularly valid. See this account from a MSU Greenpeace student activist on PolluterWatch for more details.

See DeSmogBlog's research database page on Dr. Willie Soon for additional documentation.


          Republican Cheap Labor Open Borders oligarchy BACKSTABBING Trump with 1.1 Trillion to Dem Agenda   
The Republican base that supported Trump are being betrayed on a scale unimaginable but so very predictable. It is perfectly clear now, the cheap labor, open borders oligarchy in the Republican Party are backstabbing President Trump and never intended to allow any of his agenda supported by the Republican Base and his voters to go forward. They want to give the majority back to the Democratic Party and all in the name of their cheap labor, open borders benefactors, the oligarchy and K-Street. Now the same Republicans have given 1.1 TRILLION dollars to the Democratic agenda, but NOTHING for us,...
          Complexity Sci Potted History Part 2: Like the Whirlpool in the Treacherous Sea of Complex Systems Dynamics   

Potted History of Complexity Science: Part 2: The 20th Century CatchUp

Ok, there's going to be more than two parts... if you are wondering what on earth this is all about, please see my previous blog post by way of a very long introduction. I'm interweaving organisation theory with complexity science and the life sciences here, in chronological order, a potted history at warp speed...

1900s – 1950s: A period of ‘classical’ approach to organization theory

Key thinkers of this era contributed to what Hatch[1]defined as a ‘classical’ inspiration to organization theory. Hatch uses a machine as the metaphor of organization theory with a classical perspective, where the image of the organization is seen as a machine designed and constructed by management to achieve predefined goals. The image of the manager is as an engineer who designs, builds and operates the organizational machine.[2]  She said: “There are two streams contained within what organization theorists now call the Classical School. The sociological stream focused on the changing shapes and roles of formal organizations within society and the broader influences of industrialization on the nature of work and its consequences for workers. This was the interest of Classical scholars such as Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Karl Marx. The other stream comprises what organization theorists sometimes call Classical management theory to distinguish it from the more sociological approach. This stream was shaped by Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, and Chester Barnard, among others, and focused on the practical problems faced by managers of industrial organizations.[3]

The mechanical metaphor assumes that top-down control of people and the organisation is possible, and that all parts of the machine will act as desired by the one in control. The metaphor doesn’t allow for the free will, spontaneity or creativity of the humans within it, and nor does it allow for general unpredictable outcomes emerging from within, between or external to it. Complexity science does seek to permit a description of all those things in harmony with any processes and flows within the organisation.  While the classical period had many proponents who applied the mechanistic metaphor in practice, for management the key figurehead in particular had to be Taylor, the father of ‘Taylorism’.

1911 F. W. Taylor, ‘Founder of Scientific Management’, America

Hatch[4]labels Taylor as a ‘classical’ inspiration to organization theory. She said: “At the turn of the century, Frederick W Taylor proposed applying scientific methods to discover the most efficient working techniques for manual forms of labour… The new system permitted management to define the tasks that workers performed, and also to determine how they approached these tasks… Taylor’s method shifted control of work tasks from craftsworkers to management… Taylor’s system undermined the authority of the workers and their master craftsmen by introducing managerial control and supervision, and by offering differential pay for performance which eroded worker solidarity… These aspects of Scientific Management earned it considerable and lasting ill-repute as being ruinously ignorant of the trust and cooperation between management and workers upon which organizations depend. So much furore was created by Taylor that Scientific Management was the subject of an American Congressional investigation. This controversy has recently re-emerged in postmodern criticism of modernist management practices where Taylorism and its subsequent developments by Henry Ford (involving the mass-production assembly line which some postmodernists refer to as Fordism) are a favorite target along with the Tayloristic practices associated with the total quality management (TQM) movement. Today, postmodern organization theorists reinterpret Taylorism as an early manifestation of the managerial ideology of control.”[5]

In reference to the prevailing style of management seen now, Lewin says this was developed early this century by F W Taylor. Lewin writes, “His book, The Principles of Scientific Management, became a classic in management literature, and its effect lingers today. Taylor was strongly influenced by prevailing scientific thought, particularly Newton’s laws of motion and the new science of thermodynamics, which together allowed scientists to calculate how a machine could operate with maximum efficiency. Taylor imposed this collective, mechanistic paradigm of science on the world of work, where he became obsessed with efficiency as applied to organizations. There was tremendous waste of effort, he said, because management was unscientific. In the best reductionist tradition, Taylor analysed the system down to its component parts, saw how each worked, and then sought the ‘one best method’ to attain the greatest possible efficiency. Workers, he said, were to be viewed as ‘passive units of production’, and the system, or the workplace, was like a machine. The job of the manager was to ensure that the machine ran smoothly. The workers, while offered financial incentives for faster work, were merely cogs in the machine. The system was extremely hierarchical, with workers expected simply to carry out their narrowly-defined jobs. Taylorism was responsible for tremendous increases in productivity in the workplace, and effectively created modern Industrial Age management. Although management theory has undergone many revisions since the early decades of the century, particularly with the impact of Peter Drucker’s thinking, Taylorism still remains the dominant influence today, with the machine model of business as its core, and embodied in a command and control style of management.”[6]

Taylorism therefore took the mechanistic metaphor to the next level, and although you could argue in favour of some of the outcomes of it for the supposed ‘benefit’ of society (mobilisation of the workforce, industrialisation and economic growth), as indicated above there is so, so, so much criticism. If workers were just carrying out narrowly defined jobs, where was their own thinking and initiative? Had they been stripped of their ‘agency’? Many workers were suddenly not ‘required’ to think, and definitely didn’t have permission to act on their own thinking if they did. This style of management also drove the idea that failure wasn’t ok, because you’d never design a machine to fail intentionally, would you? Risk taking and innovation by the general rank and file was out of the question. The natural ebb and flow of processes emerging from the interactions between people, as complexity science would shed light on, had been stripped out.

1879 – 1955 - Albert Einstein, Germany/Switzerland/US

Meanwhile though, great minds were at work, including Einstein. “Einsteincontributed more than any other scientist to the modern vision of physical reality. His special and general theories of relativity are still regarded as the most satisfactory model of the large-scale universe that we have.”[7]However, it was not only his theories that provided the foundations for more recent developments in science. He himself provided inspiration. Einstein’s famous quote ‘Searching for the secrets of the old one’ – was an inspiration to Stuart Kauffman’s work on Boolean networks, who said, ‘I thought that the Old One wouldn’t fool around, that there’d be some deep logic out there, and I thought I’d glimpsed it in the random Boolean nets.’[8]

During this time period is where you’d start to be accused of being esoteric if your thinking diverged from the dominant mechanistic metaphor. So harking to something other than prescriptive top-down management control, such as, for example, creative scientific genius, or the existence of some deity like spirit or force that gave room for reverence of a spiritual appreciation of the more organic flow of physical reality, was more than a little bit left field. But why was it? Wasn’t this just calling to how things were? The spiritual dimension was of course the only place to call to if the mechanistic metaphor held sway. Like Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’, there was the feeling that there was something more, something else, behind and conflicting with our own imposed delusions of limited control. Although Einstein was heavily involved with contributing to quantum mechanics, he didn’t fully buy into ‘uncertainty’.

And for now, the mechanistic metaphor was more than just a metaphor. It had become reality. And Henri Fayol embedded more deeply that which Taylorwas advocating.

1919 - Henri Fayol, Engineer, CEO, and Administrative Theorist, France

Hatch[9]labels Fayol as a ‘classical’ inspiration to organization theory. “Fayol presented what he believed to be universal principles for the rational administration of organizational activities… The principles themselves involved issues such as span-of-control (the number of subordinates that can be overseen by one manager); exceptions (subordinates should deal with routine matters, leaving managers free to handle situations that existing rules do not address); departmentation (the grouping of activities such that similar activities form departments within the organization); unity of command (each subordinate should report to only one boss); and hierarchy (the scalar principle linked all organizational members into a control structure that resembled a pyramid)… Fayol specified the responsibilities of the manager: planning, organizing, command, coordination and control.”[10]The mechanistic metaphor was becoming more and more ingrained in working life. At the same time, it was being used to describe and harness the masses on a social scale, too.

1924 - Max Weber, Sociologist, Germany

Hatch[11]labels Weber as a ‘classical’ inspiration to organization theory. “Like Durkheim, German sociologist Max Weber was interested in defining the key characteristics of industrial societies, one of which he saw as an unavoidable increase in bureaucracy. In contrast to feudal and other traditional forms of organizing, Weber emphasized the rational virtues of bureaucracy which included formal authority based on precise and generalized rules and procedures (described as legalistic forms of control)… Weber credited bureaucracy with being objective and impersonal and therefore unbiased and rational (hence his label for this new form was rational-legal authority). [12]Weber himself, however, apparently recognized that the uses of rationalization rest upon value-based criteria. Evidence for this is found in his distinction between formal and substantive rationality. Formal rationality involved techniques of calculation, while substantive rationality refers to the desired ends of action that direct the uses of calculative techniques. Different desired ends will lead to different uses of formal rationality. Weber warned that formal rationality without conscious consideration of substantive rationality leads to an ‘iron cage’ capable of imprisoning humanity and making man a ‘cog in an ever-moving mechanism’. Such sentiments position Weber close to postmodern critics of modernist organization theory, while his interest in values is carried on by symbolic-interpretive researchers.” [13]

Weber therefore identified some of the things that were emerging out of the industrialised, mechanistic metaphor, top-down control era. His forecast wasn’t rosy. The iron cage would be a trap. I’d be inclined to agree. Therefore, how refreshing to have thinking offered by complexity science to liberate us? Maybe. Thinking that would contribute to complexity science was bubbling away beneath the surface.

1932 - Niels Bohr discovered the basic structure of the atom

Physicist Niels Bohr, a promoter of vitalism, said: “The recognition of the essential importance of fundamentally atomistic features in the functions of living organisms is by no means sufficient for a comprehensive explanation of biological phenomena”. Bohr’s vitalism, which derived from his quantum physics, gained some popularity for a while. At the same time, some biologists continued to argue that the laws of chemistry and physics alone were insufficient to explain important features of life, not because of the addition of some kind of élan vital, but because of emergent complexity.”[14]

Emergent complexity… bubbling away.

1938 - ChesterBarnard, Management Theorist, America

Hatch[15]labels Barnard as a ‘classical’ inspiration to organization theory. “Barnard extended Durkheim’s idea of informal organization to Classical management theory by suggesting that managing this aspect of organizing was a key function of the successful executive. Barnard emphasized the ways in which executives might develop their organizations into cooperative social systems by focusing on the integration of work efforts through communication of goals and attention to worker motivation, ideas that made a more direct contribution to the field of organizational behavior than to organization theory. However, the significance Barnard and his followers attached to the cooperative aspects of organizations is sometimes blamed for having blinded early organization theorists to the importance of conflict as a fundamental aspect of all organizations. Nonetheless, the consideration Barnard gave to issues of value and sentiment in the workplace identified themes that are echoed in contemporary research on organizational culture, meaning, and symbolism.”[16]From a complexity science point of view, at least Barnard was acknowledging the importance of the interaction between people as a locus for change, albeit still with a top-down, command-control intent.

1950s à‘Modernist’ inspiration to organization theory

Key thought of this era contributed to what Hatch[17]defined as a ‘modern(ist)’ inspiration to organization theory. The metaphor of the modern perspective of organization theory is an organism. The image of the organization is seen as a living system that performs the functions necessary to survival – especially adaptation to a hostile world. The image of the manager is as an interdependent part of an adaptive system.[18]At least we’re moving now in an interesting direction beyond the mechanistic metaphor.

“General systems theory … inspired much of the modern approach to organization theory, and helps sustain continued allegiance to modernism among many contemporary organization theorists. In the 1950s, German biophysiologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy presented a theory intended to explain all scientific phenomena across both natural and social sciences from the atom and the molecule, through the single cell, organ, and organism, all the way up to the level of individuals, groups and societies. He recognized that all these phenomena were related – societies contain groups, groups contain individuals, individuals are comprised of organs, organs of cells, cells of molecules, and molecules of atoms. To generalize, he referred to all of these phenomena as systems. Bertalanffy then sought the essential laws and principles that would explain all systems. Thus, the theory he envisioned involved generalizations drawn at such a high level of abstraction that the essence of all scientific knowledge would be clarified and integrated. He called this General Systems Theory… GST knocked down some of the barriers between the sciences, proposing cross-disciplinary research as a revolution in the way science is conducted. To understand the importance of systems thinking for organization theory, it is first necessary to grasp the concept of a system. A system is a thing with inter-related parts. Each part is conceived as affecting the others and each depends upon the whole… This idea of interrelated parts (in systems theory these are called subsystems) emphasizes that, while all systems can be analytically broken down for the purposes of scientific Study, their essence can only be identified when the system in confronted as a whole. This is because subsystem interdependence produces features and characteristics that are unique to the system as a whole. The implication is that, to comprehend a system, you must not merely analyze (or synthesize or integrate), you must also be willing to transcend the view of the individual parts to encounter the entire system at its own level of complexity.”[19]

Ok, good. Increasing acceptance of holism and interconnectivity and interrelatedness of everything. But still a little ahistoric, and a bit atomistic/reductionist due to assumption of the need to break things down into component parts to study them. Moving on then…

1961 – Conrad Waddington quote

Conrad Waddington said:  “Vitalism amounted to the assertion that living things do not behave as though they were nothing but mechanisms constructed of mere material components; but this presupposes that one knows what mere material components are and what kind of mechanisms they can be built into.” Waddington was an emergentist, but not a vitalist. He believed that the assembly of a living organism is subject to physical laws, but that their product is not derivable from the laws themselves. In many ways, the new science of Complexity is heir to this line of reasoning. It is a new emergentism, a potentially far more powerful brand than any of its predecessors.”[20] All influential thinking for Stuart Kauffman, a major proponent for complexity science thinking.

1961 Stuart Kauffman goes to Oxford

Stuart Kauffman went to Magdalen College, Oxford Uni – read philosophy, psychology and physiology. Discovered a facility for inventing theories to explain whatever challenge he was presented in psychology, including aspects of neural networks. Then decided on Medical School.[21]Neural networks are a very interesting example of interacting agents in a highly interconnected system, a key metaphor for complexity scientists.

Early 1960’s - Breakthroughs in genetic understanding

This was a special time for molecular biology. Two French researchers, Francois Jacob and Jacques Monod made breakthroughs in understanding the regulation of gene activity and their work was recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee.[22]Results from this work enabled a whole raft of ‘new’ thinking.

1963 Brian Goodwin publishes his book, ‘Temporal Organization in Cells.’

Work in the biology field was now getting interesting. It’s amazing how all these themes and disciplines are interconnected and interwoven and how you can make sense of the practical value of all this retrospectively, and how even biology and physics have to do with how you are managed in the workplace.

“Brian Goodwin had studied biology at McGill University, Canada, then mathematics at Oxford a few years earlier than Stuart Kauffman, and had pursued a doctorate at Edinburgh University under C. H. Waddington, one of the recent major figures of British Biology. Waddington believed passionately that organisms must be studied as wholes, and that the principal challenge of biology was to understand the genesis of form. Entranced with this holistic approach, Brian integrated it with the molecular biology of Jacob and Monod, and produced a theory of how gene activity and oscillating levels of biochemicals could contribute to biological form. ‘Temporal Organization in Cells’ was his thesis in book form. … The book was an attempt to show how molecular control systems, such as feedback, repression, control of enzyme activity – in other words, the intrinsic local logic of a complex system – gave rise naturally and spontaneously to oscillatory behaviour and global patterns. Such behaviour is an important component of living systems, such as circadian rhythms and the periodic activity of hormone and enzyme systems.”[23]

So the main point to take from this is that natural behaviour in systems is for interaction to occur within and between interconnected parts and from those interactions spontaneous, novel emergence of patterns will occur.  This theme was seen to repeat across more and more natural and living systems. As Stuart Kauffman was also finding out.

1964 Stuart Kauffman at Berkeleyfor premedical education

Stuart obsessed with embryology, particularly how embryonic cells differentiate, forming muscle cells, nerve cells, cells of connective tissue and so on. He said: “Everything was coming into place, the Jacob/Monod ideas, even the networks I’d played around with in Oxford.” Stuart reasoned that it was all but impossible for natural selection to orchestrate the activity of the one hundred thousand genes in the human genome so as to generate the range of some 250 different cell types. He said, “I had a different solution. Imagine that the genes are as a network, each either active or inactive depending on the inputs from other genes. But imagine that the links between the genes are randomly assigned. The counterintuitive result is that you do get order, and in a most remarkable way.”[24](Systems of this sort are known as random Boolean networks – see entry on George Boole - 1815.)

A perspective emphasising a network view of things was becoming stronger, where seemingly random interactions between ‘members’ of a network were seen to produce order, or emergence, on another level. Something new.

1965 Stuart Kauffman, a 2ndyear med Student @ uni of California, San Fran’

Kauffman worked with Boolean networks a lot[25] [the network proceeds through a series of so-called states. At a given instant, each element in the network examines the signals arriving from the links with the other elements and then is active or inactive, according to its rules for reacting to the signals. The network then proceeds to the next state, whereupon the process repeats itself. And so on. Under certain circumstances a network may proceed through all its possible states before repeating any one of them. In practice, however, the network at some point hits a series of states around which it cycles repeatedly. Known as a state cycle, this repeated series of states is in effect an attractor in the system, like the whirlpool in the treacherous sea of complex systems dynamics. A network can be thought of as a complex dynamical system and is likely to have many such attractors.] Kauffman worked on networks by hand, “My pharmacology notebooks are full of them, all up and down the margins”. The number of possible states even in small modestly connected networks rises rapidly as you increase the number of elements and hand-calculated networks soon become unmanageable. To go beyond about 8 elements, a computer is necessary. Kauffman said: “I got some guy to teach me to program and prepared for my first run – a network with a hundred elements, each with two inputs, randomly assigned” – so he had to shuffle the programming cards.[26]

“He [Kauffman] went to the school’s computer centre to prove he was right and that the entire biological community from Darwindown was wrong; “There I was, shuffling this pack of cards, then handing them to the programmer. This was when you fed your program and data into a computer on a set of punched cards. If the program was to work then the cards had to be in perfect order. One card out of place and the machine was likely to spew out garbage. And there was I, shuffling my data cards, randomizing them.” He felt that the conventional explanation for the origins of order in the world of nature had to be wrong.”[27]This modest network had some 1030 possible states, a mere hundred trillion times the age of the universe, measured at one state per second. The computer ran a good deal faster than one state a second. Even so, had the network ventured just the minutest way into its territory of total possible states before hitting a state cycle, the program would have run for days. But, he said: “I was lucky. It went into a state cycle after going through just sixteen states, and the cycle itself was only four states… it’s the crystallization of order out of massively disordered systems. It’s order for free.”[28]

Kauffman read Brian Goodwin’s ‘Temporal Organization in Cells’, and thought, “Oh, he’s got there first … then … hey, I don’t understand this. What’s it all about… He’s got it wrong.” The core of the book – the generation of order as an inevitable product of the dynamics of the system – resonated powerfully with Stuart’s view of the world. He immediately sent Brian a copy of the early results from the Boolean networks, but didn’t enter into correspondence.[29]

The emerging point of the day though, was that state cycles were significant: systems seeming to fall into chaordic disorder would happen on a regular basis, and from this disorder would arise new, emergent order.

1968 Ludwig von Bertalanffy

Although all these advancements were being made in the life sciences, application reaching into organisation theory was a bit slower. Hatch[30]labels Bertalanffy as a ‘modern’ inspiration to organization theory.  “The modernist view is based on the belief that there is an objective, physical reality in question and thus any perspective is but a different view of the same thing.”[31]As a general systems theorist, Bertalanffy promoted a systemic view of interconnected systems within a boundary, but didn’t really advance to looking at how the interconnected elements of a system might co-evolve over time, which is what complexity science became all about really.

1980s à  ‘Symbolic-interpretive’ inspiration to organization theory’

It wasn’t really until the 1980s that organisational theory was really beginning to catch up with the essence and key implications arising from the life sciences. Key thoughts of this next era contributed to what Hatch[32]defined as a ‘symbolic-interpretive’ inspiration to organization theory. The metaphor of a symbolic-interpretive approach to organization theory is that of a culture. The image of the organization is seen as a pattern of meaning created and maintained by human association through shared values, traditions, and customs. The image of the manager is an artifact who would like to be a symbol of the organization.[33]“Enactment theory and the social construction of reality … underpin the symbolic-interpretive perspective.”[34]

“American social psychologist Karl Weick introduced enactment theory in 1969 inhis book ‘The Social Psychology or Organizing’. According to Weick’s theory, when you use concepts like organization, you create the phenomenon you are seeking to study. Similarly, in conceptualizing the environment, organizations produce the situations to which they respond. Enactment theory focuses attention on the subjective origin of organizational realities. Weick states that he purposely used the term ‘enactment to emphasize that managers construct, rearrange, single out, and demolish many ‘objective’ features of their surroundings. When people act they unrandomize variables, insert vestiges of orderliness, and literally create their own constraints. According to Weick, by stating an interest in organization and establishing a language for talking about it, we reify the subject of our study, that is, we make the phenomenon real by speaking and acting in ways that give it tangibility. The concept of reification can be compared to the work of a mime. [35]

A mime, by pretending to make contact with a door or a wall, causes us to imagine that a wall or door is present – we can see the absent object through the mime’s descriptive attitudes and movements. Reification has a similar power to make us see. The difference between miming and enactment is that we are aware of the difference between the door the mime creates in our mind and a real door. In the case of enactment, we can make an environment, a culture, a strategy, or an organization appear, but once we have done so there is little difference between our creation and reality. Of course we do not usually enact these realities individually, rather there is often a certain amount of social agreement and cooperation that occurs before such existence is claimed. In fact, when an individual persistently attempts to enact their own reality individually, we may view
          Note to John McCain: Technology Matters   

One would think that, in 2008, the significance of the Internet and information technology would be universally acknowledged. That makes the recent news from the Presidential campaign a bit shocking. After ignoring technology issues for the past year, John McCain is poised to announce his great insight: tech policy isn't worthy of attention from the President of the United States.

This is what I draw from the announcement that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell is drafting a technology plan for McCain, to be released shortly. The McCain campaign will promote it as an overdue response to the comprehensive technology agenda that Obama unveiled eight months ago. I'm sure they will position long-standing Republican ideas like cutting the capital gains tax and promoting "market forces" to encourage broadband deployment as maverick proposals. What concerns me most is what the McCain plan apparently leaves out: strong views on the crucial issues that Obama's plan covers. Immigration reform and free trade are worthy goals. They aren't a technology agenda.

I like Michael Powell. I really do. He's extremely smart and open-minded, he was a dedicated public servant, and he did some wonderful things at the FCC, especially on spectrum policy. Yet Powell always had a curious blind spot about how FCC decisions affected the world outside the agency. His infamous quip comparing the Digital Divide to the "Mercedes divide" is a good example. Even when he had the policies right (as on requiring "line sharing" for broadband access), he couldn't always get them adopted, because the FCC doesn't operate in a sealed box. It's a component -- an important component -- of the larger policy and political apparatus of the federal government. With the McCain plan, Powell is making the same mistake.

In an interview last week, Powell asserts that issues like Network Neutrality in Obama's agenda are "in the weeds," because "[a] lot of the FCC’s issues aren’t ‘president of the United States’ issues." Nothing could be further from the truth. Reasonable minds can differ over the right policies to preserve the open Internet, promote next-generation broadband, safeguard online privacy, and create a connected digital democracy. Supporters of Obama (like me) can think he made a mistake in his handling of the FISA telecom immunity legislation (as I do). The absolute worst approach is to label these as insignificant technical matters that the President need not address. That's been the mindset, with disastrous results, the past eight years.

As chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, John McCain was exposed to a wide range of tech policy issues. On the other hand, he admits he's "computer illiterate." Ask yourself how you'd feel about working for a corporation where the CEO doesn't know how to use a computer. No matter how smart, someone who can't open a web page, type a letter on a word processor, or compose an email message, is going to be fundamentally out of touch with the daily experience of every member of the knowledge economy.

The only saving grace would be if McCain's technology advisors could overcome his personal ignorance. As I've been saying for a long time, no President can oversee the details of every important issue, so the people around him or her are critical. The roster of Obama's tech advisory group (which I'm proud to be part of) is nothing short of amazing. It includes a shockingly high percentage of the best academics, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors I've encountered during my 15 years in the tech world. And tech-oriented advisors are at the very heart of the campaign. McCain has supporters like Michael Powell and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina who understand these issues, but what's the point if their message is that technology doesn't matter? When the tech-savvy advisors reinforce the "do nothing" instincts of a tech-illiterate leader, the result is, well, what we got with the Bush Administration: the US falling behind other countries on both broadband deployment and competition, individual rights violated because the government hasn't established rules of the road, and the Internet's magnificent innovation engine in jeopardy.

Obama's tech policies aren't perfect, and McCain's wouldn't be all bad. Still, the choice matters. It matters a lot. The cynicism out there, even from those who agree with Obama on the issues, scares me more than anything. People think that politicians can't be trusted to do anything other than reward their cronies and contributors, and they think government's only effect in markets is to screw them up. Does anyone remember how eight years ago we had a trillion-dollar budget surplus, and the rest of the world looked in awe at the economic growth and innovation unleashed by our Internet industry? We can have that again, and much more, but only if we recognize how much technology matters in the global economy of the 21st century. Obama gets it; McCain doesn't.


          Energy   
PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

I have worked on energy issues for 36 years and felt that I had a pretty good handle on the issue until recently.  Now don't get me wrong, energy has always been a complex issue area, but lately things have gone upside down on me. The biggest confounding variable in my energy thinking has been the mixed phenomenon of fracking and horizontal drilling.  This technology changed the entire American energy game.

Fracking has been around for decades but when it was combined with horizontal drilling, it revolutionized the recovery of natural gas and petroleum. About a million wells used fracking before it was seriously applied to horizontal drilling.  Now, instead of being dependent on Arab or OPEC nations for oil, America is exporting oil and natural gas.  Amazing.  I am still trying to digest the full implications of how this technology has revolutionized American energy policy.

I also suspect that although only one percent of our electricity is currently generated by oil, I think this will go up by several percentage points in the next decade.

Below is some interesting energy information from the U.S. Department of Energy Energy Information Administration.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Americans use many types of energy

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power are primary sources of energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated from primary sources of energy.

Energy sources are measured in different physical units: liquid fuels in barrels or gallons, natural gas in cubic feet, coal in short tons, and electricity in kilowatts and kilowatt hours. In the United States, British thermal units (Btu), a measure of heat energy, is commonly used for comparing different types of energy to each other. In 2015, total U.S. primary energy consumption was about 97.7 quadrillion (1015, or one thousand trillion) Btu.

In 2015, the shares of total primary energy consumption of the five energy-consuming sectors were:

  • Electric power—39%
  • Transportation—28%
  • Industrial—22%
  • Residential—7%
  • Commercial—4%

  • The electric power sector generates most of the electricity in the United States, and the other four sectors consume most of the electricity it generates.

    The pattern of fuel use varies widely by sector. For example, petroleum provides about 92% of the energy used for transportation, but only 1% of the energy used to generate electricity.

    Domestic energy production is equal to about 91% of U.S. energy consumption


    In 2015, energy produced in the United States was equal to about 89 quadrillion Btu or about 91% of U.S. energy consumption. The difference between production and consumption was mainly in net imports of petroleum.

    The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—accounted for most of the nation's energy production in 2015:

    The mix of U.S. energy production changes


    The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have dominated the U.S. energy mix for more than 100 years. Several recent changes in U.S. energy production have occurred:

    • Coal production peaked in 2008 and trended down through 2015. Coal production in 2015 was about the same as production was in 1981. The primary reason for the general decline in coal production was the decrease in coal consumption for electricity generation.

    • Natural gas production was higher in 2015 than in any previous year. More efficient and cost-effective drilling and production techniques have resulted in increased production of natural gas from shale formations over the past ten years.

    • Crude oil production generally decreased each year between 1970 and 2008. In 2009, the trend reversed and production began to rise. More cost-effective drilling and production technologies helped to boost production, especially in Texas and North Dakota. In 2015, crude oil production was at nearly the same level as in 1972.
    • Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) are hydrocarbon gas liquids that are extracted from natural gas before the natural gas is put into pipelines for transmission to consumers. NGPL production has increased along with increases in natural gas production. In 2015, NGPL production was about two times greater than it was in 2005.

    • Total renewable energy production and consumption both reached record highs of about 9.7 quadrillion Btu in 2015. Hydroelectric power production in 2015 was about 18% below the 50-year average, but increases in energy production from wind and solar helped to increase the overall energy production from renewable sources. Energy production from wind and solar were at record highs in 2015.

(EIA)

          Electricity Generation By Energy Source   

In 2015, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity.1  About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum).
Major energy sources and percent share of total U.S. electricity generation in 2015:
  • Coal = 33%
  • Natural gas = 33%
  • Nuclear = 20%
  • Hydropower = 6%
  • Other renewables = 7%
    • Biomass = 1.6%
    • Geothermal = 0.4%
    • Solar = 0.6%
    • Wind = 4.7%
  • Petroleum = 1%
  • Other gases = <1 li="">
Preliminary data; based on generation by utility-scale facilities.

(EIA)

          A look back    

The original iPhone hit stores on June 29, 2007 -- and the world hasn't been the same since.

If that sounds like hyperbole, consider this: You're probably reading this on an iPhone or its chief rival, an Android phone. You've seen countless photos or videos in the past 24 hours -- on social media, on TV news -- that were shot on an iPhone. Social media and messaging, meanwhile, wouldn't be nearly as powerful or universal if it hadn't been supersized on mobile, cut free from the shackles of the desktop computer.

Remember point-and-shoot cameras, dashboard GPS units, camcorders, PDAs and, yes, even the iPod? Those were just some of the gadget categories that either disappeared altogether or ended up reduced to niche status thanks to the ubiquity of the iPhone and the modern phones that it pioneered.

And Apple itself is the most valuable company in the world right now, with a market cap of about three quarters of a trillion dollars, thanks mostly to the success of the iPhone.

With that in mind, let's take a look back to where it all began a decade ago. (And note that much of this content was first published in January of this year, to mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone's unveiling on January 9, 2007.)

The iPhone: 2007, meet 2017

It was different, it was bold. How is it now? Ten years later, we dug up the original iPhone to give it another spin.

by Scott Stein 2:24 Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF

We review CNET's original iPhone review : Kent German reviewed the iPhone when it was first released. Now he takes the original text, and annotates it with his thoughts and reflections 10 years on.

My all-nighter with the first iPhone : What was it like to turn a full review of the most coveted gadget in history in under 24 hours? Kent provides a play-by-play.

iPhone 2007, meet 2017: What it's like using the original iPhone, 10 years later : Scott Stein fired up his first-generation iPhone -- and it still works! Here's what it's like to use that product a decade later -- and how it compares to its modern descendant, the iPhone 7 Plus.

10 ways the iPhone changed everything : Yes, the iPhone really did change everything. Shara Tibken documents how the post-iPhone world is a different place -- for better, and for worse.

10 years ago today: Remembering Steve Jobs make iPhone history : CNET News' Editor-in-Chief Connie Guglielmo was in the room on January 9, 2007 when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the world. This is what she saw.

Apple's iPhone turns 10. Where does it go from here? : The iPhone has had an amazing first decade. But how will it change over the next 10 years?

Photos

The original 2007 iPhone (left) next to the 2016 iPhone 7 Plus.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's original iPhone 10 years later : The original iPhone, in photos.

How the original iPhone stacks up to the iPhone 7 Plus : The mini 3.5-inch screen of the original iPhone looks downright puny next to the monster 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.

Here's what the 2007 iPhone's photos look like : You won't believe how far phone cameras have come until you see the photos we shot using the original iPhone.

The iPhone and the gadgets it laid to rest : RIP camcorders, GPS and ebook readers. Oh, and magazines, compasses, and calculators. Here are all the things the iPhone killed off.

These were the most popular phones in 2007 : BlackBerry. Nokia. Windows Mobile. Motorola. Palm. These were the phones that were hot when the iPhone hit the market.

This was the hottest tech 10 years ago : The tech world into which the iPhone was born looks a lot different than the one today. Here's what you'd find on the shelves of Best Buy back in 2007.

10 years of crazy iPhone accessories : The iPhone spawned an entire industry of custom accessories: docks, cables, cases and chargers, to name just a few. But for all the practical ones, there were plenty that were just plain weird.

Video
Our first iPhone review from 2007

Take a look at our review of the first iPhone.

by Kent German 1:04 Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF

Watch Steve Jobs introduce the original iPhone : Apple's cofounder was a master showman, and the launch of the iPhone was arguably his greatest performance ever.

Our first glimpse of the iPhone : After Jobs' presentation, the closest anyone could get to the iPhone was seeing it under glass.

CNET's original iPhone video review : Kent German and Donald Bell give a video tour of the original iPhone soon after its June 2007 release.

The fun and frenzy of reviewing the first iPhone : Kent German reflects on what it was like to review the most-hyped gadget of all time.

The iPhone: 2007, meet 2017 : What's it like using the original iPhone in 2017? This is the video portion of Scott Stein's nostalgic look back.

Updated since original publication with additional links.


          Fuel efficiency rules, hated by carmakers, are the car owner's friend   

Now that the White House has turned into a stable of climate change deniers, those who facilitate climate change are trying to grab hold of their oily and sooty coat tails.

The new head of the EPA, who has famously sued the EPA numerous times at the behest of fossil fuel interests, has barely had time to settle into his new office before a chorus of carmakers rises up asking him to get rid of the fuel efficiency standards known as CAFE.

But CAFE is our friend.

Under CAFE rules, American drivers of gasoline cars can count on saving $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel between 2011 and 2025, the lifetime of the rule. On the other hand, the auto industry would have lost $ 0.2 trillion because they are forced to sell you the car that better fits your needs rather than the oversized one they want you to buy that nets them higher profits.

Carmakers don't care that you and I can save $1.7 trillion dollars. They do care that they can boost their profits by any amount. So they will do their best to get rid of the CAFE standards. And it's up to us to uphold those standards: for 1.7 trillion reasons plus the big one: the round, green and blue one that we all call home.


Photo by Mark Buckawicki

This is why I say we're being ripped off at the pump.

There's more: Those same car makers enjoy the income from the maintenance on your car: one of those engineering miracles, the internal combustion engine manages to translate raw and primal power (it doesn't get more raw and more primal than explosions) in the pistons to forward motion of several tons of steel, with you and your family in it, at highway speeds.

It takes the fine tuning of a huge number of parts all working in unison to make than happen. Less than optimal tuning can lead to loss of efficiency, pinging, knocking, and in severe cases, engine death. No wonder we pay up to keep those engines in top condition.

Electric motors are simpler. They have far fewer parts, and need much less maintenance. They don't require even oil changes because they don't have pistons that move at high speed under extreme temperatures and pressures (I tell you, they're an engineering miracle). EVs are a driver's dream - and a car dealer's nightmare. Car dealers make a lot of their money from maintenance.

EVs are also a nightmare for Big Oil, who stand to lose their biggest customer, the driver of the gasoline car, altogether.

So it's not surprising that dealers tend to hide their smaller cars, and push the larger ones. There are lots of stories about customers who need to be very persistent before they were allowed to buy an EV. But we must persist.

We must insist that we can buy those EVs that are easy on the planet and easy on our budgets. And we must insist that the CAFE fuel efficiency rules remain in place.

 

 


You may also like:
1. Getting Ripped Off At The Pump
2. How to buy a gas sipper for less
3. How much horsepower do you need?

 


          Transportation Transition   

Did you miss me?

CelloMom has been on hiatus for a few months, following an illness in the family. I've taken my brother's advice to heart, which is to be kind to myself, and decided to let the blog go for the duration. I'm going to re-start slowly. But there's plenty to be excited about.

Even before Volkswagen's disastrous gambit with the diesel engines, the world was already starting to shift toward electric vehicles.

Being CelloMom, I am not an early adopter: far from it. The growing pains of the early electric car made me nervous. But it's not quite so early any more, and as governments push for a fully electric national fleet by 2025 (e.g. Netherlands, Norway) or 2030 (Germany, India), and carmakers are responding by putting more EVs on dealer lots, the diesel to electric transition is now underway.

The growing EV range is erasing range anxiety, so even in suburban and small-town US, where distances are relatively large and diesel exhaust doesn't collect in a thick blanket of smog like it does in large cities, it will make increasingly more sense to switch to electric cars: quiet, clean, cheap to power, and with a kick that puts the torque from even a diesel engine to shame.

But the transportation transition is not just about the electric car. I'm sure you've seen the meme showing a parking lot shaded with a canopy of solar cells. The caption is, "Like and Share if you think every parking lot should look like this!"

This meme gets around.

I don't "Like", and I don't share. I think a climate-sensible parking lot should not look like that at all. It should have 2 to 24 parking spaces, all designated parking for the disabled. Large rows of bike parking. Plus a bus stop.

That's because everyone will get around either on their own physical power, on foot or on bike, on streets safe enough to do so, or on traditional forms of public transport l ike buses, or else by newer forms of shared transport like self-driving Uber-like cars that don't need the parking spots because they go on to the next customer after dropping you off at your destination. All powered by carbon-free renewable energy.

I mean, even the United States is waking up to the incredible potential of offshore wind. Having stopped drilling for oil off its Atlantic coast, the Obama administration has opened up a first patch of coastal water, between New York and New Jersey, for development of a wind farm.

The transportation transition is here, hand in hand with the energy transition. It's an exciting time.

 

 

You may also like:
1. Can you trust MPG specs?
2. Why VW diesel fix comes later to American drivers
3. How much horsepower do you need?

 


          Why are women the fastest-growing prison population?   

In the last 25 years, women have been the fastest growing prison population in the United States and in California. Between the ‘70s and the 2000s, the number of female inmates in state prisons serving a sentence of over a year has grown by 757%.

Between 1985 and 2007, the number of women in prison increased by nearly double the rate of men. At the height of California’s prison boom, in the late 1990s, Theresa Martinez was shipped to a brand new prison in Chowchilla.

The two prisons in Chowchilla were built to house the ballooning population of women, incarcerated mostly for drug-related crimes.

THERESA MARTINEZ: And as the population grew, they were bringing busloads and busloads of women and we were filling up the rooms. At first we started with four bunks. And then more bunks got put in there, that was six. And then eight. Which is past the fire laws. Which they don’t care about the fire laws, somehow they got past that too. And there’s eight in a room now. And basically you’re told when to eat. Each unit goes at a time to eat. You have to wait in line for canteen. You have to wait in line for medical. Don’t catch the flu and have to put in a co-pay, because you’ll have to wait two days anyway.

Martinez is one of 13 women featured in the new book, Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons.

The book’s editors Robin Levi and Ayelet Waldman joined KALW’s Holly Kernan for this interview.            

*     *     *

HOLLY KERNAN: A lot of people, women in particular, are caught up in the system because of drugs. Let’s hear a little bit more of Theresa Martinez’s on how she eventually ended up spending a long, long time behind bars.

THERESA MARTINEZ: By the time I was five, I used to self-inflict pain on myself. I remember hitting the back of my head against walls, or pulling my hair, even biting myself, out of just pure anger because I didn’t know how … I didn’t know why things were the way they were – I was too little to understand. But I wanted to know why my friends had a mother and a father and brothers and sisters, and I didn’t have any of that.

I started running away from my grandparents’ house at the age of 12, and I got into PCP, smoking PCP. At age 15 I got pregnant with my daughter. My daughter was born with 9.8 phencyclidine in her system. I was charged for that – got sent to youth authority. From youth authority I graduated straight into the prison system, adult prison system, and I’ve been on parole for the past 26 years of my life.

So you can pretty much imagine, I’m very much used to institutions; I consider them my home. I had no other way of knowing there was a better life for me. I just knew that’s what I deserved and that’s where I had to be. And I kind of adapted to the prison system to where I would come out for 90 days and it was like a vacation. Coming out to the free world was a vacation and I had to go right back in again to where what I knew, and it became my comfort zone – prison.

KERNAN: Martinez is now 45, and she’s recently gotten off of parole. How common is a story like Theresa’s?

ROBIN LEVI: It’s ubiquitous. The story of incarceration, particularly of incarceration of women in this country, is an artifact of the war on drugs. When we decided to increase the penalties for drug use, for drug sale, so astronomically – we began pouring hundreds of thousands of people in the prison system. We now in this country incarcerate more people than any other country in the world, certainly more than any other western country.

KERNAN: And why is it that women are the fastest growing prison population? That’s really happened over the last two decades.

LEVI: And that is the war on drugs. So women are being caught with mandatory minimums, and judges have less discretion in terms of sentencing. In addition women are often the lowest on the totem pole; they have very little to offer in terms of a deal. So they again end up being caught and being put on a mandatory minimum on a required sentence.

AYELET WALDMAN: Let me give you two scenarios. Let’s say before we had these mandatory minimum sentences – and what a mandatory minimum sentence says is the judge has no discretion, for this weight of drugs, you are sentenced to 10 years – doesn’t matter where you are in the conspiracy, doesn’t matter if you’re the kingpin or the lowest person on the totem pole…

KERNAN: Or if you just lived in the house…

WALDMAN: If you happened to have carried a box from point A to point B, all you have to do is know about the conspiracy and commit one overt act in furtherance of it that doesn’t even have to be an illegal act.

So it used to be – let’s take it back 30 or 40 years – a woman would come before the court whose husband was a drug dealer. She is a mother of three, and was nominally involved – took a phone message. The judge would look at that woman and the judge would say, “There are three children dependent on you. It’s ridiculous to incarcerate you. You have no history of criminal offense. Your husband was the person involved. I’m going to give you probation so you can take care of your children. I’m going to give you some kind of home-monitoring. I’m going to give you drug treatment if you’re addicted to drugs.”

Fast forward post the mandatory minimum sentencing, and what happens is that judge has no choice. One of the things you cannot take into consideration are ordinary family circumstances. We had a case where a woman had five foster children who were dependent on her, and it doesn’t matter if you have five foster children who are going to go back into the system whose lives are going to be ruined. You can’t take that into consideration. Doesn’t matter if your husband was the drug dealer and you weren’t. Nothing matters except one thing: whether you can barter information for a lower sentence.

So who barters? The person higher up on the totem pole. The higher up you are, the more you know, the more people you can rat, and the more likely you are to get a lower sentence. So we have this reverse system now where the drug kingpins are going for very little time if at all and the people who are serving the longest sentence are the lowest on the totem pole. And women are invariably the lowest on the totem pole.

KERNAN: And you touched upon the fact that there are these ripple effects which is that women are often the caretakers of children – what’s happening to all of these children who are left essentially without a mom?

LEVI: More than 66%, more than two-thirds of the women in prison are primary caretakers of children under 18. And so what’s happening is that many of these children are going into the foster care system, which is not supportive in pretty much any way, and certainly not to older children coming in. And so you can try and get your child set up with a guardian, but there’s a lot of restrictions as to who can be a guardian. So if you have any violent felony on your history, whether it’s five years ago or 10, you can’t become a guardian to that child. If you have someone else living in your house who was maybe on parole, you can’t become a guardian of that child. So like I said, these children go into the foster care system.

In addition, what the Adoption and Families Act which was passed in around 1994, they’ve really accelerated the rate at which you can get your parental rights terminated. And so if you’ve got a child under three, in California, within six months your parental rights can be terminated.

WALDMAN: So effectively, your punishment for possessing drugs is losing your child forever.

KERNAN: And what I’ve heard people say is, “Well, then why did that mother make that choice?”

LEVI: Well it’s not a choice in many ways. Many of the stories in our book … we’re talking with people who before they’ve gone to prison have experienced an enormous amount of abuses in terms of a huge level of child sexual abuse, other forms of physical abuse. Their families may have experienced drug use. And they have not been given an opportunity to get over that.

KERNAN: And a lot of women from very low-income backgrounds…

LEVI: …very low-income backgrounds who are self-medicating with drugs.

WALDMAN: We don’t have a healthcare system in this country that allows people to get drug treatment. If you’re depressed, it’s a lot easier to get drugs than it is to get SSRIs. And that’s what they do.

KERNAN: California’s prison system has been under federal receivership, essentially for not providing good enough medical and mental healthcare to inmates. Let’s hear from Theresa Martinez again who really experienced a healthcare debacle when she was in prison.

MARTINEZ: So in 1997 I was diagnosed with HIV. I was tested, I was counseled by public health, I was seeing doctors. I have lab results showing HIV viral load inside my blood. So I was treated for HIV with three different types of therapies … come to find out now, there was no actual HIV virus inside my body for these medications to treat.

So I don’t know how much damage it caused me, me being on nine years of HIV therapy, and having no HIV for a target. I’ve had my gall bladder removed. I have severe liver damage. Now I’m Hepatitis C and I have viral loads sky-high. I have this question in the back of my head that just doesn’t go away: Is it true? Do I really not have it? Do I have this special strain they don’t know about that’s going to pop up later, full-blown?

I have all these doubts and these questions still in my head, and to this day I take mental health medication for paranoia and schizophrenia because I was severely damaged behind this misdiagnosis.

WALDMAN: So this prison system was using an incompetent lab that has since gone out of business. They misdiagnosed her, how many times, Robin?

LEVI: They misdiagnosed her at least several times.

WALDMAN: They kept verifying the misdiagnosis over and over and over again. I mean she can’t even sue the lab because the lab is bankrupt and gone out of business.

LEVI: And once she got told that she was not positive, the prison denied responsibility for the diagnosis on any level, even though they had told her that she had been HIV positive.

KERNAN: And that’s another through-line in this book, which is that a lot of the women have sort of barbaric experiences with healthcare, being shackled during pregnancy…

WALDMAN: Governor Jerry Brown – progressive governor, great governor – just refused to sign a law that would have precluded the shackling of pregnant prisoners. Now it’s interesting because there’s no explanation for this beyond the fact that perhaps he’s running for reelection and has to keep on his side the single most powerful political force in the California political system, which is the prison guards’ union. But to shackle a pregnant woman is so utterly barbaric that we are among the only place in the world that does this. And any woman has ever been pregnant, who has ever experienced labor – try to imagine laboring in ankle shackles.

LEVI: And actually the veto is more shocking because they’ve actually passed a law a few years ago in California in which you can’t shackle women in prison going in to give birth. This law was actually to expand it to jails. So we’ve had it in place for a few years without any trouble whatsoever, and they’re asking to expand to jails, and then the sheriffs association, which apparently is not as powerful as the California prison guards, but one notch down, went to oppose it. And Governor Brown vetoed it. And this is the second time it’s been vetoed, and they’re going to try to put it up again.

WALDMAN: It just beggars the imagination to think that a woman who is in an act of labor would what – try to escape? Would try to do physical harm? The explanation given by the organizations that oppose this law are so patently absurd. And let’s be clear: There are many, many states that have wisely and humanely banned the shackling of pregnant women. And California is … we have in the prison system, but in the jails, where most people are, and most people giving birth are, you can’t do it.

KERNAN: Women are the fastest growing prison population in the U.S. and most people listening to this have probably never been inside of a prison. I'd like to have Theresa Martinez give us a snapshot of what it's like inside of the California Women's Prison in Chowchilla.

MARTINEZ: So as you come into the unit, you've got these really big glass windows, right? Each cell has a window in front, the door is made of glass. So you see everything: the big area, the bathroom area, the shower area. The only thing covering the bathroom is the middle of the door. You have an open environment, a big open top. So you can see the person sitting on the toilet near you. It's the same thing in the shower. You can see all of your legs. Some women are short – you might be able to see their whole bodies.

There is absolutely no privacy in prison. There is nowhere you can go to change your top or go in privacy. The male officers do walkthroughs down the halls all day. It's part of their jobs – I understand that. But it's very degrading. Many times I've been sitting on the toilet and I've said, "Excuse me, can you shut the door, I'm using the bathroom please?" and they say, "I'm not trying to look at you!" They'll call you a prostitute or a bitch or say, "I'm not trying to look at your hood street ass, you're in prison, nobody is trying to look at you!" But the whole time they really are.

WALDMAN: And one of the things to understand is that more than two-thirds of these women have experienced some kind of childhood sexual abuse. So they are routinely exposed to these men watching them in the most intimate of circumstances, watching them go to the bathroom, watching them undress, stripping them. And for any woman, that experience is unpleasant. But for these women who have experienced child sexual abuse? It's traumatizing. It's re-traumatizing them every day.

KERNAN: And you're completely vulnerable because you're behind bars, no power whatsoever.

WALDMAN: And you have lots of instances of sexual abuse.

KERNAN: Sexual abuse, by who?

WALDMAN: Well here's the thing: Everyone always assumes that when you go to prison, the other prisoners are going to rape you or do something to you. For women, the truth of the matter is that when sexual abuse occurs, as it does so frequently, it is the guards, the medical officials, the wardens. Those are the people that are abusing women in prison. Not, by and large, the other women.

KERNAN: Do you think it's common? I'm worried there is a tendency to demonize the correctional officers.

LEVI: I have two things to say to that. In my experience of doing this work in the California prison system for more than 14 years, I've maybe, at most, heard of one case of a woman inside the prison sexually abusing another female prisoner. And I'm saying that to leave that open to possibility – I can't think of a specific case. I have stumbled upon dozens and dozens and dozens of situations of staff abusing women, because of the power differential in a variety of ways. Sometimes you'll hear of a basic forced rape situation. You'll have the privacy violations.

Very often you'll have sexual exchanges for favors. And these are favors like an extra phone call, or hairbrush, or shampoo. Or favors to maintain visits with your child, because guards can restrict visits with your children. And that's what you hear so, so often. I don't think we are demonizing the prison officials because that's the reality of what we've seen.

KERNAN: And you're both lawyers so you've dealt with this issue for a long time and have access and understanding of the judicial system that most people don't. What's being done to correct some of this? Is realignment the system whereby we’re going to start putting non-violent offenders in county programs or jails? What is being done to address some of this?

WALDMAN: So first of all, I want to make you understand that realignment isn't happening because there has been a realization on behalf of the government that the system we have is unfair and abusive. Realignment is not a solution to this terrible problem. Realignment is financial imperative.

But the one positive outcome of the economic disaster this country finds itself in is that this prison system that we have ourselves in is terribly inefficient financially. We spent $20,000-30,000 a year to imprison someone who committed no violent offense. And the collateral damage of having to send their kids through the foster system, and the effects of the foster system on their children. All these cascading economic consequences.

Now, with governments so strapped for cash, there's this realization like, "You know what? Now we might have an improved system that improves public safety that actually saves us money.”

LEVI: This is an opportunity to encourage governments to put their money in more effective ways. And realignment can hopefully be that. It's important to keep our eye on that to make sure that realignment doesn't send people from the California prison system to the county jail system.

WALDMAN: And that's also an overcrowded, underfunded and terrible system, collapsing under the weight of its own overpopulation.

LEVI: Also, there's far less oversight in county jail than the California prison system. And it's way more difficult to try to address abuse in the county jail system.

What we want to do is send people back into their communities, and to do it in a way that's much more cost effective, that allows them to reunite and rebuild their families. That's something that Justice Now is working on, and the ACLU of Northern California has been very active in saying that it's a great first step. And that's something that we, too, as citizens here need to make sure that we are having our voice heard at county levels. We don't want to expand the jail system; we want to put people into alternative living arrangements that allows them to be closer to their families, get the parenting skill sets they need, the drug rehabilitation they need, the therapy to deal with the sexual abuse and domestic violence they have experienced. If we don't address any of those things we aren't going to have any long-term change.

KERNAN: This is a really hard book to read. It's hard to see this stuff, to know what's happening, to hear the voices of these women. What do you want listeners to know?

LEVI: I think the most important thing to realize is that people in prison, mean and women, are not a kind of "other" that need to terrify you. I think every time I leave the prison from visiting someone, I have this overwhelming sensation of, “There but for the grace of good fortune and economic security, go I.”

The people in prison are just people. They aren't terrifying. The majority of them are not dangerous.

I think it's almost a truism to say that you can judge a society by the way it treats the most powerless. We as a society have chosen to abuse so profoundly the people who have the least power. A woman who was sexually abused as a child, who committed a non-violent offense, who lost her children, who's incarcerated now for decades, like Theresa. Theresa entered the prison system in her late teens and she's now getting out in her 40's and she never, ever committed a violent crime. She committed property offenses and prostitution offenses, but this is someone we've chosen to incarcerate under horribly abusive circumstances for over 20 years.

I don't recommend reading the book in one night. I recommend reading the stories one by one. I think that if your compassion is not awakened by it, there is something deeply wrong with you.


          What is GDP?   
Click on the title and go to the Principles of Macroeconomics website. Watch the first 4 videos, all about GDP. You will become an expert on GDP. Post a question from one of the videos, come up with your own question, don't just copy one from the practice quizzes. In your post, start by listing the GDP of another country, give your answer to someone else's question, and then write your own question. Example:
Country - USA GDP $16.77 Trillion
Johnny's Question - What is GDP?
My answer - The market value of all  final goods and services produced in a country in a given year.
My question - What is an intermediate good?
(ps you don't need a visual for your answer)

Take it from there:



          What Does Medicaid Look Like in North Carolina?   
And who would be harmed if the U.S. Senate succeeds in gutting it? The easiest way to think of the health care bill the Senate unveiled last week is not as a health care bill at all, but rather as a trillion-dollar tax cut funded by hacking away at programs that provide health care to lower-income Americans, especially children and those with disabilities—namely, Medicaid, which stands to lose $772 billion over the next decade. The Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion would be gone.…
          Comment on Commentary Series, Part VII: The Case for Land Rights by Holly   
The barriers to entering the formal sector are extremely counterproductive. If it can take nearly a decade and endless costly fees to fully transition from the informal sector, what incentive do people in the developing world have to leave the extralegal economy? In their 1997 study, Hernando de Soto’s team calculated that real estate held by people within the informal sector in the developing world amounted to approximately $9.3 trillion in dead capital, and that was seventeen years ago! The process needs to be streamlined, women need to be included, and there needs to be more attention paid to the work organizations like Landesa are doing.
          The Important Of Credit Unions Is Rising   
Global CU membership climbs to 196M: WOCCU
http://www.cuna.org/newsnow/system.html#system070612-4


MADISON, Wis. (7/9/12)--The worldwide credit union movement added eight million new members in 2011, reaching 196 million members from 100 reporting countries, according to World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) just-released 2011 Statistical Report.
 
Click to view larger imageClick for larger view
The annual study revealed that the number of members grew 4.3% from 188 million members reported in 2010, while the number of credit unions fell 3.5% to 51,103 in 2011 from 52,945 in 2010. The decline is an indication of the continuing trend of smaller institutions merging into larger credit unions worldwide, according to Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO.
 
"In countries around the world, smaller credit unions are merging to realize greater economies of scale and develop capabilities to deliver more services to members," Branch said. "The dramatic upturn in the number of members shows that credit unions are becoming more influential, and consumers are finding them to be better alternatives than many for-profit financial institutions."
 
Worldwide, credit union loans increased to $1 trillion in 2011 from $960 billion in 2010; reserves jumped to $141.3 billion from $131.7 billion; and global credit union assets grew to $1.6 trillion from $1.5 trillion. Savings volume declined slightly to $1.22 trillion from $1.23 trillion.
 
Global member penetration rose to 7.8% in 2011 from 7.5% in 2010.
 
This is the 40th consecutive year WOCCU has collected statistics on the international credit union movement. WOCCU reports data based on country responses to its annual survey and does not make estimates for non-reporting countries. The report, issued this year in electronic format, provides the most comprehensive data on the global credit union movement available and is cited widely by governments, international institutions and analysts as an expert resource, WOCCU said.




This blog is hosted by Sterling Van Dyke Credit UnionSterling Van Dyke Credit Union operates with the utmost trust and loyalty to the benefit of its clients. Sterling Van Dyke Credit Union services anyone working or living in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County, Michigan. Current residents, retirees receiving a pension or social security and immediate family members are eligible to join. Sterling Van Dyke Credit Union is owned and operated entirely by its member and strives to follow the purpose of the credit union as set forth in the bylaws.
          NSE ASI climbs by 1.67%   
…As market resumes from Holiday By Chinwendu Obienyi The Nigerian Stock market All Shares Index (ASI) rose by 1.67 per cent to close at 32,657.30 points to lift market capitalisation to N11.29 trillion at the close of Wednesday’s session, stating a strong start for the final trading week of June This comes as financial markets...
          A Combustible Concept: Stop Subsidizing Fuel Prices   
A traffic jam shuts down Calle 26. Would charging the real price for gasoline and diesel
reduce congestion and clean up the air?
The idea seemed sensible enough: Create a fund to stabilize gasoline and diesel prices. When international prices were low, Colombian prices would be raised, contributing to the fund. When prices rose, money would be withdrawn from the fund to reduce the price at the pump.

That was the idea. But in practice, the fund has been used mostly to stabilize prices downward, to buy voters and pacify strike-prone truckers.

EcoPetror: Not so green, and
maybe someday bankrupt, too.
However, the fuel subsidy is costing EcoPetrol a trillion pesos per year, threatening its economic health. And, such subsidies disproporionately benefit the wealth and businesses, who consume much more gasoline than do poor people. They also increase air pollution and violate Colombia's promises in the Paris anti-climate change agreement.

Colombia's Controlaria recommends freeing up gasoline prices. Colombia doesn't subsidize books, apples or clothing - so, why vehicle fuels?

I just talked to a schoolteacher from Medellin who had come to Bogotá to participate in the protest marches. She told me that public school teachers often must reach into their own pockets to purchase cleaning supplies for the school and even food for the children.

"That's the government's responsibility, and they've got plenty of money to throw around," she said, accusing government officials of corruption.

The government has offered teachers only a 2,000 peso-per-month raise, she added.

Certainly, the billions of dollars thrown away on fuel subsidies could have gone a long way toward helping public school students.

'No resources for teachers,' says Santos - except maybe those millions and millions wasted subsidizing gasoline.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours
          Does Being Pilo Pay Off For Colombia?   
Scholarship students from the Ser Pilo Paga.
Ser Pilo Paga, the government program which gives scholarships to Colombia's best universities to top students from poor families, is paying off for the country.

That's according to Los Andes University economics professor Fabio Sánchez, whose study was financed by the National Planning Department. Sánchez reported that before the Pilo Paga program, only 28% of students who scored in the top 10% in the Saber 11 test went on to get a university education, and only 7% got into the top, or 'accredited', universities.

Those are mind boggling numbers. Looked at in reverse, they mean that 72% of top-scoring students didn't go on to university at all, and 93% of top-scoring students don't make it into top universities.

You can bet that the underlying dynamic there is economic. The talented students who don't get into
But who does it pay most?
universities lack either the money or connections to do so, while many low-scoring but wealthy students undoubtedly do go on to study in good universities.

That means a huge amount of wasted talent, and is probably a big reason why poverty here is so stubborn and innovation rates low.

In fact, another recent study, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), criticized Colombia's huge gap between poor and wealthy, and said that the nation's economic growth has benefited the poor little.

Better education for students from poor families could help change that, and Sánchez's study found that Pilo Paga helped increase access to higher education for those 10% of top-scoring students from 28% to 60%, and that the percentage entering those top 'accredited' universities skyrocketed from 7% to 53%.

The program has thus increased the social variety of universities like Los Andes, whose students previously came overwhelmingly from wealthy families.

Los Andes universit:
Muy Pilo!
All of which are impressive numbers, if they're accurate.

However, there's a reason someone should double check Sánchez's results. Sánchez's employer, Los Andes university, happens to be a major beneficiary of the Pilos Paga program. According to a column by Pablo Correa & Tatiana Pardo Ibarra, an editor and a reporter for the El Espectador newspaper, respectively, Los Andes has been by far the biggest beneficiary of the Pilo Paga program - so much so that in 2015 its rector called it "the most public university in the country."

Today, an impressive 35% of Los Andes' incoming students are part of Pilo Paga. Yet,the university raised its tuition by 5.3%, 6.9% and 9.6% over the last three years. As a result, Los Andes receives far more Pilos Paga money, even tho other universities such as La Javeriana and La Salle enroll more students from the program.

Others question whether the government should be using public funds to subsidize some of the country's most elite institutions while public universities suffer severe deficiencies. (Los Andes does differ from other private universities in that it has no owners, and its profits are all supposed to be reinvested in the university.)

Pilo Paga has provided scholarships for 31,000 students at a cost of a half trillion pesos. Might it have been better to have instead invested that money in the struggling public universities, which enroll primarily students from poorer families?

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours
          Biological cells and life, how did they emerge, by design, or random unguided natural events?   

Biological cells and life, how did they emerge, by design, or random unguided natural events?

http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2512-biological-cells-and-life-how-did-they-emerge-by-design-or-random-unguided-natural-events

Would you say that it is plausible that random, unguided, natural events have enough statistical probability to create and give rise to the most sophisticated self-replicating factory of the universe ? - containing an informational code system and programming languages like our alphabet or a computer code, more versatile than C, Visual Basic, or PHP, and more robust and error prone than any other code system out of 1 million alternatives? - using a communication protocol which wastes far less space than TCP/IP and is more robust than Ethernet? - using furthermore a collection of rules and regularities of information coding for instructional complex texts? - defined by alphabet, grammar, a collection of punctuation marks and regulatory sites, and semantics? and then uses that code system to create a blueprint for a self-replicating factory, which requires about 1500 books, each with 300 pages, 300.000,00 characters per book, each containing the precise complex instructions and information to create this factory, and stored in the smallest storage device possible and known, a trillion times denser than a CD?

All this information is then decoded and transcribed by a complex machinery, which knows where to begin and to end transcription, and afterwards the transcript is carried by another information-storage-medium, which is programmed to recognize and find its destination, and to be fed into the right place of another factory, which translates the information and without any external help, like a magic hand, translates the information and as result, transforms it and produces sophisticated precise complex machinery exactly synchronized, its assembly coordinated and interface compatible with multiple subunits, everything precisely three-dimensionally shaped, formed, and spatially correct, folding in a ultracomplex manner and, once produced, it’s directed to the right place to start its operation.

The whole process is strictly regulated, it has sophisticated check and error detection mechanisms all along the production process; it knows how correct parts have to be, compares correctly produced parts to faulty ones and discards the faulty ones. Once each molecular machine is ready, other carriers are recruited to conduct the newly produced machine to the right place and is interlinked in a complex web to start operating together like in a teamwork, in coordinated irreducible production lines, exercising many different functions.

The task of this factory is: Reproduction, responding, adapt and regulate itself to changing environmental demands, the input of nutrition, growing and developing without external help, replicating itself, responding to outside stimuli and regulate itself. It has a scaffold structure, that permits the build of the indispensable protection wall, form, and size of its building, walls with gates that permits cargo in and out, recognition mechanisms that let only the right cargo in, has specific sites and production lines, “employees”, busy and instructed to produce all kind of necessary products, parts and subparts with the right form and size through the right materials, others which mount the parts together in the right order, in the right place, in the right sequence, at the right time.

Highways and cargo carriers that have tags which recognize where to drop the cargo where it’s needed, cleans up waste and has waste bins and sophisticated recycle mechanisms, storage departments, produces its energy and shuttles it to where it’s needed, and last not least, does reproduce itself. The salient thing is that the individual parts and compartments have no function by their own. They had to emerge ALL AT ONCE, No stepwise manner is possible, all systems are INTERDEPENDENT and IRREDUCIBLE. And it could not be through evolution, since evolution depends on fully working self-replicating cells, in order to function. How can someone rationally argue that the origin of the most sophisticated factory in the universe would be probable to be based on natural occurrence, without involving any guiding intelligence?

Michael Denton to write in Evolution: A Theory In Crisis:
“The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.”
“To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell, we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity.”
…veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world (Denton, 1986, p. 250).

To go from a bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium. — Lynn Margulis

Chemist Wilhelm Huck, professor at Radboud University Nijmegen
A working cell is more than the sum of its parts. “A functioning cell must be entirely correct at once, in all its complexity,”


          U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion — tops $17 trillion for first time    
U.S. debt jumped a record $328 billion on Thursday, the first day the federal government was able to borrow money under the deal President Obama and Congress sealed this week. The debt now equals $17.075 trillion, according to figures t
          There is Only ONE Political Party in the USA, The Wars for Wall Street and Israel Party   
One of the BIGGEST LIES Around is that the USA has Two Different Party's, the Dems and Repubs, but that is Laughable.

Both lavish money on the Pentagon, even though that outfit has stolen, oops 'lost' at least 9 trillion in the last twenty years, and neither utters a word about investigating that stolen loot. Both lavish money and weapons on Israel and both sound like a flock of parrots-- "Squawk, Israel has a right to defend itself, Squawk"--whenever Israel goes on a bombing rampage against Gaza.
Neither pay any attention to Wall Street's plundering, until the con artists steals so much money that the economy collapses and then they're all tears, promising to do a better job of oversight, until it happens again.

The Dems gave us the rapacious Obamacare, which has fractured many a household budget and the Repubs want to make it worse with their version of 'Loot the People'. Both versions benefit the insurance and Big Pharma companies, not We the People.
Neither have any problem with the FED carnivores, who keep inflating the USD to oblivion, while letting those jackals pay a measly 1/5 of ONE PERCENT to our savings accounts, while those TBTF Wall Street banks get to borrow huge sums of money at basically zero percent interest rate, which they use to pay off bad bets and buy back stock to increase their profits while people wonder where in the Hell is the rent money going to come from.
Both vote for these endless, illegal wars, which benefit no one except Wall Street and Israel, so let's dispense with the outdated notion of two party's. The side issues, like abortion, the PHONY transgender BS and guns, are just distractions to keep us peons snapping and snarling at each other while BOTH party's keep open the Treasury gates to the Wall Street looters and our troops keep destroying ME nations for the glory of Apartheid Israel and Wall Street investors.

And NEITHER party wants to look any deeper into the Israeli masterminded 9/11 False Flag, repeating endlessly talking points about radical Islamist's when it's actually crazier than a shithouse rat Talmudists that is leading the world to destruction.

From an April 2003 Haaretz article.
The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible.

This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.
So let's call this insanity what it really is, "The Wars for Wall Street and Israel party," that has two wings; the Democrats and Republicans.
          World Jewry Wants to Steal Palestine for the Immense Wealth in the Dead Sea   
"The Jewish Radical will discover that nothing can bridge the gulf between you and us. We Jews, we the destroyers, will remain the destroyers forever …. Nothing that you will do will meet our needs and demands. We will forever destroy because we need a world of our own, a God-World, which is not in your nature to build."

1924 book entitled, "You Gentiles" by Maurice Samuels, on pages 153-154


Gentile is the kind word for the non-Jews, the actual word Das Juden prefers is GOYIM, which translates into a type of cattle or beast for the 'Chosen by G-d' to rule over the world, but especially the ME, which has been turned into a Devil's Playground for the Israelis at their request, so they can loot, pillage and plunder to their heart's content while the ME nations, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon get turned into graveyards while Israel prospers. One can read all about their sinister plans in the 1996 “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," written by a motley collection of American and Israeli Jews, which advocated for busting up Syria, smothering Palestine and neutering Iraq.

And in Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties," written back in 1982, which also laid out the blueprint for making Israel the one and ONLY ME power, which would be accomplished thru the destruction of Syria, Iraq, then Iran.

Follow the Money or in This Case, the Shekels
The first reason mentioned was the desire of the Zionists to see to it that a form of government be legally set up in Palestine, by means of which the International Zionist Group, an important component of World Jewry, could acquire valid title to the enormously valuable minerals in the Dead Sea and its surrounding lands. The second reason was outlined to show how religion had to be brought into the picture to hide the real motive of the Zionists, just mentioned, in creating the State of Israel. [Book link here]
It was reported back in August 27, 1927 by ‘The Evening Tribune under the title “Dead Sea to yield trillion in riches” that a “technical report of the Dead sea minerals gives the following estimate of contents and values. Potash: $70,000,000,000; Bromide: $260,000,000,000; Salt $17,000,000,000; Gypsum:$120,000,000,000; Magnesium chloride: $523,000,000,000."

The Zionists have succeeded in creating the world-wide belief that it is the ‘Jews’ throughout the world who desire the creation in Palestine, of a ‘Jew State’. The Zionists forced the world to accept this untruth as a fact, because they had the means with which to silence opposition which attempted to expose this great untruth. The Zionists spent millions of dollars to create the impression, throughout the world, that all Jews supported the Zionist campaign for the conquest of Palestine.
The Zionists have also attempted to make the world believe that the Zionist campaign for the conquest of Palestine is a movement inspired by Judaism. This is an absolute untruth. Judaism and Zionism are totally unrelated. Judaism is a religious belief founded more than2,000 years ago. The Zionist campaign for the conquest of Palestine is a political movement, dating back over 50 years. Judaism innocently plays a dishonored role in the Zionist campaign for the conquest of Palestine, because the Zionists realize that a religious disguise for their political plot” (and financial ‘grab’ for the Dead Sea Minerals) “will obtain world-wide support which otherwise could not be obtained.

"The well veiled objective of the Zionists backed by the Rothschilds financial interests was to acquire valid title to the Dead Sea and its vast, inexhaustible deposits of potash and other valuable minerals, estimated by experts to be worth several thousand billion dollars."

The Zionists claim that there is a ‘Jew Race’ or ‘Jew Nation’, which is seeking to‘reconquer its former homeland’ and to ‘repatriate’ this ‘Jew Race’ or ‘Jew Nation’ to the‘homeland’ of its origin. The Zionists are spending tens of millions of dollars to force the acceptance of this historic and ethnic untruth upon an audience throughout the world which does not suspect that the Zionists could possibly be guilty of the great fraud in which they are engaged. There is not, and never has been a ‘Jew Race’ or‘Jew Nation’. There is not, and never has been, at any time in history, a ‘race’ which can be in any way—historically or racially, associated with the Zionists.

The claim of the Eastern European, Jews, of Pagan-Khazar origin, to an historic or ethnic association either with Palestine or the Jews who lived there, is one of the world’s greatest frauds.
If this Dead Sea wealth was worth 5 trillion back in 1927, then the value now must be in the tens of trillions.
Israel accused of pillaging Dead Sea resources in occupied territory

Israel is "pillaging" the natural resources of the Dead Sea which lie in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law, a report which singles out the cosmetics firm Ahava for criticism.

Its report, Pillage of the Dead Sea, says Israeli restrictions on planning and movement "have severely hampered the ability of Palestinians to use and access their land and other natural resources in the region. The presence of settlers who directly utilise and profit from the Dead Sea wealth has severely exacerbated this situation and contributed to the over-exploitation of the area, resulting in severe environmental damage."

Almost two-thirds of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies within the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967. The remaining area is in Israel, and the eastern shore is in Jordan. At the lowest point on Earth, 410 metres below sea level, the inland sea is a magnet for tourists keen to float in its salt-saturated waters and for industries which extract its minerals.
"This will be a PERPETUAL source of wealth for the NATION that CONTROLS the DEAD SEA."

Updated mineral surveys of the Dead Sea also show that gold, platinum, rhodium, and vanadium are there, making the total amount of wealth staggering.

Stealing, murdering, kidnapping, torturing, setting off False Flags in the West, and having their (((MSM))) frame Muslims so we'll keep waging endless wars for Israel, having their confederates plunder our pension and 401K retirement accounts, blowing up Wall Street on a regular basis and continuing with their ethnic cleansing campaign of Palestinians, this is what 'G-d's Chosen,' do. What kind of 'God' that is, I can only guess, but I bet you'll smell sulfur when that thing is near.

H/T to GabreaL Jones

Is STEALING Part of the (((Israeli))) DNA?

Not only are the Khazars invaders stealing the Dead Sea wealth from Palestine, now they are going to steal tens and tens of billions of Natural Gas from the offshore fields of Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon.
An Israel-Europe gas pipeline deal is the answer [What was the Question?]

In the beginning of April we learned about a proposed 2,000 kilometer subsea pipeline connecting gas fields located offshore in Gaza and Cyprus with Greece and possibly Italy.
The pipeline agreement among Israel, Italy, Cyprus and Greece leaves both the Turks and the Palestinians out. While Gaza faces a critical energy crisis with electricity reduced to less than three hours a day; Israel aims to collect billions of dollars from a significant natural gas reserve located off the Gaza shore and well within Palestinian territorial water (assuming such a term exist).

          What the (((Deep State))) Looks Like..and it's not pretty   
Like the overall pic, but to show Herr Trump as not being part of the ((Swamp))) is misleading.

I'm no fan of Trump, but the USG, the (((FED))) and Wall Street are so vast, corrupt and out-of-control that NO ONE could prevent the next planned Wall Street implosion from hitting the fan. Might be good in the long run, IF Congress starts prosecuting the ones guilty of the frauds and thefts that is tearing apart the USA. Like Iceland did after the 2008 Crash, they refused to pay off the bank's debts, tossed many bankers in jail and now their economy is doing just fine.

But don't ever point out (((who))) is behind all these Wall Street frauds and Ponzi schemes, why that's anti-Semitic!

And their Congressional lackeys are working overtime to criminalize ANY criticism of Israel and her Wall Street con artists who have been looting TRILLIONS from Americans for decades.

What does this ((Deep State))) Have Planned for their American Goyim?
In Kharkov the priest Dmitri was undressed. When he tried to make the sign of the cross, a Chekist cut off his right hand. Several sources tell how the Chekists in Kharkov placed the victims in a row and nailed their hands to a table, cut around their wrists with a knife, poured boiling water over the hands and pulled the skin off. This was called “pulling off the glove”. In other places, the victim’s head was placed on an anvil and slowly crushed with a steam hammer. Those due to undergo the same punishment the next day were forced to watch.

The eyes of church dignitaries were poked out, their tongues were cut off and they were buried alive. There were Chekists who used to cut open the stomachs of their victims, following which they pulled out a length of the small intestine and nailed it to a telegraph pole and, with a whip, forced the unlucky victim to run circles around the pole until the whole intestine had been unravelled and the victim died. The bishop of Voronezh was boiled alive in a big pot, after which the monks, with revolvers aimed at their heads, were forced to drink this soup.

Other Chekists crushed the heads of their victims with special headscrews, or drilled them through with dental tools. The upper part of the skull was sawn off and the nearest in line was forced to eat the brain, following which the procedure would be repeated to the end of the line. The Chekists often arrested whole families and tortured the children before the eyes of their parents, and the wives before their husbands. Mikhail Voslensky, a former Soviet functionary, described some of the cruel methods used by the Chekists in his book “Nomenklatura” / “Nomenclature” (Stockholm, 1982, p. 321):

“In Kharkov, people were scalped. In Voronezh, the torture victims were placed in barrels into which nails were hammered so that they stuck out on the inside, upon which the barrels were set rolling. A pentacle (usually a five-pointed star formerly used in magic) was burned into the foreheads of the victims. In Tsaritsyn and Kamyshin, the hands of victims were amputated with a saw. In Poltava and Kremenchug, the victims were impaled. In Odessa, they were roasted alive in ovens or ripped to pieces. In Kiev, the victims were placed in coffins with a decomposing body and buried alive, only to be dug up again after half an hour.” Lenin was dissatisfied with these reports and demanded: “Put more force into the terror!”

To find out more, read Jura Lina's excellent book, "Under the Sign of the Scorpion, that is online!



          The World Will not Know Peace Until the Last Zionist is Strangled with the Entrails of the Last Central Banker   
“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants – but debt is the money of slaves.” Norm Franz
...Where do you think America is at on that scale?


The FED must be destroyed and the TRILLIONS they have stolen, 'clawed' back to the American people.


The One Bank

The One Bank, Revisited

If you've seen the excellent doc on Bernie Madoff, "Chasing Madoff," its obvious that he was protected by someone very high up in DC, as evidenced by the repeated attempts by Harry Markopolos to alert the SEC, FBI and then the MSM about Madoff's frauds for over NINE years and each time, being rebuffed.
So was Lynch and Comey--both NY DA's at one time--helping to protect Madoff, who looted over 80 billion, with some/most of that money being laundered to Israel?


Here's the cure for the thieving, murdering, back-stabbing central bankers!
(P.S. Apologies to Denis Diderot for updating his saying)



          Reaction continues to pour down on administration budget   

Conservation programs dealt heavy blow in new administration budget plan.

The Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget proposal makes widespread cuts in USDA’s farm and nutrition programs, but few of them could be of more long-lasting effect than those aimed at the Agriculture Department’s conservation efforts.

According to a review by the USA Rice Federation, the Trump blueprint would reduce USDA conservation spending by more than $5 billion at a time when farmers are making greater use of the programs to improve conservation of land and water resources.

USA Rice leaders said the budget calls for a $100-million reduction in spending for Conservation Operations, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service account that funds conservation planning and technical assistance throughout the country, and elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

The budget clearly picks winners and losers. “It’s almost as if someone went down a list and Xed out every other program,” said one observer not connected with USA Rice. “There appears to be very little rhyme or reason to what they did.”

Some are beginning to question how much, if any, input USDA had into the budget released by the White House Office of Management and Budget on May 23. The administration claims the $4.1-trillion budget will increase economic growth by 3 percent, an overly optimistic estimate, according to most economists.

'My job to implement'

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue seemed resigned to trying to make the budget proposal work at USDA without giving it a ringing endorsement in the statement he released after the budget proposal was distributed.

“President Trump promised he would realign government spending, attempt to eliminate duplication of redundancy and see that all government agencies are efficiently delivering services to the taxpayers,” he said. “And that’s exactly what we are going to do at USDA.

“Having been the governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011 – not during the best economic times – we did what it took to get the job done…. Whatever form the final budget takes, it is my job as secretary of agriculture to manage and implement  that plan, while still fulfilling the core mission of USDA.”

USA Rice officials noted the president’s budget has “received a rough reception from the agriculture community since it appears to gut programs important to his core ag-based constituency and leans disproportionately heavily on agriculture to find ‘savings.’”

They said the budget does appear to pick winner and losers with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQUIP receiving a $250-million bump and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) getting a $450-million annual increase.

CSP, RCPP get the axe

“The losers are the Conservation Stewardship Program – no new sign ups – the Regional Conservation Partnership Program – eliminated – and a few cuts to the Conservation Reserve Program,” USA Rice said. “In addition, there is a new Adjusted Gross Income for conservation programs of $500,000 vs. the current $900,000.”

While the “proposed increase in funding for EQIP is warranted, the proposal appears to pay for the increase by scaling CSP down and eliminating RCPP, both of which are important programs for rice production and the habitat rice farms provide for migrating waterfowl,” said Louisiana rice farmer Jeff Durand, who co-chairs the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership.

“The administration says they are attempting to better target conservation funding, but what they're really doing is arbitrarily gutting programs that work – for both the environment – specifically for wildlife habitat and water quality – and for growers who are facing staggeringly tough times and use these programs to pursue sustainability goals,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs.

The National Sorghum Producers and other farm organizations responding to the administration proposal demanded to know why agriculture is being asked to shoulder more cuts in farm programs when it’s already contributing to deficit reduction.

“In view of the hard times in farm and ranch country and the fact the current farm bill is on target to save taxpayers $104 billion, National Sorghum Producers urges Congress to craft a responsible budget that will enable the agriculture committees to develop and pass a strong farm bill on time,” said NSP Chairman Don Bloss, a sorghum producer from Pawnee City, Neb.

'Express disapproval'

Bloss encouraged his members to contact their House members and senators and express disappointment and disapproval of the administration’s budget proposal.

One provision in the Trump budget would eliminate the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The ARPA-E has invested nearly $90 million in sorghum over the last two years, including a $30-million commitment for research into the use of sorghum as a model feedstock through the Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture program.

The Sorghum Producers also cited the elimination of the Foreign Market Development Program and Market Access Program as a major problem in the budget proposal. “These programs help leverage investment in promoting sorghum in international market places through organizations like the U.S. Grains Council,” it said.

Ag Exports Count, a group of organizations representing farmers and ranchers, fishermen and forest product producers, cooperatives, small businesses, regional trade organizations and the state Departments of Agriculture, says the MAP and FMD programs contributed to a $2.1-billion increase in farm cash income from 2002 to 2014.

The National Corn Growers Association was also critical of the budget, which it said appeared to be calling on Congress to renege on promises it made during the drafting and passage of the 2014 farm bill.

Wait for new farm bill

“The time and place to debate farm bill programs is during the farm bill reauthorization, not the annual budget process,” the NCGA said in a statement. “The farm bill represents a five-year commitment to America’s farmers and ranchers, which Congress made in 2014. We are counting on Congress to honor that commitment.”

The Corn Growers said its members believe targeting the federal crop insurance program is “extremely shortsighted. It is especially harmful during an extended period of low commodity prices. Our members consistently tell us that crop insurance is their most important risk management tool.”


          Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization   
Connectivity is the most revolutionary force of the 21st century. Mankind is reengineering the planet, investing up to 10 trillion dollars per year in transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure linking the world’s burgeoning megacities together. This has profound consequences for geopolitics, economics, demographics, the environment, and social identity. Connectivity, not geography, is our destiny. In […]
          Number of millionaire households in 2020 projected to be over 66 million which would be about double the 33 million in 2011   
Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Deloitte and Oxford Economics had a count and projection of wealthy households in 2011. The total wealth of millionaire households in the 25 economies included in this study is forecast to grow from $92 trillion in 2011 to $202 trillion in 2020. The aggregate wealth of millionaire …
          The Fiscal Challenge of an Aging Population in the U.S.   

The Fiscal Challenge of an Aging Population in the U.S.

sc87 Mon, 06/01/2015 - 17:10
Sewin Chan
In The Oxford Handbook of Work and Aging, edited by Jerry W. Hedge and Walter C. Borman. Oxford University Press, 2012.
-

This chapter examines the fiscal challenge posed by the aging of the U.S. population. We summarize the likely future of U.S. demographics, focusing on the evolution of the dependency ratio. We describe the main U.S. government programs related to aging and assess their fiscal positions. Forecasts for the unfunded liabilities in these programs exceed $40 trillion. We provide a review of economic theory useful for understanding the likely economic impact of budget deficits. We evaluate the fiscal adjustment that is likely to be needed given the 2009 status of the U.S. fiscal position and predicted demographic changes: it is likely to be approximately 8% of GDP, which, while large, is an adjustment that has been managed by many countries in the past. Finally, we provide a brief survey of potential policies to address the fiscal challenge of aging, and of economic research evaluating such policies.

Wagner Faculty

          Client and Account Documentation Specialist   
IL-Chicago, RESPONSIBILITIES: Kforce has a client seeking a Client and Account Documentation Specialist in Chicago, Illinois (IL). Summary: This is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion, over 235,000 employees and operations in over 60 countries. It operates across four business segments including Asset & Wealth Management, Corporate and Investment Banking Commercial Banking, C
          Salesforce1   

Back in July, I wrote

[An] excellent example of the importance of the Industrial Internet comes from Salesforce.com use of The Social Machine by Digi International and its Etherios business unit, in bringing sensor data into customer relationship management [CRM] by allowing sensors embedded in industrial refrigerators, hot tubs, and heavy and light equipment of all types to open SFDC chatter sessions and to file cases.

At Dreamforce 2013, Salesforce.com is announcing Salesforce1, their new Internet of Customers ecosystem, bringing together Force.com, Heroku, and ExactTarget FUEL platforms under a united series of APIs controlled by the Salesforce1 App.

Today and tomorrow, Dreamforce is all about the Internet of Things, and I'll be providing my analyses of how SFDC is building out it's massive existing ecosystem of parnters, services and customers into Marc Benioff's evolving vision of the Internet of the Customer. The message here, is how Salesforce1 is ready today to prepare their customers to leverage the opportunities presented by the Internet of Things today. As Cisco states, over a trillion dollars in added value was left on the table this year by companies not taking advantage of IoT. For 2014, SFDC's customers won't have an excuse to leave this money behind.

One challenge for Salesforce1 is its dependence on partners for analytics. Are SFDC partners ready to help in bringing the Internet of Customers to full potential through connected analytics? How will IBM's MQTT, Smarter, and Cognitive Computing, Oracle's Device-to-Data-Center, Teradata's Hub for Monetizing the IoT, Infobright's M2M optimized ADBMS, and many other data management & analytics initiatives focused on M2M and M2H data fit in?

Will Salesforce1 create or be integrated into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems, with the necessary marketplaces for raw, processed and insights from M2M & M2H data? SFCD has never been up to the challenge of analytics in the past. While there are many general BI and Analytics partners, SFDC specific analytics firms have come and gone. Salesforce1 is a broader concept and brings SFDC into a future beyond salesforce automation and customer relationship management.

You can hear more about Salesforce1 on this YouTube video, peruse the official Salesforce1 page, and read a more general account of Salesforce1 by R. Ray Wang.

The IoT Keynote at Dreamforce today, and the packed sessions on IoT will answer some of these questions. I'll be providing my analysis of how well these questions are answered in an Event Report blog post after the close of Dreamforce 2013.


          What Does IoT all mean?   

The number of articles about the Internet of Things [IoT], Machine-to-Machine communication [M2M], the Industrial Internet, the Internet of Everything [IoE] and the like have been increasing since I wrote my post introducing my IoT mindmap almost a year ago. I learn from some of them, some I nod sagely in agreement, and others cause me to scratch my head in confusion. One in particular this last week fell in that last category, when they claimed that all the terms listed here all mean the same thing.

From my reading, briefings and research over the past year, I've come to a different conclusion. The following definitions are my opinion. I can't say that any authority has certified these definitions. I believe them to be accurate, and if any vendor with an interest in any of these definitions strongly agree or disagree, I would be very much interested in talking with you.

Types

The first thing to be considered is Machine-to-Machine communication. M2M is really just one of four types of interchanges that occur over the Internet, intranets and any command, control, communication, computing or intelligence network. The other types are Human-to-Machine [H2M], Human-to-Human [H2H] and Machine-to-Human [M2H]. H2M and H2H interchanges have been around since the beginning of ARPAnet, which evolved to become the Internet. From the many different protocols at the beginning, such as FTP and Gopher [among many more], two have come to dominate Internet traffic:

  • simple mail transfer protocol [SMTP] at the heart of email, and
  • hypertext transfer protocol [HTTP] at the heart of the world wide web [WWW or Web].

Every transaction made using a computer: online transaction process [OLTP] electronic data interchange [EDI], and eCommerce; every purchase you make at your favorite web store, is an example of H2M.

Of course, starting with email [still the dominant form of communication over the Internet and for businesses and individuals] and expanding to Twiter, Facebook, Waze, Yelp, Foursquare, Yammer, all the various instant messaging networks, voice over Internet protocol [VoIP] and your favorite public or private social network, we have many examples of Internet enabled H2H communication.

These two, H2M and H2H, have become so prevalent, and so important to business, governments and our personal life, that the over-hyped phenomenon "Big Data" was born. But the importance and pervasiveness of M2M, and soon, M2H data will swamp the so-called data tsunami of the past decade. Predictive maintenance, building automation, elastic provisioning, machine logs, software "phoning home" and automated decision support systems are all good examples of direct M2M interchanges where one sensor, device, embedded computer or system has a productive exchange with another such machine, without concurrent human intervention. Self-quantification, gamification, personalized medicine and augmented reality [AR] are all early examples of M2H interchanges, where sensors, devices, embedded computers or system directly provides relevant information to an individual, allowing for better informed decisions.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton. Since then, the term has come to mean any device that is connected to the Internet. Most people don't consider computers, routers, edge equipment and other Internet infrastructure hardware to be a "device", and usually exclude such hardware from consideration as a thing that uses that infrastructure. For many, the devices are only smart phones, feature phones and tablets. This has led to predictions by Cisco and GSMA to declare that there will be 30 to 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. However, even these organizations, and most people with whom I speak who have skin in the IoT game, feel that my own prediction of one trillion devices connected to the Internet by 2020 is more likely. These devices span from individual, but connected sensors, to heavy machinery. However, as companies come out with Tweeting diapers, glowing clothing and other such silliness, the Internet of Things is in danger of becoming a fad. So, what is the Internet of Things? To my mind, the Internet of Things comprises any sensor, embedded sensor, embedded computer, component, package, sub-system, systems, or System that is connected to the Internet and intended to have meaningful interchanges with other such items and with humans. The Internet of Things primarily uses M2M and increasingly M2H interchange.

Smarter Planet

The first treatment of the IoT as large, complex system, to which I was exposed was at networking event in 2008… One of those events where IBM was introducing their new initiative for a Smarter Planet. The Smarter Planet brings complex systems such as the Smart Grid, building automation across facilities, water management, traffic management, Smarter Cities and Smarter Farms under one System. One approach and one initiative that raises the IoT to a new level of importance for world governments, global businesses and individuals from the poorest village to the most cosmopolitan city. The Smarter Planet initiatives go beyond IoT, beyond the individual things, to treating all such things, the Internet, the protocols, process and policies as one very large, complex, possibly cognate system.

Industrial Internet

The Industrial Internet is a term coined by General Electric [GE] in 2011. At a very simple level, the Industrial Internet can be thought of connected industrial control systems. But the impact is much more complex, and much more significant. The first thing to be realized is that connected sensors and computing power will be embedded in everything, from robots and conveyor belts on the factory floor, to tractors and irrigation on the farm, from heavy equipment to hand drills, from jet engines to bus fleets; every piece of equipment, everywhere. The Industrial Internet also primarily uses M2M and M2H. While this sounds much like the Internet of Things, the purpose is much different. The Industrial Internet is about changing business processes and making data the new coin of the realm. GE is very serious about the Industrial Internet, and while they don't use the term yet, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems. Data Marketplaces are rapidly becoming core to GEs businesses, as proven by their recent 140 million dollar investment in Pivotal, the new Big Data Platform as a Service [PaaS] by EMC. Another excellent example of the importance of the Industrial Internet comes from Salesforce.com use of The Social Machine by Digi International and its Etherios business unit, in bringing sensor data into customer relationship management [CRM] by allowing sensors embedded in industrial refrigerators, hot tubs, and heavy and light equipment of all types to open SFDC chatter sessions and to file cases.

Internet of Everything

Cisco has recently started two initiatives related to the IoT, the Internet of Everything [IoE] and Fog Computing. IoE seeks to bring together H2H, H2M, M2M and H2H interchanges. On June 19th of this year, Cisco introduced their IoE Value Index [link to PDF]. By bringing together people, processes, data, and things, and with some impressive research to back it up, Cisco feels that the IoE, in 2013, could bring 1.2 Trillion Dollars in added value, and by 2022, 14.4 Trillion dollars in added market value to business around the world. Fog Computing tends more to the infrastructure of the IoE, bringing the concepts of Cloud Computing, such as distributed computing and elastic provisioning, to the edge of the network, with an emphasis on wireless connectivity, streaming data, and heterogeneity.

Industry Overview

While some of the above are corporate initiatives, they each represent important and distinct concepts. In addition to these from IBM, Cisco, GE, EMC and Salesforce.com, there are other initiatives and products, in this sphere, coming from HP, Oracle, SAP, MuleSoft, SnapLogic, Nuance, Splunk, Mocana, Evrythng, Electric Imp, Quirky, reelyActive, Ayla, SmartThings, Withings, Fitbit, Jawbone including BodyMedia, Nike, Basis, Cohda Wireless, AT&T, Verizon, Huawei, Orange, Belkin, DropCam, Gravity Jack, Alcatel-Lucent, and Siemens. Platforms, software, sensor packages and services, are being developed by a wide variety of innovative companies:

These innovative companies, and others, are implementing one or more of these concepts in a variety of ways. As I stated at the beginning, I don't think that these concepts are the same. While the IoT was first named 14 years ago, it is still early days in its implementation. There are many ways that the Internet of Things might evolve, and many missteps that could lead the IoT to be a passing fancy, leaving some important changes in its wake, but never reaching its full potential. I think there is one way, and one way only, that all of the concepts and initiatives will come together and change everything that we do, how we make decisions, how we think about ourselves, how governments make policy, how businesses make money: The Sensor Analytics Ecosystem [SAE]. Here's a tease of a mindmap giving a hint of what I mean by the SAE. Look for my upcoming report "Sensor Analytics as an Ecosystem" and a series of research reports delving into each area introduced therein. The companies listed above are building out parts of the SAE, and will feature heavily in these reports.


          The Internet of Things and Change   

Will You Be Ready For the M2M World?

The Internet of Things, the Connected World, the Smart Planet… All these terms indicate that the number of devices connected to, communicating through, and building relationships on the Internet has exceeded the number of humans using the Internet. But what does this really mean? Is it about the number of devices, and what devices? Is it about the data, so much data, so fast, so disparate, that will make current big data look like teeny-weeny data?

I think that it's about change: the way we live our lives, the way we conduct business, the way we walk down a street, drive a car, or think about relationships. All will change over the next decade:

  1. Sensors are everywhere. The camera at the traffic light and overseeing the freeway; those are sensors. That new bump in the parking space and new box on the street lamp; those are sensors. From listening for gun shots to monitoring a chicken coop, sensors are cropping up in every area of your life.
  2. Machine to Machine [M2M] relationships will generate connected data that will affect every aspect of your life. Connected Data will be used to fine-tune predictives that will prevent crimes, anticipate your next purchase and take over control of your car to avoid traffic jams. The nascent form of this is already happening: Los Angeles and Santa Cruz police are using PredPol to predict & prevent crimes, location aware ads popping up in your favorite smartphone apps, and Nevada and California are giving driver licenses to robotic cars.
  3. Sustainability isn't about saving the planet, it's about saving money. Saving the planet, reducing dependence on polluting energy sources and reducing waste in landfills are all good things, but they aren't part of the fiduciary responsibilities of most executives. However, Smart Buildings, recycling & composting, and Green IT all increase a company's bottom line and that does fall under every executive's fiduciary goals.

Making Sense of Inter-Connectedness - Introducing My Internet of Things Mind Map

As you can tell from the mindmap associated with this post, I've been thinking about the Internet of things quite a bit lately. It's a natural progression for me. I'm fascinated by all the new sensors, the Connected Data [you heard it here first] that will swamp Big Data, the advances in data management and analytics that will be needed, the impact upon policy and regulation, and the vision of the people and companies bringing about the Internet of Things. But more, as I've been reading and thinking about the SmartPlanet, SmartCities, SmartGrid and SmartPhones, and that ConnectedData, I realized that I can never look at the world around me in the same way again.

Let's look at some of the "facts" [read guesses] that have been written about the IoT.

Looking to the future, Cisco IBSG predicts there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020. From The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything by Dave Evans, April 2011 [links to PDF]

Between 2011 and 2020 the number of connected devices globally will grow from 9 billion to 24 billion as the benefit of connecting more and varied devices is realised. The Connected Life: A USD4.5 trillion global impact in 2020, [links to PDF] February 2012 by Machine Research for the GSMA.

Two different estimates, one of 24 billion devices of many different types, connected by wireless broadband, and one of 50 billion mobile devices using different types of cellular networks, all by the year 2020. And neither of these estimates include the trillions of other types of things that will deployed over the next eight years. Trillions, not billions, using a variety of personal, local, and wide-area wireless networks.

My Focus Starts at The Intersection of Sensors, Analytics and Smart Cities, with Energy Management and Sustainability

One of the things that will change over time is the way that I look at the Internet of Things. All of it is interesting. But for now, I'll be focusing on the intersection of Sensors, Analytics and Smart Cities, with Energy Management and Sustainability.

Count RFID, Zigbee, MEMS, Smartdust and more traditional sensors, Robots, autonomous vehicles, Healthcare monitors, Smart Meters and more, being distributed in cities, cars, factories, trains, farms, planes, animals and people, and the number of connected devices in 2020 will be in the trillions. Data generated by less than one billion humans using the Internet a few times a day swamped traditional data management & analytics systems, spawning "Big Data". Trillions of devices updating ConnectedData every few nanoseconds will indeed change everything.

Of paramount importance moving forward is determining how to extract business, personal and social value from the intersections, interfaces and interstices of the infrastructure, connected data, objects and people building relationships through the Internet of Things.

Come join me as I look at this convergence and the business impact ahead of us.


          2016 Trump Attacks 2015 Trump's Tax Plan, Proposes $7 Trillion In Tax Increases   
The Presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump was marred by infighting earlier today, with2016 Trump ripping thetax proposal set forth by2015 Trump, alleging that the plan favored therich, unfairly benefitted big business, and recklessly added trillions to the deficit. "Sad," 2016 Trump added. OK, fine...that didn't happen, but would it really [...]
          Fiscal 2016 saw Japan’s first tax revenue decline in seven years   
Japan’s tax revenue totaled around ¥55.5 trillion ($495 billion) in fiscal 2016, down from ¥56.29 trillion in fiscal 2015, sources said Wednesday, marking the first ...
          Comment on How does diabetes lead to so many other problems? by Cmd Ok na dok   
Diabetes is not being addicted to sugar but its a condition caused by the shortage of water in the body or simply dehydration. Dehydration is caused by the lack of its intake or by taking substances that cause one to pass out more urine than the amount of water intake such as caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and alcoholic beverages and some diuretic drugs used in hypertension. The central nervous system is the body's electrical company. Electrical impulses run through nerves. The brain being the main organ of this system requires much energy to function. Since it deals with electrical impulses, it needs much water. water is not only a good source of energy but is also a very good conductor of electricity. The brain is immersed into water called the cerebrospinal fluid. When the volume of this fluid decreases, there is a concomitant decrease in the energy supply to the brain to function optimally. Like the power plants that seek alternative sources for energy/power such as solar energy, wind, coal, diesel, geothermal and nuclear, the body will also rely on alternative sources. This alternative source happens to be blood sugar. However, normal blood sugar levels will not be sufficient to adequately supply energy since only 20% of the total circulation is delivered to the head where the brain lies. The remaining 80% is delivered to the organs below the neck. Size wise, the head is only 1/8 of the total body length and the blood supply is commensurate to its size. To compensate for this low sugar levels, the brain will dictate upon the pancreas, the organ that manufactures insulin, not to release insulin. Insulin is the hormone required for the 100 trillion body cells to absorb blood sugar and in its absence,except for brain cells, the cells cannot take up sugar, and the sugar that is absorbed after food intake remains in the blood and thus increases its level. Example is: the normal fasting blood sugar is between 3-6 mmol/L. 20% of this amount is 0.6-1.2 mmol/L. The figure is way off the 3 and 6 and is definitely inadequate to supply additional energy source for the water depleted brain. An increase in blood sugar levels, let's say 8 mmol/L (20% = 1.6) 1.6 is higher than 1.2 and is more favorable for the brain as additional source of energy. So the amount of sugar that increases in the blood will depend on how much water is depleted from the brain. This is the reason why diabetics are quenching for more water than seeking for more food. When the levels of sugar remains elevated, tryptophan, an amino acid, decreases. This amino acid is necessary for minerals, sugar, water and other amino acids (proteins) be utilized by the cells. The depletion of nutrients by the cells will cause their deterioration. If the cells involved are heart cells, heart failure occurs. If they are kidney cells, then kidney failure happens. If they involve the eyes, blindness and if they involve the cells in the foot, gangrene. Increased levels of sugar will also increase the concentration of the blood where it attracts water from the cells adjacent to the blood vessels to move into the blood vessels so more water could be delivered to the brain. This further causes the cells to shrink and die leading to more complications. So to correct diabetes, begin with simple rehydration at the amount of 50 ml/kg/day. Remember the human body is at least 70% water. The common concept of 8-10 glasses a day is wrong and misleading since human beings come in different sizes/weights. Drink water only since it is the only fluid that the body needs. Avoid other commercial beverages. Just like the gasoline run engine, one won't put diesel fuel in it especially now that the price of fuel has risen. Every machine has its own specifications for it to function efficiently and so does the human body, the most complex of all machines.
          (HUN-Budapest) Junior Database Manager   
BlackRock is one of the world’s preeminent asset management firms and a premier provider of global investment management, risk management and advisory services to institutional, intermediary, and individual investors around the world\. BlackRock offers a range of solutions — from rigorous fundamental and quantitative active management approaches aimed at maximizing outperformance to highly efficient indexing strategies designed to gain broad exposure to the world’s capital markets\. Our clients can access our investment solutions through a variety of product structures, including individual and institutional separate accounts, mutual funds and other pooled investment vehicles, and the industry\-leading iShares® ETFs\. **Description:** At BlackRock we are building something great in Budapest, our new global technology and Innovation hub, where we want to shape a culture in which challenge, development and innovation happen every day\. The Global Digital Team is a fast\-growing global function at BlackRock which seeks to engage a multi\-trillion\-dollar audience of investors, advisors and institutions with our diverse range of investment products\. We are at the centre of a company\-wide focus on expanding our footprint in the digital space and we operate at the intersection of design, technology and data\. We are constantly driving digital innovation across the domains of web, mobile apps, data models and analytics; while simultaneously driving their implementation, scale and local adaptations globally\. **Role Description:** We are looking for an Analyst – Junior Database Manager to join our new Innovation Hub and report into the Vice President of Data Management & Insights in Budapest\. You will be responsible for managing a next\-generation data platform that will transform how we manage data and operationalise insights across the business\. You will support our strategy, modernise our data architecture and be responsible for a smooth transition into the implementation of global platform enhancements\. As a skilled technician, we are looking for someone with the ability to excel in an environment with little certainty but lots of opportunity\. You will be part of a team which is innovating our marketing database, client models and lead scoring algorithms, working in agile squads alongside highly skilled global Product Owners, web/mobile developers and marketers based in our other development centres \(NYC and London\)\. The role involves process understanding and technology knowledge with an attention to detail to frame and design creative solutions to complex issues\. **Key job responsibilities** • Technical expert within a team of data analysts, statisticians and engineers • Partner with global data capability leads prioritise the roadmap and build towards the optimal system architecture across our data lake, modelling sandbox and real\-time decision environment\. • Team up with integration specialists and engineers to deliver expected service levels • Run our core marketing database which underpins all of our marketing campaigns and web/mobile interfaces\. • Overcome and smoothly handle technical disaster recovery scenarios, release and outage protocols\. **What we are looking for:** • 1\-2 years of work experience • Technical aptitude: experience in Windows, Linux, SQL, and Java preferred • Familiarity with SQL, stored procedures, triggers in MS SQL Server or Sybase • Relentless desire for understanding how processes work\. Creativity in solving unconventional problems • Adaptability and resiliency when overcoming challenges • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Computer Science or related field • Identifies risk areas and potential improvements in an existing process or function • Assists with trouble shooting during parallels and go\-lives • Team player able to collaborate and foster a culture of co\-creation\. **Job Function:** _Marketing/Communications_ **Organization:** _Global Marketing\-Digital_ **Title:** _Junior Database Manager_ **Primary Location:** _EMEA\-Hungary\-Budapest_ **Requisition ID:** _172012_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 28, 2017, 8:02:42 AM_
          (USA-NY-New York) Administrative Assistant   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock Within Business Operations, BlackRock Data Services \(‘BDS’\) ensures that all information necessary for the investment management process, as well as portfolio and client servicing, is complete, accurate, timely and effectively controlled\. BDS provides information services and solutions in support of all BlackRock and BlackRock Solutions businesses\. Our mission is to enable internal and external clients to manage their business by providing them with best\-in\-class information services and solutions\. **Team Overview** As the Administrative Assistant, you’ll bring a proactive and positive attitude in your regular engagement with all BlackRock staff and visitors\. You will be responsible for the smooth running of the office ensuring a good working environment for all staff and visitors\. The role is an integral part of the BlackRock Data Services team, and provides support to the Head of BlackRock Data Services in New York and other senior executive staff\. In addition, the role works closely in a community of other Assistants across BlackRock and will from time\-to\-time be required to provide cover to support the absence of other Administrative Assistants\. **Role Responsibility** + Primarily supporting the Head of BlackRock Data Services in setting up meetings, diary management and travel arrangements + Travel Coordination and diary support for Senior staff + First point of contact for senior visitors and logistical support for events + Provide ongoing support to the BlackRock Data Services management team, scheduling and logistical management of regular meetings, off sites and training programs + Expense and invoice management + Assisting in production of papers for meetings + Take minutes at meetings, create agendas and circulate papers as required; maintain action log + Be an active member of the BlackRock Data Services team and provide ad\-hoc support to broader team as required and appropriate **Development Value:** This role is a great opportunity for someone who wants to work within a fast paced and global financial services company\. You will play a key role in representing our team to senior leaders of the business and in demonstrating a professional approach to our clients and internal partners\. BlackRock also supports and encourages career progression\. You will be working with a supportive management team keen to help identify and reach your career aspirations\. **Experience** + Experience working as an assistant or administration role\. Exposure to the financial services industry an advantage\. + Attention to detail essential + Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential + Highly organized and with excellent personal time management; able to juggle priorities + Strong working knowledge of Microsoft office \- in particular PowerPoint, Excel and Word + Ability to work effectively in a team environment – adaptable, reliable with a strong ‘can do attitude’ + Ability to interact with and develop relationships with all levels **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **Job Function:** _Operations_ **Organization:** _Tech & Ops\-Business Operations_ **Title:** _Administrative Assistant_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-New York_ **Requisition ID:** _171939_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 27, 2017, 11:00:00 PM_
          (USA-NJ-Princeton) Divisional Sales Desk Manager   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock Within the Client Businesses Group, we pride ourselves on creating, communicating and delivering investment solutions for clients worldwide\. To that end, we have teams of professionals with expertise in the many functions that combine to make this effort successful and sustainable\. These functions include relationship management, marketing, sales, client service, product development and management\. We serve institutional and retail clients in more than 60 countries, including pension funds, foundations, endowments, official institutions, insurance companies, sub\-advisory relationships, high net worth individuals, family offices and private banks\. Further, we work to cultivate relationships with key distributors of our investment products, such as broker\-dealers, banks, registered investment advisers, financial planners, insurance companies and building societies\. Alternative Investments, Cash Management, Financial Institutions, Global Consultant Relations, International, Institutional Product & Investment Communications, Private Client, Real Estate, Capital Markets, Pensions/Tax\-Exempt, and Wealth Management are some of the key global product units, client business units, and global cross\-channel teams that together form BlackRock’s premier Client Businesses Group\. Role Description: As a Divisional Sales Desk Manager, you will lead a team of Outbound Sales Professionals\. In addition, you will partner with all levels of management across the US Retail Global Client Group to support sales goals and help drive strategic initiatives\. Responsibilities: + Manage a team of Investment Professionals to generate results and work towards sales goals\. Sales team primarily focused on advisors in the Independent Channel but may grow to other channels as team evolves\. + Leadership/Coaching of multiple roles within team\. \(Internals, Hybrids\) + Provide on\-going coaching, training and feedback to enhance the effectiveness of IMAs + Collaborate and strategize with Sales desk leadership to implement and drive effective internal and external partnerships + Foster and create an environment conducive to teamwork + Conduct team meetings and discussions to facilitate idea sharing/best practices and improve sales acumen + Assist in coordinating sales desk initiatives; including territory management, thematic selling and team effectiveness + Participate in the recruitment and interviewing of sales desk candidates + Represent the sales desk through presentations and client meetings + Minimal travel required Skills and Qualifications: + Minimum 3 years of Sales Management experience + 5 years relevant financial services and/or asset management experience + Leadership experience with proven ability to motivate team members in a sales capacity + Series 24 will be required, in addition to Series 7 and 66 + Ability to multitask and work under tight time constraints + Bachelor’s degree required \(MBA, CIMA, CFP, CRPS, ARPC a plus\) + Sales acumen and wholesaling experience preferred + Good comprehension of the retail distribution process + Strong written and oral communication skills + Ability to adopt and implement new technologies quickly + Strong familiarity with computer applications \(i\.e\. Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, etc\.\) + Excellent listening and profiling skills + Demonstrate understanding of capital markets across all facets + Client focused with the ability to delegate responsibilities + Strong interpersonal, organizational, time management and problem solving skills + Previous experience with financial analytics software \(Morningstar, PSN, Zephyr, Coates, FI 360\) a plus **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **Job Function:** _Sales/Relationship Management_ **Organization:** _US Wealth Advisory_ **Title:** _Divisional Sales Desk Manager_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-Princeton_ **Requisition ID:** _171934_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 28, 2017, 11:34:36 AM_
          (USA-DE-Wilmington) Software Developer   
BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock **Description:** Client Systems \(CS\) is responsible for building innovative solutions that ensure that client investment instructions and flows are captured, processed for use by the investment teams and reported Our solutions are used by both BlackRock and external clients and include web portals, user interfaces, file processing, exception monitoring and reporting suites all written in Java and associated technologies\. CS works closely with operations, portfolio managers and sales teams to understand requirements and deliver solutions on the Aladdin platform that will make a difference to their business models\. This position is for a java developer in the APG CS – Client Flows team\. This team within CS provides technology solutions to support the flows of cash and orders into Aladdin from Transfer Agents, external clients and Portfolio Managers including advanced controls and configuration tools to manage the process\. Following the implementation of some new core functionality on Aladdin last year, the team is embarking on its next mission to create new products to exploit the platform for new data and processes with the goal of further automation of the end to end business process\. CS is a globally integtrated team with team members in Delaware, London, Gurgaon, Singapore,\.San Francisco and Sydney The purpose of this role is to analyse, build, test and implement Java based solutions on Aladdin to enhance the platform for the capture and reporting of client flows\. + Working alongside business users and members of the development team to understand the business processes to develop best\-of\-breed solutions\. + Developing applications using several architectures including multi\-tier/client\-server and technologies such as Java,Spring, Hibernate, Sybase SQL, and web technologies\. + Working alongside project managers, technical leads and analysts throughout the whole Software Development lifecycle: understanding systems requirements, design, development, testing, deployment and documentation\. + Providing production support on existing systems and resolving operational issues while working with other support and development staff located across the globe\. + Building strong relationships with the business through delivery, communication and domain knowledge\. Qualifications: + Hands\-on experience in a Java / J2EE development team using Spring, JPA/Hibernate, Multi\-threading and messaging protocols + Hands on experience with REST web services, HTML, CSS, Javascript \(angular\.js\) + Hands on experience designing and delivering complex, highly scalable distributed software components; + Database experience \(SQL, DDL/DML, data modeling\)\. Sybase experience preferred\. + Knowledge of Continuous Integration, Test Driven Development + Solid understanding of object\-oriented development principles + Able to work in a Unix/Linux environment + Demonstrated interest in finance + Excellent analytical and problem\-solving skills + Strong attention to detail and thoroughness + Demonstrated ability to be a self\-starter and learn quickly + Excellent communication skills to enable clear articulation while working with global team and portfolio managers + Ability to work in a team\-environment + Enjoys a fast\-paced, high\-intensity environment + Candidate must have the ability to quickly learn the intricacies of complex financial instruments and adapt their technical ability quickly **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **Job Function:** _Technology_ **Organization:** _APG\-Sales & Distribution Systems_ **Title:** _Software Developer_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-Wilmington_ **Requisition ID:** _171917_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 27, 2017, 11:00:00 PM_
          (IND-Gurgaon) Analyst, Financial Planning & Analysis   
Overview: BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, _iShares_ ®\(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through _BlackRock Solutions_ ®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\.The iShares brand was launched in 2000 and has since become the leading ETF provider with over $1 trillion in assets under management globally and over 35% US ETF industry market share\. **Description:** Mission of FP&A – FP&A is to be a trusted business partner and an industry thought leader supporting optimization of stakeholder value and act as a fiduciary by ensuring high quality financial reporting and rigorous risk oversight and controls Job Purpose/Background: Responsible for carrying out the activities of FP&A Team, which include regular management reporting, data management, data modeling, supporting expense accrual guidance and forecasting/budgeting and financial analysis Key Responsibilities: + Responsible for preparing and refining data for accrual, re\-class, adjustment, chargeback guidance and analysis of expenses\. Running management reports, including monthly business and financial results to management and businesses + Partner, support and work with FP&A colleagues globally to provide reliable financial data and strategic insight to enable better decision\-making and business performance + Design, implement, troubleshoot and improve processes and tools to enable team to achieve its strategic and business goals + Analyze, track & report actual, budgeted & forecasted financial & HC data related to various businesses by interfacing/coordinating with various systems and functional FP&A contacts Qualifications/Experience: + Commerce Graduate/Post\-graduate plus certification/diploma in computer programming + 1 to 2 years of experience with FP&A or Accounting or Record to Report or Account reconciliation profile + Proficiency in MS Excel, MS Access and VBA/SQL in Microsoft Office + Experience in Finance data management, data modelling, trouble shooting and problem solving + Prior experience in Oracle Accounts Payable or Oracle GL and TM1 + Ability to work with multiple stakeholders and to work effectively in a team environment + Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both locally and across geographies Competencies: + Self\-motivated Team player + Flexible, adaptable and steering change + Excellent attention to detail and accuracy + 'Can\-do' attitude + Good verbal and written communication skillsNote: Candidates should be willing to do 2pm to 11pm shift\. \(Company cab will be provided for pick up & drop\) BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer—M/F/D/V **Job Function:** _Accounting/Finance/Tax_ **Organization:** _FIN\-Financial Planning & Analysis_ **Title:** _Analyst, Financial Planning & Analysis_ **Primary Location:** _Asia Pacific\-India\-Gurgaon_ **Requisition ID:** _171601_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 27, 2017, 11:00:00 PM_
          (USA-CA-San Francisco) VP- Quantitative Investment Researcher / Portfolio Manager   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock **Quantitative Investment Researcher / Portfolio Manager** BlackRock's Model Portfolio Solutions \(MPS\) team develops systematic investment strategies to deliver consistent outperformance for clients seeking tactical, outcome\-oriented, and/or strategic investment solutions\. The team implements these strategies across a global suite of ETFs and active funds\. MPS is one of the fastest growing businesses at BlackRock\. We are seeking a Quantitative Investment Researcher / Portfolio Manager to assist with our original investment research and portfolio management\. The role will involve the development of new investment strategies, portfolio construction, and model / portfolio management\. The successful candidate will possess a passion for creative and critical thinking about financial markets and a desire to be part of a fast\-growing team\. In addition, we’re seeking an individual with strong academic credentials, extensive empirical training, and a willingness to learn\. Work experience in financial markets or at an international organization is a plus\. **Responsibilities** + Carry out original, implementable financial research that forecasts market returns and generates alpha for our clients; + Focus on developing new and improving existing equity forecasting signals incorporating trend, mean reversion and fundamental insights; + Quantitative modeling of global asset allocation strategies, including bonds, equities, currencies and commodities; + Implement these insights in client portfolios and models, using them to deliver investment performance that meets or exceeds client expectations; + Remain up\-to\-date on developments in global financial markets and economics\. **Skills** + Several years of experience in research and development of systematic equities and multi\-asset investment strategies; + Advanced degree in economics, finance, or accounting; + Proficient with quantitative modeling and backtesting using Matlab, Python, and relational databases; + Passion for the successful generation of disciplined investment out\-performance; + Creativity and capability to move ideas to implementable investment insights; + Impeccable character with high ethical and quality standards; + Proven ability to work independently and diligently with limited oversight; + Confidence to credibly represent the firm and to champion new products/ideas internally; + Ability to work in a fast\-paced, team environment where this is a premium on collegiality **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **BlackRock will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of Article 49 of the San Francisco Police Code\.** **Job Function:** _Investment Management \(Trading, Research, Portfolio Management\)_ **Organization:** _Inv\-MAS\-MPS Managed Models_ **Title:** _VP\- Quantitative Investment Researcher / Portfolio Manager_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-San Francisco_ **Requisition ID:** _171821_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 28, 2017, 11:18:35 AM_
          (USA-NY-New York) Global Head of Experiential   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock Reporting directly to BlackRock’s newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer \(CMO\), Frank Cooper, the _Global Head of Experiential_ is a newly created and highly visible position that will be responsible for leading the strategies and overseeing executions of unique, face\-to\-face brand experience to form a memorable and emotional connection between the customers or clients and BlackRock's brands so that it may generate customer loyalty and influence purchase decisions\. The successful candidate will be an inspiring and motivating leader and will have accountability for building a team and developing/retaining talent\. He/she will be a strong critical thinker, collaborator, and innovator who can effectively drive results in a matrix global organization, and who can deliver clarity and direction\. **Key Responsibilities:** + Establish a "center of action" around Experiential Marketing by developing a strategic framework and functional expertise + Manage and lead the BlackRock Events team, designing pre/during/post activations that leverage digital \(social media, online engagement, and digital events\)\. + Work closely with the Insights team to ensure live experiences meet client needs and resonate with BlackRock brand values, in addition to working with BlackRock marketing analytics team to craft an ROI framework for all live experiences\. + Closely collaborate with the Insights, Strategy, COO, Content and Digital pillars of the Marketing organization to ensure delivery of profitable growth\. **Skills & Experience Required:** + A proven leader with 15 years progressive experience leading the Experiential function within world\-class global marketing organizations\. + Executive production across all components – live, content and digital\. + Proven strategic ideation and conceptual abilities\. + Knowledge of Experiential partners \(both traditional and new and up\-and\-coming interactive types\)\. + Brand activations\. + Building interactive experience and technology\. + Vendor management\. + Strong freelancer network\. + Graphic and Brand Design expertise\. + Strong visual identity experience\. + Experience in video production and animation\. **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **Job Function:** _Marketing/Communications_ **Organization:** _Global Marketing\-Experiential_ **Title:** _Global Head of Experiential_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-New York_ **Requisition ID:** _171502_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 27, 2017, 11:00:00 PM_
          (USA-NY-New York) Aladdin Product Management   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock BlackRock Financial Management, Inc\. seeks an Associate, Aladdin Product Management in New York, NY to act as technical product lead for a firm\-wide initiative to centralize all post\-trade processes into a single real\-time monitor in order to create efficiencies within the Trade Operations team\. Req’s: Master’s degree or equivalent in Financial Engineering, Computer Science, Engineering, or a related field of study and three \(3\) years of experience: driving end\-to\-end delivery of a project from inception to development, including testing and ultimate client rollout; performing business and technical analysis such as troubleshooting technical issues reported by end users, financial software design and implementation, and functional testing; optimizing user workflows and streamlining processing through business process re\-engineering; interacting with end\-users to define product requirements and workflows for large scale initiatives; working with Mortgage Trading and Operational workflows including FICC Netting and Settlement services; and utilizing SQL and database relations, JavaScript and Unix\. Please apply directly by clicking on “Apply Online\.” **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **Job Function:** _Product Management_ **Organization:** _APG\-Aladdin Product Mgmt_ **Title:** _Aladdin Product Management_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-New York_ **Requisition ID:** _172031_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 28, 2017, 11:44:10 AM_
          (USA-NY-New York) Global Head of Content   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock BlackRock has built a strong global reputation within the financial services industry as the premier asset management firm\. This brand position and recognition is in large part due to the centralization of and focus on the marketing function as a strategic business driver\. _Toward that end, the BlackRock brand has been increasingly climbing the rank of industry “lists”:_ + 1st time ever on Fortune’s Top 50 World’s Most Admired Companies – including a \#1 ranking in the Asset Management / Securities category\. + \#1 brand by overall reputation among advisors \(FT\) – and the only brand rated as “excellent”\. + \#1 brand in the Fund Buyer Focus survey of fund buyers across 10 European markets for the third year in a row Additionally, BlackRock’s advertising and marketing has won industry awards and recognition including an Effie Award in the corporate reputation category and a nomination for the Ad Campaign of the Year at the Annual Mutual Fund Industry Awards for its “Rethink Your Bonds” campaign\. Further, social media and digital engagement has increased tremendously, including a significant increase in mobile engagement **\.** **Position Overview:** Reporting directly to BlackRock’s newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer \(CMO\), Frank Cooper, the _Global Head of Content_ is a newly created and highly visible position that will be responsible for communicating BlackRock’s truths through great storytelling across multiple platforms\. The successful candidate will be an inspiring and motivating leader and will have accountability for building a team and developing/retaining talent\. He/she will be a strong critical thinker, collaborator, and innovator who can effectively drive results in a matrix global organization, and who can deliver clarity and direction\. **Key Responsibilities:** + Ensure that all the business’s narratives and messages are in support of the content strategies and editorial decisions that are formulated along with the CMO, Communications team and key stakeholders\. + Lead and inspire the development of first\-class content by the content department personnel along with other production means inclusive of videos, infographics, blogs, and data visualization in order to ensure optimal delivery of content to target audiences across multiple channels\. + Develop and oversee an integrated content strategy that encompasses channel selection and focus, editorial governance, and metrics to be applied and aligned with the business’s overall objectives\. + Manage and oversee all of the business’s social media channels in regard to content, promotion, consumer engagement, customer service, performance management, and listings + Infuse a “test and learn” ethos in all content creators + Help build feedback loops of data and insights to improve key editorial decisions **Skills & Experience Required:** + A proven leader with 15 years progressive experience leading the Content function within world\-class global marketing organizations\. + A strong candidate will function as part journalist, part marketer, and part ethnographer and demonstrate deep institutional knowledge of the company’s mission\. + Experience with organic and paid distribution, paid media and editorial calendars\. + Social media expertise across all platforms\. + Copywriting expertise in both long form and shorter than short form \(tweets, social media content\)\. + Community management – engaging with users in real time; “growth hacking” + Content and editorial strategies + Social content creation – short form video, storytelling + Technologically savvy and astute knowledge of current events\. + Stays abreast of and provides thought leadership on market activity, competitive landscapes, and industry trends\. + A strongbalance of strategic and business acumen, with a high level of intellectual agility and capacity for communication of original and innovative thought at the highest levels\. + Strong coach and developer of people; a talent magnet for the firm that attracts the best and brightest to the marketing organization\. + Consistently demonstrates high energy, a sense of urgency, decisiveness and the ability to work effectively in a fast\-paced, innovative environment\. + Ability to hit the ground running with strong execution skills while also possessing the ability to think and operate at a strategic level\. + Able to operate successfully in a large and complex global corporation while possessing an entrepreneurial spirit and mind\-set to make things happen\. **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **Job Function:** _Marketing/Communications_ **Organization:** _Global Marketing\-Content_ **Title:** _Global Head of Content_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-New York_ **Requisition ID:** _171500_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 27, 2017, 11:00:00 PM_
          (USA-CA-San Francisco) Multi-Asset Investment Risk VP/Director, San Francisco   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock The Risk & Quantitative Analysis \(RQA\) group performs the risk management activities and quantitative analysis functions at BlackRock\. RQA’s principal responsibility is to ensure that the risks in the portfolios managed by BlackRock are fully understood by our portfolio managers and consistent with our client’s objectives and to know the risks by thoroughly understanding the investments and providing the best analytics and tools\. The group helps portfolio managers apply proprietary techniques for portfolio construction\. **Key Responsibilities** : We are currently looking for a candidate with solid quantitative and communication skills to join RQA’s Investment Risk Team to help manage risk for the Multi\-Asset Strategies Platform\. Responsibilities include but are not limited to taking a lead role in facilitating discussions with portfolio managers on all aspects of the portfolio construction process, working with portfolio managers to understand the exposures and risks taken, and providing the necessary risk oversight by ensuring that senior management is apprised of risks\. Key responsibilities include: + Partnering with senior risk managers to help ensure that the risks are fully understood by Portfolio Management and are consistent with our clients’ objectives and risk constraints + Knowing the investment risks by thoroughly understanding all investments and trades + Regularly monitoring risks in the portfolios and presenting pertinent analyses on risk and performance to portfolio management teams + Understanding how macroeconomic factors drive the investment decision\-making process + Helping portfolio managers apply proprietary portfolio construction and alpha generation techniques + Helping to define the analytical and risk management’s needs for adequately monitoring risks + Partnering with BlackRock Solutions to create “state\-of\-the\-practice” risk analytics and risk models that are practical to use through the Aladdin platform This specific role involves investment risk management for portfolios that are part of BlackRock’s Multi\-Asset Strategies \(MAS\) business\. The MAS group includes over 200 investment professionals in a wide range of asset allocation strategies across locations in the US, Europe, and Asia\. The group offers investors one of the industry's broadest arrays of investment choices\. Clients include corporate pension plans, public pension plans, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and retail clients\. **Knowledge / Experience Required:** We are seeking qualified candidates with strong quantitative and computational skills interested in tackling difficult real world financial problems\. + Significant industry experience in risk management, research, or portfolio management + Working knowledge of multi\-asset investment and portfolio construction is required + Experience with VaR, scenario analysis, performance attribution, and other risk\-related metrics + Excellent quantitative, technical, and communication skills + Broad markets and analytics knowledge encompassing equities, fixed income, FX, and commodities **Skills / Qualifications Required:** + Advanced degree in a quantitative discipline + Strong technical skills and good knowledge of Excel + Programming skills \(Excel VBA, R, Python, or MATLAB\) are strongly desired + GARP, PRMIA, Chartered Financial Analyst \(CFA\) designation is a plus **Competencies:** + Excellent communication and presentation skills + Ability to rapidly learn our infrastructure and proprietary tools and handle detailed reporting and presentation requirements a must + Ability to work effectively in a team environment; strong work ethic + Highly organized and able to adhere to tight deadlines + Attention to detail **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **BlackRock will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of Article 49 of the San Francisco Police Code\.** **Job Function:** _Risk Management_ **Organization:** _Risk and Quantitative Analysis_ **Title:** _Multi\-Asset Investment Risk VP/Director, San Francisco_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-San Francisco_ **Requisition ID:** _172026_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 28, 2017, 11:27:29 AM_
          (USA-CA-San Francisco) Portfolio Manager, North American Equities (San Francisco)   
**Description:** BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients\. At December 31, 2016, BlackRock’s AUM was $5\.1 trillion\. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® \(exchange\-traded funds\), and other pooled investment vehicles\. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®\. As of December 31, 2016, the firm had approximately 13,000 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa\. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website atwww\.blackrock\.com| Twitter: @blackrock\_news | Blog:www\.blackrockblog\.com| LinkedIn:www\.linkedin\.com/company/blackrock The Scientific Active Equity group \(SAE\) seeks candidates interested in quantitative equity portfolio management positions based in either San Francisco or London\. Portfolio management responsibilities range from strategy implementation and risk management to idea generation and signal research\. Qualified candidates will have a passion for markets, a strong belief in a scientific and systematic approach to active management, and an ability to thrive in an open and collaborative team environment\. SAE is the quantitative equity group within BlackRock which invests over $90B of client assets using a systematic investment approach\. SAE is a pioneer and thought leader in the industry and has consistently achieved client investment goals across global equity markets for over 30 years\. We believe research and innovation is critical to continuing our success and believe in a multi\-disciplinary approach that intersects traditional finance and economics with computer and data science\. **Key Responsibilities:** + Portfolio management responsibilities include: + Portfolio rebalance and trade list generation, ensuring consistency with model insights and market movements + Analyzing performance to understand model and risk factor contributions to returns + Evaluating and improving portfolio construction and implementation + Identifying and monitoring factor exposures and event risks + Implementing systematic risk controls + Owning portfolio management\-related operational issues and working cross\-functionally + Over time, responsibilities would grow to include: + Researching and developing investment ideas and strategies + Managing investments across a full investment life\-cycle including signal research, portfolio construction, trading and risk / return attribution + Presenting strategies and performance to internal business partners and colleagues, as well as external constituents such as clients, consultants, and potential investors + **Qualifications:** + Degree in a quantitative field preferred \(ex: finance/economics, computer science, engineering, math, etc\.\) + Relevant quantitative experience in the investment management industry \(internship to 3 years of experience\) + Experience in equity, fixed income and / or commodity assets classes + General understanding of statistical concepts and practical experience working with large data sets + Proficient use of databases, and modeling and statistical packages \(e\.g\. MATLAB, Python, R\) + Interpersonal skills that contribute to and foster a culture of teamwork and knowledge sharing + Willingness to produce high quality work in a demanding, fast\-paced environment + Excellent verbal and written communication, and relationship\-building skills + Detail\-oriented, team\-oriented and self\-motivated **BlackRock is proud to be an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer\. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, and other statuses protected by law\.** **BlackRock will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of Article 49 of the San Francisco Police Code\.** **Job Function:** _Investment Management \(Trading, Research, Portfolio Management\)_ **Organization:** _INV\-AE\-SAE_ **Title:** _Portfolio Manager, North American Equities \(San Francisco\)_ **Primary Location:** _Americas\-United States\-San Francisco_ **Requisition ID:** _172020_ **Job Posting:** _Jun 28, 2017, 11:23:06 AM_
          Morning Joe: Scarborough Lies About 'Lying' Republicans   

“You can’t fudge the numbers of the Medicaid cuts,” Joe Scarborough warned in an ominous tone on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. Decrying the “lying” Republicans, he then hypocritically exclaimed, “You slash $750 billion...after you’ve already slashed another $300 or $400 billion in an underlying budget, over $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts, that destroys health care in Trump America.” Following suit in an unsurprisingly toadyish manner, Mike Barnicle, then proceeded to laughably state that,“math is the reality here.”


          "We will build factory with production volume of 2.5 million tons per year and Rp3 trillion of investment." - Cholil Hasan   
"We will build factory with production volume of 2.5 million tons per year and Rp3 trillion of investment." - Cholil Hasan
          Toshiba misses self-imposed deadline for chip unit sale, sues Western Digital   
Japans Toshiba Corp has pushed back its timeline to clinch a sale of its prized flash memory chip unit, saying the $18 billion deal was being held up due to differences of opinion within the consortium chosen as preferred bidder.The delay came as the conglomerate sued its chip business partner Western Digital Corp for interfering in the sale, one day after the US firm resubmitted a bid for the unit. The lawsuit pushes acrimony between the two to new heights and further complicates prospects for a deal.Scrambling to cover billions of dollars in cost overruns at its bankrupt Westinghouse nuclear unit, Toshiba had pledged to have a signed agreement for the sale of the unit - the worlds No. 2 producer of NAND chips - by Wednesday, the day of its annual shareholders meeting.The hotly contested auction has seen a consortium, led by Japanese government investors and including US private equity firm Bain Capital, chosen as preferred bidder but the groups offer was only hastily and awkwardly put together this month.That bid has been largely orchestrated by Japans trade ministry, which is keen to keep semiconductor technology under domestic control.Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said the firm was now aiming for an agreement with the preferred bidder consortium as early as possible and a completed transaction by the end of the financial year in March.It is taking time to smooth out differences in opinion among members of the consortium, he said, after apologising for a string of humiliating setbacks that include Toshibas demotion to the second section of the Tokyo bourse.There appears, however, to be little likelihood of a quick and smooth conclusion to the deal.Western Digital, which jointly runs Toshibas main semiconductor plant, claims that its partner is breaching joint venture contracts and is seeking a U.S. court injunction to prevent any deal that does not have its consent - actions that prompted Toshibas lawsuit on Wednesday.Toshiba executives continued to offer a string of mixed messages on their willingness to resolve the spat with the California-based firm.On one hand, Tsunakawa lambasted the Western Digital at the shareholders meeting, saying it had been interfering in the sale. But the head of Toshibas chip unit also said the Japanese company was prepared to make concessions and hoped to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.Toshiba argues that Western Digitals bid for the memory unit presents anti-trust issues and is too low in price.Western Digital has said it offer meets the 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) minimum demanded by Toshiba - a figure that appears to match the amount offered by the preferred bidder.WESTERN DIGITAL TRIES AGAINIt is not clear if the terms of the bid that Western Digital resubmitted on Tuesday with partner U.S. private equity firm KKR and Co LP had significantly changed.Western Digital said it will provide debt financing to facilitate a sale. Sources with knowledge of the matter have said a state-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ), and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) which are currently part of preferred bidder consortium - would be invited to join the resubmitted offer.While it was not immediately clear what parts of Toshibas talks with the preferred bidder consortium were taking time, sources have said some Toshiba board members are concerned about technology leaks to South Korean chip rival SK Hynix Inc , which is part of the consortium and will provide Bain with financing.Western Digital has also said it is strongly opposed to SK Hynixs participation and has threatened further legal action.Toshibas lawsuit, filed with the Tokyo District Court, seeks around $1 billion in damages.The Japanese firm also said it had shut out Western Digital employees based outside their Yokkaichi chip plant from accessing information relating to the two companies joint venture - a move that threatens to impede RandD work on next-generation NAND memory chips.Western Digital declined to comment on the lawsuit. It said in statement it had reiterated its concerns about the sale process and SK Hynixs participation to Toshiba.The US court hearing for its injunction request is scheduled for July 14. REUTERS SV 1308
          Security clampdown in far-western China exacts toll on businesses   
The economy of the vast Xinjiang region in far western China is officially growing at a robust pace, faster than the country as a whole. That is largely thanks to big investments in infrastructure from Beijing as the region - with its links to much of central Asia - is critical to Chinese President Xi Jinpings new Silk Road initiative.But traders, business owners and residents in Xinjiangs capital, Urumqi, are seeing little benefit from the central governments cash injection, according to about 20 interviews with people in the city.One major reason for that, they say, is due to tightened security as the Chinese government seeks to control one of its biggest domestic threats. Beijing accuses separatist extremists among the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority of plotting attacks on the ethnic Han majority in Xinjiang and other parts of China, following a series of violent events in recent years.As a result, there are roadblocks and stringent security checks across the region, including at restaurants, hotels and shops, making it slow and frustrating to move around.The new Silk Road, officially known as the Belt and Road initiative, is Xis signature foreign and economic policy which aims to increase economic and political ties through roads, railways and other projects that link China to Central Asia and beyond. But the contrast between that ambition and the views at street level in Urumqi reflects the difficulty Beijing faces in trying to balance security against its other top priorities.This is particularly the case as China is determined to avoid any trouble ahead of a critical Communist Party congress in the autumn at which Xi is expected to consolidate his power, and as it faces the threat from some Uighurs who have become battle-hardened Islamic State fighters in the war in Syria and Iraq and may return home.The impact of the clampdown is clear at the Frontier International Trade Centre in Urumqi, where padlocked stores outnumber traders.Business became really bad last year. Ive got nothing to do except a stock-take, said Wei Chun, a shoe trader, surrounded by piles of high-heels.She blames poor sales partly on the impact of sluggish economies in neighbours Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, among the eight countries with which Xinjiang has borders. But she also says the Chinese authorities obsession with keeping Xinjiang secure at all costs is making it tough to do business here.Its very difficult to send and receive deliveries because of the security crackdown, she said, complaining that authorities will often shut down the delivery system for security reasons.The Xinjiang government declined to make officials available for comment for this article. It also did not respond to a series of faxed questions.Xu Bin, the head of the Xinjiang governments statistics bureau, told reporters in February that its growth which was 7.6 percent last year - is mostly fuelled by fixed asset investment. But he then added: Xinjiang faces slowing economic growth, falling industrial prices, companies are feeling the pain of falling profits and the growth rate of our tax revenue has dropped off.Xinjiangs trade with other countries fell in the first quarter of this year, according to the customs bureau, and is still below the level it recorded in the first quarter of 2013, the year that Belt and Road launched.Much of that drop was because a slump in the rouble in 2014-2015 hurt Xinjiangs neighbours, and following the 2015 establishment of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). That aims to develop Central Asia and lessen its reliance on Chinese goods.People here point to many disruptions in ordinary life as one reason the economy doesnt feel buoyant at street level.Group gatherings, whether for charity fun runs or trade expos, are often banned or cancelled at the last minute, they say. Phone lines sometimes go dead, and theres no 4G internet because the authorities fear high-speed internet would help militants organize.While Belt and Road has created opportunities, small businesses complain these projects often reward large state-owned enterprises.The Belt and Road Initiative doesnt help small businessmen like me, said Zhou Bangquan who sells mens shoes in Urumqi. It helps big state-owned enterprises that do energy or have big infrastructure projects.Among the projects financed are a highway to Pakistan and a network of high-speed railroads connecting cities in Xinjiang and the rest of China, with 1.5 trillion yuan ($220 billion) in capital investment expected in the region this year alone.But it is unclear how much of the money is used to buy materials from factories outside the region or ends up being sent to other provinces by workers brought in temporarily from elsewhere in China.Its not just heightened security measures that concern businesses. People are required to attend flag ceremonies and other patriotic education, instead of working, say locals. Such events are meant to encourage Uighurs to become patriotic Chinese citizens but can also be used to monitor their behaviour.Im losing my mind, Ive already had six staff sent back to their hometowns this past month for study, said a restaurant manager in Urumqi who, like many people Reuters spoke to in Xinjiang, declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.His Uighur staff were required to return home to southern Xinjiang for one months study of Mandarin Chinese, another month learning about Chinas legal system and a month of vocational training, he said.We all spend so much time doing things that arent our actual jobs. I have to take my staff to watch a flag-raising forty weeks of the year. If I dont, I will be taken away for thirty days of study, he said.As well as the time spent on such matters, Uighurs who represent just over 45 percent of the population are being increasingly marginalized by the Han Chinese, undermining the overall economy.Three Han Chinese entrepreneurs told Reuters local authorities had told them not to employ Uighurs. And a Han Chinese real estate agent in Urumqi said he had been told not to sell properties to Uighurs from southern Xinjiang.There has been a change in attitude towards balancing stability and economic growth in Xinjiang since Chen Quanguo became its new Communist Party boss last August in what analysts say was an implicit endorsement of his previous hard-line management of ethnic strife in Tibet.Xinjiang used to have a policy of with one hand we maintain stability, with the other hand we grow the economy but now its just maintain stability with both hands, at all costs, said a local businessman and former government official.Chen said in a speech last September that all our work in Xinjiang revolves around maintaining a tight grip on stability.REUTERS SDR 0525
          China policy bank announces bond for offshore investors ahead of Bond Connect   
Chinas state-owned Agricultural Development Bank of China plans to issue yuan bonds to both onshore and offshore investors on July 3, coinciding with the countrys launch of a Bond Connect scheme to link its nearly $10 trillion bond market with overseas investors.The Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC), one of Chinas major policy lenders, announced the plan to issue 16 billion yuan ($2.35 billion) worth of fixed-rate bonds in Beijing late Tuesday on the website of the state-owned clearing house.These bonds would mark the countrys first round of policy bank bonds issued specifically for offshore investors, with the planned issuance coming against the backdrop of the imminent launch of the long-awaited Bond Connect scheme.While regulators have not said when the programme will begin, it is expected to be announced and launched to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule on July 1.In its statement, ADBC said that it would issue up to 5 billion yuan each of one-year, three-year and five-year notes in the first round of tender targeting both onshore and offshore investors, and up to an additional 500 million yuan each of one-year and three-year notes in a second round for offshore investors only.The one-, three- and five-year notes will yield 3.61 percent, 3.98 percent and 4.13 percent, respectively.All bonds will be listed on the China Interbank Bond Market, and the proceeds will be lent to agriculture, farmers and rural areas, the statement said.Policy bank bonds issued by Chinas three policy banks - ADBC, China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China - are viewed as sovereign credit.REUTERS SV 0911
          You just can’t help the terminally stupid   
Some stupidities are so good, they need more publicity. I blogged this morning on Obama’s huge US$1.8 trillion deficit. Sonic then commented: Those poor republicans, they have controlled congress and the presidency for most of the last 40 years yet somehow everything is still the Dems fault. Now Sonic obviously did not do his homework. […]
          Comment on We Have Nothing to Fear but Hope Itself by Lawrence Larson   
Loved. This. Piece. I, too, have reached an age where I actually cheer governmental gridlock, given the high likelihood that any action will detrimental. Hence my antipathy for Obama and his pen and phone--and other extra-constitutional actions. I don't think it's cynical to suspect that there will be no digging out of $150 trillion in unfunded liabilities via governmental action. everything that D.C. touches is made worse. So, let them thrash and struggle to no effect. We could do worse.
          Fiscal 2016 saw Japan’s first tax revenue decline in seven years   
Japan’s tax revenue totaled around ¥55.5 trillion ($495 billion) in fiscal 2016, down from ¥56.29 trillion in fiscal 2015, sources said Wednesday, marking the first ...

          Being Brave is easy, Acting Brave... THAT is Hard--Hmmm   
It is so easy for me to "Be Brave"...mainly because people tell me how more often than not how "brave" I am? And why is that I wonder? I'm not any different than anyone else. I don't save lives like a doctor or fireman, I don't cure cancer or diseases like a scientist. I can''t even begin to calculate the square root of a gazillion billion trillion dollars. Hell I don't even know if that is a real number.

I do know this... I have a dream and NO one will stop me.