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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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Household Worth in U.S. Rose by $837.4 Billion in First Quarter

Source: Bloomberg

Household wealth in the U.S. increased in the first quarter as rising real-estate values propped up Americans’ finances, figures from the Federal Reserve in Washington showed Thursday.

Key Points

Net worth for households and non-profit groups rose by $837.4 billion, or 1 percent, to $88.1 trillion in January through March from the previous three months, according to the Fed’s financial accounts report, previously known as the flow of funds survey

Value of financial assets, including stocks and pension fund holdings, increased by $299.5 billion

Household real-estate assets climbed by $477.5 billion; owner’s equity as a share of total real-estate holdings increased to 57.8 percent from 56.9 percent

Big Picture

With the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up just 0.8 percent in the first quarter, household wealth was mostly supported by steadily increasing real-estate values as housing continues to recover from the financial crisis. However, a re-acceleration in job growth that also brings a significant pickup in wages will be needed to strengthen balance sheets further, especially for those without access to assets like stocks and homes



Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-09/household-worth-in-u-s-rose-by-837-4-billion-in-first-quarter

FBI Wants Access To Internet Browser History Without A Warrant In Terrorism And Spy Cases

Source: Washington Post

The Obama administration is seeking to amend surveillance law to give the FBI explicit authority to access a person’s Internet browser history and other electronic data without a warrant in terrorism and spy cases.

The administration made a similar effort six years ago but dropped it after concerns were raised by privacy advocates and the tech industry.

FBI Director James B. Comey has characterized the legislation as a fix to “a typo” in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which he says has led some tech firms to refuse to provide data that Congress intended them to provide.

But tech firms and privacy advocates say the bureau is seeking an expansion of surveillance powers that infringes on Americans’ privacy.

Read more: http://inhomelandsecurity.com/fbi-wants-access-to-internet-browser-history/

This Infuriating Story Shows How Debtors Prisons Are Still A Reality In America

Jailing people because they can’t pay off their debts has long been acknowledged as a terrible idea. However, that hasn’t stopped some cities or counties from using debtors’ prisons as ways to extract revenues from people.

The Los Angeles Times has a really infuriating report about debtors’ prisons in America that brings us the story of Jayne Fuentes, a Richland, Wash. resident who was recently offered the choice to either stay longer in jail or spend days on a work crew due to unpaid debt. Essentially, Fuentes couldn’t pay off court fees that she racked up after being convicted of theft and drug possession, and was given an ultimatum to pay up or stay in jail. Thankfully for her, a lawsuit she filed along with two other debtors and with the help of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union ended the practice of debtors’ prisons in her community.

All the same, the ACLU says that the practice of jailing people who can’t pay debts remains shockingly common throughout the country. In Fuentes’ own Benton County, an estimated 320 prisoners were jailed over a six-month period for not being able to pay off debts. What’s more, an ACLU lawsuit in Colorado Springs, Colo. revealed 800 cases of people who have been sent to prison for an inability to pay off fines related to minor violations.

The full Los Angeles Times report on debtors’ prisons is well worth your time and can be found at this link.



Bilderberg: Still Powerful But Perhaps A Bit More Anxious This Year

The spectre of Brexit looms large as the financial, industrial and high-tech establishment gathers in Dresden

Prime ministers, finance ministers, leading entrepreneurs and a former spy chief are among the attendees at this year’s influential Bilderberg conference, but one regular guest, George Osborne, will be absent.

The guest list for the conference, which begins on Thursday in Dresden, was released on Tuesday and includes a large number of senior politicians and policymakers, dozens of bank bosses and high-finance billionaires who will gather inside the newly erected security fence around the Hotel Taschenbergpalais.

Two prime ministers, four finance ministers, the head of the IMF and a vice-president of the European commission are all listed as attendees. With so many politicians present, including three members of the German cabinet, the German military has been drafted in to oversee security.

Army officers have been meeting conference staff, scouting the round the hotel and taking photos of the entrance. They’re working with corporate security from Airbus to make sure the politicians are kept safely away from the press for the entire three-day conference.

No one wants the Danish minister of justice or the deputy prime minister of Turkey to have to field awkward questions, such as: “Where do you stand on corporate lobbying?” Especially when they’re standing between the chairman of HSBC and the president of Siemens.



If DC Had To Evacuate, Would You Know What To Do? Homeland Security Says You Need A Plan

WASHINGTON - If there were a natural disaster or a terrorist attack in DC, how would you get out of the city? It’s a good question, and if you don’t already have an evacuation plan in place, DC Homeland Security officials say you should make one.

Just as Metro embarks on its year-long SafeTrack program and repairs that will impact service system-wide, emergency officials say an evacuation crisis could erupt if the city doesn’t adjust its current plans to move people safely out of harm’s way in the event of an emergency. The city feels that the plan they have in place is a good one, but they’re worried that residents and those who work in the city might not be considering the difference that Metro’s construction plan, complete with service interruptions and closures, could have on their plans to get out fast if necessary.

Since SafeTrack launched last Saturday, DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Command Center has been monitoring Metro and area roads. If a natural disaster or terrorist attack occurred in the city, evacuation routes would face a crush of vehicles, since Metro’s maintenance plan is underway.

DC Homeland Security officials said Monday they could evacuate the city if disaster struck. They are prepared to deploy more than 130 traffic control officers onto DC streets, and would use more than 10,000 security cameras to control traffic lights and move people out of the District.

They’re worried, though, that many people don’t even know where evacuation routes are in the city. DC Homeland Security is re-launching a free app that shows these routes, and helps drivers navigate to them. Director Christopher Geldart’s message to residents is this: Everyone needs to dust off their evacuation plans, understanding Metro isn’t a reliable option over the next year.



I'm ratcheting up my prediction that we won't be voting for either of the

current 'presumptive' candidates come Nov.

Russia’s Putin hosts Israel's Netanyahu for Syria talks

Source: Associated Press

The Associated Press, Moscow Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Russia and Israel will expand their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

Putin spoke after hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow for talks that focused on boosting bilateral ties and trying to resolve the situation in Syria.

"We talked about the need to take joint efforts to confront international terrorism," Putin said at a news conference. "We undoubtedly are allies in that area, and our countries have accumulated a significant experience in fighting extremism. We will strengthen contacts with Israeli colleagues in that sphere."

Putin said they discussed the situation in the Middle East and particularly in Syria, where Russia has conducted an air campaign against those opposing the government. Moscow has coordinated its action with Israel to prevent any possible incidents between Russian and Israeli militaries.

Read more: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/06/07/Russia-s-Putin-hosts-Israel-s-Netanyahu-for-Syria-talks.html

I think there is a reasonable chance that we won't be voting in Nov.

for either Trump nor Clinton...

The pieces are there to make that happen and only time will tell.

Iran Says US Congressmen Can't Visit Amid Nuclear Deal Row


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran said Tuesday it would not grant visas to three U.S. congressmen opposed to its recent nuclear deal with world powers, calling their request to monitor the accord a "publicity stunt."

The three Republican lawmakers - Reps. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Lee Zeldin of New York - all voted against the deal in the House and are part of a GOP backlash against the pact negotiated by Democratic President Barack Obama's administration. The accord limited Iran's ability to enrich uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

In a letter released Tuesday in Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry refused the request over "the completely inappropriate way you have demanded to visit Iran and interfere in what is of no relevance to (your) official functions.'"

"Despite what you seem to presume, (members) of the U.S. Congress do not get to dictate the policies of other countries," the letter read.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_IRAN_US_CONGRESS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-06-07-15-02-05

Clinton Tech Aide Asks Court To Keep Immunity Deal Secret

By JOSH GERSTEIN 06/07/16 03:45 PM EDT

A former technology adviser to Hillary Clinton appears to be seeking to keep under wraps an immunity deal the aide reportedly reached with the Justice Department in its investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state.

A lawyer for Bryan Pagliano submitted a sealed motion and exhibits to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan Tuesday afternoon, less than two hours before the 5 p.m. deadline Sullivan set for the filing of Pagliano's immunity agreement.

The docket entry reflecting the filing does not say specifically what documents were lodged with the court, describing them solely as a "sealed motion for leave to file document under seal" and two exhibits.

Pagliano was scheduled to be deposed on Monday in a Freedom of Information Act suit a conservative group, Judicial Watch, is pursuing over Clinton's email set-up.

However, Sullivan postponed the deposition after Pagliano's lawyers indicated the former tech aide planned to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In the judge's order delaying the testimony, he ordered Pagliano to file a legal explanation justifying his planned assertion as well as a copy of an immunity agreement under which the former Clinton aide reportedly gave testimony to the FBI about his role in the private server arrangement.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/06/bryan-pagliano-hillary-clinton-emails-immunity-224015#ixzz4Aw1soW91
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