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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 31, 2015

Chicago PMI unexpectedly plummets to 42.9, its lowest since 2009

(MarketWatch) Economic activity in the Midwest contracted at the fastest pace in more than six years in December, according to the Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI.

The index fell to 42.9 from 48.7 in November. Economists had expected it to rise 1.3 points to 50 in the December reading. The index has spent much of the year below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

Order backlogs were the biggest drag in December, dropping 17.2 points to 29.4. That’s the lowest since May 2009 and marked the 11th-straight month in contraction. The last time such a sharp decline was registered was 1951. ...............(more)


December 31, 2015

The Washington Post Downplays the Number of People Killed by Police in 2015

The Washington Post Downplays the Number of People Killed by Police in 2015

Thursday, 31 December 2015 11:12
By Jim Naureckas, FAIR | News Analysis

Concerned that official records undercount the number of people shot and killed by police in the United States every year, the Washington Post attempted to compile a list of every fatal police shooting in 2015. The paper found nearly a thousand such cases - more than twice as many as the FBI reports in a typical year.

The Post's project - which corroborates a similar tally conducted by the British Guardian - is a journalistic accomplishment, as well as an achievement of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has worked to call attention to police violence in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014.

But it's hard for me to escape the feeling that the Post story - by Kimberly Kindy and Marc Fisher - was framed by the paper to minimize the project's remarkable findings. Take the first paragraph that summarizes details of the results:

In a year-long study, the Washington Post found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many US communities - most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men - represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. Meanwhile, the Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: They were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.

"The kind of incidents that have ignited protests…represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings": That sure sounds like an attempt to play down the number, doesn't it? Particularly since the write-up never presents the raw number for fatal police shootings of unarmed African-Americans in 2015 - which is 37 - or the more comprehensive number of all unarmed civilians shot and killed: 90. Those numbers can be found on a graphic that accompanied the story in the paper's print edition, and in an interactive feature online–but are nowhere to be found in the Post's own article on its project. ("Just 9 percent of shootings involved an unarmed victim," a sidebar accompanying the graphic began - that word "just" indicating that we should read that as "not so many.&quot ................(more)


December 31, 2015

NYC Lets Luxury Building Owners Stiff Workers and Still Get a Tax Break

(ProPublica) When Isaac Bowman got a concierge job at a luxury Queens apartment building last year, he hoped it would be his ticket out of a homeless shelter and into New York City’s middle class.

The pay was low at only $10 an hour. But at least it was a start toward getting his partner and three stepchildren into an apartment of their own, Bowman reasoned.

Bowman took the job — and became a victim of wage theft.

Under terms of a large city tax subsidy, owners of the 117-unit building, The Exo, were legally bound to pay Bowman $16.88 an hour — almost 70 percent more than he got — plus benefits now worth $10.13 per hour.

The higher pay is required at bigger buildings that benefit from the city’s 421-a housing program, which grants about $1.1 billion in tax breaks each year to owners. In return, they must pay service employees the “prevailing wage” — a rate set by the city comptroller that is benchmarked to union contracts so that non-union workers get comparable pay for similar work. ..........(more)


December 31, 2015

Shocking study released.......

I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you!

New study confirms insidious GOP racism in 2008 presidential race

A new study clears up any lingering doubt that the Republican Party engaged in the tactic of dogwhistle politics in the 2008 presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain. The study, which was published online this month in Public Opinion Quarterly, shows that the McCain campaign’s negative ads about Obama overwhelmingly featured him with a darker skin tone in a subtle attempt to appeal to voters’ racial prejudices.

Acccording to the Washington Post:

Analyzing 126 advertisements from the presidential campaign in 2008, the authors first digitally measured the darkness of the two nominees’ skin in each spot, then sorted the ads into categories based on themes. President Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), looked very different in various advertisements depending on how the footage was edited and produced.

That was particularly the case in negative advertisements, in which each campaign manipulated the images of its opponent to shadow or wash out his face for dramatic effect.

Interestingly, though, when McCain’s campaign aired spots that connected Obama with alleged criminal activity by liberal groups, the producers almost always used images that made Obama’s skin appear very dark.

Here’s the spot in question:

According to the study’s authors, 86 percent of the ads featured images of the president with a skin tone that fell into the darkest quartile of the ads they looked at. .....................(more)


December 31, 2015

Trump Supporters Are Too Stupid To Realize This New Parody Ad Is Mocking Them

WATCH: Trump Supporters Are Too Stupid To Realize This New Parody Ad Is Mocking Them (VIDEO)

Arizona’s Public Integrity Alliance created a hilarious new parody video mocking not only Donald Trump but his supporters as well. The ad stars Phoenix comedian Brian Nissen, in his role as “Dwain,” a mullet-headed redneck with an IQ so low, you would have to dig to find it.

A great twist in this video is that its primary targets are Trump voters, rather than The Donald himself. The character Dwain is depicted as your average Trump ditto-head who constantly heaps praise onto The Donald while repeating his fascist rhetoric. The problem is, Trump supporters are incapable of realizing it’s mocking them.

Tyler Montague, Founder and President of PIA, said that he intended for the video to inform intelligent voters just how bad it is to support Trump’s ideas. However, he admitted that many of the supporters which commented on it are just so stupid they don’t even realize they are being insulted. ................(more)


December 31, 2015

What Secret Do Global Banks Know about Chinese Banks?

What Secret Do Global Banks Know about Chinese Banks?
by Wolf Richter • December 29, 2015

[font color="blue"]They’re dumping their stakes.[/font]

“Now is the right time for us to sell this investment,” announced Deutsche Bank’s newish co-CEO John Cryan on Monday after the long Christmas weekend when no one was supposed to pay attention.

It was how Cryan justified the deal to sell Deutsche’s entire 19.99% stake in Hua Xia Bank in China to Chinese insurer PICC Property and Casualty. He couched the deal in terms of executing Deutsche’s “strategic agenda”: boosting capital ratios to prop up the balance sheet.

Deutsche isn’t the first Western bank to bail out of banks in China where regulators limit foreign ownership stakes to a maximum of 20%, which brings some complications.

Goldman Sachs sold its stake in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in 2013. Bank of America Merrill Lynch bailed out of its stake in China Construction Bank in a series of deals. BBVA, Spain’s second largest bank, has been cutting its stake in China Citic Bank from about 15% in 2013 down to 4.7% now, and that remainder appears to be earmarked for sale as well. Other banks are also likely to pick up their marbles and go, such as Standard Chartered, with its stake in Agricultural Bank of China.

Like Deutsche, they couched those deals in terms of boosting capital ratios and balance sheets. ..............(more)


December 30, 2015

More than 100 Tamir Rice protesters march through downtown Cleveland during second night of protests

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The second day of outcry over a grand jury's decision not to indict two police officers in the shooting death of Tamir Rice saw more than 100 demonstrators close the streets of downtown Cleveland.

"It could have been my child," one protester who only described herself as a lifelong Cleveland resident said.

The woman vowed not to vote for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty, the man whose office oversaw the final leg of the shooting investigation that ended Monday with the announcement the officers in the shooting would face no criminal charges.

McGinty is seeking re-election in 2016. The woman's declaration drew cheers from the crowd. ...............(more)


December 30, 2015

The Bank Bail-In Swindle Begins

Posted on December 29, 2015 by Ellen Brown

While the mainstream media focus on ISIS extremists, a threat that has gone virtually unreported is that your life savings could be wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse. Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the infrastructure is in place in the US. Poverty also kills.

At the end of November, an Italian pensioner hanged himself after his entire €100,000 savings were confiscated in a bank “rescue” scheme. He left a suicide note blaming the bank, where he had been a customer for 50 years and had invested in bank-issued bonds. But he might better have blamed the EU and the G20’s Financial Stability Board, which have imposed an “Orderly Resolution” regime that keeps insolvent banks afloat by confiscating the savings of investors and depositors. Some 130,000 shareholders and junior bond holders suffered losses in the “rescue.”

The pensioner’s bank was one of four small regional banks that had been put under special administration over the past two years. The €3.6 billion ($3.83 billion) rescue plan launched by the Italian government uses a newly-formed National Resolution Fund, which is fed by the country’s healthy banks. But before the fund can be tapped, losses must be imposed on investors; and in January, EU rules will require that they also be imposed on depositors. According to a December 10th article on BBC.com:

"e is. In a November 30th article titled “Why I’m Closing My Bank Accounts While I Still Can,” he writes:
(It is) entirely possible in the next banking crisis that depositors in giant too-big-to-fail failing banks could have their money confiscated and turned into equity shares. . . .

If your too-big-to-fail (TBTF) bank is failing because they can’t pay off derivative bets they made, and the government refuses to bail them out, under a mandate titled “Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution,” approved on Nov. 16, 2014, by the G20’s Financial Stability Board, they can take your deposited money and turn it into shares of equity capital to try and keep your TBTF bank from failing.

Once your money is deposited in the bank, it legally becomes the property of the bank. Gilani explains:

"Your deposited cash is an unsecured debt obligation of your bank. It owes you that money back.

If you bank with one of the country’s biggest banks, who collectively have trillions of dollars of derivatives they hold “off balance sheet” (meaning those debts aren’t recorded on banks’ GAAP balance sheets), those debt bets have a superior legal standing to your deposits and get paid back before you get any of your cash.

. . . Big banks got that language inserted into the 2010 Dodd-Frank law meant to rein in dangerous bank behavior.


Propping Up the Derivatives Scheme

Dodd-Frank states in its preamble that it will “protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts.” But it does this under Title II by imposing the losses of insolvent financial companies on their common and preferred stockholders, debtholders, and other unsecured creditors. That includes depositors, the largest class of unsecured creditor of any bank. ............(more)


December 30, 2015

Horrifying video shows cops sic K-9 on infant daughter of a man they mistook for a suspect

On January 30, 2015, a health food store in Henderson (NV) called the police after a disgruntled customer, attempting to return some protein powder, allegedly threatened to rob them. The store described the suspect to police as a black male wearing a black and tan t-shirt who left in an SUV.

As police responded to the call, they quickly stopped the first person they saw, who happened to be Arturo Arenas-Alvarez. Arenas-Alvarez had just pulled up in the shopping center to do some shopping when police drew their weapons and demanded he put his hands in the air and step toward them.

Arenas-Alvarez did not appear to understand why multiple armed men were pointing their guns at him, so one officer asked him in Spanish to approach the vehicle.

Before Arenas-Alvarez makes it all the way to the vehicle, officers realized they had the wrong guy.

“That’s not him, dude. That’s not a black man in a black shirt,” one officer said to another.

However, they continued the detainment. ..................(more)


December 29, 2015

NYC: Homeless family victimized by racist bullying

A homeless family has been forced out of a shelter in Elmhurst, New York after their young son was called a n*gger, spit on, and threatened with gang violence by racist classmates at his school.

According to DNAinfo New York, the boy was in the gym locker room of his school when he was confronted by these hateful classmates. They called him the n-word and spit on him. They also said he was a “dirty kid from the Boulevard,” in reference to the Boulevard Shelter that the boy had been calling home.

The child, likely terrified and ashamed, never told any adults at the school or shelter about the racially-motivated assault he had endured, including his parents. However, his friends pressured him to stand up for himself and fight back against these bigoted bullies. So the boy went back to school and confronted his racist attacker, ultimately pushing him to the ground, which caused things to escalate to a frightening new level. .............(more)


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