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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 72,525

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There are nutters in the UK government too


The so-called war on terror has been used to justify everything from mass surveillance programs and drone strikes to extraordinary renditions and torture programs. Now it’s being used to cover another dubious effort: asking childcare professionals in the United Kingdom to warn the government when they fear a toddler might become a terrorist.

That might sound like a satirical take on modern life, but it’s actually happening. This is a thing that babysitters, schools, nurseries, and universities will be asked to do if the counter-terrorism measures before parliament are enacted, according to the Telegraph. They’ll also have to teach “fundamental British values” in an “age-appropriate” manner.

I’m not sure how that’s supposed to be accomplished. Is there a song about the problem with extremism that toddlers can learn? How about a picture book about why it’s wrong to wear a suicide vest out in public? Perhaps a cartoon that teaches children about the wonders of the West and brainwashes them into never criticizing their governments?

Those are obviously jokes, but I fear some British official might be reading them and thinking they’re good ideas, so I want to make something clear: these are horrible ideas. To think babysitters or teachers can identify extremist toddlers is insane — using cutesy songs or books to combat these little diaper-wearing jihadis is just batshit crazy. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://pando.com/2015/01/05/the-uk-wants-professionals-to-be-on-the-lookout-for-extremist-toddlers/?utm_source=PandoDigest&utm_campaign=492b7b5009-PandoDigest_December_9_2013_copy_09_12_11_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2f01c2729e-492b7b5009-81086421



10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis Are Happening Again


10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis Are Happening Again


If you do not believe that we are heading directly toward another major financial crisis, you need to read this article. So many of the exact same patterns that preceded the great financial collapse of 2008 are happening again right before our very eyes. History literally appears to be repeating, but most Americans seem absolutely oblivious to what is going on. The mainstream media and our politicians are promising them that everything is going to be okay somehow, and that seems to be good enough for most people. But the signs that another massive financial crisis is on the horizon are everywhere. All you have to do is open up your eyes and look at them.

Bill Gross, considered by many to be the number one authority on government bonds on the entire planet, made headlines all over the world on Tuesday when he released his January Investment Outlook. I don’t know if we have ever seen Gross be more negative about a new year than he is about 2015. For example, just consider this statement…

“When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over.”


And this is how he ended the letter…

And so that is why – at some future date – at some future Ides of March or May or November 2015, asset returns in many categories may turn negative.

What to consider in such a strange new world? High-quality assets with stable cash flows. Those would include Treasury and high-quality corporate bonds, as well as equities of lightly levered corporations with attractive dividends and diversified revenues both operationally and geographically. With moments of liquidity having already been experienced in recent months, 2015 may see a continuing round of musical chairs as riskier asset categories become less and less desirable.

Debt supercycles in the process of reversal are not favorable events for future investment returns. Father Time in 2015 is not the babe with a top hat in our opening cartoon. He is the grumpy old codger looking forward to his almost inevitable “Ides” sometime during the next 12 months. Be cautious and content with low positive returns in 2015. The time for risk taking has passed.


So why are Gross and so many other financial experts being so “negative” right now?

It is because they can see what is happening. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-07/10-key-events-preceded-last-financial-crisis-are-happening-again


Deep Questions Arise Over Portland's Corporate Water Takeover


Deep Questions Arise Over Portland's Corporate Water Takeover

Wednesday, 07 January 2015 09:22
By Victoria Collier, Truthout | News Analysis


A simmering water war is about to come to a boil over the fate of historic, well-loved public reservoirs in Portland, Oregon. At the heart of the controversy is a breakdown in public trust that reflects the dangers of corporate-led water privatization schemes in the United States and around the world.

In an emotionally charged public meeting on November 18, 2014, Portland residents bombarded two of their city commissioners with questions about what they believe is a cronyism-driven plan to kill the elegant, gravity-fed, open water reservoir system that has reliably served their city safe, clean drinking water for more than 100 years.

The plan to disconnect the five Mt. Tabor and Mt. Washington reservoirs and replace them with costly covered reservoirs was triggered by a 2006 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling - called LT2 - mandating the protection of public water against a lethal parasite, Cryptosporidium.

.....(snip).....

Meanwhile, the City of Portland is racing to move forward with its development project, even while under fire of increasingly uncomfortable allegations.

Most troubling are charges of decades of revolving-door cronyism surrounding Joe Glicker, a vice president of CH2M Hill, the company awarded the contracts to build the new covered reservoirs for Portland. Not only was Glicker a former chief engineer of the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), he also worked as a core consultant with the EPA to write the very LT2 rules that now require these massive "emergency" water infrastructure projects. It's a conflict of interest that has local water rights advocates' heads spinning and steaming all at once. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28390-deep-questions-arise-over-portland-s-corporate-water-takeover



The First Shale Casualty: WBH Energy Files For Bankruptcy; Many More Coming


"There are too many ugly balance sheets," warns one energy industry analyst, adding simply that "the group is not positioned for this downturn." While the mainstream media continues to chant the happy-clappy side of lower oil prices, spewing various 'statistics' about how the down-side of low oil prices is 'contained' and the huge colossal massive tax cut means 'everything is awesome' for America, the data - and now actions - do not bear this out. Macro data has done nothing but disappoint and now, we have the first casualty of the shale oil leverage debacle as WSJ reports, on Sunday, a private company that drills in Texas, WBH Energy LP, and its partners, filed for bankruptcy protection, saying a lender refused to advance more money. There are many more to come... ..........(more)

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-07/first-shale-casualty-wbh-energy-files-bankruptcy-many-more-coming



Thom Hartmann: Trans Pacific Partnership’s Job Killing Déjà vu




Published on Jan 6, 2015

In tonight’s show, Thom takes on the Politics Panel, debating NYPD union chief dissing NYC Mayor de Blasio and what Speaker John Boehner’s 114th Republican Congress means America’s future. Hughey Newsome, National Advisory Council at Project 21 Black Leadership Network, Jennifer Kerns, Contributor at the Washington Times and The Blaze, and progressive commentator Nate Sweet debate.

On the 74th anniversary of FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech, author Harvey J. Kaye talks about President Roosevelt’s impact on the greatest generation and his book, “ The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great”.

Thom gives his “Daily Take” on why the Trans Pacific trade Partnership’s (TPP) spells doom for American jobs.


Professor Richard Wolff: The Basic Economics of National Health Insurance





(Greek vote) "is a threat for ... the political elites. They have a serious problem with democracy."


via Naked Capitalism:



By Mathew D. Rose, a freelance journalist in Berlin


The austerity policy dictated to the Eurozone by Germany has failed to generate a recovery. The news goes from bad to worse – and even worse. Nowhere is that more tangible than in Greece. Just to repeat the otherwise well known facts for the German readers of Naked Capitalism, who are withheld such facts in their own media: 1 million people have lost their jobs (approximately 25 percent of the working population); youth unemployment is well over 50 percent despite massive immigration; a third of business have closed, salaries have sunk almost 40 percent; pensions have been reduced almost by half; the economy has contracted by a quarter; there has been a 43 percent increase in child mortality and the health system has broken down; the Greek economy is in deflation; and, since the imposition of the austerity programme in 2010 the public debt has increased from 130 percent of GDP to 175 percent.

All these figures hide the most important fact: What is occurring in Greece is not so much an economic crisis as a humanitarian disaster. That the Greeks have raised the question of the appropriateness of austerity by precipitating elections is proof that democracy has survived these pernicious times and deserves our greatest respect. I sincerely do not believe that German democracy would have survived under similar conditions.

The democratic process in Greece is a threat for Germany and its allies, the political elites in Europe. They have a serious problem with democracy. When in 2011 the then prime minister of Greece, George Papandreou, announced a referendum to determine if the Greek people wished to adopt the imposed austerity programme, he was forced from office by the Germans and EU and replaced by a hand selected EU bureaucrat, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank. With the balance sheets of German and French banks in danger due to their extensive exposure to Greek bonds, that was no time to be consulting the Greek people.

Helping the Greek people in their time of need has never been an issue for the Germans and the EU. We know from Timothy Geitner’s book “Stress Test” that at the inception of the Greek crisis “EU leaders were obsessed with crushing terrible Greeks” and Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble was just as obsessed with throwing Greece out of the Eurozone (which he still is). ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/mathew-d-rose-not-eurozone-crisis-european-union-crisis.html



(Transit) Openings and Construction Starts Planned for 2015

from the Transport Politic blog:


Openings and Construction Starts Planned for 2015




The failure of the U.S. federal government to increase the gas tax since 1993 — in spite of inflation, an increasing population, and degraded infrastructure — has dominated the discussion on transportation policy since the late 2000s.* All that discussion, though, has failed to result in the development of long-term national revenue sources that accommodate the needs of municipalities interested in expanding their local transportation systems, and funding has stagnated. As a reaction to that state of relative austerity, policymakers from Arizona to Maine have argued for “fix-it-first” policies that emphasize enhancements of the existing system over any new construction.

The lack of expansion in federal revenues, however, has not produced a cut in spending on construction of new transit lines operating in fixed guideways — far from it, as localities and states have become adept at cobbling together varying sources of funding for their projects. As this summary of major transit investments shows, in 2015 there are expansion projects underway on about 100 projects in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, in addition to dozens of additional projects in various stages of planning. There should be no doubt about the interest of American metropolitan regions in investing in the future of their public transportation networks.

.....(snip).....


[font size="1"]7 train line extension work in New York[/font]

The following regions are expected to have new or expanded lines open to the public this year:

* Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago, Hartford, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Toronto, and Waterloo.
* Streetcar: Charlotte and Washington.
* Light Rail: Edmonton, Houston (2 lines), Phoenix, Portland, and Sacramento.
* Heavy Rail: New York and San Francisco.
* Commuter Rail: Boston, Los Angeles, and Toronto.
* Stations: Chicago, Miami, and New York.


.....(snip).....


[font size="1"]M1 Rail construction in Detroit[/font]

There are dozens of additional transit projects in cities throughout the continent that commenced construction prior to 2015 and which will be completed next year or later. What is unquestionably true is that the overall investment in transit is enormous: There is more than $90 billion being spent on new projects under construction and more than $7 billion being spent on major renovations underway in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (these are costs across the board, covering the entire construction process, which in almost every case is a multi-year affair), accounting for a total of 667 new miles of fixed-route transit services.

That’s down from 737 miles of projects under construction last year — though in 2014, bus rapid transit projects made up a larger share of overall investments compared to 2015. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2015/01/05/openings-and-construction-starts-planned-for-2015/



Amtrak San Joaquin Corridor At Near-Record Ridership And Revenue Levels




SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One Bay Area Amtrak rail corridor nearly set a record for ridership and revenue in November, despite lower gas prices, Amtrak officials have announced.

November data for the San Joaquin line to Bakersfield from both Sacramento and San Francisco show that November ridership and revenue was at its second highest level in more than a decade.

The San Joaquin is the fifth busiest corridor in the Amtrak nationwide system, according to the company.

“Intercity passenger rail is an important component of a sustainable, multimodal transportation system for today and the future,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/12/28/amtrak-san-joaquin-corridor-nears-ridership-revenue-record/



Deep Questions Arise Over Portland's Corporate Water Takeover


Deep Questions Arise Over Portland's Corporate Water Takeover

Wednesday, 07 January 2015 09:22
By Victoria Collier, Truthout | News Analysis


A simmering water war is about to come to a boil over the fate of historic, well-loved public reservoirs in Portland, Oregon. At the heart of the controversy is a breakdown in public trust that reflects the dangers of corporate-led water privatization schemes in the United States and around the world.

In an emotionally charged public meeting on November 18, 2014, Portland residents bombarded two of their city commissioners with questions about what they believe is a cronyism-driven plan to kill the elegant, gravity-fed, open water reservoir system that has reliably served their city safe, clean drinking water for more than 100 years.

The plan to disconnect the five Mt. Tabor and Mt. Washington reservoirs and replace them with costly covered reservoirs was triggered by a 2006 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling - called LT2 - mandating the protection of public water against a lethal parasite, Cryptosporidium.

.....(snip).....

Meanwhile, the City of Portland is racing to move forward with its development project, even while under fire of increasingly uncomfortable allegations.

Most troubling are charges of decades of revolving-door cronyism surrounding Joe Glicker, a vice president of CH2M Hill, the company awarded the contracts to build the new covered reservoirs for Portland. Not only was Glicker a former chief engineer of the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), he also worked as a core consultant with the EPA to write the very LT2 rules that now require these massive "emergency" water infrastructure projects. It's a conflict of interest that has local water rights advocates' heads spinning and steaming all at once. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28390-deep-questions-arise-over-portland-s-corporate-water-takeover



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