Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Amy Goodman — Donald Trump Set to Be GOP Nominee Despite Links to Organized Crime

Investigative journalist Tom Robbins discusses Trump’s history of close relationships with organized crime figures in the United States.
As Donald Trump virtually clinches the Republican presidential nomination after Senator Ted Cruz suspends his campaign following a devastating defeat in the Indiana primary, we are joined by Tom Robbins, investigative journalist in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, who has reported on Trump’s history of close relationships with organized crime figures in the United States. We examine some of the characters and connections Robbins helped expose as a reporter who covered politics, labor and organized crime for the Daily News and The Village Voice from 1985 to 2011. His recent article for The Marshall Project is "Trump and the Mob." Robbins also critiques the media’s coverage of Trump on the campaign trail.…
TOM ROBBINS: All right. Good morning. Who would have thunk it? Right? I mean, you have the slickest con man out of New York City, and has just been basically made the Republican nominee by the Hoosiers of Middle America. It’s an astonishing thing. And I guess it goes to show that the Republicans have just as little idea as to who their base is as the Democrats.…
TOM ROBBINS: Well, you know, it’s interesting to hear Republicans talk about how scared they are of Trump being the candidate. I find that much more telling than when Democrats talk about, oh, he’s unpopular among women, he’s unpopular among minorities. You know, there’s a certain extent, I feel, the Democrats are whistling past the graveyard, that they don’t recognize the fact that American voters are scared, they’re anxious, they’re worried. They’ve been fed pablum and bromides about jobs that disappeared. Here’s a fellow who is telling them, "I can fix that. And it was wrong, and it shouldn’t have happened to you." And he comes across as a strongman. And there is a section of the electorate that responds to that….
TOM ROBBINS: You know, Hillary Clinton, at her best, is a tremendous candidate. When Hillary Clinton lets her guard down and she speaks out, I think she resonates with people. And people feel a pride of the fact that, you know, it looks like there could for the first time be a woman who would be the candidate of a major party. And I think that that’s something that has the potential to really rally enormous numbers of voters. Hillary Clinton, at her worst, which is something unfortunately we see a lot of, is someone who is paranoid and who is fearful and who is distrustful. And as a result, voters see her that way. And I think she has the capability of being at her best. But she’s a flawed candidate. She carries a lot of baggage. And I think that Donald Trump is somebody who is incredibly good at skewing his rivals and finding the soft spot. And she’s got a lot of soft spots.  
Donald Trump Set to Be GOP Nominee Despite Links to Organized Crime
Amy Goodman / Democracy Now!

In early March, Politico Magazine convened these five Trumpologists: Barrett, a longtime Village Voice reporter; Blair, a bestselling author; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist D’Antonio; Hurt, an author and videographer; and O’Brien, a writer and editor at Bloomberg. They gathered, together for the first time, for a discussion at Trump Grill, a restaurant in the atrium of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan—where Trump lives and his company is based. Moderated by Politico Editor Susan Glasser and senior writer Michael Kruse and presented in edited form below, the conversation ranged from the emotional wounds that drive Trump to the roots of his demagoguery to his alleged ties to the mob. The rest of the media might still be struggling to explain Trump’s political rise, but these five writers saw his ambition—and ego—from the very early days. Here’s how Trump the candidate came to be.
Trumpology: A Master Class
Susan B. Glasser and Michael Kruse

Druckenmiller, another billionaire hedge fund guy who knows jack shit, just gave you the green light to buy stocks

Another guy who's probably more luck than smart. Yeah, he's a billionaire, don't ask me how. This is the guy who was screaming, for years, that we were going to get hyperinflation because of "money printing by the Fed." And he runs some organization reduce America's debt. Another dangerous, educated, fool.

Well, he's back now saying the bull market has "exhausted itself."


“I have argued that the myopic policymakers have no end game,” Druckenmiller said. "They stumble from one short-term fiscal or monetary stimulus to the next despite overwhelming evidence that they only produce a sugar high and grow unproductive debt that impedes long-term growth. Moreover, the continued decline of global growth despite unprecedented stimulus the past decade suggest we have borrowed so much from our future and for so long that the chickens are now coming home to roost."

Stumble. Sugar high. Chickens coming home to roost.

Jesus. WTF????

Why? Because it's 3% from an all-time record high?

He blames it on a "radical monetary experiment."

And what is his brilliant investment idea? Buy gold of course.

This is a 100% green light to buy stocks. We can all laugh and look back on this moron's "call" in six months.

Buy stocks. Fade the idiots.


Ted Rall — Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!

Hey Bernie supporters: Hillary has a talking point for you.
Confident that she has the Democratic nomination pretty much locked down and turning toward a general election contest against Donald Trump, Secretary Clinton’s surrogates and paid Internet trolls are targeting Sanders devotees via email and seeding comment threads on political websites with a low-key sales pitch.
It goes like this: We’re not asking you to vote for Hillary in November. We are asking you to work for and donate to “down ticket” Democratic candidates for Congress, governor, state rep and so on. Oh, and if you could kindly hold your fire against Hillary — because those attacks help Trump — that would be awesome too, thanks.
Like all things Clinton, this tightly scripted DNC-approved don’t-vote-for-me-vote-for-other-Dems argument carries more than a whiff of triangulation, big data analytics and well-managed focus groups
It also reeks of desperation.…
Hillaryites are sweating the progressive #BernieorBust movement — a recent poll of Sanders voters found one out of four swearing they won’t vote for Clinton in November, no way, no how. Like Miley Cyrus’ pledge to leave the U.S. if Trump wins, these promises are more hot air than statements of serious intent. But it’s not like that 25% drops to 0 by November 8th. Some Berners will stay home on election day. Disaffected Sanderians will give Jill Stein’s Green Party the biggest surge it has ever seen. (That’s probably how I’ll roll.)
And yes — despite the opinions of the center-right pundits who have been wrong about everything all year long — a significant number of liberal Democrats will defect to Donald Trump. As a friend told me, “I always vote Democratic. In this race, Donald Trump is the Democrat and Hillary Clinton is the Republican.”
Ted Rall

Bernie Sanders’ defeats in the East Coast primaries have triggered a flurry of conversation about what the 25 to 35% of Sanders supporters who’ve told pollsters they will not vote for Hillary Clinton will do instead. Socialist Alternative, led by Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, and others have called for Sanders to found an independent left party for the 99% and run as an independent, or to appeal to Jill Stein and the Green Party to join their ticket, despite his oft repeated promise to endorse the Democrats’ nominee.
With little time left to get a new party on the ballot in most states, I looked into Green Party ballot access in the 50 states and spoke to Georgia Green Party activist and Black Agenda Report Managing Editor Bruce Dixon.…
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Ann Garrison

In her campaign Stein advocates much of what Sanders is offering plus more with her Green New Deal plan, which will create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture and conservation. This Green New Deal will also immediately get the country out of the endless wars for oil that is costing the taxpayers hundreds of trillions of dollars.…
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Leslie Scott

James Petras — The Left: Business Accommodation and Social Debacle [Brazil]

Prologue: In 2004 I wrote Brazil and Lula: Year Zero (Edifurb: Blumenau, Sao Paolo 2005), in which I presented my analysis of the Lula-Workers Party (PT) regime in Brazil undergoing a Grand Transformation with the first stage represented by the PT’s incorporation into a government apparatus led by of bankers and exporters (the agro-mineral elite).
Two year earlier, my colleague, Henry Veltmeyer, and I had published Cardoso’s Brazil: A Land for Sale (Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham MD 2003) where we described how President Cardoso had sold off the major public resources, banks, petroleum and iron resources to foreign capital for rock bottom prices. The 2002 election of President Lula DaSilva of the Workers’ Party did not reverse Cardoso’s sell-out. Indeed, Lula accepted his predecessor’s neo-liberal policies - embellished them - and set about forging an alliance between the Workers’ Party and the economic elites, replacing Cardoso’s Party! For the next few years, we were attacked by the Left academic and pundit world for having dared to advance such a critique on their ‘worker president’! The consequences of what we had described as the PT’s pact with the Right are clear to everyone today: Brazil is enmeshed in swindles, scandals and coups.…
Excellent analysis of why and how the Left failed after taking power based on huge public support.

The Left believed in the myth of democratic capitalism. They had faith that their negotiations with the business elites would increase social welfare. They operated on a platform of gradual accommodation of class interests leading to multi-class alliances and strategic conciliation between business and labor.
The historical lesson has proven otherwise - again. Business and the capitalist elite make clear, tactical short-term agreements in order to prepare a strategic counter-offensive. Their patient long-term strategy was to mobilize their class allies and overturn the electoral process - at the ripe moment.…
Victorious capital and empire neatly ended this charade of ‘market democracy’. The retreating Left parties begged for a reprieve via parliamentary vote and ended with a decisive defeat… bleating their last whimper as the door slammed shut…
Capitalists have never and will never recognize weak popular opposition. The capitalist political elite will always choose power and wealth over social democracy. The Left, in retreat, isolated and expelled from the corridors of power, now face retribution from the most corrupt and treacherous of their ‘former allies’.

They usher in a lost generation.
Never trust a snake not to bite you.

James Petras Website
The Left: Business Accommodation and Social Debacle
James Petras | Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Millennium Report — Donald Trump compares the US’s trade deficit with China to RAPE and promises to ‘turn it around’

The Republican frontrunner, who has lashed out at ‘politically correct’ speech in the past, told supporters: ‘We cannot continue to allow China to rape our country. And that’s what they’re doing.’
While the bombastic billionaire has often attacked the U.S.-Chinese trade deficit, the Fort Wayne rally marks the first time in recent history he has chosen to use the word ‘rape’ to describe it.

Donald Trump accused China of carrying out ‘the biggest theft in the history of the world’ over the U.S. trade deficit, comparing it to ‘rape’ in a typically inflammatory speech.
According to CNN, Trump has used the inflammatory term to describe the deficit once before, back in 2011, as he toured a defense manufacturer in New Hampshire.

The Millennium Report
Donald Trump compares the US’s trade deficit with China to RAPE and promises to ‘turn it around’

Jim Chanos is a piker who tries to sound like he's a big swinging dick

Jim Chanos is a piker

Jim Chanos, the famous "short seller," has been "short" China forever. He calls it "the gift that keeps on giving on the short side."

Oh really? Then he's just some piker scalper.

The reasons Chanos gives for his perpetual short China trade amount to all the same misguided B.S. we hear from the likes of people like Kyle Bass and more recently, George Soros (who's only ever made money by trading on inside information).

Here are Chanos' reasons:

China's got too much debt.

It's a bubble.

They're fudging their numbers. ("Do you believe those numbers?" Said in the voice of an old prospector.)

Chanos is a fake and a phony. If he's short at all he's small time short (he never discloses his position size when asked, because he's probably embarrassed) and even then, he's scalping it, afraid to make a commitment with some balls.

Screw you, Chanos. Blow out already, piker.

You gotta buy down here

Once again, typical emotional selling.

More Cheese...

Ryan picked up on this... makes a joke about it.  What is the problem we have YUGE amounts of cheese?  What is not to like?  This is how most people think about something like this.

John Helmer — Oleg Deripaska Tries Forcing Russian Beer Out Of Leonid Mikhelson’s, Kirill Shamalov’s, And Gennady Timchenko’s Bottle Into Rural‘s Can

This is an interesting article about economic decision-making in Russia. Where the Duma and prime minister fail to agree the decision falls to the president. In the US, these issues are decided by factions in Congress that are influenced by lobbying. The US regards the Russian model as corrupt but sees nothing similar in the US model, which is supposedly free of political influence.
Dances with Bears
John Helmer

Janet Tavakoli — How to Spot a Fraud

THINKADVISOR: Why is it critical for financial advisors to perform a fraud analysis on whatever they’d like to invest in — or when doing any deal? 
JANET TAVAKOLI: You need to protect yourself. The Fed and the [Securities and Exchange Commission] aren’t doing their jobs, and the banks are financing a bunch of bad guys. You’re cruising for a bruising if you don’t take fraud into account and do a fraud analysis. Fraud is the most important thing to evaluate. When there’s fraud, there’s permanent value destruction in investments.…
Janet Tavakoli: How to Spot a Fraud
THINK ADVISOR interviews Janet Tavakoli

Economy Watch — IMF Says Global Economic Growth Powered by Asia

Many may think that the United States or Europe, as the location of most of the world’s most developed nations, would be driving global economic growth. Asia, however, is actually the area driving global economic growth this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Although a lagging Chinese economy slowed economies around the world—and Asia in particular—the Asian economies are still powering most of the world’s growth. "Asia is impacted by the still weak global recovery, and by the ongoing and necessary rebalancing in China," Changyong Rhee, Director of the Asia-Pacific Department at the IMF, said in a statement. "But domestic demand has remained remarkably resilient throughout most of the region, supported by rising real incomes, especially in commodity importers, and supportive macroeconomic policies in many countries."
The IMF predicts that the Asia-Pacific region will grow at a fairly impressive 5.3% this year. That growth accounts for almost two-thirds of global growth. Unfortunately, that still represents a slight downturn in overall global economic growth, down from 5.4% in 2015.…

Ramesh Upadhyay — China's Crude Oil Buying Spree

Ship tracking data from Bloomberg shows that 83 supertankers carrying around 166 million barrels of oil are headed to China, which has stockpiled an impressive 787,000 barrels a day in the first quarter of 2016—the highest stockpiling rate since 2014.

While the world was speculating about oil prices plunging to $20 and $10 per barrel, China was busy stockpiling its reserves.

The chart below shows an increase in imports as crude prices collapsed. Since the beginning of this year, China has imported a record quantity of oil…
China's Crude Oil Buying Spree
Rakesh Upadhyay for

Gary D. Halbert — Levy Economics: 90% Of Americans Worse Off Today Than In 1970s

FORECASTS & TRENDS E-LETTERby Gary D. HalbertMay 3, 2016

1. US Economy Grows by Weakest Pace in Two Years
2. 90% of Americans Worse Off Today Than in 1970s
3. 24% of Voters May Not Vote For Trump or Clinton

Value Walk
Levy Economics: 90% Of Americans Worse Off Today Than In 1970s
Gary D. Halbert

Free Markets Mean Zero Economic Profit – or a 99% Profit Markup

Bill Black explains economic rent, rent-seeking behavior, and rent extraction, which neoclassical economics assumes away.

New Economic Perspectives
Free Markets Mean Zero Economic Profit – or a 99% Profit Markup
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

Lars P. Syll — Top 10 Economics Books

Lars chooses his top 10. What are yours?

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Top 10 Economics Books
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Morning update...challenging, but remain calm.

The environment is a little bit challenging right now, but flows are strong. Trends remain intact. Stay calm.

Liz Warren's Views


Who thinks regulating system interfaces is the "xenophobia!":

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ted Cruz drops out. finally. Trump is now the nominee.

Ted Cruz finally dropped out.

Donald Trump is now the nominee. He is free to go after Hillary full bore now. He will shred her.

Trump will be the next president.

Jag Bhalla — The Epic Ptolemy-Sized Epicycling Errors of Free Market Fans

Jag Bhalla is a very clear writer. This is an excellent albeit summary smackdown of the assumptions that underlie conventional economic discourse that have shaped the debate even among non-economists. In Steven Colbert's epic takedown, "truthiness." Short and worth a read.

The Epic Ptolemy-Sized Epicycling Errors of Free Market Fans
Jag Bhalla

Jeremy Scahill — Clinton Is Legendary Hawk, but Sanders Shouldn't Get Pass on Role in Regime Change

Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald weigh in on comments from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her rival, Bernie Sanders, who have both supported the use of drones. Scahill notes that while Clinton is often portrayed as a more hawkish "cruise missile liberal," Sanders also supported regime change in the 1990s. "Bernie Sanders signed onto neocon legislation that made the Iraq invasion possible by codifying into U.S. law that Saddam Hussein’s regime must be overthrown," Scahill says, and "then supported the most brutal regime of economic sanctions in world history, that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."…
Jeremy Scahill: Clinton Is Legendary Hawk, but Sanders Shouldn't Get Pass on Role in Regime ChangeAlterNet
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

Balanced Budget Amendment: Worst idea of all time!

Worst idea of all time being pushed by fucking clueless morons and it's going to happen!

Moon of Alabama — The "Free Syrian Army" Media Efforts Are A British Government Operation

Sykes-Picot, after all.

More news from the snake pit.
No unveiling of the truth about the "western" attack on the Syrian state and its people seems to any effect on the ongoing media operations. On April 20 the U.S. military spokesperson for the anti-Islamic State coalition told some truth about the role of al-Qaeda in the "rebel" occupied eastern Aleppo city:
That said, it's primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo, and of course, al-Nusra is not part of the cessation of hostilities.
Only two weeks later the NYT propagandist Anna Barnard has the Chutzpah to claim that al-Qaeda only
has a small presence in Aleppo
Lies get repeated even after they have been debunked again and again. The relentlessness of the propaganda onslaught is effective in suppressing any larger opposition to it.
Moon of Alabama
The "Free Syrian Army" Media Efforts Are A British Government Operation

Why I am against trading recommendations

One size fits all simply does not work.

Richard Kogan And Cecile Murray — Senate Proposal for Balanced Budget Amendment Would Require Extreme Budget Cuts

… the proposed amendment — introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and cosponsored by every Republican senator — would enshrine in the Constitution a severe cap on total federal spending set at 18 percent of gross domestic product in the prior completed calendar year.
This cap would compel policymakers to cut all programs by an average of more than one-fourth when it takes effect — we are assuming 2023. The total amount of cuts required would amount to $8 trillion over the next decade; starting in 2023, the cuts would be about half a trillion dollars a year deeper than those that would be made under the severe budget plan the House Budget Committee’s Republican majority passed earlier this year.
Latest from the loony bin. GOP Senators explore la-la land, doubling down on GOP House.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Senate Proposal for Balanced Budget Amendment Would Require Extreme Budget Cuts
Richard Kogan And Cecile Murray
“Free trade” seems to be in deep trouble in the United States, with serious implications for the rest of the world.
Opposition to free trade or trade agreements emerged as a big theme among the leading American presidential candidates.
Donald Trump attacked cheap imports especially from China and threatened to raise tariffs. Hillary Clinton criticised the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which she once championed, and Bernie Sanders’ opposition to free trade agreements (FTAs) helped him win in many states before the New York primary.
That trade became such a hot topic in the campaigns reflects a strong anti-free trade sentiment on the ground.
"Free trade" is a centerpiece of neoliberalism, and the key to transnational corporatocracy and marginalizing national sovereignty.

Triple Crisis
“Free Trade” In Trouble in the United States
Martin Khor | Executive Director of the South Centre

Yanis Varoufakis — In conversation with Noam Chomsky, at the New York Public Library

Yanis Varoufakis
In conversation with Noam Chomsky, at the New York Public Library

Share Count Reductions in Q1

Q1 results for this activity.

US Cheese Inventory at 30 year highs

This type of news helps support the Buffet (imo materialist) view that "America is already great...". No shortages of real product to be seen.