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Friday January 23, 2015
News Articles

New Saudi King Salman Names Heirs And Promises Stability
AP & HP | Abdullah Al-Shihri | 01/23/15

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's actions came as the Sunni-ruled kingdom mourned King Abdullah, who died early Friday at the age of 90 after nearly two decades in power.

A royal decree affirmed Crown Prince Muqrin as his immediate successor. After Muqrin, Salman named Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as deputy crown prince, making him second-in-line to the throne. Mohammed is the first grandson of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, to be named as a future heir. ... Read more

[Hillary] Clinton plans to astound, intimidate with fundraising 'like nothing you've seen'
TheHill | Amie Parnes | 01/21/15

Major donors are ready to announce huge financial commitments to Hillary Clinton as soon as she announces a second run for the White House, according to Clinton allies and Democratic fundraisers.

The Clinton team wants to build excitement about her campaign launch, which is expected in March or April. The money blitz would be a show of Clinton's strength meant to scare away potential primary rivals.

"The floodgates are going to open immediately, and there's going to be a rush to get on the team," said Don Peebles, the real estate mogul who served on President Obama's national finance committee. "There's nobody in the Democratic Party who can match her. Not even close." ... Read more

Read All of FP's Davos 2015 Coverage
foreignpolicy.com | author | 01/23/15

Davos Wants You to Know It Really, Really Cares About Inequality

  1. Almost half of the world's wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
  2. The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That's 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world's population.
  3. The bottom half of the world's population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
  4. Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
  5. The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
  6. In the U.S., the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
Read more
Davos: Home of the $43 hotdog (01/23/15) [1:47]

30 Hours After Unleashing ECB QE, Coeure Suggests QE2
ZeroHedge | author | 01/23/15

With US equities down 0.5% this morning and European inflation expectations having given back all their ECB QE gains, it was only a matter of time before some half-witted central-planner felt the need to speak... ... Read more

Jeb Bush's Reverse Midas Touch
thinkprogress.org/ | Josh Israel | older

Eight years ago, Bush -- best known by the acronym "Jeb" -- departed from Florida's governor's mansion determined to boost his $1,288,000 net worth in the private sector. Since, he has made millions in corporate board fees, speaking gigs, and consulting payments -- but, much like his tenure before getting into public life, has done so with a series of companies that have found their way into legal or financial quagmires.

Jeb Bush has often been portrayed as a "successful businessman," but ThinkProgress reviewed Bush's current and past business record and found a great deal of controversy and struggle. ... Read more

Saudi Arabia foreign policy: 'Enacted not by Abdullah, but by oligarch consensus'
RT | Eric Draitser | 01/23/15

Wahhabi extremism is a direct outcome of the foreign policy that the oligarch consensus in Saudi Arabia has pursued for decades, thus there won't be any substantive policy changes, geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser, told RT.

There are a number of things we should consider. I think the most obvious is the five hundred pound gorilla in the room, the exporting of Wahhabi extremism, the continued export from Saudi Arabia of precisely the kind of extremism that has been fought in Syria that has been fought in Iraq and all throughout the region. This specter, this global threat of Wahhabi extremism emanating from Saudi Arabia a direct outgrowth of the foreign policy that Saudi Arabia has pursued going on for decades. And it's certainly not all at the feet of one individual, but rather I think it could be described more specifically as an oligarchy, a familiar oligarchy, but an oligarchy nonetheless. And I think that is probably the principle reason why the report there is correct in saying that there won't be substantive policy changes because those policies were not simply enacted by Abdullah; those are enacted by an oligarch consensus in Saudi Arabia. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, January 23 [6:15]
*DN | Remembering Saudi's King Abdullah: "He Was Not a Benevolent Dictator, He Was a Dictator" (01/23/15) [10:28]
*DN | Hailed as U.S. Counterterrorism Model in Middle East, Yemen Teeters on the Brink of Collapse (01/23/15) [10:27]
DN | In Victory for Gov't Whistleblowers, Supreme Court Sides with Fired TSA Air Marshal Who Spoke Out (01/23/15) [13:15]
DN | Barrett Brown Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison After Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms (01/23/15) [8:58]
Jon Stewart
*Jon Stewart | " Jon Stewart took on the "Monsters of Money" -- the business and financial leaders who flew to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in a fleet of 1,700 private jets to discuss topics such as climate change. (01/23/15) [8:14]
*TRNN | Madawi al-Rasheed: US wants to contain and manipulate Arab uprisings while the Saudis want to crush them, Part 1 (01/23/15) [16:31]
Prof. Robert Pollin of Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and Prof. Chris Williams of Pace University say: How Obama Can Reduce Carbon Emissions Without Congress (01/23/15) [16:37]
TYT | Bill O'Reilly Clueless On Minimum Wage Issue (01/22/15) [10:08]
*TYT | 98 Senators Finally Admit Climate Change Is Not A "Hoax" (01/22/15) [7:07]
TYT | Joni Ernst's Family Received Hundreds Of Thousands In Government Aid (01/22/15) [5:11]
TYT | Cenk Uygur Reacts To Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address (01/22/15) [4:27]
RT | CrossTalk: Greece Electoral Farce? (01/23/15) [24:33]
Ring of Fire | Papantonio: Another Corrupt Bush Seeking White House? (12/16/14) [10:19]
Ring of Fire | GOP In Trouble In 2016 (01/22/15) [15:45]
Ring of Fire | Jeb Bush: The Worst Republican Traits In One Package (12/16/14) [3:08]
Thom Hartmann - www.thomhartmann.com/
Jon Stewart (again)
Jon Stewart | Actress Jennifer Aniston discusses what motivated her to depart from her well-known comedic roles for a more serious turn in "Cake." (01/23/15) [7:12]

01.23.2015. 12:15

Thursday January 22, 2015
News Articles

Draghi Is Pushing Boundaries of Euro Region with QE Program
Bloomberg | Jana Randow | 01/22/15

Mario Draghi is about to bring Europe's integration project across the Rubicon.

At about 2:30 p.m. in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank president will probably commit to a quantitative-easing program that may exceed 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion). While the move comes much later than that of the Federal Reserve, which ended its own QE three months ago, the ECB's arrival at this point still marks a critical juncture in the history of the currency and the European unity it embodies. ... Read more

As European Central Bank Is Set to Unleash a Massive Round of Quantitative Easing, Central Bank Heads Admit QE Doesn't Work
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

The former head of the Bank of England -- Mervyn King -- said yesterday that more QE will not help the economy: "We have had the biggest monetary stimulus that the world must have ever seen, and we still have not solved the problem of weak demand. The idea that monetary stimulus after six years … is the answer doesn't seem (right) to me." William White -- the brilliant economist who called the 2008 crisis well ahead of time, who is head of the OECD's Review Committee and was former chief economist for BIS (the central banks' central bank) slammed QE: "QE is not going to help at all. Europe has far greater reliance than the US on small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and they get their money from banks, not from the bond market." Read more

'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize
RollingStone | Matt Taibbi | 01/21/15

I saw American Sniper last night, and hated it slightly less than I expected to. Like most Clint Eastwood movies -- and I like Clint Eastwood movies for the most part -- it's a simple, well-lit little fairy tale with the nutritional value of a fortune cookie that serves up a neatly-arranged helping of cheers and tears for target audiences, and panics at the thought of embracing more than one or two ideas at any time.

I usually like Matt Taibbi's articles so I was surprise that this reviews tone didn't match other reviews that I've read. I haven't seen the movie, and probably won't ontil it reaches Netfilix, so I can't comment. But if nothing else I hope the movie makes people see the senselessness of preemptive war.
Read more

The Beginning of the End of the $100 TRILLION Bond Bubble
ZeroHedge | author | 01/19/15

The big story in the world is the bond bubble. For over 30 years, sovereign nations, particularly in the West have been buying votes by offering social payments in the form of welfare, Medicare, social security, and the like. Read more

Mitt Romney Has a Koch Problem
MotherJones | Andy Kroll | 01/22/15

This weekend, a select group of Republican presidential hopefuls will arrive in southern California to attend one of Charles and David Koch's biannual donor retreats, a coveted invite for GOP politicians seeking the backing of the billionaire brothers and their elite club of conservative and libertarian mega-donors. Featured guests at the conclave will include Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was also invited to the confab but is unlikely to attend. ... Notably absent from the guest list for the Koch winter seminar: Mitt Romney. ... Read more

We're Destroying the Planet in Ways That Are Even Worse Than Global Warming
MotherJones | Oliver Milman | 01/16/15

Two major new studies by an international team of researchers have pinpointed the key factors that ensure a livable planet for humans, with stark results.

Of nine worldwide processes that underpin life on Earth, four have exceeded "safe" levels: human-driven climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change, and the high level of phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into the oceans due to fertilizer use. ...

... Since 1950, urban populations have increased sevenfold, primary energy use has soared by a factor of five, while the amount of fertilizer used is now eight times higher. The amount of nitrogen entering the oceans has quadrupled. All of these changes are shifting Earth into a "new state" that is becoming less hospitable to human life, researchers said. ... Read more
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Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, January 22 [7:23] TRNN | Prof. Robert Pollin of Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) & Prof. Chris Williams of Pace University: Climate Change Crisis Buried in the State of the Union (01/22/15) [12:16]
TRNN | Author and activist David Bacon says: Does Obama's Support of TPP Contradict His Immigration Policy? (01/22/15) [5:53]
TRNN | Kevin Alexander Gray joins Paul Jay to discuss the President's lack of interest in the desperate conditions faced by most (01/22/15) [11:32]
TYT | What Obama Should've Said In The SOTU Address (01/21/15) [9:30]
TYT | GOP Reacts To Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address (01/21/15) [8:41]
TYT | Fox Reacts To Obama's Free Community College Plan (01/21/15) [7:27]
TYT | Obama Jabs Republicans In 2015 State of the Union Address (01/21/15) [5:05]
RT | CrossTalk: Kiev Offensive (01/21/15) [24:13]
RT | Undeground: (E164) Going Underground: Inequality at Davos 2015, Peace One Day, & Trident protests (01/21/15) [28:06]
Thom Hartmann - www.thomhartmann.com/
Thom Hartmann | Joni Ernst's (GOP Rebuttle to SOTU) Bread Bag Politics (01/21/15) [4:32]
Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart | President Obama delivers his 2015 State of the Union address to a lackluster crowd dominated by a new Republican-controlled Congress. (01/21/15) [7:53]
Jon Stewart | "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy" author Mike Huckabee compares Ted Nugent and Beyonce Knowles and their relative impacts on American culture. (01/19/15) [7:16]
Ben & Jerry
Ben&Jerry | Global Warming. Climate Change. Climate Justice. What does it all mean? (09/21/14) [2:04]
Ben & Jerry's website
Ben&Jerry | Get Money Out of Politics () [2:14]
StampStampede.org website

01.22.2015. 11:55

Wednesday January 21, 2015
News Articles

Fact-Checking Obama's State Of The Union Speech
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

Interesting read. I'm always for keeping politicians honest. They should also do this to the GOP rebuttal speech... it made my skin crawl.
Read more

Why 2015 Is a Make-or-Break Year for the Global Economy
HP | Christine Lagarde | 01/20/15

As 2015 begins, policymakers around the world are faced with three fundamental choices: to strive for economic growth or accept stagnation; to work to improve stability or risk succumbing to fragility; and to cooperate or go it alone. The stakes could not be higher; 2015 promises to be a make-or-break year for the global community. ... Read more

97% of Fracking Now Operating at a Loss at Current Oil Prices

How Do You Unmanipulate A Manipulated Economy?
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

Breaking the stranglehold of vested interests is the essential step to rebuilding an economy that isn't totally dependent on manipulated money and statistics. ...

Good article. A little hard to read because of the twists and turns. We have so many Financial Con Artists and the Climate Change Deniers... will we ever get out of this mess?
Read more

Swiss Franc 'Nuclear Explosion' Spreading, Credit Suisse, Saxo Hurt
Bloomberg | Elena Logutenkova | 01/20/15

... The full force of the decision won't be known for months and is "closer to a nuclear explosion than a 1,000-kilogram conventional bomb," Javier Paz, senior analyst in wealth management at Aite Group, said in an e-mail Tuesday. "The aftermath is like a black hole that can suck massive amounts of credit from currency trading as we have known it."

Citigroup Inc. (C), Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc (BARC) suffered about $400 million in cumulative trading losses, people familiar with developments said last week. At Morgan Stanley (MS), owner of the world's largest brokerage, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said the effect was minimal. ... Read more

The Next SNB? Goldman Warns Bank Of Japan "At Risk Of Losing Credibility"
ZeroHedge | author | 01/21/15

"...with the large downward revision to its core CPI outlook, the bank is more or less acknowledging a much lower possibility of achieving the 2% price stability target by around FY2015. Yet, at the press conference following the MPM, Governor Kuroda said he still held the view that 2% could be achieved by around FY2015. Domestic investors have been skeptical of the BOJ's target from the outset, and now foreign investors are also beginning to question the BOJ's logic and communication with the market. We believe the mixed signals the BOJ is sending may well serve to further undermine confidence in the bank." - Goldman ... Read more

I Helped Start the Religious Right: Here's How We Tried to Undermine Secular America -- and Build a Theocracy
Salon & AlterNet | Frank Schaeffer | 01/20/15

As someone who participated in the rise of the religious right in the 1970s and 1980s, I can tell you that you can't understand the modern Republican Party and its hatred of government unless you understand the evangelical home-school movement. Nor can the Democrats hope to defeat the GOP in 2016 unless they grasp what I'll be explaining here: religious war carried on by other means.

The Christian home-school movement drove the Evangelical school movement to the ever-harsher world-rejecting far right. The movement saw itself as separating from evil "secular" America. Therein lies the heart of the Tea Party, GOP and religious right's paranoid view of the rest of us. And since my late father and evangelist Francis Schaeffer and I were instrumental in starting the religious right -- I have since left the movement and recently wrote a book titled "Why I Am an Atheist who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace" -- believe me when I tell you that the evangelical schools and home school movement were, by design, founded to undermine a secular and free vision of America and replace it by stealth with a form of theocracy. ... Read more

Seniors and Vertical Farming, Together at Last
ModernFarmer | Meaghan Agnew | 01/19/15

Much of the dialogue surrounding the future of agriculture laments farming's aging demographic. But SPARK, a global architectural firm, has proposed a "living and farming typology" that marries innovative growing initiatives with the over-55 set. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, January 21 [7:32]
*DN | Phyllis Bennis: As Obama Hails "Turning Page" on Wars, U.S. Drone Strikes Continue Across Globe (01/21/15) [6:23]
*DN | Rep. Keith Ellison on Obama's Push to Sign TPP & Seek Authority to Expand War in Iraq & Syria (01/21/15) [13:04]
*DN | Ralph Nader on What was Missing in President Obama's State of the Union Address (01/21/15) [6:30]
*DN | David Cay Johnston: Class War Is Being Waged by the Rich Against the Poor (01/21/15) [13:45]
*DN | On 5th Anniversary of Citizens United, GOP Taps Koch Brothers-Backed Senator to Give SOTU Response (01/21/15) [7:45]
President Obama's 2015 State of the Union
*GOV | President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address (01/20/15) [1:01:31]
*PBS | Joni Ernst deliver the Republican response to the 2015 State of the Union address (01/20/15) [9:32]
2014 State of the Union Best Boehner Reactions (01/20/15) [0:52]
*TRNN | Bill Black and James Henry join Paul Jay to discuss President Obama's State of the Union (01/21/15) [20:19]
TRNN | Dr. Finkelstein says the BDS movement must take a position on Israel's right to exist as a state, Part 8 (01/21/15) [17:09]
*TYT | 2015 State of the Union Address, TYT Comments (01/20/15) [11:25]
*TYT | Joni Ernst's Republican Response To 2015 State Of The Union Address - TYT's Comments (01/20/15) [4:59]
TYT | Fox News Apologizes For No-Go Zone "Error" (01/20/15) [13:02]
TYT | Yemen Devolves Into Chaos. Rebels Attack Presidential Palace (01/20/15) [4:37]
TYT | Are Snipers Cowards? Michael Moore Tweets Ignite Controversy (01/20/15) [16:11]
TYT | Fox News Apologizes For No-Go Zone "Error" (01/20/15) [13:02]
Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart | Jon Stewart Shocked By Fox News Apology Over Muslim 'No-Go Zones' In Europe (01/21/15) [7:37]
Thom Hartmann - www.thomhartmann.com/

01.21.2015. 11:27

Tuesday January 20, 2015
News Articles

The US Military's Stunning Conspiracy Theory Emerges From The Archives: "ISIS Leader Does Not Exist"
ZeroHedge | author | 01/20/15

Having noted that voter angst has been riled, propagandized, and fear-mongered to the point at which the most pressing priority for Congress is to 'fix' terrorism, it is perhaps not entirely surprising that we discover - deep down in the archives - that giving the public someone to 'hate' as opposed to something may have been an entire fiction. As The New York Times exposed in 2007 (see article below), Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, the titular head of the Islamic State, according to Brigadier General Kevin Bergner - the chief American military spokesman at the time - never existed (and was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima). So he was a ghost back then.... is he a ghost again, designed purely to put a face on ISIS and the biggest bogeyman of the current global anti-terrorist mania? ... Read more

Leader of Al Qaeda group in Iraq was fictional, U.S. military says
NYTimes | Michael R. Gordon | 07/18/07

For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi named Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi.

As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered unscathed.

On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed.

Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima.
Read more

Another Former Central Banker Finally Gets It: "The Idea That Monetary Stimulus Is The Answer Doesn't Seem Right"
ZeroHedge | author | 01/20/15

What is it about central bankers who wait to tell the truth only after they have quit their post. First it was the maestro himself, the Fed's Alan Greenspan (most recently in "Greenspan's Stunning Admission: "Gold Is Currency; No Fiat Currency, Including the Dollar, Can Match It"), and now it is the Bank of England's former head, Mervyn King, who yesterday told an audience at the LSE that "more monetary stimulus will not help the world economy return to strong growth." That this is happening just as we learn that in one year the world's 1% will collectively own more wealth than the rest of the world combined, and two days before Goldman's Mario Draghi unleashed up to €1 trillion (if not unlimited) in QE, is hardly as surprise, and will be surely ignored by everyone until the inevitable outcome of another "French revolution" finally arrives. ...

In his first public speech in England since his term at the BoE ended in June 2013, Mr King said he was concerned about a persistent weakness in global economic demand, six years on from the depths of the financial crisis.

"We should worry about that," Mr King told an audience at the London School of Economics, where he was once a professor.

"We have had the biggest monetary stimulus that the world must have ever seen, and we still have not solved the problem of weak demand. The idea that monetary stimulus after six years ... is the answer doesn't seem (right) to me," he added.

Unlike the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, the European Central Bank has until now resisted trying to boost the economy by buying government bonds with newly created money, known as quantitative easing (QE).

"There are quite serious disequilibria both between and within economies that, for good economic reasons, are depressing demand. Simply lowering rates even further or adding more monetary stimulus is unlikely to solve that problem," he said.

Which is not only ironic but hypocritical because under King, the BoE bought £375bn of government bonds between 2009 and 2011. Mr King said this was right just after the crisis, but that using loose monetary policy to bring forward spending was not a long-term strategy.

Actually, wrong: since the entire global economy has been hijacked by the same people (bankers) who would be sleeping under bridges had they not received a multi-trillion bailout in 2008, and since the global financial system now exists only to serve them, and to raise them from billionaire to trillionaire status, QE is precisely that: a long-term strategy, one which will ultimately pillage all the wealth of the middle class and hand it on a golden platter in some non-extradition country to the 0.001%.

Well, long-term at least until the 99% realize they have been subject to the most epic, historic robbery in the history of the world. Of course, by the time what was formerly the world's middle class realizes what happened, there will be nothing left. Original article

The richest 80 people on Earth are now as wealthy as the world's 3.5 billion poorest people.
HP | Emily Cohn | 01/20/15

If you find it hard to grasp just how unequal the global economy is, here's one stat that should put it all in perspective: The richest 80 people on Earth are now as wealthy as the world's 3.5 billion poorest people. In other words, 80 people control as much wealth as half the population of the planet.

That's one of the most shocking findings from a report released Monday by Oxfam, an international charity dedicated to finding solutions to global poverty. The report's overall point is that global inequality is soaring to amazingly high levels as the world's richest just keep getting richer. ... Read more

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Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Tuesday, January 20 [12:16]
*DN | A Coup in Yemen? Jeremy Scahill & Iona Craig on Rebel Offensive to Seize Power, Saudi Role & AQAP (01/20/15) [15:13]
*DN | As Fox News Apologizes, Jeremy Scahill on Fake "Terror Experts" & Challenges of Real War Reporting (01/20/15) [12:27]
DN | Prosecuting Guatemala's Dirty War: Rigoberta Menchú Hails Embassy Fire Verdict, Dictator's Trial (01/20/15) [14:23]
*TRNN | Prof. Leo Panitch: The SYRIZA Challenge in Greece, Part 1 (01/20/15) [8:58], Part 2 [10:01]
TRNN | CEPR's Nicole Woo says a phase-out of the tax cap could eliminate up to 80% of the projected shortfall in social security funding (01/20/15) [8:13]
TYT | Justice Fights Back Against Civil Asset Forfeiture Corruption (01/19/15) [6:12]
TYT | Photos Of ISIS Executions Released (01/19/15) [4:55]
TYT | "Go Home & Take Obama With You," Protestors Waved At Muslim Group At Texas Conference (01/19/15) [3:02]
Thom Hartmann - www.thomhartmann.com/
*Thom Hartmann | Roll back Reaganomics, Bring Back the Middle Class ... (01/15/15) [6:20]
*Brunch with Bernie (01/16/15) [44:53]
Ring of Fire full (01/18/14) [56:00]
RT | Keiser report: Mexico - Land of Opportunity (E708) (01/20/15) [25:00]
PBS
PBS | Inside Obama's middle class tax plan (01/18/15) [3:44]
PBS | PBS NewsHour full (01/19/15) [53:42]

01.20.2015. 10:55

Monday January 19, 2015
News Articles

Richest 1 Percent To Own More Than Half Of The World's Wealth By 2016, Oxfam Finds
HP | Jade Walker | 01/19/15

The rich keep getting richer, and by next year, just a handful of the upper-class will have accumulated more than half of the world's wealth. A new report released on Monday by Oxfam warns that this deepening global inequality is unlike anything seen in recent years.

Using research from Credit Suisse and Forbes' annual billionaires list, the anti-poverty charity was able to determine that the richest 1 percent of the world's population currently controls 48 percent of the world's total wealth.

Drill down the numbers even more and you'll learn that the 80 wealthiest people in the world possess $1.9 trillion, which is almost the same amount shared by some 3.5 billion people at the bottom half of the world's income scale. Thirty-five of the lucky 80 were Americans with a combined wealth of $941 billion. Germany and Russia shared second place, with seven uber-rich individuals apiece. ... Read more

Stat of the day: 51 percent -- the share of American K-12 students who lived in low-income households in 2013, according to an analysis of federal data. It's the first time in at least 50 years that the figure has exceeded 50 percent.

Republicans and Wall Street Say to Hell With Protecting the Public!
BillMoyers | Bill Moyers | 01/17/15

Since December, Congress has twice passed measures to weaken regulations in the Dodd-Frank financial law that are intended to reduce the risk of another financial meltdown.

In the last election cycle, Wall Street banks and financial interests spent over $1.2 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions, according to Americans for Financial Reform. Their spending strategy appears to be working. Just this week, the House passed further legislation that would delay by two years some key provisions of Dodd-Frank. "[Banks] want to be able to do things their way, and that's very dangerous." MIT economist Simon Johnson tells Bill.

"'Here we go again' -- I think that's exactly the motto, or the bumper sticker for this Congress. It's crazy, it's unconscionable, but that is the reality."... Read more

Obama To Propose Tax Hikes On Wealthy, Breaks For Middle Class
HP | Dave Jamieson | 01/17/15

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama will lay out a plan to extend tax credits to the middle class by hiking taxes on wealthier Americans and big banks, according to senior administration officials.

Under the plan, the capital gains tax for couples with income over $500,000 per year would be raised from its current level of 23.8 percent up to 28. The plan would also strip a tax break, known as a "step-up," that allows heirs to avoid capital gains taxes on large inheritances.

In addition, the plan would institute a new tax on the biggest financial institutions, basing the fee on liabilities in order to discourage risky borrowing. The administration says the fee would hit the roughly 100 banks that have assets of $50 billion or more. ... Read more

Franc-ly Speaking: What If It Were All A Set Up?
ZeroHedge | author | 01/19/15

... I make that point because when I first thought about the Swiss National Bank's (SNB) declaration to rescind its commitment to the Euro peg, I wondered why when just mere days before they assured their commitment to it.

A decision of this scale and magnitude with all its disruption directly thrust upon its own business infrastructure (i.e. The immediate throwing of profits into the waste-heap via a new exchange rate.) there had to be a reason far more onerous to the SNB than previously imagined. And that's when my first thoughts went to thinking that maybe the SNB -- was set up. ... Read more

Saudi Arabia Constructing 600-Mile Wall To Keep Out ISIS
Newsweek | Damien Sharkov | 01/15/15

Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile long wall along its northern border with Iraq in order to keep ISIS at bay, the Telegraph newspaper reported today. Once completed, the wall will consist of a ditch and a triple-layered steel fence, with 40 watchtowers spread out along it. Each watchtower will be equipped with high-tech surveillance radars that are capable of detecting low-flying helicopters and approaching vehicles, as well as being able to spot a human from the range of about 20km. ... Read more

It's Time for a Revolution: Bankrupt Policies, Historic Losses Call for New Generation of Leaders
AlterNet | Bill Curry | 01/18/15

It's always "Groundhog Day" for Democratic leaders who can't adjust, can't organize and can't win. Let's dump them.

As a wise man once said, never underestimate the capacity of an entire social order to commit suicide. The Democratic Party's old order is doing it now. It may seem strange but make no mistake, the Democrats' leaders are already unconscious. If they don't wake up soon, they'll go the way of the Whigs. If progressives don't wake up now, they'll go with them.

... Life is change and these Democrats never change. It's like watching "Groundhog Day" but without laughs, a love interest or a learning curve. Democrats in Congress ran the same race in 2014 they ran in 1994, lost badly, and then reelected all their leaders. Obama handled the budget this year the same way he does every year, with the same result. Hillary Clinton is poised to run the same awful race in 2016 she ran in 2008. ... Read more

Mitt Romney Has a Huge New Conflict-of-Interest Problem
MotherJones | David Corn | 01/16/15

... But there's another matter that will be be added to the pile of financial controversies for Romney to face: Solamere Capital, the $700 million private equity firm cofounded by his son Taggart that Romney has helped run since March 2013. Who has Romney been investing with, and what has he been investing in? These are questions that Romney 2016 will confront and that, no doubt, the firm will not want to answer. ...

... In the 2012 campaign, Romney was the candidate who defied transparency. (In one memorable moment, an irritated Ann Romney huffed that she and her husband had disclosed "all you people need to know.") ... Read more

TRNN | Professor Leo Panitch, author of The Making of Global Capitalism: What is Causing Market Volatility? (01/19/15) [13:41]
TRNN | Shir Hever, Researcher at the Alternative Information Centre: Netanyahu's Elbowed Presence in Paris (01/19/15) [14:01]
TRNN | Dr. Finkelstein discusses the "complicated question" of Israel's right to regulate the ethnic balance of the state and Palestinian's right of return (01/19/15) [20:41]
TRNN | Scholar Sam Mitrani says: The Function of Police in Modern Society: Peace or Control? (01/19/15) [15:24]
TYT | Billionaire Banker Says Life Is Too Hard (01/18/15) [6:37]
TYT | Republicans Push Legislation To Destroy Government Regulation (01/18/15) [8:48]
*TYT | 2014 Hottest Year Since Records Began, Earth Officially Melting (01/17/15) [8:55]
TYT | Saudi Arabia Building It's Own Great Wall To Repel ISIS (01/16/15) [6:20]
TYT | Right Wingers Have Much In Common With Radical Islamist Killers (01/18/15) [5:13]
RT | CrossTalk: Turning Right (01/16/15) [24:00]
Thom Hartmann - www.thomhartmann.com/
*Thom Hartmann | What's up with the Swiss Franc? (01/16/15) [6:32]
Thom Hartmann | Thom Hartmann on Economic & Labor News (01/19/15) [7:08]
PBS
PBC | German writer spends 10 days with the Islamic State (12/14/14) [10:53]

01.19.2015. 11:12

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