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If by chance you happen to know me here you also know I am a stalwart Obama supporter.  I also look at polls to see how the liberal community at large is thinking.

President Obama is #1 in approval rating for Iowa at 89% while Hillary Clinton is second at 86% favorable.   (May 25-29, 2015)

(Bloomberg/Des Moines Register)

President Obama is wildly popular among Democrats I am happy to say.

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As I am not religious but I do love animals I am posting this again for those who share those traits and like a good fable as well.

Happy Easter all!


As I have been saying here, the "Audit the Fed" bill is nothing more than an attempt to weaken the Fed's independent role in monetary policy matters.  Now Senator Warren agrees:

Sen. Warren Opposes ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), a member of the Banking Committee and an outspoken critic of the Fed’s oversight of big banks, said she does not support Mr. Paul’s proposed legislation, which she said could have “dangerous” implications for monetary policy.

For a succinct explanation see her most recent quote:

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Barriers are broken one at a time - a thousand times over.  Some may consider this one example small but I don't.  Tiger Woods had it easy.  Charlie Sifford was the truly the Jackie Robinson of golf.  

He started out in golf as a caddy, earning handfuls of change as a boy. Decades later, Charlie Sifford was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame, after a career marked by talent, character and the drive to change his sport. Sifford, the first black golfer to hold a PGA Tour card, has died at age 92.

"I knew what I was getting into when I chose golf," Sifford told Golf Digest in 2006. "Hell, I knew I'd never get rich and famous. All the discrimination, the not being able to play where I deserved and wanted to play — in the end I didn't give a damn. I was made for a tough life, because I'm a tough man. And in the end I won; I got a lot of black people playing golf. That's good enough. If I had to do it over again, exactly the same way, I would."
Sifford died in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lived after retiring from playing golf. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says Sifford died of cardiac arrest last night, citing the golfer's son.
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Short diary here.  I follow the financial industry closely and find this to be a fitting punishment for one of the worst actors in the 2008 financial meltdown.

Standard & Poor’s will be suspended for a year from rating bonds in one of its most lucrative businesses in a $60 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The deal, which the person said may be announced as soon as tomorrow, is the agency’s toughest action yet in an industry blamed for fueling the 2008 financial crisis by assigning inflated grades to risky mortgage debt. Instead of securities created during that period, though, the SEC’s investigation has looked at whether S&P bent its criteria to win business on commercial-mortgage bonds issued in 2011.
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For those here who kept asking why bankers were not jailed for manipulating LIBOR and other rates here is the answer:  It was not illegal but soon will be.

LONDON—Manipulating financial benchmarks, including a key currencies benchmark, is set to become a criminal offense that could carry a prison sentence of up to seven years, Chancellor George Osborne said on Monday.

Mr. Osborne confirmed that legislation originally introduced to regulate the Libor interest-rate benchmark will be extended to cover several other instruments, including the 4 p.m. London foreign-exchange benchmark rate and some key gold and silver fixes. The ICE Brent index and the Sterling Overnight Index Average, known as Sonia, is also included along with the ISADFix, which is used to price swaps transactions.
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Socialist Venezuela would never sell out its friends to Wall Street, right? Yet it appears that is exactly what Caracas wants to do. Pressed by the oil price collapse, rattled by fears of default, facing rising social tension as imports collapse due to lack of foreign exchange, and seemingly unable to put its economic house in order, the country is trying to raise desperately-needed cash by selling debts owed to it by the Dominican Republic and Jamaica on to Goldman Sachs. Chavismo turns to the vampire squid?

The idea has been circulating for a while in the investment banking community. But now details have emerged in the press, as reported by El Nuevo Herald, and Petroleum Argos. Essentially, the trade involves Venezuela securitizing debts owed under its $3.5bn a year subsidised oil program, called Petrocaribe.
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Fri Oct 31, 2014 at 08:11 AM PDT


by shrike

A whopping 65 percent of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction – the highest percentage the poll has ever measured before a midterm election.
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Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:50 PM PDT

Stiglitz is lying

by shrike

This is his claim:

The government, under the auspices of the Federal Reserve, lends money to the bank at a near-zero interest rate. The bank then lends it back to the government at 2 or 3 percent, and the “profit” is paid back to the government in repayment of the “investment” the government made.

Read more:

It is clear what he is saying.  Cheap money loaned by the Fed is then used to buy US Treasuries with at least a 10-year maturity (2% yield).

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Autopsies on the 2008 financial collapse are common but seldom have two of its bigger voices sounded off on the same topic in the same pages.  Paul Krugman offers a review of Tom Geithner's new book in the most recent 'New York Review of Books'.

The central question is this "To prevent a full collapse of the US economy should we have nationalized the big banks (Krugman) or treated the crisis as a traditional lender of last resort problem espoused by Geithner?"

Today Krugman admits that Geithner got it right.

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This is a serious charge so I won't make an editorial comment other than I expected better of Hedges.

The plagiarism at Harper’s was not an isolated incident. Hedges has a history of lifting material from other writers that goes back at least to his first book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, published in 2002. He has echoed language from Nation author Naomi Klein. He has lifted lines from radical social critic Neil Postman. He has even purloined lines from Ernest Hemingway.

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"Come on. Enemies, who would utterly annihilate America, they who'd obviously have information on plots, to carry out Jihad. Oh, but you can't offend them, can't make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen," she said. "Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we'd baptize terrorists."
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