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[Comedy] @gnarmarbro I'm a millennial who can't spell "millennial" without spell check. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[Entertainment] Toby Keith was a loud political voice in the Bush years. What about the Trump era? The country singer caught heat for performing at the inauguration. He doesn’t really care. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[Markets] The time traveler's tax break: How a GOP tax perk motivates only magic investors The tax break would stimulate the time-traveling industry, but not the rest of the economy. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[World] British police identify attacker who killed three in London rampage An American man from Utah, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the rampage while celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[Politics] GOP health-care plan: Passage in doubt after hardliners rebuff White House offer The White House and Freedom Caucus indicated that resolution is still possible Thursday. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[World] Regulation at 40

The last four decades have seen landmark liberalization of U.S. regulatory policy, yet many promising reform ideas now languish and policymakers have backslid in some cases. On this, the 40th anniversary of Regulation magazine, Cato is pleased to offer this overview of American regulation and its reform, and offer some thoughts on how further liberalizations could be achieved.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[World] New England Patriots to Visit White House, President Trump April 19

Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced moments ago that the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will visit the White House on April 19.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[World] It's Time to Dump Most Central Banks

Steve H. Hanke

On March 16th, the New York Times carried reportage by Peter S. Goodman, Keith Bradsher and Neil Gough, which was titled “The Fed Acts. Workers in Mexico and Merchants in Malaysia Suffer.” The theme of their extensive reportage is that U.S. monetary policy is the elephant in the room. It is the elephant that swings exchange rates and capital flows to and fro in emerging-market countries, causing considerable pain.

Emerging-market countries should dump their central banks and local currencies.

The real problem that all of the countries mentioned in the New York Times reportage face is the fact that they have central banks that issue half-baked local currencies. Although widespread today, central banks are relatively new institutional arrangements. In 1900, there were only 18 central banks in the world. By 1940, the number had grown to 40. Today, there are over 150.

Before the rise of central banking the world was dominated by unified currency areas, or blocs, the largest of which was the sterling bloc. As early as 1937, the great Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek warned that the central banking fad, if it continued, would lead to currency chaos and the spread of banking crises. His forebodings were justified. With the proliferation of central banking and independent local currencies, currency and banking crises have engulfed the international financial system with ever-increasing severity and frequency. What to do?

The obvious answer is for vulnerable emerging-market countries to do away with their central banks and domestic currencies, replacing them with a sound foreign currency. Panama is a prime example of the benefits from employing this type of monetary system. Since 1904, it has used the U.S. dollar as its official currency. Panama’s dollarized economy is, therefore, officially part of the world’s largest currency bloc.

The results of Panama’s dollarized monetary system and internationally integrated banking system have been excellent (see accompanying table).

image

  • Panama’s GDP growth rates have been relatively high. Since 1994, when the Mexican tequila crisis commenced, real GDP growth has averaged 5.8% per year.
  • Inflation rates have been somewhat lower than those in the U.S. Since 1994, CPI inflation has averaged 2.3% per year.
  • Since Panama’s fiscal authorities can’t borrow from a central bank, the fiscal accounts face a “hard” budget constraint dictated by the bond markets. In consequence, fiscal discipline is imposed, and since 1994, Panama’s fiscal deficit as percent of GDP has averaged 1.7% per year.
  • Interest rates have mirrored world market rates, adjusted for transaction costs and risk.
  • Panama’s real exchange rate has been very stable and on a slightly depreciating trend vis-à-vis that of the U.S.
  • Panama’s banking system, which operates without a central bank lender of last resort, has proven to be extremely resilient. Indeed, it weathered a major political crisis between Panama and the United States in 1988 and made a strong comeback by early 2000.

To avoid the pain described in the New York Times reportage, emerging-market countries should dump their central banks and local currencies. They should follow Panama’s lead and adopt a stable foreign currency. Or, they could install a competitive currency regime, which would allow for more than one foreign currency to be used.

Steve Hanke is a professor of applied economics at The Johns Hopkins University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[US Headlines] Trump: A Russian Impersonator The news media has been ignoring the obvious truth since Donald Trump called Mexicans, "?rapists and murderers." The candidate was controversial, provocative and sold money making advertisement for the networks. Money talks, but were networks making... Published:3/23/2017 1:46:30 PM
[Congress] The GOP Health Care Bill Is Unpopular Even In Republican Districts With a vote tentatively scheduled for Thursday, the health care bill put forth by Republican Congressional leaders and endorsed by President Trump is still taking heat from all sides in the House of Representatives. Some of the opposition comes from moderate Republicans such as Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who represent districts that voted for Hillary Clinton. […] Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[PAID] Major Trump to Ground Control The President’s good idea for improving U.S. air traffic. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[World] U.S. heading toward lawlessness

In the 1934 romantic movie "Death Takes a Holiday," Death assumes human form for three days, and the world turns chaotic.

The same thing happens when the law goes on a vacation. Rules are unenforced or politicized. Citizens quickly lose faith in the legal system. Anarchy follows — ensuring that ... Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM

[Politics] GOP divisions still showing as health care bill vote looms President Trump’s health plan was in intensive care Wednesday after the leader of a band of conservative House members predicted it was going down. “There’s still not enough votes to pass it,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-SC), head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, whose members are largely hostile to the bill. A vote on the... Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[World] Camille Paglia Contra Mundum The libertarian feminist takes no prisoners and fears no critics in her latest anthology of essays. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Open Threads] Bookworm Beat 3/22/17 — the “let’s pretend that terrorist attacks in London are ordinary” edition

This round-up post opens with the London terrorist attack, but also covers Trump and Obamacare, the Sudan, climate change, media bias, faith, and risky sex. In the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in London, people were remembering last year, when London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, said that terrorism is just part of life […]

The post Bookworm Beat 3/22/17 — the “let’s pretend that terrorist attacks in London are ordinary” edition appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Comedy] hows the weather up there

A dick thing you say to a tall person to piss them off.

Person 1 "Hows the weather up there?"
Person 2 "Fuck you."

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Entertainment] Throttlebottom: Dictionary.com Word of the Day Throttlebottom: a harmless incompetent in public office. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[World] Prospects dim for vote on GOP health bill in House WASHINGTON (AP) — Prospects for the Republicans' showcase health care bill looked grimmer by the minute Thursday as President Donald Trump failed to get a deal with a bloc of balky conservatives, leaving the legislation short of votes in the House. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[__image] Because it was never women they were marching for, was it… Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Tech] OnePlus 3T – 5.5” Optic AMOLED and Dash Charging Technology The OnePus 3T is a smartphone that is molded out of a single piece of space-grade aluminum. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Donald Trump] CNN fires back at Trump’s ‘fake news’ accusations with this bombshell Trump & CNN have a stair-down Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Film] The totally nerdy inside story of ‘Star Wars,’ as told in Mark Hamill’s tweets
The totally nerdy inside story of 'Star Wars,' as told in Mark Hamill's tweets

This December, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will finally release, and we’ll find out what happened to Luke Skywalker after the remnants of the galactic empire crushed his resistance movement, sending him into self-imposed exile until a rebel sympathizer who may be Luke’s daughter tracked him down on the planet Ahch-To. Until then, “Star Wars” fans can revel in tweets by Luke himself, as Mark […]
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Markets] Capitol Report: America’s ‘missing workers’ are more educated than you may think A new analysis finds that it’s Americans with some educational attainment, not those with the lowest levels, who’ve stepped away from the workforce.
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[United States Politics and Government] Key to Health Vote, Hard-Line Conservatives Push New Cuts The House Freedom Caucus was set to negotiate revisions to the Republican health care bill directly with President Trump at the White House on Thursday morning. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Climate News] State of the Climate 2016 – based exclusively on observations A report on the State of the Climate in 2016 which is based exclusively on observations rather than climate models was published yesterday by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). Video and full report follows. Compiled by Dr Ole Humlum, Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard (Norway), the new climate survey… Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Headlines] London attacker named as Khalid Masood A man who murdered three people before he was shot dead by police in yesterday’s London terror attack has been named as Khalid Masood. Today it was confirmed that he was born in the UK and it is strongly believed that he … Continued Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[AAPL] Thinking Of Selling Apple? Read This First Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Legal Scholarship] [Orin Kerr] New draft article, ‘Encryption Workarounds’ I recently posted to SSRN a new draft article, “Encryption Workarounds,” that I co-authored with cryptographer Bruce Schneier. Here’s the abstract: The widespread use of encryption has triggered a new step in many criminal investigations: the encryption workaround. We define an encryption workaround as any lawful government effort to reveal an unencrypted version of a […] Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[PAID] Fewer Immigrants, Higher Prices, Lower Profits President Donald Trump’s tough stance on immigration may be about to put many American companies in a pinch. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Entertainment] CBS renews 16 shows, including 'Bull' and 'Kevin Can Wait' But fates of 'Elementary,' '2 Broke Girls' and 'Criminal Minds' are yet to be determined.
     
 
 
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Science] Somebody Just Buy the ISS Already
Somebody Just Buy the ISS Already
An argument for a big investment from some billionaire space lover. The post Somebody Just Buy the ISS Already appeared first on WIRED.
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Chuck Schumer] Democrats to Filibuster Gorsuch (John Hinderaker) Chuck Schumer announced this morning that Senate Democrats will filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This seems like an odd decision, as Senate Republicans will no doubt follow the lead of Harry Reid and Schumer himself, by ending the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Gorsuch will be confirmed, and the filibuster will have been abolished in a context that is good for Republicans–on behalf of a Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Terrorism] Terror, Not Donald Trump Jr., Is the Problem

On Wednesday, London was attacked. Just before 3 p.m. in the British capital, a terrorist drove a vehicle at high speed down the Westminster Bridge toward Parliament, running ...

The post Terror, Not Donald Trump Jr., Is the Problem appeared first on Commentary Magazine.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[dc037245-6881-46fa-843f-e4e4262acb86] Ralph Peters: Turkish tyrant Erdogan's very low new low When a political charlatan lacks character as well as imagination, a tantrum in the face of reverses nowadays is apt to climax with him spitting the epithet “Nazi” at opponents. “Nazi” is the go-to insult wielded by immoral losers everywhere. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Markets] Trump, House conservatives fail to strike health-law deal: reports Trump, House conservatives fail to strike health-law deal: reports Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Politics] 42% Think It’s Too Easy To Get Food Stamps

Florida has recently proposed a bill that would cut food stamp eligibility for hundreds of thousands of residents, and a sizable number of Americans still agree that food stamps are too easy to come by in the United States.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 42% of American Adults think it is too easy to get food stamps in this country, although that's down from 48% three years ago  and a high of 52% in 2012. Just 19% think it is too hard to get food stamps today. One-in-four (25%) think the level of eligibility is about right, but 13% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook

The survey of 1,000 Adults nationwide was conducted on March 20-21, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[In The News] WATCH Live: White House Press Briefing with Sean Spicer 3/23/17

Sean Spicer White House Press Briefing

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer briefs the press on issues of the day. The briefing is scheduled for 1:30 pm, but the secretary is usually late. Our stream will start awt 1:00 pm ET. Topics likely to get covered:
  • AHCA progress
  • Nunes briefing on surveillance
  • American killed in London terror incident
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMRHIbjjwsQ
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[] Is the GOP This Stupid, Or Just Almost This Stupid? The Democrats are proposing a "deal" in the Gorsuch confirmation: For promising to not block his nomination, which they can't do anyway, they want Republicans to promise not to nuke the filibuster for any subsequent nomination -- you know, the... Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Politics] ATR Supports Better Sentencing in Nebraska Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[News] WHAT? Metropolitan Republican Club Welcomes Clinton Family’s Soviet/Soros Operative Doug Schoen

In the latest weird twist of events, the Anti-Trump Metropolitan Republican Club has welcomed a long time Democratic operative to their club to speak. This is the same Republican club that purged Trump supporters from its trustee board a week after the 45th President’s Inauguration and made it nearly impossible for Trump campaign surrogates, including Trump’s […]

The post WHAT? Metropolitan Republican Club Welcomes Clinton Family’s Soviet/Soros Operative Doug Schoen appeared first on GotNews.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[World] Market Extra: Here’s what the health-care vote means for financial markets Investors are looking to the looming health care vote to answer questions about stocks and other financial markets.
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Politics] 'A Smell of Treason' 'The fundamental question now isn't about Trump's lies, or intelligence leaks, or inadvertent collection of Trump communications. Rather, the crucial question is as monumental as it is simple: Was there treason?" We don't know yet what unfolded, and raw intelligence is often wrong. But the issue cries out for a careful, public and bipartisan investigation by an independent commission.'* * *That's the latest from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and we say, go for it. If there's a... Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Culture] Woman with 'Fancy Nails' Spins 'The Price Is Right' Wheel a Little Too Hard—And Gets Bumpy Landing "Don't break a nail..." Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Uncategorized] AHCA Dead? Trump and House Freedom Caucus Unable to Come to Agreement Dead in the water? Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Politics] Democrats Fret Over Originalism at Gorsuch’s Confirmation Hearing

The post Democrats Fret Over Originalism at Gorsuch’s Confirmation Hearing appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Law] Leading Democrat Says ‘No’ on Gorsuch, Indicates Democrats May Filibuster

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he will vote against Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch and asked his Democrat colleagues to filibuster during... Read More

The post Leading Democrat Says ‘No’ on Gorsuch, Indicates Democrats May Filibuster appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Kevin McCarthy] GOP Lawmaker: "If I Were A Betting Man, I'd Say There Won't Be A Vote Today"

Despite Sean Spicer claiming during his daily press conference that the vote to repeal Obamacare will still take place tonight as previously scheduled, others disagree. Several lawmakers quoted by the Hill say that the House will likely delay its vote until Friday or next week, several lawmakers said. "It didn't look like today was going to be when we're going to vote," said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) after leaving a meeting with committee chairs and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who controls the House floor schedule.

Roe said a vote may come Friday. 

The vote on the healthcare bill was originally planned for Thursday, the seven-year anniversary of the day ObamaCare was signed into law, however as of 1:30 p.m., GOP leaders had not made a final decision about whether to delay the vote until Friday or next week. The decision was further complicated after negotiations between the White House and the Freedom Caucus broke down as reported shortly after 1 pm.

Meanwhile, Sean Spicer said he still expects the bill to come up for a vote Thursday. "That would obviously be up to Speaker [Paul] Ryan and [House Majority] Leader [Kevin] McCarthy, but nothing leads me to believe that’s the case," he said.

Spicer also said the whip count of votes in favor of the bill is improving. “We continue to see the number go up, not down, and that’s a very positive sign.”

Yet several House GOP lawmakers and a GOP chief of staff predicted a vote would be postponed past Thursday night.

"If I were a betting man, I'd say there won't be a vote today," one GOP lawmaker told The Hill. "At this point, it would have to be [delayed]," said a chief of staff to a top House Republican. "They won't want to vote in the middle of the night."

GOP leaders, however, also were feeling enormous pressure from some rank-and-file members to press on with the vote Thursday. They warned delaying any further could kill the bill outright the Hill reported.

“At some point you gotta say there’s nothing in this world that’s gonna change [the Freedom Caucus’s] minds. I think the window for making a decision is rapidly closing. We need to either vote or go home,” an exasperated Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) told reporters.

“I think the chances for getting the bill done after this week get smaller. They don’t go to zero. No such thing as never or impossible,” Byrne added. “But the chances of passing this bill get a lot lower after this week.”

It appears that the"the art of the deal" will go down to the wire, and may well go beyond it, which may mean a vote well after midnight.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Investor CAFÉ] How I Made the Forbes Billionaire Issue! Investment expert Mark Skousen shares how he made the Forbes Billionaire Issue. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Internet ] Senate votes to undo privacy rules that protect user data The Republican-led Senate moved Thursday to undo Obama-era regulations that would have forced internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to ask customers' permission before they could use or sell much of their personal information. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Entertainment] Ben Affleck Takes Sam to Disneyland for a Day of Father-Son Bonding Ben AffleckBen Affleck is a big kid at heart. With Jennifer Garner filming Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda alongside Josh Duhamel in Atlanta, Ben is on full-time daddy duty. So, on Wednesday, he...
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Europe] Samsung is aiming to widen access to contactless payments  While Samsung’s most high profile contactless payment push is the eponymous Samsung Pay — aka its mobile payments product, which competes with the likes of Apple Pay and Android Pay — the company is today bigging up another approach it’s backing, with the not so catchy name of Contactless Companion Platform (CCP). Read More
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Ted Cruz RIPS Democrats for attacks and smears on Federal Judge Gorsuch There was a lot going on yesterday that pushed the Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination hearing to the back burner, so we missed Ted Cruz ripping Democrats for their hypocritical smears and attacks . . . Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Ted Cruz RIPS Democrats for attacks and smears on Federal Judge Gorsuch There was a lot going on yesterday that pushed the Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination hearing to the back burner, so we missed Ted Cruz ripping Democrats for their hypocritical smears and attacks . . . Published:3/23/2017 1:46:29 PM
[2017 News] Democrats Will Filibuster Gorsuch Nomination Democrats Will Filibuster Gorsuch Nomination. Time for McConnell to nuclear option this bullshit artist. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[PAID] Google Faces Tall Order Policing Content Google’s commitment to better police the millions of websites and videos across its advertising network is complicated by the very scale and diversity that has made the network so attractive to marketers. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[Elon Musk] SpaceX to Relaunch Recovered Rocket and Clear a Viable Path to Mars SpaceX’s next mission could be a turning point for the aerospace industry. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[World] Spicer suggests Nunes didn't get his information from the White House

Sarah Westwood

The suggestion that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes traveled to the White House to brief President Trump on surveillance findings provided to him by the White House team "doesn't pass the smell test," press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday.

Nunes traveled to the White House on Wednesday to inform Trump that his committee had uncovered evidence that the identities of several transition associates — and possibly of Trump himself — had been "unmasked" and placed in intelligence reports that were then distributed widely throughout the federal government.

Spicer wondered why Nunes would need to brief the White House if the White House had given him the information.

"My understanding ... Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM

[topics:in-the-news/parliament-shooting] Our brave police risk their lives to keep us safe, but they can't prevent every attack Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[worldNews] UK parliament attacker named as British-born Khalid Masood LONDON (Reuters) - The attacker who killed three people near parliament in London before being shot dead was named on Thursday as a 52-year-old British-born man, Khalid Masood, who was once investigated by MI5 intelligence officers over concerns about violent extremism.
Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[Markets] U.S. shares edge higher as healthcare vote eyed; gold dips Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[Science] Senate confirms David Friedman as Trump's ambassador to Israel

Pete Kasperowicz

The Senate voted 52-46 Thursday to confirm David Friedman as President Trump's first ambassador to Israel.

Friedman's nomination was relatively controversial, and he didn't have the support of Democrats throughout the Senate process.

In the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was approved in a 12-9 vote, and the only Democrat to support him there was Sen. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM

[The Blog] CNN: FBI has info showing Trump associates “possibly” coordinated with Russia to release info damaging to Clinton campaign Hmmmm. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[Uncategorized] JUST embarrassing: Dianne Feinstein goes on mopey Garland rant during #GorsuchHearing (video)

It would appear Senator Dianne Feinstein has some serious sads over Garland … that or she’s totally confused about who has been nominated. Maybe a little bit of both. .@SenFeinstein notes that Judge Garland also received the highest rating from the American Bar Association. #GorsuchHearing pic.twitter.com/JK6QIRYlpm — Senate Judiciary Dem (@JudiciaryDems) March 23, 2017 Ok? Any […]

The post JUST embarrassing: Dianne Feinstein goes on mopey Garland rant during #GorsuchHearing (video) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[93db6252-1e2d-48a7-a0ad-caffbf785e51] Super-smart celebrity brainiacs Let’s clear something up: Just because you’re a wildly successful Hollywood star doesn’t mean you aren't well educated. In fact, there are plenty of actors who received prestigious degrees from Ivy League schools. Some of these celebs we already know are brainy — Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones are both Harvard grads, and Emma Watson famously made the decision to go to school at Brown University in 2009. But others are more under-the-radar. Published:3/23/2017 1:46:28 PM
[World] In Germany, right-wing violence flourishing amid surge in online hate Conspiracy theories and online hate are stoking the surge in right-wing violence. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:35 AM
[World] KitchenAid Upsets Feminists With 'Sexist' Pink Kitchen Products

KitchenAid quickly found itself at the center of some feminist outrage after introducing a line of pink products for women in an effort to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

Published:3/22/2017 8:45:35 AM
[World] Separate Art and State

Michael D. Tanner

As the husband and stepfather of accomplished artists, I take art very seriously. It is, in the words of President Kennedy, “close to the center of a nation’s purpose and a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.” But for all that, Donald Trump is absolutely right in his desire to defund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

According to its supporters, without the NEA, art in America would cease to exist. They have a point. Absolutely nothing can happen in this country unless the federal government funds or mandates it. Without Washington we are a wasteland. After all, the NEA wasn’t established until 1965, and before that there was hardly an American artist to be found. Well, except maybe people like Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe, John Singer Sargent, Edmonia Lewis, Charles Sheeler, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer …

For many of the same reasons that we demand a separation of church and state.

The NEA’s budget is a paltry $138 million. By contrast, private philanthropy contributes more than $17 billion every year to support for the arts. Ticket and merchandise sales bring in another $12.7 billion. In fact, government sources at all levels, federal, state, and local, contribute less than 4 percent of arts funding.

What supporters of the NEA are really complaining about is a lack of funding for art that they like. The boobs and illiterates out there in Trumpland can’t be expected to understand or support “real” art. How could they possible fund art worth viewing? If you want to know why we are saddled with a President Trump, that attitude goes a long way toward explaining it.

But doesn’t government funding provide an imprimatur of approval that can be leveraged for additional support? Perhaps. But that’s exactly why the government should not be in the art-funding business. The government shouldn’t be in the business of approving or disapproving any type of expression.

Art is deeply personal. It touches the core of our being, and helps form our outlook on the world, even our fundamental belief systems. That is one reason why authoritarian regimes have long sought to control art, repress it, or use it for propaganda. For many of the same reasons that we demand separation of church and state, we should want the separation of art and state. It is more difficult to speak truth to power when power pays your bills.

It is true that the NEA’s ability to withhold funding based on content has been limited since the Supreme Court’s decision in NEA v. Finley (1998). But that doesn’t mean that the NEA doesn’t pick and choose guided by prejudices and preconceived notions. Even when its decisions don’t reflect politics or a particular worldview, it’s funding can be determined by the artistic vogue of the day — abstract or avant-garde art, performance, minimalist, video, you name it, rather than figurative art or realism in general — as has been the trend over the last few decades. Like other viewers and consumers, I have my own preferences and biases about types of art I like. The government shouldn’t.

Nor should we count on the NEA to nourish new artists or those trying to challenge the art establishment. Following a series of embarrassments in the 1990s, the NEA stopped funding individual artists. Today, its money goes to arts organizations and programs that have their own built-in rigidities. In many ways, the NEA simply rubberstamps the artistic status quo. That’s ultimately bad for the arts and artists.

Federal spending on the NEA is little more than a drop in a vast ocean of red ink. It is hardly the most egregious use of taxpayer money. But it is a prime example of how government distorts and corrupts nearly everything it touches. If we truly care about art, we should want the government to keep its hands off.

There are many reasons to be disappointed with Trump’s spending cuts. They don’t actually cut spending, for example, but just shift it around. But if this latest budget proposal starts a serious debate about finally eliminating those programs that the federal government should never have gotten involved with in the first place, it will have performed a valuable service.

Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis.
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:35 AM
[structure:news/uk-news] Father tells how his life was ruined by a police investigation for child abuse images because of a typo Published:3/22/2017 8:45:35 AM
[World] AP Exclusive: Manafort had plan to benefit Putin government WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:35 AM
[Comedy] ratfucker

The insane, narcissistic, outrageous asshat who ratfucked his way into the Whitehouse with Russian hacking, slanderous lies from FBI director James Comey, and the archaic, undemocratic, and fucked Electoral College. Ratfucker is now working tirelessly (minus weekly vacations to Florida) to finish dismantling american society, enact authoritarian rule, destroy the environment, and destabilized global relations. You’ve been ratfucked.

Ratfucker stays up long into the night composing insane and nonsensical tweets for the braindead lemmings who support him to read and praise.

Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Entertainment] ort: Dictionary.com Word of the Day ort: a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Features] @Stranahan Banned From the White House by… @BreitbartNews

What @CrowdStrike and Comey and the @DNC are all banking on right now is my story and the VOA story getting no traction. — Lee Stranahan (@stranahan) March 22, 2017 Breitbart News Network’s Lead Investigative reporter Lee Stranahan has one of the biggest stories in news, blowing holes in the FBI’s story about the DNC […]

The post @Stranahan Banned From the White House by… @BreitbartNews appeared first on GotNews.

Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Federal Budget (US)] Eyeing Trump’s Budget Plan, Republican Governors Say ‘No, Thanks’ As the White House presses for bone-deep spending cuts, some Republican governors have complained about reductions that they see as harmful or arbitrary. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[PAID] As Trump Trade Withers, China's Markets March On Faltering expectations for Trump hurt U.S. markets but have helped ignite simultaneous rallies in Chinese equities, real estate and debt—for now. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[BAC] Bank Of America: What To Do After Yesterday's Massacre? Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[worldNews] North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer SEOUL (Reuters) - A North Korean missile appeared to have exploded on Wednesday just after it was launched, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said after detecting the latest in a series of weapons tests by the nuclear-armed state that have alarmed the region.
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Congress] How Much Of The Trump-Russia Story Is Smoke And How Much Is Fire? In this week’s politics chat, we examine the smoke-to-fire ratio in the reporting about the ties between Trumpworld and Russia. The transcript below has been lightly edited.   micah (Micah Cohen, politics editor): I’m making our usual chatmate Harry continue to work on a piece he’s writing for tomorrow, so he’s skipping our chat today. […] Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Film] How sketching a dying father led Daniel Clowes to his quirky new film ‘Wilson’
How sketching a dying father led Daniel Clowes to his quirky new film ‘Wilson’
AS DANIEL CLOWES’s father lay there in the hospital, staring down his mortality, the son thought of the comic they had long shared. In the quiet bleakness, there was “Peanuts.” “He loved [Charles] Schulz,” Clowes says of the father of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, “and we loved him together when I was a kid.” And through that […]
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Tech] Apple iPad – New Faster Processor and More Fun This iPad allows you to learn, surf, create and play faster than ever before with its new A9 processor. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Entertainment] 'Wheel of Fortune' contestant epically flubs puzzle with one letter missing On Tuesday's episode, just one letter stood between the contestant and victory.
     
 
 
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[__image] …No, CNN. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[VR/AR] [Eugene Volokh] Crime on the virtual street: Strobe lighting, ‘virtual groping’ and startling I’m blogging excerpts this week and next week from Mark Lemley’s and my new article, “Law, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality” (click on the link to see the whole article, including footnotes). This post is from the criminal law part; we began with disturbing the peace and indecent exposure and are now turning to other […] Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Markets] U.S. stocks resume slide at open Wednesday U.S. stocks resume slide at open Wednesday Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Markets] FA Center: Can investors trust a robot to work in their best interest? Can a robo adviser work as a fiduciary under the DOL rule?
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[2bf5094b-028b-4e7e-b666-0df89df77b7b] Lena Dunham talks weight loss: 'As a woman in Hollywood, you just can't win' Lena Dunham says her recent weight loss caused some people to speak out against her. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[app] Jop Combines Task Rabbit, Handy and Glamsquad Into One App Jop co-founder Canel Frichet discusses his app. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Business] LinkedIn Tries to Do Trending News in a Non-Disastrous Way
LinkedIn Tries to Do Trending News in a Non-Disastrous Way
You'd think internet companies would want to stay far, far away from "trending" news after one Menlo Park-based social giant's unfortunate history The post LinkedIn Tries to Do Trending News in a Non-Disastrous Way appeared first on WIRED.
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Business] Russian Billionaire Deripaska Responds To AP Story On Manafort Ties

In the latest attempt to stir the pot over allegations that Trump and members of his closest circle had ties to Russia, on Wednesday, the AP unearthed a 2005 memo from former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort - who was let go by the Trump campaign in the summer to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who became Russia's richest man under Putin and whose key asset is a 48% stake in Russian aluminum giant Rusal, according to which Manafort would boost Putin's agenda and reportedly undermine anti-Russian opposition across Europe, the U.S. and former Soviet republics.

"We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success," Manafort wrote, adding it "will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government."

As a reminder, Manafort worked as Trump's unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine's ruling pro-Russian political party.

Furthermore, the AP wrote that Manafort and Deripaska eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, and maintained a business relationship until at least 2009. Manafort confirmed to the AP that he worked for Deripaska in various countries, but said the work was being unfairly cast as "inappropriate or nefarious" as part of a "smear campaign."

According to AP, for the $10 million contract, Manafort did not use his "public-facing" consulting firm, Davis Manafort but rather used a company, LOAV Ltd., that he had registered in Delaware in 1992. He listed LOAV as having the same address of his lobbying and consulting firms in Alexandria, Virginia. In other records, LOAV's address was listed as Manafort's home, also in Alexandria.

Ironically, even the AP reports that despite the retention, relations between then-president George W. Bush and Putin only grew worse"

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Then, moments ago responding to the AP story that is certain to dominate today's news cycle, Vera Kurochkina, a spokeswoman for Deripaska, told Bloomberg that the Russian billionaire didn’t pay Manafort for the Russia-related work. She adds that there was only an “agreement between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort to provide investment-consulting services related to business interests of Mr. Deripaska which now is a subject to legal claims,” Kurochkina said by e-mail.

Additionally, she denied AP’s report that Deripaska paid Paul Manafort for work to improve Russia’s image in 2005.

That said, we doubt Deripaska's response will result in an end of investigations into Manafort's, or Trump's, ties to Russia, especially since the focus of the AP story is that Manafort did not disclose details about the lobbying work to the Justice Department during the period the contract was in place.

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, people who lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the department. Willfully failing to register is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, though the government rarely files criminal charges.

In retrospect, however, what Manafort did was nothing more than PR work and image consulting for a Russian oligarch over a decade ago, something which we reported two weeks ago was done by none other than Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary's campaign manager, John Podesta, who was hired by Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, to "lobby its interests in the United States and proactively seek the removal of various Obama-era sanctions." That story, however, is not one the mainstream media seems to be much, if at all, interested in for obvious reasons.

Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[US Politics] Former Clinton staffers FINALLY slam ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan’ lie, but there’s a catch

Seriously, did people learn nothing at all from Democrats' mistakes promoting Obamacare? https://t.co/2cSndmwVyH — Steve Loiaconi (@sloiaconi) March 22, 2017 In 2013, PolitFact named former President Obama’s totally BS statement that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” as its “Lie of the Year.” And apparently House Republicans are going to […]

The post Former Clinton staffers FINALLY slam ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan’ lie, but there’s a catch appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Obama Administration Scandals] Rice returns (Scott Johnson) In September 2012 Susan Rice made the rounds of the Sunday gabfests to promote the lie that a YouTube video prompted a riot that led to the deaths of our men in Benghazi. She was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, faithfully peddling the transparently false Obama administration line. I wrote about Rice’s performance that morning in “Fools and knaves.”. Rice’s performance perfectly represented the Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Headlines] Bull gores 11-inch horn up matador’s butt Shocking footage has emerged showing a matador being gored by a bull — and ending up with its horn up his backside. Antonio Romero was horrifically gored during a bout with the furious beast in Mexico City on Monday. The … Continued Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Politics] WATCH LIVE: Day 3 of Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch Judge Neil Gorsuch is in the hot seat for another day of grilling by the US Senate as they seek to confirm him as the next Supreme Court justice. It begins at . . . Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Politics] WATCH LIVE NOW: Day 3 of Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch Judge Neil Gorsuch is in the hot seat for another day of grilling by the US Senate as they seek to confirm him as the next Supreme Court justice. It begins at . . . Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Science] Trump Labor pick Acosta stresses Hispanic background

Sean Higgins

In his first Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, President Trump's pick to head the Labor Department, Florida law school dean R. Alexander Acosta in his opening remarks to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee stressed his background as the child of Hispanic immigrants. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM

[Asia] Alibaba plays politics with new cross-border e-commerce initiative in Malaysia  Alibaba is planting another flagpost in Southeast Asia. Unlike its $1 billion acquisition of Lazada last year, the Chinese giant is making political moves after it announced a joint partnership with Malaysia’s government to facilitate international e-commerce in the country. Often overshadowed by India and China, Southeast Asia’s digital economy is tipped for major growth over… Read More
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Entertainment] Erika Girardi Admits She "Overreacted" to Eileen Davidson During Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Hong Kong Blowout The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 7, RHOBHHigh drama in Hong Kong for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Everything came back to what Dorit Kemsley dubbed "pantygate"¬--you know, that time Erika Girardi showed up to a...
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[World] Conservative lawmaker not concerned about Trump's healthcare threats

Kyle Feldscher

A member of the House Freedom Caucus isn't worried about President Trump campaigning against him because of his skepticism of the American Health Care Act.

Rep. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM

[PAID] Baidu Chief Scientist Andrew Ng Exits Chinese Internet Giant Baidu’s chief scientist, Andrew Ng, said he was leaving the company to explore a new chapter in artificial intelligence. His departure comes two months after the firm hired a new president. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Politics] Bring Assata Back ASAP By Michelle Malkin

If FBI agents have time to track down Tom Brady's stolen Super Bowl jerseys, why can't they bring back AWOL convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur?   

Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Uncategorized] WATCH LIVE: Day 3 of Neil Gorsuch Senate Confirmation Hearing More "tough" questions by Democrats? Published:3/22/2017 8:45:34 AM
[Commentary] Friend Who Kept Dylann Roof's Church Massacre Plans a Secret and Lied to FBI Has Learned His Fate "I don't know if I will make it..." Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[Coal] The silver-tongued liars’ playbook for coal Coal ash scare stories are the latest tactic in their long war on coal-fueled electricity generation Guest essay by Paul Driessen Foreword: People routinely accept risks of dying from activities they happily engage in daily. For example, the lifetime risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 113. That’s 8,850 times greater… Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[Markets] Wall Street slips at the open as 'Trump trade' fizzles Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[The Blog] About time. DoJ seeks to strip convicted terrorist of citizenship Your sentence is complete. Now get out of our country. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[In The News] North Korea Taunts U.S. With Medium Range Missile Launch .. and fails

North Korean missile Pukguksong-2

[caption id="attachment_127552" align="alignnone" width="590"]North Korean missile Pukguksong-2 North Korean Pukguksong-2 Missile[/caption] North Korea launched a mid-range ballistic missile on Wednesday but U.S. and South Korean military officials said that the test ended in failure. "This morning North Korea fired a missile from the airport in Wonsan, but we surmise it was a failure," Seoul's defense ministry said. "South Korea and the [United States] are aware of the missile launch and, to their knowledge, North Korea's missile was not successfully launched." U.S. military officials said that the missile exploded just minutes after launch and South Korean sources say that the missile is either a Pukguksong-2 or another missile with similar design and capability. The Pukguksong-2 missile boasts a 1,860-mile range which is not capable of hitting the United States. North Korea announced to the world on Tuesday that it would be accelerating its missile and nuclear weapons development programs.
Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[Biotechnology ] Discovery of a novel chromosome segregation mechanism during cell division When cells divide, chromosomes need to be evenly segregated between daughter cells. This equal distribution of chromosomes is very important to accurately pass on genetic information to the next generation. Abnormal chromosomal segregation, on the other hand, can cause cell death (apoptosis) or diseases like Down syndrome and cancer. In order for chromosomes to equally divide, it is necessary first to bind the filamentous spindle fiber to a specific region, the centromere, of the chromosome. For the spindle fiber to be correctly joined, it is essential that a part of the chromosome has a special structure called heterochromatin. However, the mechanism for forming this structure has not been sufficiently clarified. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[Environment ] One in four children will live with water shortages by 2040: UNICEF Approximately one in four children worldwide will live in regions with extremely scarce water resources by 2040, UNICEF said in a report Wednesday. Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[] Mid-Morning Open Thread The Japanese Toilette Marie-Francois-Firmin Girard Incongruities aside, the detail in this painting is impressive. Perhaps that is what frustrates so many of us with respect to much of the modern art we see. It doesn't seem particularly difficult to... Published:3/22/2017 8:45:33 AM
[Comedy] @Eden_Eats My boyfriend called me gross for eating in bed but I was like: "I'm not gross and you're just a pic of Ryan Gosling taped to a broom!". Published:3/22/2017 1:21:31 AM
[Science] New Capitol Hill CW: Freedom Caucus will take blame for tanked healthcare bill

Nicole Duran

The House Freedom Caucus threw down the gauntlet on Republican leaders' proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Published:3/22/2017 1:21:29 AM

[al-Qaeda] The Kagans Are Back; Wars To Follow

Authored by Robert Parry via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Kagan family, America’s neoconservative aristocracy, has reemerged having recovered from the letdown over not gaining its expected influence from the election of Hillary Clinton and from its loss of official power at the start of the Trump presidency.

Former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders. (She is the wife of neocon theorist Robert Kagan.)

Back pontificating on prominent op-ed pages, the Family Kagan now is pushing for an expanded U.S. military invasion of Syria and baiting Republicans for not joining more enthusiastically in the anti-Russian witch hunt over Moscow’s alleged help in electing Donald Trump.

In a Washington Post op-ed on March 7, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a key architect of the Iraq War, jabbed at Republicans for serving as “Russia’s accomplices after the fact” by not investigating more aggressively.

Then, Frederick Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the neocon American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly Kagan, president of her own think tank, Institute for the Study of War, touted the idea of a bigger U.S. invasion of Syria in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on March 15.

Yet, as much standing as the Kagans retain in Official Washington’s world of think tanks and op-ed placements, they remain mostly outside the new Trump-era power centers looking in, although they seem to have detected a door being forced open.

Still, a year ago, their prospects looked much brighter. They could pick from a large field of neocon-oriented Republican presidential contenders or – like Robert Kagan – they could support the establishment Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, whose “liberal interventionism” matched closely with neoconservatism, differing only slightly in the rationalizations used for justifying wars and more wars.

There was also hope that a President Hillary Clinton would recognize how sympatico the liberal hawks and the neocons were by promoting Robert Kagan’s neocon wife, Victoria Nuland, from Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs to Secretary of State.

Then, there would have been a powerful momentum for both increasing the U.S. military intervention in Syria and escalating the New Cold War with Russia, putting “regime change” back on the agenda for those two countries. So, early last year, the possibilities seemed endless for the Family Kagan to flex their muscles and make lots of money.

A Family Business

As I noted two years ago in an article entitled “A Family Business of Perpetual War”: “Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, run a remarkable family business: she has sparked a hot war in Ukraine and helped launch Cold War II with Russia and he steps in to demand that Congress jack up military spending so America can meet these new security threats.

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik, http://www.mariuszkubik.pl)

This extraordinary husband-and-wife duo makes quite a one-two punch for the Military-Industrial Complex, an inside-outside team that creates the need for more military spending, applies political pressure to ensure higher appropriations, and watches as thankful weapons manufacturers lavish grants on like-minded hawkish Washington think tanks.

 

“Not only does the broader community of neoconservatives stand to benefit but so do other members of the Kagan clan, including Robert’s brother Frederick at the American Enterprise Institute and his wife Kimberly, who runs her own shop called the Institute for the Study of War.”

But things didn’t quite turn out as the Kagans had drawn them up. The neocon Republicans stumbled through the GOP primaries losing out to Donald Trump and then – after Hillary Clinton muscled aside Sen. Bernie Sanders to claim the Democratic nomination – she fumbled away the general election to Trump.

After his surprising victory, Trump – for all his many shortcomings – recognized that the neocons were not his friends and mostly left them out in the cold. Nuland not only lost her politically appointed job as Assistant Secretary but resigned from the Foreign Service, too.

With Trump in the White House, Official Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment was down but far from out. The neocons were tossed a lifeline by Democrats and liberals who detested Trump so much that they were happy to pick up Nuland’s fallen banner of the New Cold War with Russia. As part of a dubious scheme to drive Trump from office, Democrats and liberals hyped evidence-free allegations that Russia had colluded with Trump’s team to rig the U.S. election.

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman spoke for many of this group when he compared Russia’s alleged “meddling” to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor and Al Qaeda’s 9/11 terror attacks.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, Friedman demanded that the Russia hacking allegations be treated as a casus belli: “That was a 9/11 scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor scale event.” Both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 led to wars.

So, with many liberals blinded by their hatred of Trump, the path was open for neocons to reassert themselves.

Baiting Republicans

Robert Kagan took to the high-profile op-ed page of The Washington Post to bait key Republicans, such as Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who was pictured above the Post article and its headline, “Running interference for Russia.”

Gen. David Petraeus posing before the U.S. Capitol with Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. (Photo credit: ISW’s 2011 Annual Report)

Kagan wrote: “It would have been impossible to imagine a year ago that the Republican Party’s leaders would be effectively serving as enablers of Russian interference in this country’s political system. Yet, astonishingly, that is the role the Republican Party is playing.”

Kagan then reprised Official Washington’s groupthink that accepted without skepticism the claims from President Obama’s outgoing intelligence chiefs that Russia had “hacked” Democratic emails and released them via WikiLeaks to embarrass the Clinton campaign.

Though Obama’s intelligence officials offered no verifiable evidence to support the claims – and WikiLeaks denied getting the two batches of emails from the Russians – the allegations were widely accepted across Official Washington as grounds for discrediting Trump and possibly seeking his removal from office.

Ignoring the political conflict of interest for Obama’s appointees, Kagan judged that “given the significance of this particular finding [about Russian meddling], the evidence must be compelling” and justified “a serious, wide-ranging and open investigation.”

But Kagan also must have recognized the potential for the neocons to claw their way back to power behind the smokescreen of a New Cold War with Russia.

He declared: “The most important question concerns Russia’s ability to manipulate U.S. elections. That is not a political issue. It is a national security issue. If the Russian government did interfere in the United States’ electoral processes last year, then it has the capacity to do so in every election going forward. This is a powerful and dangerous weapon, more than warships or tanks or bombers.

“Neither Russia nor any potential adversary has the power to damage the U.S. political system with weapons of war. But by creating doubts about the validity, integrity and reliability of U.S. elections, it can shake that system to its foundations.”

A Different Reality

As alarmist as Kagan’s op-ed was, the reality was far different. Even if the Russians did hack the Democratic emails and somehow slipped the information to WikiLeaks – an unsubstantiated and disputed contention – those two rounds of email disclosures were not that significant to the election’s outcome.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. (NBC photo)

Hillary Clinton blamed her surprise defeat on FBI Director James Comey briefly reopening the investigation into her use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.

Further, by all accounts, the WikiLeaks-released emails were real and revealed wrongdoing by leading Democrats, such as the Democratic National Committee’s tilting of the primaries against Sen. Bernie Sanders and in favor of Clinton. The emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta disclosed the contents of Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street, which she was trying to hide from voters, as well as some pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

In other words, the WikiLeaks’ releases helped inform American voters about abuses to the U.S. democratic process. The emails were not “disinformation” or “fake news.” They were real news.

A similar disclosure occurred both before the election and this week when someone leaked details about Trump’s tax returns, which are protected by law. However, except for the Trump camp, almost no one thought that this illegal act of releasing a citizen’s tax returns was somehow a threat to American democracy.

The general feeling was that Americans have a right to know such details about someone seeking the White House. I agree, but doesn’t it equally follow that we had a right to know about the DNC abusing its power to grease the skids for Clinton’s nomination, about the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street bankers, and about foreign governments seeking pay-to-play influence by contributing to the Clinton Foundation?

Yet, because Obama’s political appointees in the U.S. intelligence community “assess” that Russia was the source of the WikiLeaks emails, the assault on U.S. democracy is a reason for World War III.

More Loose Talk

But Kagan was not satisfied with unsubstantiated accusations regarding Russia undermining U.S. democracy. He asserted as “fact” – although again without presenting evidence – that Russia is “interfering in the coming elections in France and Germany, and it has already interfered in Italy’s recent referendum and in numerous other elections across Europe. Russia is deploying this weapon against as many democracies as it can to sap public confidence in democratic institutions.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria “Toria” Nuland, addresses Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

There’s been a lot of handwringing in Official Washington and across the Mainstream Media about the “post-truth” era, but these supposed avatars for truth are as guilty as anyone, acting as if constantly repeating a fact-free claim is the same as proving it.

But it’s clear what Kagan and other neocons have in mind, an escalation of hostilities with Russia and a substantial increase in spending on U.S. military hardware and on Western propaganda to “counter” what is deemed “Russian propaganda.”

Kagan recognizes that he already has many key Democrats and liberals on his side. So he is taking aim at Republicans to force them to join in the full-throated Russia-bashing, writing:

“But it is the Republicans who are covering up. The party’s current leader, the president, questions the intelligence community’s findings, motives and integrity. Republican leaders in Congress have opposed the creation of any special investigating committee, either inside or outside Congress. They have insisted that inquiries be conducted by the two intelligence committees.

 

“Yet the Republican chairman of the committee in the House has indicated that he sees no great urgency to the investigation and has even questioned the seriousness and validity of the accusations. The Republican chairman of the committee in the Senate has approached the task grudgingly.

 

“The result is that the investigations seem destined to move slowly, produce little information and provide even less to the public. It is hard not to conclude that this is precisely the intent of the Republican Party’s leadership, both in the White House and Congress. …

 

“When Republicans stand in the way of thorough, open and immediate investigations, they become Russia’s accomplices after the fact.”

Lying with the Neocons

Many Democrats and liberals may find it encouraging that a leading neocon who helped pave the road to war in Iraq is now by their side in running down Republicans for not enthusiastically joining the latest Russian witch hunt. But they also might pause to ask themselves how they let their hatred of Trump get them into an alliance with the neocons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

On Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, Robert Kagan’s brother Frederick and his wife Kimberly dropped the other shoe, laying out the neocons’ long-held dream of a full-scale U.S. invasion of Syria, a project that was put on hold in 2004 because of U.S. military reversals in Iraq.

But the neocons have long lusted for “regime change” in Syria and were not satisfied with Obama’s arming of anti-government rebels and the limited infiltration of U.S. Special Forces into northern Syria to assist in the retaking of the Islamic State’s “capital” of Raqqa.

In the Journal op-ed, Frederick and Kimberly Kagan call for opening a new military front in southeastern Syria:

“American military forces will be necessary. But the U.S. can recruit new Sunni Arab partners by fighting alongside them in their land. The goal in the beginning must be against ISIS because it controls the last areas in Syria where the U.S. can reasonably hope to find Sunni allies not yet under the influence of al Qaeda. But the aim after evicting ISIS must be to raise a Sunni Arab army that can ultimately defeat al Qaeda and help negotiate a settlement of the war.

 

“The U.S. will have to pressure the Assad regime, Iran and Russia to end the conflict on terms that the Sunni Arabs will accept. That will be easier to do with the independence and leverage of a secure base inside Syria. … President Trump should break through the flawed logic and poor planning that he inherited from his predecessor. He can transform this struggle, but only by transforming America’s approach to it.”

A New Scheme on Syria

In other words, the neocons are back to their clever word games and their strategic maneuverings to entice the U.S. military into a “regime change” project in Syria.

The neocons thought they had almost pulled off that goal by pinning a mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, on the Syrian government and mousetrapping Obama into launching a major U.S. air assault on the Syrian military.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in to arrange for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons even as Assad continued to deny any role in the sarin attack.

Putin’s interference in thwarting the neocons’ dream of a Syrian “regime change” war moved Putin to the top of their enemies’ list. Soon key neocons, such as National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman, were taking aim at Ukraine, which Gershman deemed “the biggest prize” and a steppingstone toward eventually ousting Putin in Moscow.

It fell to Assistant Secretary Victoria “Toria” Nuland to oversee the “regime change” in Ukraine. She was caught on an unsecured phone line in late January or early February 2014 discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt how “to glue” or “to midwife” a change in Ukraine’s elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Several weeks later, neo-Nazi and ultranationalist street fighters spearheaded a violent assault on government buildings forcing Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives, with the U.S. government quickly hailing the coup regime as “legitimate.”

But the Ukraine putsch led to the secession of Crimea and a bloody civil war in eastern Ukraine with ethnic Russians, events that the State Department and the mainstream Western media deemed “Russian aggression” or a “Russian invasion.”

So, by the last years of the Obama administration, the stage was set for the neocons and the Family Kagan to lead the next stage of the strategy of cornering Russia and instituting a “regime change” in Syria.

All that was needed was for Hillary Clinton to be elected president. But these best-laid plans surprisingly went astray. Despite his overall unfitness for the presidency, Trump defeated Clinton, a bitter disappointment for the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks.

Yet, the so-called “#Resistance” to Trump’s presidency and President Obama’s unprecedented use of his intelligence agencies to paint Trump as a Russian “Manchurian candidate” gave new hope to the neocons and their agenda.

It has taken them a few months to reorganize and regroup but they now see hope in pressuring Trump so hard regarding Russia that he will have little choice but to buy into their belligerent schemes.

As often is the case, the Family Kagan has charted the course of action – batter Republicans into joining the all-out Russia-bashing and then persuade a softened Trump to launch a full-scale invasion of Syria. In this endeavor, the Kagans have Democrats and liberals as the foot soldiers.

Published:3/22/2017 1:21:29 AM
[topics:people/donald-trump] 'I'll criticise judges' says Donald Trump hours after supreme court nominee's criticims Published:3/22/2017 1:21:29 AM
[topics:people/donald-trump] Rex Tillerson 'didn't want to be' Secretary of State - 'my wife convinced me' Published:3/22/2017 12:58:48 AM
[Asia] Baidu’s chief scientist, who led its AI research, is leaving the company Chinese internet giant Baidu is losing the head of its data and artificial intelligence (AI) research division. Andrew Ng, the company’s chief scientist, announced his departure today three years after he joined Baidu to oversee its foray into deep learning technology. Ng is recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on AR. He led Baidu’s research… Read More
Published:3/22/2017 12:58:48 AM
[World] Trump to GOP: Pass health care bill or seal your fate WASHINGTON (AP) — Time for talk running out, President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned wavering House Republicans that their jobs were on the line in next year's elections if they failed to back a GOP bill that would upend Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Published:3/22/2017 12:35:26 AM
[Feature Story] Bring fugitive cop-killer Assata Shakur back ASAP! Bring Assata back ASAP by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2017 If FBI agents have time to track down Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jerseys, why can’t they bring back AWOL convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur? It is time for the agency’s most wanted woman in the world to pay her dues. And President Trump is […] Published:3/22/2017 12:35:25 AM
[Science] Where the speaker's gavel failed, Republicans see Trump succeeding

David M. Drucker

The speaker's gavel hasn't been much of a hammer for House Republican leaders. President Trump is.

The leadership has long been frustrated by a stubborn minority of insurgent conservatives. Published:3/22/2017 12:35:25 AM

[Asia] Airbnb is doubling down on China  Uber may have become the latest in a long line of Western tech firms to have failed in China, but fellow gig economy darling Airbnb is determined to succeed in the Middle Kingdom. Today, the company announced a new brand for its China-based business and the local launch of Trips, its travel services feature. Beyond those changes, the firm pledged to increase its local presence via plans to… Read More
Published:3/22/2017 12:35:25 AM
[PAID] A Defining Health Vote A chance for the GOP to show it can govern after years of promises. Published:3/21/2017 11:57:47 PM
[Science] Groups urge greater oversight of US Attorney nominees

Kelly Cohen

Civil rights groups are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to exercise greater oversight of United States Attorney nominees.

Their letter, sent Tuesday and signed by the American Conservative Union Foundation, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Right on Crime Coalition and R Street Institute, comes less than a month after the Trump administration dismissed 46 U.S. attorneys.

U.S. attorneys make up the 93 positions nationwide. Published:3/21/2017 11:57:46 PM

[topics:places/south-korea] North Korea's latest missile test ends in failure, US says Published:3/21/2017 11:57:46 PM
[Markets] Asian stocks drop as fresh Trump jitters jolt risk sentiment Published:3/21/2017 11:57:46 PM
[topics:people/donald-trump] Neil Gorsuch says Donald Trump's attacks on federal judges over travel ban 'disheartening' and 'demoralising' Published:3/21/2017 11:26:10 PM
[Markets] Women get paid different rates in different states — here’s why In some areas of the country, the pay gap won’t close until the 22nd century.
Published:3/21/2017 11:26:10 PM
[Science] Democrats weigh all-out war against Trump's Supreme Court pick

W. James Antle III

Senate Democrats got into several testy exchanges with Judge Neil Gorsuch during Tuesday's 11-hour hearing, which could end up being their opening move in a strategy that calls for doing anything it takes to keep him off the Supreme Court.

With 48 Senate seats, Democrats can't defeat Gorsuch on an up-or-down confirmation vote. Published:3/21/2017 11:26:10 PM

[Bernie Sanders] Paul Craig Roberts Exposes "The Conspiracy Against President Trump"

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Listening yesterday to the broadcast of testimony by FBI Director Comey and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers before the House Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron) made it clear that the Democrats, Comey, and Rogers intend conflict with Russia.

The Republicans, for the most part, were interested to know how security leaks targeted at Trump Republicans came from meetings at which only the CIA Director, NSA Director, and FBI director were present. Of course, they did not get an answer, which shows how powerless congressional oversight committees are. Comey repeatedly said that he could not tell the committee anything, because it would confirm that a press leak was true. But, he said, speaking generally and of no specific leak, most leaks come from “someone who heard something” and passes it on to the media, which also explains the inaccuracy of some leaks. In other words, don’t blame us.

The Democrats were out in force to demonize Russia, Putin, and everyone, especially Trump Republicans, who speaks to a Russian even if the person is still a private citizen, as was Gen. Flynn when he recommended to the Russian ambassador that Russia not respond in kind to President Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats over Christmas.

The Democrats bestowed yet another demonic title on Putin. In addition to being “the new Hitler,” a “thug,” and a “Mafia don,” today Putin became a “tarantula in the center of the spy web.”

The Democrats’ position was that Flynn, by discouraging a Russian tit for tat, had interfered with the Obama regime’s policy of worsening relations between the US and Russia. Some Democrats saw this as treason. Others saw it as proof that Flynn and Trump are in Putin’s pocket, and still others see it as even worse.

The Democrats were also very concerned about lobbyists, if they be Republican, working for Russian interests, including Tillerson, the Secretary of State. The fact that every country employs lobbyists and that the lobbyists don’t always register as foreign agents, such as Israel’s lobbyists, or if news reports at the time were correct, neocon Richard Perle who represented Turkey in Washington.

Democrats were also after Gen. Flynn for saying that he had not received money from the Russian government. Flynn received a fee for attending the 10th Anniversary celebration of RT in Moscow. Is RT, a news organization, the Russian government? Its budget is supported by the Russian government, but how does this differ from the US government’s support of the budgets of National Public Radio, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America? Does this mean that everyone who gives an interview to NPR, Radio Liberty, and VOA is an American agent in the pocket of the US president? If you attend a function of one of these organizations, does it make you an “American agent/dupe”? Will there be a list of these people?

What the Democrats tried to do yesterday was to criminalize everyone who works for better relations between the US and Russia. To be for peace between the nuclear powers is to be a Russian agent and to be put on a list. The Democrats insisted that Russia was an enemy out to get us, and the Democrats had no difficulty getting Comey and Rogers, both Obama appointees, to agree.

Comey and Rogers said that Russia was the main threat to the US, was working against our interests, and intends to harm us. Harming us includes opposing US hegemony and unilateralism. In other words, if the Russian government acts in the interests of Russia, the Russian government is harming the US. From the testimony it clearly emerged that any kind of opposition to anything Washington does is against American interests.

Both Comey and Rogers declared, falsely, that Russia had invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea by force. If Comey and Rogers are so poorly informed that they believe this, they are unfit for office. Crimea has been a part of Russia for 300 years. The population is almost entirely Russian. When the Soviet Union collapsed and Washington broke it apart, the Ukraine became independent for the first time in history. Crimea, which had been transferred by Khrushchev in 1954 from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, was included in the transfer on the condition that Russia had a long term lease on the naval base in Crimea.

When Washington’s coup overthrew the democratically elected government in Ukraine, the Russian populations in Crimea, and in the new republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, were attacked and threatened by the neo-nazi elements in eastern Ukraine that had fought for Hitler against the Soviet Union. The populations of these areas voted overwhelmingly to reunite with Russia, from whence they had come. The votes were fair and open. As Crimea is the Russian Navy’s Black Sea base, Crimea was already occupied by Russian forces. For Comey and Rogers to call this an “invasion” displays either ignorance or a lack of integrity.

Indeed, the lack of integrity of the FBI, NSA, CIA, and Obama regime is evidenced by the sustained campaign of lies, distortions, and targeted “news leaks,” that is, stories planted on the presstitutes by the intelligence services about Russian interference in the presidential election. It is all about protecting the massive military/security budget and powers. Trump threatened both the budget and the power when he declared that his policy would be to normalize relations with Russia. If relations are normalized, the carefully orchestrated “Russian threat” disappears. The intelligence services are not willing for this to happen. The US intelligence services prefer the risk of nuclear Armageddon to a budget cut.

The Democrats are probably not sufficiently intelligent to understand that they are fanning the flames of war between nuclear powers. The Democrats are desperate to find someone on whom to pin their loss of the election. Moreover, by pinning it on a conspiracy between Trump and Putin, they hope to remove Trump from office. Although Pence, who is a Russophobe, is acceptable to the military/security complex, the Democrats have hopes of clearing out Pence as well, as his election resulted from the alleged conspiracy, and reinstalling themselves in the White House.

Americans need to understand that the political competition between the Democrats and Republicans is over which party gets to collect the money for being the whore for the One Percent. Traditionally, the party in the White House gets most of the money, so that is where both parties want to be.

Michael Morell, a supporter of Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s last CIA director in an acting capacity, who was slated to become CIA director under Hillary, said, “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.” 

Morell does believe that it was the Russians who hacked Hillary’s incriminating emails but not in collusion with Trump, although the evidence is that they were a leak from inside the Democratic National Committee by disaffected supporters of Bernie Sanders.

Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Meet the Press on March 5 that he had seen no evidence of a Putin-Trump conspiracy when he left office on January 20.

Listening to Comey and Rogers yesterday, if they are not working against President Trump, what would classify as working against Trump? Trump supporters ask why Trump doesn’t fire these two men who are working to block a reduction in the dangerous tensions between Washington and Russia. Are the Democrats, Comey, Rogers, the CIA and their media whores so stupid that they don’t understand what it means when the President of Russia says, “the Americans have destroyed our trust in them?”

Trump doesn’t fire Comey and Rogers, because he cannot fire them. If he fires them, the Democrats and presstitutes will explain the firings as proof that Trump is a Russian agent and is covering up his treason by removing those investigating it.

Trump is trying to use Twitter to respond to the orchestrated media assault against him and to achieve some organization among his supporters, the working class that elected him. However, Trump cannot even count on the Republican Party. Most Republicans are also dependent on political contributions from the military/security complex, and Republicans know that the intelligence agencies have all the dirt on them. To fight for Trump is to expose themselves.

It is undeniable that the CIA controls the media, both in Europe and in the US. Udo Ulfkotte’s book, Gekauftge Journalisten, exposed the CIA’s hold on European journalists when it was published in Germany in 2014. An English language edition, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News, is due out in May. In the meantime Joel Whitney’s book, Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers, suffices to establish that America’s most respected journalists drank the CIA’s Kool-Aid “and thought they were saving freedom” by serving as propagandists. http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/joel_whitney_cia_propaganda_cold_war_scheer_intelligence_20170317

People in the West need to understand that if the news they receive bears on the interests of the US military/security complex, the news is scripted by the CIA. The CIA serves its interests, not the interests of the American people or the interests of peace.

Published:3/21/2017 11:26:10 PM
[Society] The Unforeseen Consequences of Transgenderism

Determining one’s own sex or that of another used to be a simple matter. First, there was the matter of appearance, whether a person looked... Read More

The post The Unforeseen Consequences of Transgenderism appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/21/2017 11:26:10 PM
[Markets] Dow, S&P 500 Futures Signal Selling As Bank Virtues Turn Vicious Published:3/21/2017 11:26:10 PM
[Markets] ‘Missing Richard Simmons’ shone a light on many serious problems in American society The popular podcast tried to find out why the fitness guru retired, but raised far more important questions.
Published:3/21/2017 10:56:51 PM
[Obamacare] Tom Cotton nails it on the AHCA (Paul Mirengoff) Sen. Tom Cotton announced today that he will not vote for the American Health Care Act in its present form. He released the following statement: Despite the proposed amendments, I still cannot support the House health-care bill, nor would it pass the Senate. The amendments improve the Medicaid reforms in the original bill, but do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making Published:3/21/2017 10:56:51 PM
[Entertainment] Why Woody Harrelson quit smoking pot Woody Harrelson has given up marijuana after decades of what he calls partying too hard.
     
 
 
Published:3/21/2017 10:56:51 PM
[American people of German descent] Ivanka Trump Gets West Wing Office, Access To 'Classified Information'

Despite holding no official title, President Trump's 35-year-old daughter Ivanka is reportedly getting an office (and access to classified information and a government-issued phone) in the White House West Wing, stepping up her highly visible role in helping advise her father.

Reuters reports that a White House official on Monday confirmed reports that Trump's daughter would be getting her own West Wing space, as well as access to classified information and a government-issued phone.

She is not expected to have an official title and will not be paid a salary.

 

Ivanka Trump will be joining her husband, Jared Kushner, who is a chief adviser to the president and is a regular presence at his father-in-law's side.

 

When Kushner's job was announced earlier this year, aides said Ivanka would not take on a role in her father's White House but would focus on settling her family in Washington.

 

Since then, she has been a frequent behind-the-scenes adviser. Last Friday, she sat next to visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel when Merkel visited the White House.

We are sure this 'access to classified information' will become a brief media narrative (all eyes still on Gorsuch and Comey) as Democrats raise 'conflict of interest' concerns, even though Ivanka has divested her 'Ivanka Trump' brand into a trust.

Published:3/21/2017 10:56:51 PM
[Science] Rex Tillerson: 'My wife convinced me' to be secretary of state

Caitlin Yilek

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson didn't want to be secretary of state.

"I didn't want this job. Published:3/21/2017 10:56:51 PM

[Supreme Court Nomination] [Will Baude] A note on why judicial nominees do not answer more questions Judge Gorsuch’s testimony today did not do anything to decrease my enthusiasm for his nomination (noted here). But I have noticed some Gorsuch skeptics complaining that he did not answer more of the questions that they really wanted him to answer. This puts me in mind of Orin’s recent post, “No there is no way […] Published:3/21/2017 10:56:51 PM
[Markets] Snap stock receives rosiest rating since IPO Published:3/21/2017 10:56:51 PM
[TC] Crunch Report | Apple’s New Video Editing App Apple creates a new video editing app called Clips, large electronics are now banned from flights to the U.S. coming from 13 countries and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies starts building full-size passenger pods. All this on Crunch Report. Read More
Published:3/21/2017 10:28:28 PM
[Entertainment] Carrie Ann Inaba Pays Tribute to "My Favorite Person" Florence Henderson on Dancing With the Stars Set Carrie Ann InabaFlorence Henderson's star power is still shining bright in one famous ballroom. Before a brand-new season of Dancing With the Stars kicked off this week, judge Carrie Ann Inaba was...
Published:3/21/2017 10:28:28 PM
[Ballistic missile] South Korea Says North Korea Conducted Unsuccessful Missile Launches, US Officials Aware

Just hours after US military officials warned of a North Korea missile launch, Japanese media is reporting that Japanese officials said North Korea may have launched four missiles from the vicinity of Eastern Motoyama. Kyodo additionally reports that the missile launch may have failed, citing unnamed government officials.

  • *SUGA RESPONDS TO REPORTS OF NORTH KOREA LAUNCHING MISSILES
  • *SUGA: JAPAN HASN’T CONFIRMED MISSILES FLYING
  • *N. KOREA MISSILE LAUNCH MAY HAVE FAILED: KYODO
  • *KYODO SAYS DETAILS INCLUDING TYPE OF N. KOREA MISSILE UNKNOWN

Yonhap news is now reporting that:

  • *S. KOREA SAYS N. KOREA MISSILE DIDN'T LAUNCH PROPERLY: YONHAP
  • *YONHAP NEWS CITES UNIDENTIFIED S. KOREA MILITARY OFFICIAL
  • *S. KOREA, U.S. AWARE OF N. KOREA-RELATED SITUATION: YONHAP

North Korea test-fired a salvo of missiles Wednesday, but it ended in failure, South Korea's military said. "South Korea and the United States are aware of the related issue," the defense ministry said in a one-sentence statement.

Bloomberg's Michael McDonough provides this excellent timeline of North Korean events and the South Korean Won...

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, on the same day as Kim Jong Un threatens the US with "first-strike' nuclear ICBM and unveils propaganda showing the destruction of American forces, AP reports U.S. military officials expect another North Korean missile launch in the next several days.

Earlier today a Pyongyang envoy stated that North Korea will pursue "acceleration" of its nuclear and missile programs. This includes developing a "pre-emptive first strike capability" and an inter-continental ballistic missile, according to Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the DPRK (North Korean) mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

The latest development follows a previous report also from Reuters, in which it said the Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threat. "I think this is stemming from the visit by the Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson) to Japan, South Korea and China...We of course are not afraid of any act like that," Choe told Reuters.

"Even prohibition of the international transactions system, the global financial system, this kind of thing is part of their system that will not frighten us or make any difference." He called existing sanctions "heinous and inhumane".

Choe said his country wants a forum set up to examine the "legality and legitimacy of the sanctions regime" and denounced joint annual military exercises currently being carried out by the United States and South Korea on the divided peninsula and criticized remarks by Tillerson during his talks with regional allies last week.

"All he was talking about is for the United States to take military actions on DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Choe said.

Additionally, North Korea rejects claims by Washington and Seoul that the military drills taking place at this moment are defensive. They involve strategic nuclear bombers and a nuclear submarine Columbus that recently entered South Korean ports, he said.

And then, just days after Kim threatened to reduce the US “to ashes” as tensions with North Korea continue to increase, which in turn followed a warning by Tillerson that the US is preparing for a "first strike" against the irrational dictator, while US special forces conduct drills in South Korea to "eliminate" the country's ruler, the Supreme Leader released his latest materpiece of propaganda, showing the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered aircraft carrier up in flames.

And now, AP reports that the U.S. military expects another North Korean missile launch in the next several days, American defense officials said Tuesday.

The officials said the U.S. has increased its surveillance over the isolated, communist country and has seen a North Korean missile launcher moving around, as well as construction of VIP seating in the eastern coastal city Wonsan.

The officials, who weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new surveillance includes satellites, drones and other aircraft.

The U.S. officials on Tuesday said it's unclear what type of missile launch may be coming. North Korea previously has conducted tests in Wonsan of its medium-range ballistic Musudan missile.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday described the North Korean threat as "grave and escalating," and a National Security Council official told a nuclear conference that the administration is conducting a high-priority review of North Korea policy.

Christopher Ford, senior director for weapons of mass destruction and nonproliferation on the NSC staff, said reviewers are considering a "full spectrum of possibilities."

"There's this enormously broad continuum, and we are looking at that entire conceptual space," Ford told the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. He gave no concrete examples, but in an attempt to illustrate his point that the choices run the gamut, he said they range from "warm hamburger" to "war hammers."

Published:3/21/2017 10:28:28 PM
[topics:people/lt-general-hr-mcmaster] Boris Johnson in Washington for talks to tackle threat of Isil Published:3/21/2017 10:28:28 PM
[Capitalism] My life reflects the customer side a 60 Minutes segment on H-1B visas

Just when 60 Minutes did a report on Americans hurt by H-1B visas, I had a very frustrating customer experience with workers brought in under H-1B visas. Two nights ago, 60 Minutes ran an episode about the H-1B visas that allow companies to fire long-time technical workers and replace them with cheap technical labor from India. To […]

The post My life reflects the customer side a 60 Minutes segment on H-1B visas appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:3/21/2017 10:28:28 PM
[Andrew Cuomo] Perfect Example Of Why Job Losses From Minimum-Wage-Hikes Are Being Underestimated, 'Bigly'

Over the past several months, we've highlighted a number of economic studies analyzing the potential negative impact, in terms of job losses, that may be expected to result from the state-mandated minimum wage hikes that are currently being implemented around the country.

One such study came from the American Action Forum (AAF) and estimated that 2.6 million jobs will be lost around the country over the next several years as states phase-in minimum wage hikes that have already been passed (see "State Minimum Wage Hikes Already Passed Into Law Expected To Cost 2.6 Million Jobs, New Study Finds").  Here were a few of the key takeaways:

  • In isolation, the minimum wage increases in 2017 will cost 383,000 jobs;
  • The entire minimum wage increases currently phasing-in will cost over 2.6 million jobs; and
  • Each job lost only leads to an extra $6,900 in total wage earnings across all workers.

After running a lot of really complicated math using complex equations that most of us stupid people just wouldn't understand, these studies ultimately come down to a simple economic premise: elasticity of demand (a.k.a. 'the higher shit is priced the less people will buy of it' rule).  In fact, the AAF analysis even summarized their study by saying that each 10% increase in wages results in an proximate 0.3% - 0.5% decline in net job growth...a rule which they used to conclude the following:

While proposals to raise the minimum wage are well intended, it is important to consider the negative labor market consequences. Meer & West (2015) find that raising the minimum wage reduces job creation. Specifically, they find that a 10 percent increase in the real minimum wage is associated with a 0.3 to 0.5 percentage-point decline in the net job growth rate. As a result, three years later employment becomes 0.7 percent lower than it would have been absent the minimum wage increase.

 

While the Meer & West (2015) findings may not seem very problematic, when taking into account the magnitude of the minimum wage increases and the number of states implementing new laws, the negative labor market consequences add up. Let’s first examine the minimum wage hikes of 2017 in isolation, without considering previous or future minimum wage increases under the new state laws.

Minimum Wage

 

The problem is that these studies consistently underestimate the number of jobs that will be impacted by minimum wage hikes.  For the most part, the economists simply tally up the number of jobs in a given market that currently fall beneath the new minimum wage threshold and then assume that a certain percentage of them will disappear.

In reality, minimum wage hikes trigger pay increases across the pay scale, not just for the employees earning minimum wage, because most people make employment decisions based on relative wages and not absolute wages

Consider, for example, the folks working at a California McDonalds where the minimum wage was $10 per hour in 2016 but is set to increase to $15 over the coming years.  Lets also assume that most of the customer service staff earns the minimum pay rate while managers earn $15.  Under the methodology above, the manager would never be counted as an 'at-risk' position because his job would never technically fall below the new minimum wage.  But, in reality, there's no conceivable world where the manager will simply agree to keep his $15 per hour pay rate once all of his workers have received a 50% pay increase and now make the same as him...instead, he'll run some basic math and conclude he needs to be making $22.50 per hour to have the same 'relative' compensation he had before or he'll just go work as an order taker with less responsibility. 

And while these are simple concepts to most of us, even if we don't understand the complicated econometrics equations, as the Associated Press points out today they're completely foreign concepts to our elected officials who ignorantly passed minimum wage bills across the country without understanding the real economic consequences.  As a perfect example, apparently New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was shocked to learn that home healthcare experts would rather take his new $15 per hour minimum wage job flipping burgers with no stress than to earn the same amount of money for a job that requires a ton of expensive education and stressful, long hours....who knew?

It's a national problem advocates say could get worse in New York because of a phased-in, $15-an-hour minimum wage that will be statewide by 2021, pushing notoriously poorly paid health aides into other jobs, in retail or fast food, that don't involve hours of training and the pressure of keeping someone else alive.

 

"These should not be low-wage jobs," said Bruce Darling, executive director at the Center for Disability Rights. "We're paying someone who gives you a burger the same as the person who operates your relative's ventilator or feeding tubes."

 

There are 2.2 million home health aides and personal care aides in the U.S., with another 630,000 needed by 2024 as the Baby Boomer generation ages, according to the nonprofit research and consulting group PHI. New York state employs about 326,000 home health workers but is predicted to need another 125,000 by 2024.

 

For now, home health aides in New York state earn an average of about $11 an hour, though wages are lower in upstate regions. Advocates say the system needs an overhaul that focuses on higher pay, worker retention and finding methods of compensation beyond what is provided through Medicaid.

Here's an idea...how about we just let markets set wage rates?

Published:3/21/2017 9:56:49 PM
[Top Picks] Video: Ted Cruz and Neil Gorsuch on “the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” Galactic. Published:3/21/2017 9:56:49 PM
[Science] Trump will travel to Brussels for first NATO meeting in May

Anna Giaritelli

The White House announced on Tuesday evening that President Trump's first foreign trip will be to Brussels, Belgium, on May 25.

Trump will sit down for an inaugural meeting with leaders from the 28 nations that belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

"The President looks forward to meeting with his NATO counterparts to reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO, and to discuss issues critical to the alliance, especially allied responsibility-sharing and NATO's role in the fight against terrorism," the White House Office of the Press Secretary said in a statement.

NATO Sec. Published:3/21/2017 9:56:49 PM

[In The News] President Trump’s Schedule for Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Donald Trump

 

President Donald Trump's Schedule for Wednesday, 3-22-17

  • 10:30 AM Receive daily intelligence briefing - Oval Office
  • 11:00 AM Visit the Women in Healthcare panel hosted by Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - Roosevelt Room
  • 11:30 AM Host a Legislative Affairs group meeting - Cabinet Room
  • 3:00 PM Meet with the Congressional Black Caucus Executive Committee - Oval Office
  • 6:30 PM Dinner with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson - Residence
Published:3/21/2017 9:56:49 PM
[Media] Unreal: Susan Rice is back to warn America about the dangers of the White House twisting the facts

Is this the same Susan Rice who was sent out to spread the lie about a YouTube video sparking a fatal terrorist attack?

The post Unreal: Susan Rice is back to warn America about the dangers of the White House twisting the facts appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/21/2017 9:56:48 PM
[Politicians] Al Franken overturns Judge Gorsuch’s opinion using power of absurdity vested in him by SNL Precedent Published:3/21/2017 9:56:48 PM
[World] Brit Hume Russia Collusion Evidence Very Little Against Trump

Brit Hume said that the case laid out by Democrats in a Congressional hearing this weak adds up to very little evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Published:3/21/2017 9:41:58 PM
[worldNews] Exclusive: North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms - envoy GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea has nothing to fear from any U.S. move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue "acceleration" of its nuclear and missile programs, a North Korean envoy told Reuters on Tuesday.
Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[United States Politics and Government] Trump Warns House Republicans: Repeal Health Law or Lose Your Seats The president threatened wavering lawmakers with political payback as Republican officials conceded that they still lacked the votes to pass their bill. Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[News] Trump's Diplomat “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job.” Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Al Franken] Observations on the Gorsuch hearing, Part Two — Al Franken strikes out (Paul Mirengoff) Sen. Al Franken has become something of a hero to the left because it was in response to one of his questions that Attorney General Sessions said he “did not have communications with the Russians.” Franken never asked Sessions whether he had. Instead, Sessions volunteered this information. So this wasn’t Al Franken getting Sessions to misstate something in response to withering questions; this was dumb luck. (It is also lucky Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Markets] Asia Markets: Asian markets slip as ‘Trump trade’ doubts grow Stock markets pulled back as in early Asian trade on Wednesday following declines in stocks, the dollar and bond yields overnight, as investors re-evaluated their optimism around the ‘Trump trade.’
Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Politics] BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! After having lived through the last eight years, I find this report totally hilarious and I just wanted to share it with you: CNN – Illinois lawmakers failed to pass a measure . . . Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Politics] BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! After having lived through the last eight years, I find this report totally hilarious and I just wanted to share it with you: CNN – Illinois lawmakers failed to pass a measure . . . Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[World] U.S. energy independence is achievable

The United States is about to reach a major energy milestone. A new government report predicts that the nation is on track to become a net energy exporter within the decade.

This is huge. The United States has relied on foreign imports of oil and natural gas since the 1950s. ... Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM

[Apps] All 51 startups that debuted at Y Combinator W17 Demo Day 2  Over 15,000 founders from 7,200 startups applied to this batch of Y Combinator. It chose just over 100 with founders from 22 countries to go through its accelerator program. Today, the second half of those companies launched on stage, and we have breakdowns of all 51 of these businesses. Oh, and the ACLU. The 97-year old legal activism non-profit is far from a startup, but went through YC to… Read More
Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Banking] PBOC Injects Hundreds Of Billions Into Chinese Banks After Sudden Defaults In Interbank Payments

As is customary virtually every time the Chinese central bank commences some form of tightening, overnight the PBOC injected "hundreds of billions of yuan into the financial system after some smaller lenders failed to repay borrowings in the interbank market", according to people familiar with the matter.

According to a brief note by Bloomberg, Tuesday’s injections followed missed interbank payments on Monday, anonymous sources said; the matter is not made public over concerns of bank deposit flight risk. The institutions that missed payments included rural commercial banks. One of Bloomberg's trader sources said a borrower failed to repay an overnight repo of less than 50 million yuan ($7.3 million). China’s smaller lenders have been squeezed by a rise in money market rates this week, with the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate jumping to the highest level since April 2015 on Tuesday. As we described last Wednesday, the PBOC for the second time in a month engaged in tightening by hiking the rate on reverse repos as well as various liquidity conduit operations such as the MLS.

 

While the tightening of liquidity reflects factors including quarter-end regulatory checks and a wall of maturing certificates of deposit, BBVA said the People’s Bank of China may also be sending a message to over-leveraged firms to rein in borrowing.

“The PBOC wants to warn the smaller lenders not to play the leverage game excessively,” said Xia Le, chief economist at BBVA in Hong Kong. “It’s a tug of war between the central bank and the financial institutions.”

And while some smaller banks were on the verge of failure, overnight virtually everyone felt the surge in the 7-day repo fixing to the highest since 2014, driven by China's liquidity squeeze amid policy tightening and continued high leverage  

As Goldman's MK Tan explains, China's 7-day repo fixing interest rate rose to 5.5% on Tuesday, the highest level since late 2014. This followed PBOC’s statement last Thursday signaling a deviation from the previous framework of regarding interbank rates as de facto “policy rates”. Reflecting the prospective quarter-end MPA (macro-prudential assessment) examination and continued tightening bias from the PBOC, interbank rates may remain fairly volatile in the coming days, although most analysts do not expect such elevated rates to be sustained, especially since the PBOC will promptly have to bail out any banks suffering a liquidity squeeze.

Some more details for those unfamiliar with China's stealth tightening process.

Interbank interest rates had been more clearly drifting higher in the past month, especially following the PBOC’s OMO rate increase last Thursday. In particular, the gap between R007 (general repo rate covering all counterparties including funds) and DR007 (covering only banks) has widened again in recent days, suggesting tight liquidity conditions faced by non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1: Interbank rates spiked as liquidity scramble by NBFIs intensified (as seen in the widened R007-DR007 spread)

Tuesday's fixing rate (set at 11:30am based on morning transactions) spiked, although funding conditions in the afternoon seem to have moderated somewhat (fixing is non-weighted average interest rate; see the appendix below for more on the fixing process). The rate surge reflects a combination of:

  • A tightening bias by the PBOC. The central bank has shifted policy stance since autumn last year, but the clearer interbank rate rise in recent days suggests that the hawkish bias has stepped up further.
  • Diminished clarity of the role of interbank rates in the PBOC’s policy framework. Since mid-2015, interbank rates had been kept largely steady, partly reflecting the PBOC’s efforts to build up a policy rate framework centering on interbank rates. The PBOC has also introduced SLF (standing lending facility), which is understood as a tool to keep volatility in interbank funding conditions low. However, in a signal that deviates from these previous efforts, the PBOC last Thursday tried to dissociate interbank rates from “policy rates”, which the PBOC said should mean benchmark bank lending and deposits rates. The comment appeared to open up a bigger scope for the PBOC to allow interbank rates to move higher (with the possible intention to avoid conflict with its official “stable and neutral” policy stance or potential pushback from other policy authorities).
  • The SLF mechanism appears to have not functioned effectively in recent days. There have been occasional breaches of the general 7-day repo rate above the SLF rate (3.35% per PBOC’s official communication, although it was reportedly raised to 3.45% last week). This suggests that SLF has not effectively fulfilled its supposed function of imposing a ceiling to interbank rates. One possible reason is that SLF is accessible only by banks, and much of the spikes of the general 7-day repo rate have been a result of liquidity scramble by NBFIs (which have no SLF access), while banks' interbank funding cost (as measured by DR007; Exhibit 1) has remained more moderate and still below the SLF rate (note that the 7-day repo fixing rate is partly based on funding cost of NBFIs as well). Nevertheless, the apparent lack of effectiveness of SLF in suppressing interbank rate volatility might have weakened the anchoring of the market’s rate expectations in the near term, and such uncertainty could have compounded the liquidity squeeze.
  • Continued high interbank repo borrowing by funds. The wide gap of R007-DR007 reflects continued stress imposed by NBFIs, likely particularly funds, on the funding market. Indeed, as of end-Feb, interbank repo borrowing by funds remained high at over 30% of the interbank repo borrowing (Exhibit 2) despite the increased pressure on the commercial viability of repo trades (borrowing via interbank repo to finance long-dated bond holdings).
  • Regulatory impact. The PBOC has tightened the prudential requirements (particularly on the growth of banks' balance sheet) under its MPA examination, which is to be conducted at quarter-end. This has likely further contributed to, and amplified the impact of, a tightening in the interbank market.

In total, the interbank rate volatility may remain quite high in the coming days, especially in light of the near-term consideration of MPA examination at quarter-end and the PBOC's apparent deviation from the previous monetary policy framework. Alternatively, today's plunge in the dollar may have had a secondary purpose of easing Chinese financial conditions, where the ongoing dollar rally has pushed the local financial sector to the brink of illiquid collapse.

Analysts - Goldman included - expect the PBOC policy stance to remain in tightening mode, but do not expect interbank interest rates to remain at today's elevated levels in the weeks ahead. Sustained elevated rates could cause significant volatility in financial markets--particularly the bond market--given still-significant repo leverage of funds. More importantly, the recent rise in interbank rates will contribute to a moderation in growth later this year, and bank lending rates might also face upward pressures amid higher market rates and thereby increase corporates' borrowing cost (Exhibit 3).

Exhibit 2: Funds' borrowing still accounts for a large share of the interbank repo market

Exhibit 3: The ongoing rise in market rates may feed through to banks' lending rates (and corporates' funding cost) in the months ahead .

For now, however, the PBOC may have come up with a deus ex machina again: moments ago the first print of the recently soaring seven-day money rate tumbled 64 bps from a two-year high tp 2.45%, affording banks some time to get their financial matters in order. Of course, none will, which means the next time repo rates soar again, it will be up to the PBOC to bail out the local banking system, all over again.

Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[The Blog] Dylann Roof’s friend goes to jail for lying to the FBI "I’m sorry that this has all happened to such beautiful families." Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[US Politics] ‘Clueless idiot!’: Tucker Carlson debates councilman who likened recent ICE operations to Nazi Germany

On Tuesday’s show, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson interviewed Baltimore Councilman Zeke Cohen about immigration, as well as the alleged rape of a 14-year-old in Rockville, Maryland. I will be on Fox News debating Tucker Carlson on immigration tonight at 9PM. Tune in Bmore and show some love! pic.twitter.com/zaDfgMCazx — Zeke Cohen (@Zeke_Cohen) March 21, 2017 .@TuckerCarlson: […]

The post ‘Clueless idiot!’: Tucker Carlson debates councilman who likened recent ICE operations to Nazi Germany appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Science] GOP raised record-high $30M at Tuesday dinner that featured Trump

Anna Giaritelli

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised a record-high $30 million at its Tuesday dinner that featured an appearance from President Trump.

Trump touted many of his campaign promises and how he has followed through on them during his speech at the event, which took place at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

After spending much of the day rallying support for the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill, Trump told attendees at the event that the GOP faced a "crucial" vote later this week when the Obamacare replacement plan is expected to be brought up.

Much of Trump's speech focused on other policies he plans to push through the Republican-controlled legislative branch, though the message appears to have resonated with donors, if the high fundraising numbers are any indication.

Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Entertainment] Kesha Suffers Legal Setback as Judge Denies Her Amended Lawsuit Against Dr. Luke Kesha, Dr. Luke, Lukasz GottwaldKesha's fight for musical freedom is still far from over. On Tuesday a New York Supreme Court Justice prohibited the pop singer's request to amend her counterclaim lawsuit...
Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[In The News] White House: President to Meet With NATO Leaders in May After Fake News Cries “Russia!”

NATO and US

The White House announced Tuesday night that President Trump will be traveling to Brussels in May to meet with NATO leaders. The president will attend the "leaders meeting" scheduled by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for May 25, 2017. According to a White House statement, Trump will "reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO" and "discuss issues critical to the alliance." Issues that the president is likely to bring up include NATO's role in the war on terror and increased sharing of responsibility by other NATO members. This meeting comes just after the state department announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would skip a NATO meeting in April in order to attend a meeting between President Trump and China's Xi Jinping.
Tillerson intends to miss what would have been his first meeting of the 28 NATO allies on April 5-6 in Brussels so that he can attend President Donald Trump's expected April 6-7 talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, four current and former U.S. officials said.
Fake news reports shaped stories to make it appear as though Tillerson was skipping NATO to go to Russia, but the Russia trip is a full week after the scheduled NATO conference.
The State Department scrambled Tuesday to suggest new dates for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers after his plan to skip the annual gathering -- but travel to Russia -- came to light.
The department of state scrambled Tuesday to clear up what can only be described as terrible messaging.
 A State Department spokeswoman said Tillerson would meet on Wednesday with foreign ministers from 26 of the 27 other NATO countries -- all but Croatia -- at a gathering of the coalition working to defeat the Islamic State militant group.
Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[topics:places/australia] Elvis-loving dementia patient becomes The King at hospital in Australia Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Markets] Asian stocks drop as fresh Trump jitters jolt risk sentiment Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[] Tuesday Overnight Open Thread (3/22/17) Fill In The Blank Edition Thanks for stopping by. The ONT is always glad to you see you Morons. Quotes of The Day Quote I We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in... Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[World] Could the President Spy on His Political Opponents? Under the government's current interpretation of the law, unfortunately, the answer is yes. Published:3/21/2017 9:41:57 PM
[Markets] Questions linger over whether labor nominee Alexander Acosta will stand up for workers Labor nominee Alexander Acosta is a conservative law school dean who “plays it close to the vest.” Senators will grill him on his views and work record during Wednesday's confirmation hearing. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[World] Yazidis who suffered genocide are fleeing again, but this time not from the Islamic State Political rivalries have erupted into armed clashes, and Yazidis say they are stuck in the middle. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[Politics] Trump to GOP critics of health care bill: ‘I’m gonna come after you’ The president met with House Republicans behind closed doors to sell the revised health-care bill as it races toward an expected vote on the floor by the end of the week. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[World] Judith Miller: Must Be Careful National Security Laws on Leaks Not Shut Down Journalists Media Michael Flynn

At a time when alleged government leaks to the press are at the forefront, Bill O'Reilly asked Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Judith Miller about how far a journalist should go to release information the government does not want published.

Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[Tech] Comparison – Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Vs Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Here are two Windows tablets that are built for performance, productivity, and plenty of fun. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[World] No promises and no one above law, Supreme Court pick says WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch declared Tuesday he's made no promises to Donald Trump or anyone else about how he'll vote on abortion or other issues and testified he'll have no trouble as a justice holding anyone accountable, including the president who picked him. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[Politics] Tax Simplification Should Include Repeal of FATCA Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[Freedom of Speech] [Eugene Volokh] Okay to call skim milk ‘skim milk’ In that infernal nonsense Pinafore, Buttercup sings: Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream; Highlows pass as patent leathers; Jackdaws strut in peacock’s feathers. Captain. (puzzled) Very true, So they do. But in Florida, skim milk is masquerading as skim milk — and the Florida commissioner of agriculture as well as […] Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[Markets] Nike earnings beat expectations, but stock falls in late trading Nike earnings beat expectations, but stock falls in late trading Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[31e2b274-8e70-41d4-ae3c-be3b19536748] Gregg Jarrett: Sorry Dems, Judge Gorsuch is un-Borkable Will Judge Neil Gorsuch get "Borked?" Some Democrats, still seething over the stalled U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, are trying. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[AAPL] Apple Blinks On iPad - Announces Clearance Sale Published:3/21/2017 8:16:50 PM
[AWD] BABY, KEEP YOUR GREASY LITTLE FINGERS OFF MY SCREEN!

This is a public post but it pointed directly at my little filly. Baby, you know I loves ya! I loves ya more than Oprah loves a Twinkie. I worship you like a French cathedral. Especially your supa-fine bootay. So please take this post in the spirit of love in which it is intended. KEEP YOUR @#&* @#*& @#&^ING GREASY LITTLE NASTY FINGERS OFF MY @#*& COMPUTER SCREEN! I don’t […]

The post BABY, KEEP YOUR GREASY LITTLE FINGERS OFF MY SCREEN! appeared first on .

Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Democrats] Chuck Schumer offers a clue how he thinks Dem attempts to trip up Gorsuch are going; Update: Elizabeth Warren too Stop the proceedings! Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Politics] Trump Admin May Save McDonalds

A senior Trump administration official indicated the White House will give employers more input into regulatory actions and is willing to abandon a controversial Obama-era rule on franchising

The post Trump Admin May Save McDonalds appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Astronomy] Climate Models Wipe Out Life in Trappist-1 Solar System!!! Guest post by David Middleton They must have used the RCP 8.5 Death Star… The announcement of the Trappist-1 system in February, with seven rocky planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, sent ripples of excitement through astrobiologists everywhere. At least three of the planets looked like they were within the star’s “habitable zone” – the… Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[GreenTech] Wright Electric unveils its commercial electric plane business  Gas is the biggest cost for airlines. The easiest way to reduce these costs? Don’t use gas at all. That was the pitch from Wright Electric, a startup building an commercial passenger plane that runs on batteries and can handle flights under 300 miles. These short-haul trips make up 30 percent of all flights and a $26 billion market. Today Wright Electric gave its first preview to the… Read More
Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Sports] Could Beast Mode Be Coming to the Black Hole?

Outside of the Atlanta Falcons no NFL team suffered as devastating a loss last season than the Oakland Raiders. With a full head of steam and at least one home playoff game within their grasp it all went horribly awry one sunny late December afternoon. In a what already looked to be a win against the Indianapolis Colts, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr who was putting the final touches on an MVP caliber season was lost to a broken leg. Stick a fork in the Raiders, they were done. The funeral procession went through Denver where the Raiders stumbled through a butt-ugly New Year’s Day loss to the disappointing Broncos and ended in Houston’s NRG Stadium with a wild card playoff defeat to the Texans. The Raiders are now manning up for a shot at the crown and they may soon be going into Beast Mode for their journey to the promised land. After allowing inconsistent runner Latavius Murray to leave as a free agent, the Raiders are looking to lure former Seattle Seahawks backfield monster Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. Nicknamed "Beast Mode", the moody Lynch retired young after an injury plagued 2015 season in which he was dogged by controversy, hanging up his cleats at the age of 30. During his six years in Seattle, the bludgeoning back rolled over opposing defenses like a small tank. He was the perfect offensive complement to a bone-crushing defense that won a Super Bowl and would have made it two were it not for the inexplicable coaching decision to not hand it to the big guy from the one yard line. Some fans who are inclined to such things have speculated as to whether Seattle head coach Pete Carroll’s disastrous call to throw the ball in the waning seconds of Super Bowl 49 were a deliberate attempt to deprive Lynch of the MVP and the subsequent trip to Disneyland. It was always evident that quarterback Russell Wilson was the golden boy and the future face of the organization. The ball was intercepted and the chance at back-to-back titles was doomed. According to reports, the mercurial runner is enticed at the possibility of unretiring in order to return to his hometown Raiders providing that they can engineer his release from his contract with the Seahawks. The cantankerous Lynch would seem to be a perfect addition in Oakland and a throwback to the eccentric personalities that marked the franchise’s glory years in the 1970s when Snake Stabler was slinging the rock and John Matuszak was menacing opposing offenses. A nasty piece of work like Lynch would have fit right in with those old timers. The Raiders could make a lot of noise this year if Carr fully recovers and if he can get some help on offense. The division is weak and with the Broncos and Chiefs and both on the decline and with the Chargers being their usual dumpster fire, it is ripe for the taking. There is still the matter of the Raiders’ possible move away from the Black Hole to a new stadium in Las Vegas, something that could cause Beast Mode to rethink his unretirement.
Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Neil Gorsuch] Observations on the Gorsuch hearing, Part One (Paul Mirengoff) I watched the first seven hours of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. The short version is that Judge Gorsuch was terrific and that the Committee’s Democrats barely laid a glove on him. Indeed, with a few exceptions, their efforts seemed only slightly more than half-hearted. If the rest of the day went, and tomorrow goes, like the first seven hours, it’s possible that Gorsuch Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Politics] Here’s why the US and UK are banning laptops on some flights now… As you may have seen in a headline here or there, the US and the UK are now banning electronics bigger than a cell phone on some flights. Here’s why: CNN – . . . Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Politics] Here’s why the US and UK are banning laptops on some flights now… As you may have seen in a headline here or there, the US and the UK are now banning electronics bigger than a cell phone on some flights. Here’s why: CNN – . . . Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Markets] The Tell: Here’s how the S&P 500 performs after an uncanny streak without a 1% drop ends What happens after the first 1% drop for the S&P 500 in months? Strategists at Bespoke Investment Group ran the numbers and here’s what they’ve found.
Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Archaeology & Fossils ] 430 million-year-old fossil named in honor of Sir David Attenborough An international team of scientists led by the University of Leicester has discovered a new 430 million-year-old fossil and has named it in honour of Sir David Attenborough - who grew up on the University campus. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Commentary] Homeland Security Is Cracking Down Again on Safety for Flights Headed to the US "Terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation..." Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Entertainment] Lily Collins Reveals How Dad Phil Collins Influences Her Romantic Relationships Lily CollinsIt's all in the power of parents. While Lily Collins has learned plenty about love based on her own experiences, there are two people that have also had a huge influence on her...
Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Law] Gorsuch Shows Legal Skill, Commitment to Rule of Law in Day 2 Confirmation Hearing

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee met today to question Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch in the second day of his confirmation hearing. From the... Read More

The post Gorsuch Shows Legal Skill, Commitment to Rule of Law in Day 2 Confirmation Hearing appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[topics:organisations/conservative-party] Stop bias against Brexit or face fine, BBC warned  Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Entertainment] 'Sesame Street' v. Trump: The show's long history of mocking 'Donald Grump' The kids' show has been making fun of Trump since the 1980s.
     
 
 
Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[] Trump Bans Carrying Electronic Devices on Flights From 8 Airports in Majority-Muslim Countries The airports named include one airport in Istanbul, which lies of course in Turkey, and is a NATO ally, or, maybe, "ally." Here's the why: Intelligence obtained in recent weeks found that an al Qaeda affiliate was perfecting techniques for... Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[The Blog] Your move, Ted Cruz: Mike Lee, Tom Cotton say they’re voting no on the House health-care bill And then there were 50. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Science] Trump largely avoids healthcare topic during NRCC speech

Gabby Morrongiello

President Trump largely avoided discussing the high-stakes battle over his healthcare bill during remarks to Republican lawmakers and donors Tuesday evening.

During an appearance at the National Republican Congressional Committee's March fundraising dinner, Trump said the GOP faces a "crucial" vote this week to pass the American Health Care Act and begin to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The president described the 2010 healthcare law as a "disaster," while noting it had to be repealed before issues like tax reform could be looked at.

But instead of taking time to defend the legislation that House Republicans will vote on later this week, Trump quickly moved on to discuss trade and the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill he hopes to introduce before 2018.

"Now is the time for a new Republican administration working with a Republican Congress to pass the next great infrastructure bill," the president said.

He continued, "Our party must dream as big and as bold as Lincoln and Eisenhower. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM

[PAID] Embattled Uber Promises Changes in Corporate Culture Uber, buffeted by a string of recent scandals, sought to reassure customers, drivers and employees with the promise of sweeping changes to its corporate culture, its first diversity report and a new chief operating officer. Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Business] Goldman Building "Robo-Adviser" For Its 'Poor' Clients (A.K.A. Those With Only $1 Million To Invest)

For all you 'poor' people (and you know who we're talking about...all you people with only around $1 million of liquid investable assets) out there who always wanted to invest their money with Goldman Sachs but didn't have the $50 million net worth required to become a private wealth client, today may just be your lucky day. 

But don't think for one second that you're going to get the same access to Goldman's proprietary "market color" as GSAM's wealthier private clients, or even be able to speak with one of Goldman's massively overpaid advisers for that matter.  No, for all you peons who make up the "mass affluent market," Goldman will gladly take your money but if you want advice you'll have to go through their brand new "Robo-Adviser."

As Reuters points out today, in an effort to diversify risk away from the super wealthy, Goldman Sachs is actively hiring developers to code a "Robo-Adviser" for the "mass affluent market"...which basically means rich but not 'Goldman' rich.

Goldman

 

The robo platform would sit within the bank's rapidly growing investment management division, according to the ad. The unit, which Goldman has been trying to build out in recent years to diversify its revenue, posted a record $1.38 trillion in assets under supervision at the end of 2016.

Goldman has for years grappled with how to tap into the mass affluent segment, broadly defined as those with less than $1 million in investable assets, without diluting the brand of its private wealth business which is considered a jewel within the bank, according to people familiar with the matter. Goldman's U.S. private wealth business typically advises clients with an account size of around $50 million.

 

Goldman has in the past considered expanding Ayco, a wealth advisory firm it purchased in 2003, as a way to push more deeply into the mass affluent segment, the people added.

 

While the robo-advice market was initially developed by startups such as Wealthfront and Betterment with ambitions of upending the traditional financial advice sector, large firms such as Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N) and Vanguard have launched similar services.

In an effort to save these programmers some time, might we kindly suggest you start with the "Buy The Fucking Dip" simulation as it's likely the only component of your new "Robo-Adviser" that will get any real airplay.

Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Jim Johnson] Jim Johnson Knocks Standardized Testing in NJ Jim Johnson Knocks Standardized Testing in NJ Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
[Uncategorized] Nevertheless, #HePersisted The Gorsuch hearings have been very Sad! for Democrats so far Published:3/21/2017 8:16:49 PM
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