Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
House Republicans unveil measure
to suspend the debt ceiling until May 19
By Peter Schroeder - TheHill.com
House Republicans on Monday unveiled legislation that will suspend the debt ceiling until May 19, setting the stage for a floor vote as soon as Wednesday.
While past measures to address the debt limit have simply increased the borrowing cap, the House bill would actually suspend the debt limit until May 19. On that date, the debt limit would be automatically increased from $16.4 trillion to accommodate whatever additional borrowing the Treasury had done during that time frame.
Who Will Replace Ben Bernanke? Handicapping the Contenders to Replace Bernanke
By Simon Johnso - Bloomberg.com
Over the past four years, the Federal Reserve has become the most important branch of government. It has acquired unprecedented powers over almost all aspects of American life. It has also become much more politicized than at any time in living memory. Expect further attacks on its independence and integrity at election time. The spirit of Andrew Jackson lives on.
And now we see clear signals that the Fed is likely to have a new chairman soon. Who will run the central bank and what does the choice of top leadership mean for the country?
End The Fed, Or Celebrate Its Existence? Reflections On Our Central Bank's 100th Anniversary
By James Dorn - Forbes.com
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve System. There will be many events commemorating the signing of the Federal Reserve Act in December 1913. Many of those events will be occasions for celebrations by Fed officials and staff, but should the public celebrate a century of central banking?
At the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in San Diego earlier this month, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff told a large audience that the Fed has been a "remarkably successful institution." During Q & A, Mark Skousen, author of The Making of Modern Economics, asked why the Fed failed to predict the financial crisis and the Great Recession—but Rogoff failed to answer. Later in that session, Donald Kohn, former vice chairman of the Fed, acknowledged that the Fed had made mistakes and should exercise humility. Yet, he is a firm believer in discretion rather than rules.
All Roads Lead To Inflation The real worry is inflation As investors realize the market's deflation phantoms aren't real, they'll notice a potentially fearful rise in inflation. That will give the bond market jitters.
By Bill Fleckenstein - MSN Money
Earlier this week, outgoing Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker attempted to jawbone the euro lower when he said that, "the euro foreign-exchange rate is dangerously high."
So we now live in a world where not only are central banks intent on producing inflation, but the G-7 industrialized countries also all want their currencies lower. Paradoxically, the conclusion of the bond market is to worry about deflation when the logical result is inflation.
Inflation Hawks Are Waging War
Against Their Own Hallucinations The golden phantom menace.
By Zachary Karabell - TheAtlantic.com
….At the Federal Reserve -- legally mandated guardian of price stability and responsible for monitoring and containing inflation -- the president of the Richmond Fed, Jeffrey Lacker, has been warning that the current policy of very low interest rates and expansion of the balance sheet is almost certain to spark inflation in the near future.
In Europe, those views are even more deeply held. The German Bundesbank -- still seared by memories of hyperinflation in the 1920s and the collapse of political order that gave rise to the Nazis -- remains ever vigilant. Its president, Jens Weidman, is strongly opposed to many of the recent sovereign bailouts to preserve the euro on the grounds that good money chasing bad will spark inflation.
The Sovereign Debt Bubble Will Continue To Expand
Until – BANG – The System Implodes
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Why are so many politicians around the world declaring that the debt crisis is "over" when debt to GDP ratios all over the planet continue to skyrocket? The global economy has never seen anything like the sovereign debt bubble that we are experiencing today. The United States, Japan, and nearly every major nation in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt. We have heard a lot about "austerity" over in Europe in recent years, but debt to GDP ratios continue to rise in Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal. In general, most economists consider a debt to GDP ratio of 100% to be a "danger level", and most of the economies of the western world have either already surpassed that level or are rapidly approaching it. Of course the biggest debt offender of all in many ways is the United States. The U.S. debt to GDP ratio has risen from 66.6 percent to 103 percent since 2007, and the U.S. government accumulated more new debt during Barack Obama's first term than it did under the first 42 U.S. presidents combined. This insane sovereign debt bubble will continue to expand until a day of reckoning arrives and the system implodes. Nobody knows exactly when that moment will be reached, but without a doubt it is coming.
Economic Spring After The Debt Showdown? Economic Face Off
By Irwin Stelzer - WeeklyStandard.com
Take heart: There is more going on than meets the naked ear. Yes, the mud-slinging contest that has replaced serious policymaking in Washington continues, with President Obama the clear winner last week when he told a nationally televised press conference that House Republicans "have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat..." This assessment of the motives of those who want to cut spending came while the capital was preparing for tomorrow's second inauguration of Barack Obama. No search for comity just yet.
bond bubble looming Five red flags for municipal bond investors
By John Wasik
CHICAGO | Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:43am EST
(Reuters) - There is a bubble forming in the municipal bond market, and millions of investors could be impacted if it bursts.
In the coming months, as Congress and the White House wrestle over the next budget, debt ceiling and new sources of revenue, volatility is likely to roil the muni market. Skittish investors had triggered a minor sell-off in December. Yet despite a 1.2-percent loss in the last month, the Barclays Municipal Bond Index gained 6.8 percent overall in 2012.
EU officials want governments to share bank bailout pain
BY BENJAMIN FOX - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - National governments should pay their own contribution to recapitalize ailing banks alongside funding from the eurozone's bail-out fund, according to a paper by EU officials.
Eurozone finance ministers are expected to discuss the plans when they convene on Monday (21 January) for their first Eurogroup meeting of 2013.
For their part, officials in the EU Council in an informal "Issues Note"leaked on Friday by the Wall Street Journal, propose that banks should be eligible for direct support only if national governments are unable to put up the cash themselves or if their failure is of systemic importance to either the member state or the eurozone as a whole.
Italy set to run balanced budget, says minister
BY BENJAMIN FOX - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - The Italian economy will run a balanced budget in 2013 before returning to growth the following year, the country's outgoing finance minister has told the European Parliament.
Speaking with MEPs on the Parliament's Economic committee on Monday (21 January), Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli said that "we expect to have a current account surplus by 2014".
Spain's bankers to strike as job cuts loom
(Reuters) - Workers at three of Spain's bailed-outbanks will stage strikes in coming weeks as they fight mass layoffs, unions said on Monday, spreading industrial unrest to a sector where walkouts have so far been rare.
Spain was forced to ask Europe for up to 100 billion euros ($132.9 billion) to help its weakest banks last year and four of the lenders it took over, including Bankia (BKIA.MC), have to cut thousands of jobs and shrink their balance sheets as a condition of their rescue.
Swiss ANGER - people are waking up The Swiss turn on the super-rich
By Emma Thomasson
(Reuters) - In February 2008, Thomas Minder, a Swiss businessman whose family-owned company is best known for its old-fashioned herbal toothpaste, attacked his banker, UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel, as if he were a form of stubborn plaque. At a shareholders' meeting in Basel, he stormed the podium as Ospel addressed the crowd. Ospel's bodyguards grappled with Minder and wrestled him away before he could land his symbolic blow — he was trying to hand the embattled head of Switzerland's largest bank a bound copy of Swiss company law, which codifies corporate temperance.
"Gentlemen, you are responsible for the biggest write-downs in Swiss corporate history," Minder had railed just a few minutes before, referring to UBS's loss of $50 billion during the subprime meltdown that prompted it to seek a government bailout. "Put an end to the Americanization of UBS corporate philosophy!"
President defends Medicare, Medicaid in inaugural address
By Sam Baker - TheHill.com
President Obama used his inaugural address Monday to defend popular but expensive entitlement programs, including Medicare.
Obama said it is imperative to reduce healthcare costs, but he made clear that he's not on board with Republican plans to dramatically cut Medicare and Medicaid.
Entitlement programs "do not make us a nation of takers," Obama said, rejecting part of the principle underlying the push to cut entitlements, particularly Medicaid.
Universal health care and gun control
caused the holocaust Episode 2
The Million mom march: an organization of angry liberal women like Rosie O'hitler who want nothing more to strip you of your constitutional rights, particularly your second amendment rights. There was another Million mom march almost a century ago, in Kiev 1942 in a place called Babi Yar. There, Jews who were disarmed of their weapons and their rights by socialists were marched to their deaths. They paid the price for gun control. Liberals would love nothing more than to let it happen again here.
Universal healthcare & gun control
caused the holocaust episode 3
Universal healthcare has always been in America. It was used during a dark forgotten time in our history that liberals want to ressurect. Eugenics. Learn how Hitler and liberals will use psychiatry to make dissent and oppostion a disease and how liberal Germans branded Jews and the weak as walking diseases. Universal healthcare will euthanize the disabled while declaring liberal oppenents mentally ill and social lepers. And you will see the construction of concentration camps, Germany's ultimate universal healthcare facilities for "curing" the undesirable.
Obamacare alternative at a discount Traveling for healthcare, but not that far
By Chris Taylor
NEW YORK | Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:16am EST
(Reuters) - For Jim Kucera, the pain was just getting worse. The salesman from New Hope, Minnesota, needed a hip replacement urgently, but the cost of treatment would also be painful: Lacking health insurance, he would have to pay out of pocket.
At first, Kucera looked abroad at countries like Israel and India, where he figured he could get the procedure done for about $30,000, a bargain compared with the $50,000 or more that American hospitals would likely charge.
But he balked at the long distances involved and the potential for in-flight health problems.
Then, he came across the encouraging idea of being a medical tourist closer to home - right here in the United States.
Arizona to tax hospitals to pay for Medicaid
By BY BOB CHRISTIE, AP - CNSNews.com
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has built a political career in standing up to the federal government over everything from immigration to health care. So she surprised almost everyone when she announced last week that she not only plans to push for an expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the federal health care law — she plans to fund it by raising taxes.
A conservative Republican, Brewer is believed to be the first governor to publicly come up with a way to fund the controversial Medicaid expansion. Not even California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat in a state that largely supports the new federal health plan, has figured out how to pay for a boosted Medicaid plan.
Mission told not to feed the homeless in Seattle city parks
BY BRANDI KRUSE - MyNorthwest.com
The Bread of Life Mission, which has served the homeless community in Pioneer Square for more than 70 years, said the city has directed them to stop feeding the hungry in downtown parks.
On the third Saturday of every month for the past three years, volunteers for the mission have handed out meals at places such as City Hall Park. The offering was in addition to the three meals a day they serve inside their building at 97 South Main Street.
Anonymous likens Obama gun control policy to Hitler
By Josh Peterson - DailyCaller.com
Hacktivist group Anonymous has now spoken out against President Barack Obama's intentions to enact wider gun control in the U.S.
In a 15-minute YouTube video, which first appeared on the social network two weeks ago, Anonymous criticized the Obama administration's leveraging of violent gun crime to achieve its goal to control guns.
William Bratton: The Real Cures for Gun Violence William Bratton, the once (and possibly future) New York police commissioner, on the president's gun-control plans and the need for 'certainty of punishment.'
By DAVID FEITH - WSJ.com
The last time America had a gun-control debate was the early 1990s, and it was followed by the great two-decade-long decline in American crime. The irony is that gun control had very little to do with that decline.
William Bratton did. Serving as New York City's top cop for 27 months from 1994 to 1996, he helped turn around a violent, crime-ridden city with policies that later were adopted nationwide and across the globe. The 65-year-old now runs a consulting business and a tech firm that focus on law enforcement, and in a recent chat he puts the gun debate in the context of policies that really have made America safer.
The Institutionalization of Tyranny
By Paul Craig Roberts
Republicans and conservative Americans are still fighting Big Government in its welfare state form. Apparently, they have never heard of the militarized police state form of Big Government, or, if they have, they are comfortable with it and have no objection.
Republicans, including those in the House and Senate, are content for big government to initiate wars without a declaration of war or even Congress' assent, and to murder with drones citizens of countries with which Washington is not at war. Republicans do not mind that federal "security" agencies spy on American citizens without warrants and record every email, Internet site visited, Facebook posting, cell phone call, and credit card purchase. Republicans in Congress even voted to fund the massive structure in Utah in which this information is stored.
Google Declares War on the Password
BY ROBERT MCMILLAN - Wired.com
MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Want an easier way to log into your Gmail account? How about a quick tap on your computer with the ring on your finger?
This may be closer than you think. Google's security team outlines this sort of ring-finger authentication in a new research paper, set to be published late this month in the engineering journal IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine. In it, Google Vice President of Security Eric Grosse and Engineer Mayank Upadhyay outline all sorts of ways they think people could wind up logging into websites in the future — and it's about time.
Brave new network:
Why I hope Apple never releases a smart watch
By Brent Simmons - Macworld.com
Imagine walking alone in the woods—listening to the birds, watching squirrels scurry up the trees, letting your thoughts and feet wander. Nobody can see you. Even the satellites can't take a picture of you through the canopy of leaves.
You're alone, and it's delightful.
Then, breaking the spell, your wrist buzzes to let you know you've got email and some Facebook messages. One is from a friend asking why you're walking alone in the woods—he knows where you are because he used Find My Friends.
...almost frightening in its ability to personalize potential questions Facebook's Bold, Compelling and Scary Engine of Discovery:
The Inside Story of Graph Search
BY STEVEN LEVY - Wired.com
….It will be interesting to see what happens once people do understand how the photos, interests, and personal details they share on Facebook are now part of a new product that may cause that data to be viewed more often and by people who otherwise might not have encountered it. Will this encourage people to share more so they can express themselves more widely and maybe even entice desirable new connections? Or will it lead them to share less and batten down their privacy settings so that new eyes won't include them in a search-graph roundup? "The user base might bifurcate between the people who don't want to be found and those who really do," predicts Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of communications and public policy, who points out that Facebook will give users those choices. "It will be fascinating to see what the percentages are — and the demographics."
Stealth Wear: An Anti-Drone Hoodie and Scarf No, really, this garment might fool
the infrared cameras mounted on drones.
By Alexis Madrigal - TheAtlantic.com
Continuing his run of fascinating art that plays with thwarting the technological tools of the surveillance state, Adam Harvey has released a new collection of "counter surveillance garments and accessories." Called Stealth Wear, the line is a collaboration with fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield.
Launched in London yesterday, a city blanketed by police cameras, the garments nominally are "anti-drone," in that they reduce one's thermal profile, which can be seen in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The infrared cameras mounted on drones, therefore, can see the heat of bodies, even in the dark.
Gesture Controls and Supercars Reborn:
The Best of the Detroit Auto Show
BY DAMON LAVRINC - Wired.com
With CES in our rearview mirror, we headed east to Detroit for the second most important trade show of January: the North American International Auto Show. And one automaker utterly dominated.
General Motors kicked things off the night before with the unveiling of the all-new, seventh-generation Corvette, and after that, everything else was an afterthought. But there were a handful of other concepts and production models that deserve time in the limelight. So if you didn't follow our two live-blogs from the show floor, here are the most important debuts straight from the Motor City.
bill to abolish presidential term limits
By Patrick Howley - DailyCaller.com
New York Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano reintroduced a bill in Congress on Friday to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which places term limits on the U.S. presidency.
The bill, which has been referred to committee, would allow Barack President Obama to become the first president since Franklin Roosevelt to seek a third term in office.
Transcript And Audio:
Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Address The remarks of President Obama,
as released by The White House and prepared for delivery:
Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
Obama calls on nation to seize its moment 'together,
as one people'
By Amie Parnes - TheHill.com
President Obama began the second term of his presidency Monday by seeking common ground and calling for the country to come "together as one nation, as one people."
"America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; and endless capacity for risk and gift for reinvention," Obama said his second inauguration address. "My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it together."
Obama's speech lauds government, dismisses opponents
By Neil Munro - DailyCaller.com
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's second inauguration speech promised a sharply ideological second term where the "the people" will use government to accomplish the tasks that he declared cannot be accomplished by individuals.
"No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores," he declared in a 2,103-word speech that included numerous campaign-style jabs at his political opponents.
Obama Toasts Lawmakers at Congressional Luncheon
President Barack Obama told lawmakers in a toast at the Capitol Monday that he's confident they can act together to make a difference for the country's children, "and our children's children."
Obama: 'Irony of the presidential office'
is the humility it teaches
By Justin Sink - TheHill.com
President Obama told congressional leaders at his inaugural luncheon Monday that the "irony" of being president was the humility that came with attempting to implement an agenda.
"I know that former President Carter, President Clinton, they understand the irony of the presidential office, which is the longer you're there, the more humble you become, and the more mindful you are that is beyond your powers individually to move this great country," Obama said.
Obama's Inaugural: If God 'Truly' Created Us Equal,
Homosexual 'Love' is Equal as Well
By Terence P. Jeffrey - CNSNews.com
(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama opened his second inaugural address by quoting the statement from the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."
He then went on to say that if men were in fact created equal, then homosexual "love" must be equal as well.
If we're all in this together, why the battle plan? Confident Obama lays out battle plan
as he launches second term
By Matt Spetalnick and Anna Yukhananov
WASHINGTON | Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:44pm EST
(Reuters) - A confident President Barack Obamakicked off his second term on Monday with an impassioned call for a more inclusive America that rejects partisan rancor and embraces immigration reform, gay rights and the fight against climate change.
Obama's ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol was filled with traditional pomp and pageantry, but it was a scaled-back inauguration compared to the historic start of his presidency in 2009 when he swept into office on a mantle of hope and change as America's first black president.
Obama's Startling Second Inaugural
By James Fallows - TheAtlantic.com
This was the most sustainedly "progressive" statement Barack Obama has made in his decade on the national stage.
I was expecting an anodyne tone-poem about healing national wounds, surmounting partisanship, and so on. As has often been the case, Obama confounded expectations -- mine, at least. Four years ago, when people were expecting a barn-burner, the newly inaugurated president Obama gave a deliberately downbeat, sober-toned presentation about the long challenges ahead. Now -- well, it's almost as if he has won re-election and knows he will never have to run again and hears the clock ticking on his last chance to use the power of the presidency on the causes he cares about. If anyone were wondering whether Obama wanted to lower expectations for his second term ... no, he apparently does not.
Obama, CEO Inaugural Address: Some Quick Reflections,
and What Obama Did Not Say
JESSE'S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
Like many others I listened to President Obama's second Inaugural Address today.
There were of some higher moments, broader themes, and an emphasis on the positive. I struggled to find 'the memorable phrase' that would be repeated and quoted in the particular. I have one or two candidates.
Perhaps time will sift one out of this speech, but over all this struck me as an address from a manager like a CEO, and not a political leader. But that does sound a bit petty. Not every Presidential inaugural address is memorable.
Obama: Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security Make Us 'Free'
By Fred Lucas - CNSNews.com
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama seemed to reject entitlement reform in his second Inaugural address Monday, even saying Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security "free us to take the risks that make this country great."
"We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit," Obama said. "But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future for we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.
Climate change moves to forefront
in Obama's second inaugural address
President's affirmation of climate science – more prominent than in the campaign – wins praise from environmental groups
By Suzanne Goldenberg - Guardian.co.uk
Barack Obama said more about climate change in his inauguration speech – and expressed it more forcefully – than he did at any point in the 2012 election campaign and during much of his first term.
Climate change occupied a significant chunk of Monday's speech, and Obama did not stint on the language, suggesting it was a religious and patriotic duty to deal with the challenge.
Obama Promises to Act on Climate Change
By Siobhan Hughes and Keith Johnson - WSJ.com
President Barack Obama vowed to "respond to the threat of climate change," using his second inaugural address to press an environmental agenda that Republicans blocked in his first term.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," Mr. Obama said. "Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."