FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

1–10 of 1896 ‹  | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next  »

Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out

"We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick."--Tim Cook Speaks Up

Via: www.businessweek.com/article...o-be-gay

Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.

At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.

The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.

I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

I’ll admit that this wasn’t an easy choice. Privacy remains important to me, and I’d like to hold on to a small amount of it. I’ve made Apple my life’s work, and I will continue to spend virtually all of my waking time focused on being the best CEO I can be. That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too. Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender. I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I’m best suited for and the work that brings me joy.

The company I am so fortunate to lead has long advocated for human rights and equality for all. We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community. We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.
Thu, October 30, 2014 - 9:14 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

‘Declaration of War’: Abbas Warns over 1st Al-Aqsa Mosque Closure Since 1967

Via: rt.com/news/200755-al...-mosque-closed/

Published time: October 30, 2014 09:07
Edited time: October 30, 2014 14:18

The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has been closed to all worshipers for the first time since 1967. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called the closure a ‘declaration of war.’

Both Jewish and Muslim worshipers will be prohibited from visiting the site “until further notice,” Israel’s public security minister said. Following the announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered "a significant hike" in the number of police forces patrolling Jerusalem, Naharnet daily reports.

Palestinian authorities quickly responded to the move, saying it was a "dangerous and blatant challenge" that would lead to more tension and instability in an already volatile situation.

This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.

"We hold the Israeli government responsible for this dangerous escalation in Jerusalem that has reached its peak through the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque this morning," he told AFP.

He added that the state of Palestinian would employ all legal means to "hold Israel accountable" and put an end to "these ongoing attacks."

Omar Al-Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told RT the decision to close the site was very dangerous and irrational, saying it would lead to destabilization and a strengthening of tensions not only in Jerusalem, but in the entire region. He said the situation in Jerusalem has been turbulent as a result of the closure.

“We lay responsibility for this decision on the Israeli government and police,” Al-Kiswani said.

The closure of Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, followed the shooting of a right-wing Jewish activist, Yehuda Glick, on Wednesday. Glick had advocated for greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism where Al-Aqsa sits, along with the much revered Dome of the Rock.

The Americna-born Glick was shot three times by an assailant who fled the scene on the motorcycle.

On Thursday Israeli police shot dead Mutaz Hijazi in East Jerusalem, whom they claim was responsible for the attack on Glick. Israeli counter-terrorism officers said they came under fire after surrounding a residence in the Abu Tor neighborhood. Hijazi reportedly died in the subsequent shootout. Israeli security services later said that Hijazi had spent 11 years in an Israeli prison before being released in 2012.

The shooting coincided with renewed clashes between Palestinians and Jewish security forces.

On Tuesday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had told municipal authorities to crack down on residents in East Jerusalem over a range of offenses in order to compel them to pressure Palestinian youth who have been clashing with police on a near daily basis.

Earlier this month, Abbas warned his government would appeal to international law to deal with alleged Israeli “aggression” against Al-Aqsa.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas warned that his government will seek international “legal measures” to deal with Israeli “aggression” against Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque.

Abbas accused Israeli settlers of attempting to “attack the mosque” and called for Jews to be banned from the site.

Abbas' statements mirrored comments made by Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, who earlier urged Muslims to “defend” the holy mosque after Israeli forces restricted entrance for Palestinians. Meshaal further accused Israel of trying to seize the site.

Israeli authorities have said that all are free to worship at the the compound.

Two weeks prior, clashes erupted between Palestinians and police after Israeli authorities placed restrictions on Al-Aqsa, only allowing Palestinians over the age of 50 to enter the site. Nearly 400 people gathered at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to protest the restrictions, with some in attendance lobbing stones at police. Police responded by firing stun grenades. Three injuries and several arrests resulted from the disturbances.

A police spokesperson at the time said police would show "zero tolerance" to prevent further clashes in the area.
Thu, October 30, 2014 - 9:11 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Airplane Crashed into Airport Safety Building in Wichita, Kansas, After Losing Engine on Takeoff

Via: rt.com/usa/200919-air...wichita-kansas/

An airplane crashed into a two-story building at an airport in Wichita, Kansas early Thursday shortly after takeoff.

The 10-seater, twin-engine plane struck a building at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport at around 10 a.m. local time Thursday. Eyewitnesses at the scene have since posted photographs on the social media site Twitter of huge plumes of black smoke rising into the sky from the site of the crash.

A local NBC News affiliate reported shortly after that one person is listed critical condition as a result of the incident, and confirmed that the plane in question is a Beechcraft that lost an engine during takeoff, citing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Around 45 minutes after the crash occurred, the FAA said in a statement that the aircraft crashed while attempting to return to the runway shortly after takeoff.

Ryan Weatherby, a witness, told the Kansas City Star that the airport building started on fire once the plane hit. First responders have since descended on the scene and the building has been evacuated, but a NBC affiliate reported that 10 people inside were unaccounted for as of 10:45 a.m. local time.

As many as 13 people may have been onboard the plane at the time of the crash.
Thu, October 30, 2014 - 9:03 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Hawaii Volcano About to Consume Its First Home, with Lava Meters Away

Via: rt.com/usa/200715-lav...no-hawaii-home/

The 1,000-degree red mass of molten rock threatening to destroy a Hawaiian town is now only meters away from reaching its first home, and now threatens dozens more as it reaches Pahoa’s commercial hub.

At present the flow is creeping at a slow pace less than 30 meters away from the Pahoa residence of Jeff and Denise Lagrimas, who decided not to stay to watch their home engulfed. They packed up to move to Kurtistown, 22 kilometers (14 miles) away.

“I don’t want to stick around and just wait for it to come and take it,” Denise told AP, as she packed up. “You just never know.”

“Never in my wildest dreams as a kid growing up did I think I would be running from lava,” she added.

Satellite and bird's-eye images just released depict the horrifying scars left in the wake of the flow, which threatens to consume more.

Asked what he thought, handyman Erbin Gamurot, 48, had a mystical view on things: Pele, the volcano goddess, “gotta go see her sister. She gotta go say hi. You know how family are. It’s all good.”

Scientists from the Volcano Observatory were inspecting the flow this morning to see if it might change direction. It’s 220 meters away from Pahoa Village Road at its foremost edge. The road leads to the Big Island’s commercial hub.

At present the foremost edge has been confined to a plot of farmland, about 90 meters away from another residence.
“This is just a little quiet village in a very rural community. We farm, we fish, we hunt,” one resident, Jamila Dandini, said. “We’re going to be an island on an island.”

But the lava hasn’t burned anything apart from tires, some metal and someone’s garden shed. The rain helped on Wednesday to subdue the flow slightly, as it devoured all the vegetation in its path.

Officials and chemists are continuing to monitor for hazards, but so far have only detected low levels of sulfur dioxide, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira.

The townspeople of Pahoa have been well aware of Mt. Kilauea volcano for decades, as it has been erupting since 1983. However, the vast majority of the lava went south and straight out into the ocean. In June, a new vent opened, which put the lava flow on a collision course with the settlement.

They are now facing the prospect of having to abandon their homes as a juggernaut of molten lava 10.5 meters wide and over 1,000 degrees Celsius rampages across their village consuming everything.
Thu, October 30, 2014 - 8:51 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

With QE over, Greenspan Tells Buddies @ CFR to Put Their Money in Gold

Via: www.cnbc.com/id/102136750#.

The world has no shortage of doom-saying economists ready to advise investors to stock up on gold against a coming financial catastrophe. Until recently, none of them could claim to be a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

On Wednesday, though, as the Federal Open Market Committee prepared to announce the end of the years-long asset purchase program known as Quantitative Easing, Alan Greenspan, the near-legendary Fed chair whose every utterance used to be parsed by market watchers, spoke before the Council on Foreign Relations and advised listeners that under current conditions, gold is probably a good investment.

According to Wall Street Journal reporter Michael S. Derby, "Mr. Greenspan said gold is a good place to put money these days given its value as a currency outside of the policies conducted by governments."

Greenspan has been talking up gold in a number of settings lately. But he didn't stop there in his appearance Wednesday. The Fed was about to make a fairly significant announcement about the end of its QE program, under which it has purchased trillions of dollars in assets in an effort to keep interest rates low and stimulate investment. Greenspan weighed in on that program with some surprising comments.

The former Fed chairman from 1987 to 2006 said the QE program had failed to achieve its primary goals. As a means of boosting consumer demand, the asset purchase program, he said, "has not worked," though it did a good job of increasing asset prices.

Read More Greenspan frets over Fed losing control of rates
Greenspan's decision to publicly analyze the effectiveness of the QE program on the day his former colleagues were expected to announce its completion was remarkable, if only because during his tenure as Fed Chair, he was notorious for his desire to give the financial media little or nothing of substance to analyze about the central bank's decision making process.

He once described his own public statements about the Fed's decisions on monetary policy as "a language of purposeful obfuscation," employed to prevent markets from overreacting to statements about future policy.

Read More I think the Fed's wrong on inflation
While Greenspan's credibility as an economic forecaster was damaged by the collapse of the mortgage market, the financial crisis, and Great Recession that followed — all of which arguably sunk their roots during his tenure — he is still viewed by many as one of the greatest Fed chairs in history.

Read More Greenspan says stocks to see 'significant correction': Bloomberg TV
For that reason, his advice to investors to turn toward gold, usually the position of alarmists and those who already have substantial holdings in gold (populations with substantial overlap) is somewhat unexpected.

For most investors, the job now is to decide whether Greenspan's position on ending QE and buying gold is actual analysis, or purposeful obfuscation.
Thu, October 30, 2014 - 8:44 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

Official shareware (legit.) version located here: www.youtube.com/watch

The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary examines the modern-day corporation. This is explored through specific examples. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.

The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions, to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The documentary concentrates mostly upon North American corporations, especially those of the United States. One theme is its assessment as a "personality", as a result of an 1886 case in the United States Supreme Court in which a statement by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite[nb 1] led to corporations as "persons" having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Topics addressed include the Business Plot, where in 1933, General Smedley Butler exposed an alleged corporate plot against then U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt; the tragedy of the commons; Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning people to beware of the rising military-industrial complex; economic externalities; suppression of an investigative news story about Bovine Growth Hormone on a Fox News Channel affiliate television station at the behest of Monsanto; the invention of the soft drink Fanta by the Coca-Cola Company due to the trade embargo on Nazi Germany; the alleged role of IBM in the Nazi holocaust (see IBM and the Holocaust); the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of a municipal water supply in Bolivia; and in general themes of corporate social responsibility, the notion of limited liability, the corporation as a psychopath, and the corporation as a person.

Through vignettes and interviews, The Corporation examines and criticizes corporate business practices. The film's assessment is effected via the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV; Robert D. Hare, a University of British Columbia psychology professor and a consultant to the FBI, compares the profile of the contemporary profitable business corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath (however, Hare has objected to the manner in which his views are portrayed in the film; see "critical reception" below). The Corporation attempts to compare the way corporations are systematically compelled to behave with what it claims are the DSM-IV's symptoms of psychopathy, e.g. callous disregard for the feelings of other people, the incapacity to maintain human relationships, reckless disregard for the safety of others, deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit), the incapacity to experience guilt, and the failure to conform to social norms and respect the law. However, the DSM has never included a psychopathy diagnosis, rather proposing antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) with the DSM-IV. ASPD and psychopathy, while sharing some diagnostic criteria, are not synonymous.

The film's official site is here: hellocoolworld.com/home.cfm
Thu, October 30, 2014 - 8:25 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Zambian President Michael Sata Dies in London

Zambian President Michael Sata has died while in office, Chakuchanya Harawa reports

Via: m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29813612

Zambian President Michael Sata has died at the age of 77 after receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness, the government says.

President Sata, who was being treated in the UK, died in London's King Edward VII hospital on Tuesday night.

Media said that he died after "a sudden onset [of] heightened heart rate".

It is not immediately clear who will succeed the president. The issue may be decided by the Zambian cabinet which meets on Wednesday morning.

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing on of our beloved president," cabinet secretary Roland Msiska said on national TV.

He said that Mr Sata's wife and son were at his bedside.

"I urge all of you to remain calm, united and peaceful during this very difficult period," Mr Msiska added.

Obituary: Penny Dale, BBC's former Zambia correspondent

Gravelly-voiced as a result of years of chain-smoking, Michael Sata rose to political prominence in the 1980s. He quickly earned a reputation as the hardest-working governor while in charge of Lusaka and as a populist man of action. But he was also known for his authoritarian tendencies, an abrasive manner and a sharp tongue - and his critics say his nickname of "King Cobra" was well-deserved.

A devout Catholic, Mr Sata had worked as a police officer, railway man and trade unionist during colonial rule. After independence, he also spent time in London, working as a railway porter, and, back in Zambia, with a taxidermist company.

On the fourth attempt, Mr Sata won presidential elections in 2011. At first he looked as if he would keep promises to tackle corruption and create jobs and prosperity. But his term in office was marred by a crackdown on political opposition and a decline in the economy.

'King Cobra'

The president's death comes just days after Zambia celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence from the UK.

He is the second Zambian leader to die in office after Levy Mwanawasa in 2008.

Media caption Zambia's five leaders in five decades
Earlier this month reports in Zambia said that President Sata had gone abroad for a medical check-up amid persistent speculation that he was seriously ill.

After he left the country, Defence Minister Edgar Lungu was named as acting president.

Vice-President Guy Scott has regularly stood in for the president at official events, but has never been appointed acting president in Mr Sata's absence.

Mr Scott is of Scottish descent and his parents were not born in Zambia, so he may fall foul of a constitutional clause on parentage which would nullify his candidacy.

Known as "King Cobra" for his venomous tongue, Mr Sata was elected Zambia's president in 2011, defeating the then incumbent Rupiah Banda whose party had been in power for 20 years.

He has rarely been seen in public since returning from the UN General Assembly last month, where he failed to make a scheduled speech.

What is your reaction to the death of President Sata? Are you from Zambia? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your thoughts and memories.

Read the terms and conditions.
Wed, October 29, 2014 - 8:17 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

White House Computer Network Hit by Sustained Cyberattack

Via: rt.com/usa/200295-whi...e-cyber-attack/

A sustained cyberattack that lasted almost two weeks was detected on the computer network used by officials of the Executive Office of the President, a White House official said.

READ MORE: House intelligence chair wants US to develop protocols for waging offensive cyberwars

The official said Tuesday that, while the cyber attack was detected, measures have been taken to address the activity on the Executive Office of the President’s (EOP) unclassified computer network. Officials have not disclosed who might be responsible for the attack, Reuters reported.

"In the course of assessing recent threats we identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network. Any such activity is something that we take very seriously. In this case we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity," the official told the agency.

So far, there’s no reason to believe classified networks were also hit, he said.

The White House – or the Executive Office of the President (EOP) – is routinely struck with cyber attacks, but the one revealed Tuesday had a more significant duration, affecting the system’s functionality for nearly two weeks.

“Certainly a variety of actors find our networks attractive targets and seek to access to sensitive government information. We are still assessing the activity of concern, and we are not in a position to provide any additional details at this time,” the White House official said in a statement.

The White House press pool reports sent by email Tuesday night were “significantly delayed,” pool reporter Steven T. Dennis of CQ Roll Call told Huffington Post. “Some people are getting pool reports significantly before other people.”

The official said the technical measures to address the activity had led to limited access to some EOP network services, and that some of the issues have been resolved, but the work continues. It was not revealed when the activity took place.

An internal White House email, published by the Post, said “Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected. The temporary outages and loss of connectivity that users have been experiencing is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend out networks.”

During a fundraising tour earlier this month, President Barack Obama said in New York City that cyber terrorism is one of the biggest threats to national security for government and business computer systems.

READ MORE: Feds investigating two dozen potential hacks targeting life-saving medical devices

He said the White House is bracing for a possible doomsday scenario in which hackers successfully penetrate government systems or break security walls at major banks, Fox Business Network reported.

“The president is worried that cybercriminals could literally wipe out the identities of millions of people through some breach of government systems and that could lead to massive chaos,” an attendee at one of the fundraisers told Fox.

President Obama added that he expects cyberterrorism to only grow in the years ahead.

“He said 15 years ago, cyberterrorism wasn’t even on the radar screen, but that it will be one the biggest concerns for whoever is president after him," the attendee said.
Wed, October 29, 2014 - 8:02 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Good Riddance to QE - It Was Just Plain Financial Fraud

See also: US Dollar Tumbles Ahead Of FOMC
www.zerohedge.com/news/2014...ahead-fomc

Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog: davidstockmanscontracorner.com/go...ud/

Via: www.zerohedge.com/news/2014...cial-fraud

QE has finally come to an end, but public comprehension of the immense fraud it embodied has not even started. In round terms, this official counterfeiting spree amounted to $3.5 trillion— reflecting the difference between the Fed’s approximate $900 billion balance sheet when its “extraordinary policies” incepted at the time of the Lehman crisis and its $4.4 trillion of footings today. That’s a lot of something for nothing. It’s a grotesque amount of fraud.

The scam embedded in this monumental balance sheet expansion involved nothing so arcane as the circuitous manner by which new central bank reserves supplied to the banking system impact the private credit creation process. As is now evident, new credits issued by the Fed can result in the expansion of private credit to the extent that the money multiplier is operating or simply generate excess reserves which cycle back to the New York Fed if, as in the present instance, it is not.

But the fact that the new reserves generated during QE have cycled back to the Fed does not mitigate the fraud. The latter consists of the very act of buying these trillions of treasuries and GSE securities in the first place with fiat credits manufactured by the central bank. When the Fed does QE, its open market desk buys treasury notes and, in exchange, it simply deposits in dealer bank accounts new credits made out of thin air. As it happened, about $3.5 trillion of such fiat credits were conjured from nothing during the last 72 months.

All of these bonds had permitted Washington to command the use of real economic resources. That is, to consume goods and services it obtained directly in the form of payrolls, contractor services, military tanks and ammo etc; and, indirectly, in the form of the basket of goods and services typically acquired by recipients of government transfer payments. Stated differently, the goods and services purchased via monetizing $3.5 trillion of government debt embodied a prior act of production and supply. But the central bank exchanged them for an act of nothing.

Contrast this monetization process with honest funding of government debt in the private market. In the latter event, the public treasury taps savings from producers and income earners and re-allocates it to government purchases rather than private investments. This has the inherent effect of pushing up interest rates and, on the margin, squeezing out private investment. It is a zero sum game in which savings retained from existing production are reallocated.

To be sure, the economic effect is invariably lower investment, productivity and growth down the line, but the process is at least honest. When the public debt is financed from savings, government purchase of goods and services are funded with the fruits of prior production. There is no exchange of something for nothing; there is no financial fraud.

And it is the fraudulent finance of public deficits which is the real evil of QE because the ill effects go far beyond the standard saw that there is nothing wrong with central bank monetization of the public debt unless is causes visible inflation of consumer prices. In fact, however, it does cause enormous inflation, but of financial asset values, not the CPI.

Despite the spurious implication to the contrary, central banks have not repealed the law of supply and demand in the financial markets. Accordingly, their massive purchases of the public debt create an artificial bid and, therefore, false price. Moreover, government debt functions as the “risk free” benchmark for pricing all other fixed income assets such as home mortgages, corporate debt and junk bonds; and also numerous classes of real assets which are typically heavily leveraged such as commercial real estate and leased aircraft.

In short, massive monetization of the public debt results in the systematic repression of the “cap rate” on which the entire financial system functions. And when the cap rate gets artificially pushed down to sub-economic levels the result is systematic over-valuation of all financial assets, and the excessive accumulation of debt to finance non-value added financial engineering schemes such as stock buybacks and the overwhelming share of M&A transactions.

Needless to say, the false prices which result from massive monetization do not stay within the canyons of Wall Street or even the corporate business sector. In effect, they ride the Amtrak to Washington where they also deceive politicians about the true cost of carrying the public debt. At the present time, the weighted average cost of the $13 trillion in publicly held federal debt is at least 200 basis points below a market clearing economic level—–meaning that debt service costs are understated by upwards of $300 billion annually.

At the end of the day, the fraud of massive monetization makes the rich richer because it drastically inflates the value of financial assets—–roughly 80% of which is held by the top 5% of households; and it makes the state more bloated and profligate because its enables the politicians to spend without imposing the pain of taxation or the crowding out effects which result from honest borrowing out of society’s savings pool.

In the more wholesome times before 1914, the Federal government didn’t borrow at all. During the half-century between the battle of Gettysburg and the eve of World War I, the public debt did not rise in nominal terms, and amounted to just $1.5 billion or 4% of GDP at the time of the Fed’s creation. Even then, the Fed was established as only a “bankers bank” which could not own a dime of public debt, but instead existed for the narrow mission of liquefying the banking market by means of discounting solid commercial paper on receivables and inventory for ready cash.

The modern form of monetization arose in the service of financing war bonds, not managing the business cycle, levitating the GDP or boosting the labor market toward the artifice of “full employment”. These latter purposes reflect a century of “mission creep” and the triumph of the statist assumption that governments can actually tame the business cycle and elevate the trend rate of economic growth.

But history refutes that conceit. In the early post-war period, central bank interventions mainly caused short term bouts of unsustainable credit growth and an inflationary spiral which eventually had to be cured by monetary stringency and recession. In the process of repetition over several decades culminating in the 2008 crisis, the household and business leverage ratios were steadily ratcheted upwards until the reached peak sustainable debt.

Now the credit channel of monetary policy transmission is broken and done. The Fed’s most recent massive monetization and “stimulus” has therefore simply inflated financial asset values—-meaning that the Fed has become a serial bubble machine.

There is a better way, and it contrasts sharply with the systematic fraud of QE. That alternative is called the free market, and at the heart of the latter is interest rates which are “discovered” by the market, not pegged and administered by the central bank. Stated differently, the free market requires that all debt and other forms of investment be funded out of society’s pool of honest savings—-that is, income that is retained out of production already made.

Under that regime there is no fraudulent bid for public debt and other existing assets based on something for nothing. Markets clear where they will, and interest rates are the mechanism by which the supply of honest savings and the demand for investment capital, including working capital, are balanced out.

Needless to say, free market interest rates are the bane of Wall Street speculators and Washington spenders alike. They can spike to sudden and dramatic heights when demand for funds to finance government deficits or financial speculation out-run the voluntary pool of savings generated by society. So doing, they bring financial bubbles and fiscal profligacy up short.

In stopping QE after a massive spree of monetization, the Fed is actually taking a tiny step toward liberating the interest rate and re-establishing honest finance. But don’t bother to inform our monetary politburo. As soon as the current massive financial bubble begins to burst, it will doubtless invent some new excuse to resume central bank balance sheet expansion and therefore fraudulent finance.

But this time may be different. Perhaps even the central banks have reached the limits of credibility—- that is, their own equivalent of peak debt.

“I think QE is quite effective,” Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, describing the approach as an option for dealing with an adverse shock to the economy.

[Image courtesy of www.silverdoctors.com/sd-week...llusion/ ]
Wed, October 29, 2014 - 7:56 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

ISS-bound NASA Rocket Explodes on Takeoff in Virginia (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Via: rt.com/usa/200283-nas...ocket-explodes/

Published time: October 28, 2014 22:53
Edited time: October 29, 2014 00:09

An unmanned rocket exploded shortly after takeoff Tuesday evening on Virginia’s eastern shore. Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket was carrying thousands of pounds of equipment to restock the International Space Station.

The launch was supposed to be the third of eight planned Orbital missions to ferry gear and food to astronauts aboard the ISS. The rocket had some 5,000 pounds of food, supplies and science experiments, which all were engulfed in a fireball just above NASA’s Wallop’s Island facility.



The team on the ground has confirmed there are no injuries, although because of “classified crypto equipment” onboard, it is in the process of securing the surrounding area, chatter on the livestream of the launch said.

Orbital called the enormous blast a “vehicle anomaly” on Twitter.

The Antares was originally supposed to lift off on Monday, but the launch was postponed 10 minutes before take-off because a sailboat ended up in the restricted danger zone south of the Virginia complex, the Associated Press reported. Controllers promptly halted the countdown.

Each delivery by Orbital Science’s unmanned Cygnus capsule honors a deceased person linked to the company or a commercial spaceflight. Tuesday’s mission was a tribute to Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton, who led a rocket company until his death in 1993. As a retro-style homage, Orbital Sciences flight controllers wore short-sleeved white shirts and skinny black ties.

Along with 32 mini-research satellites, a meteor tracker and a tank of high-pressure nitrogen to replenish a vestibule used by spacewalking astronauts, the company stowed a post-Halloween surprise for the two Americans, three Russians and one German aboard the ISS, Orbital said at a prelaunch news conference Sunday.

Orbital Sciences, a US-based company designing and manufacturing small- and medium-sized rocket systems, has been contracted by NASA to resupply the ISS.

Also onboard the rocket was Planetary Resources’ Arkyd 3 telescope prototype, which is being developed to explore space and identify natural resources from asteroids. The project was privately funded and raised $1.5 million in a 2013 Kickstarter campaign.

The prototype destroyed in the explosion was only a demonstrator, meant as a stepping stone to the first Arkyd 100 telescope, which the company plans to launch in 2015, Popular Mechanics reported.
Tue, October 28, 2014 - 6:24 PM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment
1–10 of 1896 ‹  | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next  »