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Murdoch unloads on Kerry, Obama, the left

Rupert Murdoch

By BLAKE HOUNSHELL

11/30/15 11:11 PM EST

News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, in a discursive speech Monday evening, blasted Secretary of State John Kerry and attacked the left for creating an “identity crisis” that he charged has undermined American strength and fostered terrorism around the world.

And he drew a connection between U.S. foreign policy and domestic culture, arguing that “in recent years, there has been far too much institutionalization of grievance and victimhood.”

The Australian-born media mogul, a naturalized U.S. citizen, also touched on the Republican presidential primary, which he said “has articulated a deep distaste for the slow descent of our country.”

“Before delivering my modest message,” Murdoch joked at the outset of his address accepting the Hudson Institute’s Global Leadership Award, “I feel obliged to alert college students, progressive academics and all other deeply sensitive souls that these words may contain phrases and ideas that challenge your prejudices — in other words, I formally declare this room an ‘unsafe space.’”

After a few words of praise for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who had just introduced him to the hawkish think-tank crowd, Murdoch quickly pivoted to a sweeping indictment of U.S. foreign policy under Barack Obama, though he did not mention the president by name.

“For a U.S. secretary of state to suggest that Islamic terrorists had a ‘rationale’ in slaughtering journalists is one of the low points of recent Western diplomacy and it is indicative of a serious malaise,” Murdoch said, referring to Kerry’s recent mangled attempt to draw a distinction between the assault on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the more recent Paris attacks. “For America to be embarrassed by its exceptionalism is itself exceptional and absolutely unacceptable.” (Kerry quickly walked back those comments, remarking the next day that “such atrocities can never be rationalized, and we can never allow them to be rationalized.”)

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/henry-kissinger-rupert-murdoch-fox-216294#ixzz3t6CBwAIb

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Obama’s Grandiose Plan Will Give Community College Administrators the Last Laugh at Our Expense

Louis CK

Obama enlists top-flight comedians to push his laughable “free” community college plan

State of the Union (SOTU) addresses tend to bring out the grandiosity in presidents—like when President Nixon announced universal health insurance coverage in 1974, or when President Clinton announced universal health insurance coverage in 1994, or when President Obamaannounced universal health insurance coverage in 2010 that would let Americans “keep their doctor and their plan” and also “reduce costs and premiums.” (About that…)

Unsurprisingly, after being routed in the most recent midterms, President Obama used his last SOTU to put together three big, appealing ideas: college, free, and community. Free community college!

The president is now touring the country promoting the plan, calling it “an idea whose time has come.” The $60 billion program’s time has certainly not come in a Republican-controlled Congress, however, so, as the president’s domestic policy advisor Cecilia Muñoz acknowledges, the president will try to gin up support outside of the Capitol in hopes of pressuring lawmakers into getting on board.

As part of the public relations push, eminent comedians Louis CK and Chris Rock appeared in a White House video this week urging Americans to “join the movement” to “make two years of community college as free and universal as high school is today.”

https://reason.com/blog/2015/09/11/obamas-grandiose-plan-will-give-communit

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Markets Brace for Major Sell off

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Market Crash 1987?

The Death of Stupid ?

Debt the ultimate participation trophy ?

Keynesian black hole?

August 24,2015
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Stocks aren’t quite as immune to financial disruption in the middle of 2015 as they had been previously. The last major, comprehensive selloff was also in tandem with “dollar” disorder back last October 15. This time, the motion was more erosion than “event”; at least until the past week. Just like crude oil, stocks lost their momentum back in early May (and broader index price indications dating back to last July and the first “dollar” rumble) and had more or less been stuck like the yuan doing nothing until the open break recently.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-23/risk-appears-seriously-wounded

“Savage Speed” – A Look Inside Market Crash Statistics

Submitted by Salil Mehta via Statistical Ideas blog,

It was surely a frightening week in global financial markets.  The largest 500 American stocks (S&P) dropped 6%.  China’s Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) doubled this risk, as it dropped 12%.  Now there is an overall fear in the markets that we have not seen in years.  While these perilous risk statistics should not be something new, thesurprising jolt this week provides a renewed opportunity to review crash measures within a broader context, to boldly target your portfolio.

Let’s look at the worst weekly loss for the S&P, in each month from 2007 through August 14 (or right up until last week).  Geometrically approximated for symmetry.  We see in blue that the distribution of this monthly “worst weekly loss” has generally been similar to the same ranked values from the past couple of years (2103/2014).  Now towards the bottom of the chart we can better ascertain that the more severe “worst weekly losses”, were even worse in the years earlier than this (so 2007 through 2012).

We’ll prove out these numerical measurements here, but if you are dispassionate about the mathematics then don’t fear.  Please just skim what is immediately below -and head straight to the first illustration afterwards- to continue reading.  In October 2008, the worst weekly risk was -20% (this makes October the 24th worst month for “worst weekly loss” of 24 months in 2007/2008).  Hence it is plotted in red ~98 percentile at the bottom of the vertical axis below.  Not perfectly the 100th percentile (0% rank) due to probability math.  Also in the same 2007/2008 series, the next worst month for the “worst weekly loss” statistic was the following month of November.  That month saw a -9% change and being 2nd worst out of 24 means being ranked about 4% higher on the vertical axis, from where the -20% data is shown:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-23/savage-speed-look-inside-market-crash-statistics

Global Trade In Freefall: Container Freight Rates From Asia To Europe Crash 60% In Three Weeks

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/23/2015 12:42 -0400

Three weeks ago, when we last looked at the collapse in trade along what may be the most trafficked route involving China, i.e., from Asia to Northern Europe, we noted that while that particular shipping freight rate Europe had crashed some 23% on just one week, there was some good news: at least the Baltic Dry index was still inexplicably rising, and at last check it was hovering just above 1,100.

That is no longer the case, and just as with everything else in recent months, the Baltic Dry dead cat bounce is now over, with the BDIY topping out just above 1200 on August 4, and now back in triple digit territory, rapidly sliding back to the reality of recent record lows which a few months ago we suggested hinted that much more is wrong with global trade, and the global economy, than artificially manipulated stock markets would admit.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-23/global-trade-freefall-container-freight-rates-asia-europe-crash-60-three-weeks

Debt Is Good: For Funding The Greatest Participation Trophy Ever Created

Submitted by Mark St.Cyr,

As the capital markets from Shanghai to New York were melting down in ways hearkening back to the early days of the prior financial crisis – a period of time many would like to forget (or act) as if it never happened – the Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman decided it was time once again to weigh in with what will surely be viewed by the so-called “smart crowd” as a brilliant perspective on what ails the world: Not enough debt.

The title of his Op-Ed in the New York Times™ seemed to borrow directly from one of Wall Street’s most celebrated fictional characters Gordon Gekko when he delivered the now immortal line “Greed, for lack of a better word: Is good.” For Mr. Krugman however, there was no need of a “better word” qualifier. He came out blazing with what seems the only bullet in his arsenal as a cure-all for what ever the ailment might be (e.g., debt.) as he argues this view in his latest: Debt Is Good.

As I read, I found myself repeatedly either laughing, or with my head in my hands. What seemed lost on Mr. Krugman was the irony of not only his timing, but also the glaring front-of-mind examples real people, with real issues, currently have that are entirely interchangeable as to replace his call for action; and replace it with the actions they are currently living through. All of which are both suggested as well as endorsed by him and his ilk.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-23/debt-good-funding-greatest-participation-trophy-ever-created

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Historic grocery chain A&P files for Chapter 11

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By James Covert

July 20, 2015 | 8:04am

A&P has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a move that could spell the end of the 156-year-old grocery chain.

The nearly 300-store chain, confirming The Post’s exclusive report last week that such news was imminent, made the filing late Sunday in Bankruptcy Court in New York.

A&P, which also owns the Waldbaums, Food Emporium and Pathmark stores, listed assets and liabilities of more than $1 billion.

It was the second trip to bankruptcy court in less than five years for the Montvale, NJ-based company, which has been outflanked by lower cost chains like Wal-Mart stealing business at one end and higher-priced chains like Whole Foods taking away customers at the other.

The company, which employs 34,000 people, according to its website, has secured $100 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Fortress Credit Corp, according to court documents.

The parent, with its stores stretched across the Northeast, has already struck preliminary agreements to sell or shutter about half of its nearly 300 locations, insiders said. Prospective acquirers aren’t likely to operate many locations under their previous banners, they said.

http://nypost.com/2015/07/20/historic-grocery-chain-ap-files-for-chapter-11/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=NYPFacebook&utm_medium=SocialFlow

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Stephen Moore: No President Obama, Poor People Don’t Work as Hard as Rich

US President Obama waves from a golf cart in Kailua

By Dan Weil   |   Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015 04:57 PM

Here’s an interesting take on income inequality that bucks conventional wisdom.

While President Barack Obama claims that low-income Americans work just as hard as their wealthy counterparts, that simply isn’t true, says Stephen Moore, a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

“Yes, many people in poor households heroically work very hard at low wages to take care of their families, no doubt about that,” he and Heritage Foundation research associate Joel Griffith write in The Washington Times.
Special: What the Bible Says About Investing (Shocking)
“Yet the average poor family doesn’t work nearly as much as the rich families do. And that’s a key reason why these households are poor.”

Census Bureau data show that for every hour worked by those in a low-income household, those in a wealthy household toil five hours.

“The idea that the rich are idle bondholders who play golf or go to the spa every day while the poor toil isn’t accurate,” Moore and Griffith explain.

“The finding that six out of 10 poor households have no one working at all is disturbing. Since they have no income from work, is it a surprise they are poor?”

Meanwhile, Americans are concerned about the growing inequality of income, but they don’t see the government as a solution for the most part, according to a new study by four esteemed professors for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/StreetTalk/income-Obama-work-pay/2015/06/08/id/649410/#ixzz3cgHVGBpa

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It’s Getting Stupid on Iran

john-kerry-theridgewoodblog

From pretending only Republicans oppose a deal to pretending the U.S.’ reputation is in jeopardy, the stupid on Iran is reaching new highs.

Ed Krayewski|Apr. 6, 2015 12:15 pm

U.S., Iranian, and other negotiators from around the world are going to spend the next two and a half or so months hammering out a deal over Iran’s nuclear program. They spent the last several years hammering out the “outline” which the deal will follow but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal—within days of the announcement of an agreement on the outline of a deal, Iranian and U.S. officials exchanged accusations that the other side was lying about what exactly had been agreed to in the outline. With six countries, including Iran and the U.S., involved in negotiations, and powerful forces in the U.S. and Iran against a deal that could eventually rob them of their favorite respective stalking horses, a deal is far from certain. It could fail for a litany of reasons.

Domestic opposition to a deal, in the U.S., in Iran, or in any of the other countries participating in the talks is unlikely to scutltle a deal on its own, but would be politically useful to blame by a government reeling from a failure. Domestic opposition, of course, is real. In the U.S. a significant amount of members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, oppose a deal. Liberals have tended to attribute domestic opposition solely to Republicans—Juan Cole laughably tried to connect billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson’s political activity to the prevailing anti-Iran atmosphere among Republican presidential candidates. Cole, like others on the left, are obsessed with Citizen’s United and corporations and other organizations of people spending money on political speech.

But the fact is an anti-Iranian mood has been around for longer than Adelson’s had an interest in presidential politics, and despite the popular media perception, is not exclusive to Republicans. Attributing Republican opposition to monied interests or to a hatred of Obama is intellectually lazy at best. If opposition to an Iran deal were limited only to Republicans then, even though Republicans now control both houses of Congress, it wouldn’t amount to much. When Fox News describes Obama and Congress on a “collision course” over Iran, that’s possible because of Democrat opposition to an Iran deal.

http://reason.com/blog/2015/04/06/its-getting-stupid-on-iran

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Sen. Cotton: Believe Iran’s leader when he says, ‘death to America’

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Death-to-America

 

“Saying ‘Death to America’ is easy,” Mr. Rouhani said in a speech in the city of Karaj, according to the state-run Mehr News Agency. “We need to express ‘Death to America’ with action. Saying it is easy.”

Sen. Cotton: Believe Iran’s leader when he says, ‘death to America’

By Jordain Carney

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Monday stepped up his opposition to the nuclear talks with Iran, warning that the regime of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei should not be legitimized by the United States.

“The gravest threat to our national security is a nuclear-armed Iran, and this man, Ayatollah Khamenei,” Cotton said from the Senate floor.

The Arkansas Republican referred to a speech the Iranian official gave over the weekend in honor of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The crowd chanted “death to America” as Khamenei spoke.

“What was his response to that chant? He said, ‘Yes, certainly, death to America,’ ” Cotton said. ” ‘Death to America.’ Remember this is the leader whom with the United States is negotiating today.”

Cotton has been a vocal critic of the international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. He spearheaded an open letter, also signed by 47 Republican senators, to Iran’s leaders that suggested that any deal could be overturned after President Obama leaves office in 2017.

Obama released his own video message last week in honor of Nowruz. In that video, the president pressed Iranian officials to take “the best opportunity in decades” to bolster the U.S.-Iranian relationship by accepting a deal to roll back the country’s nuclear program.

Cotton said Obama’s remarks were “ill-advised.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/236633-ayatollah-khamenei-is-gravest-threat-to-us-security-says-senator

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Iran Declares Pre-emptive Victory in Nuke Talks

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Iran Declares Pre-emptive Victory in Nuke Talks

Top Iranian Negotiator: ‘We are the winner’

BY: Adam Kredo
March 11, 2015 5:00 am

Iran’s foreign minister and chief negotiator in nuclear talks with the West declared victory for his country, stating that no matter how the negotiations end, Tehran has come out “the winner,” according to remarks made on Tuesday and presented in the country’s state-run press.

Javad Zarif, the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister, stated in remarks before the country’s powerful Assembly of Experts, which recently installed a hardline new cleric as its leader, that the nuclear negotiations have established Tehran as a global power broker.

“We are the winner whether the [nuclear] negotiations yield results or not,” Zarif was quoted as saying before the assembly by the Tasnim News Agency. “The capital we have obtained over the years is dignity and self-esteem, a capital that could not be retaken.”

Zarif’s comments were accompanied by a host of bold military displays by Tehran in recent weeks, including the announcement of one new weapon that Iranian military leaders have described as a “very special” missile.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-declares-pre-emptive-victory-in-nuke-talks/

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US budget deficit running 6.2 percent higher than last year

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US budget deficit running 6.2 percent higher than last year
Feb 11, 4:49 PM (ET)
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government ran a bigger deficit in January, pushing the imbalance so far this budget year up 6.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday the deficit for January stood at $17.5 billion compared to $10.3 billion a year ago. For the first four months of the budget year that began in October, the deficit widened to $194.2 billion from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.

The budget deficit has gradually narrowed since 2012, which was the fourth straight year in which it topped the $1 trillion mark. The improvement reflects the country’s economic recovery from recession. The government is seeing higher tax revenues as people go back to work and smaller payments for safety-net programs such as unemployment assistance. It also represents efforts by Congress to control deficits through higher taxes and across-the-board spending cuts.

Last year’s deficit benefited from a $24 billion special payment Freddie Mac made for the support it received during the financial crisis. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts a deficit of $468 billion for the full 2015 budget year, 3.1 percent lower than in 2014.

For the current budget year, government revenues total $1.05 trillion, an increase of 8.7 percent from the same period a year ago. Government spending totals $1.24 trillion, up 8.3 percent over last year.

The deficit in 2014 narrowed to $483.3 billion from $680.2 billion in 2013. Before that, the deficits soared to record heights as the government grappled with revenue losses from the Great Recession and increased spending in such areas as unemployment benefits and food stamps.

President Barack Obama unveiled last week his new budget proposal, which projects the 2015 deficit to rise to $583 billion, sharply higher than the CBO’s latest estimate. Obama’s new budget is asking Congress for authorization to spend $4 trillion next year and projects a 2016 deficit of $474 billion.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150211/us–budget_deficit-503db25ece.html

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Economy grew 2.6% in the fourth quarter

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neighborhood-of-make-believe

Economy grew 2.6% in the fourth quarter

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY 1:20 p.m. EST January 30, 2015

The economy grew more slowly than expected in the fourth quarter as government spending fell sharply and business investment pulled back.

Gross domestic product expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.6% in the three months ended Dec. 31, slowing sharply from a robust 5% pace in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists expected 3.1% growth.

For all of 2014, the economy grew 2.4%, up from 2.2% in 2013, after harsh winter weather early in the year caused the economy to shrink in the first quarter.

In the fourth quarter, consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy, grew a healthy 4.3% as plunging gasoline prices and strong job growth bolstered Americans’ confidence.

But government spending declined 7.5% as defense outlays tumbled after rising sharply in the third quarter.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/01/30/economy-4q-gdp-first-estimate/22548329/