Why The World Is Spinning Into Crisis Everywhere
Israel vs. Hamas. Ukraine vs. Russia. Unaccompanied minors at the Texas border. Syria in flames, with a militant “caliphate” at the door. Iran stalling for time on nukes. A rising China sowing fear throughout the rest of Asia. The world seems dangerously unmanageable these days.
President Barack Obama is paying a political price at home, with 55 percent of Americans polled by Pew now disapproving of his handling of foreign affairs -- a dramatic reversal from 2009, when his approval rating was 56 percent. While experts argue about how much Obama and his policies are really to blame, the truth is that he occupies the Oval Office at a time of historic flux and of diminished clout, not only for the U.S. but also for the idea of a dominant global power.
To understand that, you need to revisit an influential article published in Foreign Affairs in 2008 by Richard Haass. It’s called “The Age of Nonpolarity,” and Haass wrote it as he was advising presidential candidates behind the scenes in both parties.
Haass, the longtime president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations (and before that a staffer for President Jimmy Carter and the two Bushes), painted a grim picture of an unsettled, chaotic and dangerously diffuse world Familiar methods of diplomacy, statecraft and war had become feeble, if not useless, in the 21st century, he wrote. The ages of “unipolar” power (i.e., a dominant United States) were over; so were the times of “multi-polar” power, such as the first half of the 20th century.
Now the world faced a free-for-all in which “non-state actors” -- terrorists, global corporations, religious and ethnic tribes, sovereign wealth funds and nonprofit charities, to name a few -- were as crucial as countries in shaping the order of a “nonpolar” world. ...
AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy
The official name for Israel's latest assault on Gaza is "Operation Protective Edge." A better name would be "Operation Déjà Vu." As it has on several prior occasions, Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza, where the death toll now exceeds 500. As usual, the U.S. government is siding with Israel, even though most American leaders understand Israel instigated the latest round of violence, is not acting with restraint, and that its actions make Washington look callous and hypocritical in the eyes of most of the world. ... Read more
How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza
In the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.”
That’s unusual language for a military mouthpiece. Typically they spout lines like “We will take all necessary actions” or “The state of Israel will defend its citizens.” You don’t expect to hear: “This is the politicians’ idea. They’re making us do it.”
Admittedly, demurrals on government policy by Israel’s top defense brass, once virtually unthinkable, have become almost routine in the Netanyahu era. Usually, though, there’s some measure of subtlety or discretion. This particular interview was different. Where most disagreements involve policies that might eventually lead to some future unnecessary war, this one was about an unnecessary war they were now stumbling into. ... Read more
Don’t Tell Anybody About This Story on HFT Power Jump Trading
Far from Wall Street in a Chicago neighborhood once synonymous with urban blight, two futures industry veterans are using secrecy and speed to mint fortunes.
Their firm, Jump Trading LLC, was all but invisible until it was among six companies subpoenaed in April by New York prosecutors. Jump has ascended the ranks of high-frequency traders during the past 15 years to become one of the top firms on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where $925 trillion of derivatives changed hands last year. Its annual revenue has exceeded half a billion dollars. ... Read more
Is There a Connection Between CEOs’ Narcissism and Corporate Tax-Dodging?
... This new research — out of the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona — examines the impact of CEO narcissism on corporate tax policies. That impact turns out to be fairly robust. The corporations that America’s most narcissistic CEOs run seem to be prone to engaging in highly risky corporate tax-avoidance maneuvers.
How did the authors of this new research, Kari Joseph Olsen and James Stekelberg, identify the narcissists in America’s top CEO suites? They used a variety of yardsticks, everything from the pay gap between CEOs and their fellow execs to the prominence of CEO photos in corporate annual reports. ... Read more
DemocracyNow Daily NewsDemocracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, July 24 [9:00] DN | A Debate on Gaza: Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada vs. J.J. Goldberg of the Jewish Daily Forward (07/23/14) [19:18]
*DN | MSNBC's Sole Palestinian Voice Rula Jebreal Takes on Pro-Israeli Gov't Bias at Network & in US Media (07/23/14) [15:23]
*DN | Sharif Abdel Kouddous: Bombed in Their Homes and in the Streets, Where Can Gazans Flee? (07/24/14) [7:44]
*DN | "Brutal Operation Taking Place In Our Name," Israeli Military Reservists Refuse to Serve (07/24/14) [20:44]
DN | Katrina vanden Heuvel: With 100,000+ Displaced, Why is U.S. Ignoring Ukraine's Civil War? (07/24/14) [12:31]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver*HBO | Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison (07/20/14) [17:42]
TRNN NewsTRNN | TRNN correspondent Lia Tarachansky reports: Is Israeli Public Opinion Turning after 700 Palestinian Deaths? (07/23/14) [8:11]
TRNN | Middle East correspondent Yousef Al-Helou shares his story of how his home was targeted by an Israeli airstrike (07/23/14) [5:38]
TYT NewsTYT | It's Official, Kim Jong-un Is A Crybaby. This Viral Video Is Hilarious! (07/22/14) [4:05] TYT | Is E.T. In Hell? Creationist Ken Ham Thinks So (07/22/14) [4:38] TYT | Adam Carolla Against Feeding Kids, Wonders Why Conservatives Get Bad Name (07/22/14) [9:49] TYT | Obamacare Emergency After GOP Judges Gang Up In Devastating Ruling (07/22/14) [9:25] TYT | Israeli PM: We Kill Palestinians Because Hamas Wants 'Telegenically Dead' (07/21/14) [11:12] TYT | Netanyahu Bragged He Has America Wrapped Around His Finger (07/21/14) [5:53]
TYT | Why The Media Loves Conservatives And Hates Liberals (07/21/14) [5:45]
Ring of Fire NewsRing of Fire | Thom Hartmann talks about how nothing has changes in the way banks operate (07/23/14) 
Scottish Deerhound vs Irish Wolfhound
The Scottish Deerhound
Resembling a larger, coated Greyhound, the Scottish Deerhound is a keen and alert sight hound. One of the oldest breeds, the Deerhound possesses a preeminent hunting ability, and is often seen at lure coursing events. The hair on the body and neck is harsh and wiry, while the coat on the head, breast and belly is much softer.
Known centuries ago as the Scotch Greyhound, Rough Greyhound and Highland Deerhound, the Scottish Deerhound became a clearly identified breed in the 16th and 17th centuries. He was the best breed to use for the pursuit and killing of deer, and at the time, could be owned by no one of rank lower than an earl. While he possesses a quiet and dignified personality in the home, the Scottish Deerhound may try to chase any furry animals that run past him. For that reason, the breed should be exercised on leash or in a fenced area. The breed’s crisp, somewhat wiry coat, however, is exceptionally easy-care, requiring only brushing and occasional bathing.
The Irish Wolfhound
An Irish Wolfhound must be of great size and commanding appearance. He has a large, muscular greyhound-like shape, and he is the tallest of dogs, but not the heaviest. A superb athlete and an endurance runner, an old Irish proverb describes him perfectly: “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.”
One of the earliest recorded references to Irish Wolfhounds is in Roman records dating to 391 A.D. Often used as royal gifts, they hunted with their masters, fought beside them in battle, guarded their castles, played with their children, and lay quietly by the fire as family friends. They were fierce hunters of wolves and the oversized Irish elk, so good in fact that their prey disappeared from Ireland and the hounds fell upon hard times. By the 19th Century there were few Irish Wolfhounds left in Ireland. Although now primarily a family companion, the Irish Wolfhound will still instinctively give chase to fleeing prey. His large size commands more room, more exercise, and a bigger car. The breed’s harsh, natural coat requires regular brushing.
A Revolving Door Farce: CFTC Commissioner Bails To Head Regulator's Biggest Opponent
There is no better way to describe what the recently departed CFTC commissioner Scott O'Malia just did when he bailed from the commodity watchdog to become the new head of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, aka ISDA, the biggest banking group that has constantly opposed every intervention and attempt to regulate the swaps market by the CFTC since the Lehman crisis, than an epic farce.
For those who are unaware ISDA is a global OTC derivative lobby group, counting the world's largest investment banks among its members, and has frequently fought regulatory efforts to reform the market after the financial crisis. ISDA itself was exposed as a complete joke during the European crisis when due to the overhang of avoiding Europe's insolvent reality, it made CDS protection obsolete as protection from sovereign restructurings and credit events, in the process crushing one of the key ways to hedge for credit event risk. ... Read more
Getting Rid of Cable TV: The Smartest Ways to Cut the Cord
Going without cable—or at least with considerably less of it—is easier than you think. Last week, I sliced my bill from $212 to $75 without giving up the stuff I really watch. Yes, cable and satellite companies lock away some content for subscribers. But you don't have to be an online pirate to see what you want.
Broadcasters give away the most popular HD channels free over the air, and Internet video services like Hulu, "smart" TVs and streaming boxes make it possible to remain a full-fledged couch potato. None of this is as simple as clicking channel up and down on your cable remote. But for the app-savvy, Internet streaming wins not just because of price, but because of convenience. ... Read more
State of the Climate in 2013 Report Release
In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released online July 17, 2014, by the American Meteorological Society.
Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world (highlights, visuals, full report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice. ... Read more
The 10 Best Small Cities in America
These spots, voted among the best in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler's readers, have plenty of cultural attractions, stylish hotels, and charm to spare. ... Read more
State of the Climate Change
NOAA Climate.gov | 2013 State of the climate: Mountain glaciers
DemocracyNow Daily NewsDemocracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, July 23 [7:16] DN | Not In Our Name: Jewish Activists Arrested in Sit-in at Friends of Israel Defense Forces NYC Office (07/23/14) [6:43]
DN | MSNBC's Sole Palestinian Voice Rula Jebreal Takes on Pro-Israeli Gov't Bias at Network & in US Media (07/23/14) [15:23]
DN | A Debate on Gaza: Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada vs. J.J. Goldberg of the Jewish Daily Forward (07/23/14) [19:18]
DN | "Growing Humanitarian Crisis": Palestinian Toll Tops 650 as Israel Attacks Gaza's Sole Power Plant (07/23/14) [6:42]
DN | "A Place of Indescribable Loss": As Ceasefire Talks Begin, Israel Bombs Hospital, Mosques and Homes (07/22/14) [12:35]
DN | What Does Hamas Really Want? Israeli Journalist Gideon Levy on Ending the Crippling Blockade of Gaza (07/22/14) [9:05]
DN | How the West Chose War in Gaza: Crisis Tied to Israeli-U.S. Effort to Isolate Hamas & Keep the Siege (07/22/14) [12:26]
DN | Israeli Writer Gideon Levy: If Netanyahu Wants to Stop the Rockets, He Needs to Accept a Just Peace (07/22/14) [9:35]
DN | "Unimaginably Catastrophic": As Gaza's Displaced Top 100,000, Israel Reportedly Shells U.N. School (07/22/14) [6:45]
TRNN NewsTRNN | Sarit Michaeli says: Israeli Human Rights Spokesperson: Attacks on Civilians Unjustifiable (07/23/14) [10:00]
Chris Hedges Interviews Noam Chomsky (06/27/14) [17:59], Part 2 [17:03], Part 3 [20:56]
Part 1: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges speaks with Professor Noam Chomsky about working-class resistance during the Industrial Revolution, propaganda, and the historical role played by intellectuals in times of war
Part 2: Chomsky: The system we have now is radically anti-capitalist, radically anti-democratic, opposed to markets, and in favor of concentrating wealth and power.
Part 3: Noam Chomsky says Occupy challenges the atomization of society, and also discusses how the media obstructs meaningful action to address climate change.
More NewsSen. Elizabeth Warren: Big Banks Spend $1 Million a Day to Fight Financial Reform (07/22/14) [33:50]
Jump to 15:00 to see Sen. Elizabeth Warren's inspiring speech.Robert Reich on 6 Things That Do NOT Go Better With Koch (Brothers) (07/22/14) [3:01]
Koch Brothers Exposed 2014 [55:56]
Thom Hartmann NewsThom Hartmann | What Would Happen if we Wiped out the Debt? (07/21/14) [7:42]
Thom Hartmann: National debt held by the public was approximately $12.6 trillion or about 74% of Q1 2014 GDP Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.1 trillion (30%), giving a combined total public debt of $17.6 trillion or about 104% of Q1 2014 GDP. As of January 2013, $5 trillion or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were the People's Republic of China and Japan at just over $1.1 trillion each. (07/30/14)
Jon Steawart - Daily NewsJon Stewart | Jon Stewart Learns What Happens When You Talk About Israel (07/22/14) [2:00]
Jon Stewart |Jon Stewart Blows The Lid Off Reagan's 'Immediate' Response To Russian Crisis (07/22/14) [5:39]
United States owes a lot of money, with its debt equal to the size of the economy as of 2012. See the Statue of Liberty & WTC being dwarfed by the debt.
Five Banks Account For 96% Of The $250 Trillion In Outstanding US Derivative Exposure; Is Morgan Stanley Sitting On An FX Derivative Time Bomb?
Zero Hedge | Author | 09/24/11
The latest quarterly report from the Office Of the Currency Comptroller is out and as usual it presents in a crisp, clear and very much glaring format the fact that the top 4 banks in the US now account for a massively disproportionate amount of the derivative risk in the financial system. Specifically, of the $250 trillion in gross notional amount of derivative contracts outstanding (consisting of Interest Rate, FX, Equity Contracts, Commodity and CDS) among the Top 25 commercial banks (a number that swells to $333 trillion when looking at the Top 25 Bank Holding Companies), a mere 5 banks (and really 4) account for 95.9% of all derivative exposure (HSBC replaced Wells as the Top 5th bank, which at $3.9 trillion in derivative exposure is a distant place from #4 Goldman with $47.7 trillion). The top 4 banks: JPM with $78.1 trillion in exposure, Citi with $56 trillion, Bank of America with $53 trillion and Goldman with $48 trillion, account for 94.4% of total exposure. As historically has been the case, the bulk of consolidated exposure is in Interest Rate swaps ($204.6 trillion), followed by FX ($26.5TR), CDS ($15.2 trillion), and Equity and Commodity with $1.6 and $1.4 trillion, respectively. Read more