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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Leading Somewhere

Meal Tickets,

Here is another story in the "Parasites Consume The Host" series.
It starts by looking at hiring and pay for American Physics and Engineering PhDs, typically hired by large, research & development companies. Yes, it looks at getting visas to hire all those young foreign grads, but notices, that it was not about supply-and-demand in the marketplace for the most part. It was about feeding on the live carcass of American industry for the past 30 years (You may have noticed.)
"Contrary to popular belief, in aggregate U.S. corporations fund the stock market, not vice versa. Note that almost all of the buybacks in the decade 1976-1985 occurred in 1984 and 1985 after in November 1982 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted Rule 10b-18 that gave license to massive buybacks, in essence legalizing systemic stock-price manipulation and the looting of the U.S. business corporation."
"In the case of Apple, we have shown how Carl Icahn used his wealth, visibility, hype, and influence to take $2 billion in stock-market gains by buying $3.6 billion of Apple shares in the summer of 2013 and selling them in the winter of 2016, even though he contributed absolutely nothing of any kind to Apple as a value-creating company..."
"From 2011 through the first quarter of 2017, Apple spent $144 billion on buybacks and $51 billion on dividends under what it calls its “Capital Return” program. But the company is “returning” capital to shareholders who never gave the company anything in the first place; the only time in its history that Apple has ever raised funds on the public stock market was $97 million in its 1980 IPO."

Ralph Nader is still cognitively intact, after all these years. We are easily duped into supporting the empire of global chaos and unwinnable wars.
“A people untouched (or seemingly untouched) by war are far less likely to care about it. Persuaded that they have no skin in the game, they will permit the state to do whatever it wishes to do.”

New Jersey Republican Congressman, Tom MacArthur, who revived AHCA (aka "Obamacare-lite") gets it (for hours) from his poorer constituents, who want Medicare for All.
"It shouldn't be a market! My health care shouldn't be market," one yells. "When did we become a society that doesn't care about each other?"
"You've been talking a lot about your constituents on the other side of the Pine Barrens and how they affect your policy decisions. When are our ideas, on this side of the Pine Barrens, going to affect your policy decisions? Everybody here is talking about single-payer, and you're still trying to push this other stuff on us, but we are the constituents – if you want to go back [to D.C], if you want another turn, you might want to listen to what these people have to say."
Now someone tell that to Nancy Pelosi.

The Bipartisan "Single Payer" Solution, Medicare-Advantage premium support for All 
(A plausible compromise to be worked out in the coming financial reset.)

U.S. House Resolution 676 — the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act 
The establishment of a "Medicare for All Program to provide all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care.
"The program (would be) funded: (1) from existing sources of government revenues for health care, (2) by increasing personal income taxes on the top 5% of income earners, (3) by instituting a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment income, (4) by instituting a tax on unearned income, and (5) by instituting a tax on stock and bond transactions. Amounts that would have been appropriated for federal public health care programs, ... are transferred and appropriated to carry out this bill."

"Wanna Cry" Ransomware attacks, largely on hospitals and medical records (critical, easily accessible and weak, due to government regulatory burdens and unfunded mandates), in what might be the largest such attack ever. Thanks NSA, "your tax dollars at work" again. Blame the leaker or something...
"The hackers, who have not come forward to claim responsibility or otherwise been identified, likely made it a "worm", or self spreading malware, by exploiting a piece of NSA code known as "Eternal Blue" that was released last month by a group known as the Shadow Brokers."

“We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world,” Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith wrote in a blog post this afternoon. “This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem.”

Two days after the latest provocative missile test by North Korea, in which it launched a "new type" of ballistic missile, one which experts warned had a substantially longer range than any existing rocket North Korea had fired, on Monday morning North Korea announced that it had successfully conducted a mid-to-long range missile test on Sunday supervised by leader Kim Jong Un which was aimed at verifying the capability to carry a "large scale heavy nuclear warhead." (Aww, they're just bluffing. Anyway, we're protecting everybody in South Korea and Japan.)

Meanwhile, in a more entertaining interlude, Russian President Vladimir Putin, also present in Beijing for the Silk Road event, decided to show off his softer side when he sat down to play piano on Sunday. According to AP, after speaking at the summit in the morning, Putin headed to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at his residence. While waiting at a state guesthouse, Putin sat down at a grand piano and played two tunes: “Evening Song,” by Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi, and “Moscow Windows,” by Tikhon Khrennikov. "Evening Song,” usually performed with lyrics by Aleksandr Churkin, was written in 1957 and is considered an unofficial anthem of St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin’s hometown, formerly known as Leningrad. "Moscow Windows,” usually performed with lyrics by the poet Mikhail Matusovsky, is a tune about friendship. Both songs are from the late 1950s, when Putin was a child and the Soviet Union was emerging from the shadow of Stalin, who died in 1953. (Video here, piano needs tuning. I see the little boy...)

More on Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov's Washington visit. Lavrov: "The dialogue between Russia and the US is now free from the ideology that characterised it under the Barack Obama Administration. US President Donald Trump, his Administration, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are the kind of people who want to maintain a dialogue not as a means of demonstrating what they can achieve in the area of ideological preferences, but rather as a means of solving particular issues which have great bearing on the nation's progress, peoples' well-being and settling conflicts in different areas... It is always better for relations when people do business rather than try to promote their ideological preferences or engage in propaganda. This forms the basis for our expectations. " Thanks Eleni.

Sen. Rand Paul, the former Republican presidential candidate and vocal champion of civil liberties, has received allegations that the Obama administration sought intercepted intelligence from the National Security Agency on him and other members of Congress and has asked President Donald Trump to conduct a formal investigation. "An anonymous source recently alleged to me that my name, as well as the names of other Members of Congress, were unmasked, queried or both, in intelligence reports of intercepts during the prior administration," Paul wrote Trump in a letter dated April 10. "In light of the revelations that the names of persons associated with the Trump campaign were unmasked, I believe the allegations that myself and other elected members of the legislative branch may have also been unmasked or caught in intelligence gathering warrants investigation." Thanks Eleni

UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn: "We do have public ownership in UK rail and energy markets. It’s just that the government ownership is by foreign governments."

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