As we recently noted, The Prison State of America is alive and well as our prison-industrial complex, which holds 2.3 million prisoners, or 25 percent of the world’s prison population, makes money by keeping prisons full. While the statistics are mind-boggling, we thought it particularly ironic that on the day when President Obama officially launched his "free community-college for all" plan, that we point out there are more jails than colleges in America... and here's where they live...
- Average 10-year yield of U.S., Japan and Germany dropped below 1% for the first time ever: Free Money in Bond Markets Shows Global Economy Still Struggling (BBG)
- Brent falls below $52 as oil hits new five and a half year lows (Reuters)
- China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Raises Price of Main Oil Grade for Asian Buyers (BBG)
- Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Crude Slump Guts Drilling Values (BBG)
- Biggest Oil-Rig Drop Since 2009 Spells Tough Year Ahead (BBG)
- CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month (Reuters)
- Pipeline IPOs Climb on Demand for Returns Immune to Oil (BBG)
- Natural Gas No Savior for Investors Seeking Oil Refuge (BBG)
- Euro zone economy ended 2014 in poor shape (Reuters)
The reason why the BLS has not yet revealed the reality of the shifting US labor force, and why there is virtually no real wage growth across the US, is that the BLS simply backs into statistically goal-seeked results, using seasonal and statistical (birth/death) adjustments to smooth a trendline to beat a monthly bogey used by algos to bid stocks higher. Meanwhile, the reality at the micro level, is that increasingly more Americans are seeing their work status transformed from full-time to part-time status, earning less in the process, having no healthcare and retirement benefits and virtually no job security. As a result, starting this year, some 19 states just increased their minimum wage threshold, with 3 more states due to follow later in 2015. This takes place at the state level because for numerous reasons, there simply wan't enough of a consensus to pass this at the Federal level.
A Florida man calls 9-1-1...
Prisons employ and exploit the ideal worker. Prisoners do not receive benefits or pensions. They are not paid overtime. They are forbidden to organize and strike. They must show up on time. They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations. They cannot formally complain about working conditions or safety hazards. If they are disobedient, or attempt to protest their pitiful wages, they lose their jobs and can be sent to isolation cells. The roughly 1 million prisoners who work for corporations and government industries in the American prison system are models for what the corporate state expects us all to become. And corporations have no intention of permitting prison reforms that would reduce the size of their bonded workforce. In fact, they are seeking to replicate these conditions throughout the society.
Just a day after the premeditated execution of two NYPD officers in New York by a deranged, suicidal psychopath, two more police officers have been shot in America today. In St.Louis, an off-duty officer was shot multiple times and remains in critical condition while in Tarpon Springs, Florida, 45-year-old officer Charles Kondek - a 17-year-veteran and father of 5 children - was shot and killed early Sunday morning.
"My name is Jasmine and I support President Obama's move to give affordable auto insurance for everyone."
- Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
- Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
- 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
- Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
- Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
- Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
- Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
- China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)
Thousands Of Protesters Swarm Washington, NYC: "Don't Expect To See Obama Here, Black Issues Don't Matter To Him"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/13/2014 14:12 -0400
Those planning on visiting (or merely driving around) Washington or New York City today may want to consider a plan B. As Reuters reports, "thousands of demonstrators were expected in Washington and New York on Saturday to protest the killings of unarmed black men by U.S. police and to urge Congress to protect citizens. Organizers said the protests would be among the largest over police tactics and the killings of black males by officers in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Missouri. “It’s open season on black people now,” New York march co-organizer Umaara Elliott said in a statement. “So we demand that action be taken at every level of government to ensure that these racist killings by the police cease.”
Because you can always bet on the "stupidity of the American voter" and win.
"Every new law requires enforcement; every act of enforcement includes the possibility of violence. There are many painful lessons to be drawn from the Garner tragedy, but one of them, sadly, is the same as the advice I give my students on the first day of classes: Don’t ever fight to make something illegal unless you’re willing to risk the lives of your fellow citizens to get your way."
Venezuela "Boosts" Reserves With Rocks, Other "Easily Converted To Cash" Stuff; Suffers Major BlackoutSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/04/2014 14:05 -0400
With its bonds trading at 50% of face value, CDS implying an 84% chance of default, a black-market FX rate that signals massive devaluation is likely, and a teetering-on-the-brink of social unrest population entirely dependent on President Maduro's generosity (and the military junta), it is perhaps not entirely surprising that they are trying any trick in the book to bolster reserves. The Venezuelan Central Bank issued a statement today (akin to Europe's hookers-and-blow GDP adjustment) that enables them to count a whole new set of 'assets' as potential international reserves including "stones" and "precious metals held in their vaults on behalf of foreign financial institutions." Hey presto... new reserves. And if that wasn't enough, a massive blackout just hit Caracas...
With the average hedge fund down 1% year-to-date, it is perhaps no surprise that investors are pushing back against the fee structure... Pension funds and other investors called for changes Tuesday in the way hedge funds charge fees. The proposed changes were outlined in a statement by the Alignment of Interests Association (AOI), a hedge fund investor group to which many pension funds belong. The group said that hedge funds should only charge performance fees when returns beat benchmarks, and that fee structures should better link fees to long-term performance.
The scripted quality of the Ferguson events seemed as formally predictable as an 1856 minstrel show, and the parallel is worth reflecting on because the nation appears determined to explode again in some kind of a civil war — bearing in mind Karl Marx’s advisory that “history repeats, first as tragedy, then farce.” As is the case with many show-biz extravaganza’s of our time the script had many authors. A week after the grand jury decision and the riot that followed, the Michael Brown incident is already disappearing down the national memory hole. Why? Mainly because anyway you cut it Michael Brown was a poor candidate for martyrdom.
Meet 28-year-old Navy vet Mark Paffrath - the latest confirmation of the relentless bull market in fascism in America today...