• Pivotfarm
    04/18/2014 - 12:44
    Peering in from the outside or through the looking glass at what’s going down on the other side is always a distortion of reality. We sit here in the west looking at the development, the changes and...

NBC

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Forget Cows, Smart Car 'Tipping' Is The New Fad





Cows in the San Francisco area will be sleeping better at night since, for the last few days, gangs of angry internal combustion engine-likers have taken to a new trend - Smart car tipping. NBC Bay Area found four of the targeted Smart cars between Sunday night and Monday morning. "Whoever is doing this just has misdirected anger," noted one upset owner, as another witness joked, they reminded him of little dogs: "They look like they are dachshunds sitting up on their hind legs." The exact motives behind the vandalism are unclear, as a parody Facebook page was set up called "Smart Car Tipping" by a creator who does not "practice, promote or condone Smart Car Tipping,' and another site called the Smart Car tippers, "heroes." At a price starting at $13,000 for the tiny cars, perhaps it is the relative cost-benefits that the vandals are considering.

 


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Ukraine Official Warns "Chance Of War With Russia Growing" As Mike Rogers Calls For Sending Weapons To Ukraine





Concurrently with out post on what the odds are of a war between the US and Russia over Ukraine, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, and war hawk, appeared on TV this morning saying that the United States ought to provide weapons to the Ukrainian army "so it could defend the country from a Russian invasion." This is the same Mike Rogers who last August did everything in his power to perpetuate the lie that Syrians had used chemical weapons against "rebels" (who subsequently turned out to be mostly Qatari-funded Al Qaeda mercenaries and other Islamic extremists) “There are things that we can do that I think we’re not doing. I don’t think the rhetoric (from Obama administration officials) matches the reality on the ground,” he said. And while US neocons are warmongering, Ukraine is all too happy to raise the tension level just a bit more, hoping that NATO will finally intervene and present Putin with at least some hurdle to overrunning all of East Ukraine, using exactly the same template as already show in Crimea: Ukraine’s top diplomat warned Sunday that the chances of war with Russia “are growing” due to the buildup of Moscow’s forces along his country’s eastern border. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said Kiev “is ready to respond” should Russia–which has already seized the Crimea–move further in Ukrainian territory.

 

 


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Ukraine Announces Joint US Military Exercises As Obama Rules Out "Military Incursion" - Recap Of The Day's Events





With the story of the day undoubtedly Yellen's first (bungled) press conference, it was easy to forget that the second coming of the Cold War is raging in the Ukraine. For those curious what they may have missed, here is a summary of the major events that took place in the troubled country this afternoon. Highlights from AP, AFP, Reuters, WSJ, Bloomberg, RIA and Interfax.

 


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Russian Forces Storm Ukraine Naval Base In Crimea: Klitschko Calls For Ukraine Troop Withdrawal





It only makes sense that now that Crimea is officially Russian territory once again, that the Russians would do with it as they see fit. Which they did. Overnight Russian troops and unarmed men stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol and raised the Russian flag in what Reuters described as "a tense but peaceful takeover that signals Moscow's intent to neutralize any armed opposition." Russian soldiers, and so-called "self-defense" units of mainly unarmed volunteers who are supporting them across the Black Sea peninsula, moved in early in the morning and quickly took control. But nowhere is the resignation within Ukraine's acting political leadership more evident than in a statement just uttered by potential presidential candidate and former boxer, Vitali Klitschko:

UKRAINE GOVT SHOULD WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM CRIMEA, KLITSCHKO SAYS

More appeasement of Putin: will it result in the annexation of east Ukraine? Surely. The only question is when.

 


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Delta Boeing 757 Makes Emergency Landing After Wing Panel Tears Off Midflight





It has not been a good month for Boeing: first one of its 777s disappears in the now infamous Malaysian Airlines MH370 heist, which is increasingly looking as a hijacking commited by the pilots, and yesterday, a Delta Airlines Boeing 757, Flight 2412 from Orlandon to Atlanta, saw an entire panel tear off from its wing forcing the plane to make an emergency landing. At least this time the plane was tracked for the duration of the flight, perhaps because there was nothing that would be considered extraordinary in its cargo manifest, speaking of which, perhaps it is time for Malaysia Airlines to reveal just what was held in flight MH370's cargo hold. The detached panel did not impact the aircraft's ability to fly or land, Delta spokesman Anthony Black said of Flight 2412. "The crew, knowing that, followed procedure by declaring an emergency to air traffic control as they were landing, which gave them priority clearance to land and alerted ground crews." The airline is inspecting the plane to determine why the panel came off.

 


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Russia-Ukraine Agree "Truce" Until March 21st; White House Warns Putin Stop Playing "Russian Roulette"





"President Putin has started a game of Russian roulette and I think the United States and the West have to be very clear in their response," states Sen. Foreign Relations Committed Chair Robert Menendez among a slew of Sunday morning talk-show rhetoric from US politicians with the White House's Dan Pfeiffer adding "President Putin has a choice about what he's going to do here. Is he going to continue to further isolate himself, further hurt his economy, further diminish Russian influence in the world, or is he going to do the right thing?" As the "sham referendum" continues, Reuters, however, reports that Ukraine's acting defense minister believes Russia and Ukraine have agree a truce until March 21st.

 


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Will The First $3 Billion Of A Ukraine Bailout Immediately Go To Russia?





While most understand that Ukraine owes Russia a few billion here or there for its energy bills that are past due, there is a more concerning issue. The Ukraine owes $3 billion to Russia in bonds that have been issued under UK law. One of the stipulations of the bonds is that if the Ukraine's debt-to-GDP ratio should exceed 60%, the bonds will become immediately callable. Once the Ukraine gets funding from the IMF, this is of course going to happen right away – its debt-to-GDP ratio will then most definitely exceed 60%, so the first $3 billion of any aid the Ukraine receives in the form of loans will right away flow into Russia's coffers. The American and European tax cows will no doubt be thrilled.

 


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Building Explosion And Collapse Reported On Park Avenue In Harlem, People Trapped - Live Webcast





Emergency crews are reportedly on the scene of a possible building explosion in East Harlem.  Details are limited but the incident reportedly happened this morning in the area of East 116th Street and Park Avenue. NY1 has a crew heading to the scene and will have more information as it becomes available.

 


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Obama Approval Rating Drops To Fresh Record Low





Poor Obama - the president can't get anything right these days. Obama's job approval ticked down to 41% in March from 43% in January, marking a new low. Some 54% disapproved of the job he is doing, matching a previous high from December, when the botched rollout of his signature health law played prominently in the news. The latest survey also showed the lowest-ever approval in Journal/NBC polling for Mr. Obama's handling of foreign policy.

 

 


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Frontrunning: March 12





  • China worries chill markets, copper slumps (Reuters)
  • Peak dot com dot two idiocy: Candy Crush Saga maker King seeks $7.56 bln valuation from IPO (BBG)
  • Obama Meeting With Yatsenyuk Raises Stakes in Ukraine (BBG)
  • Federal prosecutors open criminal probe of GM recall (Reuters)
  • Pimco Cuts Government Debt on Outlook for Fed Buying (BBG)
  • Missing Malaysian Jetliner Confuses World That’s Online 24/7 (BBG)
  • Mortgage Giants Face Endgame (WSJ)
  • Russia Calls U.S. Aid to Ukraine Illegal Amid Standoff (BBG)
  • U.S. judge freezes assets of Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange boss (Reuters)
  • Ousted Libyan PM flees country after tanker escapes rebel-held port (Reuters)
  • Senate-CIA Dispute Erupts Into a Public Brawl (WSJ)
 


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20 Stunning Facts On The US Retail Apocalypse





If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are major retail chains closing thousands of stores?  If we truly are in an "economic recovery", then why do sales figures continue to go down for large retailers all over the country?  Without a doubt, the rise of Internet retailing giants such as Amazon.com have had a huge impact.  Today, there are millions of Americans that actually prefer to shop online. But Internet shopping alone does not account for the great retail apocalypse that we are witnessing.  In fact, some retail experts estimate that the Internet has accounted for only about 20 percent of the decline that we are seeing.  Most of the rest of it can be accounted for by the slow, steady death of the middle class U.S. consumer.  Median household income has declined for five years in a row, but all of our bills just keep going up.  That means that the amount of disposable income that average Americans have continues to shrink, and that is really bad news for retailers.

 


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US Probes Terrorist Concerns Over 'Missing' Malaysian Airlines Jet





The dismal news overnight that a Malaysian Airlines jet, carrying over 200 passengers and crew, had "gone missing" appears to have become considerably more troublesome. News this morning of pools of oil off the Vietnam coast - suggestive of a crash - are dreadful but, as NBC News reports, perhaps more crucially, U.S. officials told NBC News on Saturday they are investigating terrorism concerns after two people listed as passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet turned out not to be on the plane and had reported their passports stolen (while in Thailand).

 


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