New York Times

"I Pay $271 A Month To Schools And I Don't Have Kids": Illinois Bureaucracy Sucks Homeowners Dry

Reuters has taken an in depth look at Illinois' sprawling bureaucracy and discovered that the state "is home to nearly 8,500 local government units" which helps to explain why "the average homeowner pays taxes to six layers of government, and in Wauconda and many other places a lot more." The story also sheds quite a bit of light on why the state's fiscal crisis may ultimately prove to be intractable. 

US Allows Ally Turkey to Bomb Only Group Effectively Fighting ISIS

The seriousness is underscored by the declarations of the president of Turkey regarding a Kurdish state. In contrast, the Islamic State has no such aims on Turkey and does not have the wherewithal to undertake such an enterprise—even if it wanted to. Turks have a long history of secularism and are not receptive to the strict Islamism of ISIS. For the time being, therefore, the Turkish state will pretend to be fighting ISIS while directing its violence towards the PKK and the YPG.

TEPCO Officials To Be Tried for Role In Fukushima Meltdown

A Japanese citizens’ judicial committee has overruled government prosecutors and forced them to bring three former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to trial on charges of criminal negligence for their inability to prevent the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

American Oligarchy: 400 Families Represent 50% Of Money Raised by 2016 Presidential Candidates So Far

The American system of government is nothing like what we are told in school and via the oligarch-owned mainstream media. The country has become so captured and corrupted by sociopathic oligarchs, that a neo-feudal modern serfdom is emerging where the opportunities to enjoy rising standards of living for the vast majority of people was rapidly becoming a pipe dream. The Dark Ages almost look democratic by comparison.

Jimmy Carter Rages At What The U.S. Has Become: "Just An Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery"

"It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over."

CEO Hikes Minimum Wage To $70K, Capitalist Tragicomedy Ensues

Three months ago, Dan Price had an idea. He would raise the pay floor at his Seatlle-based payments processing company and become a rebel hero to the 120 people who worked for him. This is the story of how one man's unwitting crusade against the disappearance of the American Middle Class went horribly awry.

The Politicians’ War On Uber

Hillary Clinton gave a speech warning that the new “sharing economy” of businesses such as the ride-hailing company Uber is “raising hard questions about workplace protections.” Democrats hate what labor unions hate, and a taxi drivers’ union hates Uber, too. Its NYC website proclaims, “Uber has the money. But we are the PEOPLE!” Lawsuits and politicians’ attacks against one company have a chilling effect on others. The “independent contractor” assault will destroy all sorts of companies we’ll never even know about because now they won’t come into existence. Some of the entrepreneurs who dreamed of starting them will look at the additional costs, crunch the numbers and decide there’s not enough profit potential to risk investing their money. Who knows what odd but popular sharing-economy innovations aren’t happening even now—ones we’d use and love—because businesspeople with great ideas are frightened by the Clintons, deBlasios and lawyers?

5 Things To Ponder: Mentally Conflicted

The disconnect between economic underpinnings, market internals and "bullish" investor optimism leaves many investors/advisors "mentally conflicted." If they "sell" too soon, they might miss a further advance in the market. But if they wait too long, well, they have lived through that scenario previously. This week's reading list is a smattering of conflicting views about the markets and the economy.

White House Denies Snowden 'Pardon' Petition, Warns "We Are Living In A Dangerous World"

After two years and a massive 167,000 signatures, FirstLook reports that The White House has officially denied a hugely popular whitehouse.gov petition calling for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be “immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon,” saying thanks for signing, but no, stating that "Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it." While acknowledging that "this is an issue that many Americans feel strongly about," Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s advisor on homeland security and terrorism, said in a statement, "we live in a dangerous world."

Has The E&P Industry Lost Touch With Reality?

The U.S. E&P industry is really good at spending other people’s money to increase production. It doesn’t matter if there is a market for the oil and gas. As long as the capital keeps flowing, they will do what they do best. Don’t be distracted by the noisy chatter about savings through efficiency or re-fracking. Just look at the income statements and balance sheets from first quarter and it’s pretty clear that most companies are hemorrhaging cash at these prices. The U.S. rig count increased by 19 this week as oil prices dropped below $48 per barrel – the latest sign that the E&P industry is out of touch with reality.

A Disaffected Democrat Deplores His Potemkin Party Of Populism

This period of history resembles the 1850s in America in two big ways: 1) our society faces a crisis, and 2) the existing political parties are not up to the task of comprehending what society faces. In the 1850s it was the Whigs that dried up and blew away (virtually overnight), while the old Democratic party just entered a 75-year wilderness of irrelevancy. God help us if Trump-o-mania turns out to be the only alternative.

Meet The Kagans: Seeking War To The End Of The World

If the neoconservatives have their way again, US ground troops will reoccupy Iraq, the US military will take out Syria’s secular government (likely helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State take over), and the US Congress will not only kill the Iran nuclear deal but follow that with a massive increase in military spending.  In other words, more and more fires of Imperial “regime change” abroad even as the last embers of the American Republic die at home. Much of this “strategy” is personified by a single Washington power couple...