The Critical Metals Report: Carolyn, you caution that the rare earth elements (REE) business is still a very nascent industry. Do you sense a gap between investor expectations and market realities?
Carolyn Dennis: There is still a gap for some. Investors have learned a lot over the last couple of years about how complicated the sector is. These are not your average mining investments. Even with the increase in analyst and media coverage of the sector, it’s easy to underestimate the risks and the required timelines for projects. For example, while most investors do know that metallurgy is a key risk, … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: Rare Earths Miners Race to the Finish Line: Carolyn Dennis
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The UK parliamentary report on phone hacking practices at Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers is harsh -- but it's just one piece of a much larger puzzle.
"It is only the 'B movie' -- the two main features are the Leveson Inquiry, which has far more real power, and the five ongoing criminal investigations by the police," said Paul Connew, a media commentator and former deputy editor of the News of the World (in its pre-hacking days).
Both Rupert and James Murdoch testified last week before a UK judicial inquiry into press culture and practices. James Murdoch told the inquiry that he didn't control what went into the News of the World. The legal and ethical risks of phone hacking were "very much in the hands of the editor," he said, according to the Guardian. Rupert Murdoch apologized for the phone hacking and admitted that there was a "cover-up" within the paper to shroud the extent of the hacking from senior executives.
More than 40 people have been arrested in connection with the ever-widening scandal and the first charges are expected to be announced within weeks. "This has a long way to run yet," Connew said. "It's like the closing of the second act of a five-act play." Connew told TPM that he thinks the parliamentary report increases the likelihood that the Justice Department and FBI -- already looking into News Corporation -- will "pursue a rigorous investigation" of any violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Michael Wolff -- author of The Man Who Owns the News, a biography of Rupert Murdoch -- "absolutely" agrees, but it's likely to happen after the November election.
Rupert Murdoch has been shielded in a way because the scandal keeps unfolding an ocean away from his home and corporate headquarters. If, for instance, a U.S. congressional committee or regulator criticized Murdoch in the way that the British Parliament has, Wolff told TPM -- "willfully blind" and "not a fit person" to lead an international company -- "you would be thrown out or your company would collapse." But Murdoch's standing "in the face of everything that is pushing against him is pretty firm."
So what is next for the media mogul's empire? The company's newspapers, which Steve Hewlett, a Guardian columnist and BBC host, says have become "completely toxic," will probably be sold off. They're old media and and not very profitable, Hewlett said. And British politicians are set to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry this spring to explain how they got so close to Murdoch.
But no matter what the company does, no matter how much it tries to limit the damage, "there is no getting out from under this," Wolff added. "It doesn't go it away. It follows. It sticks." So the logic is that, at some point, it arrives on U.S. shores. "This will be another Murdoch summer."
In the world of the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal, "scathing" is the word of the day. It's the word that has been widely used to describe the report released today by the UK Parliament's select committee on culture, media and sport -- though harsh, severe, berating, or critical would also serve.
Even observers in the UK were surprised at the 100+ page report's language. "Everyone was kind of astonished," Steve Hewlett, a columnist at The Guardian and host of the BBC Radio 4 Media Show, told TPM today. While the practical and political implications of the report are still being sorted out, its tone is unambiguous. See for yourself. Below, we've highlighted eight of the most, yes, "scathing" passages written by the UK lawmakers. (And you can read the full report here.)
Page 70 - "Not A Fit Person"
"On the basis of the facts and evidence before the Committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude,therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."
Page 88 - "Wilful Blindness"
"Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators, as they also professed they would do after the criminal convictions. In failing to investigate properly, and by ignoring evidence of widespread wrongdoing, News International and its parent News Corporation exhibited wilful blindness, for which the companies' directors--including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch--should ultimately be prepared to take responsibility"
Page 22 - "Tried To Have It Both Ways"
"Throughout this affair, senior News of the World and News International executives have tried to have it both ways. They have been quick to point to 'investigations' which supposedly cleared the newspaper of wider wrongdoing, but have also distanced themselves from the detailwhen it suited them."
Page 68 - "Collective Amnesia"
"The history of the News of the World at hearings of the Committee is a long one, characterised by "collective amnesia" and a reluctance fully and fairly to provide the Committee with the information it sought. News International has repeatedly stone-walled, obfuscated and misled and only come clean, reluctantly, when no other course of action was sensible and when its wider commercial interests were threatened."
Page 59 - "Simply Astonishing"
"We have been told that, notwithstanding our 2010 Report, the further media investigations including the New York Times, the settlement with Max Clifford and further civil cases by non-royal victims, it was as late as December 2010 that James Murdoch--and Rupert Murdoch--realised that the one 'rogue reporter' line was untrue. This, we consider, to be simply astonishing."
Page 69 - "Simply Not Credible"
"The notion that--given all that had gone on, right back to evidence given overpayments to the police to our predecessor Committee in 2003--a hands-on proprietor like Rupert Murdoch had no inkling that wrongdoing and questionable practice was not widespread at the News of the World is simply not credible."
Page 68 - "Huge Failings"
"Even if there were a 'don't ask, don't tell' culture at News International, the whole affair demonstrates huge failings of corporate governance at the company and its parent, News Corporation."
Page 14 - "Wished To Buy Silence"
"The willingness of News International to sanction huge settlements and damaging,wide-ranging admissions to settle civil claims over phone-hacking before they reach trial reinforces the conclusion of our 2010 Report that the organisation has, above all, wished to buy silence in this affair and to pay to make this problem go away."
The 8 most damning conclusions of the British Parliament report on the News Corp. hacking scandal. [...]
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Richard Grenell, recently hired by the Mitt Romney for President campaign to serve as the GOP presidential contender's national security spokesman, has resigned.
I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman.
While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama's foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.
I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.
This is as wrong for the Romney team to do as it was for the Obama team to fire Obama campaign Muslim American outreach director Mazen Asbahi for distant acquaintances from years previous that were stirring up anti-Obama, anti-Islamic agitants in the US.
Allowing Grenell to resign, and the same is true of Asbahi, just fuels the confidence and status of bigots who undermine big tent, inclusive democracy.
I was just telling Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt this weekend how impressed I was with hyper-conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin's statements on Ric Grenell, the GOP, and the party's anti-gay bigotry. I have almost never agreed with Rubin on her world view but on this, I salute her and think that she was dead on target.
Her kicker line in the essay was important:
When Steve Clemons and Jennifer Rubin actually agree on something, but the GOP gives in to the rants of American Family Association policy director Bryan Fischer and his ilk -- one gets a sense of how really tumorous and distorted certain powerful wings of the Republican Party have become.
It would be a positive thing for the [Republican] party and our country if it was crystal clear there is no place in civil discourse for those fanning the flames of hatred toward gays and egging on fellow conservatives to discriminate against gays in hiring. Unfortunately, not everyone on the right agrees.
The Republican Party needs to re-center itself, recapture the core values it used to believe in, and bring in the likes of Richard Grenell to create a much healthier party. That is probably a long way off but it needs to happen not only so conservatives can be taken seriously again but because democracy needs sound alternatives.
Monday the Santa Clarita Signal, the biggest newspaper in California's 25th congressional district, hosted a televised debate. After his wife made an idiot out of herself in a debate a few weeks ago-- she's running for state Assembly-- the McKeons decided they don't want to participate in any debates. Democrat Lee Rogers and Republican Dante Acosta have both challenged Buck to debates and said they would meet him at any place of his choosing and on any day. He refuses and he didn't show up Monday. (One of the reasons Tim Holden, another ancient congressman who had out-lasted his stay, lost his reelection bid exactly one week ago is because he adamantly refused to debate. Voters don't like that.) Aside from being a no show, McKeon is also lying about it-- infuriating to the media.
You?ve more than likely seen them popping up around town. Blue and hot orange Buck McKeon for Congress signs and reverse hot orange and blue Patricia McKeon for Assembly signs.
The signs are visible, but the candidates themselves were both no-shows for Monday?s tape-delayed candidates forum hosted by SCVTV, The Signal newspaper and KHTS AM-1220.
Bob Haueter, Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, reacted with surprise upon hearing there had been a candidates forum Monday. He said he?d told the ?woman? from SCVTV who?d organized the forum weeks ago that McKeon was already booked. McKeon?s office had requested another date.
?No one ever got back to us,? said Haueter.
SCVTV invited all congressional candidates to the forum by e-mail April 5. After several phone calls, a reply from McKeon?s office on April 19 said, ?We are still trying to work out Congressman McKeon?s schedule to try and make him available.? The next day, April 20, an e-mail message from McKeon?s office said, ?Congressman McKeon is unfortunately not able to participate due to the fact that his schedule is already full.? The e-mail expressed ?regrets? and did not request a different date.
All other candidates had already confirmed and the forum was scheduled.
Haueter said he does not handle Patricia McKeon?s appearances and could not comment on it. The Signal handled arrangements for the Assembly forum; Patricia McKeon told The Signal she would not be attending.
The three 25th Congressional district candidates who did show up, Republicans Dante Acosta and Cathie Wright, and Democrat Dr. Lee Rogers, were given an opportunity to deliver a message to the absentee McKeon:
?Number one, start listening to your constituents. Be actively engaged. Be informed on the local issues, and stop listening to just the party and most importantly the corporate lobbyists, the military industrial complex,? said Acosta.
?I?m going to enter the CEMEX bill, I don?t care what my party says about I?m entering it and I?m going to fight for it,? said Rogers.
?I happen to agree with Lee on the nepotism and having family members working for their campaigns. I think that?s wrong. That?s something my mom would never done, oh my God. That?s just so corrupt,? said Wright.
1. Introduce Legislation to Stop the Cemex Mine in Soledad Canyon. The proposed location of a mega-mine for aggregate threatens the way of life for those in and around Soledad Canyon. Water and air pollution are likely results of the nearly 70-million ton operation. Cemex?s own numbers estimate 1200 trucks per day traveling along Highway 14. Representative McKeon has said his party prevents him from doing what?s in the best interest of his district and he will not act to stop the mine. I support S.759 by Senator Barbara Boxer and will introduce the companion bill in the house immediately upon taking office.
2. Oppose the Ryan Budget which Threatens Medicare. The Ryan budget is a controversial piece of legislation endorsed by Representative Buck McKeon. The Ryan budget replaces the reductions in defense spending put into place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and instead cuts domestic spending, on important programs like Medicare. Rep. Buck McKeon is heavily supported by the defense industry. We need leaders who will put the interests of the people above those of wealthy campaign contributors. I understand how important Medicare is and I will work hard to keep in solvent and I will never vote to weaken it.
3. Introduce Legislation to Limit Oil Speculation. Oil speculation by investment banker profiteers artificially increases demand by placing future orders for oil, even though the speculators never intend on actually taking possession of the oil. Limiting speculation to only those who will take ownership of the oil, will have an immediate effect on gas prices.
4. Enter Anti-Nepotism Legislation for Campaigns. Some Members of Congress treat their congressional campaign as a family business, using donor money to supplement their family income. This is unethical and I want to make it illegal. Representative Buck McKeon has paid his wife over $550,000 in the past 10 years to be his treasurer. I will introduce legislation to ban immediate family members from being paid campaign staff.
5. Co-sponsor Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United vs. FEC. The Supreme Court decided that the Constitution did not explicitly ban unlimited amounts of corporate money to flow into political campaigns. This must be stopped or elections will be bought and sold across this country from the top to the bottom. There is already a proposed Amendment to the Constitution to make it clear that corporations are not people and don?t have the same inalienable rights of living persons. I would co-sponsor this Amendment and work hard to get it passed.
6. Enter Legislation to Change Congressional Insurance to Medicare or Tricare. Members of Congress enjoy some of the best health coverage available and even though they oversee Medicare and Tricare, they don?t understand what patients experience as beneficiaries. There is no reason why a Member of Congress deserves better than our seniors or our active duty service members. Medicare and Tricare are good health insurance programs, but if Congress members were beneficiaries and each decision they made about coverage also affected them, the programs would be even better.
7. Ban X-ray Scanners on Humans for Non-Medical Purposes. The Transportation Security Administration utilized x-ray scanners for screening of passengers before air travel. The European Union recently banned the use of x-ray scanners for passengers in all European airports because their safety has not been demonstrated. Using x-rays on people for screening violates a basic medical safety principle, humans should never be x-rayed unless there is some potential medical benefit. There are other scanners that use radiowaves that are safe and these should be used instead. I would introduce legislation to ban the use of X-ray scanner for non-medical uses on humans.
8. Establish a yearly conference of local leaders to direct legislative priorities for the district. Representative Buck McKeon spends most of his time in Washington and even has a residence there. He is out of touch with what people in our district need. In order to create a focus for my actions in Congress, yearly I will invite local leaders from city and state government to a district conference. There we will determine what the legislative priorities for my efforts in Washington should be. We all need to work toward the same goal, improving our communities. I will work hard to make sure we use the federal government to accomplish this.
Imagine a day in without work, school, housework, or shopping. Imagine a day in which you did whatever you wanted. What does it look like?
[H/T Marisa Holmes]
After a series of protest actions, activists and demonstrators from all over the country gathered in midtown Manhattan’s Bryant Park under the shadow of Bank of America Tower to mark the Occupy Wall Street movement’s May Day general strike. Remaining cognizant to May Day’s roots in a Chicago labor movement 130 years ago — though May 1st went global with International Workers’ Day — demonstrators nonetheless maintained a light spirit, singing, meditating, eating free food and discussing politics and policy. The morning events went down largely without incident, as organizers encouraged protesters to keep moving to avoid arrest. But later in the afternoon, reports and photographs of arrested protesters at a downtown action flooded Twitter.
Here are some photos from Bryant Park:
President Obama landed in Kabul, Afghanistan today for a surprise trip to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan. The agreement, completed after months of negotiations, will pledge American aid to Afghanistan for 10 years after the withdrawal of U.S. forces and marks a symbolic beginning of the end for the U.S.’s war in Afghanistan. Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and will make a live televised address at 7:30 PM ET.