In recent years the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - have profited from investors scared off from the US and EU recession. That party now appears to be at an end. As the recession starts to take a closer look at these countries, the greenback may end up being the safe investment to weather the storm once again. Interesting times.
Indeed, assets in BRIC funds surged 1,600-fold from a low base to about $38 billion between 2003 and 2007 as shares in the rapidly growing BRIC economies produced almost a 600 percent return.
The tide, however, has turned.
BRIC funds collectively have seen net outflows in every month since March 2010, according to data from fund tracker Thomson Reuters Lipper.
Their combined assets have shrunk by a fourth to just over $28 billion from the record high of 2007. The cumulative net outflows under such funds since March 2010 has risen to $9.5 billion.
The market is taking it on the chin this week, which was to be expected, according to technical analysts. Just last week, I noted that history tells us the Dow Jones Industrial Average would need to move back to recent lows (known as a "retest").
Sure enough, we're again within striking distance of the intra-day low of 10,588 on Aug. 9. For the Dow, keep an eye on that level. As we long don't push through it, this still can be considered a time for bargain-hunting. (Buying stocks at a time like this can be emotionally wrenching, but if you wait for the market to look healthy, you'll miss out on a key opportunity, just as was the . . . → Read More: These Foreign Stocks Have Become Too Cheap to Ignore
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There's a message in this somewhere but you know what? The people who need most to get that message... won't.
Cue outraged screams of denial in 3-2-1...
In an op-ed article in the New York Times, Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, and David E. Campbell, a political scientist at Notre Dame, say they have collected data indicating that the tea party is "less popular than much maligned groups like 'atheists' and 'Muslims.'"
But Campbell says the tea party was really an afterthought in their research. "We didn't go into this study to look at the tea party," Campbell said in an interview with The Ticket. The professors were following up on research they conducted in 2006 and 2007 for their book "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us" and decided to add the tea party and atheists to their list of survey queries. By going back to many of the same respondents, the professors gleaned several interesting facts about the tea party.
One of their more surprising findings, Campbell concedes, (and one drawing national attention) is that the tea party drew a lower approval rating than Muslims and atheists. That put the tea party below 23 other entries--including Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Republicans and Democrats--that the professors included on their survey of "a representative sample of 3,000 Americans."
A good many young writers make the mistake
of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope,
big enough for the manuscript to come back in.
This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
Ring Lardner, Jr.
Blacklisted by the HUAC
Born August 19, 1915
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Source: Advanced Currency Markets | G10 Advancers and Decliners vs USD CHF 0.29 JPY 0.03 GBP -0.02 EUR -0.36 Weak economic reports from the US has kept markets in the red as Dollar, Yen, Franc gain against most currencies and Gold reached new records. The currencies advanced as stocks extended a worldwide rout amid speculation European banks lack sufficient capital, boosting demand for safer assets. Fed?s Dudley said yesterday that the central bank always keeps an eye on the performance of U.S. and…
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This chipmunk was like a little vacuum cleaner, scrambling across my patio and barely slowing down to pick up sunflower seeds as it went:
I've seen tons of bunnies around East Falls Church, but hadn't seen one on my patio until this weekend. Or more accurately, saw my cat seeing the rabbit:
My friend Brian was over recently & noticed Wilma watching a chipmunk, a squirrel & a few birds on the patio. "I wonder what Wilma would do if she could get out?" he asked. Having previously observed this vicious predator in action, I said, "Let's find out!" and opened the door. Wilma lunged out onto the patio and ... watched the chipmunk & squirrel run away, watched the birds fly away, and moseyed over to the grass and started munching. Cats may be America's top threat to birds, but mine is apparently a pacifist.
So here's the updated list of species I've spotted in just the 7 months since I put a bird-feeder on my patio:
Last week, Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money expressed cautious hope about the revitalized union movement:
There's been a surprising number of union victories of late. I discuss several of them in my new piece at Alternet and consider their possible implications.
With all of this pretty good to great news all of a sudden, one wonders, is this coincidence? Or is it a sign of a rejuvenated labor movement ready to take on aggressive corporate attempts to destroy worker organizations in order to promote an increased profit line? It's important not to overstate the impact of the labor-led protests in Madison against Scott Walker's anti-union bill. Lowell Peterson noted, "What we witnessed in Wisconsin was very inspiring but the voting at nonfiction basic cable production companies was mostly done before the Wisconsin gov started slinging his six-gun. Organizing requires hard, patient work, and folks have to believe the union can make a difference in their lives. I think we have made that case to folks."
That's absolutely true, but at the same time the climate of unionization is important. Workers have historically joined unions when the media reports positively about them and when the government plays a neutral role in union elections rather than openly supporting employers. The Republican overreach in Wisconsin, Ohio and other traditionally pro-union states led to a great deal of attention for unions. Obama's NLRB is making a real difference in working people's lives.
But while these factors are important, the real credit goes to the people bravely risking their jobs to improve their lot and that of all workers. Workers may have tough employment prospects if they lose their jobs through union organizing, but the increasingly desperate economy has also helped many understand that employers will not take care of them and that their best chance for a respectable paycheck lies in uniting with their fellow employees. We must work to build off these recent victories to make the labor movement a force in America again. The survival of middle-class America depends on it.
More than 40,000 workers -- members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -- went on strike (last) week after Verizon refused to even begin to bargain fairly with the workers. The workers on strike include "telephone field technicians, call center workers and cable installers from Massachusetts to Virginia."
Verizon has canceled multiple bargaining sessions and refuses to back down from any of their original concession requests, something that flies in the face of the basic idea of negotiating. Workers say they are prepared to return to work as soon as management shows a willingness to sit down and work out a fair agreement.
There is no need for Verizon to pursue the level of cuts to compensation for their workers that they are after. Verizon had a $6 billion profit last year (on revenues of $108 billion) and just paid a $10 billion dividend. Over the last four years, the company has a total of more than $19 billion in profits. Verizon's profits not only make them one of the richest and most successful companies in the country, they are outperforming the overall communications industry. The company's chair, Ivan Seidenberg makes more than 300 times what the average Verizon worker makes. The top five executives have been paid more than $250 million in the past four years. On top of all this, it turns out Verizon not only paid $0 in federal taxes last year, they also received $1 billion in subsidies.
Verizon is looking for $1 billion in concessions, an average of $20,000 per family that is supported by a Verizon worker, and will not back down from any of their demands. The workers, on the other hand, have shown a willingness to make concessions, particularly when it comes to health care benefits.
The extreme concessions Verizon is seeking include:
- Continued contracting out of work to low-wage contractors, which means more outsourcing of good jobs overseas.
- Eliminating disability benefits for workers injured while on the job.
- Elimination of all job security provisions.
- Eliminating paid sick days for new hires and limiting them to no more than five for any workers.
- Freezing pensions for current workers and eliminating them for future employees.
- Replacing the current high-quality health care plan with a high-deductible plan requiring up to $6,800 in additional costs.
Verizon's attack on its workers is not new. In recent years, it has cut is percentage of unionized jobs nearly in half. The company has also outsourced more than 25,000 jobs. Verizon's cell phone division is mostly non-union.
The assault on Verizon's workers is part of a larger battle taking place across the country, where conservatives in government and business are blaming unions and working families for larger problems that unions either have nothing to do with or the alleged problems don't even exist. Corporate profits are at the highest proportion of the national income that has ever been recorded, and they continue to increase. At the same time, the percentage of national income that makes up wages has slipped below 50 percent of the overall total for the first time in recorded history, and the decline goes on. Not surprisingly, Verizon is an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the same organization behind the assaults on unions in numerous states.
For those who are following along with the Verizon strike and want to do what you can do to get involved, there are a bunch of ways for you to get directly involved or show your solidarity. Forty-five thousand Verizon workers are on strike because the massively profitable company, which pays no taxes, is demanding major cuts in employee compensation and refuses to negotiate fairly with workers. The Communications Workers of America filed a unfair labor practice grievance again Verizon on Friday.
One creative way to get involved is the "What Verizon's Name Means" contest sponsored by the CWA. The union is asking creative supporters to come up with a translation that reveals what Verizon's name really means.
You can also send a letter to Verizon asking them to negotiate fairly.
Daily Kos also has a petition in support of the striking workers. Organizations interested in supporting the strike should contact CWA directly.
Other ways to keep up with the latest on the strike is to sign up for text messages from CWA, support the strike on Facebook, and by changing your Facebook and Twitter status to show your solidarity.
Laura Clawson at Daily Kos reports:Members recently received letters from Verizon announcing that it is canceling group benefit plans for striking workers. This is an action which employers often take in strike situations to try unsettle the resolve of the strikers.
At CWA, we have faced this issue many times in the past and always protected our members and their families so that no one is harmed as a result of management's ruthless act. This will be true for this strike as well.
Rather than attempting to negotiate a fair settlement with the workers, Verizon has decided to go the punitive route, trying to break the striking workers. Verizon has never attempted to approach this situation in good faith and this is another example of that. The Communications Workers of America say they are familiar with the tactic, though, and that they will make sure to take care of the working families affected by this move.
Mark Engler has an excellent discussion of why the Verizon strike is so important, or as he puts it, the next Wisconsin:The parallel to Wisconsin is apt for several reasons. First, like the Republican elected officials in their attacks on unionized schoolteachers and other public employees, Verizon is taking aim at one of the last bastions of the American middle class. As a main strategy in its public relations, the company is trying to stoke resentment about the fact that the CWA and IBEW workers actually have living-wage jobs. It is hoping that "I don't have a pension, why should they" logic will carry the day.
Accordingly, on Wednesday Verizon took out a full-page ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer suggesting that a typical employee makes $80,600 in annual pay and $42,000 in benefits. The union disputes this claim, contending that salaries are generally in the $60,000 to $77,000 range, and that benefits are less costly than the company would suggest. But, regardless, the debate over numbers misses some critical questions: What's wrong with workers sharing in the profits of a healthy corporation? Isn't that the way our economy is supposed to work?
(On a side note, it's always a treat when companies plead poverty at the negotiating table and then turn around and spend big bucks on media spots, anti-union consultants, and pricey PR firms-but that's another story.)
The fate of 45,000 middle-class jobs is a big deal for all of America. Last month, the entire U.S. economy had a net gain of only 117,000 jobs. Not only is that for the whole country, it represents a pretty decent month given the numbers from the past year. Furthermore, almost all of the new jobs now being created are low-wage. Given these realities-and the fact that concentrating all wealth in the hands of the rich is a very bad strategy for creating the kind of demand the economy needs to rebound-what happens to the Verizon workers is a matter of broad public concern.
If the assault on the middle class isn't halted here, there will be another battle and another and another until every right working people have gained over the past century is eliminated.
Muse in the MorningTime for a break from poetry...in order to create some art.I am told to just be myself, but as much as I have practiced the impression, I am still no good at it.?--Robert BraultArt Glass 33 I know you have talent. ?What sometimes is[...]
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Surprise!Just in case you missed this one-day story which Raw Story dug out of the first and only audit of the Federal Reserve...The U.S. Federal Reserve gave out $16.1 trillion in emergency loans to U.S. and foreign financial institutions between Dec.[...]
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Not a surprise, but still not good news.
China?s stocks fell, driving the benchmark index toward a fifth week of losses, after U.S. equities plunged on concern the global economic slowdown is deepening and the China Securities Journal reported the central bank will maintain tight monetary policies.
Jiangxi Copper Co. and China Shenhua Energy Co., the nation?s producers of copper and coal, led a retreat for commodity producers after oil and metal prices slid. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation?s biggest listed lender, slumped the most in almost two weeks. Maanshan Iron and Steel Co. fell 2 percent after first-half earnings declined.