• Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:36 PM
    Yes but now they aren't going to let them through just because they are headed here. (or at least that is supposed to be the deal) They could encourage them to cross our border and refuse to let them stay and work in Mexico. I'm not in favor of this deal, I'm just explaining it and pointing out that Trump is doing it because Congress won't fix our immigration problems.
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:30 PM
    Cher announced via Twitter that Facebook, Google, and Twitter are responsible for allowing Russians to meddle in the 2016 election, and in response she would be boycotting Facebook and Google. Cher, music icon and noted critic of President Donald Trump, used her Twitter account to accuse Google, Facebook, and Twitter of allowing Russia to meddle in the 2016 election. She claimed that the platforms’ blind pursuit of profits led them to turn a blind eye to Russian ad buys on the platforms. More at: https://bigleaguepolitics.com/cher-boycotts-google-facebook-because-russia-used-them-in-2016/
    0 replies | 0 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:28 PM
    A tragedy for whom? Man is the measure. It would of course be tragedy for mankind.
    4 replies | 0 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:26 PM
    I disagree with Trump about this either way but the difference is that one is a regulation that the BATFE has already admitted it doesn't have the authority to issue and the other would be an act of Congress that the courts would give more deference to.
    15 replies | 142 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:23 PM
    During the unveiling of the budget, Saudi King Salman said his country will continue paying public sector cost-of-living allowances for citizens and will boost spending to stimulate growth even as Saudi Arabia toils to close its deficit, which it won't do yet again as the kingdom forecasts a 6th consecutive budget deficit in a row, estimated to hit $35 billion in 2019. "We are determined to go ahead with economic reform, achieving fiscal discipline, improving transparency and empowering private sector," the King said. While state-funded Saudi "generosity" to keep its citizens happy - and not, say, thinking radical, revolutionary thoughts - is well known, analysts believe the continued cost-of-living allowances, first established in January 2018 and estimated by officials to cost more than $13 billion, are intended to stimulate sluggish growth but mostly shore up support for the royal family and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a controversy-ridden few months. The royal allowances of 1,000 riyals a month ($266) are paid to civil servants and military personnel, and other allowances will continue for pensioners and those living on social security. Riyadh will also increase student benefits by 10 percent for the next fiscal year, the king announced. There is just one problem: for Saudi Arabia to be able to meet its projected revenue and fund these generous payments it will need oil prices to rise higher. Much higher. Looking at the details of the budget, a few troubling details emerge: revenue is forecast to hit 975 billion riyals while total spending will rise 7% to 1.106 trillion riyals, resulting in a 131 budget deficit, or 4.2% of GDP (nearly double the size of Italy's projected deficit, if still quite smaller than the US deficit) as GDP is expected to grow from 2.3% in 2018 to 2.6% in 2019. And while the government expects non-oil revenue to increase from 287 billion riyals in 2018 to 313 billion in 2019, the big question mark is what happens with oil revenue. According to the budget, Saudi Arabia expects oil revenues to grow nearly 10% from 607 billion riyals in 2018 to 662 billion in 2019, it is the assumptions embedded in this revenue forecast that are, well, concerning. To hit 662 billion riyals in oil revenue, or $177 billion, up from $162 billion in 2018, Saudi Arabia expects near record oil output of 10.2 mmb/d sold at a price of $80/barrel, while Saudi Aramco won’t increase its allocations to the government. For reference, Brent settled just above $56 today, which means that oil has to rise at least 40% for the Saudi budget revenue assumption to be hit. Brent would have to rise an additional $15 to $95 a barrel for the kingdom to balance its budget deficit according to Bloomberg chief Middle East economist Ziad Daoud. As a reference, analysts expect Brent in 2019 to trade around $73 a barrel, a number which may be rather aggressive considering the recent plunge in the commodity, largely the result of continued excess output coupled with declining demand from China and other key markets.
    651 replies | 21718 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:23 PM
    They already gave the money to the state department to be handed out as foreign aid as the state department sees fit so they no longer control their use.
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:20 PM
    They weren't, they were happily enabling the migrants to pass through their territory with only token border/migration control because they knew that they were all headed for the US. They have been offering to give the migrants residence and work permits in Mexico.
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 07:11 PM
    That would be best.
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:56 PM
    He asked Mexico to do various things like closing their southern border and they have begun to do some of them but they demanded more foreign aid for themselves and for other S. American countries in return. If Congress would pay for proper border security and fix our broken immigration laws we could secure our own border and tell them to go pound sand.
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:45 PM
    That would be much better but Trump is attempting to pay our southern neighbors to guard our border with funds Congress doesn't control since they won't pay for us to do it ourselves.
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:41 PM
    President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that there was nothing to stop Russia and the United States holding talks with other countries about the possibility of them joining a landmark arms control treaty that is at risk of unraveling. Both sides have noted that other countries remain free to develop weapons banned under the treaty, and the United States has in particular raised concerns about China with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton warning Moscow that Chinese missiles have the capability to strike the Russian heartland. "Yes, it is true, there are certain problems with this agreement (the treaty) - other countries that possess intermediate and short range missiles are not part of it," Putin told top military officials at a Defence Ministry meeting. "What is stopping (us) from starting talks on them joining the current agreement or starting to discuss parameters for a new accord?" he asked. More at: https://news.yahoo.com/russias-putin-nothing-stop-us-adding-other-states-120543045--business.html I completely disagree with you about China, they will make the US empire look truly philanthropic if they become dominant and they are more of a threat to Russia than to us.
    115 replies | 3183 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:31 PM
    The National Rifle Association is "disappointed" with the Trump administration's plan to outlaw bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire continuously. Spokeswoman Jennifer Baker says the Justice Department should provide amnesty for gun owners who already have the devices. More at: https://news.yahoo.com/latest-nra-disappointed-bump-stock-ban-210052225.html Cute. It's a good thing we have real gun rights organizations around.
    15 replies | 142 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:24 PM
    Sanders also said Trump was looking at other sources of funding for the wall. (like the military budget)
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:23 PM
    Veteran tech columnist Walt Mossberg rocked the tech world Monday by announcing that he was quitting Facebook and company-owned Instagram, saying he's "no longer comfortable" with the policies and actions of the company. "I am hardly the first person to quit Facebook and I am not urging anyone else to do so, or trying to spark some dump-Facebook movement," wrote Mossberg, who retired in 2016 after cover tech for years for the Wall Street Journal, ReCode and the Verge. He is currently writing a book about his years in tech. "This is a decision I am making just for myself. If the company or the service change significantly for the better, in my view, or become effectively regulated, I may resume regular use." Mossberg declined further comment, saying he preferred to have his posts on Facebook and Twitter speak for themselves. Facebook also declined to comment. More at: https://news.yahoo.com/veteran-tech-columnist-mossberg-quits-183849702.html
    0 replies | 8 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:15 PM
    I would have preferred a puppy in the box but kitties are nice too and this is what I came across.
    80 replies | 772 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:10 PM
    Perhaps, but they were a different flavor that made things worse. That is true of their origins but they and the Democrat party went through a period in the late 1800's and early 1900's where they didn't really stand for anything with conservatives and liberals in both parties and then they began to slowly separate into a liberal party and a (sort of) conservative party post WWII.
    17 replies | 1809 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 06:00 PM
    80 replies | 772 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 05:32 PM
    Saudi Arabia's Finance Ministry has released its 2019 budget, which includes a 7 percent spending increase to 1.106 trillion Saudi riyals (roughly $295 billion), Arab News reported Dec. 18. More at: https://worldview.stratfor.com/situation-report/saudi-arabia-official-2019-budget-features-7-percent-spending-increase
    651 replies | 21718 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 05:29 PM
    A U.N.-brokered cease-fire in the Yemeni port city of al-Hudaydah that went into effect at midnight on Dec. 18 appears to be holding following some fighting and airstrikes that lasted until 3 a.m., AFP has reported. More at: https://worldview.stratfor.com/situation-report/yemen-new-al-hudaydah-cease-fire-appears-hold
    499 replies | 31820 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 05:28 PM
    Swordsmyth replied to a thread Mexico. in World News & Affairs
    The Mexican government has decided to raise the minimum wage in border regions to 176.72 pesos per day (almost $9) starting Jan. 1, 2019, La Politica Online reported Dec. 17. Other regions in the country will receive a minimum wage increase from 88 to 102.68 pesos (roughly $4.40 to $5.11) per day. More at: https://worldview.stratfor.com/situation-report/mexico-government-decides-increase-minimum-wage-border-regions
    56 replies | 1730 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 05:09 PM
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to legalize adult-use cannabis throughout the State of New York. Cuomo made the announcement during a speech previewing his gubernatorial agenda for the first 100 days of 2019.Cuomo addressed the New York City Bar Association Monday morning. "Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” said Cuomo. More at: http://www.fox5ny.com/news/cuomo-calls-for-legalization-of-marijuana-in-nys
    0 replies | 19 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 04:43 PM
    Five investment firms holding $380 million of one of Venezuela’s bonds demanded payment of both the principal and unpaid interest on Monday. This could be the trigger that unleashes an avalanche of claims by more than 40 creditors holding $150 billion of Venezuela’s debt. Up until Venezuela failed to make an interest payment on its outstanding bonds, patience was the strategy for the bondholders. After all, Maduro had paid back Goldman Sachs’ “hunger bonds,” which helped keep the socialist regime alive, making a final $90 billion payment on the loan in May. In October, Maduro’s government paid $1 billion to selected bondholders to keep them from foreclosing. This was followed in November by an agreement reached between a defunct Canadian gold-mining company and Venezuela, settling a $1.4 billion claim with a down payment of $500 million and promises to pay the balance on a quarterly basis thereafter until it was paid off. But then Maduro breached that promise in December, and the mining company took action to start selling off shares of Citgo, owned by Maduro’s state-owned oil company, PdVSA. That’s when the five unnamed investment firms decided it was time to get in line — perhaps first in line — to get what could be gotten from a regime that had run out of time, money, and seizable assets. Think of a 10-year game of musical chairs: That’s how long a similar process took in settling Argentina’s debt crisis in the late 1990s. More at: https://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/south-america/item/30955-five-of-maduro-s-big-lenders-want-their-money-back-good-luck
    0 replies | 13 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 04:39 PM
    What took you so long?
    9 replies | 59 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 04:13 PM
    Republican Arizona Rep. Martha McSally lost her race to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate last month. She's going to the upper chamber anyway. Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday he will appoint McSally to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. John Kyl on Dec. 31. Kyl, who previously served in the Senate from 1995 to 2013, was appointed by Ducey in September to temporarily fill the spot of Republican Sen. John McCain, who died in August. "I’m grateful to @RepMcSally for taking on the great responsibility of representing #Arizona in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect @kyrstensinema to get positive things done," Ducey tweeted. I’m grateful to @RepMcSally for taking on the great responsibility of representing #Arizona in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect @kyrstensinema to get positive things done. — Doug Ducey (@dougducey) December 18, 2018 McCain's widow Cindy McCain tweeted approval of the pick, writing, "My husband’s greatest legacy was placing service to AZ & USA ahead of his own self-interest. I respect @dougducey‘s decision to appoint @RepMcSally to fill the remainder of his term. Arizonans will be pulling for her, hoping that she will follow his example of selfless leadership." More at: https://freebeacon.com/politics/mcsally-appointed-to-fill-mccains-senate-seat-in-arizona/
    5 replies | 53 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 04:09 PM
    The Federal Communications Commission is weighing model state legislation to tax broadband service providers. Documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon indicate that the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee has advanced model state legislation for the establishment of Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Funds. As written, the legislation aims to increase "private sector investments" in "low population density or high cost" areas by mandating that "broadband dependent services" contribute an "equitable and non-discriminatory amount" to these funds. The controversy revolves around whether or not this constitutes a new tax on companies and services relying on the internet. There is also contention over the definition of "broadband dependent service." As initially proposed, it would cover any "subscription-based retail service for which consumers pay a one time or recurring fee" that requires broadband internet. It would include "entities that financially benefit from" state broadband systems such as "advertising providers." The broad definition drew rebuke from several members of the advisory committee for fear that it could apply to not only large companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, but also small businesses and nonprofit organizations. More at: https://freebeacon.com/issues/fcc-weighing-model-legislation-for-state-internet-tax/
    0 replies | 25 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 04:07 PM
    Danish authorities have concluded that the situation in some parts of Somalia is safe, and that Somalis no longer have valid grounds for asylum. Following a review of the situation in Somalia, which began in 2017, residence permits will therefore be withdrawn for no less than 1,000 Somalis. “It is time for them to go home now,” Denmark states. “If you no longer need our protection and your life and your health are no longer at risk in your homeland, you must of course return home and build up your country of origin”, says Minister for Migration Inger Støjberg, according to DR. The minister also points out that each case has been carefully examined and that they always base decisions on facts. Withdrawing or not renewing a residence permit has become possible since Denmark 2015 changed its immigration law. More at: https://voiceofeurope.com/2018/12/danish-minister-for-migration-somalis-go-home-and-rebuild-your-country/
    0 replies | 23 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 03:59 PM
    Facebook is now facing a boycott from the NAACP, which is the latest in a trend of ideologically-diverse groups moving away from the embattled social media giant. The NAACP said it was launching its #LogOutFacebook campaign due to – but not limited to – Facebook’s “privacy mishaps” and the “lack of employee diversity” in Silicon Valley. “Over the last year, NAACP has expressed concerns about the numerous data breaches and privacy mishaps in which Facebook has been implicated,” wrote NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “And since the onset of the Silicon Valley boom, we have been openly critical about the lack of employee diversity among the top technology firms in the country.” “Now, the time has come for our collective actions to emulate the severity of mistrust we have in Facebook.” More at: https://www.infowars.com/naacp-launches-facebook-boycott/
    1 replies | 32 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 03:44 PM
    Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips is back in court today, going on the offense after Colorado officials came after him a second time. This time it's because he declined to celebrate an LGBT activist's transgender transition from male to female. With the state's relentless attacks against his faith, Phillips has decided to sue the state. The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Phillips, stating, "The very same state agencies decided to go after him a second time. If that isn't government hostility towards people of faith, what is?" "Jack had no choice but to file a federal lawsuit to defend himself from this targeting. He should not have to fear government punishment for his faith when he opens his cake shop for business every day. But it appears that Colorado will not stop harassing him until he closes down or agrees to violate his faith," the ADF website states. The state agency acting against Phillips lost at the US Supreme Court this past June in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, with justices specifically blasting the commissioners for hostility towards Phillips' religious beliefs. Those commissioners nearly killed Phillips' business when they ruled he'd discriminated by refusing to make a cake to celebrate a homosexual couple's same-sex marriage. The commission is going after the Christian baker a second time, now for his refusal to bake a transgender celebration cake. Phillips' friend Jeff Hunt, a policy analyst at Colorado Christian University, told CBN News, "At this point, they're just targeting Christians. This is outright Christian persecution." This time around, though, constitutional attorney Jenna Ellis believes the commission will be more subtle. Ellis stated, "The Masterpiece decision was very particular to the commission, to say 'you cannot be overtly hostile.' So now what they're doing is they're just going to say, 'Well, we won't be as obvious about our hostility, but we still want to go after Jack." Meanwhile, Phillips and his lawyers are going on offense by suing the Colorado bureaucrats. Hunt said of them, "They're actually striking back and saying 'this is just outright persecution. You're not interested in stopping discrimination. You're interested in hunting Christians down.'"
    0 replies | 18 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 03:41 PM
    The United States pledged $5.8 billion in aid and investment Tuesday for strengthening government and economic development in Central America, and another $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico. The U.S aid aims to promote better security conditions and job opportunities as part of a regional plan to allow Central Americans and Mexicans to remain in their countries and not have to emigrate. The plan was announced in a joint U.S.-Mexican statement released by the State Department and read aloud by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard in the Mexican capital. “In sum I think this is good news, very good news for Mexico,” Ebrard said. Newly inaugurated President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waxed poetic about the plan to provide jobs so people won’t have to emigrate. “I have a dream that I want to see become a reality ... that nobody will want to go work in the United States anymore,” Lopez Obrador said at a morning news conference before the announcement. The combination of public and private investment for the stay-at-home effort doesn’t require congressional approval, unlike Trump’s signature project to stem illegal immigration — a border wall. The U.S. State Department issued a simultaneous statement saying “The United States is committing $5.8 billion through public and private investment to promote institutional reforms and development in the Northern Triangle,” a term that refers to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Lopez Obrador’s administration has said it is also interested in agricultural, forestry and tourism projects in southern Mexico, and the U.S. said it will contribute to those efforts. The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation “is prepared to invest and mobilize $2 billion in additional funds for projects in southern Mexico that are viable and attract private sector investment,” according to the statement. “This amount is in addition to the $2.8 billion in projects for Mexico through OPIC’s current investment pipeline.” Ebrard said “The commitments established here signify more than doubling foreign investment in southern Mexico starting in 2019.”
    19 replies | 46 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 03:17 PM
    As the legal scrutiny facing the infamous "Vampire Squid" intensifies (and the bank's shares languish at two-year lows), slowly but surely, more details about the compliance shortcuts and - in some cases, outright negligence - countenanced by Goldman's most senior employees during the bank's pursuit of the 1MDB bond offerings that have landed Goldman at the center of one of the biggest financial fraud scandals in history are slowly dribbling out. And in its latest expose, the Wall Street Journal, which helped expose the scandal back in 2015 with a series of groundbreaking reports connecting money in a bank account controlled by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to the bankrupt fund, has published more details about how Goldman partners - who have traditionally been given wide latitude to operate without restraint - enabled the bank's top bankers in Southeast Asia to work out a deal where Goldman would act as both financier and advisor for the fund, ignoring concerns about corruption raised by the bank's compliance committee. The first allowances were reportedly made during a meeting of senior partners in Hong Kong in 2012 where they vetted the deal. Among the concerns highlighted were "media scrutiny" due to 1MDB's lack of a track record and the potential for - get this - corruption. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s push for Asian business and lax oversight of partners led the bank to dismiss warning signs in its dealings with a corrupt Malaysian investment fund, internal documents and interviews with people involved in the transactions show. When the fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd., first sought Goldman’s help raising money, the bond deal came before a committee of senior bankers in Hong Kong in 2012 for a key round of vetting. Among the concerns sketched out in the meeting’s agenda: “potential media and political scrutiny,” Goldman’s unusual role as both financier and adviser, the colossal profit earned on what should have been a modest transaction—and how much of that haul would need to be disclosed. Not up for discussion: the young fund’s scant track record. The deal happened anyway. It has ensnared Goldman in one of the largest financial frauds in history and darkened the early days of its new chief executive, David Solomon. All of this cuts against Goldman's argument that a handful of "rogue" employees misled the bank into pursuing the extremely profitable deal to help enrich themselves. Tim Leissner, the former Goldman partner who organized the 1MDB deal, has admitted to stealing $200 million from 1MDB to bribe government officials to ensure that Goldman won the fund's business. But details reported by WSJ reveal that Leissner was abetted by the bank's senior partners, who endorsed Leissner's relentless pursuit of the deal as a crucial win for the bank, which worried that it was falling behind in Asia. Andrea Vella, another Goldman partner who has been placed 'on leave' by the bank, is also in the crosshairs of the DOJ over suspicions that he was aware of the potential for corruption inside 1MDB, but continued to help Leissner circumvent Goldman's internal controls.
    13 replies | 471 view(s)
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    Sure it does. The folks with solid red deserve it. If you can point me to one who doesn't, then I'll try to help them out.
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Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Robert Heinlein

Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

Groucho Marx

I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

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Alexis de Torqueville

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Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

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