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Mon, 29 May 2023
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U.S. real inflation rate hits 50%

Do you love bacon? How much?

The price of bacon has gone up 13% in the last year and a whopping 53% since January 2010, according to 24/7 Wall St.

Prices of fruit, meats - even coffee - have increased dramatically over the last few years. Drought conditions and disease affecting crops and livestock are reducing supply and driving up the prices of many food staples.

While food prices are rising, the Federal Reserve is concerned that inflation is too low. In a speech last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said, "With inflation running at around 1%, at this point I think the risk is greater that we should be worried about inflation undershooting our goal and getting inflation back up to 2%."

In the corresponding video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task spoke with Lauren Lyster about rising food prices at the same time the Fed is concerned about inflation being too low.

Comment: The reason why the Fed's rate of inflation is nothing like the real world rate of inflation is because the Fed is reading cooked numbers. They're artificially keeping the dollar casino economy going by pumping funny money into it ('quantitative easing').

Stock Down

Banker death 'epidemic' spreads to China

Until now, the terrible trail of dead bankers has been only among US and European financial executives. However, as Caixin reports, the increasing pressures on the Chinese banking system appear to have take their first toll. Li Jianhua, director of China's Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), died this morning due to a "sudden heart attack" - he was less than 49 years old.

Li was among the main drafters on new "caveat emptor" market-based rules on China's shadowy banking system and recently said in an interview that "now is not only a time to control risk, but to transform the trust industry.. if it's too loose, it's a big problem." Li was found by his wife.


Manila, Philippines: Police turn fire hoses on anti-Obama protesters

manila protests
© AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Police train their fire hose at protesters as the latter try to force their way closer to the U.S. Embassy for a rally against next week’s visit of U.S. President Barack Obama, in Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, April 23, 2014
"Obama not welcome."

Those were some of the words emblazoned on signs carried by Filipino protesters demonstrating against a visit to the Philippines by President Barack Obama this week, as well as a looming security pact that would increase U.S. military presence in the island country.

Heart - Black

Boy, seven, fighting for life after being doused in gas and turned into human fireball by group of children in prank


Fighting for life: Preston Flores
  • Emergency crews called to the scene in Aberdeen shortly before 2pm
  • Relative claims Preston Flores and his friends were playing with a petrol canister from the back on a van parked on the street
  • Boy is believed to have lived on street with mother and four other children
A seven-year-old boy was last night fighting for his life in hospital after being turned into a human fireball.

Preston Flores ran into the street 'on fire' near his home in Aberdeen after his clothes became doused in petrol and ignited.

The youngster, who is thought to have suffered 80 per cent burns, may have been deliberately set on fire - or been the victim of a prank gone wrong.

Last night, he remained in a 'serious' condition in hospital, with his mother Luisza at his bedside.


People power! Ukraine coal miners on strike, refuse to pay Kiev coup damages bill

© Reuters / Alexander Prokopenko
Over 2,000 coal miners in Lugansk region have been on strike for the second day running, demanding higher wages and refusing to accept a pay cut to fund the restoration of Kiev, which suffered damage during the coup that overthrew the government.

Some 80 percent of miners from five coal mines belonging to "Krasnodonugol" enterprise in the city of Krasnodon have not shown up to work. The mines are all owned by one of Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov of the mining and metallurgical "Metinvest" corporation.

Angry miners are pressing for wage increases to match region's average pay, better social and living conditions and higher social bonuses. According to the strikers they get an average of 6,000 hryvnas ($520), while the average salary in the coal industry in the region is up to 10,000 hryvnia ($860).

Miners are also refusing to pay a 10 percent tax on their salaries, imposed by the post-coup authorities to restore the Maidan square in Kiev. The square and nearby buildings suffered significant damage during months of rallies and the violent standoff that led to a coup in February.

According to local media reports miners have seen around a 10 percent cut in their paychecks to restore the Ukrainian capital.

"I don't understand why are we involved!" one of the protesting miners, Stanislav Denisenko told Itar-tass. "It was not us who dismantled the stones and burned the houses down. I get about 900 hryvna a month, that is around 9,000 rubles ($260). I don't understand why they are taking away my salary."


What the 1% Don't Want You to Know - Bill Moyers interviews Paul Krugman

Economist Paul Krugman
© Moyers & Company
Economist Paul Krugman
Economist Paul Krugman explains how the United States is becoming an oligarchy - the very system our founders revolted against.

The median pay for the top 100 highest-paid CEOs at America's publicly traded companies was a handsome $13.9 million in 2013. That's a 9 percent increase from the previous year, according to a new Equilar pay study for The New York Times.

These types of jumps in executive compensation may have more of an effect on our widening income inequality than previously thought. A new book that's the talk of academia and the media, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, shows that two-thirds of America's increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country's highest earners.

This week, Bill talks with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, about Piketty's "magnificent" new book.

"What Piketty's really done now is he said, 'Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don't really get what's going on.' He's telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth."

Krugman adds: "We're seeing inequalities that will be transferred across generations. We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagined we're nothing like."

Transcript below.


End of freedom: Police may stop drivers based only on an anonymous tip

police state 1
© AP/The Sacramento Bee, Randall Benton
Law enforcement officials may now stop US drivers based only on the information gleaned in an anonymous tip phoned in by a caller who dialed 911, the Supreme Court ruled in a tight decision Tuesday.

The high court ruled 5-4 that relying only on a comment from a 911 caller is reasonable because "a 911 call has some features that allow for identifying and tracking callers." In most cases the justices are split along ideological lines but Tuesday's decision was enough to split the two most conservative-minded justices, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing the majority opinion and Justice Antonin Scalia leading the dissent.

The case considered a 2008 California incident in which an anonymous 911 caller told the police that a pickup truck had forced her off the road, providing the location, as well as details such as the truck's make, model, and license plate number. Police soon stopped a vehicle matching the description and reported smelling the odor of marijuana as they approached driver Jose Prado Navarette.

Navarette was arrested because officers found 30 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle, although he argued that the initial stop was unconstitutional because police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop his truck. His legal team asserted that the police could not have determined with any accuracy the identity of the caller or challenged her credibility.

Book 2

People have the right to be bigots - Oz losing moral compass?

Senator George Brandis
© Andrew Meares
Attorney-General Senator George Brandis: Australians have a right to be bigots.
Whether it's in their treatment of asylum seekers, their policy of secrecy or their intention to amend the Racial Discrimination Act, it seems that the Abbott government is intent on destroying Australia's moral compass.

Attorney-General, George Brandis, defending the Government's intention to repeal s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, told the Senate Monday that "people have the right to be bigots". It appears that in George Brandis's world view, bigots are the persecuted minority whose rights need to be staunchly defended.

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to do an act that "is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people" on racial or ethnic grounds." It is followed by s18D (which is conveniently ignored by many conservative commentators) which seeks to balance the objectives of s18C with the need to protect justifiable freedoms of speech and expression.

The provisions seek to offer legislative protection to the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our society - our indigenous population, culturally and ethnically diverse communities and religious minority groups.

Whilst in the past politicians, particularly in the lead up to an election, have sought to indirectly play on the public's fears, Senator Brandis's comments have taken it to a whole new level. This is the first time that I can recall, where a Senior Minister has directly endorsed (and thereby encouraged) having bigoted views. There's no reading between the lines here - Brandis has specifically said that "people have the right to be bigots, you know." This is somewhat unprecedented.


When did the left renounce freedom of speech?

Free Speech Banned
© The Libertarian, UK
Remember the Sixties, when self-styled revolutionaries went to barricades and courtrooms in their crusade for absolutely unfettered free speech? Somewhere between then and now, the long march through the institutions all but complete, freedom lost its appeal

The outrage vented this past week by progressives against freedom of speech has left me wondering, "Where have all the flowers gone long time passing?/Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?" I thought the whole point of the Sixties Revolution was to set the people free so they could express themselves without fear of being busted by "The Man".

Now all we hear is lefty talk along the lines of "freedom of speech needs qualifiers and social agreement". We have the laws of defamation, friends, and racial discrimination is still going to be unlawful. So how, exactly, will the amendment to the Racial Discrimination Act proposed by the Coalition government "open the floodgates" to vilification on the basis of race? Some leftist critics appear not to have even read the planned replacement of Section 18, which is astonishing, considering it totals less than 200 words. How - for heaven's sake - did they miss the bit about it being against the law "to vilify" or "to intimidate" people "because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin"?

What is it with all those anti-bourgeois bohemians at The Age and the ABC and their trepidations about freedom of speech? Even the Baby Boomer contingent of the leftoid commentariat - that is, older folks who were actually around in the freedom-loving 1960s - have turned pro-censorship. What happened to peace, love and understanding? Why so keen to suppress liberty, choice, independence, free will, and - most sacred counterculture virtue of all - looseness?What about the dream, people? Maybe if Pete Seeger were still around he could pen us a new protest song - Where have all the left-wing libertarians gone?


Oklahoma militia joins Bundy ranch defenders against feds

© George Frey / Getty Images / AFP
Rancher Cliven Bundy (L), and armed security guards leave his ranch house west of Mesquite, Nevada.
Members of the Oklahoma Militia have come out in support of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who recently found himself in a standoff with hundreds of armed federal agents over land rights related to his cattle ranch.

Earlier this month, a weeklong confrontation between the two parties began when armed federal officials under the US Bureau of Land Management attempted to seize nearly 1,000 of Bundy's cattle, as authorized by a court order. As RT reported previously, the BLM claims Bundy owes the government about $1 million since he stopped paying the fees associated with allowing his cattle graze on federal land in the early 1990s.

Bundy, meanwhile, argues the land his cattle graze on has belonged to his family since the 1870s, and that he's not obligated to pay the government anything.

"I don't believe I owe one penny to the United States government," Bundy said earlier this month. "I don't have a contract with the United States government."