Friday, December 12, 2014

This is what Citigroup earned in the third quarter or 2014.

This is from their website. I am sure most of the other banks look at least this good.

Net Income of $3.4 Billion; $3.7 Billion Excluding CVA/DVA (click here)

Revenues of $19.6 Billion; $20.0 Billion Excluding CVA/DVA

Net Interest Margin Increased to 2.91%

Net Credit Losses of $2.1 Billion Declined 14% Versus Prior-Year Period

Utilized Approximately $700 Million of Deferred Tax Assets 

What did the average American earn on their savings last year? 

" and Citibank Online is currently not available." (click here)

These  are the average interest rates savings accounts have. This in particular is Bank of America (click here). 

Decades ago I was very entrepreneurial and began babysitting. I charged $1.00 per hour and that was big time money at that time. The word got out I knew what I was doing as a babysitter and I grew a following of parents of young children.

At one point my Dad took me to the bank with him and we decided that I was so successful I should open a "Junior" Savings account. At that time they were using Passbooks to record deposits and withdrawals.

This is what my passbook looked like. There was nothing handwritten and it was my job to check the balance after every deposit and interest recording (which happened every quarter) to be sure the Teller did not make a mistake.

Do you know what my interest rate was?

My interest rate was 5.0%. NOT 0.5% if I was lucky, but, 5.0% per annum.

I am not sure when the banks decided that saving accounts were superfluous to earnings on a personal level for every person in the USA, but, I know I would not and I do not put monies into savings accounts today. There are other ways of making money. 

Do you know what a Certificate of Deposit earned annually back in the day with a commitment of one year for $1000.00 minimum?  10%. NOT 1.0%. 10%. Let me spell that for you, Ten Percent. If one purchased a Certificate of Deposit for 3 years with the minimum deposit of $10,000.00 the earnings were 13% to 15% if you rolled it over after three years.

Do you know why the interest rates are so lousy in the year 2014? 

Take a guess.

Because the average depositor is no longer important. The banks make money from checking accounts with all kinds of fees so they maintain checking in their realm of services. But, the average depositor is NOTHING to the banks these days.

The banks take their money and invest in exotic instruments and they don't care if there wasn't a savings account within the vault. If they have a vault. Today there are banks without a physical location and if that ain't a kick, huh?

The CEOs of banks receive bonuses for the money they make year after year. As a matter of fact I am sure they are receiving bonuses from this time of year. The time of year where generosity is suppose to be the spirit we celebrate. Charity. All sorts of good feelings. Gift giving. Family. Etc.

So rather than providing a real incentive to save the CEOs take YOUR monies and invest in NOTHING. They invest in exotic 'IDEAS' that only exist on paper. They roll in the dough for the stockholders and everyone is happy.

See, if you are an average American and didn't know decades ago that interest rates on savings actually put a smile on your face for the discipline you exerted in NOT SPENDING, but, actually valuing the services of a bank and SAVED money for the future, you have no clue about the historic place banks had.

So, when Citigroup wrote a legislative addition to the $1.1 Trillion USA spending bill and they want a PERMANENT bailout in the way of subsidies, it sort of makes me a little bit angry. Not very angry. But, definitely a little angry.

The depositors are not at all valuable. The average American is literally nobody. The CEOs will pad their wallets with OUR MONEY when subsidies are issued for investments that are nothing but vapor.

There is no way these jerks deserve any consideration from the American people. Put the money into Credit Unions. BE A MEMBER OF THE PLACE YOU BANK. Attend annual meetings and meet the CEO and ask questions. It is a very interesting experience and the CEO wants to shake your hand before you even think about shaking his in return.

This legislation Citigroup wrote is just about as egregious as it comes and if they are in NEED of subsidies, when will they ever make money? When is the next recession? 

The banks learned NOTHING from 2008, but, Americans learned a great deal.

Divest of Citigroup.

Get used to crony capitalism, it is going to exist for the next two years. The Political Right Wing has been purchased by Wall Street and now they have to carry out the favors needed by Wall Street to recapture the money spent on elections. I'll tell ya, it is some kind of horns to tell the American people they have to provide subsidies for exotic financial tools. That is amazing. Wall Street has no limits on greed.

This is a five page article so try to read it in it's entirety. The USA needs a Financial Transaction Tax. There is absolutely no way there should be this level of pay backs for monies spent in elections. Since the Republicans are proving how very corrupt they are, there needs to be a tax on financial transactions to bolster the USA Treasury when the Great Recession is dwarfed by the next one.

December 12, 2014
By David Stockman
The times are few and far between (click here) that I am in agreement with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s brand of Big Government liberalism. But I do applaud her willingness to stand up to the Wall Street lobby machine; her capacity to recognize and call-out the egregious gambling dens that have metastasized there; and her insistence that never again should the hard-pressed taxpayers of America be forced to bailout the crony capitalist plunder that is enabled by the Fed’s free money madness.
But now comes a naked Wall Street raid on the taxpayers that’s beyond the pale; and it would have sailed right through in the dead of night absent Elizabeth Warren’s intrepid opposition. Bravo, Senator!
I am referring to the Citigroup-drafted sneak attack on Washington’s tepid effort to curtail the more egregious gambling habits of some of the big banks....

...In light of the inherent dangers of what even Warren Buffett once called “financial weapons of mass destruction”, it is self-evident that no bank—not even the mighty Citigroup—–should be allowed to bring these incendiary devices within a country-mile of the taxpayer enabled FDIC guarantee program....

The whales and dolphins at Sea World want freedom, not good care.

Sea World changed the dialogue and as a consequence lost it's fans. Sea World fought back against THEIR CUSTOMERS that came to understand how captivity is bad for marine mammals.

This isn't about good care or bad care or humane treatment, this is about the whales and dolphins and their native instinct that survive captivity. Sea World has refused to be moral and change it's venues to be an educational park while returning the marine mammals to sea sanctuaries where they will be safe.

Sea World uses native instinct in these marine mammals to train them for performance. Due to that the mammals bond with their trainers, however, that does not mean the mammals are happy. The opposition to the captivity of the mammals at Sea World continually stated, "These are wild animals/creatures."

Because Sea World didn't listen and tried to change the dialogue into something legally and politically correct they lost their support among the public. The marine mammals at Sea World are in misery. They are healthy and active, but, their lives are miserable to their instincts in the wild.

No different than elephants they are trainable and mostly controllable, but, they are in misery for their need to be free. These marine mammals need large areas to be free to hunt, mate and exist. These marine mammals are very gregarious. They are incredibly intelligent and HAVE NEEDS. The one need Sea World cannot or will not accommodate is their need for vast territories to live. That need is counter productive to profits. "Flipper" didn't live in a pool, it lived in the ocean and responded to calls from humans. THAT may or may not be the actual reality, but, it is the way marine mammals thrive while interacting with humans. Pools are no different than cages which offer limited freedom of movement.

Add to that Tilikum, in particular is a huge male Orca. He has needs beyond the tanks and pools. The opposition to Sea World's PRACTICES doesn't end with Tilikum.

A prime example of Sea World's irreverent policies is the ownership of Beluga Whales. Belugas are an arctic species. They thrive and realize their most active capacities in arctic waters (cold water). At Sea World they are in Florida and then trainers sometime wonder why the Beluga is so sluggish sometimes. The idea a Beluga is kept in Florida or Texas as a trained attraction for profit is about the most cruel reality a marine mammal can have. Even Ohio is not north enough for these whales.

Sea World 'takes care of their animals,' but they don't respect the innate nature of the mammal. These animals are fascinating to humans because of their size, agility and the fact they live in pods and seem to show affection for each other. 

Belugas and Orcas and Dolphins have feelings, but, they are not the exact same as humans. Their feelings are gregarious and far ranging without being paired up. They are instincts and strategies for survival in an ocean where there are no police or military. Pods can be family units, but, they exist to protect the mammals, especially that of females since they care for their young. They bond with each other and form what appears to be family units. There is a real reason they are in pods. There is no substitution for a marine mammal's pods.

I would encourage all those that want these marine mammals free in a sanctuary to continue to write not only Sea World, but, also political leaders that know the sanctuaries. The political leaders realize the importance of the sanctuaries dedicated to the protection of species that can realize a change in status to endangered in one season of harpoons.

The struggle to free Sea World's marine mammals is not over.

December 11, 2014
By Lori Weisberg
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (click here) announced Thursday that its CEO is stepping down, a move that follows sharp attendance and revenue declines fueled by persistent criticism of the marine parks from animal rights activists.
Jim Atchison, who served as CEO since 2009 and will leave his post Jan. 15, will receive a $2.4 million payout, according to a regulatory filing. Also announced Thursday was the prospect of an unspecified number of job cuts that will be part of a restructuring program affecting its entire 11-park system
The plan will, among other things, "result in the loss of some positions, and the company will offer severance benefits to those impacted," SeaWorld said in a news release. In all, the parks, including SeaWorld San Diego, employ as many as 25,800 workers, many of them seasonal and part-time. In San Diego, the park's workforce ranges from roughly 2,000 in the low season to a little more than 4,000 during the peak summer season....

Remember this mess where government interfered with a union election at VW?

Today the workers at the VW plants now have an Open Shop where no one is required to join or pay the union for representation. All the exciting changes are taking place in DC.

December 9, 2014
By Brent Snavely

The UAW (click here) has been certified as the representative of more than 45% of Volkswagen's workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., a major victory for the union, which has been trying to gain a foothold in the South and in foreign auto plants.

The results of the independent audit of union membership clear the way for the union to meet regularly with management on workplace issues. The UAW said Monday night it was not told the exact percentage by VW but believes the final tally could be more than 50%, which would give the union more leverage.

The UAW has a history of failed elections to unionize Asian- and German-owned assembly plants in the South. The 45% threshold is key and brings the union a step closer to becoming the exclusive bargaining representative for the plant workers....

A democratic movement never leaves the people that seek reform.

December 8, 2014
By Mitchell A. Orenstein and Bojan Bugaric
In November 16, (click here) when the Romanian people elected as president Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German who ran a vigorous campaign against corruption, they shattered a number of illusions about politics in eastern Europe. Since the end of the Cold War, Western analysts and media have portrayed eastern Europe as a region dogged by a xenophobic nationalism, where uncivilized voters are quick to turn to ethno-nationalist parties in times of trouble. Although Hungary’s recent slide into authoritarianism conforms to this narrative, Iohannis’ victory tells another story—as do recent elections in several other postcommunist states.
In Romania, election results suggest that eastern Europeans have directed their frustrations not at ethnic minorities but at their own governments, which are riddled with corruption and inefficiencies. Iohannis’ opponent, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, ran a campaign that catered to the nationalist vote, promising to support traditional Romanian values of “the army, church, and family” and arguing that Romania should incorporate neighboring Moldova. But he was soundly defeated on polling day. Instead, voters chose a solidly pro-EU political outsider who promised good governance....     
December 12, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Oil prices have fallen further (click here) after the International Energy Agency lowered its forecast for global oil demand next year.
In its monthly oil report, the agency said global oil demand in 2015 will grow by 900,000 barrels a day, 230,000 less than previously forecast.
Following its report Friday, the benchmark New York oil price slipped further below $60 a barrel. In late morning trading in London, it was 72 cents lower at $59.23. Brent, the international standard, was 74 cents lower at $62.94.
The IEA said several years of record high prices have "induced the root cause" of the rout in oil prices in recent months — the surge in non-OPEC supply to its highest growth ever and a contraction in demand growth to five-year lows.

Elizabeth's Warren moral foundation reminds me of a different revolution.

When asked why the Rose Revolution took place in Georgia, many westerners point out that Georgians were fed up with their gloomy economic prospects and the government’s rampant corruption. It is true that corruption, sharp economic decline, and, of course, blatant election rigging all fed the popular frustration that fueled the revolution, but these and other injustices can be found in many other countries where no democratic revolutions have occurred. Why of all countries, including the states of the former Soviet Union, did such a breakthrough happen first in Georgia? What made this country special? What
factors and actors were involved? Finally, to what extent did western assistance make the revolution possible?

This report (click here) examines the specifics of the political and social landscape in Georgia before the revolution, dynamics of the protests sparked by rigged elections, and the actors who contributed to laying the groundwork for change and supporting the revolution itself. A clear picture of the Rose Revolution helps explain the most intriguing aspect of the events: that neither protesters nor the government used force despite the orders given. As an active member of Kmara, I consider all these questions and issues from a participant’s perspective, providing insights not readily available from most outside observers. 

In 2012 the first election that defeated President Saakashvili was won by a Polish billionaire named Bidzina Ivanishvili. The opposition to the Rose Revolution stated it was fading with the election of Ivanishvili as Prime Minister.
He lead  the Georgian Dream party. His time in office was only 13 months when both he and Saakashvili were replaced by the Georgian Dream Party. Ivanishvili stated he achieved what he wanted. Saakashvili had been in office since October 2008. 

The post Soviet states carry out these silly tactics against the political party they defeated to remove their opposition. So to cement the difference between the Occupy movement in the USA and the Rose Revolution in Georgia is chronic threat by Russia.

The Rose Revolution in Georgia was the country's end to pandering to anything Russian. Today Georgia is a member of NATO. However, the fear of Russia still lingers.

October 8, 2014
By Katya Soldak
...The Georgian government, (click here) under the leadership of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, has not joined Western sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. A darling of the west, Georgia’s ex-president, Mikheil Saakashvili, lives in self-imposed exile in New York after the Georgian government issued a warrant for his arrest for abuse of authority and misuse of public funds, causing concerns over political persecution in the country.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili, initially a protégé of pro-Russian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, recently had a fallout with members of his own political party, Georgian Dream, and now appears more independent and assertive, but the country’s mixed messages pose questions about Georgia’s course

In an exclusive interview with Forbes Georgia editor, Guga Sulkhanishvili,  he reassures that the country will stay on track to the EU and NATO and condemns Russian aggression towards its neighbors, but at the same time, remains loyal to the idea of restoring Georgia’s  ties with Moscow....

The similarities begin and end with the political movement of young adults tired of mistreatment and disregard by any party. The Rose Revolution in Georgia began in 2003 and placed their first President in office by 2008.

It is interesting to also realize their defeat in 2013 was by a billionaire who ran for office for no other reason but to say the revolution was over. No different than the anarchy of the election process in the USA, it takes a great deal of money and a change in direction to defeat a civilized revolution.

It would seem as though the National Science Foundation, Harvard and any astronomer conducting star analysis has a course correction to make.

The absorption features (click here) present in stellar spectra allow us to divide stars into several spectral types depending on the temperature of the star. The scheme in use today is the Harvard spectral classification scheme which was developed at Harvard college observatory in the late 1800s, and refined to its present incarnation by Annie Jump Cannon for publication in 1924.

I do believe Annie Jump Cannon needs her PhD. after her name permanently. She needs the name of the Harvard Spectral Classification renamed to carry her name. And she needs proper recognition by the scientific community in being among the first women to contribute her genius to science.

...When I was first contacted (click here) by the publisher about the book, I was embarrassed that I had never heard of Annie Jump Cannon. As a kid, my favorite show was Cosmos and I wanted to be an astronomer when I grew up. I not only read a lot of Carl Sagan, but was a huge fane of science fiction as well. How had I never heard of her?...

In a time (click here) when women rarely attended college, Annie Jump Cannon studied physics, mathematics, and astronomy, and in 1896 she was hired by Edward Charles Pickering at Harvard, as one of several women assigned to assist Pickering in the Henry Draper Catalog of Stellar Spectra. Cannon, however, found the system being used unworkable, and devised a different system, categorizing stars by letters of the alphabet. Now called the Harvard Spectral Classification Scheme, her methodology was adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1922 as the official system for stellar spectra classification.

Father: Wilson Lee Cannon (shipbuilder, b. 28-Jan-1817, d. 9-Feb-1905)
Mother: Mary Elizabeth Jump Cannon (b. 7-Nov-1839, d. 22-Dec-1893)
Brother: Wilson Lee Cannon, Jr. (banker)
Brother: Robert Barrett Cannon

    High School: Wilmington Conference Academy, Dover, DE
    University: BA, Wellesley College (1884)
    Scholar: Astronomy, Radcliffe College (184-86)
    Teacher: Physics, Wellesley College (1894-96)
    Scholar: Harvard College Observatory, Harvard University (1897-1911)
    Administrator: Curator of Astronomical Photographs, Harvard University (1911-38)
    Administrator: Astronomer, Harvard University (1938-40)

Henry Draper Medal 1931
American Astronomical Society Treasurer (1912-19)
American Philosophical Society
Risk Factors: Deafness

I take it her vision was well intact. It appears she lived to the age of 77.

Executive summary: Census-taker of the sky

Born: 11-Dec-1863
Birthplace: Dover, DE
Died: 13-Apr-1941
Location of death: Cambridge, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Lakeside Cemetery, Dover, DE