Friday, August 5, 2016

Let The Games Begin!

See: Clinton Approved Honduran Coup

No, not those. 


"Unproven dietary supplements get a new champion: Olympic teams" by Rebecca Robbins, August 1, 2016

The supplement industry in the United States is only lightly regulated; among the most popular industry partners: Herbalife, which just last month agreed to pay $200 million to settle federal allegations of deceptive sales practices.


The Olympic committees of Costa Rica, Italy, Vietnam, Israel, and India have all signed new deals with Herbalife, which sells a variety of fitness supplements, including a powder marketed with this slogan: “Compelling performance requires preparation.”

Sports executives involved in these endorsement deals said they partnered only with supplement makers that they or another sports federation have rigorously vetted and that they trust to produce safe and effective products.

But experts say the flurry of sponsorship deals is an alarming sign of the growing clout — and perceived legitimacy — of the supplement industry.

Even supplements unlikely to contain banned or dangerous substances are part of “a massive market of products that simply don’t work, but can be dressed up and advertised to pretend that they do, so that consumers will buy them,” said Dr. Pieter Cohen, a Harvard Medical School professor and internist at Cambridge Health Alliance who studies supplement safety.

He's saying it's all snake oil?

“I suspect that this type of Olympiad sponsorship of supplements will lead many young people to try new sports supplements,” he said. “If they don’t want to buy these expensive ones that are being advertised by the athletes, they might end up purchasing one sitting next to it in the store that’s spiked with drugs.”

At the Olympic level, concern about tainted supplements has been swirling in advance of this year’s Games, which begin on Friday. 

Still 'twas a Valeant effort!

After a Rio-bound wrestler from Australia failed a doping test, his coach recently suggested that supplements may have been to blame. Another would-be Olympic wrestler, from India, last week claimed his supplements had been spiked after he tested positive for a banned steroid.

Perhaps the highest profile case in recent years  involved American swimmer Jessica Hardy, who had been poised for success in Beijing in 2008 until she tested positive for a banned drug used to treat asthma and build muscle.

Disqualified from the Olympics and temporarily banned from the sport, Hardy blamed a drink mix she had taken; it was made by a supplement company with which she had an endorsement deal. (The company, AdvoCare, disputed those claims, and both sides sued each other before reaching an out-of-court settlement in 2012.)

The US Olympic Committee has tried to ensure that the supplements American teams endorse are clean.

The committee, for instance, spent several years vetting Thorne Research, including inspecting the company’s Idaho-based manufacturing facility, before giving the thumbs up this past spring.

Thorne has since hammered out eight separate deals with US national sports governing bodies, which organize sports from youth athletics all the way up to the Olympic team. Under the deals, US Olympians and other elite athletes will be supplied with a line of Thorne’s amino acid powders and vitamins marketed with the slogan “NO limits on your potential.”

“We were just convinced that this is a very safe and effective option for athletes to enhance their health and their nutrition and their performance, ultimately,” said Chuck Menke, chief marketing officer for USA Triathlon, one of the US national governing bodies that forged a partnership with Thorne.

Thorne has tested some of its products in clinical trials, like a recent study of 40 patients, which found that people who took a supplement for several months had lower cholesterol and blood pressure, among other outcomes, than those who took a placebo. (The study did not look at athletic performance.) Thorne also has a partnership with Mayo Clinic to run randomized studies of its supplements, but none of those results are in yet.

As for Herbalife, its deal with Italy’s Olympic committee gives athletes access to a line of citrus-flavored sports supplements that promise to “help you train, recover, and perform like never before.”

A big selling point for both sets of sponsorships, executives at Herbalife and Thorne said, was that their supplements were certified by an independent testing agency called NSF International, which tests for banned substances. Experts agree it’s one of a few gold-standard safety checks for supplements — but they stress that the testing in no way validates manufacturers’ claims that the supplements improve athletic performance....

Globe made me lose appetite!


And if you take the wrong supplements and get sick there will be an argument over the TV.

How about this shell game

"Snapping up cheap spy tools, nations ‘monitoring everyone’" by Frank Bajak and Jack Gillum Associated Press  August 02, 2016

LIMA, Peru — Governments known to stifle dissent with imprisonment and beatings or otherwise abuse their power are buying cheap, off-the-shelf surveillance software that can monitor the phone conversations and track the movements of thousands of their citizens, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Such so-called ‘‘lawful intercept’’ software has been available for years to Western police and spy agencies and is now easily obtained by governments that routinely violate basic rights — outside a short blacklist that includes Syria and North Korea. For less than the price of a military helicopter, a country with little technical know-how can buy powerful surveillance gear.

Looks like western governments have been violating basic rights for years and yet its only an alarm now because.... ?????

Domestic spy operations rely upon companies like the Israeli-American firm Verint Systems, which has customers in more than 180 countries. Verint has also supplied US law-enforcement agencies, including those that target drug traffickers in Mexico and Colombia.

The scope and sophistication of Verint’s products is made clear in confidential documents obtained by The Associated Press in Peru. They mirror on a small scale US and British surveillance programs catalogued in 2013 that showed how the US government collected phone records of millions not suspected of any crime.

The documents, including training manuals, contracts, invoices, and e-mails, expose in greater detail than previously seen the inner workings of a highly secretive industry. Verint, and companies like it, disclose little about their surveillance products and who buys them.

Yeah, you see, the peeping Tom's privacy is paramount to yours.

In Peru, the nation’s domestic intelligence agency spent a mere $22 million on a Verint package just months before its activities ground to a halt in a domestic spying scandal. The AP independently confirmed sales in countries including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.

‘‘The status quo is completely unacceptable,’’ said Marietje Schaake, a European Union lawmaker pushing for greater oversight. ‘‘The fact that this market is almost completely unregulated is very disturbing.’’

Why would government's regulate their own criminality?

Analysts say about half of Verint’s surveillance dealings are in the developing world. Since the early 2000s, Verint and top competitor Nice Systems have sold mass surveillance products to the secret police in Uzbekistan and to Kazakhstan, the advocacy group Privacy International has reported.

That equipment has let Uzbek police quickly locate and arrest people who discuss sensitive information on the phone or via e-mail, dissidents say. ‘‘The authorities’ main weapon is people’s fear,’’ said Tulkin Karayev, a Sweden-based exile. ‘‘Freedom of speech, freedom of expression — all this is banned.’’

That will be a real eye-opener for the kid.

Verint declined to comment for this story, saying it rarely speaks with reporters.


Asked whether Nice Systems’ sales had enabled political repression, the spokeswoman for Ebit Systems, which bought it last year, declined to comment. ‘‘We follow the leading standards of corporate governance and focus on ethical behavior in our business dealings,’’ Dalia Rosen said.

Spyware installations are a good business, requiring constant updates to keep up with the latest technologies. And they can easily outlast governments.

Take the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, whose government fell after a wiretapping scandal involving Verint-supplied equipment. In that case, 53 people, including politicians and journalists, were illegally monitored.

Yet the Verint platform remains operative.

As in Trinidad and Tobago now, most countries require a judge’s sign-off to use the technology. But where the rule of law is weak, abuse is not uncommon.

One apparent spyware client is the government of South Sudan, where a 2½-year-old civil war has killed tens of thousands of people. The United Nations and human rights groups say the government has used surveillance tools from Israel to track down, jail, and torture dissidents and journalists. 

I don't want to leave you hanging, but.... there is more if you hungry enough.

The UN experts who pointed the finger at Israel did not name the Israeli supplier and a government spokesman refused to discuss the issue, though an AP reporter did identify two Verint employees in May on a flight from Ethiopia to the South Sudanese capital of Juba. Human rights activists say heightened surveillance there has fostered a climate of fear and self-censorship.

Why does everyone have to tiptoe around Israel and their connections to everything anyway?

What regulations exist in the commercial, mass-surveillance trade fall under a nonbinding international arms-export-control regime called the Wassenaar Arrangement. In December 2013, it was amended to add two categories of surveillance tools: monitoring products and intrusion software, which surreptitiously turns digital devices into remote listening posts. The United States has yet to ratify the amendment, although the European Union has.


Victims of these surveillance tools report being confronted by their eavesdropped e-mails and conversations.

At least you know the jig is up.

Joseph Bakosoro, a former South Sudanese state governor held without charge for four months this year, said his interrogators played for him a voicemail that had been left on his cellphone, claiming it as evidence he backed rebels.

Baksoro said the voicemail proved only that he was being wiretapped.

‘‘They told me they are monitoring me,’’ he said. ‘‘They are monitoring my phone, and they are monitoring everyone, so whatever we say on the telephone, they are monitoring.’’

That's why the agenda-pu$hing pre$$ wants to hook everyone up!


Almost made me fall off the balance beam

Globe let its guard down. 

What I like best about the Olympics is the advertisements on television:

"Big banks make a pitch for public’s hearts and minds" by Michael Corkery New York Times  August 02, 2016

NEW YORK — At both the Democratic and Republican conventions, the nation’s biggest banks were again cast as the bad guys, criticized as being too big and too risky.

Awwwww, the poor banks that love you!

This week, as the Olympic Games begin in Brazil, one of the big banks, Citigroup, is offering a rebuttal with a series of prime-time television and digital ads featuring images of sweaty athletes, the space shuttle, and an early ATM.

“Our business is helping Americans make progress,” the ad’s narrator says, as a runner with a prosthetic leg sprints down a track.

They are either delusional or so out of touch they think this propaganda will actually work.

How $ad.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, US banks have spent millions of dollars on advertising, consultants, and social media initiatives, seeking to portray themselves as something other than greedy risk-takers. And yet, eight years later, anger and resentment persist.

So the banks are ramping up their efforts — and trying new ways — to convince the public that they are not as bad as politicians make them out to be.

Citigroup, which was rescued by taxpayers after nearly collapsing during the financial crisis, is using its role as the sole banking sponsor of the Summer Olympics and Paralympics to make the case for the virtues of being a big global bank.

They put it on credit.

JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, recently wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times to announce how the nation’s largest bank was raising the wages of thousands of its lowest-paid workers.

And Bank of America has hired Bob Dylan’s son Jesse to produce a series of videos explaining to bank employees that their primary purpose is not to reap quick profits, but to help expand the economy.

This thing is aimed at the demoralized workforce that must hate the corner office?

“We can’t advertise our way into people’s hearts,” said Ed Skyler, Citigroup’s executive vice president for public affairs, who is overseeing the bank’s advertising. “But we have to keep talking about the value we bring to society.”

Okay, go ahead, tell me.

The bank’s two-week advertising campaign will include an ad that ties together Citigroup’s sponsorship of the American athletes to the bank’s role in fueling the global economy. Citigroup also plans to run an ad highlighting the bank’s role in rebuilding Europe after World War II through the Marshall Plan and in the construction of the Panama Canal.

That ad, which was first produced for Citigroup’s 200th anniversary in 2012, depicts a young woman riding a bike and an image of Theodore Roosevelt, a president who was not exactly Wall Street’s biggest fan. The ads are expected to start running during the opening ceremony Friday, though they are already available online.

Even as regulators today declare that banks are safer and more secure than they have been in decades, the animus in some quarters seems to be intensifying.

Forget all the hacking of which you are supposed to be fearful.

The Democratic Party’s platform includes a plank that calls for breaking up big banks if they are deemed too risky. And Hillary Clinton said in her convention speech that she would push to make sure Wall Street and the superrich paid their “fair share of taxes.”

No one takes what she says about banks seriously. She owes them so many favors.

Both party platforms call for reinstating the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which mandated the separation of plain-vanilla deposit-taking from rocky road investment banking.

Then why have Reid and McConnell refused to bring it to a vote? 

Of course, platform talk is cheap.

Investors are also questioning whether big banks can ever again increase returns in such a heavily regulated industry, driving down some of their share prices while most of the stock market rallies.

Is that how the ride has been?

“I don’t think there is any one magical thing they can do to improve their image,” said Donald Kohn, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. “That’s going to take time. People are going to have to see that the banks are safer, that they are not enjoying any implicit public subsidies.”

Some bank executives acknowledge that they have failed to adequately convey to the public the benefits of a large modern bank.

I said go ahead, I'm waiting. You haven't done that yet. I'm interested to see how artificially created debt and usury that enriches a few is good for us all. 

When Dimon was asked in February how he would explain to an analyst’s mother-in-law the benefit of being a large bank, he conceded, “We have a hard time explaining those things to the public.”

Why? We stoo-pid?

Bank of America is trying something even more basic. Rather than make the case to the public, the bank is reminding its employees — through a series of videos — of what a bank actually does.

One of the videos, which is being shown to tellers, call center workers and even regulators, is titled the “Role of a Bank” and features a montage of images of small-town life: firefighters, farmers, factory workers, and lots of children.

It was created by Jesse Dylan’s film production company, Wondros, which also produced a music video inspired by Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign mantra “Yes We Can.”

What a $ell-out!

It might seem curious that the nation’s third-largest bank by assets feels the need to explain to its employees something as basic as how a bank takes deposits and lends them out in the community.

Oh, is that all they do? 

I know that's a good conventional myth they like to keep going.... in fact, when you think about brainwashing nothing is earlier than a child's introduction to a piggy bank! 

That's not to say saving is bad; it's just recognizing that at a very early and impressionable age when we learn most is the idea of BANK GOOD! 

But bank executives say the videos are part of the strategy of its chief executive, Brian Moynihan, to focus employees’ attention on the bank’s supporting role in the economy, and not on a quest for the kinds of profits that were gained and then lost in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

The hope, the executives say, is that if employees believe that they have a higher purpose, it will rub off on the bank’s public image.

“It is a long road back for the banks,” Dylan said. “They have to earn that trust.”

Once you've lost that....  

of course, they are still making billions per quarter, the poor souls.


The juxtaposition of this next article beside the one immediately above was not lo$t on me:

"JPMorgan to pay former inmates for fees on debit cards" by Erik Larson Bloomberg News  August 02, 2016

NEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s contract to provide debit cards to inmates released from federal prison may have backfired after a former convict raised a ruckus.

The bank agreed to pay a total of $446,822 to thousands of former prisoners to settle a class-action suit claiming JPMorgan ripped them off with $10 fees to withdraw money from a teller window and $2 charges for using non-network ATMs, according to a filing on Monday in federal court in Philadelphia.

And they wonder how they got such a bad image, boo-hoo-hoo!!!

JPMorgan’s contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons was a scheme “to exploit one of the most vulnerable groups imaginable — releasees from federal corrections facilities,” according to the complaint. “Every cent counts for federal releasees who are coming out of prison without an immediate means of income.” 

That's how they bring value to an economy.

The New York-based bank also agreed to pay as much as $250,000 in plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs, the filing said. The relatively small payout to inmates, which almost 50,000 former cons qualify to share in, doesn’t faze the lead plaintiff in the case, 33-year-old Philadelphia artist Jesse Krimes.

That's because the main function of the suit is so the government can get a kickback for conduct it allowed to occur. 

And if they can't manage this, why are we trusting them with all our information and security?

“It’s about the principle of the matter, and setting a precedent for future litigation against similar predatory practices,” said Krimes, who made artwork from prison-issued sheets and soap while serving six years after pleading guilty to distributing cocaine.

“I left prison with $120,” an unidentified former inmate said in the complaint. “Because of the fees, I was only able to use about $70 of it.”

Hey, it's a usurious rate but chump change. 

Shows you how disgusting these banks are, picking the pocket of ex-cons!

Plaintiffs’ attorney David Stanoch said the settlement will return the fees charged to inmates under the contract, including 45 cents for balance inquiries and a $1.50 inactivity charge that the bank couldn’t justify in court.

“It’s unclear what, if anything, these fees are tethered to in terms of cost or administration of the program,” Stanoch said of the inactivity charge. “It’s simply money sitting there and not requiring Chase to do anything.”

Joseph Evangelisti, a spokesman for JPMorgan, declined to comment on the settlement.

The complaint, filed in September 2015, said inmates released from all US federal prisons since at least 2008 were required to get Chase debit cards to receive the balance in their accounts, which held money sent from family or friends for commissary purchases, as well as wages for prison jobs.

Whatever happened to just giving you cash? 

Tell me again this government isn't working for banks! 

They made interest off your slave labor, I mean, prison wages, and then  $kimmed off the top of your meager pittances.

Under the bank’s no-bid contract, prisoners weren’t allowed to review or approve the terms and conditions, the plaintiffs’ group said.

Tell me again this government isn't.... I repeat myself!

The deal stemmed from an agreement between the bank and the US Treasury Department to provide debit-card services to a variety of agencies, mostly as a means to replace checks.


"The Treasury Department proposed a crackdown Tuesday on wealthy families attempting to avoid the estate tax. The tax, dubbed the ‘‘death tax’’ by critics, is levied on estates worth more than $5.45 million per person or $10.86 million per couple. Anything above that level is supposed to be taxed at up to 40 percent, but relatively few families subject to the tax pay that much; typically the hit is about 16.6 percent, according to some estimates. ‘‘Really, anyone who is not on death’s doorstop with a good [estate] planner can get the rate down to zero,’’ said Robert Lord, a tax attorney based in Arizona."

So it's a bunch of arm-flailing on the way out after 8 years, huh?


Try to think of it as an early withdrawal from your early parole. 

Didn't happen to see any of them while you were in there, didja? 

Then there are the obligatory car commercials:

Car sales drop in July, as hot weather and softening demand kept many buyers at home.

What's wrong with that viser

World moving toward drones anyway.

Newfoundland death triggers air bag probes in US, Canada
Ford recalling 830,000 vehicles because door latches can break

Bad enough the bag might kill you, it then pops you out the door.

You would have been better off buying a Jet.

Aetna and Humana plan to sell assets to win approval for merger
Avon profits rise as focus shifts overseas
Bitcoin exchange hacked
Bain Capital raises $3.1 billion debt fund
CVS beats earnings expectations on deals, expensive specialty drugs
Office Depot struggles in wake of failed merger with Staples

Nothing but coal for 'em, 'eh?

New Jersey pension fund cuts allocation to hedge funds
Freddie Mac has net income of $993 million in second quarter
Fannie Mae investment income down

I'm glad those government garbage dumps are making scads of money.

MetLife profit tumbles on prospects of variable-annuity business

Made only made $110 million last quarter.

MetLife plans to cut spending, and jobs

That was really below the belt, huh?

Burger King sales static, despite Mac n’ Cheetos
Bottled water surpasses soda in popularity

That combination should help move things along.

179,000 jobs added in July
Applications for benefits rise

But they still underscore health in the labor market.

Samsung’s new phone can be unlocked with iris scanner

Wait until you see what is in the back yard:

"A New Jersey man is going to federal court to keep ‘‘Pokemon Go’’ players off his lawn. Jeffrey Marder of West Orange says strangers began lingering outside of his home after the popular game was released last month. At least five people knocked on his door and asked to get into his backyard to catch a Pokemon placed there virtually by the game, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in California. The suit against game makers Niantic Inc., Nintendo Co., and The Pokemon Co. seeks class action status for others who have had Pokemon stops and gyms placed on their property."

Without your permission?

GameStop buys more than 500 AT&T wireless stores

How do you play this goddamn thing?

"Facebook has been working to maintain the integrity of the news feed to keep users happy and spending as much time on Facebook as possible. The Silicon Valley company constantly tweaks its algorithms, and in June it made a sweeping set of changes that would rank publisher content in general less favorably in the news feed and said certain types of headlines would be classified as clickbait, those that “withhold or distort information.”

What do you think I'm reading every morning? 

Then it is Comcast when I log in.

If I find anything worth reading I'll tweet you; otherwise, you understand how I'm feeling, right?

Redstone family fires another shot at Viacom president.... The media conglomerate, which owns Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, reported a 27-percent drop in fiscal third quarter profits to $432 million.

So much for my vacation.

"Fed fines Goldman Sachs $36 million in document leak" by Ben Protess New York Times  August 04, 2016

NEW YORK — The Federal Reserve took action Wednesday against Goldman Sachs and one of its former executives, escalating a long-running investigation into a leak of confidential government information.

The action, which forced Goldman to pay a $36.3 million penalty, stemmed from an incident in 2014, when a junior Goldman banker took confidential information from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The junior banker, whom Goldman promptly fired, received the information from a New York Fed employee.

I'm sure they made a lot more off the tip.

Both men pleaded guilty to stealing government property, and Goldman paid a $50 million penalty to New York state regulators because its “management failed to effectively supervise” the banker.

Which is strange because the Federal Reserve -- despite the name -- is NOT a government agency. It's a private consortium of banks, and I gue$$ that's a Freudian slip by the reporter regarding reality.

The Fed did not act against Goldman at the time, making its decision to pursue Goldman now a somewhat unusual move. The action, which cites Goldman for an “unauthorized use and disclosure of confidential supervisory information,” is also an awkward one for the Fed.

Sometimes you don't care about appearances when you are scrounging around for dough.

The leak, after all, originated at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with one of its own employees. And the junior Goldman banker who received the confidential information was a former New York Fed employee himself. Goldman, not the New York Fed, was the one to uncover the leak.

Yet the Fed’s board in Washington, a unit that operates separately from the New York Fed, is the one penalizing Goldman.

And the Fed’s action goes further than Goldman’s settlement with New York state last year, reaching back several years to highlight how the bank failed since 2012 to have sufficient policies and employee training to prevent a leak like this one.

The case reflects a broader effort at the Fed to adopt a tougher stance against Wall Street misconduct and crackdown on individual bankers.

The Federal Reserve is Wall Street! 

What banks do you think make them up?

The Fed’s case against Goldman, the details of which were reported last week by The New York Times, centers on what could have been a regulatory gold mine.

The documents effectively provided Goldman with a window into the Fed’s private insights about regulatory matters. And the bank, the Fed said, used the information in presentations to current and prospective clients “in an effort to solicit business.”

“The board expects all firms, including Goldman Sachs, to comply with all US laws, rules and regulations,” the Fed said in a statement, noting that it is “illegal to use or disclose confidential supervisory information without prior approval.”

That enough of a $lap on the wri$t?

In its own statement, Goldman said it was “pleased to have resolved this matter.” The bank emphasized that it had fired the former junior banker, Rohit Bansal, and that it had immediately notified the Fed after discovering that he had “improperly obtained information from his former employer, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”

Goldman also fired Joseph Jiampietro, an executive who helped oversee Bansal.

Goldman’s investigators found leaked New York Fed documents on Jiampietro’s desk, although the company never concluded that he knew about the leak. Instead, it reported to regulators that he had “failed to properly escalate” the problem.

But now the Fed, unlike New York state, has taken aim at Jiampietro, previously a senior adviser to Sheila C. Bair when she was chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. In announcing an action against Jiampietro, the Fed said it was seeking to impose a fine and to “permanently bar him from the banking industry stemming from his and his subordinates’ unauthorized use” of confidential information.

Unlike Goldman, Jiampietro’s lawyers are fighting the case through the Fed’s civil disciplinary proceedings, disputing that Jiampietro had anything to do with the leak. They note that Bansal, who accepted a misdemeanor plea deal with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, did not explicitly accuse Jiampietro of instructing him to obtain the documents.

In a previous statement, a lawyer for Jiampietro berated the Fed for appearing to use “Mr. Jiampietro as an industry scapegoat.”

The lawyer, Adam Ford of the Ford O’Brien law firm, added Wednesday that “the allegations filed against Mr. Jiampietro are demonstrably false.” Jiampietro, he said, “never requested confidential supervisory information from anyone and never used it for his or anyone’s benefit.”


RelatedDorchester man charged in $4 million bank fraud 

He wasn't too big to jail.

There are always some insurance ads, too:

"Liberty Mutual profits fell in first half of 2016" by Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  August 04, 2016

Liberty Mutual’s energy investments are dragging down its profits, which fell by a quarter for the first six months of 2016, compared with the same time last year.

Liberty Mutual announced on Thursday that it earned $408 million in the first half of this year. The Boston-based insurance company primarily blamed its losses on investments in energy exploration. Liberty Mutual is pulling back its unfunded commitment in gas and oil wells in order to minimize its risk in that area, David Long, the company’s chief executive officer, said on an investor call.

If I were a policyholder I would want to know wtf they are doing investing my premiums in energy exploration? 

I know insurance companies are great sources of capital, but aren't they supposed to collect premiums and pay out claims? 

What's this gambling with your insurance money?

The oil market has been weak through most of the year, hobbled by a global economic slowdown and oversupply. 

And now the glut is getting even worse.

Liberty Mutual was able to offset some of its losses by raising rates on its insurance customers and collecting more in premiums.

You $ee that in the fine print, did you? 

You paying for their losses?

Liberty Mutual’s earnings suggest that the company could be in for another disappointing year.

I'd like to have a disappointing year where I made $408 million in three months time. 

I wouldn't be doing this anymore, I'll tell you that!

In 2015, the company’s profits plummeted more than 70 percent as it took hits from its troubled Venezuelan operations, bigger catastrophe losses, and lower investment income. And so far this year, profits have been even lower....

Awww, poor Liberty Mooch!


Real kick in the balls, 'eh?

In Mass., Brazilians watch Olympics from afar

I'm sure everything is going to be wonderful, unlike the coverage of Sochi two years ago where it was all complain, complain, complain.

What do I care anyway? I won't even be able to watch any of it.

(Looks like I owe a tip of the cap on the title)


Did you see Gisele last night?

Already previewed the front page.

Amazon unveils cargo plane as it expands delivery network

"Jobs report good news for all but Donald Trump" by Neil Irwin new york times  August 05, 2016

NEW YORK — While the proportion of Americans who were in the labor force — either working or looking for work — ticked up in July, it has only recovered a tiny sliver of its decline since the 2008 recession (it was 66 percent in December 2007, bottomed out last year at 62.4 percent, and has recovered slightly to 62.8 percent).

Part of this drop is because baby boomers are hitting retirement age, but some large portion is less well understood, driven by both men and women of prime working age who say they’re not even looking for jobs. 

It's so hard to understand, yup!

If you try to search the latest Labor Department numbers for bad news, the closest you’ll find is a rise in the number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks — in other words, people who may say they want work but are becoming increasingly unattached from the habits of holding down a job.

So that creates a fascinating backdrop for the economic discussion during the homestretch of the election. The economy truly is growing, and job growth looks to be robust, but large segments of the population, especially those without advanced education, left the labor force during the last several years, and relatively few of them are being pulled back in. Fixing that will be an important goal of the next president.

Meanwhile, for reasons that aren’t fully understood, economic output is growing much slower than job creation, which will mean lower living standards in the future if that continues. That should be another big worry for whoever occupies the Oval Office in January.... "

Gee, so much can change in three months, huh? 

Or a day even

Have you had enough of being lied to when it comes to the economy?

And what is this about Team Mexico cheating?