By Chriss Street: Away from the cameras and the media scrum, the first political casualty of the President’s disastrous launch of Obamacare is a bipartisan Congressional revolt against crony capitalists’ effort to pass the clandestine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty.
By Chriss Street: Mexico began the process to amend its constitution to end the state-owned monopoly for exploration, development, and distribution, known as Pemex. Over the last 10 years, Mexican production fell 30%. US production leaped 50% due to capital investment and new technology. Now Mexico wants to modernize its oil industry.
By Chriss Street: Just as the bombshell of the NSA’s handing information to the DEA through a secret program called Parallel Construction was about to break, the Obama Administration diverted attention by talking up the NSA’s intercepts of “chatter” about terrorist plots. But convictions in the US of some of the worst drug lords might now unravel.
By Chriss Street: The FBI confirmed that a Task Force from the FBI, the IRS, the District Attorney’s Office, and the US Attorney’s Office is investigating political campaign corruption in Orange County, California. A Democrat Attorney General targeting Republican politicians in America’s most Republican county? Um, the District Attorney on the Task Force is a Republican. No, this is real.
Contributed by Chriss Street: The Eagles got it right with Hotel California: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!” The San Jose City Council, facing huge budget deficits, tried to terminate life-time pension benefits for Council members. Turns out, ending wildly expensive benefits may be wildly more expensive than staying in the plan.
Contributed by Chriss Street: Italians are electing their 63rd government in 68 years. Normally, Europeans chuckle about this. But Italian political trouble just became EU economic trouble as its debt was downgraded to BBB+ and a bank run seems to have begun. The realization that it’s too big to bail out is heating up the Eurozone debt crisis.
Contributed by Chriss Street. FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig lambasted in an editorial the too-big-to-fail banks. But why would a top bank regulator complain about the US banking scheme? A warning that if Janet Yellen is chosen to replace Fed Chairman Bernanke, her strategy of igniting inflation to reduce unemployment will cause another banking crisis.
Contributed by Chriss Street. Desperate to halt its stock’s dismal slide since going public, Facebook has increasingly sought new ways to make more money and prove its worth. As the builder of the largest “Big Data” treasure trove in history, Facebook is selling marketers and shady characters veiled access to its users’ deepest secrets.
Contributed by Chriss Street. When the sequester took effect, the only immediate economic pain federal workers suffered was the cancellation of White House tours. It eliminated some over-time. But dirty little secrets have been pouring out. With reality biting hard, Congress, department heads, and unions seem motivated to cut frivolous spending.
Contributed by Chriss Street. The SEC determined that Illinois violated Federal Securities Laws by misstating the financial condition of its depleted pension funds when it sold $2.2 billion in bonds from 2005-2009. After a historical failure to fund the pension systems, it exposed the State to an $83 billion unfunded liability. Former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich was unable to comment. He was in prison.