The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Reuters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reuters. Show all posts

Friday, December 29, 2017

Refueling North Korea? China or Russia?



Donald J. Trump

Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!
CNN reported on the matter as Trump enjoyed yet another day of fun and golf in south Florida.
This afternoon Reuters reported Russian tankers have been oberved refueling North Korean vessels in the North Sea.  Linked here
"Russian vessels have made ship-to-ship transfers of petrochemicals to North Korean vessels on several occasions this year in breach of sanctions," the first security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. 
A second source, who independently confirmed the existence of the Russian ship-to-ship fuel trade with North Korea, said there was no evidence of Russian state involvement in the latest transfers. 
"There is no evidence that this is backed by the Russian state but these Russian vessels are giving a lifeline to the North Koreans," the second European security source said.
The two security sources cited naval intelligence and satellite imagery of the vessels operating out of Russian Far Eastern ports on the Pacific but declined to disclose further details to Reuters, saying it was classified.
The Reuters's piece was posted at 5:15PM.  

Do you find it intriguing Trump hasn't posted a tweet regarding the Reuters's report?


Monday, June 8, 2015

How Much Doled Out to the Defense Industry? $8.5 Trillion

Crooks & Liars

Report Reveals $8.5 TRILLION Missing From Pentagon Budget (VIDEO)

Yahoo Money' The Daily Ticker is reporting that is has discovered a Reuters investigation that reveals $8.5 trillion – that's trillion with a "T" – in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for. You read that right. While Republican politicians rush to slash food stamps for…

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Latest To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

"There may be no official policy on the books saying whites only but the effect of discriminatory practices fueled by racial bias and exclusionary attitudes has the same impact." Maya Rockeymoore, a policy analyst based in Washington D.C.


Merrill Lynch (Bank of America via acquisition) has joined a list of corporations, which have "come-clean" in settling a discrimination case that spans a decade long period. The New York Times reported on August 27th, 2013. 

The lawsuit, filed in 2005 could result in 700 employees and former employees joining in the $160 million settlement. The settlement is the largest employer award in the United States this year.  After two appeals to the US Supreme Court, Merrill Lynch apparently decided to settle the case out of court well before next year's court date. 

The lead plaintiff, George McReynolds, in the case was employed by Merrill Lynch in the 1980s. As the suit originator McReynolds alleged over the course of his employment with Merrill Lynch, he observed the steering of black employees to clerical jobs as well as withholding more lucrative accounts for white employees. As reported by Reuters the aforementioned discriminatory acts tend to lead to lower pay and fewer career opportunities for black employees.

Apparently, Merrill Lynch has a past history of Equal Employment Opportunity non-compliance. Reuters also reports at the time of McReynold's 2005 filing, the corporation was under a 30-year consent decree to work toward maintaining black employment at around 6.5 percent. Only  2%  of Merrill Lynch's employee census was African-American in 2005. 

George McReynolds
Plaintiffs accused the Bank of America-owned Merrill Lynch — one of the world’s largest brokerages with more than 15,000 financial advisers — of steering Black brokers away from the most-lucrative business; as a result, under a compensation system emphasizing production, they earned less than their White counterparts.
Merrill Lynch/BoA is simply the latest in such lawsuits. I recall many years ago Southwestern Bell Corp. lost a landmark discrimination lawsuits that included discrimination against women in hiring and promotion.

We offer a representative list of offenders and lawsuit settlements.
The Merrill Lynch discrimination settlement is proof-positive hiring preferences based in race continue to yield unbalanced company staffing.  A major US financial institution with 2% of 15,000 employees African-American in 2005!

From a platform of fewer hires of any minority group (including women) comes fewer opportunities for promotion. If you think companies simply fall into 'ruts' and end in discrimination lawsuits think again. How about the business of preferential job assignment, "favored" earnings opportunities and steering people to lower paying clerical positions? Those are very much under-the-cover discriminatory acts generally perpetrated by or for people who are, frankly, bigots and racist.

If you are a person who tires of hearing and reading about issues related to race, think  about our experience. I doubt it is possible you have not personally witnessed or believed you witnessed an act of discrimination at or associated with your job. I will wager you quietly assimilated to the discrimination thinking, "...well it was not the right thing to do, but what can I do, speak-out?" Of course, you would lose your job, correct?  

The post at the other end of a click on this link  (video) does not relate to the workplace; it does however, clearly delineate unequal and unfair treatment based solely in race.  

The lesson for corporations: "corporations are not people Mitt Romney, and the entities should strive to do the right-thing." It costs less, better serves the community in which you do business and actually leverages diversity which pays dividends over the long haul (linked Infographic pdf).  The lesson for people: if you turn your eyes and cover your head when you see acts that are unfair, know the perpetrator could very easily find cause to treat you similarly.  Why do you think the Title VII EEOC Federal Register provides regulation for monitoring the employment experience for minorities, women and white males over age forty?


Monday, August 26, 2013

Donald Trump Sued by New York State!

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaks in Ames, Iowa on
 August 10, 2013. (Justin Hayworth/AP)

Donald Trump has finally run up against legal action with allegations that will surely result in at least an "out-of-court" settlement.  The New York State Attorney General literally has "The Donald" by his 'blond mop." 

Reuters and all media are reporting on the legal action. Do you want to see exactly where "The Donald" will lose the case and settled out of court?

Reuters: "Donald Trump investment school sued by NY attorney general"

"....his for-profit investment school, accusing them of engaging in illegal business practices."
"The attorney general said from 2005 to 2011, the Trump school operated without an educational license while misleading consumers into paying for courses promising to teach Trump's real estate investment techniques."
It certainly appears, "The Donald" has grifted his way into a "pickle."   Do you recall this guy?

  • P. T. Barnum

    Phineas Taylor Barnum was an American showman, businessman, scam artist and entertainer, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

  •  "There's a sucker born every minute
    (A putative quote attributed to Barnum, but actually spoken by another: Linked)

    Now for a  brief "deck" from the Reuters piece. 

    Billionaire Donald Trump arrives at the Miss USA 2004 competition at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California April 12, 2004. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
    Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:41pm EDT
    (Reuters) - New York state's attorney general said on Sunday he has filed a $40 million lawsuit against Donald Trump and his for-profit investment school, accusing them of engaging in illegal business practices. 

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleged that the real estate mogul, a former executive and the Trump Entrepreneur Institute - called Trump University until 2010 - made false claims about classes at the school, including that Trump handpicked instructors. 

    "No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hard-working New Yorkers," Schneiderman said in a statement. 

    The attorney general said from 2005 to 2011, the Trump school operated without an educational license while misleading consumers into paying for courses promising to teach Trump's real estate investment techniques. 

    More than 5,000 people nationally took the courses, paying $40 million, Schneiderman said.

    How did the enterprise work?  The Daily Beast provides a more detailed and compelling look at the work of a grifter. The Daily Beast piece is a must read.

    Comments from the Attorney General, MSNBC, Politics Nation

    If you can stomach listening to a complete grifter and charlatan for the better part of 7:00 minutes, give this one a whirl.  Also notice the very strong implied threats towards the end of the segment. 
    Donald Trump exemplifies what I consider typical conservative and GOP principles. His penchant for constipation of the brain and diarrhea of the mouth is unsurpassed in American Society. 

    Does the scheme sound like a time share pitch? 

    How about the free cruise pitch for attending a high price travel plan presentation (Photoshopped cruise ship images and cruise line name)? If you do not buy the plan the attendee is supposed to receive a voucher for a free cruise. The free cruise is not even close to "free." First, there is a small fee for processing the voucher. There are additional fees that move into the hundreds of dollars by the time the voucher recipient is ready to settle-up with payment. And delays in time are critical to the scheme.  My knowledge of the process comes from two personal visits to the "free cruise" time-share like presentations.

    If proven to be accurate as accused, I do not find Trumps "alleged" scheme any different. 

    Did I receive a cruise, or did I buy a cruise?  No I pulled away from the scheme before paying any money.  There are web pages that delineate the process. 

    Have you noticed that I have avoided any mention of Trump's claims that a meeting between the New York State Attorney and the President of The United States was a prelude to the law suit?  I think "The Donald" is not only delusional, he also deploys a common tactic from the conservatives: deflect to attract attention to their being caught with their hands in the cookie jar. 

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    Pew Research: 56% Find Surveillance Palatable; Millennials Seems Unconcerned!


    Allow me to open with the fact that I also am not comprehensively enamored with how our world has been turned upside down regarding authorized surveillance. It seems in most industrialized nations increased surveillance is as common as American hotcakes and maple syrup. America has been forced to join other societies in surveillance not common in our nation prior to 9.11.2011.

    While I have an innate concern with surveillance,  I am committed to the position that the nation must undertake any measure to deprive secretive enemies of the state opportunity to coordinate attacks. My thoughts are also supported by years of angst in watching surreptitious monitoring (spying) develop to its current state. The US government used wiretaps to dismantle the Mafia, disrupt and plot against the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (COINTELPRO and similar measures), against Martin Luther King, against the Ku Klux Klan (quite gleefully) and against Occupy Wall Street.  

    These measures are not new, and when the measures show they work, it is hard for me to find major fault.  Of course, we now have opportunity to shape the programs if our INTEL and security agencies will allow such. "Shape"?  We really should have some degree of transparency and assurance of how the programs are used with a focus on educating slightly less than half the nation which appears very concerned. 

    Since late early 2002, a number of "terrorist" attacks against the United States have been thwarted, disrupted or "busted in the act."  A few of such attempts failed based on divine intervention via bomb equipment failures.  There is one case that is very much attributable to some monitoring of people who had connections in foreign countries known as terror heavens (i.e., Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen). I will add another critical point.   We as citizens have no idea or may not be able to comprehend the extent of success in eliminating many Al Qaeda leaders and fighters (Via the hated drone attacks) could have some data and information feeds via similar programs.  One very clear and well reported cases involved a home-grown terrorist and a few high school friends (plus his father in cover-up). 

    The case of a Colorado man (his father's attempts at cover-up) are reported to be directly attributable to monitoring (email and possibly).

    ".....Najibullah Zazi, 26, who admitted to planning an attack on New York City with assistance from Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan."  Zazi and three co-defendant planned to bomb the NYC City subway systems. You can only imagine the plot involved high traffic periods.  After last week's revelations of Edward Snowden an INTEL official spoke openly on cable news about the plot and how Zazi communicated to handlers in Pakistan about failed bomb components. 

    Let's take a moment and review a few passages related to Zazi and his (foiled) plot to perpetrate mayhem in the NYC subway system. First, a question, "Have you ever been in the NYC subways system at peak travel times and at high volumes train locations (train stops)?"

    Najibullah Zazi
    Zarein Ahmedzay
    Adis Medunjanin


    The admitted mastermind of a foiled plot to bomb New York subways testified Tuesday that he wanted to wage jihad in Afghanistan after coming to believe that the U.S. government was behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
    Zazi has testified that during their 2008 trip to Pakistan, the three Americans met a top al-Qaida operative they knew only as Hamad. Authorities say Hamad was Adnan Shukrijumah, a Saudi still listed on an FBI website as a fugitive who plotted attacks for al-Qaida worldwide.
    The men ended up choosing the subway because "it's the heart of everything in New York City," Zazi said Wednesday.
    Read more
    Email to handlers led to dismantling the plot. 

    The government’s broad programs to collect U.S. phone records and Internet traffic helped disrupt a 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subways, a senior U.S. intelligence official said. 
    But the assertion raises as many questions as it answers because court testimony indicated the subway plot investigation began with an email.
    Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty in the 2009 plot, saying he had been recruited by al-Qaida in Pakistan. 
    The break in that case came, according to court documents and testimony, when Zazi emailed a Yahoo address seeking help with his bomb recipe. 
    At that time, British intelligence officials knew the Yahoo address was associated with an al-Qaida leader in Pakistan. That’s because, according to British government documents released in 2010, officials had discovered it on the computer of a terror suspect there months earlier. 
    Because the NSA and British intelligence work so closely together and so little is known about how the NSA monitors email traffic, it’s possible that both agencies were monitoring the Yahoo address at the time Zazi sent the critical email in 2009. 
    What’s unclear, though, is how the phone program aided the investigation, which utilized court-authorized wiretaps of Zazi and his friends.
     Read More   (A must read)
    As stated previously, I am not totally excited about knowing my Verizon phone calls, my email and other electronic communication are pat of a meta-database, or read by people like Edward Snowden. I am completely in sync with the Administration killing known terrorist and fighters (I also abhor callous slaying of innocents). On the other hand, I would not like to have witnessed another massacre as we witnessed on 9/11.  A successful slaughter in the NYC subway systems could have been equally catastrophic and even more psychologically devastating to the nation. Even if you are not an investor another consideration is the deep losses in the financial sector post 9/11.  The monitoring may help to ward-off loss of life, damage to national security, and deep financial losses when the US can ill afford such setbacks.

    Apparently, a slight majority of a specific survey group felt they would prefer the security of monitoring to ward-off or mitigate clear and-present danger.

    Pew Research

    Reuters NEWS & INSIGHT

    The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post, conducted June 6-9 among 1,004 adults, finds no indications that last week’s revelations of the government’s collection of phone records and internet data have altered fundamental public views about the trade off between investigating possible terrorism and protecting personal privacy.  

    The small survey group (1,000 respondents) interwove their sentiments regrading surveillance in a most interesting and probably accurate manner.  You will notice the preponderance of users (the young) in this small survey group does not seem to consider surveillance a critical issue.
     6-10-13 #1                                     6-10-13 #2 6-10-13 #4

    6-10-13 #8


    Currently 62% say it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy. Just 34% say it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.
    Read much more 

    We will again state the right to modify my positions on national surveillance. Until effective methods of combating enemies of the state, who must use communications tools for expedience, are available I remain open to surveillance.   My openness is buoyed by the fact that the programs are not new to our world, and may have developed more technological based as unstoppable technology continues to develop. 

    Additional information sources

    CBS Denver

    People Press Dot Org



    Friday, May 17, 2013

    House Votes to Repeal Obamacare. Why? The Answer Looks Bad.

    John Boehner says, “We. Will. Repeal.”
    The White House says, “It’s. The. Law”

    Do you want perspective on why the GOP has spent 15% of its time on insane repeal Obamacare votes?  Could the governing fallacy have to do with steady stream of contribution to Hose Representatives? If you chose to not view the charts below  at least view the Open Secrets links.  The ;picture is stark and will slap you in the face.

    First, let's visit a quote from a very intelligent person.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Blog Market Watch Dot Com published an interesting piece on the GOP and their insanity regarding the useless Affordable Care Act repeal votes. The John Boehner and White House tweets above are extracted from the piece. 

    If you read the TPI piece "The Gallery of Shame" you read about the gun lobbying expenditures and contributions to GOP members of Congress.  The contributions shed light on why each member of the US Senate blocked background check legislation. A few Democrats also voted to block background checks and that link shows they probably voted out of fear as the money did not trickle over to their "open accounts". 

    Market Watch used an interesting interactive paragraph to show how the ACA has cut into the earnings (share prices) of top Health care Insurance companies. 


    Since there is virtually no chance the Democratic-controlled Senate will pass the legislation — and an even more remote possibility Obama would sign it — the move is more a political ploy.


    Since the law was enacted in March 2010, share prices of four of the five major U.S. insurers — Aetna Inc. AET -0.50% , Cigna Corp. CI -1.09% , Humana Inc. HUM -0.19% , and UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH +0.86% — have nearly doubled in value. The fifth, WellPoint Inc. WLP -1.27% , has gained about 20%. The company has struggled with declining membership enrollment and higher medical costs. Read more on Health Exchange blog.

    As is frequently the case, regarding the specific corporations listed, we took the Market Watch paragraph above and sought more insight into money trails and corporate performance under the Affordable Care Act. (ACA) We sought narrative information from Reuters, charts from Yahoo Finance, and political contribution information from Open Secrets.  The Think Progress table below concisely summarizes information  about the Market Watch companies. All sources are link on a per corporation basis.

    Despite Market Watch's clear indication that four of the five corporations have suffered "Share Prices" erosion, data from other sources (As delineated above) show stellar revenue performance with an exception for WellPoint. In fact, it may be purely coincidental, but charted indicators below show post Obama Stimulus performance at the level of phenomenal. The Stimulus is not a primary consideration and focus of this piece; the charted data drew attention comparable to an unattended "Benjamin" ($100.00 bill) lying in front of me. 

    Aetna Inc.
    Open Secrets Dot Org: Link

    Aetna said its third-quarter profit had risen to $499.2 million, or $1.47 per share, from $490.4 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.

    Excluding tax benefits and other special items, earnings rose to $1.55 per share from $1.40. That was ahead of analysts' average estimate of $1.34, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Last week, larger competitor UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N) also reported earnings above Wall Street expectations.

    Aetna's revenue increased to $8.9 billion from $8.4 billion, in line with expectations. The company attributed the rise to higher insurance premiums in its commercial, Medicare and Medicaid businesses.

    Aetna added 149,000 new medical members in the quarter to reach its full-year goal of 18.2 million.
     Chart forAetna Inc. (AET)
     Cigna Corp.
    Open Secrets Dot Org: Link 

    Cigna's first-quarter net income fell to $57 million, or 20 cents per share, from $371 million, or $1.28 per share, a year earlier.
    The results included a previously announced $507 million charge for a February deal with Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), which will reinsure two of Cigna's closed annuity reinsurance businesses and remove risk from the company's balance sheet.
    Excluding that charge and other items, earnings were $497 million, or $1.72 per share, up from $359 million, or $1.24 per share, a year earlier.
    On that basis, analysts were expecting $1.43 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
    "The beat was driven by stronger-than-expected medical cost management," Oppenheimer & Co analyst Michael Wiederhorn wrote in a research note.
    Chart forCigna Corp. (CI)
    Humana Inc. 
    Open Secrets Dot Org: Link
    Humana's first-quarter net income nearly doubled to $473 million, or $2.95 per share, from $248 million, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier.The company said results were 26 cents a share higher than expected because of favorable claims settlements and the delayed cuts to Medicare reimbursement. Excluding those benefits, earnings of $2.69 a share were far higher than the $1.81 that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S were expecting on that basis.

     Chart forHumana Inc. (HUM)
    UnitedHealth Group Inc.
    Open Secrets Dot Org: Link 
    The company said first-quarter net profit was $1.2 billion, or $1.16 per share, down from $1.4 billion, or $1.31 per share a year earlier.
    Analysts on average had been expecting earnings of $1.14 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Investors may have been surprised that the company did not beat earnings by more given that some hospital groups have reported low use of services this quarter, which typically benefits insurers, said Chris Rigg, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group. Hospital groups HCA Holdings Inc (HCA.N) and Health Management Associates Inc (HMA.N) both warned that admissions were weak in the first quarter.

    "The data points we've gotten from the providers would have suggested a larger beat in the quarter," Rigg said.

    The company also lowered its 2013 revenue expectation by $2.5 billion to $122 billion because a major public-sector customer had switched out of a full-risk plan to a self-funded insurance plan. In the latter, the customer pays for its employee healthcare and UnitedHealth administers the plan. UnitedHealth, which provides these services to many large companies, receives lower revenue in that fee-based business.

    The switch comes as employers and insurance providers brace for the next wave of implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

    "There is an adverse incentive in the Affordable Care Act to move from full-risk insurance to a service, self-insurance type model," Jefferies & Co analyst David Windley said. Moving to a self-funded plan can enable employers to avoid the new insurance premium tax next year, he said.
    Chart forUnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH)
    WellPoint Inc.
     Open Secrets Dot Org: Link
    WellPoint reported a profit of $885.2 million, or $2.89 per share, up from $856.5 million, or $2.53 per share, a year earlier. It now expects 2013 net income earnings of at least $7.75 per share.
    Chart forWellPoint Inc. (WLP)

    Think Progress
    “Combined profits for UnitedHealth Group Inc., WellPoint Inc., Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., which cover one-third of the U.S. population, surged 13.5% to $3.4 billion in the second quarter,” they found. “If the trend holds, the five companies will take a record $14 billion in profits in 2011.”

    If the healthcare industry continues to experience higher profits and increasing numbers of people  signing-up for coverage, I cannot get my brain around GOP efforts to repeal the ACA.  They factually accept money from big healthcare. In fact,  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has stated the repeal votes are akin to a terrible "Catch-22" for the GOP.  The GOP (Ryan Budget) includes cost analysis and projections based on existing law. The ACA is existing law!  Does the (fallacy laden) Ryan Budget fall part if the ACA is repealed?  Does the GOP care about the impact on their Budget plan if the ACA is non-existent?  I posit the GOP does not care about impact on their budget because their budget is basically "Smoke and Mirrors' (cracked mirrors) in its entirety.
    “House Republicans’ budget hypocrisy knows no bounds,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the Democrats’ leader on budget issues, told TPM. “This Obamacare repeal vote … exposes the mother of all budget gimmicks — the fact that the Republican claim of balancing the budget depends on the savings and revenues from Obamacare. The minute they vote to repeal the law, their budget is out of balance — they can’t have it both ways.”

    Martin Bashir and Chrsi Van Hollen

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
    John Boehner says, “We. Will. Repeal.” I am possibly being a bit feeble minded, but I see nothing in repeal efforts, but unadulterated politics.  The GOP in the House is clearly working to strip the nation of President Obama's key piece of legislation since taking office in 2009. The following link navigates to a Healthcare Dot Gov webpage.  Specifically, you will be navigated to an ACA Timeline.  As I click though the Timeline, even with my liberal bias, I cannot find any reason conservatives would red the items and take exception. Over the last week a few articles have induced cause to pause as I listen to the GOP.  First, healthcare cost increases have slowed moderately. The less rapid increase in cost may not be due to the ACA, but there is little that indicates the ACA may not have some influence. I am not making declarative statements that the ACA has definite impact on the slowed cost increases. Another article related to well documented reductions in the US deficit. The reports are accompanied by bewilderment from many economist who to the person caution about the future. Well, I find that intriguing.  I am not hearing as much caution from economist who have supported the Administration economic strategies and plans since early 2009. In fact, Paul Krugman was very vocal in early 2009 that the Stimulus was not enough   All the while many of those, now amazed, economist continue their 'all is a world of whoa" in the nations. Yet,  another reason to find fault in administration from the Right.   It appears to date all of the obstruction  and all the resistance has simply slowed progressive towards a better society. How can I, if I was inclined, even think to buy into thought the GOP is on the right (excuse the pun) of the "repeal the ACA" activities, waste and shame?