Wednesday, June 20, 2018

US Leaving Notorious UN Human Rights Council

Washington (CNN): US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday, accusing the body of bias against US ally Israel and a failure to hold human rights abusers accountable.

The move, which the Trump administration has threatened for months, came down one day after the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border as "unconscionable."

Speaking from the State Department, where she was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley defended the move to withdraw from the council, saying US calls for reform were not heeded. "Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council," said Haley, listing US grievances with the body. "The world's most inhumane regimes continue to escape its scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in its ranks."

Monday, June 18, 2018

Same Face Asians: S-Korean Soccer Team’s Trick

South Korean World Cup Team Swaps Jerseys Because ‘Westerners Can’t Tell Asians Apart’: “Yes SK use that perceptual bias to their advantage.”  

The South Korean soccer team at a training session in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 13, before the FIFA World Cup (left). The team’s head coach had the players swap shirts to confuse scouting opponents.

The South Korean soccer team had some pretty hilarious tricks up its sleeve. During friendly matches before the World Cup in Russia, Shin Tae-yong, the team’s head coach, had the players swap shirts so that their opponents would be thrown off.

Mueller’s Witch Hunt On Trump-Russia Collusion

This past February Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought the dramatic indictment against Russian actors allegedly responsible for interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Department of Justice has posted the indictment online here. The indictment charged three Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals with election related crimes. Politico covered the indictment in a good story by Michael Crowley and Louis Nelson.

I don’t think anyone (including the Inquisitor Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.

One of the Russian corporate defendants nevertheless hired counsel to contest the charges. In April two Washington-area attorneys — Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of the Reed Smith firm — filed appearances in court on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting. Josh Gerstein covered that turn of events for Politico.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Migrant Crisis Bringing Down Merkel In 48 Hours

The era of Angela Merkel may be coming to an end as longstanding disagreements on migration policies between her and her Bavarian allies threaten to come to a head and potentially unseat the German leader, who has been at the country’s helm since 2005.

The coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Chancellor Merkel and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) led by interior minister Horst Seehofer is in crisis over differences on mass migration.

The CSU under Seehofer has demanded that Germany should be able to reject migrants at the border of the country if they have no identity papers, are registered in another country, or have been refused refugee status previously, but Merkel believes turning them away udermine the EU’s open borders Schengen Area.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Trump Is Sending 25 Million Mexicans To Japan

Donald Trump threatened Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe he would ship 25 million Mexicans to his country, one of a series of bizarre missives that jarred fellow leaders at last week's acrimonious G7 meet, according to a report on Friday.

The Group of Seven summit gathering of top industrialized democracies finished in disarray after the U.S. president abruptly rejected its consensus statement and bitterly attacked Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Behind the scenes, Trump's counterparts were dismayed by verbal jabs on topics ranging from trade to terrorism and migration, The Wall Street Journal said, quoting European officials who were present.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Another NYC Cabbie Commits Suicide

Another cash-strapped city cabby has committed suicide, this time by hanging himself in his Brooklyn apartment, The Post has learned.

Abdul Saleh, 59, is now at least the sixth for-hire driver to kill himself since November, sources say. A roommate found him hanging by an electrical cord in his apartment in Flatlands Friday morning, said his driving partner, Qamar Chaudhary. Saleh drove a yellow cab for 30 years, Chaudhary, 36, said.

Chaudhary said that they leased a taxi and medallion together, splitting the night and day shifts, but that within the past several months, Saleh couldn’t make the weekly lease payment. Saleh — whom Chaudhary described as single but with family in his native Yemen — sometimes would be short by as little as $60, but for the last payment, he was $300 short.  Making finances even tighter, Chaudhary began driving for Uber, leaving Saleh without a partner.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Uber Blamed For Taxi Driver Suicides In NYC

UBER noose is around cabby's neck.
In the shadow of Uber's rise, taxi driver suicides leave cabbies shaken. "What Uber and Lyft have done is come into the industry and wreck it," a Chicago taxi driver said.

Nnamdi Uwazie said he drives seven days a week, 15 hours a day, and after he pays the cab company the $475 weekly lease fee, he rarely has more than a few hundred dollars left to feed his family.

Take it from veteran Chicago cabby Nnamdi Uwazie: The shock waves from the recent suicides of five New York City taxi and livery drivers are being felt in the Windy City as well. So is the desperation that drove a struggling limo driver to kill himself with a shotgun outside City Hall in Manhattan two months ago.

"We were all talking about what happened in New York and how it could happen here because it's so hard to be a cab driver in Chicago," Uwazie told NBC News. "So many people's livelihoods are gone. It is only by the grace of God we are still here."

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Turkey Unleashes Massive Rate Hike To Rescue Lira

Lira Soars After Turkish Central Bank Unleashes Massive, "Whatever It Takes" Rate Hike: Ahead of today's Turkish Central bank decision, analysts were adamant that if Turkey truly wants to ward off currency bears, it would have to deliver a "shock and awe" rate hike, greater than the whisper consensus call for a 100bps, especially since this is the last rate meeting before June 24 elections, at which Erdogan is expected to be granted virtually supreme powers, and has hinted his ambitions to also dominate monetary policy.

Moments ago the CBRT did just that, when it blew the doors off Lira watchers, by hiking the 1-week Repo Rate an enormous 125bps, from 16.50% to 17.75% - greater than any analysts forecast in a Bloomberg survey - thereby sending a very strong signal to the market. According to some desks, this was a "whatever it takes"-message from the central bank which sent markets a strong signal that it means business.

And looking at the more than 2% bullish reversal in the lira, which soared from 4.58 to 4.48 in kneejerk response, the market got the message.

Federal Reserve Is A Privately-Owned Corporation?

(Staff articles from various sources from the United States media.)

The Federal Reserve System is not "owned" by anyone. Although parts of the Federal Reserve System share some characteristics with private-sector entities, the Federal Reserve was established to serve the public interest.

The Federal Reserve derives its authority from the Congress, which created the System in 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act. This central banking "system" has three important features: (1) a central governing board--the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; (2) a decentralized operating structure of 12 Federal Reserve Banks; and (3) a blend of public and private characteristics.

The Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., is an agency of the federal government. The Board -- appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate -- provides general guidance for the Federal Reserve System and oversees the 12 Reserve Banks. The Board reports to and is directly accountable to the Congress but, unlike many other public agencies, it is not funded by congressional appropriations.