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Argentine peso hits record low against U.S. dollar

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:02

The Argentine currency fell sharply against the U.S. dollar to trade at 16.4225 pesos per dollar on Wednesday as investors punished the Latin American currency in disappointment over MSCI's delay in restoring Argentina to its Emerging Markets Index. The index provider on Tuesday said it would not reclassify Argentina as a developing economy due to concerns about capital controls and foreign exchange restrictions. The decision came as the country prepared to sell $2.4 billion worth of 100-year bonds with a yield of 8.25%. The peso has fallen 3.6% against the greenback this year, according to FactSet. [Updated to correct currency unit for the dollar-peso exchange rate.]

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Trump's son-in-law launches Middle East peace effort

MiddleEasteye - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:43
Language Undefined

It remains unclear what approach US president, via Jared Kushner, plans to take on resolving one of the world's most intractable conflicts

They Made Us Reds to Fight the Reds

Future of Freedom Foundation - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:18

At the end of World War II, U.S. officials told the American people that despite the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, America could not rest. That was because, they said, the United States now faced a new official enemy, one, they said, was arguably a bigger threat to Americans than Nazi Germany was. That new official enemy was the communist Soviet Union, which, ironically, had been America’s World War II partner and ally.

To combat this new threat, U.S. officials said, it would be necessary to convert the federal government from a limited-government republic to what is known as a national-security state, which would consist of a gigantic and permanent military-intelligence establishment.

There was an important distinguishing characteristic of this new segment of the federal government: Unlike the rest of the government, whose powers were limited to those enumerated in the Constitution, the national-security section of the government would wield the same type of totalitarian powers that were being wielded by communist regimes.

The justification that was provided to the American people was that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy, with its base in Russia. This supposed conspiracy entailed communists coming to get us and taking control of our government and our minds.

Freedom and limited government, U.S. officials said, were insufficient to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. To prevail over the communists, it was necessary, they claimed, for America to adopt the policies and practices that the communists were engaged in. The idea was that it was necessary to become Red to fight the Reds, sort of like using fire to fight fire.

Look at what North Korea has done to 22-year-old Otto Warmbier, an American tourist in that communist country. He was charged with taking some communist propaganda poster as a souvenir, convicted, and sentenced to 15 years of harsh labor. A few days ago, he was returned to the United States in a coma and died shortly thereafter.

We don’t know what exactly happened to Warmbier, but it’s a safe bet that he was tortured brutally by the North Korean communist personnel. At least, that wouldn’t surprise anyone. This is how totalitarian regimes behave. They are paranoid and powerful. They see enemies everywhere and employ brutal measures to smash anything that hints of being a threat to national security.

That’s something important to note: North Korea, like post-World War II United States, is a national-security state, one that wields the same omnipotent powers that the U.S. national-security state wields, including torture, assassination, and indefinite detention.

This is how the U.S. government became a government founded on torture. It copied North Korea, the Soviet Union, Red China, and other communist regimes. U.S. officials said that it was necessary to become like them in order to defeat them.

Indeed, that’s how the U.S. government came to engage in secret medical experimentation on people, which was no different in principle from what the Nazi regime had done to people. When the CIA learned that the communists were doing, they concluded that America needed to do it too. Indeed, since the Soviet Union was employing Nazis within their regime, the CIA decided that it needed to do the same. That’s how the American people ended up with MKULTRA.

That’s what the conversion of the U.S. government to a national-security state did to us — it made us Red because, they said, that was the only way to combat the Reds.

Consider the power to assassinate people. The U.S. government wasn’t founded on the power of assassination. The Framers would have been appalled if anyone had suggested that type of government at the Constitutional Convention. The American people would never have ratified the Constitution if a federal government based on assassination was being called into existence.

The power to assassinate people became an established part of the federal government after World War II, when the CIA was called into existence.

Why did U.S. officials want the power of assassination? Because the communists wielded the power to assassinate people. If the Reds wielded it, then our side needed to wield it too, they said. We had to become Red in order to defeat the Reds.

Look at the NSA and its power of surveillance over the American people. In principle, it is no different from the surveillance that the KGB exercised over the Russian people or the surveillance that the North Korean communist regime conducts on its citizenry. And the NSA mindset has always been the same as the KGB and North Korean mindset — that there are dangers all around us, which only surveillance of the citizenry can ferret out.

Consider regime-change operations, which became a core feature of the U.S. national-security establishment after World War II. The idea behind them is to put pro-U.S. rulers and regimes into power around the world so that they will be under “our” control rather than under “their” control. Thus, if a regime befriended Russia, Cuba, or some other communist regime, the CIA or the Pentagon would oust it with a coup or an invasion and install a pro-U.S. regime in its stead.

U.S. officials copied that idea from the Soviet Union, which insisted on having maintaining pro-Soviet rulers and regimes in power in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Again, the idea was that we have go Red to keep from becoming Red.

The U.S. turn to the dark side was spelled out in writing as early as 1954 in what was a top-secret document called the Doolittle Report, which examined the rationale and practices of the CIA. The report bluntly points out the need for America to go Red to defeat the Reds: “It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game…. If the United States is to survive, long standing concepts of ‘fair play’ must be reconsidered.”

Not so coincidentally, that same year — 1954 — the CIA published a top-secret manual on assassination, which explored not only ways to assassinate people but also ways to prevent people from discovering or proving that the CIA orchestrated the assassination. The manual was prepared as part of a CIA regime-change operation against the democratically elected socialist president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who the CIA violently removed from power and replaced with an unelected pro-U.S. military dictator.

Unfortunately, the end of the Cold War did not spell the end of America’s national-security state nightmare. We still have the same totalitarian-like system — massive and permanent military-intelligence establishment, torture, assassination, surveillance, regime-change operations, and other characteristics of totalitarian regimes. The only difference is that now it’s all justified by “terrorism” and Russia rather than communism and the Soviet Union. It’s still being portrayed as essential to our “freedom” and “security,” just as it was in the Soviet Union and just as it is today in North Korea.

The post They Made Us Reds to Fight the Reds appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Gunman made no threats to Congress before Virginia shooting: FBI

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:17
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The gunman who shot at Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game did not post online any threats against or references to members of Congress before the attack, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday.

Iraqi migrant trains at U.S. border patrol academy

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:08
ARTESIA, N.M. (Reuters) - At a training facility in the middle of a desert in New Mexico, aspiring border patrol agent Stevany Shakare sprinted laps in 103-degree Fahrenheit weather as her instructors shouted at her to run faster.

Ramadan in a time of cholera: How Yemen is marking holy month

MiddleEasteye - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:00
Language Undefined

Parents are delaying their celebrations, demand for charity handouts is up and business in some stores is down

Russian hackers targeted 21 U.S. states during election: U.S. official

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:56
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian hackers targeted 21 U.S. states' election systems in last year's presidential race, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told Congress on Wednesday.

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's prince of chaos

MiddleEasteye - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:56

When King Salman and his son Mohammed came to power, there was hope of sorely needed leadership in the region. Instead, they may have fragmented it beyond repair

Democratic lawmakers raise pressure on EPA over Icahn's biofuels role

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:49
(Reuters) - U.S. Democratic lawmakers asked Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt on Wednesday to disclose procedures to prevent billionaire Carl Icahn from influencing U.S. biofuels policy for personal gain.

Exclusive: U.N. chief set to name Russian diplomat to top anti-terror job - diplomats

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:47
UNITED NATIONS/VIENNA (Reuters) - United Nations chief Antonio Guterres is set to appoint a Moscow envoy in Vienna to head a newly created U.N. Office of Counterterrorism, officials and diplomats said on Wednesday, giving a Russian a top job at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Trump seizes on Republican victory in Georgia to push agenda

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:39
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump knocked Democrats on Wednesday for obstructing his agenda, one day after a fellow Republican won a congressional race in Georgia that was widely seen as a referendum on his young, turbulent presidency.

U.S., China meet on North Korea after Trump points to failed Chinese effort

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:39
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top diplomats and defense chiefs from the United States and China began a day of talks in Washington on Wednesday looking for ways to press North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

U.S., China meet on North Korea after Trump points to failed Chinese effort

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:39
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top diplomats and defense chiefs from the United States and China began a day of talks in Washington on Wednesday looking for ways to press North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

Former homeland secretary says FBI delayed notification of cyber hack

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:38
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a congressional panel on Wednesday that there was a delay between the time the FBI first made contact with the Democratic National Committee about Russia hacking its servers and the time he was notified at the Department of Homeland Security.

Oil adds to gains as EIA reports second-straight weekly fall in U.S. crude supplies

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:37

Oil prices added to earlier gains Wednesday after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that domestic crude supplies fell by 2.5 million barrels for the week ended June 16. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts expected a decline of 2 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a fall of 2.7 million barrels, according to sources. Gasoline stockpiles also fell by 600,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles rose by 1.1 million barrels last week, according to the EIA. August crude rose 47 cents, or 1.1%, to $43.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It traded at $43.77 before the supply data.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Syrian army advances on Damascus suburbs, says Hezbollah media

MiddleEasteye - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:28
Language Undefined

In the north, the US-backed SDF forces are closing in on IS's hold over Raqqa

Twitter's stock surges in active trade a week before bullish 'golden cross' pattern appears

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:24

Twitter Inc.'s stock shot up 5.8% in morning trade, lifting the stock above both its widely-watched 50-day and 200-day moving averages in one fell swoop. Volume topped 9 million shares in less than an hour after the open, compared with the full-day average of 15.8 million shares. The company has not released any news. Based on current trajectories, the 50-day MA is on course to cross above the 200-day MA in about a week, a bullish technical event known as a "golden cross." Many chart watchers view a golden cross as marking the spot that a shorter-term rally transitions into a longer-term uptrend. After the last golden cross on Sept. 6, 2016, the stock soared another 25% before peaking a month later. Twitter's stock has rallied 9.7% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.9%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

AMD's stock soars again on heavy volume after Epyc chip unveiled

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:56

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. shot up as much as 8% to a 7-week high in morning trade Wednesday before paring some gains to be up 4.2%, after the company unveiled its Epyc server chip, which analysts were mostly upbeat about. The stock has now rocketed 15% over the past three sessions. Volume topped 45 million shares within 25 minutes after the open, already more than half the full-day average of about 77.4 million shares. Canaccord Genuity analyst Matthew Ramsay wrote in a research note that he believes "AMD has built the foundation to re-emerge as a solid competitor in the enterprise, cloud and storage tiers of the server market" to add unique value to customers for deep learning and artificial intelligence. The stock has climbed 17% year to date, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index has rallied 19%, shares of rival Intel Corp. have lost 5.3% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.9%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Another Chernobyl in California?

Who What Why - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:54

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

San Onofre — Another Chernobyl? (Reader Derrin)

A new study by Public Watchdogs details Southern California Edison’s plan to bury nuclear waste near the now-shuttered nuclear plant. A disaster there would be 40 times the radiation levels of Chernobyl. The plutonium waste could be harmful for 250,000 years, but “will be stored in thin-walled canisters warrantied for only 10 to 25 years.”

Trump’s New Russia Sanctions (Dan)

There are two ways to view these new sanctions. One is to believe that Trump is looking to assure Congress that the administration is in fact confronting Russia, albeit by targeting individuals tied to the so-called “Ukraine crisis”. The other way to view the sanctions is that any detente between the countries was simply campaign rhetoric.

Six Resign from Trump’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council Because ‘He Doesn’t Care’ (Jimmy)

“The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and — most concerning — pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease,” said the members in a joint letter.

Libya’s Oil Boom (Dan)

The war-torn country is, surprisingly, undermining OPEC. This article sheds light on the wild road of geopolitics and, possibly, what is fueling the current Gulf dispute.

Here’s the Hourly Income You Need to Pay Rent Around the US (Jimmy)

The author writes, “Full-time workers who make minimum wage can’t afford a two-bedroom rental home in any state in the U.S. without spending more than the recommended 30 percent of their income, according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.”

The post Another Chernobyl in California? appeared first on WhoWhatWhy.

At FBI, Mueller Oversaw Post-9/11 Torture

ConsortiumNews - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:50
Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media gushes over Russia-gate special prosecutor Robert Mueller as an upright man of the Establishment, ignoring how he oversaw torture of innocent Arabs after 9/11, reports Jonathan Marshall. By Jonathan Marshall Robert Mueller III, the former…