by ilene - September 29th, 2014 10:12 pm
Courtesy of Mish.
As many as 63 seriously misguided teenaged girls from France, 40 from Germany, and 50 in the UK have left their countries to join ISIS in Syria.
The Guardian has a fascinating report on Schoolgirl jihadis: the female Islamists leaving home to join Isis fighters.
Hundreds of young women and girls are leaving their homes in western countries to join Islamic fighters in the Middle East, causing increasing concern among counter-terrorism investigators.
Girls as young as 14 or 15 are travelling mainly to Syria to marry jihadis, bear their children and join communities of fighters, with a small number taking up arms. Many are recruited via social media.
Women and girls appear to make up about 10% of those leaving Europe, North America and Australia to link up with jihadi groups, including Islamic State (Isis). France has the highest number of female jihadi recruits, with 63 in the region – about 25% of the total – and at least another 60 believed to be considering the move.
In most cases, women and girls appear to have left home to marry jihadis, drawn to the idea of supporting their “brother fighters” and having “jihadist children to continue the spread of Islam”, said Louis Caprioli, former head of the French security agency Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire. “If their husband dies, they will be given adulation as the wife of a martyr.”
Five people, including a sister and brother, were arrested in France earlier this month suspected of belonging to a ring in central France that specialised in recruiting young French women, according to Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister.
At least 40 women have left Germany to join Isis in Syria and Iraq in what appears to be a growing trend of teenagers becoming radicalised and travelling to the Middle East without their parents’ permission.
“The youngest was 13-years-old,” Hans-Georg Maassen, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told the Rheinische Post. “Four underage women left with a romantic idea of jihad marriage and married young male fighters who they had got to know via the internet.”
Karim Pakzad, of the French Institute of International and Strategic Relations, said some young women had “an almost romantic idea of war and warriors.
“There’s a certain fascination even with the
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 8:00 pm
Courtesy of Tim Knight from Slope of Hope
Greetings from Palo Alto. Over three years (and thousands of posts……) ago, I wrote Color and the Mania in This Valley. The thrust of my post was:
+ Color.com had received $41 million to develop an app;
+ The app sucked out loud;
+ The company deserved to fail.
Well, fail it did (as I announced in the 4th post I did about the stupid place), and in those three+ years, the bubble has just continued to inflate. 2014 makes 2011 seem downright sensible.
Which brings us to Clinkle, which is a firm founded by a 22 year old with no business successes behind him (which at least Color.com's founder could claim, as he sold his firm to Apple for a fortune). Clinkle initially received $25 million (fun fact: the same amount used to fund Google, which went on to bigger successes than building a single app) and has been ostensibly hard at work on this thing for years. Here is the mature and world-changing lad after he landed the funding:
Well, as Clinkle continued to produce nothing, they continued to garner funding, reported to be upwards of $40 million now (a number strangely coincident with Color's). Recently, at long, long last, they launched their app. Here's how they try to explain it:
So let me get this straight……..I download an app……..and then I sign up……….and they send me a Prepaid Visa Card (which I don't need), and then I can put money on the card. The wrinkle to this, apparently, is that if my friends also use Clinkle, I can transmit cash to them if I want.
Allow me to express my reaction with three letters: B, F, and D. So this is what $40 million and a crack team of engineers was able to create? (Although the money wasn't entirely wasted – – you can go to this page and check out the team member photos which, as you mouse over them, turn into zany poses – – hilarious! My goodness gracious.)
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 6:59 pm
Courtesy of Andy Tully via OilPrice.com
One of the biggest concerns about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is that the vast amount of wastewater produced by the process of extracting oil and gas from shale rock deep underground is incredibly toxic.
Most often, the wastewater is injected into disposal wells deep underground. But a process does exist to convert contaminated water into drinking water that involves running it through wastewater treatment plants and into rivers.
Now a new report says that treated wastewater could be fouling drinking water supplies.
In an article published in Environmental Science & Technology — the journal of the American Chemical Society — a team of researchers acknowledged that the disposal of fracking wastewater is a serious challenge for energy companies that use hydraulic fracturing.
The wastewater left over from the process is not only highly radioactive, but also is contaminated with heavy metals salts known as halides, which are not suitable for consumption, according to the scientists.
Energy companies can opt to use commercial or municipal water treatment plants to purify the water, which is then released into local surface water such as rivers. The problem is that the process sometimes doesn’t remove most of the halides.
When that happens, the water is treated again, with more conventional methods such as chlorinization or ozonation. But there has been concern that this method could form toxic byproducts. The researchers decided to find out whether this was true.
They diluted samples of river water that contained fracking wastewater discharged from water treatment plants in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, simulating what happens when left-over fracking water gets into local surface waters. Then they used current methods of chlorinization and ozonation on the samples to remove the halides and determine whether the water was potable.
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 5:13 pm
Courtesy of David Stockman via Contra Corner
There is nothing like the release of secret tape recordings to clarify an inconclusive debate. I recall that happening with Nixon back in the day. Even as a Washington apprentice I could see that he was a ruthless, power hungry abuser of his office, but much of official Washington just denied it. Then came the tapes. Soon there was no doubt. In short order Nixon was gone.
So now comes the Goldman tapes – 46 hours of recordings by an embedded New York Fed regulator at Goldman Sachs who got fired for attempting to, well, regulate. Would that the Carmen Segarra affair generates a Nixonian result – that is, exposure that “regulatory capture” is an endemic, potent and inextricable evil that can’t be remediated in situ.
Never mind that what Ms. Segarra was attempting to regulate--whether Goldman had a conflict of interest policy with respect to its M&A clients—-was actually none of the state’s business in the first place. If in the instant case GS was giving squinty eyed advise to its client, El Paso Corporation, because it owned a $4 billion position in the other party to the transaction, Kinder Morgan, so be it. Either the conflict was harmless or eventually Goldman’s M&A business would have been punished by the marketplace—–even stupid executives and boards wouldn’t pay huge fees to be taken to the cleaners for long.
Actually, what the tapes really show is that the Fed’s latest policy contraption – macro-prudential regulation through a financial stability committee – is just a useless exercise in CYA. Apparently, even the colony of the bubble blind which inhabits the Eccles Building has started to get nervous about financial bubbles and instability in recent months. What with junk bond yields sporting a 5 handle, the Russell 2000 trading at 80X reported profits and the IPO market having gone full-tilt manic with last week’s pricing at 27X sales of a Chinese e-commerce mass merchant that is a pure proxy for the greatest credit fueled house of cards in human history—-it needed to show some gesture of concern.
Now, it might have gone straight to the horse’s mouth. It might have asked about 70 consecutive months of zero money market rates, for instance, and the manner in which that has enabled speculators to mount massive momentum trades everywhere in the financial markets by funding any “risk asset” that generates a yield or a short-run gain with…
US Bombed Wrong Refineries in Syria; Iran Seeks to Stop Oil Price Slide; Sanctions Won’t Impede Arctic Drilling
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 3:55 pm
Courtesy of Mish.
US Bombed Wrong Refineries in Syria
Oil is in the news in many countries in many ways. Let's take a look starting with a couple of paragraphs buried in the Financial Times report Barack Obama Admits US Underestimated Isis.
Allied aircraft on Sunday struck three makeshift oil refineries in an area controlled by Isis in an expansion of attacks intended to damage the militant Islamist group’s financial infrastructure.
Oil has proved crucial to financing Isis’s operations, netting several million dollars a day. But the observatory said the refineries struck early on Sunday, in and around Raqqa, were owned by civilians and not Isis. A separate air strike on a plastics factory on the outskirts of Raqqa resulted in the death of a civilian, the group said.
So, we blow up refineries owned and operated by civilians and it is buried in the news, with no hint of an apology or restitution offered to the refinery owners or to Syria.
Russia Discovers Vast Pool of Oil
Two days ago, Russia announced Arctic Well Drilled With Exxon Strikes Oil.
Russia’s state-run OAO Rosneft said a well drilled in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean with Exxon Mobil Corp. struck oil, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas.
The announcement was made by Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s chief executive officer, who spent two days sailing on a Russian research ship to the drilling rig where the find was unveiled today. The well found about 1 billion barrels of oil and similar geology nearby means the surrounding area may hold more than the U.S. part of the Gulf or Mexico, he said.
The discovery sharpens the dispute between Russia and the U.S. over President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. The well was drilled before the Oct. 10 deadline Exxon was granted by the U.S. government under sanctions barring American companies from working in Russia’s Arctic offshore. Rosneft and Exxon won’t be able to do more drilling, putting the exploration and development of the area on hold despite the find announced today.
Output from the Kara Sea field could begin within five to seven years, Sechin said, adding the field discovered today would
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 3:41 pm
James Kunstler looks at our country from a darkened view, and from there, goes further into the shadows.
Courtesy of James Kunstler
I played fiddle at a small-town, country dance last night with several other musicians and it was a merry enough time because that kind of self-made music has the power to fortify spirits. About half the dancers were over 40 and the rest were teenage girls. The absence of young men was conspicuous. Toward the end of the evening, it was just girls dancing with girls. A wonderful and fundamental tension was not present in the room.
The young men are out there somewhere in the country towns, but this society increasingly has no use or no place for them, except in the army. There is absolutely no public conversation about the near total devaluation of young men in the economic and social life of the USA, though there is near-hysterical triumphalism about the success of young women in every realm from sports to politics to business, and to go with that an equal amount of valorization for people who develop an ambiguous sexual identity.
There really is no local forum for public discussion in the flyover regions of the USA. The few remaining local newspapers are parodies of what newspapers once were, and the schools maintain a fog of sanctimony that penalizes thinking outside the bright-side box. Television and its step-child, the internet, offer only the worst temptations of hyper-sexual stimulation, artificial violence, and grandiose wealth-and-power fantasies. There aren’t even any taverns where people can gather for casual talk.
Many of the remaining jobs “out there” are jobs that can be done by anyone — certainly the office work, but also the jobs with near-zero meaning, minimal income, and no status in the national chain burger shacks and box stores — and young women are more reliably subject to control than young men jacked on testosterone, corn syrup, and Grand Theft Auto.
Of course, the idea that higher education can lift a population out of this vortex of anomie is a cruel joke, especially now with the college loan racket parasitizing that flickering
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 2:56 pm
Target Price — 12 Months = $4
In December of 2013, Citron Research introduced readers to Textura Corp. (NASDAQ:TXTR), documenting the CEO’s history of fraud and failed businesses, and a shadowy weave of poorly disclosed insider relationships. In its last three quarters, Textura has missed analyst expectations and continues as a wannabe in the SaaS space. Ignoring scant earnings results, the analysts have stood by their unfounded optimistic forecasts.
If you are a Textura shareholder and you are a custodian of someone else’s money, you are obligated to read this report. We have done the homework that NONE of the analysts have done, and in this report we spill the truth about this “investment."
We document a recent lawsuit that is the nightmare of every Textura CPM subscriber, a case of Subcontractor vs General Contractor, disputing the one thing Textura's flagship CPM product is supposed to process: a lawsuit-free payments ecosystem.
(Citron always suggests for most convenient reading, download the PDF, then right-click to open all links in new windows)
Spain Manufacturers Warn of Another Slowdown; Consumption Recovery Ends, Retail Sales Contract, Price Deflation Sets In
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 2:06 pm
Courtesy of Mish.
The alleged recovery in Spain is already over. Retail sales are down month-over-month and year-over-year in July. August and September are both projected to be weak.
Vial translation from El Economista, Manufacturers and Retailers Warn of Another Consumption Slowdown.
After a slight recovery in the first months of the year, stagnation set in since June, according to almost all employers and associations of producers and distributors. The retail index INE already pointed to stagnation in June and a drop of 0.5% in July from a year earlier.
Although the decline in July from the previous month is a somewhat lower 0.2%, the situation appears to be worsening. August data will be released this week and forecast for both August and September are not positive.
Aurelio del Pino, president of Aces, the association of supermarket chains such as Carrefour, Eroski, Lidl Supercor or says in this line that "the data already published and forecasts that we confirm our claim that any increase in VAT would been disastrous for consumption."
It's something you notice the trade, but also the major manufacturers. "The recovery we have had in the first few months has been very weak," says Ignacio Larracoetxea president Promarca, an association that encompasses most of the brands leading food, beverage, household and healthcare.
And the sector is not the only well that is alerting the break. Last week, the Bank of Spain and warned that the latest information regarding the third quarter shows a "somewhat less expansive behavior of private demand" and domestic consumption, as recorded in his newsletter this September. In the case of household consumption, says survey indicators of households and retailers were in the average July and August at a lower level than the second quarter.
To try to curb this stagnant consumption, or falling in recent months, large retail chains have not hesitated to continue lowering prices, even if it had to reduce their margins and also lower their figures fracturing.
Price Deflation Sets In
On September 5, Dow Jones Business News reported Spanish Prices Firmly In Negative Territory, Deflation Beckons.
INE, as the statistics institute is known, said Spain's consumer price index fell by 0.5% on the year in
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 10:47 am
By John Mauldin
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar…
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
– T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. This is not to say that there will no longer be events to fill the pages of Foreign Affairs' yearly summaries of international relations, for the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run.
– Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man
Francis Fukuyama created all sorts of controversy when he declared “the end of history” in 1989 (and again in 1992 in the book cited above). That book won general applause, and unlike many other academics he has gone on to produce similarly thoughtful work. A review of his latest book, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalisation of Democracy, appeared just yesterday in The Economist. It’s the second volume in a two-volume tour de force on “political order.”
I was struck by the closing paragraphs of the review:
Mr. Fukuyama argues that the political institutions that allowed the United States to become a successful modern democracy are beginning to decay. The division of powers has always created a potential…
by ilene - September 29th, 2014 7:19 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
Ferguson was for amateurs.
For those curious why the Hong Kong protests over the weekend have sent shivers across the world's capital markets, pushed the Hang Seng 2% lower, and impacted both European and US futures, not to mention leading to worries that China may get involved any second and result in another Tiananmen square event, the following clip from HK's Apple Daily, taken by a drone, shows just how massive the demonstrations, which according to some estimates involved just shy of 100,000 people, taking place in Hong Kong are.
As Mashable adds, "far from a small protest by a limited number of outspoken citizens, the video shows just how large the movement to preserve Hong Kong's democratic elections has become. Currently, the protests have grown so large that parts of Hong Kong's business district have been brought to a standstill, prompting the temporary closure of 17 local banks.
In addition to the drone footage, Apple Daily has also posted a live video stream of the protests, allowing the world to watch as events develop in real time."